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October 10, 2006


Weird Al Yankovic puts his iPod on shuffle for the Onion A.V. Club.

Ben Folds Five, "Alice Childress"

WAY: I'm a big Ben Folds Five fan, and a big fan of Ben Folds. He's always been one of my favorite artists. And one of the cool things about whatever success I've been able to grab for myself is that I get to work with people that I really enjoy and admire, like Ben. I was able to direct his video for his "Rockin' The Suburbs." Through working together, we became friends. He agreed to play piano on one of the songs on my Poodle Hat album. Last time I was in Nashville, he invited me to drop by his recording studio and sing background vocals on a song on his Songs For Silverman album. So I get to be one of his quirky friends. Me and William Shatner. The two of us get to lower his street cred.

Author Kiran Desai talks to the Toronto Globe and Mail.

"There's a real feeling in India that, if you write about mangoes, the West will want your book for a 'fake reason,' whereas if you're writing about apples, which India also has, you're obviously doing something more important than throwing forth mangoes. It's so complicated, you know? But it did make me think very hard about what I wanted to do. It goes back to the whole immigrant thing: What question do you write to?"

Singer-songwriter Madeleine Peyroux talks to Popmatters.

“We take a minimalist approach to the songs no matter how many people are playing (in her band),” said Peyroux, who got her start as a teenage high-school dropout busking on the streets of Paris with her Billie Holiday-like voice. “We’ll try to create a little bit of an illusion so that people might feel like they’re in a club.”

The Washington Post profiles a post-Plimpton Paris Review.

In March 2005, the magazine's board hired a new editor: Philip Gourevitch, a New Yorker staff writer and the author of an excellent nonfiction book on the Rwanda genocide, "We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families."

"My mission was to revitalize the magazine, to give it new life for a new generation," says Gourevitch, 44, by phone from the Review's office in New York. "We want to be fresh. We want to be surprising."

Stylus gives the Sugarcubes' Life's Too Good album a second listen.

In some ways, the solo career of Ms. Guðmundsdóttir was inevitable—her voice too distinct, her ambitions too big for the humble confines of Iceland's biggest punk band. But for a moment, a brief, transcendent moment, there existed just that—a band—a sharp white flash of silly joy, cartoon Monkees on poppers, Northern pixies playing at being the new Pixies.

Cracked lists "the most absurd deleyted scenes of all time," complete with YouTube clips.

Minnesota Public Radio is streaming three recent in-studio performances: Yo La Tengo, Ben Kweller, and Joseph Arthur.

Anita Silvey, author of 500 Great Books for Teens, talks to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Noting exceptions like "The Gossip Girls" series, typically not a parent favorite because of subject matter heavy on smoking, drinking and sexual behavior, Silvey says the "chick lit" genre has gotten a bad rap. "There are certainly great writers like Meg Cabot, Jaclyn Moriarty and Ann Brashares, who wrote 'Sisterhood,' infusing their books with fun and occasionally a little satire on society. Teenage girls love them," she said.

Antony Hegarty of Antony and the Johnsons talks to the Guardian.

"I suppose it did form me, aesthetically and especially in terms of community. My adult landscape and the community that I still hold in my heart is from that world. But I was preoccupied with music when I was doing club stuff; my participation was to come out and sing a song. When I moved on, I just left behind all the heartache. The rest is still very present in everything that I do".

The Los Angeles Times lists North Korean leader Kim Jong-II's possible favorite movies.

In 1973, he wrote a book, "On the Art of the Cinema," describing his theories of movies being the primary force in revolutionizing art and literature. In 1978, he had South Korean filmmaker Shin Sang-Ok and his actress wife Choe Eun-Hee kidnapped and brought to North Korea to help start the country's film industry. It's said he owns a collection of 20,000 video and DVDs, a fact Kim denies. But when it comes to figuring out which movie is the so-called Great Leader's favorite, the experts disagree. And so we present a survey of possible favorite flicks from the Roger Ebert of North Korea.

The Village Voice reviews Yo La Tengo's late September Jersey City performance.

YLT live and die by Ira's guitar-thrashing amp abusers, whether tamed into concise powerpop "hits" like "Sugarcube" and "Tom Courtenay" or funneled into endless autumn jams like those bookending I Will Beat Your Ass. His wobbly, wistful voice holds up fine, but he abandons it ASAP when it's time to freak out—he spins around, faces Georgia, and pantomimes epileptic pro-wrestling moves, as though he's still trying to impress her. She smiles politely.

The Observer's panel of authors names the best British, Irish or Commonwealth novel of the past 25 years.

And so to our winner. JM Coetzee's Disgrace received nominations from writers across the English-speaking world. This unforgettable novel of the South African crisis has already brought its author a record-breaking second Booker Prize in 1999. It is part of an oeuvre (including Waiting for the Barbarians, The Age of Iron and The Life and Times of Michael K) that was honoured by the Nobel in 2003.

The Wizard Rockumentary is a documentary featuring Harry Potter tribute bands. The film's website features music videos and several downloadable "wizard rock playlists."

The Who's Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey list "music you should hear" for

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