Wednesday, February 20 2013
New Orleans to swing, swing to bop, bop to cool, cool to hard bop, hard bop to free jazz—"jazz style periods" are so often presented like this. But jazz's transformation often shifted independently of cultural happenings, and those shifts were far from linear.
Tuesday, February 19 2013
Lawrence Wright’s devastating, impeccably researched history of Scientology’s “Prison of Belief” vividly illustrates the ability of this “Church” to successfully prey upon nearly every dark strain in the modern American psyche, from celebrity-worship to ego-mania and the lust for power and money.
Thursday, February 7 2013
Leonard Cohen endures and conquers. But does he mean something different to Millenial audiences than he did to their parents? Can the legend of Cohen escape its own clichés?
Sunday, February 3 2013
A mother attempting to stab her own daughter, an exorcism, a school suspending a student -- author Bernadette Barton describes growing up in the religious South.
Monday, January 21 2013
The biggest difference between the Black Chicago Renaissance and the Harlem Renaissance is brand awareness. The fact is, from roughly the early ‘30s to the ‘50s, Chicago was black America’s most fruitful cultural capitol.
Tuesday, January 15 2013
As the world is increasingly filtered through computers there is emerging a reliance on data as a belief system. Groups like Anonymous are pushing us further towards data, as they highlight the divide they see between belief and information.
Thursday, January 10 2013
Fiction lets us to explore our weirdest speculations and darkest fears about the person who sits in the White House. Is reality, under America's current president, worse than fiction?
Thursday, January 3 2013
Back when Martha (Reeves) and the Vandellas and the Marvelettes would have one big hit and then nothing much for months, and the Supremes didn’t have a hit among their first nine releases, Mary Wells was Motown’s reigning pop star, queen and cash cow.
Tuesday, December 11 2012
John Pizzarelli is a blazing swing guitarist whose music is among the most consistent pleasures and most reliably smart expressions of the “The Great American Songbook” of the last 25 years.
Wednesday, December 5 2012
James Wood's new collection of essays and reviews, The Fun Stuff, at once subverts the critic's elitist persona and fortifies it.
Monday, November 26 2012
Since it launched in 2007, Bazillion Points has released seven of the best books about metal and punk, including the very best book about metal, yet.
Thursday, November 15 2012
Because history can be seen to be a malleable artifact, it’s a useful tool to employ when writing fiction. Because history is often chaotic, fiction can be the best way to approach it.
Tuesday, November 13 2012
Even a cursory look at The Big Lebowski and the Gospel reveals that Jesus of Nazareth was an original Dude and Lebowski of Los Angeles is, in his own way, a practitioner of Jesus’ way and life.
The world around us is the world of the book, says Vanessa Veselka. In Zazen, there's a highly fetishized identity politics world that someone is getting lost in.
Tuesday, November 6 2012
Claire Vaye Watkins' first short story collection, Battleborn is winning well-deserved rave reviews. Here, she discusses monkeys in chinaberry trees, Yo La Tengo, and what it's like to be a putter-inner.
Sunday, November 4 2012
Michael Chabon writes with empathy, with earnest reflection and self-consciousness, pervaded by sepia-daubed nostalgia.
Tuesday, October 30 2012
One wonders if Elvis, the Beatles, the Who, et. al. would have gained such importance had TV not been available. Those hips wouldn't have been so polarizing, those haircuts wouldn't have been so cutting edge...
Is Ray Bradbury's classic a horror film? Well, not exactly. Is it a family film? Nah, it has too many genuine scares for the kiddies. Is it perfect for Halloween? Well, Mr. Dark is delightfully wicked...
Sunday, October 28 2012
Teenage outcasts often feel like the world is against them; in 1994, three adolescents in West Memphis, Arkansas, experienced proof that it actually was. Now, despite being freed after 18 years of wrongful imprisonment, the battle of the West Memphis Three is not concluded.
Wednesday, October 24 2012
Is black minstrelsy a celebration of noxious stereotypes or an important part of American culture? Or both?