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The Big Ten

What to watch, read and listen to this month.


1 ANIMAL HOUSES • Morgan Freeman could narrate a documentary about sea snails and we’d still watch it. In Born to Be Wild, he chronicles the lives of Dr. Birute Mary Galdikas and Dame Daphne Sheldrick, rescuers who rehabilitate orphaned elephants and orangutans—which are, by the way, much, much cuter than sea snails. APRIL 8

2 ENDLESS COMMUTE • Director Duncan Jones (Moon) teams up with Jake Gyllenhaal for a new sci-fi thriller, Source Code. Gyllenhaal plays a soldier trapped in the body of a civilian, reliving the last eight minutes of the man’s life before a train disaster. Seemingly stuck on loop and falling in love, the soldier tries to prevent the tragedy. APRIL 1

3 END OF CIVILITY • April marks the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War, and there are two books, America Aflame by David Goldfield, and 1861: The Civil War Awakening by Adam Goodheart, to mark it. Each book offers a new perspective on the war and the long Reconstruction that followed. OUT THIS MONTH

4 ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT • In the Office Space–esque new Comedy Central sitcom Workaholics, three friends bumble through their postcollegiate life as telemarketers. From reflective chats on their roof to the time they camp out in their office, the guys show a kind of touching naivete on top of their hilarity. APRIL 6

5 HARDCORE TROUBADOUR • Steve Earle is having a big spring. I’ll Never Get Out of This World Alive (his first collection of originals since 2007’s Grammy-winning Washington Square Serenade) comes out this month—not to be confused with his first novel, by the same name, due out in May. APRIL 26, MAY 12

6 GO FISH • When Mark Kurlansky wrote the best-selling Cod: A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World, he told the history of the United States through the prism of this humble, once-ubiquitous fish. His latest graphic novel, World Without Fish, looks into an all too real near future when overfishing destroys the ocean. OUT NOW

7 RHYMIN’ SIMON • Paul Simon continues to prove that he is, indeed, viable without Art Garfunkel. So Beautiful or So What merges styles from his previous few releases—bringing together world music, electronica, pop, folk and even chamber music and overlaying it with Simon’s trademark lyrical patter. APRIL 12

8 OLD YELLER • In the 11 years since the Scream trilogy finally wrapped, the rules of horror movies have changed immensely. No matter: The newest installment, Scream 4, reunites the remaining original cast members for a postmodern meditation on the art of a good scare. APRIL 15

9 HISTORICAL READING • Get to know Los Angeles and San Francisco as they were in the 1930s, with Works Progress Administration–authored travel guides. The City of Angels and The City by the Bay were projects of the WPA-sponsored National Writers Project. Pick up the reprints to travel back in time. APRIL 5

10 LET’S GET DIGITAL • If you want your MTV sans TV, the network has heeded your call. The first-ever digital music awards, the OMAs, will be available only online, so fire up your iPad or smartphone to find out who wins for best app and best tweet, among other categories. APRIL 28

Band Leader



HE HAS BACKED BOB DYLAN and led The Band, been inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and for nearly two decades lived a life of excess (including a particularly debauched stint as Martin Scorsese’s roommate), but after more than 50 years in the business, Robbie Robertson is in no hurry to do anything. “I’m at a stage now where if I’ve got a good idea, then I’ll do it, but I’m not forcing myself to make records. I just do what I like.”

His latest solo album, How to Become Clairvoyant, came together gradually. It started years ago as a jam session with his old friend Eric Clapton and in time grew to include guitarists Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine and Robert Randolph. “They are wizards,” he says. “It’s almost like a different instrument in their hands.”

Lyrically, it’s his most personal effort to date. “I’ve always felt self-conscious about saying, ‘Well everything on this record is about me,’” he says. But for this one, Robertson delves into his hopeful early days on the road, his years of substance abuse and his break with The Band in 1976. “Things are far enough behind me that I can now talk about them without feeling uncomfortable.”

Robertson may have been hesitant to tell his story before, but the spigot is open now. He just signed a deal to write his autobiography. “I guess I’m warming up to the idea,” he says. “I’m gonna get a cabin in the woods and go write a book.”

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