November 08, 2010

Matt Lauer Reports, Interview with President Bush, NBC, November 8, 8pm
Well, this little interview is nicely timed right after the midterms that showed huge gains for the GOP. President Bush is sitting down for his first one-on-one interview since slinking out of office two years ago. And, of course, his interview is full of goodies! Remember when Kanye West told tens of millions of people during the Hurricane Katrina telethon that “€œGeorge Bush doesn”€™t care about black people?”€ The former Prez sure does”€”he calls it the lowest moment of his presidency. All you technophiles will be pleased to know he owns an iPad, shuns TV, and reads the Wall Street Journal every day. Matt Lauer’s interview coincides with the release of Bush’s memoir Decision Points on Tuesday. And for those who can”€™t get enough, W. will be on the Today show Wednesday as well. 

Diwali, India, November 4 “€“ 8
President Obama just happened to kick off his week-long India trip during the country’s most vibrant holiday. The word, shortened from “€œDeepavali”€ means “€œrow of lamps”€ and families celebrate the positive aspects of life together. Some of the customs during the five-day “€œfestival of lights”€ include lighting lamps (diya) and candles and decorating the home. Many followers, especially in north India, worship Lord Rama, who returns after a long absence and the defeat of Ravana, and the goddess of strength. Obama said the holiday celebrates “€œthe triumph of good of evil”€”€”a sentiment he could really use after the rout during midterms.

The Merchant of Venice, The Broadhurst Theatre, New York, Open now “€“ January 9, 2011
The lines at last summer’s Shakespeare in the Park performance were back-breakingly long, but luckily now Al Pacino’s award-worthy role as Shylock is on Broadway and available for anyone who wants to shell out money for the mezzanine (or orchestra, if you”€™re lucky). The comedy isn”€™t afraid to tackle heavy themes”€”a pound of flesh, anyone?”€”and the Park production was widely hailed as one not to miss. The creative cast is all back, and rather poignantly, Lily Rabe (Portia) has just returned to the stage after the death of her mother, famed actress Jill Clayburgh. Jesse L. Martin is (thankfully) on hiatus from Law & Order for a bit to swoop in for a leading role. Daniel Sullivan (Proof) directs.

Tiny Furniture, IFC Center, New York, Opens November 12
Girl goes to college. Girl studies film. Girl can”€™t find a job and slinks home to her childhood bedroom. Such is the story for 22-year-old Aura, the immensely likable star of this new indie film. And it’s pretty much the same story of the film’s protagonist, writer, and director, Lena Dunham (except she’s 24, but cut her some slack). Tiny Furniture is a nice little recession-era bildungsroman that takes place in Dunham’s real-life parent’s loft and the rainy East Village streets that welcome so many disaffected graduates. (Her mother and sister also star as themselves.) After winning the top prize at this year’s South by Southwest film festival, Dunham’s been a hot commodity”€”Judd Apatow’s already scooped her up to work on an HBO pilot.

34th Annual Margaret Mead Film & Video Festival, American Museum of Natural History, November 11 “€“ 14
Craving a more worldly view? This four-day festival at that dinosaur museum in New York is eager to provide with features, shorts, documentaries, and animations culled from over 1,000 submissions. The Electric Mind is a captivating documentary from Israel covering the horrible twists and turns of the mind, featuring an epileptic 10-year-old and a bipolar photographer. Roscoe Holcomb from Daisy, Kentucky revolves around the coal miner turned banjo player who found fame in the second act of his career. In all the films, storytelling takes center stage”€”so leave your 3-D glasses at home and think of this as a more ethnocentric and extended dive into the kinds of tales that make This American Life unforgettable.


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