This Time Capsule Playlist Provides a Musical Reminder of All the Moments that Mattered in 2017

13 Dec

The Lone Bellow at the House of Blues in Boston, November 2017. (Photo credit: Martin Lieberman)

Every December, critics (both professional and amateur) like to share their lists of the year’s best music. And while that’s important, and much appreciated, it’s near impossible for music fans to agree on what’s “best.” Musical taste is too personal. Case in point: For every Taylor Swift fan out there (and I know there are a lot of them), there’s someone like me who can’t stand her. On the other hand, I have a soft spot for other artists who don’t often show up on top 10 lists of best music and don’t win many awards. John Mayer, for example.

Point is: We all listen to different things and like what we like. And that’s a great thing.

So, when the end of the year comes around, I choose a different angle on the music recap thing, and prefer to compile a sort of “time capsule” playlist that provides a soundtrack of my year. Continue reading

Advertisements

Can I Interest You in Hanukkah Songs … that Aren’t Sung by Adam Sandler?

8 Dec

Anyone who knows me knows there are few things I love more than Christmas music. I made Very Marty Xmas mixes for 10 years, and continue to maintain an “Ultimate” playlist version of the mix on Spotify that includes everyone from Mariah Carey to Andy Williams to Harry Connick, Jr. to Darlene Love singing festive tunes, and is updated all the time to include new tracks.

But here’s the rub: I’m Jewish. And one thing that bothers me every year is that, despite how much I enjoy the Christmas season and all the music, I wish Hanukkah was better represented. Unfortunately, while Jews have written many of the most beloved Christmas songs (it’s true!), we haven’t done a very good job of writing songs for our own holiday. So those Members of the Tribe who are looking for seasonal music are often stuck with Adam Sandler’s “Chanukah Song” — which was funny the first few times, but now, 13 years later, it’s just tired (not to mention totally outdated). Continue reading

Do You Know These 70 People? You Should: They’re Making Social Media More Social!

4 Dec

Photo by Kimson Doan on Unsplash

It’s one of the easiest click-bait tricks in the book: Declare that something popular is dead or dying.

Twitter’s been the victim of this “hack” for years: For example, in 2014, The Atlantic published a eulogy for “the beloved social publishing platform.” A year later, Umair Haque, the director of the London-based Havas Media Lab, published a blog post on Medium declaring its impending doom. And three weeks ago, Gareth Daine, founder of Content Sleuth, wondered aloud (or on LinkedIn, anyway): Is Twitter dead?

The reasons for these pronouncements have varied, but in that most recent case, the cause of death was “a distinct lack of engagement on the vast majority of posts I see.” Daine was specifically referencing posts by so-called “influencers” with substantial follower counts, which, in my opinion, was totally missing the point. Continue reading

Feast on These 12 Movies During the Thanksgiving Holiday Weekend

20 Nov

The end of the year always brings with it a bounty of new movies, and sure enough, there’s a lot in theaters right now that’s worth seeing. Or that looks worth seeing but really isn’t.

So, with the end-of-the-year rush upon us, I thought I’d share some brief thoughts on 12 recent releases that you may be considering seeing as we head into the long Thanksgiving holiday weekend, starting with my favorite ones. Continue reading

Double-Tap on This Picture-Perfect Movie

23 Aug

If you’ve spent any amount of time on Instagram lately, you’ve come across some of those people commonly known as “influencers.” You know who they are: They’re the good looking ones who always seem to be posing for photos in which they show off their awesome clothes, the awesome location they’re in, the awesome food they’re eating, their awesome spouse or partner, or some other aspect of their awesome life. They are truly #blessed.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to say that the lifestyle they’re promoting can’t possibly be real. And often, it isn’t — as some are quick to tell you in a post where they still look fabulous.

That false modesty, that so-called “authenticity,” is what has helped many of those folks to attract thousands and thousands of fans who hang on their every photo, waiting to see what they’ll be wearing and where they’ll be going next. And who totally buy into the wish fulfillment fantasy, thinking they know these people intimately and that they’re actually a friend.

These model wannabes are people who take their ability to influence fans a bit too seriously, and who believe their own hype. Talk about a scenario that’s ripe for parody.

If you agree, then you’re going to love the new movie Ingrid Goes West, Matt Spicer’s pitch-black and very funny comedy about the dangers of getting too attached to minor online celebrities (a hit at Sundance earlier this year). Continue reading

Christopher Nolan Scores a V for Victory with Dunkirk

18 Jul

Christopher Nolan’s latest, Dunkirk, is a film for anyone who wished the opening scene of Saving Private Ryan was an hour and a half longer.

The director of the The Dark Knight Trilogy, The Prestige, and Inception has given us a definitive account of one of World War II’s most heroic and miraculous — not to mention, pivotal — events, and in the process, has made a movie that is a real must-see. Continue reading

Local Boy Makes Good Hero

6 Jul

Movie-watchers got their first look at Tom Holland in the Spider-suit last year, when the erstwhile Peter Parker was recruited by mentor Tony Stark (aka Iron Man) to help him in the fight against Captain America, et al. in Captain America: Civil War. Holland was such a blast of energy in the role that he practically stole the film right out from under stars Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans.

Now, Holland gets his own stand-alone Spider-Man film in Spider-Man: Homecoming, and shows that the inflated cameo was no fluke. This Spider-Man is the one we’ve been waiting for. Or, you might say, third time’s the charm. Continue reading