In Which Our Writer Divulges Diversions, Entertainments, and Exclamatory Wonders to Make the Holidays Memorable Beyond All Measure (Or At Least Something To Do Between Over-Induging Beyond All Limits)


Photo by Barry Schwartz

In a perfect world, I would be sleeping 18 hours a day over the holidays, but that’s not practical because when else would I have the time to catch up on Breaking Bad? Whenever I’m not cringing at Walter White and his fellow characters’ preoccupations, here’s a few of the things keeping me refreshed and engaged.

DESIGN MATTERS podcast. Debbie Millman, a graphic designer, educator, and writer, is a fabulous interviewer. In her mind design encompasses such a large number of subjects it’s not even worth listing them because any list would be out of date by the time you finish reading this post. She knows – and knows about – everyone in the design world and seemingly well beyond. The podcast is available free on iTunes.

ABOUT LAST NIGHT, a column by Terry Teachout. Teachout’s main gig is as the chief theatre reviewer for the Wall Street Journal, but his interests (and column) ranges far and wide. He’s also a playwrite and the author of acclaimed biographies of Louis Armstrong and a just-released book on Duke Ellington.

PRX.ORG. PRX is a gigantic repository of audio pieces. Originally designed as a kind of stock agency for radio pieces, PRX has evolved into something far more comprehensive and engaging. Whatever you’re interested in, it will be there – and the more adventurous listeners will be rewarded by discovering things they never knew they were interested in, in the first place.

COMEDIANS IN CARS GETTING COFFEE. Videos, wherein Jerry Sinefeld picks up his pals in a different remarkable vintage car and they go get something to eat and drink and talk. Where else are you going to experience the Volvo station wagon with a supercharged Chevy V8 David Letterman bought from Paul Newman? Or vicariously hang out with Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner while they eat and watch a movie as they have done every night for decades? Oh, and the talk’s not bad, either.

82ND & FIFTH. The Museum of Art in New York has been steadily producing these fascinating little videos for about a year, where a curator picks a single item from the collection to obsess about, glorify, and proclaim their wonders. And wondrous they are; the range of objects will put to rest any worries the viewer might have that these videos are simply excercises in “academic” high-art. Each video is a consumate and imaginative blend of stills, video, audio, and first-rate commentary. Not least, the website itself is brilliant bit of state-of-the-art design.