More Cowbell

Last Thursday we went to see Rilo Kiley at the 9:30 Club and heck if Jenny Lewis didn’t break out the cowbell. As my friend Sarah emailed me after she saw the same show in Asheville, “You mentioned cowbell. I had no idea she was going to try to bring sexy back using the cowbell.” But try she did and for all I know, maybe she succeeded. Jake seemed to think she did. It was a good show, even though Winona Ryder was apparently in attendance and we did not see her. Brandi Carlile was also good the following night, although the crowd was a little too chatty at the beginning. She performed two of the covers that so captivated me when I saw her in April, “Folsom Prison Blues” and “Hallelujah,” but also sang “Madman Across the Water” and a better-than-the-original version of “Raining in Baltimore.” (August and Everything After, by the way, is 14 years old, and if that doesn’t make you feel old, maybe the fact that Automatic for the People is celebrating its 15th birthday will do the trick.)

What else? We saw Into the Wild this weekend, because I love the book. I liked the movie pretty well, too. Some of Sean Penn’s techniques bothered me (namely the excessive voiceovers, distracting writing on screen in weird fonts, superfluous “chapter” headings, and unnecessary family movie flashbacks), but the acting and the story were so strong that they saved the film. I’m developing quite the crush on Emile Hirsch, and Hal Holbrook gave a magnificent performance as an elderly man befriended by Chris McCandless. (Holbrook and Ben Foster in “3:10 to Yuma” are my two Best Supporting Actor nominees so far this year.)

Oh, and not related to pop culture, but the American Planning Association just named our neighborhood one of the ten best in the country for this year. They are right — our little corner of Capitol Hill is a great place to live. I miss South Carolina, but there is plenty to miss about our current location if we ever move away from here, too.

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