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Style: Folsom | El Dorado Hills

Shelf Life: Media from Then and Now for Readers in the Sacramento Region

Mar 29, 2017 12:56PM ● Published by Sharon Penny




Being sad and lonely never felt so lush, so theatrical, so …sprawled on a chaise lounge with smeared eyeliner. Portishead’s Dummy was the soundtrack to my first year of college, way back in 1994 when it was like a competition to be the saddest person in the room. (See also: Every 18-year-old in every decade.)


Mental Illness—Aimee Mann

Aimee Mann leans into her reputation for “downer” music and wrote a whole album of really sad, acoustic slow songs. And it’s pretty fantastic. Featuring a backing band that includes Jonathan Coulton, John Roderick and Ted Leo, you’ll find there’s a lot of warmth buried within these “sad songs.” 




Strange Fascination: Bowie: The Definitive Story by David Buckley

One of the few Bowie-sanctioned biographies that allowed access to many in his inner circle, Strange Fascination remains one of the best books about Bowie because of what it leaves out. This isn’t whispers in the back alley about childhood sadness and endless chapters about abandonment issues; it’s the music we care about, and that’s what Strange Fascination delivers with as much wham bam thank you ma’am as Ziggy himself. 


The Most Beautiful: My Life with Prince by Mayte Garcia

This tell-all tale from Prince’s first wife, Mayte Garcia, marks the one-year anniversary since our beloved purple genius left this earthly realm for the great stage in the sky. Garcia was married to Prince from 1996-2000, and the book covers the highs of their first meeting and courtship, to the tragic lows of losing their child, as well as giving a more personal, private portrait of the man who seemed so fascinatingly unknowable. 



 Down By Law

Jim Jarmusch’s second movie, 1986’s Down By Law is one of my favorite films of all time, a movie where an Italian tourist (Roberto Benigni), a down-and-out radio DJ (Tom Waits) and a pimp (John Lurie) wind up in a jail cell together and an adventure soon ensues. But like all Jarmusch movies, the description is barely the whole story—the layers of comedy, drama, melancholy and loneliness are bound up within the great performances on screen. The music’s great, too.   



I wish I could say I saw Adam Driver first, but everyone who watched Girls says that, while the rest of the world yells Kylo Ren(!) when they see him. Thanks to all this exposure, it’s now undeniably clear that Driver is a versatile and surprising actor. In the critically acclaimed Paterson he teams up with legendary director Jim Jarmusch for a small, simple, beautiful little inner-city movie.

By Sharon Penny

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