The weather outside is frightful, a yuletide tune tells us.
That vaguely ominous holiday warning doesn’t apply just yet, but it will soon enough. This is northern Indiana, and it’s winter.
Now is the time to rediscover the wonder of the great indoors, in other words. But how best to spend that time?
“Doing something productive,” some will advise. “No,” responds at least one staff writer with The Goshen News.
For this News scribe, the post-autumn/pre-spring period lends itself to leisure in the form of movies, TV, books and music. A short list of recommendations — some familiar favorites, other more recent finds — he now shares with you, dear reader, in the giving spirit of the season.
“A Christmas Story” (1983) — This tale of a boy who really, really wants a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas is charming and laugh-out-loud funny even after repeated viewings.
Ralphie is thwarted by his elementary school teacher. Even Santa gives him the boot. Will Ralphie prevail? Will he, in fact, shoot his eye out?
Watch and see.
“A Charlie Brown Christmas” (1965) — Nearing the half-century mark, “A Charlie Brown Christmas” remains warm, witty and wise. Linus’ speech (“Lights, please ...”) is the highlight, and Vince Guaraldi’s soundtrack sets a lovely tone.
Aside from maybe the Grinch, Charlie Brown is the top dog in the holiday TV special pack. Take that any way you want to, Snoopy.
Not at all Christmas-y
“V/H/S” (2012) — Has your yuletide ebbed? Feel Halloween was over too soon? Then check out “V/H/S,” a horrorfest that finds fresh scares in the “found footage” formula that was dangerously close to being played out.
This is an anthology that could stand to lose one of the weaker stories. When “V/H/S” succeeds, though, it does in spades. In one of the best tales, buffoonish guys out on the town meet a young woman who’s chock full of surprises. In another, a couple on a road trip is greeted by a mysterious visitor.
Caution: “V/H/S” is not for the squeamish. At the family get-together, go with “A Christmas Story” instead. Or at least warn grandma.
How about a book?
“Gone Girl” (2012) — Man and woman meet, fall in love, marry. They get to know each other better — for worse. Then “Girl” goes missing.
Author Gillian Flynn builds on the promise of “Sharp Objects” and “Dark Places” and trumps expectations. She’s got a gift for observing human folly and frailty. Suspense? “Gone Girl” is wound tight, and Flynn’s expanding fanbase can’t wait to see what she’ll do next.
“You & Me” (2012) — Two guys talk, continue talking and talk some more. There are indications that they drink, continue drinking, etc.
That’s it, pretty much, but worth your time. Author Padgett Powell has crafted a joyride occasionally philosophical, often daffy and always fun. Powell’s last book, “The Interrogative Mood: A Novel?”, was made up of a series of questions. Oddly enough, it worked. So does “You & Me.”
Turn it up
Rush, “Clockwork Angels” (2012) — Buckle up. These Canadian prog-rock veterans have chops and musical drive to burn on “Clockwork Angels.” Need proof? Give a listen to “Headlong Flight,” clocking in at a prog-tastic 7:20. Then listen to the rest of the album.
Gary Clark Jr., “The Bright Lights EP” (2011) — Soulful, bluesy and rocking, there is not one thing wrong with this piece of work.
Clark is a new-generation guitar hero, and no doubt he can pull off the blinding runs. Clark’s tone and feel are what shine on “Bright Lights,” though. Check out the stomp and grit of the album-opening title track and the extended acoustic workout on closer “When My Train Pulls In.”
Clark released a new full-length album this year. It’s probably not half-bad, either.
A quick bite
Jack White, “Sixteen Saltines” (2012) — Remember The Riff? The kind of big, lunkheaded/brilliant sonic force that cannot be played loud enough and demands reckless driving?
“Sixteen Saltines” is that. It’s a choice cut off Jack White’s solo outing “Blunderbuss” that will almost make you not miss The White Stripes.
Scott Weisser is the entertainment editor at The Goshen News. He wonders if he’s being Scrooge-like for not including “Elf” on the list.
The weather outside is frightful, a yuletide tune tells us.
'Piazza' program starts Saturday at Ruthmere
The “Coffee on the Piazza” program will return to Ruthmere Museum this spring and summer.
Charlie Daniels Band coming to Shipshewana
He’s got the hat, the fiddle and the hits. And he’s feeling revitalized.
In a recent telephone interview with The Goshen News, 74-year-old Charlie Daniels said he is feeling like a new man after his pacemaker procedure earlier this year. He says everything is in sync and he is having a great time on the road.
“I’m enjoying this tour and we are looking forward to making music in Indiana,” the country-rock icon said.
Fair concert tickets on sale Saturday
Tickets for reserved track seats for the 2013 concert series at the Elkhart County 4-H Fair go on sale Saturday at 9 a.m.
'God of Carnage' shows this weekend in Goshen
The path leads from civil to war.
“God of Carnage,” the current production at Goshen’s New World Arts theater, chronicles a progression and a deterioration.
Wawasee High School choir to revisit ’50s-’80s
The Wawasee High School Choral Department will present an “American Bandstand” Pops Show Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. in the high school auditorium.
LIBRARY NEWS: Local writers' work available in Bristol
The Soul, Ink writing group has put together stories, essays and poems that are available at the Bristol library. A copy of the local authors’ work is available for $5.
Kris Kristofferson to perform at Lerner Aug. 10
A onetime Highwayman is headed to downtown Elkhart.
Country musician Kris Kristofferson is scheduled to perform at The Lerner Theater, 410 S. Main St., Aug. 10. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., and the show starts at 7:30.
Goshen Community Chorale celebrates 30th anniversary
They were warming up with a scale exercise. In a sense, they were also offering a mission statement.
Cemetery tour set for Saturday
The Elkhart County Historical Museum and the Elkhart Civic Theatre will return to Grace Lawn Cemetery in Elkhart for the annual cemetery tour.
Choir concert Sunday at Goshen College
Two Community School of the Arts children’s choirs will be joined by graduating CSA student performers as part of the annual spring Community School of the Arts Showcase Concert on Sunday at 4 p.m. in the Goshen College Music Center’s Sauder Concert Hall.
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