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 [...]
HE: Good eventide, Pausanias!
SHE: Stop calling me that. So we can go if you really want to. What time does it start?
HE: Yes! We can be in Evanston just in time for the 7:15 showing.
SHE: (offering him a large book) Wouldn’t you rather read the second volume of this Verdi biography, instead of seeing this stupid movie?
SHE: So what is this movie about?
HE: It's about the culture.
SHE: Whose culture?
HE: Our culture.
HE: I really think so. I’ve read so many amazing articles about it I'm telling you everyone I follow has said amazing things. In pyramid [...]
"A regional music scene—hereafter, 'RMS'—furthers art in the same way that, say, Wisconsin furthered progressive politics under Gov. and Sen. Robert La Follette in the early 20th century. RMSes generate ideas. They lend music character…. Brooklyn has a downside. Those who abandon their RMS to come to Brooklyn risk co-option by an aesthetic Borg. Things get mushy. There’s too much input, and there’s not a lot that’s not known. Somebody’s band sounds like Howlin’ Wolf and ESG and Gang of Four, but also sounds like REO Speedwagon and Glenn Branca and The Pointer Sisters. There aren’t many secrets. There are no mountains to go over…. Artists wanted to live [...]
"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 [...]
As an Amazon affiliate, we get a wee percentage of sales from people who click through from our site to Amazon. But better than that, we get a report from Amazon about what people have purchased! (Don't worry, it's all anonymous: there's no information at all passed on about the purchaser's identity.) One thing we can guarantee: you people buy things online. Here are just a few excerpts from the year 2011, here with quantity, title, media and cost.
1 Chupacabra (HD), Amazon Instant Video, $2.84
2 "Top Chef: Don't Be Tardy for the Dinner Party," Instant Video, $1.89
1 Buffalo by David Bitton Men's Bridle Strap Belt [...]
Conception Phase The song is born in a basement, a warehouse, or among buskers on the street or subway station. The song may not be entirely finished yet.
Underground Phase The song is played to a small crowd of 3 – 20 friends, mostly drunk, incoherent, and incapable of judging its quality.
Ambivalent Phase You hear it in concert and no one cares. It’s not worth bragging to your friends, even if you secretly like the song.
Connected Phase You hear the song and it’s so refined that it’s good. Your first thoughts are, “Is this real? Am I hearing this?” This is the great “aha” effect [...]
Got anything else? Let us know. Enjoy the great outdoors. (Bostonians, we hope they let you outside soon.)
This weekend is The Armory Art Fair in New York City. It is not currently held in one of New York City's fine dilapidated armories—these days, we've used some of those to house the large numbers of people made homeless by Hurricane Sandy! Oh and also the one on Park Avenue serves in part as a shelter for mentally ill women, did you know?!—but over on piers 92 and 94, which is basically where West 53rd Street runs into the Hudson. Yes, brr.
In this art fair, a couple of hundred galleries have wedged wares into little booths. People walk around and look at these things. And run into [...]
Or you could stay home and do nothing, which I heartily recommend. (iTunes.)
"I like to think of you reading my verses (though it took you five years to find them out). When I wrote them I was a strange lonely boy, walking about by myself at night and thinking that some day a girl would love me. But I never could speak to the girls I used to meet at houses. Their false manners checked me at once. Then you came to me. You were not in a sense the girl for whom I had dreamed and written the verses you find now so enchanting. She was perhaps (as I saw her in my imagination) a girl fashioned into a curious grave [...]
"Snitching for pay has become especially popular since the world’s economic troubles slowed South Korea’s powerful economy. Paparazzi say most of their ranks are people who have lost their jobs in the downturn and are drawn by media reports of fellow Koreans making tens of thousands of dollars a year reporting crimes." —I would be so into this catching on in America. If you see something, narc someone out and get paid for it! It'll end terribly of course but think of the stories! Think of the reality TV! Let's just go for it and wallow around in it.
Cultural observer Richard Rushfield has some thoughts on how the bountiful level of expression in The Current Conversation has failed to result in a multiplicity of critical perspective, and he blames it on the kids: [T]oday’s abundance of information and voices doesn’t just end up cutting off the breadth of that conversation, but its depth as well. That is to say, not only are fewer opinions heard, but the ones that are are dumber than ever before. The problem goes back to another of my running complaints about Generation Yay: their a-historicism and the roots thereof… It has previously been proven that no [...]
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 [...]
— Silvia Killingsworth (@silviakillings) November 14, 2012
Last night, or in "today's paper" if that is how you roll, Times restaurant critic Pete Wells bombed Guy Fieri's new garbage hut in Times Square with a zero-star review and the Internet kind of exploded over it with glee.
This food shack does in fact sound truly terrible! I fortunately already knew that I would not need to eat there, long before the Times saw fit to inform me. Which, then, I have questions: is [...]
And how to deal with the workplace fiasco that is having the 4th of July on a Wednesday. (iTunes)
Today in the New Yorker (subscription-only!), Sasha Frere-Jones looks at El-P and Killer Mike, "survivors of a kind of roisterous political hip-hop that seemed to have faded away." But has not! And is more "roisterous" than ever! (As we have noticed and enjoyed more than quite a bit.) Here's our recent guide to the New York City rap scene.
We are a society of listers. Grocery lists, to-do lists, bestsellers lists, the “25 Random Things About Me” meme on Facebook that generated almost 5 million notes in one week. Mainstream magazines feature them, entire websites are devoted to them. Even museums have begun celebrating them: the Smithsonian organized an exhibition two years ago titled, simply, “Lists,” which featured examples of the form by the likes of H.L. Mencken and Picasso. (The latter’s handwritten 1912 list recommended artists for inclusion in the first-ever Armory Show.) The year before that, the Louvre invited Italian writer Umberto Eco to curate an exhibition and event series based on a theme of his [...]