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Theater Review: Mengelberg and Mahler

Mid-twentieth century European classical music was dominated by four titan-conductors:  Arturo Toscanini, Wilhelm Furtwangler, Willem Mengelberg, and Herbert von Karajan.  Toscanini, refusing to have anything to do with Fascists or Nazis, fled to the United States.

Did Ke$ha Jack All Her Shit From An Aspiring Gay Singer?

What ticks me off the most is when people with real innovation (often black or gay) don’t get the credit for the ideas that less creative people steal. It is as if it’s A-OK to steal from gay culture, say, because it’s a minority culture, it’s less visible, it doesn’t exist in everybody’s heads.

The Man Who Can Save American Idol is…

American Idol’s ratings were already dipping last season, and it’s gonna get a lot worse if they replace Simon and Ellen with stunt-casted celebri-blands like J.Lo and Steven Tyler. If producers want to revitalize the show and make it truly interesting, they need unpredictable, they need edge.

All the Video Game Consoles I’ve Ever Owned in Chronological Order, Pt. 1 of 4

I was apparently a two to four year-old fixated on playing a game called ‘Juggles House’ on Atari. Similarly vague visual memory permits the intrusion of a large black shape, the integration of stark red branding. To a modern individual Atari is not a ‘console’ but a brand, having been in recent years cannibalized, gutted and made ‘for all intents and purposes’ into a software distributor by a faceless and likely oblivious French corporation called Infogrames.

Why Weeds Matters

The show never succumbs to the reigning model of parenting in which parents sacrifice their lives, their desires, individuality, their sexuality in order to provide their children with an anesthetized existence. Nancy doesn’t Purell her kids.

Meditations on a Google Street View Money Shot

The attacks of September 11, 2001 are about man—though those men would argue, and others have fervently joined this argument, that it’s about God. By “man” I mean post-imperialism, terrorism, war, and our existential responsibility over our actions.

Notes From The Death Machine

It was just before midnight when I arrived at the bunker. I drove up to the chain link fence and unlocked the gate. Once I was through, I got out again and closed and locked the gate behind me. Then I drove along the three-mile dirt road toward the entrance to the underground loading dock. I periodically looked up at the sky.

All I Want is Time to Enjoy this Life… (III)

Let’s talk about alarm clocks. I understand the need for them. But to have to wake up five mornings a week to the shrill scream of an alarm is downright tortuous. I mean, if we need to set alarms every morning in order to wake up in time to get to work, then aren’t we doing something wrong? Doesn’t this seem obvious?

The Pros and Cons of Facebook

Based on my goals, creating a Facebook page seems logical. The pros seem to out-weigh the cons, and the cons seem to be in my control and preventable, to some degree. When it comes down to it, Facebook is not inherently good or bad, and is a potentially useful tool.

The Expendables: Action Figures

The requisite beats and moments hit as hard as they need to—Jet Li does kung-fu! Jason Statham cracks wise! MMA star Randy Couture tussles with WWF bruiser Steve Austin!—and the whole thing feels at once rewarding and empty for it.

Smells Like Teem Spirit: An Old Spice Commercial

The man ends with a rhetorical question, “So ladies, should your man smell like an old spice man?” while, bearing his ultimate manifestation, is straddling a motor cycle and holding the product in hand. If you listen closely, you’ll hear the engine running, implication being that after the fade out he’ll ride to some woman’s house and make Old Spice redolent love — though that would never happen.

Can Jennifer Lopez Reignite Now That American Idol Doesn’t Want Her?

Being a judge on American Idol, prime-time TV’s No. 1 show, is nice work if you can get it. And it looks like Jennifer Lopez won’t be. For weeks, she had been on the longlist of “names” — which, at various points, has included Elton John, Justin Timberlake, Bret Michaels, Harry Connick Jr., Chris Isaak, Howard Stern, Shania Twain, Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler, my pet frog and my late grandmother…

All I Want is Time to Enjoy this Life… (II)

Let me be clear.  I am not talking about pleasure.  Capitalism offers all sorts of pleasure.  That is its promise: the pleasure of the hamburger, new shoes, leather interiors, better handling, a larger screen, the Big Gulp, sharper focus, pill induced sleep, the weekend, arugula.  This is the genius of capitalism — it creates the desire and the gratification.

Vladimir Putin: A Cautionary Tale

Putin’s talents are just limitless! Kind of like another beloved world leader, North Korea’s Kim Jong-il, who it has been claimed can predict the weather, has written several operas and is a golf expert to the tune of several holes-in-one per game. I can’t source this information, because I don’t think anyone on earth can actually prove it. But if it says so in his official biography, it has to be true, right? Right?

Katy Perry’s Delusions of Grandeur

As usual, she’s redeemed herself (sort of) with her follow-up single, “Teenage Dream,” the title song from her new album. It’s a slightly more rock-flavored affair that kind of makes me want to fall in lust and hit the beach (though not necessarily in that order). That said, “Teenage Dream” is indicative of my overall problem with the 25-year-old rising star.

The Clark – “Picasso Looks at Degas”

This is not your blockbuster, let’s get the bodies into the museum summer show; rather, it is a thought-provoking, intellectually engaging experience in contemplation, consideration, and connection. “Picasso Looks at Degas” is a magnificent exhibition…

Ofer Wolberger – “Life with Maggie”

Ofer Wolberger (b. 1976) is an artist living and working in New York City. In the following 2009 project, Life with Maggie, Wolberger puts together a collection of images documenting “a character lost in space and time.” The result is something beautiful, and eerie.

Bravo to Change Name of Real Housewives Series to Crazy Bitches

You mean to tell me that Tareq Salahi –– the husband in the famous White House crashing couple –– is actually the captain of the US Polo Team? Yeah right. Either you made up the team or you made up the title, I’m not giving you both. I saw him play polo –– badly –– and it was in a dirty field with 20 people watching. Does that strike you as terribly “Real”?

Lollapalooza Recap

Music festivals are like the sickest buffet one could imagine consuming. There’s too much going on, you want it all, and if you don’t pace yourself you’re going to get hurt. Lollapalooza, with its summer heat, hundreds of bands and eight stages turns some fans into yearly pilgrims and others into victims in the name of music.

What Men Think When They Watch the Eat, Pray, Love Trailer

Eat, Pray, Love is a pop culture phenomenon. It was #1 on the New York Times bestseller list for 57 weeks, so now, of course, it’s a movie. The film has three things that will kill with women: the beloved book; Julia Roberts; and the creator of Glee, Ryan Murphy, coming on to direct. But if it’s gonna make the big money and become a Hollywood smash, it’s going to have to play to men as well.

All I Want is Time to Enjoy this Life… (I)

To me, it was like everyone around me suddenly went totally nuts.  Here were all these people going to absurd jobs for 50, 60, 70 hours a week — just to make their rent.  Nobody looked very happy.  But they did look, well, possesed.  I mean here, in San Francisco, everybody went from being a psychedelic artist slacker to all of a sudden talking about brand engagement, apps and back ends, driving traffic and conversion rates; everyone had a goddamn business plan and a crackberry.

All the Drugs I’ve Taken in Chronological Order, Pt. 4 of 4

At some point we moved to the roof of the apartment, where we leaned over the edge. We could see much of the city. We were drinking the ‘Ritalin water’ and talking a lot. Some time after the sun rose, I left the rooftop, but I was very confused and could not find the door to my friend’s apartment. I went back to the rooftop and asked where the apartment was. I could not understand what they were saying to me…

All The Porn I’ve Ever Watched, Pt. 1 of 50,982

When I discovered the World Wide Web I started looking at porn online, and I think a lot of what I know about the types of guys I like, even the kind of sex I like, I learned from porn. Mom and dad weren’t going to show me the rainbow ropes, so to speak. So I had to learn from somewhere. Seeing a lot of porn taught me which sexual role I liked best (top or bottom).

Life Unexpected: Winter’s Bone

Perhaps what makes Winter’s Bone so stunning is that it doesn’t try to be. Beneath the chilling circumstances that the lead character finds herself in is a chance for justice and peace, but neither horror nor its opposite are pushed on the audience. As in real life, the most moving moments are often the most subtle and unexpected.

Robyn & Kelis Live (Webster Hall 8.4.10)

“Fembots are human too,” according to a retro-cyber standout track on Robyn’s new Body Talk Pt. 1, but you wouldn’t know it from the electropop bobblehead’s impeccably-paced show, which made Kelis’s look like a half-hearted promotional appearance.

Please Do Not Read

There is no reason to continue. Please quietly click away. (Note: I say to click because I would never expect you to walk away, it requires such an inordinate amount of energy. And really, where are you going to go? Walking is overrated. And judging by the way you have deteriorated since taking that desk job at that company, I worry about your heart.

Hubert Wolf: Pope and Devil – The Vatican’s Archives and the Third Reich

Carefully groomed for diplomatic service – certainly talented at it, with an elegant, engaging manner, shrewd powers of observation and negotiation, and command of many languages – and favored by Pope Benedict XV and Pope Pius XI, Pacelli’s star rose until it outshone nearly all others. He became the most important Roman Catholic prelate in Germany, prior to his appointment as Vatican Secretary of State in 1930. Why, then, problems with the cause for his sainthood?

Alina Bronsky: Broken Glass Park

Sascha Naimann has a lot on her plate.  The big thing is her mother’s death at the hands of her stepfather, Vadim, a murder witnessed not only by Sascha herself but also by her little brother, Anton, and her little sister, Alissa.   Anton, now a broken boy, quiet and weak and delicate, is also prone to alarming behavior:  once Sascha discovered him dissecting the bloody carcass of a guinea pig.

What’s Your “Cyrus” ?

The metaphor is simple, but then so is the movie.  Your “Cyrus” could be your girlfriend talking in her sleep all night, saying “I hate you”, or something; it could be your girlfriend spending all her time with her ex-boyfriend; it could be your chronic unemployment.  It could probably be all of those things at once.

Women and Work

It’s not a revelation that stay-at-home moms are devalued socially and economically in American society, but it’s a problem that seems especially fraught right now, when money is an issue for many households, and a second income can make the difference. I know several women who took a year or more off to raise their children and who now seek to rejoin the workforce. But those doors are virtually closed to them.

No News is New News

The federal government should have its own news voice — a newspaper, blog, TV and radio show.  They can relate all the so-called news.  This will put an end to the press conference and the news industry will have to actually find news, actually do some investigating, some thinking, some reporting.

Kanye’s Ego Has Landed on Twitter

Last week Kanye West found himself a new toy called Twitter and in the gleam of a diamond-studded mouth grill every other Twitter feed became history. In his first week, Kanye snagged just under 500,000 followers as of this writing and the number grows every second.

Four Times I’ve Seen People Have Seizures

We were on the subway and someone standing near us threw their water bottle into the air and collapsed onto the floor of the train. The person started shaking. I couldn’t tell if it was a man or a woman. The train stopped at a station and I remember looking frantically from the person shaking on the floor to somewhere outside the train.

Tennessee Williams: 13 Quotes

One need consider only a handful of characters from Williams’s oeuvre – Amanda Wingfield, Stanley Kowalski, Blanche Dubois, Maggie, Big Daddy, all of whom are still very much alive in the lexicon of popular culture – to comprehend the scope of his contribution to the art world.

Giving Coffee a Makeover

Despite the dependability and simple joy millions of people get from coffee, whether it’s homemade drip or a more expensive café-bought concoction, the industry is still looking for new ways to charm coffee-lovers and recruit new fans. Not surprisingly, the newest trends come with higher price tags than your corner deli cup.

Somerset Maugham: 16 Quotes

Bon vivant, raconteur, dandy, and wit, William Somerset Maugham ( 1874- 1965), was probably the most prolific, certainly the most financially successful English writer of the twentieth century. Creator of the spy story in his Ashenden stories and chronicler of sojourns abroad in his travel essays, novelist of character and manners, Maugham dined out on his stories for years, always a sought-after guest for weekend house parties and formal dinners.

Life Seems Bleak

Sarah Palin heavily censors her Facebook wall comments, there is a monster that lives in the North Carolina sewer system, America is on the brink of civil war, Fox News is lying to America’s face, and the notorious street crime gang infamously known as the Juggalos has invaded the suburbs of Australia.

Vacation From Nowhere

While swimming in the otherworldly turquoise waters, in the private beach near our hotel, my traveling companion and I were maliciously assaulted by jellyfish.  She screamed.  I screamed.  “Pee on me!” she cried.  “Pee on me!”  I can only imagine what the other beachgoers must have thought.  I thought about the jellyfish stinging me on my exposed penis.

Corporate Takeover: The Inherent Distrust of Subsidized Creativity

Blake repeats this mantra so as to burn it into the minds of his underperforming sales force, reminding them that their failure to sell condos and time shares will only result in termination. It’s not so much a morale booster as it is a warning to those lacking the killer instinct required in sales. But on a grander scale, Blake is talking about selling — no matter the product, no matter the price.

Wavves: King of the Beach

To call Wavves’ King of the Beach (Fat Possum) a cleaner, more considered affair than the band’s first two albums is to say very little. 2008’s self-titled cassette-turned-CD and 2009’s Wavvves were the kinds of records it’s good to know that near-teenagers still make, whether one actually cares to listen to them or not…

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