My Xmas by Andrea Bocelli — the Italian tenor releases his first Christmas album; 17 tracks including Italian tunes like "Caro Gesu Bambino" and "Tu Scendi Dalle Stelle.
Swords by Morrissey — The lovable crank isn't feeling so well these days (he collapsed at a recent concert in England), but that won't stop his next album, which is a collection of B-sides from his last four CDs. Get ready for some hilarious song titles including,"Don't Make Fun of Daddy's Voice," "If You Don't Like Me, Don't Look at Me," and "My Life Is a Succession of People Saying Goodbye." We'll always love you, Mozz, but jeez Louise.
Other notable releases of next week include Play On by Carrie Underwood, Raditude by Weezer, and an eponymous release from a band called Vagina Panther (we're serious).
The week in concerts is robust with fearsome female talent. After knocking 'em dead this week with shows in Los Angeles and Austin, lovely Beth Ditto and her band Gossip head to Little Rock (in Beth's home state of Arkansas) on Friday before beginning their European tour in Paris.
Tegan and Sara close out the promotional tour of their new album, Sainthood, with shows at New York's Town Hall venue on October 30 and 31 (dressing up should be a requirement for attendance, but it isn't).
Our new personal obsession, Florence and the Machine, a British powerhouse with stirring songs of obsession and agony, played this week in N.Y., L.A., and on Letterman's show. If you're lucky enough to be close to (or in) Canada, you can see this about-to-explode star in Montreal on Sunday and Toronto on Tuesday.
Glee (Wednesdays, 9 p.m., Fox) — Because every gay boy who ever got dumped on for being gay in high school only wishes he’d had a band of misfits like this to back him up. Plus some of those misfits are pretty damn smokin’ (Puck, Finn — talking about you). And you can’t beat having a brand-new soundtrack to download from iTunes every Thursday morning.
FlashForward (Thursday, 8 p.m., ABC) — Beyond it being a mind trip you have to watch unfold each week, never before have we been so fascinated by a character’s outing — FBI agent Janis Hawk (Christine Woods) is interrogating a Nazi when he outs her based on a ring she wears on her thumb — or the action that follows — three make-out scenes, a proposal, and a shoot-out ... in one episode. We can't wait to see what comes next.
White Collar (Fridays, 9 p.m., USA) — Interestingly, nothing is terribly gay about this show yet — the lead. Yep, actor Matt Bomer is gay, but on White Collar he plays a sexy con man on the run from the law, complete with a girlfriend and many a girl who’s interested. In fact, the entire show is marketed around his sex appeal, a first (we’re pretty sure) in Hollywood.
Modern Family (Wednesdays, 9 p.m., ABC) — For one, it’s hilarious. But aside from that, it’s great seeing a normal gay couple with a kid portrayed on network TV. Granted, they present her to the family with The Lion King’s “Circle of Life” blasting in the background, and one dad gets into a fight with a mom about Meryl Streep’s career trajectory at Gymboree, so the show isn’t without stereotype. But it’s fun all the same.
Greek (Mondays, 9 p.m., ABC Family) — Often considered the most gay-positive show on TV, Greek accurately portrays gay life in the Greek system, from hookups to breakups, girls who go gay until graduation to girls who stay that way, coming out, staying in — this show has it all. Plus the cast is mighty nice to look at too.
Here's Lucy: Season II— Not as good as I Love Lucy or even The Lucy Show but infinitely better than Life With Lucy (yes, we know —she played Lucy a lot), Here’s Lucy— Lucille Ball’s early ’70s sitcom with kids Lucie and Desi — is now on DVD, with season 2 hitting stores this week. In it, Lucy Carter (Ball, now in her late 50s, early 60s) is a widow who heads back to the workplace to put food on the table. Ball is crazy as ever, and the show is surprisingly sophisticated for its time.
Ally McBeal: The Complete Series— Back when those anorexic jokes about Calista Flockhart were still funny, she was on a show that was actually quite funny, created by comic mastermind David E. Kelly, which served as the precursor for all of his successful legal dramas to follow (The Practice, Boston Legal). The show — which prompted a Time magazine cover asking, "Is Feminism Dead?" — stars Flockhart as McBeal, a man-hungry lawyer as a highly sexualized law firm (she even locks lips with Lucy Liu in one episode). The show brought us many a huge star (Flockhart, Liu, Portia de Rossi, Jane Krakowski, Robert Downey Jr., James Marsden) and now lives on packaged as a complete series.
Some Like It Hot: The Official 50th Anniversary Companion — This exquisitely illustrated coffee-table book is a must-own for fans of the quintessential Marilyn Monroe comedy, voted by the American Film Institute as cinema’s all-time funniest. Laurence Maslon has combed studio archives to offer a compendium of everything related to the 1959 classic, complete with many never-before-published color stills (consider the garish makeup and wigs on stars Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon and you’ll see why director Billy Wilder decided to shoot his film in more forgiving black-and-white), studio memos detailing Monroe’s legendary difficulties during this shoot, as well as stories about the Broadway musical version and the little-known television pilot.
Hold On to Your Dreams — The life of late gay musician and composer Arthur Russell, one of the most vital yet little-known contributors to New York’s fabled downtown music scene during the 1970s and '80s, finally gets his proppers in this richly detailed biography by Tim Lawrence. Russell grew up on the cornfields of Iowa but eventually migrated to New York where, until his AIDS-related death in 1992, he wrote and performed disco, new wave, quirky rock, and hip-hop-inflected pop and garnered a reputation as one of New York’s most audacious artists.
Letters of Little Edie Beale — If you thought this year’s Emmy award-winning HBO film adaptation of the cult documentary Grey Gardens would be the final word on everything related to Big and Little Edie, think again. Walter Newkirk, keeper of the Beale flame, has published a sequel to his 2008 scrapbook memoraBEALEia, generously illustrated with photos and watercolors and filled with his personal correspondence with Edie until just before her death that offers even more penetrating insight into the staunch character who continues to fascinate us.