Arts+Culture

Arts+Culture

We Are the Eighth Day, © Melanie Weidner

Media

Sex in the lab

On Masters of Sex, the wired-up naked bodies are not nearly as titillating as the melodramas that unfold when the characters are fully clothed.

Books

Gold, by Barbara Crooker

Barbara Crooker enters the shades and brush strokes of daily life with such reverence that readers want to take notice, live better, and die better.

Music

The Boat That Carries Us, Peter Himmelman

Peter Himmelman is a rock ’n’ roll anomaly: an observant Jew who has long de­clined to play any shows on the sabbath. But this serious commitment to his faith gives his songs heft. He’s addressed broken­ness, healing, and humility in songs such as “Imperma­nent Things” and “Mission of My Soul.” And Himmelman has a knack for melding lyrical complexity with catchy melody.

Books

The poet and politics

As two new biographies and a massive collection of poems show, Denise Levertov's distinctive work and life remain relevant and rewarding.

Music

Here, There and Everywhere, Anthony Molinaro

Many Beatles tribute discs fail be­cause the vocalists or players aren’t up to the task. But with this piano-based instrumental disc, Chicago’s Anthony Molinaro shatters barriers in refreshing ways. On the opening “Blackbird,” he manages to inject the melody with stride-piano infectiousness.

Books

Gabriel: A Poem, by Edward Hirsch

Hirsch writes a book-length lament in verse for his son, who died at age 22 from a drug overdose. Gabriel was diagnosed with one mental disorder after another. One doctor told Hirsch, “Think of the brain as a switchboard. . . .

Music

You Should Be So Lucky, Benmont Tench

On his first solo album, Tom Petty’s keyboardist handles the songwriting and vocal duties admirably, his baritone sounding much like former Dire Straits frontman Mark Knopfler.

Music

Tarpaper Sky, Rodney Crowell

Rodney Cro­well, longtime guitarist for Emmy­lou Harris, hit songwriter for Waylon Jen­nings and the Oak Ridge Boys, demonstrates artistic integrity here, refusing to cave to country-pop trends. Nothing here is calculated; the album was recorded live in a studio.