Beverly D’Angelo on ”Entourage,” poetry, and ultimate fighting!
1. Release your pent-up aggression by watching UFC 70: Nations Collide
(Spike TV, Sat., 9 p.m.)
The sort of superstar mixed-martial arts bouts you normally have to fork over pay-per-view money for, free this week on cable’s rowdy old Spike. Three rock-’em, sock-’em kick-punch-grunt battles direct from Manchester, England. Me, I’m rooting for the Croatian bone-cracker Mirko ”Cro Cop” Fillpovic. Raarrgghhhh!
2. It’s National Poetry Month, so read… Edward Dorn’s Way More West
This ”new and selected poems” collection gathers work from the 1960s up through the year of Dorn’s death in 1999, revealing a marvelously curious, cantankerous, venturesome writer. He wrote about history and geography as much as he did about love and death. A recurring character in Dorn’s poetry is The Gunslinger, and the poet filled book-length collections with that horsey seeker’s journeys and revelations. He also composed short, blunt lyric poems such as this one, ”A Discovery,” which I quote in its entirety:
”The extremest pleasure
_(is) to step on the Devil’s neck, _
and yet to enjoy the use of him.”
3. Make it a Martina McBride week
Listen to Waking Up Laughing (RCA) and watch her on American Idol (Tues. and Wed.)
The country thrush (yes, kids, they used to call female singers ”thrushes”) just released another first-rate collection of heartache ballads (my current favorites: ”How I Feel” and ”Tryin’ to Find A Reason.”) And she’ll probably be giving the Idol twerps a few much-needed pointers on emotion-control. So far my favorite Idol celebrity mentor was Gwen Stefani, who managed to convey polite charm and utter disbelief that Idol is what passes for pop music in 2007 America; McBride, like most country acts, will undoubtedly be more discreet but no less beguiling.
4. Beverly D’Angelo and Nora Dunn on Entourage
(HBO, Sunday, 10 p.m.)
As, respectively, Ari’s business partner and marriage counselor, both of these actors turn in brief but finely tuned comic performances that manage to showcase Jeremy Piven’s Ari and steal scenes from him at the same time. Entourage is always entertaining; such subtlety is a new added bonus.
5. The well-made throwaway thriller: Lee Child’s The Hard Way
I think I’ve read five or six of Child’s Jack Reacher novels — I’m not sure of the number because they’re all so similar: Lone-wolf hero Reacher witnesses a criminal act, gets pulled into helping out a victim, hatches an elaborate revenge, and executes it with crisp, merciless precision. The Hard Way, the latest in paperback, is just like all the rest, which is to say, it’s a marvelous way to kill a few hours — Child’s prose is no-adjectives-terse, his action scenes so vivid you never wish they’d make any of his books into movies: they already exist as such in the reader’s mind.