Upcoming Shows and 30 For 30.

November brings three great, and much anticipated, shows to the Bluebird Theater. Tonight, the 6th, Art Brut will grace the stage touring on their new album Art Brut vs. Satan though I will hold out hope that they touch upon 2005's Bang Bang Rock & Roll. It's one of the best albums of that year, and one of the best indie albums to come out of England in the last five years. The Dirty Projectors will blast into the Bluebird on Sunday (8th) pouring fire into their new release Bitte Orca, which just happens to be one of the best albums of this year... combining excellent melodies with rhythmic acrobatics that meld electronica and rock with classic soul. And as if that weren't enough to melt the faces of indie lovers, The Fiery Furnaces (Wink wink... Melt. Fire. Jokes.) will come to town on Thanksgiving week, the 24th, to play selections from I'm Going Away. Though, from what I've heard, read, and known of the Furnaces, they're unlikely to play a "sounds like the record" show. Even with their most accessible album to date as the touring center-piece, I predict a healthy, wonderful aural-fuck to take place. November 2009: Where Blindingly Amazing Music Happens.

On another note, ESPN's 30 For 30 documentary series is proving to be the best and perhaps only example of a network successfully dabbling in a format change. Going from all sports news and live/taped broadcasts to adding inspired sports-centric documentaries is a big leap that has turned out satisfying. No other cable network has done this before. And I'm not counting MTV because what started as an inspired addition of The Real World turned into a disgusting cavalcade of tween-dumbening fashion adds with intentionally shaky camera work. That, and the rampant hot tub fucking. But I digress. 30 For 30 has had five solid episodes, starting with Wayne Gretzky's trade from Edmonton to the LA Kings, and most recently with Len Bias' tragic cocaine overdose just hours after being drafted into the NBA by the Boston Celtics. The films are thoughtful and loaded with archival footage (which is the best part), but most of all each gives a more intimate look at great/awful sporting events. And as someone who was of less than adult sentience in 1984 during the waning days of the USFL, these films are a powerful look back that capture the nostalgia found so often in the documentaries the History Channel used to air. Specifically the film "Muhammad and Larry" covering the days leading up to and the day of Ali's title fight with Holmes; a fight that tarnished the both men's careers. Seeing Ali, slowing and obviously wrecked from years of blows to the face and head, facing off with a younger, spry, strong fighter like Holmes is tragic enough. But, seeing it after archival footage where Ali seems only confident enough to lie to himself, following the guidance of men around him who are more interested in the attached paychecks than their fighter is heartbreaking. 30 For 30 is excellent so far and should be checked out by any sports fan, history buff or film auteur. Tuesdays at 8pm on ESPN, but check your local listings.

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