Recently I went to Carnegie Hall for, I believe, the second time in my life, to see Gabriel Kahane and Orpheus Chamber Orchestra perform Gabriel's "Guide to the 48 States." I went to college with Gabriel, where our closest contact was probably when I was an assistant stage manager on a musical he co-wrote. Since then he's established himself as a songwriter, singer and composer, one of the polymath hopes of classical music. The New York Times Magazine called him “a one-man cultural Cuisinart.” He's composed concert music for himself, string quartets, and orchestras; he wrote the music and lyrics for a musical at the Public Theater; he first attracted [...]
Wild Nature Institute is the nonprofit creation of wildlife biologist Monica Bond and quantitative ecologist Derek Lee. They live and work for much of the year in Africa, where they study and inventory iconic and threatened wildlife populations such as the Masai Giraffe, which is rapidly declining due to lost habitat, disease and illegal hunting.
Ken Layne: Hello, Derek Lee! Because you are traveling between Nairobi and Zanzibar and I'm on the other side of the planet, maybe we'll do this in email format? So what is it that you and Monica do in Africa? This past week sounds like it held a lot of safari travel and [...]
The pace of change in our world is pretty rough on the nostalgicists among us. On the other hand, you might also say that the nostalgicists are living in boom times, because there is more and more to regret the passing of. This paradox came to mind as I read Sven Birkerts's essay today in the Los Angeles Review of Books. He wrote it in response to "Wikipedia and the Death of the Expert," which I published here in mid-May.
It's really an honor to be read so closely by so distinguished a critic, I must say. Gives one a rather Eliza Doolittle-like feeling, like being invited [...]
With this introduction, we begin a brief series on the recent life of the American musical. No, for real! The hideous, hilarious, wonderful, big-business of musical theater. This series is guest-edited by our own Natasha Vargas-Cooper.
Natasha Vargas-Cooper: Julie! Are musicals, as a genre, dead?
Julie Klausner: You startled me! What are you doing in my home? Wearing my favorite shirt-dress!
Natasha: Nobody expects the musical inquisition.
In which Maria Bustillos and David Roth venture to the movies to see the latest by Terrence Malick. It is called To the Wonder and it is 113 minutes long.
David Roth: There's a thing that happens to me watching Terrence Malick movies. I marvel at the way they look—which I know is a novel response, but I'm a unique dude—and kind of chuckle to myself at the involuted, ponderous what-if-God-was-one-of-us philosophical stuff. And then I walk outside secure in my sophistication and am instantly struck by how THE WORLD IS SO RICH AND BEAUTIFUL HOLY SHIT.
Maria Bustillos: Yes, first things first: I nearly died of the BEAUTY. Every [...]
We gathered some tennis experts and pals to talk tennis—please do join us. The question before us: is this going to be the greatest U.S. Open of all time? EVERYONE AGREES: YES. (Wait, even without Rafael Nadal???)
Seth Colter Walls: Hi Cord Jefferson! Is there any new rap music that you have thoughts on or that you like especially? And if you say "Tyler" or "Odd Future," I will stab you in your esophagus!
Cord Jefferson: Ha! Yes, I feel like I've said all I need to say. Everybody's said all they need to about Tyler and Odd Future.
Seth: Oh, they will pull you back in before long, I'm sure. But yes, let's talk Rap A.T. (After Tyler.)
Cord: Within the past two weeks, I have developed a deep, deep obsession with a rapper out of Queens called Action Bronson. I'm more excited about [...]
Before Flickr, before Tumblr, before Instagram or Chatroulette or sideboob slideshows on corporate media websites, there was TonyPierce.com. From his East Hollywood bachelor pad at the dawn of the century, Tony combined his own L.A. snapshots with pilfered celebrity photographs, found objects, PG-13 pictures submitted by the camgirls, and freeform essays on his favorite subjects: his bus ride to work, Howard Stern, the Chicago Cubs, 19-year-old girls in their underwear, Charles Bukowski, the Los Angeles Times. Tony went pro as editor of LAist.com and then blog editor at the Los Angeles Times, where he created and edited iconic blogs such as L.A. Now and Hero Complex. We talked [...]
"I Just Want My Pants Back" premiered last month on MTV. It's about four attractive post-grads living in Williamsburg, dropping pop-culture references to the tunes of its hipster-friendly soundtrack. RJ and Jon, our two in-house young-altbro would-be music writers living in Williamsburg, greeted the show with guarded optimism—even some excitement. But as the show has progressed—tonight is episode 10 of the 12-episode first season—they may have become just the latest generation to discover the heart of sadness in the world of MTV.
JON: So "Pants" was kind of a bummer, right? Five episodes in (approximately, er, three weeks ago) and Jay and Tina’s Brooklyn-based adventures in hip young [...]
Misha Angrist, otherwise known as member four of the Personal Genome Project, has—along with Stephen Pinker and some other science-world luminaries—given permission for his entire genome to be published online. As a trained geneticist, he's more equipped to predict the direction and effects of DNA research than the rest of us. His new book, Here is a Human Being, ponders the implications of this kind of bioforensics for our culture at large, and also for those of us, like me, who've already opened this Pandora's box by subscribing to 23andme or one of the other personal genomics outlets. Will our information be kept private? [...]