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don’t bring me down

posted at 3:23 pm by brandon in terra-trees

“Homecoming?! Adorable! It’s… it’s like Friday Night Lights,
but without all the depressing parts!”

— snooty New York socialite-slash-party-planner Gigi Godfrey (actress Megan Stevenson), half-mocking her best friend Zoe Hart (actress Rachel Bilson, a million billion miles away from The O.C., bitches), on the CW’s improbably charming new dramedy Hart of Dixie, which has really come into its own over the course of its eight aired episodes following a terribly stilted and stuffy pilot. (A has us watching this series religiously every week because it reminds him of his beloved Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, and, indeed, Dixie‘s driving premise isn’t so dissimilar: it swaps out 1860s-era rural Colorado for modern-day rural Alabama as its primary home base, but otherwise, it’s the standard-issue fish-out-of-water story of a young hotshot surgeon from Manhattan who ends up relocating to a backwoods burg in the deep American south to take over her father’s medical practice, and who suffers from instant and extended culture shock from all the quirky eccentrics she runs across on her journey. And in the latest episode, it was homecoming week at the high school in Bluebell, Alabama, hence the quotation referenced above.) When you look at the bright, bubbly Bilson, you don’t immediately conjure the image of a brilliantly sophisticated surgeon, but she is unquestionably an ingratiating actress, and Dixie‘s crackerjack creative team has cannily built around their leading lady a whip-smart supporting cast, which includes former Lifetime-movie king Tim Matheson, oft-shirtless stud Wilson Bethel (an equal million billion miles removed from the intolerable sleaze he recently played on The Young and the Restless), and — wink, wink — Scott Porter and Cress Williams, a pair of Friday Night Lights grads who are showing off enchanting new colors in their latest roles. Dixie is certainly not life-changing television, but it’s full-to-bursting of heart, and it’s a cute and harmless way to spend a measly hour of your week. (It is also a lovely reminder of the glory days of the CW’s immediate progenitor, the WB, which, prior to its ghastly makeover five years ago, once stacked its schedule liberally with appealing series in this exact vein. Oh, how we should all long for those days to return.)


a bite of the (big) apple

posted at 11:18 pm by brandon in terra-trees

I took my very first trip to New York City last week, and though I was only able to spend three days (and, thus, was barely able to scratch the surface of the metropolis’ myriad tourism options), I saw (and did) some amazing things, and was fortunate enough to capture a great deal of it on film. Below, a sample:



Empire State of mind.



vote for me

posted at 10:01 am by brandon in terra-trees

A and I attended our first board meeting last night for the homeowners’ association of our new neighborhood, and no more than ten minutes into that flea circus, I was already plotting out ways to get myself elected to the board so that I can effect some change ’round here. Plan A: join the neighborhood book club and try to ingratiate myself among the local intellectual cognoscenti and power brokers.

(Incidentally, to those of my readers who live in Austin: after the meeting last night, A and I tried out Hyde Park Bar and Grill for the first time, whereupon I had a smashing sirloin burger, quite possibly the best I’ve ever had. If you’re in the mood for such cuisine, do not overlook this place. It looks pretentious and frou-frou from the outside, but the staff is friendly and the prices are stunningly reasonable.)