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The Joys of Mixing Politics and Comedy

For Laughs

Two years ago Mark Russell, the warbling, piano-playing political satirist, decided to pack it in and announced his retirement. Two years later, he has un-retired.Why miss all the fun?
“I’m not making this up,” Russell told me in a telephone interview last weekend. “It was a year ago last summer, a group of congressmen went over to the Middle East. They got drunk and went skinny-dipping in the Sea of Galilee.
“That was funny. If they’d drowned, it would have been funnier. Plus, the presidential campaign was going on, and I didn’t want to miss it.”

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Another Netflix Winner (for Some)

The TV Scene

I’ve really been enjoying “Derek” on Netflix. First, let me say that I am a Ricky Gervais fan. Second, I can tell you right now that “Derek” isn’t for everybody. It’s a very odd show, with its mix of crass humor and heartwarming scenes.
“Derek” is a mockumentary-style show (in the same vein as “The Office”) set in a nursing home. The title character is played by Gervais, who hunches over, juts out his jaw and constantly pushes his hair off his forehead.

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A Poet’s Mission

On Poetry

Richard Blanco is a hot property. This Cuban-American immigrant, trained as an engineer to build bridges and highways but with a master’s degree in creative writing, was selected by the inaugural committee to write and read a poem at President Obama’s second swearing-in last January, a poem he wrote in three weeks. Ever since, he has been in constant demand. On Sept. 27 he will be the first speaker in The Salisbury Forum’s fall schedule.

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Something Special, Very Special

It’s time for the annual Housatonic Child Care Center House Tour, giving us all a chance to see how other people live while supporting a vital community resource in Salisbury.
The center cares for children, ages 12 weeks to 6 years for 50 weeks a year, while their parents work, says Marcie Boutin, the center director. Fifty-four youngsters are attending now. This is the center’s major fundraiser, helping to cover salaries and benefits for 13 teachers, other operating expenses at the facility on Salmon Kill Road and scholarships as well.

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Try It, You’ll Like It, Maybe

TV Watch

Let’s get the simple description out of the way right now. Shows about makeup and costumes are coming to the Syfy channel on Tuesday, Aug. 13.

Still with me? OK, time to get to the fun stuff. The artists featured on “Face Off” and “Heroes of Cosplay” use tools such as paint, fabric and prosthetic pieces to transform people into superheroes, monsters, aliens, robots, cartoon characters, science-fiction icons and more.

Something Else

TV Watch II: Darryl Gangloff, our industrious and
youthful associate editor, suggests even more ways
to ignore summer.
After reading last week’s installment on wasting your summer watching Netflix, you may be saying, “Darryl, I don’t like sci-fi. Give me something else.” Well, how about a comedy?

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Now’s the Time To Catch Up

TV Watch: Darryl Gangloff, our under 40, much under,
associate editor, suggests ways to do nothing between now and the first snowfall.
Summer is the perfect time to catch up on full seasons of the shows you may have missed, and a great way to do that is through Netflix. For $8 a month, you can get access to some high-quality entertainment — as well as a whole lot of terrible movies and shows that should never be seen by anyone. Ever.

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The Accidental Stylist

Style & TV

Almost everything I’ve learned about how to dress I owe to the long-running cable TV reality series “What Not To Wear” and its adorable hosts, Stacy London and Clinton Kelly. 
Every week, a woman is called onto the carpet by London and Kelly for her fashion transgressions, given $5,000 for a new wardrobe and a thorough makeover, and, voila, she emerges as a glamorous professional and social butterfly. 
Only a few men have ever appeared on the show, but enough for me still to pick up some valuable pointers, such as always match your belt to your shoes.

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It’s Here: Zombies, Fantasy And Sci-fi

On TV
darrylg@lakevillejournal.com

 

If you’re interested in time-traveling aliens, an epic fantasy battle for a throne, or hordes of zombies wandering the world, then your DVR will be busy this weekend.

He’s Got Everything, That Sedaris

People: David Sedaris

 
He is the world’s most interesting man! No, not the beer guy, David Sedaris, the delightful storyteller, who will be touring through our region early next month.

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