Oy! “Trolls de Troy”

Just when you think Oggy and the Cockroaches is the biggest French-cartoon import you’ll ever run across, the Brookline Booksmith Used Book Basement comes through again and yields up the first volume of Trolls de Troy, which I understand is enormously popular in France and some other non-English-speaking countries. I loved the crazy action and the vibrant artwork so much, I didn’t mind my merest spattering of French. Closer viewing at home revealed the comic featured fabulous monsters and, wow, horror-movie violence (just for starters, the Trolls kill and eat humans with impunity and regularity), not to mention a human “child” of a lead character who wants to become a Troll but who really seems to be there so we can have a Hot Babe around (who happens to be a cannibal).

I can’t follow the plot — the only English versions of Trolls de Troy is the animated cartoons, very simplified and toned waaay down — so I may only need an example of this series. But yowsah, if yer a serious comic-book person, you got to have a look at this one.

Where To Eat in Harvard Square This Summer

(Before the students mob the place and make it impossible to get in.)

Hokkaido Ramen Santouka

The “small” sized combo plates will be plenty for most folks. Be sure to put your soft-boiled egg into the ramen (delicious enrichment!). The crispy, deep-fried chicken will sate all your memories of what this should taste like. [Edit] Lightest, least-gooey gyoza wraps ever — also, stuffing not mush, has meat texture. [Edit Edit] Website reference to families is spot-on. We saw lots of children enjoying the food as much as their parents and relatives.

Act before the first moving van arrives.

Ry Cooder Preview That Got Lost in the Storm

This was such an insanely busy week that I managed not to link to this preview.

June 7 at 8 p.m.
The Wilbur Theatre, Boston, MA

Ry Cooder’s new album, The Prodigal Son (Fantasy) is one of those works that tempt you to say it was inevitable because it’s so apt and timely. This is always an illusion – concept and execution have to fuse into a set that’s perfect for the moment and the future. Cooder’s basic insight was that traditional gospel songs often have potent morality, righteousness and even anger. They do mean to lift you higher. The Prodigal Son combines fairly well-remembered numbers like Blind Willie Johnson’s “Nobody’s Fault But Mine” with more-faded tunes like Blind Roosevelt Graves’s “I’ll Be Rested When the Roll Is Called.” Best of all, Cooder modifies Alfred Reed’s “You Must Unload” so it chastises the faux-pious wealthy of our time and he enriches the program with acid observations on “Gentrification” (written with his son and the album’s drummer, Joachim). “Jesus and Woody” is even narrated by Christ himself. Can’t deny it – seeing this show will earn you a blessing.

Go Roma in Cambridge

(I know — what is this guy doing? turning into Bourdain?) The finest Italian food I have ever tasted in Cambridge is now at Sulmona Restaurant .

D had porchetta presented as a steak, with lovely roasted vegetables and the creamiest polenta imaginable. The Traditional Lamb Skewers were neither fatty nor dry and I believe US stock — you get six of them and it’s a fine deal. (They are pictured on the “About Us” page — that yummy roasted lemon!) Last week I had a fine Tricolori salad at another new joint, but the one at Sulmona made it look chintzy and clumsy: proper small chunks of Gorgonzola (not mere crumbles) and a very fresh mix of greens and onions (how do they get veggies like this at this time of year?). Knowledgeable, utterly sensitive staff. Even the booth seats were delightful. Sulmona is gonna be mobbed, but you have to squeeze in somehow. The area has needed exactly this for a long time.

R.I.P.: Russ Solomon

The founder of Tower Records. The sad part is that if he had not overextended, the company might not have had such a nosedive finish.

The happy part is that Tower Records taught me how excellent a huge record/music store could be. The Mass. Ave./Newbury St. intersection that included both a three-floor Tower and the lynch pin store of Newbury Comics were my happiest hunting grounds since I discovered Cheapo back before the Earth’s crust cooled. The “World Music” section of the San Francisco store was Heaven incarnated in a forest of racks. I still recall flipping through vinyl and jewel cases for hours with a simmering, dreamy excitement.

{EDIT}

PS: I should add that the first time I went into the Tower in Berkeley (I think it was) there was an angry demonstration-line in front of it decrying “corporate music stores.” So I thought, well probably gonna be a Top 40 hellhole. No way. I recall I saw Rock of Ages by The Band, bright and early after release, and snatched it up and have loved it ever since. You protesters are full of the residue from vinyl that they used to dump in rivers.