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icon Music July 15, 1999
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Tom Waits
swordfishtrombones
1983

If you've never had the pleasure of someone playing you their favorite Tom Waits album, this disc will introduce you to the quirky humor, poignant back-alley and barroom poetry, and Bukowskiesque vision you've been missing. From the fearful "16 Shells From a Thirty-Ought Six" ("16 shells from a thirty-ought six... whittle you into kindlin'") to the haunting dead-railroad-town vision of "Town With No Cheer" ("there's a hummingbird trapped in a closed-down shoe store") to the prison-break adrenaline of "Trouble's Braids", Waits takes you for a ride that will rush by your windows long after the music stops.

icon Film July 14, 1999
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Eduardo Sanchez & Daniel Myrick
The Blair Witch Project
1999

"In October 1994, three student filmmakers disappeared in the woods near Burkittsville, Maryland while shooting a documentary. A year later their footage was found." That footage, along with the video diary shot by one of the three, is what constitutes The Blair Witch Project. In other words, what you see in this film actually happened. Or so they would have you think. The rich mythology of the project is truly an ingenious marketing campaign. And it is a pretty scary movie. But is it real, or is it . . . filmmaking?

icon Poetry July 8, 1999
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John Berryman
The Dream Songs
1959-69

Here are 385 short verses that comprise a single long poem about a fictional man named Henry, a hard-drinking American "who has suffered an irreversible loss." The first group of 77 poems -- structurally rigid, yet verbally freewheeling -- won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1965. Read the collection straight through to get a drunken rush from Berryman's brilliant wordplay, or sample individual verses when you just need a sip of madness.

icon Music July 7, 1999
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Jimi Hendrix
The BBC Sessions
1998

One of the first tracks of this splendid 2-CD testimony to Jimi Hendrix's time in England is an introduction by BBC radio personality Alexis Korner. "Hold on," Korner told his audience in early 1967, "because today you're going to hear sounds like you've never heard before." Enjoy The Jimi Hendrix Experience at its most relaxed and (some say) best, as they play everything from "Foxey Lady" to "Sunshine of Your Love."

icon Film July 6, 1999
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Bennett Miller
The Cruise
1998

This engrossing documentary offers a daytrip in the life of New York City tour guide Timothy "Speed" Levitch. As you listen to Speed wax poetic about the city, the streets, and the sinister forces of the "anti-cruise," some inevitable questions arise: "Is he brilliant?" "Is he insane?" "Is he brilliant and insane?" Of course, in the end, it really doesn't matter--Speed's crazy life is clearly a great ride.

icon Memoir July 2, 1999
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Susan Brind Morrow
The Names of Things
1997

Susan Brind Morrow tells of her travels to places where ancient words were born--from the sounds of birds, from papyrus swamps, from dust and decay, from the light of a desert dawn. Spanning a decade of journeys between the Nile Valley and the Red Sea, between Cairo and Khartoum; by foot, riverboat, and jeep; alone, or accompanied by native guides, Morrow's luminous memoir is about solitude, landscape, roots, and origins; about essential places where human comfort is stripped away.

icon Music July 1, 1999
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Vic Chesnutt
About to Choke
1996

Vic Chesnutt has made plenty of good albums. He had a bit part in a popular movie (Sling Blade). He was even honored with star-studded tribute disc. So why haven't more people heard of him? Simple. He's a "songwriter's songwriter." Of course, all that really means is his work is consistently entertaining, beautiful, provocative, witty. Luckily, you don't have to be a songwriter to love it.



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