News and Notes
The Fine Art of Surfacing
A manic hybrid of influences as disparate as punk, doo-wop, and Gilbert & Sullivan -- blended together with just the right amount of pop sheen, The Fine Art of Surfacing remains the musical high-water mark of Live Aid guru Bob Geldof. Best known for the hit "I Don't Like Mondays" (about a teenage girl who shoots up her school), the album is chock-full of songs that are dark, funny, and endlessly hummable.
The Sketchbook Diaries
In 1998, cartoonist James Kochalka bought a sketchbook and forced himself to keep a daily diary in the form of a four-panel comic strip. The Sketchbook Diaries, the first volume to collect the results, presents what may be the best daily comic strip since Peanuts. (The sad irony being that it doesn't appear daily anywhere but James' sketchbook - the material, while often very cute, is ultimately too personal and blatantly honest for a daily paper.)
When the Cat's Away
Garance Clavel is Chloe, a young Parisian make-up artist who needs a cat-sitter so she can go on a long overdue vacation. With a little help from her neighbors she finds Madame Renee, the local cat lady, who agrees to take care of Gris-Gris only to lose him by the time Chloe returns. In this short-turned-into-feature, Chloe's search for her cat is simultaneously an exploration of the tension between the old and the new in the Bastille district of Paris and of the challenges of navigating relationships as a single woman. A theater actress by training, Clavel shines in her first film role, using facial expressions and body language to convey the emotional angst and eventual ecstasy of Chloe's process of discovery.