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Hot Sheet: Week of June
14

Hot Sheet: Week of June
14

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Out top picks this week for what's hot in arts and entertainment include a feel-bad-about-what-you-eat documentary, and a rapper's comeback...even though he hadn't really gone anywhere.

Check for showtimes...

- The Proposal (Disney): Sandra Bullock (pictured) runs roughshod over Ryan Reynolds . And that's really kind of how it should be. She's Sandra Bullock after all. Once you've stared into the Practical Magic abyss and lived to tell about it, you're a veteran with special privileges.

- Year One (Sony): It doesn't matter that no one watched that caveman sitcom; Hollywood won't stop until they have a hit prehistoric property to hold up as a model of success. Michael Cera is Barney to Jack Black's Fred -- well, sort of -- in this comedy about a land before time.

- Whatever Works (Sony Pictures Classics): It was only a matter of time before the East Coast neurosis gang (The Insufferably Whiny Woody Allen Crew) called a truce with the West Coast gang (The Miserable Larry David Posse) and decided to band together to make the definitive funcomfortable film.

- Food Inc. (Magnolia): Do you know what they do to your orange juice before you drink it? How about that frozen lunch you just put into the microwave? That breakfast cereal you just ate is a fascinating chemistry lab experiment too. Oh, and check out what's in your diet soda, it's going to make you cry. And after you're done crying, you can sign a petition to make sure that school lunches stop getting filled with high fructose corn syrup and mystery meat.

Head to a theater...

- Precious Little in Clubbed Thumb 's Summerworks Festival, June 14-20: Of the three plays in the Summerworks Festival at New York's experimental Clubbed Thumb theater company, we're most interested in Madeleine George's Precious Little , which has six performances starting June 14. The play, directed by Hal Brooks, features the superbly talented Randy Danson as Brodie, a lesbian professor of linguistics who learns the child she's carrying may have a genetic abnormality. She finds herself taking unexpected comfort at the zoo sitting at the cage of a strange, compelling gorilla.

Head to the bookstore...

- Sprout by Dale Peck (Bloomsbury Children's Books): Based on his own experiences growing up and coming out in Long Island and Kansas, Peck -- who is a contributing columnist to Out magazine and whose previous work in children's literature includes the Drift House series -- tells the story of Sprout Bradford, whose mother dies leaving him with his alcoholic father, who he has to move cities to be with. This young-adult book is not about Sprout dealing with being gay but rather a young gay man dealing with love, lust, the loss of a parent, and many of the other issues facing teenagers. A literary next step into stories where the protagonists' sexuality is a part of and not the point of the story.

- Gay American Autobiography: Writings From Whitman to Sedaris edited by David Bergman: A sampling of writing featuring everything from Thoreau's journals to Henry James's letters that sheds light on homosexual desire from a time before the gay rights movement as well as Earl Lind's Autobiography of an Androgyne , that illustrates the first stirrings of the movement. The selections chronicle the gay American experience through the '50s, Stonewall, AIDS, and finally the present. A good one-stop shop for someone looking for a broad look at the inner lives of gay writers.

- Visible: A Femmethology (Volume 1) edited by Jennifer Clare Burke: A collection of essays from not often heard from queer writers, Visible does not attempt to define the "femme" esthetic or identity -- an introduction by the author does everything to open up the definition to a wide range of interpretations. Instead the book is a fascinating discussion on topics like the riot girl movement to the femme "Trannyfag," exploring misogyny, gender, sexuality, and much more.

Get cozy on the couch...

- Scott Walker: 30 Century Man : Gay director Stephen Kijak ( Never Met Picasso ) and executive producer David Bowie teamed up to profile one of pop music's most legendary and enigmatic figures. From Brit-pop teen idol to daring experimental musician, Scott Walker has never stopped creating unique music although his evolution as an artist continues to catch even his most ardent fans by surprise.

- The Strange One: An odd but fascinating attempt to examine homosexuality in an all-male military academy at a time when American movies weren't allowed to examine such subjects, this film features a riveting performance by Ben Gazzara (in his screen debut) as the magnetic yet clearly disturbed Jocko DeParis. George Peppard and Pat Hingle costar; the DVD features a new interview with Gazzara.

- Everwood:The Complete Second Season: One of television's most underrated shows brought Marcia Cross back to television after Melrose Place (and before Desperate Housewives ) as a doctor who contracts HIV from one of her patients. It also introduced the world to the stunning Emily VanCamp, now Rebecca on Brothers & Sisters . Family drama doesn't get much better than this -- the story of a New York neurosurgeon who ups and relocates his kids to Colorado.

- Chess in Concert:Rent fans won't want to miss this concert version of the show featuring songs by ABBA's Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson, with lyrics by Tim Rice: Idina Menzel and Adam Pascal are two of the lead vocalists, as is crooner Josh Groban.

Grab your headphones...

- Catacombs by Cass McCombs (Domino): Until recently, Cass McCombs was a musician's musician: Adored by critics and name-checked by bands like Grizzly Bear , The Shins , and Blonde Redhead alike, he seemed destined to continue flying under the radar. Finally, with his fourth album, mainstream audiences are starting to take note of the enigmatic, mysterious McCombs, savoring his vivid lyrics and whimsical art-pop orchestrations. Taking an unorthodox and surreal approach to folk, McCombs's music is deeply personal, with earlier albums explicitly exploring a dark pain that pervaded his world at the time. Catacombs eschews the gloomy aura of his previous work, taking a much more lighthearted approach. If you need evidence of his newfound lust for life, just take a look at the dewey-eyed innocence in the clip for the album's first single: "Dreams Come True Girl," featuring backing vocals from the always-glamorous cinematic legend Karen Black:

- Survival Strategies in a Modern Worldby Lichtenstein (Slumberland Records): Just in time for a widespread guitar-heavy shoe-gazing '80s indie pop revival led by stateside sensation Vivian Girls, Lichtenstein is a Swedish all-girl group that's causing quite a stir with their fresh, razor-sharp tunes. Combining bubble gum pop with Jesus and Mary Chain's bitter punch, experimental electronics, and the epic brass of Belle & Sebastian , Survival Strategies in a Modern World is more than a straightforward tribute to C86 -- it's a smorgasbord of styles and references combining to make something that feels altogether original. Lichtenstein is a band that's cool and disconnected but never pretentious or cocky, just sugary fun for a mellow good time.

- The Ecstaticby Mos Def (Downtown): After the release of his iconic debut album in 1999, Black on Both Sides , Mos Def retreated from the music world -- at least in spirit: His subsequent two albums were less than complete efforts -- and concentrated on his acting career, putting an NYU theater degree to use in films like The Italian Job, Be Kind Rewind, and Cadillac Records. Now, discarding his glossy Hollywood career for a fully rounded fourth album, Mos Def has finally crafted a suitable successor to his first record, with help from collaborators Madlib and Talib Kweli . Delightfully combining a vast array of styles from across the globe, The Ecstatic is at turns Euro-disco, samba, Caribbean, and Middle Eastern. Regardless of the varied musical styles, Def's words never falter -- rapping about relationships, social issues, his childhood in Bed-Stuy, or politics, Def's rhymes are brilliant and intoxicating. Check out the funky, Brazilian-sounding single " Casa Bey ":

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