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September 23, 2006


The Baltimore Sun previews today's Virgin festival at Pimlico Race Course, where only half the tickets have been sold.

The concert's timing and ticket price might be factors. With service charges, a ticket could cost more than $110. "As great as it sounds, it's a rip-off," said one person's posting on Live Music Blog. Others were trying to unload tickets this week. Craigslist, the online classified service, had more than 75 postings for multiple ticket sales - with the going price hovering around $90, but some tickets were offered for as low as $60.

Author Alison Bechdel talks to the Miami Herald about writing (and drawing) her graphic memoir, Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic.

''There were moments of emotional difficulty, because it was painful material,'' Bechdel says. ``But what was really difficult was the physical feat of managing all of that drawing and figuring out how it was going to be constructed. I was inventing it as I went along. I was consumed. I lost my short-term memory because my brain was filled. There are so many individual pieces. And it has a physical reality -- you have to know every square inch of every page. Someone who writes only with words doesn't have to relate to the physical product.''

The Guardian weighs in in favor of pop stars and actors taking vocal social and political stances.

This argument was once put to the then secretary of state for defence, Geoff Hoon, by this reporter, who was curious to know whether the conscience of this Master Of War was haunted by the Bob Dylan records he'd grown up with, and the U2 albums he enjoyed now. He huffily answered that "I don't see why a journalist would be any more interested in Bono's political views than they would be in my ability to play the guitar." Hoon was missing an important point, which was the artist/activists are more instantly accountable to the public than any elected official.

The Guardian reviews Anne Carson's new book, Decreation.

Most of all, though, this is inimitable poetry. Where Carson relaxes her urgent disciplines, as in a "screenplay" on Heloise and Abelard, dialogue effortlessly characterises human behaviour - in all its gracelessness and joy. Effortless, too, is her ability to give descriptions of the concrete world existential leverage.

The New York Times profiles Rabbi Simcha Weinstein, author of Up, Up and Oy Vey!, a book "that contends that writer-artists of the classic comics, many of them Jewish, were influence by their religious heritage in devising characters and plots."

USA Today's Weekend magazine lists the television shows that make the best use of music, as well as the worst.

TV's Best Music Picks
1. The OC
2. Gilmore Girls
3. Grey's Anatomy
4. Rescue Me
5. Entourage

TV's Worst Music Picks
1. American Idol
2. One Tree Hill
3. My Super Sweet 16
4. The Real World
5. Laguna Beach

CNN reviews Sufjan Stevens' Wednesday night Atlanta performance.

He sang about his hometown, Detroit. He sang about ivory-billed woodpeckers. He sang about John Wayne Gacy, the serial killer. He plucked a hollow-backed banjo and shook the bells and let the rich textures of the strings and horns wash over his wispy voice, creating a sound that evoked impish games, lonely prayer, 19th-century porch swings and the quietude of a land before it was rent by the roar of machines. At times it even sounded like a spirit observing from above, the ghosts of settlers remembering.

The Wall Street Journal profiles three new online bookswapping sites:,, and my personal favorite, Bookmooch.

see also:

this week's CD & DVD releases


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