When parents talk to you about Dan Zanes, they sound, more than anything else, relieved. That’s because Zanes, a former leader of the 1980s band the Del Fuegos, makes music true to his do-it-yourself, independent roots—music that adults can enjoy as much as their children. Case in point: Little Nut Tree, the newest album by Dan Zanes & Friends, features adult-beloved guest stars such as Andrew Bird, Sharon Jones, and Joan Osborne. Check him out on his all-ages Sirius XM show, “Rocket Ship Beach Radio,” then head to see the band at the Performing Arts Center on February 11.
Photos by Matt Bressler
(Clockwise from top left): Possible liars Ophira Eisenberg, Martin Dockery, Andy Christie, and Faye Lane
Truth or Consequences
How good are you at ferreting out the truth? The Liar Show, which will take place on February 11 at the Emelin Theatre, puts your lie-detection skills to the test. Four storytellers will get up on stage and spin a yarn for the audience. Three of them will be speaking about true experiences, and one story will be totally fabricated. When they’re done, you get to interrogate the performers and try to pinpoint the liar (for bragging rights and a T-shirt). The lineup of storytellers includes Martin Dockery, co-creator of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee; Ophira Eisenberg, an award-winning comic; Faye Lane, creator of the one-woman show I Wish It So; and Andy Christie, The Liar Show’s creator and host.
Who would know teen idol Ricky Nelson better than his own sons? Twins Matthew and Gunnar—who had their own Billboard No. 1 song in 1990 with “(Can’t Live Without Your) Love and Affection”—will headline a tribute show to their father on February 4 at the Paramount Center for the Arts in Peekskill. The show, titled “Ricky Nelson Remembered,” features never-before-seen video footage and interviews. But, of course, the real draw is the music, which will be performed live on stage and will include hits like “Travelin’ Man” and “Hello Mary Lou.”
Photo by Paul Schnell
On February 4, the bald eagle goes from national symbol to local attraction at the eighth Hudson River EagleFest. For the best view, head to Croton Point Park, where (mercifully heated) tents host a lineup or bird-brained activities to keep you occupied as you try to spot bald eagles in their natural habitat. You can get up close with hawks, owls, and other birds-of-prey; bring the kids to hear master storyteller Jonathan Kruk; or take a bus tour or bird walk to test out your ornithological prowess. For more information, visit Teatown Lake Reservation’s website at teatown.org.
When you think of Colin Quinn, you probably think of the guy who sat behind the “Weekend Update” news desk doing comedy bits on Saturday Night Live, not the guy who stands in front of a slide lecture giving history lessons on stage. But, in his new show, Long Story Short, he manages to do both. Helped by Jerry Seinfeld, who pitched in to direct, Quinn gives a comedian’s perspective on the history of the world’s biggest empires, from the Greeks and Romans all the way up to Jersey Shore. You may think it’s an incongruous match, but the show inspired the New York Times to write: “But if Mr. Quinn’s ideas aren’t novel, they’re definitely immortal. And this easygoing alumnus of Saturday Night Live brings his own distinctive every-guy’s perspective to the galumphing march of civilization.” You can see him perform Long Story Short at the Ridgefield Playhouse on February 17.
What to add to your DVD queue this month.
DVD Release Date: January 31, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Drive’s star—the laconically hunky Ryan Gosling—often describes this movie as a “violent John Hughes movie.” It’s certainly got the ’80s influence, from the Members Only-style scorpion jacket he wears to the synthy soundtrack. And…it’s certainly violent, too. The combination makes for one of the most suspenseful movies of 2011. A bonus surprise comes from Albert Brooks, who proves to be a shockingly intense villain.
Martha Marcy May Marlene
DVD Release Date: February 21, Fox Home Entertainment
Last year, Elizabeth Olsen stepped out from the shadow of her celebrity twin sisters—Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen—and came back from Sundance with rave reviews for her performance in this quiet thriller. She plays Martha (or is it Marcy May?), a young woman who leaves a cult-like collective farm in the Catskills for refuge with her more status-seeking sister in her lake house in Connecticut. The tension—and acting chops—comes in when she has to separate her memories from her imagination.
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn (Part One)
DVD Release Date: February 11, Summit Distribution
If you’re a certain kind of moviegoer—say, a vampire-obsessed teenage girl—you probably can’t think of a better Valentine’s Day gift than your very own copy of Breaking Dawn. After all, this penultimate entry in the Twilight saga has the series’ most romantic moments: the wedding, the honeymoon, and the gruesome birth of the vampire baby.
Downton Abbey Season Two
DVD Release Date: February 7, PBS Distribution
Anglophiles and fans of British class dramas can’t praise Downton Abbey enough. And, since we know you’re into instant gratification, the DVDs of the series will be released before it finishes airing on PBS (by a little less than two weeks), so you don’t have to be Abbey-less for a single minute if you don’t want to be. The second season takes place during World War I, and the denizens of the Abbey are doing what they can for the homefront.