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John L. Murphy
Image: John L. Murphy

Born in Los Angeles but should have been born in my parental Ireland. Find me at:“Blogtrotter”.


Features

Monday, March 18 2013

"Just Walk Into That Cloud": Finding Bhutan in Books and Film

"Happy peasants in bountiful fields. A King who's too good to be true.... I'm making photos, shooting video and collecting stories. Everybody in Bhutan's got a story -- some of them might even be true."


Wednesday, April 6 2011

Wandering Through: An Interview with Elf Power

Starring in surrealist films? Stumbling upon comic-book cover art? These are just some of the questions answered by Elf Power as they continue to celebrate the release of their 10th album.


Columns

Thursday, March 27 2014

'The Age of Atheists' Considers That Beyond Reason or Religion, Our Quest for Meaning Endures

Who will choose this enriching and rewarding removal from reality TV and manufactured distraction? Who will walk the course mapped in these heady pages, along a sobering path of self-awareness of our fragile presence surrounded by darkness and mystery?


Monday, February 10 2014

What Would Thomas Pynchon Do?

Like his protagonists, Thomas Pynchon appears to remind us, in his absence from advising us, that we must rely on our own smarts, arrayed against mystery and cynicism and corruption.


Monday, February 3 2014

"The Goodness of Privacy in a Warm Room with Books"

We all search for escape, and while music, drugs, radicalism, or fame may ease the monotony, the protagonists of so many of these tales find themselves at the end of their narratives still constrained.


Sunday, November 24 2013

In 'Imperial' Vollmann Struggles to Understand the Salton Sea as He Would a Mark Rothko Painting

Here as in all his works, William T. Vollman sides with the poor and the marginalized, but he tries to remain fair to all he meets, even as he confesses his prejudice, or tolerance.


Monday, August 12 2013

Thrift, Schemes & Restlessness Characterize Both Katherine & J.F. Powers' Writing

"I am not by nature cut out for this life, as it's defined in these parts by the chamber of commerce and our bishop, who is devoted to Christian family living, as everyone knows." This deadpan tone suits J.F. Powers and his conflicted, capitalist, Midwestern, mid-century priests well.


Reviews

Tuesday, August 19 2014

The Who: Quadrophenia Live in London

The Who, however it survives, repeats that that youthful concerns and ideals matter, no matter how long the band or we endure.


Wednesday, August 13 2014

Penn Penitentiary, Where Converts Dwell Among Convicts

In Down in the Chapel, Joshua Dubler reports on the tensions of the body and the spirit, the restless minds and the stifled desires.


Tuesday, August 5 2014

Back to School: Revisiting California's Golden Age of Public Education

In Blackboard, Lewis Buzbee compares the progression of his daughter, with his earlier journey through California's public schools. Things have changed.


Thursday, July 24 2014

The Who's Pomp and Bombast, Egos and Flaws

The Who FAQ brings some entertaining insight into who the hell those guys are.


Tuesday, July 22 2014

Smells and Bells, Halls and Hells: 'The Victorian City: Everyday Life in Dickens' London'

The mud, rain, smoke, fog, and excrement that abounded meant whatever one's rank, the weather and the smells took their toll on one's health, one's clothing, and one's nerves.


Disappears: Era [3.Sep.13]
Weekend: Jinx [31.Jul.13]
The Fall: Re-Mit [22.May.13]
White Hills: Hp-1 [21.Jun.11]

Blogs

Monday, August 30 2010

A Punk Collage in the Spirit of Walter Benjamin

Why did punk implode so rapidly? Why did its bands flare up and fade out? And how did this movement resist yet revamp the hippies they rushed to replace?


Friday, April 30 2010

J.C. Hallman's The Hospital for Bad Poets

Twilit zones: suburban malcontents and post-modern autodidacts roam, ponder, fret, and mull.


Friday, April 23 2010

'Elegy for April': Benjamin Black's New Dublin Noir

John Banville's alter ego resurrects Quirke in another 1950s Dublin noir adventure.


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