The Mind of Matt

Since 1961

My Favorite Things

This is my personal “Best Of” list, my favorite things from a number of categories. Of course, I have to come in and edit this page from time to time. Of course, this is all in my opinion and there’s no accounting for tastes, so it’s okay if you disagree.


My Favorite Movies

The Wizard of Oz (1939)

A timeless classic for all ages. What were they thinking when they remade it as The Wiz?

The Sound of Music (1965)

I fell in love with Julie Andrews just listening to the soundtrack album when I was a kid. Imagine when I finally saw the movie!

Casablanca (1942)

Humphrey Bogart’s magnum opus. “Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine!” There will never be another Bogey.



My Favorite TV Shows

Law & Order (NBC)

Great writing and a format that stands up to casting changes. I enjoy all three flavors: Law & Order Classic, Special Victims Unit and Criminal Intent. (Vincent D’Onofrio is so yummy!)

The West Wing (NBC)

Jeb Bartlett is the president I wish we had. Alas, the show has been cancelled, but thankfully, there are always reruns on Bravo.

Doctor Who (BBC/Sci-Fi)

This British science fiction series has been going, off an on, since 1964. After languishing for several years, the format was resuscited and updated into a slick new production. One thing that’s kept it going so long is the main character is a “Time Lord” from the planet Galifrey. When one dies, he simply regenerates a new body. Thus when the star leaves the show, you just replace him with somebody else!

Space: 1999 (Syndicated)

This British science fiction series, often criticized for its scientific inaccuracy, was still light-years ahead of its time. It’s the story of Moonbase Alpha, where 300 people are trapped when a freak accident throws the moon out of earth’s orbit and sends it into deep space. After the first season, it was completely re-worked to American-ize it (read: dumbed down) and wasn’t as good. While it hasn’t aired in years, its following is still strong. And there’s always the DVD megaset.

Cooking Shows (Food Network)

I love to cook, and have gotten quite a bit of inspiration (and appetite) watching these shows. My personal favorites are Dave Lieberman, Tyler Florence, Bobby Flay, Michael Chiarello and Paula Deen. (I refer to her show as “How To Have A Heart Attack Before Age 50” because she uses lots of cheese, butter and cream. Yum!) While I like a lot of the things Emeril cooks, his personality is a bit brusque for my tastes.



My Favorite Books

The Stars My Destination (Alfred Bester)

This 23rd century retelling of The Count of Monte Christo is widely regarded by many as the greatest science fiction work ever written.

The Hound of the Baskervilles (Arthur Conan Doyle)

Sherlock Holmes’ greatest adventure. (Nowhere in any of the 56 short stories or four novels written by A. Conan Doyle did the Great Detective ever say “Elementary, my dear Watson.”)

Behold The Man (Michael Moorcock)

An interesting premise: Jesus Christ was actually a time traveler from our own time. I suppose someone possessed of today’s skills and knowledge would seem pretty miraculous back then. A classic demonstration of Clarke’s Law: “To the primitive mind, any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”



My Favorite Recording Artists

Queen

It’s not the same since Freddie Mercury died, but as the song goes, “the show must go on.”

Pink Floyd

Mine was the generation that first experienced The Wall and Dark Side of the Moon. Timeless!

Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus

Okay, so I’m biased here… They have released some pretty great recordings you can order here.

My Favorite Songs

American Pie (Don McLean, 1971)

The anthem that defined my generation. I sing it on Karaoke night quite often, and can play it on the guitar.

You Can’t Always Get What You Want (Rolling Stones, 1969)

Another favorite of mine on Karaoke night. I like the choral vocals mixed in.

Runaway Train (Soul Asylum, 2001)

A hard-hitting song that describes what my life was like in the early days of my HIV diagnosis.

Bridge Over Troubled Waters (Simon & Garfunkel, 1970)

Possibly one of the most beautiful songs of our time. It never fails to bring a tear to my eye. The Chorus sang it in our 2008 spring concert, Friends ARE Benefits.

I Want More Life (Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus, 2009)

TCGMC commissioned this work from Michael Shaieb, the composer who wrote Through A Glass, Darkly for them in 2008. The text is adapted from Angels in America Part 2: Perestroika by Tony Kushner. The result is an emotionally moving affirmation of being alive. This song was premiered at the Guthrie Theater in conjunction with the Kushner Celebration, which included the premiere of The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide To Capitalism And Socialism With A Key To The Scriptures. (Whew!)


My Favorite Classical Music

Adagio for Organ and Strings (Thomaso Albinoni)

A haunting piece I first heard as background music on Space: 1999.

Symphony No. 5 (Pytor Ilyich Tchaikovsky)

My eldest brother turned me on to it when I was a kid. I always loved the second movement best.

Symphony No. 7 (Ludwig von Beethoven)

One of Beethoven’s lesser-known works, but one of his best.



My Favorite News Sources

Print: Minneapolis Star-Tribune

The newspaper of the Twin Cities. They actually dropped “Minneapolis” from their name several years ago in an attempt to serve both Minneapolis and St. Paul, as well as about a million suburbs that make up the Twin Cities metro area.

Television (National): NBC/MSNBC

I grew up watching NBC News on WDSU (Channel 6) in New Orleans. I remember when NBC Nightly News was called the Huntley-Brinkley Report. I have come to know and trust them.

Television (Local): KARE-11 (NBC affiliate)

Their weekend weather guy, Sven Sundgaard, is absolutely dreamy!



My Favorite Places To Go

New Orleans

My home town. It’s taken a bit of a beating lately, but it will rise again. The proud, strong and stubborn people who live there wouldn’t have it any other way.

Amsterdam

I’ve only been there once, but as god is my witness I will make it back someday.

Chicago

Just close enough for a weekend getaway.



My Favorite Things To Cook

(Matt’s First Rule of Cooking: There is no such thing as too much garlic.)

Beef Stroganoff

It’s about 100 percent cholesterol and a bazillion calories per serving, but worth every artery clogging bite.

Shrimp Creole

A taste of home when I can afford to make it.

Five Alarm Chili

My chili is definitely not for the weak.


My Favorite Bars

The Saloon (Minneapolis)

Where everybody knows my name … and, alas, my reputation.

Side Track (Chicago)

They have a fun rooftop patio. I’ve always had a good time at Side Track when I go to Chicago.

The Phoenix (New Orleans)

Probably one of the last “full service” bars in America: you can have a drink, a cigarette and a blow-job all at the same time.

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