Go West: An Interview with Jonathan Evison

Rooted in the history and traditions of the Pacific Northwest, Jonathan Evison’s West of Here rethinks the epic American novel for the 21st century. Dan Coxon talks to the author about the difficulties of selling his American vision overseas. Portrait by Keith Brofsky For a New York Times bestselling author, Jonathan Evison has remained remarkably … Continue reading Go West: An Interview with Jonathan Evison

TV Eye: BBC Fours’s All American season

Jacob Knowles-Smith sits down for a TV dinner with Tom Wolfe Thankfully BBC Four hasn’t been demolished just yet. If it had been, we wouldn’t have had chance to enjoy its recent ‘All American’ season. They say that BBC 2 would absorb the channel’s role, but doubtless this would come with – if not dumbing-down … Continue reading TV Eye: BBC Fours’s All American season

TV Eye: HBO’s Entourage

In the first instalment of a new column on TV programmes, Jacob Knowles-Smith reviews Entourage As anyone who has ever read Casanova’s memoirs knows, even the Great Seducer was knocked back once or twice. But it took seven seasons of Entourage and a drug problem for Vincent Chase, arguably a modern-day equivalent, to get himself … Continue reading TV Eye: HBO’s Entourage

Red Heat: Alex Von Tunzelmann

Alex Von Tunzelmann serves up a thrilling take on the Cold War. Reviewed by Vikki Littlemore Notwithstanding the racy title, it’s possible for Alex Von Tunzelmann’s Red Heat, a substantially detailed account of politics in the Caribbean, to appear intimidatingly opaque, or Everest-like, to the non-expert reader. Halfway down the first page, however, the fear … Continue reading Red Heat: Alex Von Tunzelmann

The Soma Records Story

Robert O’Connor revisits the Minneapolis label, home to 60s psych-trash novelty hits ‘Surfin’ Bird’ and ‘Liar, Liar’ “Everybody’s heard about the bird,” the song begins. Peter from Family Guy heard the song and it became his new favorite thing in the world. He annoys everyone by singing and dancing along with the song until Stewie … Continue reading The Soma Records Story

Ship Shape: We Are Augustines

Fresh off their tour with The Boxer Rebellion, Russell Mardell interviewed Billy McCarthy from Brooklyn’s We Are Augustines in the wake of their album Rise Ye Sunken Ships Brooklyn based trio We Are Augustines bring their album Rise Ye Sunken Ships to the world this June, and for singer/guitarist Billy McCarthy and bassist Eric Sanderson, … Continue reading Ship Shape: We Are Augustines

Insight, Imagination and Innovation: Taking Your Place in the Modern Music Biz

Across the span of 85+ interviews and within the wisdom of 100,000+ words, a cast of characters across all strata of the music industry reveals an astonishing diversity of paths and purposes in It All Begins with the Music: Developing Artists and Careers for the New Music Business. Spike asked the author Dan Kimpel for … Continue reading Insight, Imagination and Innovation: Taking Your Place in the Modern Music Biz

Bringing It All Back Home: Dylan at 70

As Dylan turns 70, Robert O’Connor travels back up Highway 61 to untangle the myths and legends “Where did you come from, Cotton-eye Joe?” That’s the first question Studs Terkel asked Bob Dylan on his legendary radio show in 1963. Bob didn’t really answer then, and he hasn’t really answered since. He’s given hints, and … Continue reading Bringing It All Back Home: Dylan at 70

Yellowjackets: Timeline (Mack Avenue Records)

Reviewed by Eric Saeger Considering the space Yellowjackets’ fill in the jazz continuum, one would expect them to be more of a household name than they actually are – meaning ‘outside the realm of people with rudimentary knowledge of the genre’. Loping, slick as hell, and often gorgeous, what these guys do isn’t quite fusion … Continue reading Yellowjackets: Timeline (Mack Avenue Records)

Positively 4th Street

Robert O’Connor reports from the Minneapolis Dinkytown and West Bank scene where Robert Zimmerman became Bob Dylan The University of Minnesota’s main campus is divided into two campuses – one in St. Paul, the other in Minneapolis. The one in Minneapolis is divided in two again, straddling the east and west sides of the Mississippi … Continue reading Positively 4th Street

Pop Goes Literature: The Decemberists

An authentic literary sensibility in pop music is rare but according to Ben Granger The Decemberists’ Colin Meloy has more than enough to share Pop music and literature are two separate miracles, the silent shout and the screamed secret, two wonders working to their own, different and divided rules. Each has seductive thrills of its … Continue reading Pop Goes Literature: The Decemberists

Civil Rites: A Play For Us By Us

Vanessa Liberad Garcia reports on Company of Angels, the Los Angeles theatre group committed to connecting with the community When one of my best friends, Baby Dewds (aka talented theatre actress Dani O’Terry), invited me to watch a play in Downtown Los Angeles called Civil Rites, I was excited. She and I are both staunch … Continue reading Civil Rites: A Play For Us By Us

The French Connection: Grosso Point Blank

Real-life drug-busting narc Sonny Grosso was the inspiration for The French Connection, advised Coppola on The Godfather and cruised gay bars with Pacino. Story by Tina Bexson A dozen or so shiny, black suits and their flashy women were enjoying the exotic floor show of Manhattan’s Copacabana nightclub, whilst the slick-haired man at the head … Continue reading The French Connection: Grosso Point Blank

Refractions In The Looking Glass: Peter Weissman

Like many of his generation Peter Weissman recalls the ‘60s as a halcyon period of his life and, like his peers, came of age during this revolutionary era marked by social, cultural and political change, relayed in the memoir, I Think, Therefore Who Am I? Dolly Delightly investigates Peter Weissman was involved in both the … Continue reading Refractions In The Looking Glass: Peter Weissman

Matthew Barney 95

SUSPENSION [Cremaster] SECRETION [pearl] SECRET [biology] by Thyrza Nichols Goodeve “…what others call form I experience as force” – Roland Barthes LAYER 1: SUSPENSION Begin with iridescence and force. A force without form or home or convention, almost more like “a diagram without a will” (1) – suspended and hung. Send it at a line, … Continue reading Matthew Barney 95

Media and Tech: Data Exhaust and Consumption Tracking

Vanessa Zainzinger follows the breadcrumbs to tomorrow’s tracking trends Chances are high that you have already used Google today. As you typed in what you were looking for, scanned through the results and clicked on the link you needed, you provided Google with plenty of valuable information. To an extent, you have influenced which links … Continue reading Media and Tech: Data Exhaust and Consumption Tracking

Ben Kono: Crossing (Nineteen Eight Records)

Reviewed by Eric Saeger Nu-jazz, purportedly Asian influenced owing to multi-instrumentalist Kono’s (Japanese, I believe) heritage, however my immediate overall impression was of a fairly straightforward Western blend. ‘Castles and Daffodils’ opens the record to rambling effect; originally a paean to a downcast Stanley Kunitz poem, the originally effect was scrapped and re-engineered as an … Continue reading Ben Kono: Crossing (Nineteen Eight Records)

Runner Runner: Runner Runner (Capitol Records)

Reviewed by Eric Saeger More depleted pop soil for the grind from the latest entry in the endless procession of SoCal mall-punk bands, a resource more abundant in nature than carbon emissions from cow farts. I don’t spend a lot of time smoking joints in the back seat of mom’s Toyota these days, but I’m … Continue reading Runner Runner: Runner Runner (Capitol Records)

Free Jazz: Fat Kid Wednesdays: Three Guys Having Fun

Drawing on an improvisational heritage that includes Ornette Coleman, Fat Kid Wednesdays have been playing together for almost 20 years. Robert O’Connor listens in Fat Kid Wednesdays: ‘Skylark': For 12 years, until its management dramatically changed hands earlier this year, Fat Kid Wednesdays held a jazz night every Monday at the Clown Lounge, underneath the … Continue reading Free Jazz: Fat Kid Wednesdays: Three Guys Having Fun

Guernica Magazine

“Guernica is an award-winning magazine of art and ideas. In its short time online, it has grown from one of the web’s best-kept secrets to one of its most acclaimed new magazines.” 01 Guernica: Launched in 2004 by New York-based writers Joel Whitney and Michael Archer, Guernica is an online journal of original creative and … Continue reading Guernica Magazine

Curation of Thought: James Polchin, Writing In Public and the Mind’s Reflection

Writing In Public is a website dedicated to the art of the essay. Chris Wood interviews its editor about the thought behind the word “I look for writing that is well written, where the writer has a love of language and this love shows in the sentences and paragraphs and overall movement of the essay.” … Continue reading Curation of Thought: James Polchin, Writing In Public and the Mind’s Reflection

Proposal for a Theme Park (or) The Continuing Relevance of the Frankfurt School

A call to arms (and mind) by Jonathan Reynolds A Theme Park; Consciousness; and the Reasonable Pessimism of the Frankfurt School What certainly a consensus in social scientific circles has isolated and denominated as “capitalism” and “neoliberal democracy” has triumphed on the world stage. Many people seem to take this triumph as much for granted … Continue reading Proposal for a Theme Park (or) The Continuing Relevance of the Frankfurt School

Black Swan: Is This Natalie Portman’s Announcement She Can Act?

Reviewed by Chris Wood Darren Aronofsky’s new film has been celebrated as a powerful psychological thriller revolving around lust and ambition. It was chosen to open the 67th Venice Film Festival and has been nominated for a staggering 166 awards, including 5 Oscars. The story is centred around a ballet company in New York, and … Continue reading Black Swan: Is This Natalie Portman’s Announcement She Can Act?

Cutting Edge: The Making of Blade Runner

Reviled at the time of its release, and now considered a cinema classic, Blade Runner still attracts attention. Tina Bexson has an audience with the androids “I’ve seen things that you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near Tanhauser Gate. All those… … Continue reading Cutting Edge: The Making of Blade Runner

Superman: Earth One (DC Comics)

Reviewed by Kes Seymour Superman is an ideal. Superman is perfect – there’s nothing that he can’t do; he will always overcome any challenge (he even managed to come back from the dead in the 1990s) and this is why people love him. But it’s also why writers have struggled to create new ‘interesting’ stories … Continue reading Superman: Earth One (DC Comics)