April 20, 2010

10 Picks for the Week

Birth of Rome, April 21
Not every city celebrates its birth, but of course proud Rome does—and why not? It is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Romulus, who was suckled by a she-wolf as an infant, found the city in 753BC. The event is celebrated today throughout the city with parades, gladiator shows, traditional Roman banquets, and public speeches. Candles are planted all over the Aventine Hill, and in the evening a spectacular firework display flashes and bangs over the Tiber. Local societies and clubs stage their own events and celebrations, and many of Rome’s monuments and museums allow free entry on the day. There is also the Dea Roma contest, an annual event drawing numerous candidates keen on representing the spirit and beauty of the Goddess of Rome. National and international ladies may apply.

Titus Welliver in Handsome Harry…and Lost, and The Good Wife
Few actors are as revered as Welliver after having played so many horrible guys—but then again, few actors have mastered the mystical bad-ass quite like he has. Catch the NYPD Blue and Deadwood stud in this month’s upcoming indie film Handsome Harry, a psychological mystery about love, forgiveness, and the code of silence between men. And no, it’s not a stage name.

Ernst Ludwig Kirschner: A Restrospective, Städel Museum, Frankfurt,  April 21 – July 25
The exhibition of roughly 100 paintings, half a dozen sculptures, and a large selection of works on paper is on loan from other museums and from the Städel’s own collection. It tells the story of the Bavarian artist’s career, and is the first complete monographic, chronological survey of his life and works since a large traveling show in 1979. The German painter and printmaker was one of the leading figures in the Expressionist movement—this once in a lifetime show is not to be missed.

The London Book Fair, April 19 – April 21
The annual fair draws thousands of eager publishers, agents, and bookworms to the Earls Court Exhibition Centre. Seminars, parties, and celebrity authors highlight the top-notch event. Sadly, publishers are panicking this year because of the many lost sales expected due to the Icelandic volcano eruption.



Intelligence Squared Debate: The beautiful game? You’re having a laugh!, April 29
Are you a football, as in soccer, fan? Are you disgusted by the professional sports industry? Then you might be interested in this live podcast. Once called the “€œbeautiful game,”€ football was an esteemed part of English culture. It has seemingly been taken over by hooliganism, cheating, and greed. As a result, foreign oligarchs have co-opted the game, and some traditionalists are not happy about it. But are the traditionalists right? Haven”€™t mercenary values and unsporting tactics always been part of the spirit of English football? Chaired by Angus Scott, Tom Bower, Dominic Lawson, Ed Smith, Garth Crooks, Hunter Davies, and David Sheepshanks debate at Methodist Central Hall Westminster.  

Million Dollar Quartet
Inspired by actual events, this new—and unconventional—musical recreates the night Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins jammed together at Sun Records, the label where all four got their start. Need we say more? Music supervisor Chuck Mead worked hard to recreate the “happy accidents” that made that session so impressive. What can we say, we haven’t been this Cash-happy since Walk the Line.

Seville April Fair, April 20 – 25
The magical Spanish city of Sevilla celebrates its Feria de Abril with a colorful lineup of traditional events, including horse parades, round-the-clock revelry, and flamenco parties galore. In the evenings bullfights take place at the Plaza de Toros de Maestranza de Caballería, known as El Catedral. Simply put: Andalusian culture at its best. Viva Espana!


New Amerykah Part Two: Return of the Ankh
In an age of commercial female pop singers like Rihanna and Lady Gaga, Erykah Badu is a true original. You may have heard she was arrested recently for filming a music video naked, or you might have seen her in films like Cider House Rules and Blues Brothers 2000—or in Tom Ford‘s White Patchouli perfume campaign. If you haven”€™t already heard songs from her previous albums Baduizm and Mama’s Gun, catch her in concert, she kicks off her summer tour in May. 

National Trust Libraries Online
Anyone with a laptop can now view a catalog of over 150,000 historic books online. The National Trust owns 140 historic libraries which contain 230,000 books bound in 400,000 volumes. Their collection includes everything from an autographed copy of Virgina Woolf’s 1928 novel Orlando inscribed to Vita Sackville-West, to the Bible purportedly used by Charles I on the scaffold in 1649. In even better news, approximately 70,000 books have yet to be cataloged.

Insomniflows, by Paul Davis
When the world is asleep and you aren”€™t, perhaps you are not as alone as you think. Author Paul Davis”€™ art candy for insomnia junkies, if there ever was any, is a cool twist on this psychological phenomenon translated into pictures. See more of Davis’ kooky but truthful work in London, New York, and Tokyo—or browse through his illustrated book Us and Them: What the British Think of The Americans; What The Americans Think of The British.


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