A series on the stuff that delighted us on the Internet this year.
There was something atypical and fun in Monday's New York Times: a review of a concert that happened over the weekend in… Washington, D.C. Staff critic Acela-hopping to the latest jam at the Kennedy Center is not common, as Times critics have all they can cover here in town, usually.
But the reason for last weekend's exception was plenty good, as recent MacArthur Award winning pianist Jason Moran had invited the great (and also MacArthur-winning) avant-music legend Anthony Braxton to present a band that included Braxton’s former student, the guitarist (and Awl favorite) Mary [...]
Philip Glass “may well be the Rossini of his century,” the critic, composer and scholar Kyle Gann wrote—back in a previous century. That analogy, he went on, was a useful way of thinking about the prolific minimalist, who “had an electric impact on the masses but only a portion of whose music seemed worthy of study by intellectuals.” This was the case, Gann added, despite the fact that “much of Glass’s best music has been underrated by disappointed former fans who have ceased to listen closely.”
Intellectuals that can’t bother to listen closely: so problematic! If any among their number wandered into the Park Avenue Armory last Saturday to [...]
Here is a very large list of last year's notable music writing, some of which may seem familiar to those of you who have been with us for a while.
This morning, as I was walking down the street—on one of those uber-hyphenated strolls that freelance journalists colorfully like to describe as the "are-you-kidding-I-can't-afford-to-take-a-cab" variety—I momentarily tripped across a small fissure in the concrete. And then I got to thinking about the 6.4 magnitude earthquake that rocked the Calaveras fault in California, back on July 1, 1911. Today, were that earthquake still alive and happening, it would be 100 years old. What a grand old dame it would be! I decided to put on my imagining hat.
When living as young and less than comfortable in New York, adoption of a willed ignorance regarding some class distinctions is in order. You naturally choose your own "can't-care" moments, but at some point, simply everyone breaks. Also: few can keep up with each and every conversation anyway; choices must be made regarding which ambient fashion truths to blow past and ignore.
That in mind, step this way with me. When I was a rice n' beans-subsisting college kid, it could have been a function of my fancy-meter's needle constantly skipping in the fritzed-out red zone of class detection—but I simply had no idea at all that the Tribeca [...]
● ?uestlove ● Dr. Cornel West ● Naomi Campbell ● Tavis Smiley
One of the pleasures to be found in Aaron Sorkin's writing is how utterly unburdened it is with the weight of meta or pomo or, really, post-anything. He's terribly, incurably Romantic. And if you don't want epically smug, pro-elitism rants, precious literary references or the big syrupy love notes between professional narcissists, it's not as though you can ever claim you weren't warned in the first five minutes of whatever you started watching.
Even if you managed to overlook how every hyper-articulate character he's ever created on his own–whether on "Sports Night" and "The West Wing," or in The American President–has not only taken a dim view of the [...]