Friday, October 5, 2012

Pop Culture Round-Up

Oh, autumn. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways...

Autumn isn't very autumnal here in Houston. We don't get warm fuzzy sweaters or turning leaves or apple cider (although we are supposed to have highs in the 70's this weekend - yippee!). We do get to share in all the great fall entertainment, however, which is good enough for me.

Here's what I've been loving lately:
He's a genius, so he
gets to throw his books on the floor.
Photo: CBS

Elementary (CBS), with Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu
It's Sherlock Holmes! In New York! And Watson is a woman! And she's Holmes's sober companion! Yep, that's the premise of Elementary, which is enough to make a person groan, especially those people who love the BBC's update of Sherlock. But c'mon, there's enough Sherlock Holmes to go around - a person can love both. As Sherlock, Jonny Lee Miller (one big reason I watched Mansfield Park a thousand times) brings a manic energy - you can practically see the deductive wheels turning in his brain. And Lucy Liu gives a great, glam-free performance as Joan Watson. There's been a lot of talk about how the actors' unexpected chemistry may create some Holmes-Watson 'shippers, but right now, there's enough going on in watching the little mysteries of their personalities unfold. So far, the actual mysteries have been a bit underwhelming, but since CBS knows its way around a procedural, I'm not worried.

Unfortunately, that's the only new show I'm really loving right now. Although I do have some hopes for the CW's Arrow.

Fiona Apple, Bayou Music Center, Houston TX
The day before Fiona Apple was scheduled for a show in Houston, she was arrested for hash possession in West Texas.  I was terrified the show would be canceled, because Fiona was top of my "Gotta See Live" list, and had been for years. Luckily, she was free on bond and made it to Houston in time for the show. It was definitely worth the wait. She was predictably circumspect when it came to saying anything too revealing about the arrest. It didn't really matter. I was there for music and Fiona delivered with a long, raging set that showed off her great band, including her opener Blake Mills on guitar. The only downside was the chatty crowd. Despite them, I was in a concert-goer's heaven. Sometimes, the things you wait for turn out to be even better than expected.

Shadow and Bone, by Leigh Bardugo
The makers of the Harry Potter movies have already optioned Shadow and Bone for a movie, and it definitely has some Potteresque qualities (magic school, anyone?). And it has more than a passing resemblance to many of the YA books out recently: young girl realizes she's "special" and is torn between a mysterious dark lover boy and the boy she's loved since childhood. However, one has to tip the fur hat to Bardugo, who takes familiar elements and mixes them up with an unfamiliar setting: a magical version of Czarist Russia. Bardugo's descriptions of life in the magical country of Ravka give a new twist to YA tropes. Check out Bardugo's Pinterest page for a look at her inspirations.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower (in theaters)
Remember when the kind of music you liked meant everything? When finding other kids who liked The Smiths was like figuring out the password to a secret society that you created on the spot? The Perks of Being a Wallflower is about that time in your life. It's also one of the best movies I've seen about living with mental illness, about having teenage crushes, about the friends you'll remember forever. And it features David Bowie's "Heroes." So basically, it rocks.

"The Garden Rules", by Snow Patrol, live at RAK Studios
I want to live in this song.

1 comment:

Arun said...

Nice review of Elementary. I too loved Lucy Liu's performance as Watson.