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    Monday, November 28, 2022

    Tipping Point: Our picks and pans


    The Fixx

    7:30 p.m. Thursday

    Madison Beach Hotel, 94 West Wharf Road, Madison

    When my MacArthur Genius Grant comes through – any day now, I’m told (though I spelled it “jenius” in the application) – I plan to start a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame For Bands That Actually Deserved To Get In the Original Hall of Fame But Didn’t and Never Will Because the Original Hall of Fame Is Stupid. The inaugural class for MY Hall will include British band The Fixx, who came to modest fame in the 1980s New Wave and have continued to make distinctive, forward-thinking, smart and always hooky rock music. They play a free show tonight at the Madison Beach Hotel in Madison. You’ll hear the hits – “Save by Zero,” “Secret Separation,” “Red Skies,” “One Thing Leads to Another,” “Driven Out,” “Stand Or Fall,” “Are You Satisfied” and more. And listen for material from the exception new album “Every Five Seconds,” which is utterly competitive with anything happening today. Seriously. One of the best bands EVER – and a terrific live act with the classic lineup intact.

    – Rick Koster


    Shania Twain: Not Just a Girl

    This Netflix documentary about Shania Twain won’t surprise you much. She treads on the more dramatic or traumatic aspects of her life very lightly, and everything comes very much from her point of view. The film by Joss Crowley is good at giving due diligence to her historic run of chart-toppers and to just what a boundary-breaker she was. “Not Just a Girl” also reveals how important Twain’s ambition and work ethic were in her achievements. It serves a rebuke to critics who downplayed her singing ability; videos of her performing as a child and as a young adult, pre-fame, display just how impressive her vocal chops were. But the movie shrugs off or omits some central issues. It dismisses as sexist questions about how much of a hand Twain’s one-time romantic and musical partner Mutt Lange had in Twain’s songs and success. And while Twain’s current husband — the ex of the woman (Twain’s former bestie) who had an affair with Lange and eventually married him (such a soap opera!) — pops up briefly in video, he isn’t mentioned. Even if it’s a bit of hagiography, “Not Just a Girl” is an engaging look at Shania’s life and legacy.

    – Kristina Dorsey


    Starve Acre

    Michael Hurley

    At some point, the long-dormant creatures, spirits and pagan energies in rural England will wake up, and it won’t be pretty. We can all blame writer Andrew Michael Hurley, whose one-man renaissance of folk-horror fiction will be what that galvanizes these spectral forces. Though late to discover Loney, I’ve now read his superbly disquieting novels in order, starting with “The Loney” and then “Devil’s Day” and now – just in time to ramp up my fear factor for the Halloween season – I’m in the middle of “Starve Acre.” It’s a tale of a young British couple in a less-than-welcoming, 1970s country town. There’s not even much sympathy for Juliette and Richard Willoughby when their 5-year-old son Ewan dies suddenly. Unless … well, there IS one group of citizens whose ancient rituals may help Juliette’s fragile grasp of reality. As for Richard, he’ll just focus on his property’s barren landscape and try to find the precise location of a vanished, ancient oak tree and figure out why the locals used it as a gallows.

    – Rick Koster

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