Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, November 8, 2014

MVNews this week:  Page A:11



Mountain Views-News Saturday, November 8, 2014

Jeff’s Book Picks By Jeff Brown



By Sean Kayden


Following his blockbuster biography of Steve Jobs, The Innovators is Walter Isaacson’s revealing story of 
the people who created the computer and the Internet. It is destined to be the standard history of the digital 
revolution and an indispensable guide to how innovation really happens.What were the talents that allowed 
certain inventors and entrepreneurs to turn their visionary ideas into disruptive realities? What led to their 
creative leaps? Why did some succeed and others fail?In his masterly saga, Isaacson begins with Ada Lovelace, 
Lord Byron’s daughter, who pioneered computer programming in the 1840s. He explores the fascinating 
personalities that created our current digital revolution, such as Vannevar Bush, Alan Turing, John von 
Neumann, J.C.R. Licklider, Doug Engelbart, Robert Noyce, Bill Gates, Steve Wozniak, Steve Jobs, Tim Berners-
Lee, and Larry Page. This is the story of how their minds worked and what made them so inventive. It’s also 
a narrative of how their ability to collaborate and master the art of teamwork made them even more creative.
For an era that seeks to foster innovation, creativity, and teamwork, The Innovators shows how they happen.


One of the world’s most beautiful endangered species, butterflies are as 
lucrative as gorillas, pandas, and rhinos on the black market. In this cutthroat 
$200 million business, no one was more successful or posed a greater 
ecological danger than Yoshi Kojima, the kingpin of butterfly smugglers.In 
Winged Obsession, author Jessica Speart tells the riveting true story of rookie 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Agent Ed Newcomer’s determined crusade to halt the 
career of a brazen and ingenious criminal with an almost supernatural sixth 
sense for survival. But the story doesn’t end there. Speart chronicles her own 
attempts, while researching the book, to befriend Kojima before betraying 
him unaware that the cagey smuggler had his own plans to make the writer a player in his illegal butterfly trade.


by Isabel Wilkerson 

In this epic, beautifully written masterwork, Pulitzer Prize winning author Isabel Wilkerson chronicles 
one of the great untold stories of American history: the decades-long migration of black citizens who fled 
the South for northern and western cities, in search of a better life.From 1915 to 1970, this exodus of almost 
six million people changed the face of America. Wilkerson compares this epic migration to the migrations 
of other peoples in history. She interviewed more than a thousand people, and gained access to new data 
and official records, to write this definitive and vividly dramatic account of how these American journeys 
unfolded, altering our cities, our country, and ourselves. Named one of the 10 best books of the year by The 
New York Times USA Today O: The Oprah Magazine Amazon Publishers Weekly,etc.

“Only Run” is the 
fourth studio album 
from experimental 
pop aficionados, Clap 
Your Hands Say Yeah. 
A lot has occurred in the interim since 2011’s 
“Hysterical.” The band went from a quintet to 
a solo endeavor leaving Alec Ounsworth as the 
only creative force behind the band. In 2005, 
the band released their eponymous album, 
which was critically acclaimed. However, their 
subsequent albums all have digressed in critical 
praise. This particular record seems like a rebirth 
or grasping onto new life. “Only Run” is more in 
comparison with “Hysterical” than the other two 
records. A reliance on synthesizers is apparent, 
which makes sense since three band members 
departed. The National’s Matt Berninger is 
featured on “Coming Down,” which reminds me 
a lot of that band. Not so much with the vocals, 
but with how songs are structured. If anything, 
2000s indie rock act Wolf Parade first comes to 
mind when listening to “Only Run.” However, 
the album feels organic and imaginative. It’s not 
a completely accessible pop type of record to 
become immersed into all the time. Nonetheless, 
there’s a unique quality about it.

 Ournsworth’s crackling voice still fuels 
this very record. His sense of optimism has 
been restored despite circumstances that have 
developed in the past few years. “Only Run” is 
reflective and harrowing at times. In some cases, 
I was disconnected with certain tunes such 
as title track “Only Run” and “Your Advice.” 
While neither song is egregious by any means, 
I never seemed to fully become attached to 
these tracks. The last minute of “Only Run” 
really saves it with a beautiful arrangement as 
Oursnworth hums along to his own creation. 
“Beyond Illusion” has a hypnotic synth beat 
paired with Oursnworth typical hiccupping 
voice. “Impossible Request” digs deep lyrically 
and really allows for Oursnworth to shine as the 
lone songwriter. “Little Moments” is beautiful 
and quite experimental. “As Always” kicks off 
the album with some really nice sounding guitar, 
which bursts half way through. It’s very U2-ish in 
that matter, but Clap Your Hands Say Yeah never 
feel as if they are imitating anyone else. 

 “Only Run” was a difficult album to identify. 
It’s part art-pop, part snyth-pop, and part 
experimental. Ournsworth’s distinctive vocals 
really separate the band from the crowd. While 
CYHSY may never be a full band again or 
conquer the likes of their first standout record, 
time will only tell what Ournsworth takes his 
project. “Only Run” comes out during the band’s 
10th year anniversary. The journey leading up to 
“Only Run” is imprinted on this record. For the 
individual listener at hand, “Only Run” stands 
as an album looking back at the last ten years 
and what the next ten years may bring. It echoes 
the sentiment of thinking back at moments that 
feel like another lifetime, but really make up for 
the life you’re currently living and one you will 
continue to live. “Only Run” may not be the 
answer or lead you to where you want to be, but it 
could pose the questions in helping one to figure 
out where to begin. 

 Grade: 7.0 out of 10

Key Tracks: “As Always,” “Coming Down,” 
“Beyond Illusion,” “Impossible Request”

On the Marquee: Notes from the Sierra Madre Playhouse


By Artistic Director, Christian Lebano

 By the time you read this essay, 4000 Miles 
will have closed after a critically successful seven-
week run at the Playhouse. Closing a show is 
always bittersweet. It is sad to say goodbye to 
the world that was created and the family that a 
group of actors became over the three months of 
rehearsals and performances, but it is exciting too. 
The closing of one show means that a new show 
will soon open and a new world will live on our 
stage. In three weeks we will be opening A Little 
House Christmas based on the Little House on the 
Prairie books by Laura Ingalls Wilder and adapted 
for the stage by James DeVita and I’m so happy to 
be sharing this wonderful holiday play with our 
friends and patrons.

 I’ve thought a lot about what makes theater so 
special to me – why I continue to pursue it after 
all these years. I have talked a little about my 
motivations in previous essays, but what I don’t 
think I’ve ever articulated is the impact that the 
ephemeral nature of theater has on me and I hope 
on you. A play, a performance only exists in the 
immediate now – and will never exist in quite that 
way again. The group of actors who created the 
world of 4000 Miles could conceivably reunite 
to do another production but it would NEVER 
be this production. Each play (and indeed each 
performance when you consider the influence 
an audience has on a show) is the sum of many 
contributions and those exact circumstances will 
never align again. That is the distinction between 
theater and film or television. Once something 
is captured on film (or digitally these days) it will 
always exist in exactly the same way in countless 
viewings. But were you to see every performance 
of a play in its run, you would never have exactly 
the same experience in the theater. Every night 
would be different based on the influence of the 
audience and the reactions of the actors. I don’t 
think audiences appreciate how much a part of the 
performance they are. It really is a dance over the 
“footlights” – plays don’t happen on stage and don’t 
happen in the audience, but at the intersection of 
the two. It is that elusive combustion, ephemeral 
as it is, which makes theater exciting. 

 There has been a lot of dialogue lately about 
the state of theater in Los Angeles. It is so often 
overlooked and underappreciated, and there are 
constant wails over how theater is dying. But the 
magic of that combustion, the ephemeral now, is 
what I think will keep theater alive. If you haven’t 
experienced that, I invite you to see a show at the 
Playhouse. Once you feel that magic you will be 
seduced. A Little House Christmas opens the day 
after Thanksgiving, November 28. I hope we’ll see 
you in the audience.

 To purchase tickets call 626.355.4318 
for reservations or go to our website www. and I can be reached at let 
me hear from you.