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Morning, folks!

The Tallest Man on Earth show at the Black Cat on Friday was the best show I’ve seen all year. I wasn’t the only one floored by Kristian Matsson’s latest album; Metacritic has it at an 8.2, with users giving it a 10.0. Tallest, indeed. Don’t miss him next time he comes through town.

Speaking of impressive performances, less is apparently more for Al Pacino in Kevorkian. The two driving forces behind the new HBO biopic—Pacino and Death—reportedly are not as oversold as they have been in past films. Salon praises director Barry Levinson for dealing with the latter without the vain pageantry that has been its obligatory companion in Hollywood:

The mundane reality of death is something we don’t anticipate, something we can’t bear, at some level, thanks to a lifetime of being spoon-fed valiant stories of the soldier who speaks a few brave words then dies on cue or the old man who lies in his bed at home, receiving loving visitors with warmth and clarity.

Speaking of the relentless turning of the life wheel, DoubleX invites you to have a look at film portrayals of women giving birth—another messy, existential phenomenon that Hollywood traditionally has been loath to depict with any verisimilitude. Also, thanks to DCist for volunteering to monitor Mei Xiang for signs of pregnancy via Pandacam.

Speaking of death and rebirth, AU has a new art show about war, that great engine of death, and the art to which it gives life. Namely in Lebanon—where, according to WaPo, war-based art is the only relevant art. (Egad! Either Lebanon is harsher than I thought, or WaPo is.)

Speaking of folk art, BYT shouts out America Hearts, the D.C. indie supergroup, calling the band “the next top model of Americana.” As far as new Americana acts that have recently appropriated that particular anatomical metaphor, my vote still goes to A.A. Bondy’s record and its titular song. But you should still catch the band at Velvet Lounge on Wednesday.

Do your Mondays ever feel like this? Mine too. Good luck to both of us.