Adam Klein has the kind of life that many of us, chained to our desks, might envy. A wanderer and frequent expatriate, he has lived and taught in places as disparate as Bangladesh, India, Beirut and Kabul. He is the singer and co-songwriter for San Francisco-based band The Size Queens, as well as the author of the Lambda Book Award-nominated short story collection The Medicine [...]
"In most times and in most places, the group was seen to be the essential moral unit. A shared religion defined rules and practices. Cultures structured people’s imaginations and imposed moral disciplines. But now more people are led to assume that the free-floating individual is the essential moral unit. Morality was once revealed, inherited and shared, but now it’s thought of as something that emerges in the privacy of your own heart." David Brooks mourns the death of god and homogeneous culture and frets over the implications of independent thought in today's Times. Like a lot of people have been doing for a while now. Yes, finding a [...]
It's Friday, and still so hot that all I want to do for the rest of the day is drink seltzer water and watch this new Beirut video over and over and over again. It's directed by Houmam Abdallah and Beirut's Zach Condon says it has "brought the song somewhere that I had only been able to describe to myself, now available for others to see and feel it much more as I had in the process of writing it." That's about the nicest thing a musical artist could say about a video for one of his songs, isn't it? But I wonder whether they had to [...]
Do you like that guy Zach Condon's band Beirut? I sure do. He wrote a very nice new song recently (with especially nice horn parts, as you might expect), and played it in Norfolk, Virginia on Monday. (It's funny that a band named after city makes a song named after a different city. Beirut has done this before, though with a less famous city for the song. Some other band must have done it, too. But can't think of any other examples. Does Boston have a song called "Helsinki?" Did Berlin ever cover Seger's "Katmandu?") Oh, Beirut has a new album coming this summer, which is [...]
The other day I ventured out into the sun-drenched city of Beirut, where I saw cafes and restaurants packed with young people spending money. At a stainless steel table, buff men ate olives. Nearby, two young women in gold shirts talked over a stack of books. One title: Elite Management Training. Down the block, a gleaming red Ferrari rolled by and a transvestite teetered on heels. Osama bin Laden had just been killed.
On a quiet side street, I ducked into a grocery and asked a woman in head scarf where to buy wine. With a hateful roll of her eyes, she clicked her tongue, seeming to say: I [...]