BOOKS >> Dom Testa’s Galahad series. Young adult fantasy is lousy with vampires, angels, fairies, werewolves, and all manner of wacky combinations, each of them aching and longing and feeling with such damn intensity. Enter into this storm of handwringing Testa’s straight-backed sci-fi series, in which a group of 251 smart, perceptive teens are launched into outer space and have to use their brains to deal with a bunch of Star Trekky problems. Each time one of these books lands on our review cart–and it happens, like, every three or four months–I squee.
MOVIES >> Look of the Week. While everyone was wetting their pants over the new “Ebert Presents At the Movies,” future superstar Sara Vizcarrondo began hosting this low-fi, San Jose-based movie review web show that is–I don’t know what else to call it–magic. Disclosure: I met Vizcarrondo after a screening of my movie Professor, and her enthusiasm eventually led to her writing the DVD essay. But I had no idea that she would become the only on-camera movie analyst I give a damn about. In a world where hipsters tirelessly hunt for authenticity, she’s that in spades: smart, giggly, pissy, warmhearted, weird.
MUSIC >> Light Bearer. One of my big finds of 2010 was Fall of Efrafa–a post-hardcore, post-metal, post-everything band whose gorgeously designed LPs were all based upon Richard Adams’ Watership Down. Naturally, by the time I found them, they had disbanded. Well, the key players are back! Their new ridiculous themed project is called Light Bearer, and is based on (brace yourself) the His Dark Materials trilogy, Paradise Lost, and the Book of Genesis. Loud and beautiful. Listen to the song “Prelapsus.”
PRODUCTS >> Breathe Right Advanced. Since they were launched in the 90s (and before NFL players made them fashionable), I’ve been lobbying for a Nobel Prize for the maker of Breathe Right Strips. Total, simple genius! Recently they launched an “Advanced” brand. I was dubious, but dammit, those crazy bastards did it again!