50 Cent, Bitcoin & the New Gospel of Wealth

50 Cent is 42, barely out bankruptcy and rich as sin. His pal Bitcoin turned 9 earlier this month; 17 million have been conjured from the ether (not to be confused with one of its cryptocurrency competitors), each unit currently “worth” north of $10,000. Extremely durable, 50 Cent was shot nines time in 2000—including in […]

Marianelli’s Musical Bears

The Special Relationship shows increasing signs of fatigue from Trump’s kicks and punches. His state visit to the Island Kingdom is off again, the reason cited last Friday in a midnight tweet being that Donald can’t stomach a bad real estate deal, especially one brokered by an African-“American” agent: “I am not a big fan […]

Dirges For NATO

That the world is in desperate shape was hardly news when, against the expectations of many, 2018 rolled around not long ago. Fires scorched the old year and epic ice greeted the new, all while the U. S. President’s Twitter account only tenuously distracts the current office-holder from the nuclear button. Things do not look […]

Farinelli On The Great White Way

Farinelli was perhaps the biggest and brightest star of his or any other time, and so it’s only right that at the ripe old age of 312 he has finally made it to Broadway. He’s been dead for 235 of those years, but walk through New York City’s Theater District and be scorched by the […]

Listening To Fukushima

The dread sound of Fukushima hardly sets the joyous Christmas bell to ringing. But a recent disc bearing simply that name from the experimental jazz pianist, composer and bandleader Satoko Fujii leading the twelve-piece Orchestra New York spreads a paradoxically uplifting hour-long message of chaos barely kept bay — and chaos occasionally let loose to […]

Academics Take Flight

The famed nineteenth-century Swiss historian Jacob Burkhardt, author of the seminal The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy first published in 1860, enjoined true scholars to remain at their desks rather than “congregate at conferences to sniff each other like dogs in a pack.” Mental labors might be relieved with brisk afternoon walk, but Burkhardt haughtily refused […]

On The Road To Rochester

The glaciers were bigger then. I gained renewed appreciation for their scale two weeks ago when making the long climb by bicycle out of one of the holes they dug as they withdrew northward during the last Ice Age some 12,000 years ago. Among the glaciers’ most triumphant excavation projects were the Finger Lakes of […]

Wrestling With Art; Ai Weiwei’s ‘Human Flow’

Put a lacquered frame around something and hang it on the wall and that thing instantly becomes Art. Or a critique of Art. Or a critique of a critique of Art. Or just plain fun. Or nonsense. Or both and neither and many other things besides. This holds for images moving across screens either tiny […]

Bach Blows

For at least as long as people have talked about the weather, they have made music about it—from rain dances to pastoral symphonies, from the Paleolithic to Prince. Never mind that the ongoing destruction—and directly proportional destructiveness—of the climate increasingly renders small talk about the weather a depressingly grim ritual, less a conversational nicety than […]

Katy Perry’s Gastro-Pop, Gastro-Porn Orgy

Seated on psychedelic Rings of Saturn beneath an arena night sky strewn with planets, stars and galaxies, and herself kitted out in glittering silver wig with matching boots, gown, and guitar, Katy Perry hovered forty feet above a roiling sea of phone-wielding fans when she came to a halt yesterday evening in the Music City, […]

Jazz Revolutionaries: Monk & Dizzy

Legion are the books on jazz that wave the banner of “revolution” above the chapter devoted to bebop, the improvised American music of swerving light and impossible speed, incandescent optimism and  brooding melancholy that transformed style—not only musically, but also sartorially, and, indeed, socially—from the early 1940s and into the 1950s. Few legitimate music historians […]