If Woody Allen’s fictional Leonard Zelig had a comedic counterpart, it might be Paul Scheer. With his bald pate and trademark gap between his teeth, Scheer has a unique look that’s made him easy to pick out of the various projects he’s worked on since he made his first televised appearance as a character named Toad & Elephant Man in an episode of the defunct Comedy Central sketch comedy series Upright Citizens Brigade (UCB). Younger pop culture fans might know him from his two-season run alongside Aziz Ansari (Parks and Recreation) and Paul Huebel (Childrens Hospital) on MTV’s Human Giant. Or if you watch Nick Jr.’s Yo Gabba Gabba! with your little ones, you’ll see Scheer appearing alongside 30 Rock’s Jack McBrayer in the regular segment, “Knock-Knock Joke of the Day.” He was also a regular talking head on VH-1’s weekly pop culture overview Best Week Ever. But currently, Scheer’s highest profile gigs are as nerdy Dr. Andre Nowzick on the FX, fantasy-football driven sitcom The League, and as tough guy lead Trent Hauser, on Adult Swim’s police procedure parody NTSF: SD: SUV::. But given how huge fantasy football has gotten, it is the Nowzick role that has catapulted Scheer and also got the lifelong Jets fan hooked on a sports phenomenon that shows no signs of abating.
When I last had the honor of sitting down with bestselling author and Garden City resident Nelson DeMille, in December 2011, he was nearing completion of his sixth John Corey novel, The Panther. After years of research and long hours holed up in his Garden City office characteristically writing his manuscript in longhand on yellow legal pads, DeMille will see his latest thriller hit bookstore shelves on Oct. 16.
A Book-of-the-Month Club selection, The Panther takes readers on a precarious journey through Yemen with Anti-Terrorist Task Force agent John Corey and his wife, FBI agent Kate Mayfield, to hunt down the mastermind behind the USS Cole bombing. As with all of his books, there is some truth, some fiction. The setting, which is in one of the most dangerous places in the Middle East, is offset with Corey’s nonstop dry and engaging wit. Even better? The dueling wit that ensues between Cory and Paul Brenner. DeMille fans will remember Brenner from The General’s Daughter and Up Country, and will be delighted to see these two characters brought together for the first time.
Brinsley Schwarz – The New Favorites of Brinsley Schwarz (Repertoire)
The last album released by Lowe’s first band in 1974 was its most pop-oriented collection and contains the original version of “(What’s So Funny ’Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding”
Nick Lowe – Jesus of Cool (originally released in the United States as Pure Pop for Now People) (Yep Roc) – His 1979 sophomore bow Labour of Lust may contain his sole American hit “Cruel to Be Kind,” but Lowe’s 1978 debut overflows with power-pop manna including the UK hit “I Love the Sound of Breaking Glass” and cheery “So It Goes.” The 2008 30th anniversary reissue tacks on an additional ten tracks including the surf-rock instrumental “Shake That Rat,” tongue-in-cheek Bay City Rollers tribute “Rollers Show” and a demo version of “Cruel to Be Kind.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald may have famously said that “There are no second acts in American lives,” but Nick Lowe apparently never got the memo. Ever since the release of 1994’s The Impossible Bird, he has re-emerged as an introspective singer-songwriter caught somewhere between classic country crooner and melancholy saloon singer. Out in support of last year’s The Old Magic, Lowe has seen his profile raised even further after being personally invited to open for alt-rock giants Wilco on a few legs of their 2011 tour. Always a critical darling, the 63-year-old singer-songwriter is currently enjoying the accolades of a younger generation of fans mostly unfamiliar with his prior incarnation as a major player in the late 1970s pub-rock/punk-cum-new wave scene.
“[When Wilco] asked me to do a leg of their tour, I thought it was an extremely bold move on their part. I didn’t know how it was going to go. I suspected it would be alright because I thought their audience might be my audience except they didn’t know it yet because they’re musically literate younger people who wouldn’t in the normal course of events run across me,” Lowe recalled on the phone from a tour stop in Phoenix. “And also I thought, they’re sort of playing rock and roll shows and when an old bloke with an acoustic guitar comes out, it doesn’t exactly make your pulse race with excitement. In any event, the shows went extremely well.”
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