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Archive for October, 2009

Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove

Because people know that I loooove to read, I am often the recipient of books that “you absolutely have to read.” Today’s post is about the latest book I’ve been given, and it does, in fact, fall into that category.

When I was first loaned the book South of Broad by Pat Conroy, I didn’t know what to expect. I had never read anything by the author, so it was a real shot in the dark for me. At the beginning of the book, I was drawn in by its charm, very likeable main character named Leo King, and the easiness that comes with Conroy’s writing style.

Pat Conroy's latest book is a must-read!

Pat Conroy's latest book is a must-read!

Here’s a brief synopsis: We meet Leo King and he introduces us to his lovely town of Charleston. He is a paper delivery boy whose life is changed during one summer when he meets the people he will remain friends with for the rest of his life. All of his friends are plagued by certain obstacles in their own lives, such as racial identity, family issues, and discovering who they are.

The book travels in between Leo’s past as a child with his friends and the present, during which he is a leading columnist for the Charleston newspaper he once delivered on the foot of many people’s doorsteps. One of his friends, Trevor, has gone missing in the present and they all travel out to San Fransisco to find him and save him — the awful truth is that he is dying of AIDS.

In their traveling, the friends discover new emotions and relationships with each other. However, the whole time they are there, they are being stalked by Trevor and his sister Sheba’s father, who intends to kill them. The story weaves in and out between San Fransisco, Charleston, past and present from there.

This book was truly great; a rare gem amongst fiction books. It makes you become incredibly engrossed in it’s story. So engrossed, probably, that you will put other things off just to lock yourself in a nice comfy reading place to finish it. But hey, that doesn’t sound like such a bad idea to me!

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Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove

In conjunction with the upcoming Halloween season, I give you MSN’s 10 Scariest Movies of All Time:

10. Eraserhead

9. The Exorcist

8. Halloween

7. Don’t Look Now

6. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

5. Nightmare on Elm Street

4. Suspiria

3. Night of the Living Dead

2. Repulsion

1. Psycho

So how many of these spine-chilling movies have you seen? I need to catch up — I’ve only got 3!

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Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove

I won’t lie to you — I’m so excited to see Where the Wild Things Are. The movie was recently released in conjunction with an anniversary edition of the book it is based upon. The first edition of the book was released in 1963.

The wild things look pretty real! Photo from nytimes.com.

The wild things look pretty real! Photo from nytimes.com.

So far, the reviews of the movie have been very generous. People seem to like the children’s flick quite a bit. One of the main reasons for this is that the director, Spike Jonze, has brought a twist to the film. The original book was only 40 pages long (some without words) so it seems like it might be a challenge expanding the story. However, Jonze’s take on the book has brought great pleasure from audiences.

A main point that reviewers have made is that the movie is intended for an older age group than the book was. While the book relied on few words and simple storyline, the new movie version could prove to be scary for young kids. Those wild things look pretty real, thanks to some wonderful movie technology.

To read an excellent synopsis and review of the movie, visit nytimes.com.

Oh, and if you haven’t seen a trailer for the movie yet (which I find hard to believe), watch one at the Where the Wild Things Are website.

I’m looking forward to seeing this movie because of the nostalgia it brings. Experiencing things again from your childhood can prove to be quite rewarding — it will transport even the oldest adult into the fun loving child they once were. Hopefully, when all is said and watched, the new movie will provide just that kind of experience.

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Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove

A smallish chalk, ink, and pen drawing has been quite the topic of conversation in the art world lately. Back in January, the painting was sold at an art auction at Christie’s in New York. It was titled “a Young Girl in Profile in Renaissance Dress.” It’s value was labeled at anywhere between $12,000 and $16,000.
The newly discovered painting. Photo from dwworld.com.

The newly discovered painting. Photo from dwworld.com.

But then the dealer who purchased the painting, Kate Ganz, suggested that perhaps it was based off of a Leonardo Da Vinci type of design. Since then, the painting’s value has been upped to $160 million.

According to dw world.com, art sleuths then had to determine it’s authenticity. “The painting was photographed using a multi-spectral camera developed by the Lumiere Technology company in Paris.

Then Peter Paul Biro, a Montreal-based forensic art expert, examined the images of the drawing and identified a fingerprint near the top left of the art work which matched that of the index or middle-finger of Leonardo da Vinci. The Lumiere process enables the pigments mixtures and pigments of each pixel to be identified without having to damage the drawing by taking a physical sample.

Professor Kemp originally code-named the painting La Bella Milanese, and then later re-named it to La Bella Principessa after he identified her, by what he called a process of elimination, as Bianca Sforza, the daughter of Ludovico Sforza, Duke of Milan and his mistress Bernardina de Corradis.

The vellum of the painting was also subjected to a Carbon-14 analysis at the Institute for Particle Physics in Zurich which gave the painting a date in the range of 1452 to 1508.”

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Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove

It’ssssss recipe day! Today I’m giving you the recipe for the quickest mediterranean salad I ever made! It came out pretty good and I think after you read this recipe and look at the tantalizing picture, you’ll want to make it, too.

This recipe came courtesy of the back of the lid to my feta cheese…

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup couscous
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 medium cucumber, cut in pieces
  • 1/2 sliced green onions
  • 1 3.5 package basil & tomato feta cheese (or any other flavor, really)
This is a very quick salad to make in a pinch! Photo by Kate Langenburg.

This is a very quick salad to make in a pinch! Photo by Kate Langenburg.

Step 1: Boil 1 1/2 cup water in medium saucepan. Stir in the couscous; cover. Remove from heat; let stand 5 minutes. Fluff with fork; cool, uncovered for about 10 minutes.

Step 2: Mix couscous, lemon juice and olive oil. (I did not add olive oil to mine because I had already added it according to the directions on the back of my couscous box.) Add cucumber and green onions; cover.

Step 3: Refrigerate 4 hours before serving or overnight.

Step 4: Stir in the cheese just before serving. Serve on a lettuce lined plate or as a filling for pita bread.

Yum, that last suggestion sounds really good. As of right now, I’m just eating mine in a bowl, but fancy serving techniques are quite welcomed. Might I also add that if you want to get a flavored couscous, that will bring out more flavor, too. I used roasted garlic and olive oil flavored couscous, so the olive oil was brought out quite a bit.

The thing I liked most about making this salad was that it took me no more than 15 minutes to make. The couscous cooks in 5 minutes, then just add in the time it takes to slice up your veggies and mix it all together. Enjoy!

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Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove

 

For today, I’ll jump on the cool train and post about Michael Jackson. And I begin with this: Why is it that artists who die always release new music again and again? How can they possibly have that much saved up, unreleased stuff?
Could this creeper still be creeping? Photo from nytimes.com.

Could this creeper still be creeping? Photo from nytimes.com.

Look at Tupac. That guy has been dead for years and he keeps coming out with new albums. Well now, Michael Jackson has hopped on board, too. His newly released song, called “This Is It” debuted last night at midnight for all MJ fans to hear. Now, the word is that there may be tons more of his music to follow.

Apparently, the song he left behind only contained his vocals and piano parts, so the rest of the song has been built up electronically. According to the New York Times, the song will run during the closing credits of MJ’s new movie, also called This Is It. What a coincidence!

A chairman of Columbia records, Rob Stringer, said that the label has over 100 songs that are close to being finished. Where is all this stuff coming from?

I heard a rumor when Michael Jackson died — that he faked his own death and is now living with Elvis in a very remote location in England. He is planning the comeback of the century and will eventually announce a tour after he announces he never died in the first place.  Hmmm….

Just throwing that out there. You decide.

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Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove

I absolutely love this time of year. It’s a time for harvest festivals, pumpkin picking, apple cider, and of course, things that go bump in the night. For those of you who don’t know (or can’t guess), Halloween is my favorite holiday.

The one thing I miss about not having cable television are all the Halloween shows and movies that are played each season. Lucky for people like me, there are still plenty of horror films to go see in theaters this time of the year.

Woody and Jesse ward off zombies in Zombieland. Photo from guardian.co.uk.

Woody and Jesse ward off zombies in Zombieland. Photo from guardian.co.uk.

That being said, today’s blog is about Zombieland. It’s a film that I’m not quite too sure about, and it stars Woody Harrelson as the main zombie killer, I guess you would call him, named Tallahassee and Jesse Eisenberg as his partner. It also stars some up and coming younger actors, like Superbad’s Emma Stone and Little Miss Sunshine’s Abigail Breslin.

The film has quite a silly plot, which all stems around Jesse Eisenberg’s character trying to live in a world condemned by zombies. Tallahassee, Woody Harrelson’s character, meets up with him one day. And what is his main goal? Not to kill zombies, but to make sure he gets the last Twinkie on Earth. Hilarity ensues when he meets up with the two young girls who have also survived the zombies as they try to stay alive together, all the while killing zombies and searching for that ever-important Twinkie.

Sounds strange, huh? Check out the Zombieland trailer.

Even though this one sounds utterly ridiculous, I think I’m ready for a movie like this. The last zombie comedy movie I saw was Fido and I absolutely loved it. Sometimes a good mind-numbing zombie movie is what you need…

So, zombie fans gather round, paint yourselves with fake blood and grey makeup, and zombie walk into that cold, dark night!

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