1 In “An Iliad,” actor Stephen Yoakam appears to carry the burden of every war the world has seen in this one-man telling of Homer’s epic. Yoakam both celebrates the warrior and mourns the war as he finds the timeless resonance in reciting the story of Troy. This is superb storytelling at the Guthrie studio theater.
2 Aden Young sure knows how to stare. He’s so good, you can’t tell if he’s creepy, deep, sympathetic or all three. As Daniel, the central character on the Sundance Channel’s new Monday night drama “Rectify,” Young plays a small-town Southern man who gets freed from Death Row after 19 years for the killing of his high-school sweetheart. Did he do it? Well, many in his hometown think so, but we just don’t know, and that’s only one reason to watch. The other two are boldly quirky story arcs and the best character development since “Breaking Bad.” Maybe Sundance really is the new AMC.
3 Designed by Owatonna-based architect Wil Natzel, the fat cardboard tubes that curl playfully through SooVAC Gallery in south Minneapolis look like gigantic sci-fi worms or mutant air-conditioning ducts. Although he modestly calls the tubes “spatial graffiti,” Natzel has big dreams of “re-romanticizing” architecture by jazzing it up with strange octopedal shapes, fun ornaments and ideas so fresh you trip over them. Imagine what he would do with the new stadium.
4 Just as the American version of “The Office” has shut down, Ricky Gervais has reopened its British counterpart. David Brent, a comic invention as genius as the Little Tramp and Lucy Ricardo, is back in three webisodes on the Ricky Gervais Channel, which may be found at youtube.com. Brent may no longer be office manager, but he’s still a desperate soul whose every gesture triggers a wave of squirms. Whether he’s filming a totally inappropriate music video or teaching viewers how to play guitar, Brent can’t help but look like a fool. A perfect fool.
5 All the rave reviews declaring Vampire Weekend’s third album a daring rock ’n’ roll revelation are overstating it, because “Modern Vampires of the City” is really more of a pop record — an undeniably infectious, charming, light pop record at that, with slick, Auto-Tuned production and rhythmic melodies in the vein of Paul Simon’s fluffiest tunes or the Talking Heads’ most commercial hits. It deserves to be one of the best-selling albums of the year, if not the best-reviewed.
Poll: Which most deserves a Grammy nomination for album of the year?