Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, July 19, 2014

MVNews this week:  Page B:2



Mountain Views-News Saturday, July 19. 2014 

Jeff’s Book Picks By Jeff Brown




by John F. Ross

At the turn of the 20th century two new 
technologies, the car and airplane,took the 
nation’s imagination by storm as they burst 
into American life. The brave souls that 
leaped into these dangerous contraptions 
and pushed them to unexplored extremes 
became new American heroes: the race 
car driver and the flying ace. No individual 
did more to create and intensify these 
raw new roles than the tall, gangly Eddie 
Rickenbacker, who defied death over and 
over with such courage and pluck that a 
generation of Americans came to know his face better than 
the president’s. The son of poor, German-speaking Swiss 
immigrants in Columbus, Ohio, Rickenbacker overcame 
the specter of his father’s violent death, a debilitating 
handicap, and, later, accusations of being a German spy, to 
become the American military ace of aces in World War 
I and a Medal of Honor recipient. He and his comrades, 
created a new kind of aviation warfare, as they pushed 
their machines to the edge of destruction, and often over it, 
without parachutes, radios, or radar. He was an innovator 
on the racetrack, a skilled aerial dualist and squadron 
commander, and founder of Eastern Air Lines. Decades 
after his heroics against the Red Baron’s Flying Circus, he 
again showed a war-weary nation what it took to survive 
against nearly insurmountable odds when he and seven 
others endured a harrowing ordeal adrift without food or 
water in the Pacific during World War II.


by Marja Mills

To Kill a Mockingbird is one of the best loved novels of 
the 20th century. But for the last 50 years, the novel’s 
author, Harper Lee, has said almost nothing on the record. 
Journalists have trekked to her hometown of Monroeville, 
Alabama, where Harper Lee, known to her friends as Nelle, 
has lived with her sister, Alice, failing to get an interview 
with the author. But in 2001, the Lee sisters opened their 
door to Chicago journalist Marja Mills. It 
was the beginning of a long conversation 
and a great friendship. In 2004, Mills 
moved into the house next door to 
the sisters. She spent the next eighteen 
months there.. Nelle shared her love of 
history, literature, and the Southern way 
of life. Nelle helped make sure she was 
getting the story and the South right. 
Alice shared the stories of their family. 
The Mockingbird Next Door is the story 
of Mills’s friendship with the Lee sisters. 
It is a testament to the great intelligence, 
sharp wit, and tremendous storytelling 
power of these two women, especially 
that of Nelle. Mills was given a rare 
opportunity to know Nelle Harper Lee, to be part of the 
Lees’ life , and to hear them reflect on their upbringing, 
their corner of the Deep South, how To Kill a Mockingbird 
affected their lives, and why Nelle Harper Lee chose to 
never write another novel.


A NOVEL by Robin Sloan

This book was the Winner of the Alex Award, a finalist 
for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for First Fiction, 
named a Best Book of the Year by NPR, Los Angeles 
Times, and San Francisco Chronicle. The Great Recession 
has shuffled Clay Jannon away from life as a San Francisco 
web-design drone and into the aisles of Mr. Penumbra’s 
24-Hour Bookstore. But after a few days on the job, Clay 
discovers that the store is more curious than either its 
name or its gnomic owner might suggest. The customers 
are few, and they never seem to buy anything—instead, 
they “check out” large, obscure volumes from strange 
corners of the store. Suspicious, Clay engineers an analysis 
of the clientele’s behavior, seeking help from his variously 
talented friends. But when they bring their findings to Mr. 
Penumbra, they discover the bookstore’s secrets extend 
far beyond its walls. Rendered with irresistible brio and 
dazzling intelligence, Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore 
is exactly what it sounds like: an establishment you have to 
enter and will never want to leave.

By Sean Kayden


Matt Kivel of the indie-
pop band, Princeton 
veers off to another 
land with his sophomore solo record, “Days Of 
Being Wild.” Princeton specializes in 80s new 
wave with a heavy emphasis on synthesizers. 
Kivel’s solo work is much more grounded and 
gravitates toward nostalgia and melancholy in 
lyricism. He ventures into minimalistic indie 
rock with his acoustic guitar and the occasional 
mellow electric tunes. Drums are also apparent, 
which lacked on his first solo endeavor, “Double 
Exposure.” Kivel isn’t here to lead the charge or 
revolutionize the singer/songwriter performer. 
However, this different side of him in many 
ways outshines the glitz and glamour of his 
dance-infused pop band. The title seems more 
appropriately fitting for a Princeton album, but 
I assume the days of being wild are clearly a past 

 The new record is starkly beautiful and 
inviting. It will bring you in just enough to 
make you feel something you haven’t felt in 
quite awhile. No yelling or shouts here, just 
sweet whispers that have you leaning in closer. 
While some lyrics get lost under much reverb, 
I’ve always fancied such sounds. His gentle 
but raw vocals blend extremely well with both 
his lowbeat and uplifting melodies. “You and 
I Only” is blissful with sweet melodies and 
romantic lyrics to carry you off to another place 
and time. Kivel appears more focused with this 
effort. “Days Of Being Wild” is compacted and 
purposeful. It nearly flows effortlessly along. 
While many describe the sound as post-breakup, 
sulking in your bed type of music, I still found 
much of it to be enriching in a strange way. The 
reflective lyrics and lounge-y sound for most 
of the tunes served me very well. One of the 
louder tunes, “Underwater,” showcases Kivel’s 
tensile croon. While the reverb masks some of 
the lyrics, the resonance is beyond gorgeous. 
“Blonde Boy” and “Waiving Goodbye” definitely 
slow down the already mellow album way too 
much. At fourteen tracks, those two easily could 
have been cut from the roster.

 All in all, “Days Of Being Wild” entices, 
excites, mourns and echoes with nostalgia. 
It’s one of the better solo albums I’ve had 
the pleasure to hear in awhile. Kivel’s other 
personality (opposite of Princeton) is rather 
charming. The sophomore release improves 
exponentially over Kivel’s green debut. The 
sound palette has expands here, which equals a 
much more satisfying listening experience. The 
sense of loneliness may be there, but listening to 
this album could be just anyone’s cure.

 With his mind on track and a definite purpose 
for this go around, Kivel dazzles and impresses 
much more than anticipated. In fact, “Days Of 
Being Wild” is one of the strongest releases this 
year not only in the realm of indie-acoustic-folk 
rock but in any soundscape. 


Grade: 8.9 out of 10

Key Tracks: “Underwater,” “Insignificance,” 
“Little Girls,” “You and I Only”

Artist: Matt Kivel

Album: Days Of Being Wild

Label: Woodist


Date: July 8th, 2014 

On the Marquee: Notes from the Sierra MadrePlayhouse



 Before Craig’s List we looked for rentals in the classified sections of newspapers and abbreviations 
were used by realtors so they could get more bang for their buck. 6 RMS RIV VU (a six-room 
apartment with a river view) is the lure that draws Anne, a young housewife, and Paul, an advertising 
executive, to a rent-controlled place in Manhattan in 1972. Anne and Paul are both married - but 
not to each other. When the doorknob on the front door disappears they get trapped in the rental 
and sparks ignite. Described by the New York Times as “A Broadway comedy of fun and class, as 
cheerful as a rising souffle. Two people playing out a very vital game of love, an attractive fantasy with 
a precious tincture of truth to it.” This romantic comedy hasn’t been seen in Los Angeles for many 
years, and when I was looking for a play to kick off our new season, and my first as Artistic Director, 
I wanted to find a show that wasn’t too familiar, but that would be fun for our audiences and a great 
way to end the summer. I think Bob Randall’s play fits the bill. It’s a funny and appealingly nostalgic 
look at love in America in the early 70’s full of references to Women’s Lib, encounter groups, and 
Doris Day. 

 In honor of the year it was on Broadway, all tickets purchased during July and before opening 
are just $19.72 a nice savings off our adult and senior ticket prices and available for any show during 
the run. Tickets are available by calling 626.355.4318 or visiting 

 New features at the Playhouse are our Talkback Sundays and our Lobby Exhibits. After each 
of the Sunday matinee performances of 6 RMS RIV VU (and every show in our season) audiences 
will have a chance to talk with the actors and a member of the production team about the show. And 
spend some time in our lobby which will host a display supporting each of the plays in our season – 
putting the show into context and helping explain the ideas behind each production.

 And this just in…we’ve secured the rights to another classic American comedy for the Spring: 
Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple to be directed by Alan Brooks who was in our hilarious production of 
Twentieth Century and who was himself on Broadway in the original company of Larry Shue’s The 

 I hope we’ll see everyone at the Playhouse for 6 RMS RIV VU which plays Fridays and 
Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday matinees at 2:30 p.m. The production runs from August 1 to 
September 6, with no performance on August 16 when instead the Playhouse will host one of our 
delightful, interactive murder mysteries – this one called The Art of Murder.

 Come home to the Playhouse, where great entertainment journeys begin.

We’d like to hear from you! 

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