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"In art everything is possible, but everything is not necessary.” ― Arvo Pärt

Icelandic band goes dark

You could count the number of famous music acts to come out of Iceland on one hand– there's Bjork, her band The Sugarcubes, folk group Of Monsters and Men, and Sigur Rós. The only thing these acts have in common is that they're all so unique, especially Sigur Rós, and in particular their most recent album. Kveikur, released this past June, is a major departure from their previous albums. From the first moment in its opening track “Brennisteinn,” you can feel the dark, dystopian mood, which carries throughout the whole track list. Their familiar light and airy sound, usually accompanied by meditative piano melodies, has turned into quite the opposite– a sound that shocks the senses.

The band, mainly made up of Jón Þór Birgisson on lead vocals and guitar, Georg Hólm on bass, and Orri Páll Dýrason on percussion, have put together seven albums since 1997. All are uniquely imaginative and minimalist with a call back to nature, while still being modern and cutting-edge. They have been categorized as post-rock, but they also incorporate classical, dub-step, and pop genres into their music. Their globe-spanning tour, which began over a year ago, will have the ultimate list of U.S. dates, consisting of a 20-show run. This is a live per...

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Six months: Kroboth to stay behind bars

Convicted attempted-wife-killer Kurt Kroboth will stay behind bars after a judge ruled he violated the terms of his probation for the second time in the past year.

Back in January, Kroboth detoured north of his probation officer-approved trip from Arizona to California, stopping by the University of Oregon and attempting to see his college-aged son. For that offense, he was returned to Virginia where he was jailed from January to June. Fewer than two months later, he was arrested again in Charlottesville after his probation officer testified that he refused to sign the terms of his Arizona probation.

In Charlottesville Circuit Court on September 4, Kroboth, who was convicted in 2006 of attempted murder for a 2004 offense in which he donned a vampire mask, cut the phone lines and electricity to the house in which his estranged wife was sleeping, and assaulted her as she slept, testified that he felt the terms of the Arizona probation were so restrictive that they limited his ability to take care of his parents or to complete work duties, virtually guaranteeing a future violation.

Judge Paul Peatross sentenced Kroboth to six months and ordered extended supervised probation.

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Mandela rescued: Film tries to resurrect wife's role

If you don't remember hearing much about a Winnie Mandela biopic starring Jennifer Hudson, that's probably because it was filmed more than three years ago, showcased to negative reaction at the 2011 Toronto Film Festival, given a brief release in Canada in 2012 – and then just drifted into the Library of Forgotten Movies, which is filled with hundreds of titles that never get widespread theatrical play.

Based on the reviews from Toronto and the Hollywood buzz over the years, word on Winnie Mandela was not good, to put it mildly.

Rescued by Bishop T.D. Jakes and Image Entertainment, "Winnie Mandela" finally comes to U.S. theaters. And here's the news: It's not so bad after all. For the first 15 minutes or so, the film indeed lived down to low expectations, and I thought I might have to find a place for it on my list of the worst movies of 2013. But once we got past the hagiographic depictions of young Winnie's life, "Winnie Mandela" turned into a serviceable if sometimes overwrought biography, with solid performances and the courage to spotlight not only the heroics but the appalling misdeeds committed by the iconic Ms. Mandela. What a life.


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Nasty in-law: Stick up for your mom


Dear Carolyn:
At family gatherings, my brother's wife puts my brother down with negative comments, says indirect, hurtful comments to her son's girlfriend, and is, in general, denigrating to other relatives. My mother has started to speak up when my brother's wife says something negative about my brother, which appears to have brought on comments from my brother's wife about how difficult my mother is and how she should go to a nursing home due to her age. (Both of these comments about my mother are utterly wrong.)  
     My sister and I are trying to figure out how to not enable these situations and also how to not engage in her negative behavior. We don't feel avoiding family gatherings is an option. Should we set boundaries? Should we ignore her? We need help with how we should handle ourselves to make our family gatherings more pleasant.  
 – Two Sisters
     No one has your mother's back?
     When she draws your sister-in-law's
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Bypass be gone: It's not too late to undo bad idea

66 Seconds
By Jack Trammell

Rigged polls. Midnight votes. Politicians calling each other names and contradicting themselves in public. Use of the state legislative process to punish opponents. Bureaucratic circumvention of the required or recommended public discourse. Contractors getting rich on no bid or overrun-laden design bid projects. Silence in the major media outlets. If this sounds like a troubled third world country, worthy of another Sacha Baron Cohen movie, think again— it is the current central Virginia battle over the Western Bypass in Charlottesville. Sixty-six seconds (the estimated time savings) has never been so controversial or expensive.

In Virginia, history does matter, and very few people inside or outside the region realize or care to acknowledge that the current bypass war actually dates to 1957.  Fifty-six years ago, a hired consultant recommended a northern route for Virginia’s section of Interstate 64, and a regional war between Lynchburg and Charlottesville politicians and businessmen broke out that was never satisfactorily resolved. Although the state recommended the southern route through the Danville/Lynchburg corridor, federal highway authorities ultimately overrode state politics and mandated that the highway run through/beside Charlottesville. Ever since that time, politicians, businessmen, and even faculty and students in the Danville/Lynchburg areas, the “Lynchburg Lobby,” blame the...

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Editor's Note
4Better Or Worse