Labour Day has come and gone, the white pants are safely stowed away, and we have already begun the titillating adventure that is the Fall season. Here are just a few titles that we have been keeping an eye on thus far…it’s an incomplete list – no rhyme or reason to it. If you want proper coverage of all things fall, we suggest websites and publications which don’t offer up a jovial pig with a shopping basket as their mascot.

VACATION
by Deb Olin Unferth
BOOK
McSweeney’s / $22
In shops now

Those kooky cats up at McSweeney’s have found another imaginative story for us to dive into this Fall. Rather than try and explain the plot (which involves earthquakes and dolphins and stuff), let’s have a look at the suddenly very trendy idea of the “book trailer” here.

MS. HEMPLEL CHRONICLES
by Sarah Shun-lien Bynum
BOOK
Houghton Mifflin / $23

Just to bring us back to the awkward school days of yesteryear, Ms. Hempel is a seventh grade teacher with interesting characters on all sides of her. Whether it’s her students, friends or family, we learn about her through all the folks in her life as they grow and change. This book of “novel in stories” was hailed by Jonathan Franzen as “pure pleasure to read.”


THE INN
TELEVISION
FOX
Premieres on 10 September @ 9:30pm ET/PT

Even though we are apt to follow Niecy Nash to the ends of the earth, we’re a bit nervous about ‘The Inn.’ It’s the new half-hour comedy starring Jerry O’Connell, Nash and a gaggle of funny-folk who all run a (very sitcom-looking) inn. From the clips, we are guessing that they’re aiming somewhere between ‘Hotel Babylon’ and ‘Golden Palace.’ So we’re crossing our fingers and will have a review for youse guys in a few days.

VANITY FAIR: THE PORTRAITS
By Graydon Carter and the editors of Vanity Fair
BOOK
Abrams / $65
In shops September 2008

Everybody loves the VF portraits, and if you say that you don’t, well, you’re a big fat liar. So now we have this big, juicy coffee table book so we can recycle all those back issues we’ve been clinging to Carrie Bradshaw-style. The photogs include Annie Leibovitz and Mario Testino. And the subjects ain’t just the starlets from the past six months. Picasso, Cary Grant, Katherine Hepburn…they’re in here, too. And there’s a companion exhibit at Los Angeles County Museum of Art, which begins on 26 October. Sweet.


IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA: SEASON 3
DVD

If you can’t make jokes about sodomy and dumpster baby’s then what can you joke about. Catch up on all the dark humor you missed before season 4 starts up on September 18th.


THE FLY

THEATRE / LOS ANGELES
Los Angeles Opera
7-27 September
www.laopera.com
http://www.laopera.com/media/video/thefly.0809.htm

The Los Angeles Opera will have the U.S. premiere of “The Fly”…the opera. Yes, like the movie by David Cronenberg (he is directing this number as well). It’s written by Howard Shore (Oscar® for “The Lord of the Rings”) with a book by David Henry Hwang. When it opened in Paris back in July, Le Monde wrote that it “sounds like a piece of homework, clumsily orchestrated, from a moderately talented disciple of Arnold Schoenberg.” Ouch. So maybe it’s a three-drink minimum.

THE LIFE AND TIMES OF VIVIENNE VYLE
TELEVISION
Sundance Channel
Premieres on 7 September @ 9pm ET
Airs Sundays at 9pm ET
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4wXCpgaoI0c&feature=related

Praise Jesus, Jennifer Saunders is back! It’s a new (well, okay, it premiered on BBC Two last year) six-part series in which she plays a ferociously aggressive talk show host. Of course, under the sassy exterior, this girl is a hot mess. We love it already. Miranda Richardson also appears as the show’s producer.


FRINGE
TELEVISION
FOX
Premieres on 9 September @ 8pm ET

Here we go, kids. Probably the most hyped new show of the season, and from what we’ve seen, totally worth it. J.J. Abrams likes to put plane drama in his pilots, it seems. This one is covered in blood and locked down as the first huge event in a world unraveling because of the power of fringe science.


MOVIE MASTERS: THE DARK KNIGHT FIGURES
TOYS
Mattel
In Stores Now

We may be adults but there is no harm in collecting these iconic characters from the Christopher Nolan film, right? Fans and collectors have been scavenging these guys for months. Get one of these for your desk at work and you will be the talk of the office. Perhaps not all good talk though.


9 TO 5: THE MUSICAL
THEATRE / LOS ANGELES & BROADWAY
Ahmanson Theatre / Marriott Marquis Theatre
Los Angeles run begins on 9 September
Previews begin on 24 March
Opens on 23 April

The Los Angeles tryout has already been pushed back a couple times, but we’re not worried. Allison Janney stars in the stage adaptation which Dolly Parton has written the music and lyrics for. This is one of those things all the theatre nerds (and Dollywood-lovers) have been going on about for what feels like years. We’ll have your review from the L.A. end of things here on the ‘Hog in a couple weeks, so stay tuned!


ULTIMATE ADVENTURES
BOOK
A Rough Guide to Adventure Travel
Rough Guides / $25
In shops on 15 September

All the books we get from Rough Guides just make us want to grab the passport and scamper off to LAX. This one is no exception, though it’s not for the gift shop crowd, more like the choose-your-own-adventure set. There’s white-water rafting on the Pacuare in Costa Rica, Diving the Great Barrier Reef or Biking down the world’s most dangerous road in Bolivia. Each adventure is ranked in terms of physical-ness, psych-factor, skill and wow factor. And the publishers have teamed up with Imaginative Traveler for a $6000 travel adventure giveaway, which has already begun. Not too shabby.


GHOST TOWN
FILM
Paramount Pictures
In cinemas on 19 September

Basically we’re talking about Ricky Gervais playing a crabby dude who kicks it for a few minutes, and can suddenly see ghosts. And, of course they all want something from him because Jennifer Love Hewitt turned ‘em down. Téa Leoni and Greg Kinnear are in this one as well, which looks enjoyable.


CASHMERE MAFIA: THE COMPLETE SERIES
DVD
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment / $29.95
In shops on 23 September

Yes, all 7 episodes on DVD! Well, they can’t all last, kids. There’s only so much room for shows about successful trios and quartets of New York women and their power brunches. Though it didn’t stick, the gals on the show are fun to watch: Lucy Liu, Frances O’Connor, Miranda Otto and Bonnie Somerville. Then, for those of you who were crushed at the show’s demise, there’s a couple “minisodes” on there for you to enjoy.

OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS
TELEVISION
ABC
Series Premiere / 23 September / 8pm ET

Ashton Kutcher is back with another reality series, y’all. He’s producing this new one for ABC where knock knock, a game show is literally at your door. They take over the place, build a ginormous set and then your friends, family and neighbors (the ones you probably don’t like anyway) all watch you try to win refrigerators and cash. Challenges include things like rummaging through your sister’s room to find her diary. Family fun for everyone! I mean someone’s gotta knock ‘America’s Funniest Home Videos’ off its pedestal, right?


SEX AND THE CITY: THE MOVIE
DVD
New Line Home Video
In shops on 23 September

Here come the girls! $150-million in box office later, the movie comes home. And, of course, since SATC fans crave more more more, this is a special edition with and extended cut, not seen in cinemas. Costume designer Patricia Fields has her own segment on here about the fabulous fashions, and there’s also some sit-down, “intimate” conversations with Sarah Jessica Parker, director Michael Patrick King, and Fergie. Obviously.

THE MENTALIST
TELEVISION
CBS
Series Premiere / 23 September / 9pm ET

Simon Baker plays a dude working for the CBI (California Bureau of Investigation) who solves crimes with his acute senses. Sounds like ‘Leap of Faith’ to us, but we’ll still watch it for Baker. And, of course to be potentially sucked into yet another procedural. What’s one less hour of sleep per week, right?


EAGLE EYE
FILM
Paramount Pictures
In cinemas on 26 September

Another tasty morsel to help us ring in the school year by skipping class (and, let’s face it, maybe work) is “Eagle Eye.” This one is exec produced by Steven Spielberg and directed by D.J. Caruso (“Disturbia”) with that cheeky Shia LaBeouf in the lead (+ Michelle Monaghan). We’re not sure what’s up, but someone’s pulling their strings and there’s danger ‘round the bend. DANGER! Totally.


THE WAY I AM
By Eminiem
BOOK
Dutton
In shops October 2008

Gather ‘round, kids, cause Eminem is about to give us a private tour of his life. Personal demons, his daughter, the perils of the public eye…it’s all in his memoir this fall. He’s the fastest-selling rap artist of all time, the first one to win an Academy Award® and in our humble opinion, one of the coolest storytellers in the zeitgeist. In the pages of “The Way I Am,” you can also expect to see photos from his home, original drawings and lyric sheets. Sure to be revelatory.


NICK & NORAH’S INFINITE PLAYLIST
FILM
Sony Screen Gems / Columbia Pictures
In cinemas on 3 October

We seem to have become the generation constantly yearns for more and more Michael Cera. Well, if the trailers for “Nick & Norah” are any indication, this will be a film that wholly encapsulates our ADD people in just one night. Based on the Rachel Cohn & David Levithan’s YA novel of the same name, we see a couple misfits enjoy a night of kooky adventures through the Manhattan streets and can only hope that it brings us back to the same area code as films like “Pretty in Pink.” That’s yet to be determined, but we’re hoping so.


THE ARTS OF TUSCANY
By Marina Belozerskaya
BOOK
Abrams / $55
In shops October 2008

JP nearly passed out when this book came in. His fondness for coffee table art history books aside, this is one of the coolest items (and best gifts) to roll out this year. Everyone knows that Tuscany is an obligatory destination when visiting Italy, but this is the book that shows you why. Beyond the Duomo and the David, here is a lush history of the arts throughout Florence, Siena, Pisa and Lucca. It doesn’t matter when your last or next visit to Tuscany is, this is the stuff that really enhances the magic while you’re there.

CRUSOE
TELEVISION
NBC
Premieres on 17 October

We’ve been waiting for a new epic series, and here it comes! Kicking off with a two-hour premiere, ‘Crusoe’ has got newcomer, Phillip Winchester as our leading dude for this swashbuckling adventure. Sounds fun. If you’d like to get better acquainted with Winchester, we suggest waiting for this series and NOT looking at the trailer of his indie feature, “In My Sleep.” It’s just entirely too much nipple.


TRANSFORMERS: RUBIK’S CUBE: ALLSPARK
TOY
Hasbro

It might be a little late to the party but we don’t care. It’s simple and classic, with some fancy ‘Allspark’ stickers to top it off. You know you have been wanting to actually pay attention to the all those YouTube Rubik’s cube tutorials you keep seeing, don’t lie.

ROAD SHOW
THEATRE / OFF-BROADWAY
The Public Theater
From 28 October – 28 December
http://www.publictheater.org/

It used to be called “Bounce,” and it played a couple years back in Chicago and even had a cast album put out. Now, the newest Stephen Sondheim musical with its brand new title and some new music. (For theatre nerds, you can read all about it on Playbill). The show covers 40 years, starting with the Alaskan Gold Rush and ending up in Florida. Both of those scenes sound awful to us, but maybe they’ll make good fodder for some musical numbers. We shall have to wait and see…



SHREK THE MUSICAL
THEATRE / BRAODWAY
Previews begin on 8 November
Opens on 14 December

Now when we first caught wind of this notion, we could only really think of Disney-esque musicals but with more flatulence and general gross-ness. The creative team, however, will hopefully steer clear of the low-brow elements that are fine for a $10 movie but not so much for a show with a top ticket price of $111.50. Book and lyrics are by David Lindsay-Abaire (“Fuddy Meers”) and Jeanine Tesori (“Caroline, or Change”) has done the music. Brian d’Arcy James plays the green dude, and The Seattle Times has some pics from its current out-of-town tryout if you want a peek.

BILLY ELLIOT: THE MUSICAL
THEATRE / BROADWAY
Previews begin on 1 October
Opens on 13 November
http://www.billyelliotbroadway.com/

The hit film, which became the hit London musical (music by Sir Elton John), now dances across the pond for its Broadway bow. Finally. The CD from the UK show has been around since it premiered there in 2005. Then it went onto Australia. A sample of the music has yet to hit the US site, but the UK one has a few videos and such to get you revved up for the show.

Wallpaper* City Guides
Edited by the travel experts at Wallpaper* magazine
BOOK
Phaidon Press / $9.95 each
http://www.phaidon.com/Default.aspx/Web/Travel

Our favourite travel guides return this September with updated and all-new editions. The list of 10 brand new cities are: Antwerp, Bologna, Boston, Dublin, Edinburgh, Frankfurt, Honolulu, Palma de Mallorca, Vancouver and Zurich. Not that we’re all that choosy when it comes to the notion of international travel, but these are some delectable destinations. (cue: smacking of lips).


BEYOND BABYLON
Art, Trade, and Diplomacy in the Second Millennium B.C.
MUSEUM
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
18 November 2008 – 15 March 2009

Since that pesky war has obliterated hundreds of pieces of art from ancient Mesopatamia, we may as well celebrate what remains safely guarded. This exhibit represents the art from palaces, temples and tombs. Stuff from Mesopotamia, Syria, Anatolia, Cyprus, Egypt and the Aegean all have a spot in the show. The works come from 30 different lenders in 15 countries, and it’s all gonna be on Fifth Avenue for y’all, so go have a look.


HALO 3 SERIES 3 CAMPAIGN
TOY
McFarlane Toy’s

So the third game wasn’t quite the smash success that Microsoft promised. That shouldn’t mean we should deny displaying one of the best costume designs proudly on our bookshelf. Series 3 also comes with a variety of armored creatures and goons that you will have trouble justifying to your friends. Stay ahead of the trend and get them before the movie comes out.


LIFE ON MARS
TELEVISION
ABC
Series Premiere: 9 October / 10pm ET

Based on the BBC series, ‘Life on Mars’ stars Jason O’Mara (‘Men in Trees’) as a cop, who gets hit by a car and is suddenly doing the whole protect and serve bit in 1973 instead of present-day. Maybe ‘Swingtown’ got us in the mood for cubist couture and synthetic fabric. Then again, it may be one lava lamp too many – especially after we already saw ‘New Amsterdam’ (hey, we liked it…) and ‘Journeyman’ go back in time, sadly never catching up with the present-day people or our apparent standards for appointment television.

SILVERHAWKS: SEASON 1 VOLUME 1
DVD
Warner Home Video / $44.98
In shops on 14 October
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mzAQu23t19A

We had to take a look at the opening theme song on YouTube to refresh our memory, and now we’re a teensy bit over-excited about the DVD coming out. We will get out the cereal and pretend its still normal to watch Saturday morning cartoons as adults.

THE HAUTNING OF MOLLY HARTLEY
FILM
Freestyle Releasing
In cinemas nationwide on 31 October

Here’s something new and different: Chace Crawford wandering the halls of a prep school and going after the girl. Yeah, okay, we’re in. Especially since it’s a horror movie where, as the synopsis says, “something evil lurks.” Looks kinda like ‘Reaper’ except with a female lead and, well, not funny. It marks the directing debut of Mickey Liddell (producer of ‘Everwood’ and the brilliant-but-cancelled ‘Jack and Bobby’) and since we’re too old to trick-or-treat this Halloween, I guess we’ll be squealing in the cinema.

THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON
FILM
Paramount Pictures
In cinemas nationwide on 25 December

Yes, Baby Jesus, it’s the movie you’ve been waiting for. David Fincher directs F. Scott Fitzgerald’s short story about a guy who is born as an old man and gets younger as his body grows. The low-profile cast includes: Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, Julia Ormond and Tilda Swinton. Christmas dinner will just have to wait.