A Slice of Fried Gold

Slices of Fried Gold (11/20/08)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

More recommendations for one and all, with a diverse list this week featuring a graphic novel, a performance on a TV show, a online compilation, and a CD. All are definitely worth checking out and come highly recommended from me.

TV: Jimmy Smits in Dexter

Dexter continues to be one of the best shows on television in its third season, with this season possibly being the best yet. This show is incredible because it started out great and has consistently surpassed its own quality with each season.

One of the big reasons this season has been the subtraction of the distracting character Doakes with Jimmy Smits as the incredibly engaging Miguel Prado. His progression from possible enemy to Dexter's first real friend has been the most interesting plot point of the season, as it adds a dynamic to the story that has never really been present.

Smits is an actor that has always been praised but I've never seen act, but after seeing this season, I can safely say that every bit of praise he has been given has been earned. He's a top notch actor, and his role as Dexter's first real confederate singlehandedly has escalated this to the peak of Dexter seasons. That says a lot.

Comics: Maus by Art Spiegelman

Even though I'm a huge fan of comics, I'd never checked out Spiegelman's Maus, the Pulitzer Prize winning and most critically acclaimed comic ever about Spiegelman and his relationship with his father who survived Auschwitz. For some reason every time I looked at it, I was turned off by the simple and grimy art.

However, as years past my tastes changed, and it was time to read Maus, and I'm very glad I have, as it is about as good a story as the comic medium has ever produced and the perfect example to show why comics are a very real and very powerful medium. I'd put this on par with Elie Wiesel's Night as the best piece I've ever read about the Holocaust, and that is saying something (I love that book).

While the art is still not spectacular, it gets the job done and acts as commentary in its own right (especially with the anthropomorphic character designs - all characters' nationalities are displayed by the animal that represents them the best - example: the French are frogs). It's the story and writing that really make it what it is, as it is truly haunting. Of course what else would you expect from something about the Holocaust? A must read for anyone and everyone.

Music: the Slackers - Self Medication

Of course I discover the perfect summer album right as winter is really taking over in Alaska. This is the seventh album by the Slackers, but the first I'd ever heard. It's an excellent mix of ska and reggae into a very mellow and fun album that never stays too serious for too long. Just what you would want from an album of this sort.

Sure, this doesn't really reinvent the wheel, but if you're a fan of ska/reggae, this is a great album to check out as this band clearly has a solid grip on their home genres.

Music: Guilt by Association 2

This is a mixtape by Engine Room Recordings, and it's incredibly bizarre and full of covers of songs you would never imagine the artists performing. But strangely, they work out really well. On this mix, you have Matt Pond PA covering My Chemical Romance's "I'm Not Okay," you have Max Vernon covering Katy Perry's "I Kissed a Girl," and most excellently, you have the incredibly underrated Robbers on High Street covering New Edition's "Cool It Now."

These covers are quite often shockingly different (especially the Matt Pond PA cover), but are at the very least interesting. The talent on this mix is worth at least one listen through, and if you like it, I strongly encourage picking it up on iTunes. Most of the covers are pretty awesome though. Check out Kaki King's cover of JT ("I Think She Knows") if you don't believe me.


Bobbie said...

Can I borrow Dexter? Our conversation the other day at coffee really got me interested. Like I have time for another TV show!

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