VSL: the November highlight reel

At the close of each month, we serve up a Very Short List with updates about some recent VSL picks.

1. Earlier this month we wrote about The Interface, an excellent free weekly music podcast. The roughly 20-minute show revives the spirit of MTV Unplugged by inviting A-list indie artists including Cat Power, The Decemberists, M. Ward, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and Beth Orton to its studios for impromptu acoustic concerts and chitchat. Since our write-up, The Interface added an episode starring TV on the Radio, the New York band behind one of our favorite CDs of the year, Return to Cookie Mountain. Click here to read the original VSL e-mail and then click the link within to listen to the new TV on the Radio podcast.

2. The most popular recent book selection on VSL? Judging by the number of VSL subscribers who clicked to read our exclusive excerpt from it — or who actually clicked to shop for the book on Amazon through our link in the e-mail — Ilf and Petrov’s American Road Trip is this month’s winner. The book is the oddly funny, wise 1935 travelogue of two Soviet Russian writers who spent two months driving cross-country, Borat-style. This is its first publication in English. Click here to read the original VSL e-mail.

3. The most popular recent DVD? Monday’s pick, the 1970 Bertolucci masterpiece The Conformist, just overtook
Preston Sturges: The Filmmaker Collection, a seven-DVD classic-comedy box set packed with sly, rapid-fire dialogue that’s often eerily modern-sounding. Click here and here to read the original VSL e-mails.

4. Our recent TV pick Muskrat Lovely is an oddball documentary that chronicles the National Outdoors Show in Golden Hill, Maryland, where — no kidding — a muskrat-skinning competition shares billing with a Miss Outdoors beauty pageant. It sounds like a Christopher Guest mockumentary, but it’s actually an improbably touching, entirely real little slice of Americana. And if you missed it, you can now see it on DVD. Click here to read the original VSL e-mail; we’ve since added a DVD link.

To sample more of our growing archive, be sure to click on ARCHIVES in the toolbar.

This post is from Observer Short List—an email of three favorite things from people you want to know. Sign up to receive OSL here.

VSL: the November highlight reel