1 One thing you will learn from Hayley Campbell’s “The Art of Neil Gaiman” is that the prolific and genre-defying writer has nearly illegible handwriting. Also, that he’s not a bad sketch artist. Campbell’s large-format book is part biography, part scrapbook. Having free rein to browse through Gaiman’s desks and cabinets, she has packed this book with old photos, scribbles on napkins and notepads, doodles and sketches, comic strips, comic books, notebooks, letters, book jackets, film memorabilia, diaries and photos of Gaiman’s wife, singer Amanda Palmer. The man clearly is a pack rat. And this $40 keepsake is our reward for it.
2 In Bain Boehlke’s sterling staging of “The Heiress” at the Jungle Theater, he never gives away the ending, even though you sort of see it coming. Being courted by a charming if suspicious bon vivant, the masterful Kate Guentzel plays the title role with such understanding and compassion that you can’t help but root for her. This 1947 drama, based on a Henry James short novel, asks the question: Must personal growth be accompanied by sharp emotional pain? jungletheater.com
3 Violette Leduc rose from poverty and obscurity to become a lion of 20th-century French literature. In “Violette,” veteran screen actor Emmanuelle Devos plays the complex title character with fierce commitment and physicality. As her fame grows, Leduc enters the orbit of such famous contemporaries as Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir (Sandrine Kiberlain) and Jean Genet. Devos gives a gale-force performance that is sometimes wrenching to watch, yet too gripping to ignore. landmarktheatres.com
4 They were shunned by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame voters this year, but Deep Purple can at least gloat about having one of the best classic-rock reissues of late. The British quintet’s 1973 album “Made in Japan” epitomizes the bloated, one-toke-over-the-line live albums of the ’70s in all the cool ways, with jams so long that only one or two fit on a side of the LP. The remastered expanded editions (two-CD or boxed set) turn the original collection up to 11 and tack on the encore tunes as extras, including a killer “Speed King” that races by in 7 minutes (one of the shortest of the set).
5 “The Look of Love: Eye Miniatures From the Skier Collection” showcases 98 tiny paintings of eyes, all set into pretty jewelry and little boxes ornamented with precious gems. On display at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, the eyes are all tokens of affection from Victorian times. They were given as keepsakes between lovers who most likely wanted to hide their passions from disapproving parents or a betrayed spouse, or worn by bereft mothers mourning a beloved child. These pieces come from the private collection of an Alabama ophthalmologist. artsmia.org