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Staff Pick: Vivian Maier

Cynthia staff picks photoVivian Maier was an area nanny whose ubiquitous camera captured life in Chicago in the mid-century. Her rich, evocative work remained unnoticed until 2007 when thousands of negatives were purchased at a storage unit auction. Curiosity in the woman and appreciation for her work have since skyrocketed. Vivian Maier: Out of the Shadows offers a glimpse at her talent, and the new DVD Finding Vivian Maier attempts to shed light on the artist.

By Cathleen, Readers' Advisor on July 29, 2014 Categories: Books, Movies and TV, Nonfiction, Picks by Cynthia, Staff Picks

Staff Pick: Big Brother by Lionel Shriver

Cynthia staff picks photoLionel Shriver’s Big Brother deftly challenges ideas about food, success, and loyalty. Pandora puts a lot on the line when her older brother, an NYC jazz musician, shows up in Iowa having gained a shocking amount of weight. His large presence shakes her status quo and leads to a spur of the moment decision.

By MPPL on April 29, 2014 Categories: Books, Picks by Cynthia, Staff Picks

Staff Pick: Fargo

Cynthia staff picks photoWith its chilly upper-midwest setting (accents included), Fargo is the classic Coen brothers’ film. A botched kidnapping planned by a bungling William H. Macy is met with the polite, small-town-smarts of a pregnant police chief (Frances McDormand). This is dark humor at its best balanced with warm humanity.

By Readers' Advisor on December 24, 2013 Categories: Movies and TV, Picks by Cynthia, Staff Picks

Cynthia’s Pick: Spaced

Cynthia staff picks photoHe’s been dumped, and she’s squatting with innumerable roommates. Twenty-somethings Tim and Daisy figure the obvious solution is to pretend to be a couple to get a flat. British comedy series Spaced is full of quirky references, characters, and situations you’d expect from Simon Pegg of Shaun of the Dead fame.

By Readers' Advisor on October 8, 2013 Categories: Movies and TV, Picks by Cynthia, Staff Picks

Cynthia’s Pick: After Visiting Friends

Cynthia staff picks photoAs a teenager, Michael Hainey found an obituary claiming his father died After Visiting Friends.  As an adult, journalist Hainey treads lightly, but persistently, asking those who may know – what friends? This is an engrossing, mysterious story with a local connection – Hainey is a Park Ridge native and his father worked for the Sun-Times.

By Readers' Advisor on June 25, 2013 Categories: Books, Nonfiction, Picks by Cynthia, Staff Picks

Cynthia’s Pick: Lit

Cynthia staff picks photoMary Karr says her third memoir, Lit, is about “leaving home to find home.” It is a hard look at her early adulthood wrought with insecurity, denial, and alcoholism. Fortunately, she tells her story with sharp observations and a sometimes dark humor that helps make this a powerful story of redemption.

By Readers' Advisor on April 9, 2013 Categories: Books, Nonfiction, Picks by Cynthia, Staff Picks

Cynthia’s Pick: Six Feet Under

Cynthia staff picks photoMichael C. Hall can’t seem to escape death. Before he was Dexter, he was a mortician in Six Feet Under. He’s part of a quirky family whose lives are entwined with the funeral home their father left after suddenly dying. Although the setting seems maudlin, the show is about relationships, expected and unexpected, and their complications.

By Readers' Advisor on January 22, 2013 Categories: Movies and TV, Picks by Cynthia, Staff Picks

Cynthia’s Pick: So

Cynthia staff picks photoPeter Gabriel’s  album, So, is probably best known for “In Your Eyes” and the iconic image of John Cusack holding up a boombox to win back his girlfriend in Say Anything. Gabriel used experimentation, world music influence, and thoughtful – almost heartbreaking – lyrics to create a classic album.

By Readers' Advisor on November 13, 2012 Categories: Music, Picks by Cynthia, Staff Picks

Cynthia’s Pick: Party Down

Cynthia staff picks photoIt’s L.A. and everyone’s an aspiring something. In the meantime, they cater. Six struggling artists wear pink bow ties for Party Down, a catering company. Party Down, the show, is two seasons of hilarious catering malaise, romance, rivalries, and the mishaps of being close to, but not quite invited to the party.

By Readers' Advisor on August 21, 2012 Categories: Movies and TV, Picks by Cynthia, Staff Picks

Cynthia’s Pick: Muriel’s Wedding

Cynthia staff picks photoQuirky Muriel’s love of ABBA is only surpassed by her desire to get married. Muriel’s Wedding has a fun soundtrack. It’s the backdrop to an often hilarious and moving story about a misfit who finds a way to move forward, let go of her fantasies, and face reality.

By Readers' Advisor on May 29, 2012 Categories: Movies and TV, Picks by Cynthia, Staff Picks