American Life in Poetry Column 227


Jane Hirshfield, a Californian and one of my favorite poets, writes beautiful image-centered poems of clarity and concision, which sometimes conclude with a sudden and surprising deepening. Here's just one example.

Green-Striped Melons

They lie
under stars in a field.
They lie under rain in a field.
Under sun.

Some people
are like this as well--
like a painting
hidden beneath another painting.

An unexpected weight
the sign of their ripeness.

American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright (c)2008 by Jane Hirshfield, whose most recent book of poems is "After,"Harper Collins, 2006. Poem reprinted from "Alaska Quarterly," Vol. 25, nos. 3 & 4, Fall & Winter, 2008, by permission of Jane Hirshfield and the publisher. Introduction copyright (c)2009 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction's author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006. We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.


What's New and Rad This Week

The Girl Who Played with Fireby Stieg Larsson [Knopf]
+ The Swedish author whose life was cut short in 2004 has been a big hit since his first publication in America. This should be as good as his first detective novel in this series, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

John Adams Doctor Atomic Symphony - recorded by Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra [Nonesuch]
+ This intense score from John Adams is based upon his "Doctor Atomic" opera and is as odd and intriguing as the title might suggest. Go here and preview the second part "Panic." Makes my eyes flutter a little.

Joshua Redman Quartet - Moodswing[Nonesuch]
+ Joshua Redman is easily one of the best saxophonists alive. Every album, even when not perfect, has a little something worth waiting for. This shouldn't be any different.

Thirst (Park Chan-wook) [Focus Features]
+ Awesome. This film is fantastic. Win of the Special Jury prize at this year's Cannes Film Festival and winner of my heart in June, Thirst still bears everything you want from Park: the meditations on violence, the absolutely gruesome scenes, the lush cinematography. But Thirst is more of a drama than anything he's done before. Well worth the wait for new Park to come to America.

Adam (Max Mayer) [Olympus Pictures]
+ This is little heart-warmer here. Adam has Asperger's Syndrome and falls in love with his new upstairs neighbor. It's beautiful and well-written, one of the best indie-films of the summer.

Severed Ways: The Norse Discovery of America(Tony Stone) [Heathen Films]
+ Ads for this won't stop reminding me of Pathfinder, which was an abysmal piece of dung, but Severed Ways intrigues me so much. It's an independently made film on a pretty large scale. Done by a studio this film would be under-financed and trying to be something it never could be. But this looks like it's far more complicated than that.


What We've Been Reading

Infinite Jest,by David Foster Wallace. I knew that there'd be absolutely no way I'd be able to read this during the academic year, so I saved it for this summer. After three months I'm nearly done. I was already an admirer of Wallace's, having read most of his other fiction and nonfiction by the time I came around to his titanic 1996 masterpiece. While I'm not quite to the end, it's capitalizing and following through on the expectation and the promise built up over 800 pages (and plus 100+ pages of endnotes).

I'm currently (finally) making my way through the last couple season's of HBO's unbelievably good series The Wire.None of the episodes ever disappoint, but I have come to watch closely, near the end of the opening credits, to see who the teleplay and story are by. If the names Richard Price or George Pelecanos come up I know I'm in for an extra special episode.

If you're a fan of The Wire then you will want to get yourself the novels of Price and Pelecanos. These novels are as gritty as any episode and with writers like these it is no wonder that an extremely literate bookseller friend of mine was quipped that watching The Wire is as substantial as reading a good novel. Price has been called one of the greatest dialogue writers of all time and the empathy that Pelecanos makes the reader feel for all of his characters is unmatched.

There is great crime fiction being written today, you just might need to look a little deeper than the face-outs at your local Barnes and Noble. If you're looking for a place to start I'd recommend Price's Lush Life and Drama City by Pelecanos.

(Go here to hear why selling shoes was the best job Pelecanos ever had.)

I've been reading Ed Brubaker's Incognito series of comics. This new series is pretty amazing. Issue #5 just came out, and the series just keeps on getting better. It follows a guy with super-powers who is completely amoral. But he's being forced to pretend he's a normal citizen in a sort of witness protection program. Naturally that doesn't work out very well. In an effort to have the chance to use his powers he does a little good, and doesn't like it a whole lot. It gets pretty complicated and the narrative is really well layered with a lot of complex characters, who are all essentially "bad guys" but have to deal with making real choices in this world they inhabit. It's a story with "good guys" and I like that a lot. It's really dark. Sean Phillips illustrations are pretty amazing as well.

Brubaker has done some really intelligent (and often graphic) comic series and this is one of his best. (There are some good interviews with Brubaker on Incognito here and here


InDigest Under Construction

As you can tell by the lack of content on the site the last month or so, we're taking a little break. This is not (only) because the summer has finally come to New York and we are out playing Frisbee in the parks. It's because InDigest is currently under the knife, getting a major face lift. We have brought on board a very talented designer and programmer and they are doing amazing things with the look and feel of the magazine, which we hope to unveil sometime in August.

Until then, take this time to catch up on some of the content you didn't get a chance to read and/or look at the first time around. How about these amazing poems by Ada Limón, "61 Trees" and "Rest Stop"? These poems will be included in a book coming out with cinematheque press later this summer. And Ada was recently in The New Yorker; her poem "Crush" found its way into the summer fiction issue.

Maybe fiction is more your thing. How about a story from the early days of InDigest by Sam Osterhout? Sam is currently the host of Radio Happy Hour, a live old-timey radio show that welcomes special guests, such as Norah Jones, Michael Showalter, and Andrew W.K., to perform as themselves in the script. The show is getting all kinds of attention. You can subscribe to the free podcast here.

If you've read everything there is to read on InDigest, then check out our blog, which is still being updated while the magazine is under construction. There are new features like "What's New This Week," which gives a concise list of the week's best releases in books, music, theater...really in everything, and "What We've Been Reading," which highlights some of the books the InDigest crew has been reading.

And of course there is always InDigest 1207 Reading Series, which keeps gaining momentum as the months go by. In August alone we'll welcome John Wray, Marlon James, and Ronaldo V. Wilson. And on the schedule for the fall already are the writers Neil Smith, J.C. Hallman, and James Hannaham, and the musician Franz Nicolay (of The Hold Steady). (Read a review of John Wray's Lowboy by James Wood in The New Yorker, here, and reviews of Marlon James' latest, The Book of the Night Women and J.C. Hallman's book of stories, Hospital for Bad Poets, here and here, respectively.)

As always, thanks for reading. Please be patient as we make InDigest better. We promise it will be worth the wait.

David and Dustin

American Life in Poetry: Column 226


Elizabeth Bishop, one of our greatest American poets, once wrote a long poem in which the sudden appearance of a moose on a highway creates a community among a group of strangers on a bus. Here Ronald Wallace, a Wisconsin poet, gives us a sighting with similar results.


Australia. Phillip Island. The Tasman Sea.
Dusk. The craggy coastline at low tide in fog.
Two thousand tourists milling in the stands
as one by one, and then in groups, the fairy penguins
mass up on the sand like so much sea wrack and
debris. And then, as on command, the improbable
parade begins: all day they've been out fishing
for their chicks, and now, somehow, they find them
squawking in their burrows in the dunes, one by one,
two by two, such comical solemnity, as wobbling by
they catch our eager eyes until we're squawking, too,
in English, French, and Japanese, Yiddish and Swahili,
like some happy wedding party brought to tears
by whatever in the ceremony repairs the rifts
between us. The rain stops. The fog lifts. Stars.
And we go home, less hungry, satisfied, to friends
and family, regurgitating all we've heard and seen.

American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. "Sustenance" from "For A Limited Time Only," by Ronald Wallace, (c) 2008. Used by permission of the University of Pittsburgh Press. The poem first appeared in "Poetry Northwest," Vol. 41, no. 4, 2001. Introduction copyright (c)2009 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction's author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006. We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.


What's New This Week?

Riceboy Sleeps - Riceboy Sleeps[XL / Parlophone]
+ The new project from Jonsi (of Sigur Ros) and his partner Alex Somers is an ambient wonderland. Yes, it is reminiscent of Sigur Ros. But it's also so much more.

Magnolia Electric Co. - Josephine[Secretly Canadian]
+ Magnolia Electric Co. steps back into the studio after a bit of a lull. Their new album deals with death close to the band, and the album is as dark as the subject matter, but incredibly beautiful.

The Fiery Furnaces - I'm Going Away[Thrill Jockey]
+ This might just be personal bias, but I can't remember the last time I didn't like a Fiery Furnaces album. I feel rightfully excited about this one (especially after previewing the entire album in live form here).

Orphan (Jaume Collet-Serra) [Warner]
+ Have you seen the posters for this film? Damn scary.

In the Loop (Armando Iannucci) [BBC Films]
+ This satire of modern government and warfare looks hilarious. This has been done frequently in the last year with films like War Inc., but this looks as though it might exceed the expectations.

Repulsion(Roman Polanski) [Criterion]
+ This film is long overdue for the Criterion treatment. One of Polanski's few films he made before coming to America, this is a slow-burner - you can feel the madness the main character is sinking into sinking into you too.

Watchmen (Director's Cut)(Zak Snyder) [Warner]
+ Only in hopes that the Director's Cut will be a little more faithful to the book and elicit a little more than an "eh" from viewers.

RIP Frank McCourt

The Pulitzer-Prize winning author Frank McCourt passed away on Sunday at the age of 78. A New York City school teacher, McCourt always taught that the most interesting subject matter was inside the author. Advice he put to work in the award-winning account of his impoverished childhood in Ireland. Angela's Ashes sold over 4 million copies, won the Pulitzer and the National Book Critics Circle Award. He employed the same autobiographical technique in his other books Tis (1999) and Teacher Man (2005). As well known as he was for Angela's Ashes, he seems to be know even better for being a great teacher who cared about students and the written word passionately.

Read more about McCourt at The New York Times and Time
Read an account of the writing process for Angela's Ashes at Slate


What We've Been Reading

I'm a little behind this week in getting our "What We've Been Reading" post up. So it goes. But it's up now. And if you work on my schedule, where Sunday is not the first, but the last day of the week, then this post is just making it in before the end of the week.

Marlon James' John Crow's Devilis a haunting account of Gibbeah, a remote Jamaican town in the 1950s. The story is an epic tale of two men of God, Pastor Bligh, known as the "Rum Preacher" for his penchant to drink, and "Apostle" York. When York comes to town and takes over Bligh's church he demands that the people become his followers, but in the guise of God. When Bligh sobers up and comes looking to take back what was his, the ensuing struggle for the church, indeed for the souls of Gibbeah's people, is grounded in the stuff that makes us human and the earth the earth, while otherworldly events come spewing out of all of it.

James is a gritty writer whose prose can have you squirming in your seat. In his ability to describe the most unseemly of events, we are brought into a world of struggle, both with the most basic of human elements and the most profound questions our nature leads us to ponder. While James' newest book The Book of the Night Women has been critically lauded (and rightly so) as of late, it would behoove you to go back to his first novel to see him cutting his teeth on the story of Gibbeah.

Marlon James will be reading, along with John Wray and Ronaldo V. Wilson in New York at (le) Poisson Rouge on Wednesday, August 5 as part of the InDigest 1207 Reading Series.

52 McGs.by Robert McG. Thomas Jr. A collection of 52 witty, warm and playful obituaries by the New York Times' resident commemorator of lives obscure, briefly famous and always eccentric from 1995 until his death in 2000. Each obit. is about two and a half pages and manages to note not only poignant details redolent of a lifetime's experience but often surprisingly thorough historical context as well. Thomas was a fan of people unconventional and abstruse; some of my favorites include the only minister willing to give Lee Harvey Oswald a Christian burial (by intoning this potent eulogy: "Mrs. Oswald tells me that her son, Lee Harvey, was a good boy and that she loved him. And today, Lord, we commit his spirit to Your divine care") and Rudolf Walter Wanderone, a pool hustler who claimed the Minnesota Fats character in Robert Rossen's The Hustler (1961) was inspired by his life and began calling himself Minnesota Fats after the movie came out. They are brief and always highly compelling, I think a perfect coffee table book as long as your coffee table isn't too squeamish about death.

I'm reading Deb Olin Unferth's collection of short stories, Minor Robberies.It's from 2007, and I really should have read it before I reviewed her excellent novel Vacation, but better late than never, right? I can't tell you how much I'm digging this collection. It's comprised of about 35 very short stories, and the things this woman can do in three pages are amazing. I love the way she experiments with form without drawing undue attention to her experimentation. I love that her characters' minds can never sit still. I love how her stories often hinge on the possibilities and delights of one word or phrase. Mostly I just love how much fun I'm having reading them.

I'd been piddling around reading random poems from this book here and there, and then, finally, just sat down and read all of Bill Holm's The Dead Get by With Everythingthis week. Holm is an amazing poet. He's really quick witted, and can get a joke into an enjambment in a very subtle way. His poetry is far more than his wit, but that's what really grabbed me. The poems have a great depth to them, yet they almost all bite. He also managed to capture such a uniquely Mid-Western voice, with it ever feeling affected. It's truly a tragedy that we lost this great writer back in February.


An Experiment in Web Serialization

forecast 42.jpg
Recently, a contributor to Guernica emailed me expressing some concern. I am "fed up with the old model of submitting my work to corporate publishing houses," Shya Scanlon wrote, "only to have them balk at the commercial prospects of literary, unorthodox fiction. So I'm trying another approach." Well, that approach begins tomorrow when Scanlon's "Forecast 42 Project" begins.

The approach to getting his novel Forecast into the world is an experiment in web serialization. Scanlon has brought on board 42 web sites--as he describes them, "a fine mixture of well-established literary journals, avid bloggers, and otherwise supportive literary-minded folk"--to publish Forecast in twice-weekly installments (Mondays and Thursdays). Beginning tomorrow with the journal Juked, Forecast will also be seen in 3:AM Magazine, Opium Magazine, and many others before it's final installment on Monkeybicycle.

Forecast is a literary novel that uses elements of science fiction and noir to tell the story of Helen--a suburban house wife of a lying weatherman--and Mawell--a Civilian Surveillant paid by the government to watch Helen--in a world where the weather has gone berserk and electricity is made out of negative human emotion.

Working in publishing, and specifically online publishing, the idea of how best to reach an audience who has so much to look at, listen to, and read is constantly at the forefront of one's mind. This is nothing new, I suppose, but given that online media is still relatively young there still exist huge opportunities for experimentation. It's exciting to see people playing with ways to use the tools at their disposal when publishing online.

So, I'll be watching Scanlon's experiment closely. And there's another aspect to Forecast 42 Project that I respect immensely. It is Scanlon's hope "that if you aren't familiar with [the participating online journals] already, you'll explore their rich offerings long after this project has concluded." As the founding editor of one online magazine and the blog editor of another, I'm a fan of any project that attempts to shine some light on 42 of these "literary-minded folk."

To follow Scanlon's Forecast 42 Project:
1) follow his Twitter posts, @shyascanlon
2) befriend him at Facebook.com/shya.scanlon
3) continue to check this page, which will be updated with links to each chapter as it goes live
4) each chapter will link back to the previous chapter, and forward to the next once it's live, so I encourage you to use the participating sites themselves to navigate the novel. Click here for the full list of sites.

Photo: Courtesy of Matty Harper.


American Life in Poetry: Column 225


There have been many poems written in which a photograph is described in detail, and this one by Margaret Kaufman, of the Bay Area in California, uses the snapshot to carry her further, into the details of memory.

Photo, Brownie Troop, St. Louis, 1949

I'm going to put Karen Prasse right here
in front of you on this page
so that you won't mistake her for something else,
an example of precocity, for instance,
a girl who knew that the sky (blue crayon)
was above the earth (green crayon)
and did not, as you had drawn it, come right down
to the green on which your three bears stood.
You can tell from her outfit that she is a Brownie.
You can tell from her socks that she knows how
to line things up, from her mouth that she may
grow up mean or simply competent. Do not mistake
her for an art critic: when she told you
the first day of first grade that your drawing
was "wrong," you stood your ground and told her
to look out the window. Miss Voss told your mom
you were going to be a good example of something,
although you cannot tell from the way your socks sag,
nor from your posture, far from Brownie-crisp.
This is not about you for a change, but about
mis-perception, of which Karen was an early example.
Who knows? She may have meant to be helpful,
though that is not always a virtue,
and gets in the way of some art.

American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright (c)2008 by Margaret Kaufman, whose newest book of poems, "Inheritance," is forthcoming in spring, 2010, from Sixteen Rivers Press. Poem reprinted from "The Chattahoochee Review," Vol. 28, no. 2,3, Spring/Summer 2008, by permission of Margaret Kaufman and the publisher. Introduction copyright (c)2009 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction's author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006. We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.


What's New This Week?

BOOKS:Near Death in the Desertby Cecil Kuhne [Random House]
+ Kuhne edits a collections of stories from early explorers to modern journalists who battle the most punishing landscapes on earth. Near Death is 13 true stories from the desert by people who survived insane situations.

Dead Weather - Horehound[WEA/Reprise]
+ The new supergroup from Jack White (The White Stripes) and Allison Mosshart (The Kills) shares a lot with the other supergroup White started, The Raconteurs, but Dead Weather carries more energy and urgency than the Raconteurs could ever muster.

David Bowie - VH1 Storytellers[Virgin/EMI]
+ Bowie talkin' about Bowie. There aren't really any ways this could go too terribly.

Hercules and Love Affair - Sidetracked[Renaissance]
+ Hercules and Love Affair in nearly name only here. This is the same album you fell in love with last year. This is a chance for Butler and co. to show what kind of dance party they can throw. But, if the previews are any indication, they can throw a damn fun one.

For All Mankind(Al Reinert) [Criterion]
+ Al Reinert, who co-wrote Apollo 13, created a documentary in 1989 about all the men who have placed their feet on the moon and all of those who died in the effort. It's a visual masterpiece (and it's a documentary, gasp). See the trailer here.

12(Nikita Mikhalkov)[Sony Pictures]
+ 12 is Russian director Nikita Mikhalkov's re-imagining of 12 Angry Men for modern day Russia. Affected by all of the racism, the wars, the changing government, the jury is forced to determine the fate of a young Chechen boy who is accused of killing his adoptive Russian father. (read a review)

The Edge of Love(John Mayberry) [Image Entertainment]
+ The Edge of Love follows Dylan Thomas and the two women fighting for his love in what would be the last moments of his life. No. Really. It's a film about a poet.

(500) Days of Summer (Marc Webb) [Fox Searchlight]
+ This film is sure to be one of the quirky "indie-ish" films of the summer. Early reviews are positive.

In the Loop (Armando Iannucci) [IFC]
+ Hilarious Brittish satire of government and the great machines of war. Another odd role for James Gandolfini as well who continues to prove that he's far more versatile than The Sopranos would have you believe.

Harry Potter & the Half Blood Prince (David Yates) [Warner]
+ Fuck it. I'm excited.


1207 is Going to Rock Faces in the Fall

If you haven't been over to the 1207 events page in a little while you probably didn't know that we've added a whole bunch of new readings to the series. Damn. The fall is looking good. In August we have John Wray (author of Lowboy),Marlon James (author of The Book of Night Women),and Ronaldo V. Wilson (author of Narrative of the Life of the Brown Boy and the White Man).In September we just added Neil Smith (author of Bang Crunch| read review in Bedside Stacks), and Franz Nicolay (of The Hold Steady & his solo project Major General).October we're bringing in JC Hallman (author of The Hospital for Bad Poets).And in November we have James Hannaham whose book God Says Nowas just released through McSweeneys. Damn.


What We've Been Reading

I'm just finishing up Lowboyby John Wray (who is reading at the August 1207). I happened to be discussing books of this type with Geoff Herbach recently and it occurred to me (I was just starting the book then) that Wray has an extraordinary ability to make incredibly flawed characters but show them authorial love. The book is partially from the POV of a mentally ill teenager, but Wray handles these characters so well that it everything feels very real and vital. It feels like a book about the times not a book about a mentally ill person because he does it right.

My pick this time around is an older book. The Meadowby the poet James Galvin was recommended to me by another great poet, Rick Barot. We were discussing nonfiction and I threw into the discussion Blues for Cannibals: The Notes from Underground by Charles Bowden. Rick responded with The Meadow, a meditative masterpiece on the history of a piece of land on the Wyoming-Colorado border and the people who occupy it.

I'm just about to finish the first volume of Art Spiegelman's Maus. The drawings are just okay, but the story and characters are compelling. It's been on my to-read list since seventh grade; I wish I'd gotten around to it sooner.

Airships by Barry Hannah.Short story collection about the South (mostly white men in the South) post Civil War and through the 1970's or so. Many of these are only three or four pages long. Denis Jonson was obviously influenced by the language when he wrote Jesus' Son. Language like I wove a piece of cloth from a piece of lightning, buried it, dug it up half-wizened but still flickering, starched it and made a lamp shade. Wouldn't it feel shitty if I turned on the lamp? And then kept telling you about how I lost my wife?

I've been very, very slowly making my way through Belovedby Toni Morrison while also reading a book on mother-daughter relationships.


Radio Happy Hour This Weekend, Podcast on iTunes now

Hey all - you can now download the new Radio Happy Hour podcast over at iTunes. This is a really funny old time radio show (which is done live) and has lots of guests such as Norah Jones. Awesome. The show features former InDigest contributor Sam Osterhout and Geoff Herbach, who read from Miracle Letters of T. Rimberg at the last installment of InDigest 1207.

If you happen to be in New York this week come down to LPR and see the second installment of Radio Happy Hour which will be featuring Michael Showalter. You can get your tickets here.


American Life in Poetry Column #224


When we're young, it seems there are endless possibilities for lives we might lead, and then as we grow older and the opportunities get fewer we begin to realize that the life we've been given is the only one we're likely to get. Here's Jean Nordhaus, of the Washington, D.C. area, exploring this process.

I Was Always Leaving

I was always leaving, I was
about to get up and go, I was
on my way, not sure where.
Somewhere else. Not here.
Nothing here was good enough.

It would be better there, where I
was going. Not sure how or why.
The dome I cowered under
would be raised, and I would be released
into my true life. I would meet there

the ones I was destined to meet.
They would make an opening for me
among the flutes and boulders,
and I would be taken up. That this
might be a form of death

did not occur to me. I only know
that something held me back,
a doubt, a debt, a face I could not
leave behind. When the door
fell open, I did not go through.

American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright (c)2008 by Jean Nordhaus, whose most recent book of poems is "Innocence," Ohio State University Press, 2006. Poem reprinted from "The Gettysburg Review," Vol. 21, no. 4, Winter, 2008, by permission of Jean Nordhaus and the publisher. Introduction copyright (c)2009 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction's author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006. We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.


What's New This Week?

The Rehearsal by Eleanor Catton [Granta]
+ This book has gotten only positive buzz so far. Joshua Ferris called it "a glimpse into the future of the novel itself."

Behind My Eyes: Poems by Li-Young Lee [W.W. Norton & Co.] (reprint)
+ Lee's fourth collection is a beautiful book that is surprising and sometimes dark and funny.

Bowerbirds - Upper Air [Dead Oceans]
+ Another full length from one of the best groups doing folk. Bowerbirds have managed to make folk beautiful and surprising again.

The Rural Alberta Advantage - Hometowns [Saddle Creek]
+ Saw these guys play a couple weeks ago in Minneapolis with InDigest founding editor Chris Koza, and they were fantastic. A revised Neutral Milk Hotel.

Oneida - Rated O [Jagjaguwar]
+ Oneida is releasing a three disc concept(ish) album, and if the preview tracks have been any indicator this may be the first three disc set you'll be able to sit through.

Tiny Vipers - Life On Earth [Subpop]
+ Tiny Vipers' gorgeous, haunting down-tempo tunes feel lost in time. They could have been written yesterday or a century ago.

Stanley Cup 2008-2009 Champions: Pittsburgh Penguins [Warner]
+ No, I'm not kidding. This was the best Stanley Cup Playoffs in so long that I had to put this up as one of the best things going on this week. This was an amazing year in hockey. Whatever, forget it then.

Humpday (Lynn Shelton) [Magnolia]
+ Two college buddies, an artist and a family man, decide to one up each other until they have decided to have sex together in a porno contest. Really.

Soul Power (Jeffrey Levy-Hinte) [Antidote]
+ A documentary about the legendary soul concert in Kinshasa, Zaire in 1974.