August 9, 1998 |
On a July night in a Nashville club, Lucinda Williams strums a few guitar chords, then stops before reaching the first words of "Lake Charles," a song from her critically acclaimed new album, "Car Wheels on a Gravel Road." "It's so hot, my brain isn't working," she cracks, flashing a crooked smile. She then counts off the tempo and starts the song again. For Williams, stopping in mid-performance has become something of a concert trademark.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 24, 1997 |
Maybe inaugurations get the poets they deserve. Four years ago, Maya Angelou stirred people's hearts with "On the Pulse of Morning." The rock of the past, she said, gives us neither haven nor hiding place in its shadow, but we can gain strength from its weight to face our destiny. We need, she said, to live beyond the "bloody sear" of cynicism. She urged us to face our history with courage. Angelou's message of hope seemed to fit.
October 10, 2013 |
Elvis Presley called him up in the middle of the night to thank him for a song. John Lennon went to a banquet just so he could sit next to him. Dion said meeting with him was like "being inside a cubicle with a piano and a genius. " His name was Jerome Felder, but fame reached him under a pseudonym, Doc Pomus. If you care at all about the early days of rock 'n' roll, you either know who Doc Pomus was or count one of his songs as among your favorites: "This Magic Moment," "Save the Last Dance for Me," "Lonely Avenue," "Little Sister," "Viva Las Vegas," "Can't Get Used to Losing You," "A Teenager in Love.
February 25, 2012 |
Barney Rosset, who died Tuesday at the age of 89, was the most important American publisher of the 20th century. Sure, he was part of a lineage; it's difficult to imagine Rosset doing what he did for more than 30 years at Grove Press without the example of James Laughlin at the seminal independent New Directions or (further afield) Jack Kahane at Paris' Obelisk Press. And yet Grove, which Rosset bought in 1951 for $3,000 and ran until 1985, remains the touchstone, the publisher most responsible for breaking down American literary puritanism, for defending the idea that art, that literature, is meant to unsettle us, that among its central purposes is to challenge the status quo. Look at the writers Rosset published: Henry Miller, Samuel Beckett, William S. Burroughs, Eugene Ionesco, Jean Genet, Malcolm X. Look at the books that he brought into the center of the culture: "Tropic of Cancer," "Waiting for Godot," "Naked Lunch," "Our Lady of the Flowers," "A Confederacy of Dunces," "Cain's Book.
January 21, 2001
"There'll Be No Bard at the Inauguration" (Jan. 11) by staff writer Renee Tawa mentioned that there have only been three occasions when poets read at presidential inaugurations, namely Robert Frost at JFK's, Maya Angelou at President Clinton's first inauguration and Miller Williams at Clinton's second inauguration. In fact, there were four such occasions. At Jimmy Carter's inauguration, the celebrated Georgia poet and novelist James Dickey read poetry composed for the event. How soon we forget!
February 20, 1994 |
*** Contemporary Piano Ensemble, "The Key Players," Columbia. Putting five pianists in one studio is a risky venture, yet these men display enough empathy to pull it off. A highlight is Bobby Timmons' "Moanin', " for which four Blakey alumni--Donald Brown, Mulgrew Miller, James Williams, Geoff Keezer--interact effectively while the fifth pianist, Harold Mabern, lays out. Christian McBride's bass and Tony Reedus' drums flesh out these generally bright collaborations.