New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art is showcasing the surviving architectural elements of Louis Comfort Tiffany’s country estate as well as some of his eclectic personal collection, ranging from ornate Indian doors to Japanese vases and West Coast native baskets. The show stoppers are the influential designer’s quintessential stained glass pieces—a magnificently showy wisteria panel from his dining room as well as panels of clear glass inset with pink-tipped cream magnolia flowers with branches picked out in lead. All that’s missing is the little blue box. Patricia Treble
PUMP UP THE VOLUME
The only thing worse than having to waste time in airports or doctors’ waiting rooms is suffering through other people’s annoying taste in TV. Help is here: a remote control small enough to hide in your pocket that can turn off, mute, or adjust the volume on any blaring television. These “mini universal TV remotes,” some with names like TVGo or TV-Be-Gone, are key-chain-sized and available online. Now if only they’d invent one that turns off other people’s cellphones. Luiza Ch. Savage
Remarkably fit after 20 months of torture in a Chinese prison, Jack Bauer is covered with scars but still willing to serve his coun-
try as season six of 24 starts on Jan. 14 (Global). After last season’s prez gone bad, the show’s again employing every Arabicspeaking actor in Hollywood to fill terrorist roles. The pivotal character this time will be Hamri al-Assad (Syriana’s Alexander Siddig)—only Jack can figure out his true reason for coming to the U.S. Patricia Treble
JAZZ ^ 4
ROMANCING THE STRINGS
The Mebdy Lingers On is the grand ballad set with string orchestra that Toronto saxophonist Mike Murley has had in him for more than a decade. Easily one of Canada’s finest jazz musicians, Murley has been putting his gruff, expressive tenor saxophone sound more and more explicitly to the service of romantic melody in recent years. This unabashedly romantic session, recorded live in a CBC concert hall, is the logical result. Paul Wells
WHAT HAPPENED TO MCDREAMY?
Although Freedom Writers tells the familiar tale of the determined teacher (Oscar winner Hilary Swank) who gives her racially diverse, inner-city class a lesson in tolerance, Patrick Dempsey, as the flawed husband, sets it apart. His character opts for a guiltfree life rather than back his wife’s all-consuming fight for justice. He’s so unsupportive, he’ll leave diehard Grey’s Anatomy fans wondering what happened to their beloved McDreamy. Suzanne Taylor
IT’S WORTH A LOOK INTO THE FUTURE
Why did the studio bury Mike Judge’s futuristic comedy Idiocracy, holding it up for a year and then releasing it in only a few theatres? Maybe it was Judge’s bitter view of where our society is headed: Luke Wilson wakes up in a world where everyone’s a moron and the biggest TV show is Ow! My Balls! But what made studio executives nervous—and five deleted scenes—are very funny on DVD .Jaime J. Weinman
SOUNDTRACK OF THEIR LIVES
Rob Sheffield’s terrific little book, Love is a Mix Tape, is as much a love letter to his dead wife Renee as it is to the music of the ’80s and ’90s. In it, the Rolling Stone contributing editor tells the tragic story of his wife’s sudden death from a pulmonary embolism at 31 and their short life together through the music they loved and shared on carefully selected mix tapes. Each chapter begins with a track list from one of these tapes—for example, they had one for washing the dishes, filled with songs from Casey Kasem’s Top 40, and another for falling asleep—which provides a soundtrack to their lives that perfectly captures the time and mood.
While Sheffield writes openly about his pain (“I would have to relearn how to listen to music, and that some of the music we’d loved together I’d never be able to hear again”), Love is a Mix Tape is not nearly as sad or as beautifully written as Joan Didion’s 2005 masterpiece about the death of her husband, The Year of Magical Thinking. That said, few books are. What makes Sheffield’s effort interesting is that Didion writes about grief at 70, an age when someone is more likely prepared for death, whereas he writes from a voice less heard—a Gen-Xer who loves Nirvana. John Intini
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