Old Sock, Eric Clapton
If you could spend an evening in a living room eavesdropping on a jam session with any of the rock idols of your youth, who would you choose? Old Sock reveals why Eric Clapton would be a perfect pick. Packed with effortless, elegant covers, from American-songbook classics by George Gershwin and Jerome Kern to reggae faves, plus new material written by his band, Slowhand’s 21st album is every bit as cozy and comforting as its title implies.
Ginger and Rosa
As everyone who came of age in the '60s knows, the turmoil of adolescence blended with the upheaval of the era was a recipe for confusion. It also makes for compelling drama. Set in 1962 London, Ginger and Rosa is the story of two teenage girls whose intimate friendship is shattered as the cold war meets the sexual revolution, amid the escalating threat of nuclear holocaust. Critics praise Elle Fanning’s portrayal of the young activist Ginger. As Time Out London wrote: “Fanning’s genuinely breathtaking performance, bare and brave (she was 13 at the time) beautifully captures innocence at the moment of its passing.”
American Winter, HBO, March 18
In 2011, two Emmy-winning documentarians were given full access to Portland’s 211info emergency line, where families whose lives had been decimated by the economic crisis were calling for help. They chose eight of those families to follow through the winter. If you think the statistics are staggering — more than 46 million of us are now below the poverty line — wait until you see the faces of grandparents, parents and children struggling, literally, to survive. As one father in the film puts it, “Forget the dreams, how do we make it to tomorrow?”
The Good House, Ann Leary
Hildy Good is a fiercely independent and successful 60-something real estate agent in one of those quaint coastal New England towns where secrets were made for spilling. And she’s trying to keep a doozy: She’s fallen off the wagon. But the main character’s dishy escapades are only part of the appeal of Ann Leary’s novel. It’s a spot-on depiction of the culture clashes that erupt when tradition-yoked townies collide with rich, entitled newcomers who laud local charm even as they plot to modernize it. Or as Hildy puts it, “They want it old, but they want it new.”
WORTH THE TRIP
Motown: The Musical, Broadway, Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, now in previews, opens April 14
There's a reason we can't resist belting out "My Girl" whenever we hear it: The music of Motown conjures a flood of memories no matter how many years have slipped by. Now there's a musical that brings to life the story of the iconic label that's responsible for a lifetime of feel-good moments. Motown: The Musical traces the rise of founder Barry Gordy and his Detroit empire, from the $800 family loan that started it all through such milestones as Gordy's romance with Diana Ross and an Ed Sullivan Show gig by the Jackson 5.
Pamela Miller is a freelance writer who lives in Los Angeles.