March 9-15, 2006
culture shockThis Week in A & E
What can I say ... I am a Sopranos addict. I think at this point I've seen almost every episode: I can't get enough of Tony and Carmela! It's difficult to turn on the television these days without finding ice skating celebrities, people surviving on remote islands and families exchanging mothers. But on HBO, they're replaying the entire fifth season of the mobsters, and sometimes earlier episodes as well. I'll watch the show even if I've already seen it ... it's that good! And yes, I will admit that I do live in Jersey. I'm just waiting to bump into Christopher and Paulie in my local butcher shop. I can't wait for the sixth and final season premiere on March 12.
Reading Peter Guralnick's biography made me revisit my Sam Cooke recordings and marvel at his artistry. From his early gospel sides through his pop success to his final masterwork, "A Change Is Gonna Come," "Mr. Soul" cast a huge shadow across the music landscape that is still being felt. Much of the vocal phrasing and style that would define soul music started with Sam. Likewise, the creative freedoms that artists of many genres enjoyed later in the '60s owed a great deal to the groundwork that was laid by Cooke.
I've got wine on the brain right now. One very positive outgrowth of Pennsylvania's antiquated state store system is the number of great BYOB restaurants in townwhere else can you get such delicious food and pay no mark-up for the wine? My wife and I have been enjoying a lot of Spanish wines of late, which offer unusually good value for the price. One we like is Marqués de Riscal, a winery in the Rioja region. Of course, it's also fun to eat in and have good wine. On Valentine's Day, we shared a good bottle of Bordeauxover lasagna of all things. A bit untraditional, but it was terrific.
Right now I am totally into the Do It Yourself movement. I've always been crafty, but a recent move into my boyfriend's house in Northern Liberties and a new sewing machine has totally domesticated me! I'm sewing curtains, scouring flea markets for inspiration and planning for all the skirts I want to wear this summer. Heck, I even hosted a "craft party" at my new home. My mother used to sew little sundresses for me as a child, but I never tried it myself until home economics class in eighth grade. I made these hideous bermuda shorts. Since then, I've tinkered on and off, but never had a good machine to use. Now I have the machine and the ideas.