Celeste Kennel-Shank's Christmas picks

November 21, 2016

The best concert I saw in 2016 was Neko Case, k.d. lang, and Laura Veirs performing their first album as a trio, case/lang/veirs (Anti/Epitaph), which was released this summer. The strengths of each of the singer-songwriters are drawn out with alternating lead and backup singing. “Honey and Smoke” has flourishes of a sixties girl group that are delightful. Listeners who enjoy strong vocals are likely to be captivated.

Four Lions (Drafthouse Films), a British comedy about anti-Western terrorism and the assimilation of immigrants, is possibly the most intelligently hilarious, hilariously intelligent film I’ve ever seen. At moments the action and dialogue came together so brilliantly that I couldn’t even make a sound to laugh as I took it all in. (There is some violence, but it’s not gratuitous.) Though the movie first came out a few years ago, its political satire is even more timely after this year of Brexit and ever-increasing Islamophobia. Give this film to your loved one most sorely in need of catharsis after election season.

For the person in your life who often feels too busy even for stress-reducing activities, give the (free!) gift of YouTube videos “Yoga with Adriene” (youtube.com/user/yogawithadriene). These videos, usually running 20 to 30 minutes each, begin with the basics of yoga postures and breathing, and include yoga for lower back pain, for a good night’s sleep, and to calm nerves. Wheelchair users and others for whom getting down on a mat may not be an option can try the gentle chair yoga routine.

Read the other 2016 Christmas picks here.