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The Big Ten

What to watch, read and listen to this month

Illustration Chloé Fleury

1 STILL GOING STRONG

For the latest installment in a career that began when she recorded her first rock ’n’ roll single in 1958, Wanda Jackson chose Jack White to produce The Party Ain’t Over, a collection of covers handpicked by Jackson and White, including Amy Winehouse’s “You Know I’m No Good.” JANUARY 25

2 GREEN LIGHT

Seth Rogen plays an average guy better than most: He’s schlubby, goofy and not exactly Hollywood handsome. These anti-hero traits serve him well as he takes the unlikely lead in The Green Hornet, where he stars as a newspaper heir who becomes a superhero by only pretending to be a bad guy. JANUARY 14

3 OUT OF AFRICA

BBC journalist Peter Firstbrook’s newest tome, The Obamas: The Untold Story of An African Family, is a fascinating and carefully researched geneaology of the 44th president’s Kenyan roots. The story is complicated, much like Kenya’s history. JANUARY 11

4 THE GIRL WHO PRESSED PLAY

Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy— The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, and the films based on them—have a cultlike following. Now the three movies will be released as a set, so devotees can watch them in one sitting. JANUARY 25

5 A REFLECTION

Based on the novel by Mordecai Richler, Barney’s Version tells the story of Barney Panofsky (Paul Giamatti), who has only a few regrets as he looks back on his life as a crude TV producer. After 12 years in development, the film benefits from cult hero Giamatti’s even hand. JANUARY 14

6 HELLO DALAI

The Dalai Lama occupies such a lofty space in world culture, it’s easy to forget that he was once a small-town teenager expected to decide the fate of his country. Stephan Talty gets to know the boy who would be Lama in Escape from the Land of Snows: The Young Dalai Lama’s Harrowing Flight to Freedom and the Making of a Spiritual Hero. JANUARY 18

7 THE LATEST SHAME

After winning the BAFTA award for best drama series, British black comedy Shameless is being remade by Showtime, starring two-time Emmy winner William H. Macy. Macy plays the alcohol-abusing father of a working- class family, and Emmy Rossum steps up as his capable daughter. JANUARY 9

8 SOCIAL SERVICES

Social distortion is often lumped in with other ’80s punk bands, but over the last two decades the seminal combo has honed a sound of its own. It’s seventh effort, Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes, combines punk energy with catchy melodies and poingant storytelling. JANUARY 18

9 BRIGHT LIGHTS

With a production history as dramatic as its plot, The Bright Stream (banished under Josef Stalin; Bolshoi director Alexei Ratmansky re-created it in 2003) tells the stories of Soviet farmers. American Ballet Theatre restages the classic at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. JANUARY 21-23

10 VISUAL HISTORY

Remember when TVs had antennae that needed adjusting? Tribune Broadcasting does. That’s why it’s launching Antenna TV, which will give fans of classic shows a new place to watch old favorites like Three’s Company, The Monkees and All in the Family. JANUARY 1

Blues Brother

Southern rock legend Gregg Allman is back with his first album in 14 years.

By Mike Guy

FEW PEOPLE SUMMON country-fried Southern American rock like Gregg Allman. The grizzled singer and organist of The Allman Brothers Band has toured the U.S. for more than 40 long, hard years. They’ve taken their toll—his brother, guitarist Duane, died on the road in the ’70s, and this past summer 63-year-old Gregg had a liver transplant.

This month, Allman releases Low Country Blues, his first solo album in 14 years, with superproducer T-Bone Burnett.

“At the end of the Allman Brothers tour last year, my manager said to me, “Man, it’s been fourteen years since your last record,’” a surprisingly chipper Allman says from a hotel in Philadelphia. “That’s a long time, so he said ‘Dig it, I got somebody I want you to meet.’” Allman stopped by The Peabody hotel in Memphis to meet Burnett, and the two hit it off right away. “Once we got into it, I thought, This is too good to be true,” Allman says. “We were on the exact same page.”

The result is a gritty, uptempo collection of semi-obscure blues tunes executed by a powerhouse band—including Dr. John on piano, Burnett on guitar and Allman playing the Hammond B-3 organ. Allman and Burnett together selected covers by Muddy Waters (the driving “I Can’t Be Satisfied”), BB King (“Please Accept My Love”) and Junior Wells (“Little By Little”). Allman’s dixie growl is stronger than it’s been in a decade.

“I feel good,” Allman says. “We just hit it off in the studio. The Bone has to be different, like me. I can’t wear the same shirt twice.”

PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF © 2010 COLUMBIA PICTURES INDUSTRIES, INC. (2), COURTESY OF KNUT KOIVISTO (4), COURTESY OF SONY PICTURES CLASSICS (5), COURTESY OF SHOWTIME (7), BY SHUTTERSTOCK (9, 10) , BY DANNY CLINCH (ALLMAN).

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