Recommended diversions

Los Lobos: The Town and the City

Remembered by most as “that band that revived ‘La Bamba’,” this criminally under-appreciated group from east Los Angeles may well be the best rock and roll band of the past quarter century.

Their sound has evolved from Latino-influenced roots rock in the 1980s to a more experimental phase that included the great albums Kiko and especially Colossal Head, in the 1990s. Their new album, The Town and the City, falls somewhere in between and is an excellent follow-up to their roots rock overview Wolf Tracks, released earlier in the year. Either will have you up and dancing in your living room, and both are highly recommended. If you ever get a chance to see them live, don’t pass it by. I guarantee you’ll be talking about it for weeks afterward.

“Picnic at Hanging Rock”

A surrealistic tour de force, this 1975 Australian film directed by Peter Weir is based on the true story of three schoolgirls and a teacher who disappeared on a Valentine’s Day picnic and were never found. If the movie followed traditional Hollywood conventions, it would play as a “whodunit,” a mystery that provides the usual red herrings before pointing us in the direction it wants us to go — toward the killer, an explanation, something. Weir refuses to go down that well-trodden path, opting instead to suggest that some of the bad things that happen in the world are not only inexplicable, but ultimately unknowable, which is scarier perhaps than monsters or even conspiracies. The face of evil is at least a face — the only scary faces here are in the towering rocks themselves, which surround and seem to mock all those who come to search for the missing girls. Suggesting what? That in the absence of any clear explanation for what happens to us, we are forced to manufacture something to fill the void? I don’t know for sure. The rocks aren’t talking. A great, daring movie.

Los Amigos

Great food, great atmosphere, great service. Since a friend recommended this restaurant to us a little over a month ago, we have become regulars. Not only is the food first rate — I am especially partial to the chicken fajitas — but the service is probably the best I’ve ever seen in a restaurant. You’ll leave feeling full and pampered, and for a reasonable price. Gracias, amigos!

— By Chris Cox

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