Columns

Wednesday, May 6 2015

Spectacle of Empty Gestures: Rihanna’s “American Oxygen”

The problem isn't that "American Oxygen" fails as political art, it's that we might consider it a success instead of a mere gesture.


Tuesday, May 5 2015

Covering Cover Songs

Cover songs don't have to be all that bad. Just listen to what Becca Stevens and Jason Moran have been doing lately, and you'll see.


Monday, May 4 2015

Deconstructing the Star Beast: How the ‘Alien’ Saga Went Wrong

Alien was a planned B-Movie that transcended its genre and spawned the rare sequel that is neither imitation nor complete deviation. Then the saga went to hell.


Monday, April 27 2015

The Ethics of Death-Defying Media

Furious 7's path to the screen is emblematic of the ways in which film and other media defy (and define) death as images develop lives of their own.


Friday, April 24 2015

Status Flow: The Kingly Rhymes of Marracash

A household name in his native country, Italy has in Marracash one of its biggest contenders of hip-hop.


Thursday, April 23 2015

Diss-Illusioned! Magic and the Supernatural

A new breed of magicians are self-consciously aware that their toolbox of trickery enables them to wield the potential power to affect beliefs—and thus behavior.


Wednesday, April 22 2015

Beyond Record Store Day: Digging Up Some Choice Used Americana Vinyl

There are plenty of good reasons to visit an actual record store besides that one hyped day in April.


Tuesday, April 21 2015

Great Movies With Terrible Sequels: Laughable Sequels in Action

Not even the combined might of Superman, Batman, Predator and James Bond can save their respective series from sinking like an ocean liner into the Bay of Pigs!


Monday, April 20 2015

America Hears a Hoosier at the Midwest Bisexual Lesbian Gay Transgender Ally College Conference

A college conference is helping train students to battle the idiocy of laws like Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act.


Friday, April 17 2015

Still Life: The Portrait of Time in ‘Boyhood’

Boyhood sets itself the daunting task of reflecting the breadth of a human adolescence, but it instead reveals that it is in life's minutia that we find the most meaning.


Thursday, April 16 2015

Laughing Through the Great Depression With ‘Sullivan’s Travels’

The real charm of Sullivan’s Travels is the way it exposes Hollywood’s mediation of the Depression and the trauma it inflicted.


Wednesday, April 15 2015

On Epigraphs and Other Incestuous Things

Like a cover letter, the epigraph must take me to the textual meat without giving me reason to discard the sandwich altogether.


Monday, April 13 2015

Death in the Land of Smiles

A recent biopic about the last executioner in Thailand explores the extremes between killing and redemption.


Thursday, April 9 2015

Robert Christgau Falls From Grace in ‘Going into the City’

We have here the post-apocalyptic wanderer, able to go anywhere because there’s nowhere he belongs.


Wednesday, April 8 2015

Bill O’Reilly’s Rock & Roll Machine

Nostalgia has its uses, its benefits. But is it useful and beneficial when it obscures the reality of the past and present, usually in the service of power, prestige, and making a buck?


Tuesday, April 7 2015

Billie Holiday at 100: Still an Inspiration

On Billie Holiday's centennial, her influence remains everywhere in music. Jazz singers Cassandra Wilson and Jose James, have new tributes out on Blue Note.


Monday, April 6 2015

Time, Space and Plasticity in Long-running Comics Series

Some creators and publishers choose to make time and space infinitely malleable. Others take readers to new times and places while leaving characters in a single timeline.


Thursday, April 2 2015

The Curious Art of Wrapping Music

With the 'gratuity' of music fostered by digital ubiquity came a renewed, exacting demand for magic artefacts.


Wednesday, April 1 2015

The Deconstruction and Destruction of a Hero

Shadow of the Colossus begins as a game about a hero rescuing a princess, but by the end, there are no heroes and there are no princesses.


Tuesday, March 31 2015

What’s Not to Love About the Trombone?

There was a time when jazz trombonists like Glenn Miller were mega-stars. Not so today, but talents like those of Ryan Keberle and Joe Fiedler make the case that they should be.


//Blogs

Authenticity Issues and the New Intimacies

// Marginal Utility

"The social-media companies have largely succeeded in persuading users of their platforms' neutrality. What we fail to see is that these new identities are no less contingent and dictated to us then the ones circumscribed by tradition; only now the constraints are imposed by for-profit companies in explicit service of gain.

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