What are you doing for Halloween?

People have been asking me this for the past couple of weeks and I have to say, for the most part, I don't understand the question. I'm a grown up. Without children. Who doesn't drink. What on earth would I be doing on Halloween? It strikes me largely as a holiday for kids and drunken young adults to dress up and annoy the shit out of normal folk. But now I have an answer to the question and a rather cool one at that! I'll be attending a showing of The Phantom of the Opera at the Michigan Theater. Not the screechy Andrew Lloyd Weber Broadway crapfest, but the original 1925 Lon Chaney silent film. The theater's organist will be playing the soundtrack live and -- get this -- my friend Maggie Grady will be singing the heroine's arias live, along with the film.

How cool is that? Very. Suitably Halloween-y for a grown up. And no costume required. If you're in Ann Arbor, you should totally go.

Shelfari with me?

Sharp readers of this blog may notice a new addition to the sidebar on the right. It's a little widget that links you to my Shelfari page. What is Shelfari, you may ask? I'm not sure. I just joined recently, after being invited by a friend and I'm still trying to figure it out. You know that function of Netflix where you can list your friends and see what they're watching, what they rated things and what they recommend? Well, it seems to be something like that for books. It's a neat way to list what you're reading, rate books (and review them if you feel up to it) and see what other people are reading.

I can't decide if it's a lot of work to create your "shelf" or if it's the sort of thing friends would love to do to kill time at work. Take a look and if you think you might like to join, let me know and maybe we can be buddies and stare at each others' shelves. Here's a link to mine. There's not much on it yet, just the past few books I've read.

Flight of the Conchords

My friend Margaret -- who is about 15 years my senior -- has noted on more than one occasion that our tastes are virtually identical, except when it comes to what she calls "age appropriate" material. I suspect that the new HBO series Flight of the Conchords, named after the New Zealand band it stars, falls into that category. The show features the fictional adventures of the scraggly "digi-folk" duo --Bret McKenzie and Jermaine Clement -- as they struggle to make a name for themselves in New York City. Flight of the Conchords is a real band...sort of. I mean, they do write and perform music, but it owes as much to comedy as it does to music. The pair formed FOTC in 1998 and have made a name for themselves on the international comedy circuit and did a BBC radio series a year or so ago. Their music is purely comedy satire but with spot-on send-ups of entire musical genres (and, in the show, their videos) from the past couple of decades. (Their "Inner City Pressure" is a brilliant homage to The Pet Shop Boys' "West End Girls.")

The storylines of the show -- if they even qualify as such -- are pretty thin, and sometimes it's hard to tell if the show is hilarious or boring. It's a finer line than you might think. It's hard to imagine that you'd appreciate the musical numbers without a solid grasp on the ridiculous eighties-rock tunes that inspire many of them, but if you or your sense of humor are age 12-35, you might find this entertaining. But Margaret probably won't.

The show airs Sunday nights on HBO, if you've got it. If not, you can watch clips here. (I also highly recommend watching "She's So Hot, Boom." Awesome!)