The Natural Assets of ‘Mozart in the Jungle’

Ever since she warbled “You Belong to Me” in 1979′s “The Jerk,” I’ve had a soft spot in my heart for Bernadette Peters. With her cupid bow mouth and Mae West-on-helium delivery, the star of screen and stage boosts everything in which she appears, even the cruddy 1989 Clint Eastwood vehicle “Pink Cadillac.” So it speaks volumes that the Tony-awarded singer plays one of the few non-musicians in “Mozart in the Jungle,” the Amazon original series about New York’s classical music scene. Just talking about it converts me into an overbearing mother: Dear, you’d look so nice if you stood up straight and brushed the hair out of your eyes. Here is a show yet to capitalize on its natural assets.

A chief asset is the story behind the show: Blair Tindall’s 2005 eponymous memoir. After cutting her losses and getting a journalism degree, the professional oboist wrote this clear-eyed, white-knuckled account of the economic and emotional realities facing classical instrumentalists today. Both bleaker and more libidinous than the show, the book spares nothing and no one – from badly structured arts education initiatives to preening benefactors to the substance abuse, narcissistic injuries, and erotic misadventures of Tindall and her peers. Through her eyes, this seemingly austere subculture is as degenerate as a heroin den; she herself made headlines after dumping two bottles of weed killer in “science guy” Bill Nye’s garden when he left her after seven weeks of marriage. (more…)

Moon Void of Crash

I was taking one of my long flaneuzy strolls around the neighborhood yesterday when a pickup truck stopped to let me cross the street. Just as I stepped off the curb, a big rig slammed the pickup about two feet from my face. And just as I jumped out of the way, a third truck slammed into the second, pushing it right where I’d stood the second before. We all froze for a second–did that really happen?!? Then the drivers sprang out of their vehicles and began bellowing in three different languages while other cars started honking like banchees. I dusted myself off, found my hat which had flown off in the kerfuffle, and ducked into a coffee shop.… Read More

A ‘Parks and Recreation’ Bibliography

Though nothing will ever fill the hole in our hearts left by “Parks and Recreation,” the fake books that appeared throughout the series may take the edge off the pain. Here I’ve assembled a “P&R” bibliography – complete with two in-office pamphlets and a handful of real books embraced by key characters.

A History of Pawnee, Indiana
In Season 3, the “Parks and Recreation” gang compiled a time capsule containing this handy pamphlet, complete with a list of the town’s former slogans. “Pawnee: The Paris of America.” “Pawnee: Welcome, German Soldiers.” “Pawnee: Engage With Zorp.” “Pawnee: Zorp Is Dead.” “Pawnee: Birthplace of Julia Roberts.” “Pawnee: Birthplace of the World-Famous Julia Roberts Lawsuit.” “Pawnee: First in Friendship, Fourth in Obesity.”

It’s Not the Size of the Boat: Embracing Life with a Micro Penis
When a Pawnee Public Library clerk announces Ron Swanson owes fines for this book, we know the “Parks and Recreation” director’s ex-wife, the nefarious Tammy 2, is once again on the prowl.… Read More