Pulse: 60-Second Critic August 2006


Television
The 10! Show
NBC 10, 10 a.m. weekdays

I’d like to start a collection for the hundreds of thousands of area residents without cable. Each weekday at 10 a.m., these people face an excruciating dilemma: There’s nothing to watch on TV. Their options include Guiding Light, Tony Danza, Judge Hatchett and, at the bottom of the heap, the rehabbed 10! Show, with its new digs in Bala Cynwyd, new—and not horrible—co-host Lori Wilson with Bill Henley (above), and a live studio audience of about 30. While the station could use the hour to make a contribution to local programming (does anyone remember the early days of AM Philadelphia?), the producers fill the airwaves with unfunny dribble like Dan Aykroyd’s serious UFO pontifications, judo instructions from a spy novelist, and ugly-dog contests that must make the sometimes decent guests—Chris Matthews, Tipper Gore—and audience members (including the staff seat-fillers) say, “What the hell am I doing here?” Grade: F—VICTOR FIORILLO

Music
Lemonade
G. Love
(Brushfire Records)

Center City-born and raised, a lawyer’s son and a South Street corner rat, Garrett “G. Love” Dutton III has always shrugged off labels—he’s blues with a sly smile instead of a frown, hip-hop without an attitude, and a folksy soulman, all at once. For G., this album’s title is aspirational, since when he’s at his finest, the result is best classified as a soundtrack for a backyard cookout or swilling frosty ones on the Shore house deck. Laid-way-back songs like “Free” and “Ride,” with its breezy, top-down groove, are thick with a summertime vibe, and Dutton’s rhyming keeps the party flowing smoothly. Some experiments, like “Banger,” are a messy mix of flavors that never quite coalesce, but when G. takes a backseat to guest vocalist Ben Harper on “Let The Music Play,” or flirts with the angelic Tristan Prettyman on “Beautiful,” he’s doing what he does best. Grade A- —Richard Rys

Fiction
Philly Fiction
Edited by Josh McIlvain, Christopher Munden, Greg November and Tracy Parker
(Don Ron Books; $12)

The idea behind Philly Fiction was to present the city as a natural backdrop for storytelling, but few of the short stories in this collection (caution: typos abound) conjure it as a place of tangible texture; casual mentions of Fork and Manayunk won’t do. Some of the writing sings; in “The Shanghai Ship to Love,” Edward P. Clapp hilariously describes a trip on the Chinatown Express. There’s genuine emotion in Michael Aronovitz’s “The Big Picture,” with a dad telling his son the truth about Santa Claus. But the collection suffers from thematic tunnel vision; story after story is about relationships, many dealing with a warped singles scene. In Greg November’s “Dinnertime at 42B,” a loser pays a hooker solely for her company, but the woman isn’t pretty, and the ending isn’t Hollywood. Welcome to Philadelphia, City of Brothel-ly Love. Grade: B-—Mike Garvey

Nonfiction
Let’s Paint the ’90s! An Activity Book with Paint Set and Brush
By Jason Rekulak; illustrated by Brie Spangler
(Quirk Books; $12.95)

You never thought you’d spend an afternoon selecting the perfect color scheme for a portrait of Roseanne Barr screeching the national anthem, but Center City visionary Jason Rekulak is hoping you’ll find it enjoyably cathartic. Let’s Paint the ’90s! is a hilarious throwback activity book (complete with watercolors) that makes other ’90s nostalgia attempts look wussy. Dig up your Guess jeans and pop in that dusty Boyz II Men CD while you relive the glory of the “Rachel” haircut or paint away the pain of the Milli Vanilli “Girl you know it’s—Girl you know it’s—” shocking lip-synch ruin. Give this as an unrivaled gag gift, or just keep it yourself and bring back those ’90s classics—because there’s something to be said for closure. Paint, remember, and finally, tearfully, let go. Grade: A—Jessica Remo

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