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September 20, 2006


Good Hodgkins is back. interviews author Jane Hamilton about her new novel, When Madeline Was Young.

OMC: How did the idea for "Madeline" germinate. It's not the kind of story one hears about regularly. Is it strictly a result of your imagination or was there a real-life story that sparked it?

JH: I went to see "The Light in the Piazza" in Chicago, a musical based on the Elizabeth Spencer novella. In it a mother and daughter travel to Italy. It's 1950, or so. The daughter is brain damaged from an accident. She falls in love with an Italian. Because of the language barrier the family doesn't realize she's impaired. The mother, in the end, manipulates the situation so that her daughter marries Fabrizio. It's a glorious novella, with that cockeyed wedding as the finale. I wondered, what happens next? You know it's not going to be good. So, although my characters are not Spencer's, I used that situation as a springboard into my novel.

In the Globe and Mail, Polaris Music Prize jurors reveal their deliberations.

"It was made really clear from the outset that it was about artistic excellence as an album," said Helen Spitzer, music co-ordinator at Guelph's CFRU, writer for Eye Weekly and all-around indie booster. "That it was taking the album as a cohesive whole, that it was an album that you would return to, that it was an album that meant something for Canadian music right now and that it was going to mean something to Canadian music in the future. I think that's really important for the inaugural year of this prize."

Popmatters profiles San Francisco's enduring indie band, Film School.

Minnesota Public Radio is streaming a Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin in-studio performance.

Minnesota Public Radio has an in-studio Birdmonster performance.

Boston's Phoenix reviews Touch and Go's 25th anniversary party.

The San Francisco Bay Guardian delves into the secret life of warehouse art and music shows.

Author Janet Fitch talks to the Los Angeles Times about her new novel, Paint It Black.

In 2003, as she started over with "Paint It Black," Fitch was ending her 17-year marriage to Steve Strauss. The divorce was "long and complicated," she said, and politely declined to say more. Her new novel is an exploration of grief, but Fitch seems ready to look forward in her own life.

"Josie's self-hatred is part of the young-adult world," Fitch said. "My own psychology has settled down. Life in general is pretty good. But it's not always 'There, there.' That comes after a lot of therapy."

Boston's Phoenix examines the current fascination with indie singer-songwriters.

Quiet is the new loud, pretty is the new rocking, and acoustic is the new electric. In 2006, the primary model for new emerging artists — at least within the microverse that is American independent music — is the solo singer-songwriter expressing his or her inner life through the performance of self-penned compositions.

Yo La Tengo's Ira Kaplan talks to Austin 360.

"There's a reason we tend not to be more forthcoming about the meanings of things because I think it's healthy and interesting when people conjecture about it," Kaplan says — a long-standing tradition. The band has never included lyric sheets with its album art and often drowns words in the mix so it's near impossible to make out the lyrics.

MTV News talks to Jimmy Tamborello about the bogus Postal Service track, "Being," floating around the internet.

"Someone showed me that song yesterday ... it actually has nothing to do with me or Ben," he wrote. "I guess it's just someone playing a joke. I have no idea who it actually is."

Nada Surf drummer Ira Elliot talks to the University of Nebraska at Omaha's Gateway.

Elliot, 43, believes it’s this part of Caws’ writing that connects the band so well to a college crowd despite their ages.

“I think that’s just the state of affairs with college students. You’re very angst-y. He has the angst-y sort of thing when you talk honestly without being overly emotive,” he said. “I hear a lot of bands speak honestly, but they are overly emotive. We try to speak very honestly without sugar coating it.”

NEU! interviews Girl Talk's Gregg Gillis.

By day you work in biological engineering. Do you think any of your workmates have a clue what you get up to in your spare time?

I really wonder sometimes. I work with the type of people who are out of the loop on pop culture happenings and especially more underground-related things.

It'd be strange if one of them came in and were like "Hey, I saw one of your mp3s on this blog at the weekend. I love that sample you used. It's proper bangin'"

Doing a Google search on my name really reveals everything, and I have a hard time believing not a single person has Google searched me over the 2 years I've been working. I Google search them, you know?

Newsday talks to Karl Groeger, Jr., owner if the thriving independent record store, Looney Tunes.

"We have changed with the times," said Groeger, 37, who owns the store with brother Jaime, 34, who handles buying.

When Groeger first saw signs of people getting their music elsewhere, he joined in 1999 the Coalition of Independent Music Stores, a Birmingham, Ala.-based trade association of 28 independent record stores from around the country that have banded together to compete with bigger competitors. As a member, Looney Tunes gets more advertising packages, promotions, giveaways and exclusive products, such as band concert CDs.

SCI FI Weekly interviews author Cory Doctorow.

You also publish a regular podcast, which features you narrating your short stories, in serialized installments. Do you think your podcast reaches a new audience that otherwise wouldn't read your work? What is it about the audio medium that you (and audiobook listeners) find appealing?

Doctorow: I think it makes it easier for my fans to hook their pals. One way to hook a pal is to send her a copy of a story, but there are lots of people for whom reading isn't a big part of their day who might take a flyer on a new author in the car, on a walk or at the gym.

Cat Power's Chan Marshall talks to the New York Times.

Like Will Oldham, another indie-folk rocker who is currently starring in the film “Old Joy,” Ms. Marshall is considering a foray into acting. She said that the cult director Wong Kar-wai invited her to play Jude Law’s ex-lover in the movie he is now shooting. Mr. Wong, she said, told her he was in the habit of playing “The Greatest” for his actors before each scene.

Ms. Marshall spoke of auditioning to join the cast of “Saturday Night Live” next summer. Then again, maybe her future involves domesticity. She said she was ready for a relationship and wanted to have children.

Drowned in Sound discusses interesting fall album releases.

The current issue of Stopsmiling has 18 pages devoted to author Kurt Vonnegut, including an in-depth interview, original artwork and selections from the author’s latest writings. Authors Dave Eggers and Garrison Keillor are also interviewed.

In the New York Review of Books, author Joan Didion profiles Dick Cheney and his rise to power.


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