Thursday, December 11, 2014

I love love love this movie, and I can't wait to see it again!

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Claire’s Favorite Books of 2014
These are my ten favorite books I read that were published in 2014. There’s a long list of books from this year that I own but have not gotten around to reading, and it’s likely they will influence this list, but I probably won’t get to many of them before the year ends. They are listed at the end. 

1. Station Eleven - Emily St. John Mandel
This is a gorgeous dystopian novel that takes place after the Georgian flu has killed 99% of humanity. The story alternates between a few different characters and time periods, but it mostly follows the Traveling Symphony, a group that travels around performing Shakespearean plays and music. This was my favorite book of the year; it’s hopeful and lovely and I didn’t want it to end but could not put it down. 

2. Fourth of July Creek - Smith Henderson 
This novel focuses on Pete Snow, a social worker in Montana in the early 1980’s. The story focuses on one particular case he’s working (a young boy who lives in the wilderness with his radical father). The prose is gorgeous. This book broke my heart; I absolutely loved it. It comes in at a close second on my list. 

 3. Big Little Lies - Liane Moriarty
I love Liane Moriarty. I loved The Husband’s Secret soooo much, and I didn’t think it was possible, but this novel might be even better. It’s just so entertaining. It’s a mystery, and it’s also hilarious. The characters feel so compellingly real. You will not be able to put it down. 

4. The Paying Guests - Sarah Waters
You might not expect a historical fiction novel that takes place after World War I to be such a page turner, but oh, how this one is! It may start off slow, but it escalates into a wonderful thriller. 

5. We Were Liars - E. Lockhart
This book is pretty divisive, but I love it. I  love the use of fairy tales. It’s tragic and intriguing and suspenseful and heartbreaking. It’s a YA novel, but I think it’s a wonderful book for all ages. I became a fan of E. Lockhart with The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, and she didn’t disappoint with this novel. (I also met her and she’s absolutely lovely.)

Alan Bradley’s Flavia de Luce novel’s are my favorite series. Flavia is one of my absolute favorite literary characters; she’s a young, brilliant chemist/detective who is way too smart for her own good. In this particular novel, she investigates the death of a mysterious stranger. More information about Flavia’s mother is revealed, and Flavia is just as marvelous as usual. The next book in the series comes out very, very, soon, and I have been waiting for it!

7. Sleep Donation - Karen Russell
Karen Russell’s Swamplandia! completely bowled me over a few years ago, so I was anxious to read Russell’s new novella, Sleep Donation. It’s not as good as Swamplandia!, but it’s haunting. It takes place in the near future, when America is facing a plague of insomnia. Trish works for a corporation that collects sleep donations from healthy sleepers to give to insomniacs. It’s an interesting premise with a deep, philosophical question underlying the story. 

8. I’ll Give You the Sun - Jandy Nelson
This is another YA novel that I think everyone should read. Jude and Noah, twins, alternately tell the story. Noah narrates when they are thirteen and Jude when they are sixteen. I love the way the story is told; alternating between the two time periods/narrators reveals bits of information that you have to put together, eventually leading to a clear picture of what has happened to the twins. The writing is lovely, and it will fill your heart with feels. 

9. The Silkworm (Cormoran Strike #2) - Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling)
I’m enjoying J.K. Rowling’s mystery series very much. Cormoran and Robin make an entertaining pair of investigators, and in this book, the mystery is compelling and unpredictable. I can’t wait for the next one.

10. The Vacationers - Emma Straub
This was an entertaining summer read about a family on vacation in Mallorca. 

2014 Books That Are Currently in my Library Waiting to Be Read
Ugly Girls - Lindsay Hunter
We Are Not Ourselves - Matthew Thomas
Nobody Is Ever Missing - Catherine Lacey
Young God - Katherine Faw Morris
How to Build a Girl - Caitlin Moran
Missing Reels - Farran Smith Nehme

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Are you watching Peter Pan Live? It's a fun show. Allison Williams is a great Peter Pan (she can sing and act!); I'm a fan of hers from Girls, and I was excited to see her in this role. Christopher Walken is absolutely hilarious as Captain Hook, just because he's Christopher Walken and he basically speaks all the songs and it's bizarre and ridiculous. Who knew he was such a good tap dancer?! Kelli O'Hara is wonderful. Anyway, I'm enjoying the show, despite a few complaints (it's not as good as it could be; I'm not crazy about the sets and the costumes and some wacky shots/camera angles/sloppy filming). I'll probably add videos later once they start popping up online, but for now I'll just post this video from July 30th's Nightly News because I thought it was sweet to see Brian Williams as a proud papa. I also think it's sweet that he missed tonight's Nightly News to watch the broadcast live.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Last night I was fortunate enough to attend the U2 Minus One concert in Times Square. It was a surprise show as part of World AIDS Day. Bono was the minus one due to his recent Central Park biking accident, but Chris Martin of Coldplay and Bruce Springsteen were kind enough to fill in for Bono and perform with U2. Carrie Underwood and Kanye West also performed. Despite the rain, the concert was a blast. Chris Martin sang "Beautiful Day" and "With or Without You" with U2 to open the show, and Bruce Springsteen sang with them on "Where the Streets Have no Name" and "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" to close the show. All of U2's songs were magical. I loved hearing Bruce Springsteen and Chris Martin sing with the band. I don't care whether or not you're a fan of U2, I don't see how anyone could not be moved by those anthems that they performed last night.
There's a nice review of the concert here.
And the whole show is online. You should at least watch the first two songs (U2 with Chris Martin) and the last two (U2 with Springsteen, starting around the 37-minute mark in the video). Seriously, magical. I'm so glad I was able to be there. I posted four videos on my instagram so you can see a glimpse of my view (and a few of my photos are below).

Monday, December 01, 2014

Sunday, November 23, 2014

I saw an advance screening of Into the Woods, and I signed a nondisclosure agreement so I can't give any specific details about the film, but I will say that I loved it. If you're a fan of the musical, I recommend putting aside your expectations. Some changes have been made, but I don't think any of the changes majorly detract from the story. It's a beautiful movie. Anna Kendrick and Emily Blunt's performances were my favorite, and I was also really impressed with Chris Pine and Billy Magnussen (oh my goodness, "Agony" killed!). I didn't like the performances of Lilla Crawford or Johnny Depp. I'll probably write more after the movie is released. For now, watch this snippet of "Stay With Me." I wasn't crazy about the casting of Meryl Streep as the Witch, but she won me over, mostly with this song.

Friday, November 07, 2014

"Every time the sun comes up I'm in trouble." ~sharon van etten

I got into Sharon Van Etten through The National (which is also how I got into St. Vincent, whom I've also written about on here; The National works with some awesome women). I've seen her perform with them and I've seen her open for them. Aaron Dessner (from The National) produced her brilliant album Tramp. I like that she's from my home state of New Jersey. She's incredibly talented, and I was really excited to hear this song of hers on last night's episode of Elementary. I've noticed that all my favorite TV shows feature really, really good music.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

I've been busy with a lot of fun things that I haven't written about, and now I can't even remember everything I meant to post about but never got around to, so for now I'll leave you with a post about my most recent fun event.

This weekend was the Outlaw Roadshow, an annual event in NYC hosted by Ryan Spaulding and Adam Duritz. Adam talked about Ryan and the Outlaw Roadshow during Counting Crows' show at Irving Plaza this summer in the intro to "Holiday in Spain":

It really is an awesome event, full of free music by great bands. One of the things I love about it is that all the musicians are just hanging around during the other sets, enjoying seeing their buddies play. It's a special weekend. I mean, how many times do you find yourself sitting on the floor of a tiny, tiny room with Adam Duritz watching a talented musician like Nate Leavitt play? Nate Leavitt is awesome, by the way. I loved his solo set, and I also loved OldJack (the band he's part of). And I actually got to meet him and tell him how much I enjoy his music; he was really cool.

The highlight of the weekend was Counting Crows' set. It was actually just three members of Counting Crows (Adam, Dan, and Immy), and they played under the name Sonic Cow Grunt. They were wonderful. I filmed their set, and it's worth watching all the way through. The last song is really, really special. They played a cover of a K Phillips song called "I Only Want What I Can't Have." K Phillips was standing next to me when they played his song, and his reaction was beautiful. He and some of the other Outlaws joined the band during that song and it really was magical. So you should watch.

The whole set was fun and had a loose, playful vibe; the band seemed genuinely happy to be there. There is some absolutely killer banter. The band talks about the jalapeno KIND bars they were giving out (Adam describes them as "ass sandwich"), funny Robert Plant stories, the recent list that was released about the music smart people listen to (Counting Crows is on top, but Adam tells us not to pat ourselves on the back), their lack of rehearsal, knocking over beers, how "Richard Manuel Is Dead" really begins (they had to start it over three times), cliques (and the pre-CC band "The Clique"), funny fan of my favorite quotes from Adam to Dan and Immy was, "You figured out how to split the seven background vocals between the two of you?" (They definitely did, by the way.)

Anyway, trust me that this is a video worth watching:

Another exciting thing about the Outlaw Roadshow was seeing all my Counting Crows friends.

Here are some of my highlights from this year's Outlaw Roadshow:

Air Traffic Controller:
 Ryan Spaulding:
 Nate Leavitt (and Adam being a fan):

 Mean Creek:

Finally, here's one of the reasons I tape. I like sharing recordings and making people happy. CC fans are always super nice and I've already gotten a bunch of nice messages/thank yous (on a video that I posted less than a day ago), but this is my favorite:

Friday, September 26, 2014

I've been posting a lot of videos here lately, so why stop now?

Thursday, September 25, 2014

I'm Kate Mara's height. Does that mean I'm eligible to join these two ladies as a tiny detective? Because I love them both and this is completely awesome.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

I could watch this over and over and over.

What else is going on?

1. I watch Survivor (my friend Matt and I sometimes joke that we're the only two people who still watch it, but there are really lots of Survivor fans!). This season is shaping up to be very promising. John Rocker is on this season! I was at that famous, crazy game at Shea Stadium where Rocker pitched after getting himself in hot water after some comments he made. I'm a huge Braves fan, so I was there at Shea Stadium wearing my Braves jersey, surrounded by many very, very angry Mets fans. It was intense. The Braves won and I was happy. Anyway, I spent a lot of time watching Rocker pitch for the Braves, and although I'm not a fan of his and don't support any of those inappropriate comments he made, I want him to stick around for a long time this season because I think he makes for good television. If anything, he'll be an awesome villain. I love the Blood vs. Water theme, so this will be a good season.

(If you're not familiar with Rocker, he pissed off a lot of New Yorkers by making some totally inappropriate comments, including the following statement about New Yorkers, and Mets fans were out for blood at that game I attended): 
"Imagine having to take the 7 Train to the ballpark looking like you're riding through Beirut next to some kid with purple hair, next to some queer with AIDS, right next to some dude who just got out of jail for the fourth time, right next to some 20-year-old mom with four kids. It's depressing..."

2. Theater: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is absolutely brilliant. I cannot say enough good things about it. This production won seven Olivier Awards (it transferred from the West End), and I expect it to do very well at the Tony Awards as well. I was a huge fan of the book when it came out, and this script is a wonderful adaptation. The staging is incredibly inventive, and Alexander Sharp is giving a tour-de-force performance. Go see this if you can.

3. I went to see The Black Keys this week thanks to my brother, who gave me tickets for my birthday. I'm not a huge fan of theirs (I've seen them live before and wasn't blown away), but for this concert I got a spot on the rail and was glad to see them from such a good spot in the (massive) Barclays Center.

4. Some fun stuff is coming up. On Saturday I'm going to the Global Citizen Festival for the third year in a row. This year features Jay Z, No Doubt, Carrie Underwood, The Roots, fun., and Tiesto. Honestly, I'm probably most excited to see fun.. On Sunday I'm doing the Tunnel to Towers 5K (I will probably be walking much of it).

5. In other reality TV comments, watch the season premiere of The Amazing Race on Friday and you might see me. The starting line was in Times Square (at about 3:30am), and I was there. I met Phil! I love Phil.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Counting Crows have been on CBS This Morning the past two days. Yesterday was the interview, and it was one of the better recent interviews with Adam (there have been some stupid ones in the past couple of weeks; people need to learn to ask better questions). In fact, this one is a very good interview. It's short, so you can quickly watch it above. I love the quick snippets of older videos (he looks so different!), and I always admire when he talks about his dissociative disorder; I think it's really brave of him. Today they played "Scarecrow" and "Omaha" on the show. I love both live, though it's strange seeing "Omaha" without the audience participation; in concert, Adam always enlists the audience to help sing the chorus.
By the way, their new album Somewhere Under Wonderland has been getting fabulous reviews (from actual music critics who are much less biased than I am). It is so, so good. If you haven't checked it out yet, you should.
Is it weird that I'm so crazy about a fifty year old man? I already have a couple friends who make fun of me for it quite a bit, but I can't help it. He's just so brilliant and wonderful.

In other music thoughts, here's an interesting article about U2. I don't like how it oversimplifies many of the songs (for example, "One" is about a whole lot more than what Mr. Rothman says; it's about Bono's relationship with his father, it's about German reunification, it's about the band members' relationships with each other...I could keep going). I also think the Christian messages in U2's music are much more overt than this article suggests. But anyway, it's worth a read.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Another quick show review, because it features one of the best performances I have ever seen:

Hedwig and the Angry Inch
I am so thrilled that I was able to return to this show. I saw it with Neil Patrick Harris (in the role for which he won a Tony Award) and absolutely loved it, but I was excited to go back and see Andrew Rannells take on Hedwig. I was completely blown away. I preferred Mr. Rannells' acting to NPH's, particularly in the quieter, more emotional moments. I suppose it helped that I had a fabulous orchestra seat this time, whereas I had a seat in the balcony for NPH so I couldn't read his facial expressions very clearly.  I also think Rannells is the better singer. I loved everything about his performance; he really made me feel for the character more deeply than I did before. His Hedwig is incredibly vulnerable, whereas NPH's Hedwig seemed a bit more hardened. Andrew Rannells giving one of the best stage performances I have ever seen, so if you have a chance to see him in the role (he's only in it for two months and has one month to go), GO. I can't tell you how incredible he is.

Here's a link to Andrew on the Tonight Show talking about the role while in rehearsals,

here's Andrew singing "The Origin of Love" (probably my favorite song from Hedwig and the Angry Inch) a few years ago:

and another short interview with him about the show:

Friday, September 12, 2014

I don't think I've posted theater reviews for the shows I saw this summer.

This Is Our Youth
It got a rave from Ben Brantley in the New York Times, and I enjoyed it very much. I love love love Kieran Culkin. I saw him off-Broadway a long time ago in After Ashley (alongside Anna Paquin), and I'm a fan of his film work as well. He was one of the main reasons I wanted to see this show, and he didn't disappoint. He plays a narcissist and commands the stage when he inhabits it. He's also very funny. Michael Cera is perfectly cast as Warren, and you can't help but feel the character's suffering as he bumbles his way through the play. Tavi Gevinson is lovely as Jessica. I love this quote about Kenneth Lonergan's play from Mr. Brantley's review:

"What he captures so beautifully, in this work that made his name as a playwright, is the sense of being lost, formless and on your own that descends as adolescence comes to an end and every feeling seems to contradict itself. And he translates that emotional chaos into dialogue that is as tellingly rhythmic as that of David Mamet but that sounds a lot more spontaneous....
And Mr. Cera, Mr. Culkin and Ms. Gevinson imprint highly legible and individual signatures onto their characters, in ways that extend into every inch of their postures. Whether they’re dancing or hurtling toward one another like comets sprung from their orbits, or tossing a football (and wrecking the joint in the process), these kids are achingly self-conscious in deliciously distinctive style. The characters, I mean, not the people playing them."

I love the play and this production of it. 

You Can't Take It With You
This play is a beautiful portrait of a crazy family. James Earl Jones is the patriarch, and it's always thrilling to see him onstage; he has such a commanding presence. Kristine Nielsen was the highlight for me; she's absolutely hilarious as the mother in the household (I still haven't gotten over how funny she was in Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike). Annaleigh Ashford maintains such a high level of energy as she dances through the entire show (seriously), and she's also very funny. Rose Byrne does an admirable job playing the straight man in a family of wacky characters. The set is gorgeous, the ensemble is fabulous, the play is lovely...this was such an entertaining experience at the theater. My only complaint is that I wish the kittens were in it more! I love this (from the show's website): 

I'm sure I'm missing some shows, but these two are the most recent ones that I've loved. 

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Whaaaatttt?!?!?!?!?! U2 fans have been waiting for what feels like forever for Songs of Innocence to be released. It was supposed to be released six months ago, which obviously didn't happen, and we kept waiting and waiting for some news. A release date was never announced, so we've been stuck in this state of limbo for months and months. And then today U2 dropped the bomb that they were releasing the album. TODAY. For free. On iTunes. Again, I say, whaaaatttt?!?!?! Obviously U2 fans are going nuts.

I've listened to the whole thing a few times through and my first impression is that this is a really, really good album. It's definitely their best since All That You Can't Leave Behind. My favorite song is "The Troubles;" it's gorgeously haunting.

Neil McCormick wrote a fabulous, detailed review that's worth reading. I agree that the Brian Burton (Danger Mouse) tracks are the best and most intriguing, and I hope that partnership continues.

Bono also wrote a letter to accompany the release.

Obviously I need to listen to the album quite a few more times to solidify my thoughts, but right now I'm incredibly happy, and I can't wait to hear these songs live. Go listen. Just open up iTunes, because the album is already in your library, whether you wanted it there or not.

I'm being super spoiled this month, because two of my favorite bands both released brilliant albums within a week of each other.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Happy Birthday to me. (More soon.)

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Here's my favorite part of last night's Emmys (I love Amy and Seth, and I love True Detective and Matthew and Woody):

Not a great night overall, but of course that wasn't surprising. Tatiana Maslany wasn't even nominated and she should win every award ever for Orphan Black (yes, every award, I mean that), so I didn't have high expectations going into the night. Amy Poehler (Amy Pueblo?) has been nominated for 11 Emmys and has never won. There's something wrong with that. I love Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Veep is one of my favorite shows, but she's won enough.  And Allison Tolman was robbed. Allison Tolman, you were my favorite thing about Fargo (and I loved a lot about Fargo) and you're fantastic and you should have won an Emmy. At least the drama categories were more on point. Bryan Cranston, Anna Gunn, and Aaron Paul all won acting awards for Breaking Bad and the series won best drama series, so there's that. Nic and I had good food to eat and blue drinks to honor Breaking Bad, and we got to yell at the TV a lot. We'll see what happens next year.

Monday, August 25, 2014

My friend Bill mentioned the feeling of wanting certain moments to go on forever, and it got me thinking. Sometimes you just pause and realize that if you could freeze time, everything would be perfect because all the nonsense has faded away and you're so full of joy you could burst. And of course those moments can't last forever, but maybe they've filled you up enough to keep you going. For me, a lot of those moments come from concerts. My absolute favorite thing in the world is being at a Counting Crows concert. For real. At their last concert I attended (earlier this summer in Central Park), the beginning of the show was probably the most significant for me. I was in the front row on the railing, and that feeling of anticipation was already turning my stomach into knots. When the crew started taping setlists onto the stage, Terry, who was standing next to me, was able to catch a glimpse of the first song. He asked me if I wanted to know what it was and I immediately said yes but then changed my response to no. I wanted to be surprised. I'm so glad I made that decision, because when the band came onstage and I heard Charlie's piano part quickly joined by Immy's soaring guitar melody that opens "Sullivan Street," I can't explain the feeling. I felt like I couldn't even contain the happiness inside me; it leaked out through my mouth in a huge grin and inaudible laughs and through my body as my shoulders shook and my head tilted back and even a little bit through my eyes as miniature drops of liquid filled them up before disappearing, blurring the stage and then allowing it to come into beautiful, perfect focus. That opening guitar melody to "Sullivan Street" was a moment of pure joy. When I'm overwhelmed by the real world, I can just play that melody in my head and it takes me back to that moment and the memory of that joy is enough. I love how powerful music can be.
(The recording of "Sullivan Street" posted above is from that concert.)

Sunday, August 17, 2014

This post is a totally random assortment of stuff that's been occupying me this summer. 

Counting Crows' new album, Somewhere Under Wonderland, comes out on September 2nd, and it will be the perfect early birthday present. They've been playing a bunch of songs from the record on this tour, so I was able to see them play some of the new songs live and I have tons of recordings of the new material and it makes me incredibly happy. You can see my videos from the Central Park show here; there are a handful of new songs there.

Here's what is currently my favorite song from the album (lyrics photo is above as well):

Eve Hewson on Fallon. Cool genes run in her family. I love her dad, but I need to know when his band's new album is coming out, because it was supposed to be early this year and obviously that didn't happen and I'm impatient.

What else? I don't think I posted about my trip. I had a great time traveling from Prague to Paris (through Germany) with my relatives. Here are photos.

I recently went to see St. Vincent at Prospect Park, which became my most-frequented music venue this summer. I've seen Annie Clark (St. Vincent) play with The National a bunch of times, but this was my first time seeing her headline a show (for 15,000 people!). She was fabulous.

I went to a taping of Late Night with Seth Meyers, which was a lot of fun. St. Vincent played with the house band, and it was really cool to be only 15 feet away from her (as opposed to being pretty far back at her concert a couple nights prior). It was a great episode; Jeff Bridges talked about The Giver, and Garfunkel and Oates were very funny and sang a song called "Pregnant Women Are Smug," which I enjoyed. Strand of Oaks was the musical guest, and they were good as well. Here's a playlist from the episode. 

I met Grumpy Cat! I love Grumpy Cat. She was asleep. She was adorable. 

I saw King Lear at Shakespeare in the Park. John Lithgow is a fabulous Lear. It was also cool to see Annette Bening onstage, although I have to admit her performance wasn't one of the strongest. She's obviously a fabulous film actress (duh), but her Shakespeare is a bit weak. Overall the production featured a strong ensemble and was an enjoyable night at the Delacorte, which is one of my absolute places in the city. 

I've seen some more plays, including Sex with Strangers (which I liked, mostly because Anna Gunn and Billy Magnussen are awesome) and Cabaret again (which never gets old). 

I don't want summer to be over. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Still can't believe it. I'm honored I was able to see this great man live onstage; I was in the front row at Bengal Tiger and he spit on me, and I didn't mind one bit. I'm thinking of his family and friends and am grateful for the gift he shared with all of us. Here are a few favorite scenes.

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Gah, I have so much I want to post about. Where do I start? I'll do a list.

1. UCB. Del Close Marathon. I only got to see two improv shows, but boy were they awesome ones. First Nicole and I saw Gravid Water because it's our fave. I'll let you read the explanation of Gravid Water and take a look at the cast. It included Olivia Wilde in a scene with her husband, Jason Sudeikis, as well as Rachel Dratch, Michael O'Brien, Krysta Rodriguez, and lots more awesome actors and improvisors. It was hilarious.

On the last night of the marathon I saw ASSSSCAT 3000 with three of UCB's four founding members (Amy Poehler, Matt Besser, and Ian Roberts). Amy Schumer(!) was the monologist, and there were some other awesome people in the cast, incuding Horatio Sanz and Jason Montzoukas. Honestly, though, I was most excited for Amy P. I've seen her in person a bunch of times and it's always a thrill. I adore her.

2. Concerts. I've been to quite a few concerts about which I haven't posted here. I'll start with my favorite, though. You probably know I'm obsessed with Counting Crows. They're one of my top three bands (along with The National and U2). Last week I saw them play at Central Park Summerstage for the second time, and they were absolutely fantastic. They've been together for more than twenty years, and right now they honestly sound like they're at the top of their game. Their new album comes out September 2nd (available for presale today) and they played a bunch of new songs which made me very excited for the record to be released. I got a front row center spot (I got in line at 11am and was first in line), and I got a setlist at the end of the show! It was a great setlist, too. Just look at this. They had me at "Sullivan Street." Seriously, is there a better opener than "Sullivan Street?" No, no there is not. And there's not a better closer than "Holiday in Spain."
 I have tons of photos, which I'll eventually post on my shutterfly site so I don't overload the blog with them. I'll just post this. I unapologetically and sincerely have a huge crush on AD.
I filmed video of much of the concert, so I'll post my playlist. I think they're pretty good videos, despite my occasional singing. The new songs are posted first. Trust me, they're worth watching/listening to. Put it on full screen and enjoy a mini-concert. I can't stop watching. 

I have more to write about (concerts, Fourth of July), but I guess I'll save it for later. I'll just post a picture from the 4th. 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

"You didn't see me, I was falling apart. I was a white girl in a crowd of white girls in the park. You didn't see me, I was falling apart. I was the television version of a person with a broken heart. You didn't see me, I was falling apart. I was a white girl in a crowd of white girls in the park. You didn't see me, I was falling apart. I was the television version of a person with a broken heart." ~the national

Fargo's finale was this week, and it was a fantastic closer to a fantastic show. I've thought a lot about TV's recent fascination with antiheroes, and this article from Time beautifully expresses how Fargo breaks the mold. Of course the show is brilliant because of the writing and the storytelling, but it's also brilliant because of the acting. Billy Bob Thornton and Martin Freeman's performances are stellar and have gotten lots of well-deserved praise, but Allison Tolman and Colin Hanks also gave extremely nuanced, wonderful performances that should be recognized. I'll miss this show.

ETA: Allison Tolman literally just won a Critic's Choice Award for her performance! Yesss! And the show won Best Miniseries! Billy Bob Thornton also won for his role! (Martin Freeman was nominated in the same category as BBT for his role in Fargo and I actually would have preferred to see him win, but I am glad it went to someone from Fargo.) The show is racking up the awards tonight, and rightfully so!

BTW, Tatiana Maslany also won a Critic's Choice Award: Best Actress in a TV Series (Drama), for the second year in a row. This makes me unbelievably happy. Just give her an Emmy already!

The National. Prospect Park. Oh my gosh. This was my 17th concert of theirs, but it ranks among the best. During "Terrible Love," Matt (the lead singer, in case you're not up on the best band in the world, which you should be) leaned on me while singing for about a minute. He comes into the crowd during a couple times ("Mr. November," "Terrible Love") and I happened to have the perfect spot. I was in the front row, on the railing, and he stood on the railing as he sang. He leaned on me as I helped hold him up. During some of it I was holding his thigh and during some of it I was holding his arm. It's all a bit of a blur, but it was fantastic. His arm was strong and sweaty and hairy and magnificent. At one point I just stood there thinking, "I'm currently holding Matt Berninger up by his thigh. This is really happening. Seriously." It was a crazy feeling. Having seen the band 17 times, I've seen most of the songs I've wanted to see. The setlist this time was great, though. The one song I've wanted to hear that I got to hear last night was "Green Gloves." They also did "Santa Clara" and "The Geese of Beverly Road," favorites of mine that I've heard live before but always give me chills. I'll post some video and audio later. For now, here are some photos.

BrooklynVegan has some great photos. You can see me in one of them, so go play "Where's Claire?"

Here's a panoramic photo I took of the crowd behind me:
 Here's Matt:
 And Bryce, playing two guitars at once:
 The band:

And these are photos that other people took:

From chophaus on Instagram (I'm up there close to Matt):

From patiobop on Instagram (I think that's my hand on his leg):

A good one from mattmartin507 on Instagram (again, I'm in there somewhere):


When Matt was in the crowd, he somehow cut his head. It looked pretty bad, but he didn't even seem to notice; he kept right on going. LOTS of photos from the show here (including the one below), taken by David Andrako: