Columns

Sunday, March 9 2008

Get on the Bus: A Tutorial for the US Presidential Candidates

While it may be noisy, cramped, and crowded with voices that sound nothing like the candidates', every bus is a microcosm America -- and a perfect place to really meet "the people".


Thursday, March 6 2008

Retelling the History of Black Music: Adventures in Retro-ism

Rightly or wrongly, black audiences have always tended to chase musical innovation, not musical reverence.


Wednesday, March 5 2008

The Play’s the Thing: Public Shaming of Pro Athletes

What no one in Congress will admit: morality in sports is pure theater.


Tuesday, March 4 2008

Standing by Stephen King

Childhood and the end of innocence are vividly portrayed in Stephen King's novella The Body, and Rob Reiner's excellent interpretation, Stand by Me.


Monday, March 3 2008

Sex, Conservative Style

Love, American Style's debut was at the very instance when everything censors and prudes had worried over seemed to bubble and blister just beneath the social surface.


Sunday, March 2 2008

Rock Hits Wall

Does a conservative obsession with its past threaten the originality and imagination of today's rock music? Pink Floyd's The Wall casts a long shadow on the genre.


Thursday, February 28 2008

The Rickshaw as an Endangered Species

Bangladesh's endangered rickshaws and wallahs serve as brightly coloured, moving works of art, and as constant, mobile displays of human nature – often at its best.


Wednesday, February 27 2008

A Little Personality Goes a Long Way

If sport is the new entertainment, its stars need to astound, amuse and bemuse us. I’m not asking for the full Bobby Fischer, but an occasional bit of craziness would definitely be welcome.


Tuesday, February 26 2008

Dear Lost: Lose the Guns

The gunplay in Lost shot past the ken of lessons-not-learned in Screenwriting 101 and blasted into an over-the-top Marx Brothers routine.


Monday, February 25 2008

The Best of the Basket Cases: Round 1

Deep down, in spite of all the bad music I have to plow through, I'm still that 17-year-old kid that can't believe he's getting sent free CDs. I know, I know; it's a rough gig.


Sunday, February 24 2008

Missing Places I’ve Never Been: A Love Letter to Alex Ross

The appeal, the madness of Ross' painting is that it makes a scene involving a fight between spandex-clad do-gooders seem almost as important as Rockwell's depiction of the first step to end racial segregation.


Thursday, February 21 2008

Trout Fishing in America

Richard Brautigan’s minimalist prose wove hallucinations into social commentary, pastoral meditations into cultural satire, and journalistic reports about mundane existence into nihilistic, punkish sirens.


Wednesday, February 20 2008

Every Good Boy Does Fine

Required to take a music class in high school I signed up for chorus, but the teacher offered me $50 to drop the class – and other ruminations about learning to play the piano.


Tuesday, February 19 2008

Devotion Through Music

Global spiritual traditions are being evolved by artists fusing the best of many worlds, electronic and traditional, into forms of devotion applicable to us all.


Monday, February 18 2008

American Gothic

Grant Wood's 'American Gothic' is an elegant representation of the American nightmare: the horrors and monsters that constantly lurk behind the face of normality.


Plastic Fantastic

If you’re not shocked by the idea of mounting a dead animal’s head on the wall, why should you be shocked by Body Worlds 2?


Thursday, February 14 2008

El Che & the Thriller

Rhymefest's mixtape tribute continues hip-hop's longstanding affection for the Jacksons.


Wednesday, February 13 2008

The Sins of the Sister

A director can translate a writer’s words to the screen beautifully, but he can never alter their power on the page. The book and film versions of Atonement prove this all too well.


Tuesday, February 12 2008

Songs, Swoosh-ified

The quintessential element of the digital audio revolution is the creation of the ‘random’ button, that default 'shuffle function', which renders us no longer creators of mix-tapes, but consumers of playlists.


Monday, February 11 2008

Just Let Go: An Interview with Jarboe

J2 is what happens when artists like Jarboe and Justin Broadrick meet halfway, then feed off each other.


//Mixed media
//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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