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October 29, 2006

Shorties

The New York Post weighs in on recent investment in the music blog Stereogum.

Armed with new money from both Pittman and Hirschhorn, Stereogum, already singled out by everyone from Entertainment Weekly to The Wall Street Journal as one of the best music resources on the Web, plans to add more writers and go "deeper and narrower" with its indy-rock music coverage.


The Houston Chronicle examines the legacy of artist Edward Gorey.

"Somebody directed me toward a Web site recently that shows all his stuff," said Chip Kidd, a writer and the preeminent book-jacket designer of the past two decades. (He created covers for Cormac McCarthy's All the Pretty Horses and David Sedaris' Naked to name two.) "I was surprised; I knew he'd done some of these great covers, but I had no idea he'd done so many. And it's such a broad range of stuff, all of it impressive."


The Contra Costa Times reviews three graphic novels: Cancer Vixen: A True Story, Marjane Satrapi's Chicken With Plums, The 9/11 Report: A Graphic Adaptation and American Born Chinese. A slideshow of panels from the books are included with the review.


The Los Angeles Times reviews the graphic novel, Pride of Baghdad.

Henrichon's art is influenced by Disney's "The Lion King," and by manga. But his lions are gritty and bewildered, and his pages shift deliberately from golden yellows to a deep, frightening red-gold as the story moves to its close, going from day to sunset on the lion's first and only day of freedom. As they wander the strange landscape, the lions become more and more pride-like: The four begin to walk as one. The farther they get from the zoo, the more they are a family.


The Philadelphia Inquirer reviews music critic Greil Marcus's new book, The Shape of Things to Come: Prophecy and the American Voice


Will Oldham talks to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Is Bonnie "Prince" Billy a role that he plays? He thinks about the question for a while.

"To some extent it is, yeah," he says, adding, "and I take my roles pretty seriously."

Oldham also talks to the San Jose Mercury News.

Oldham says his avoidance of San Francisco in recent years is no slight against the city, which he says he likes.

``Unfortunately, the big cities are full of people'' and ``oftentimes lots of colleagues and friends and family, which makes the experience potentially extremely overwhelming,'' he says. ``It contributes to a great life experience, but it dangerously threatens a great musical experience.''


The Observer has musicians, a novelist, and a soccer player choose their favorite Clash songs.

Irvine Welsh
Novelist

Clash City Rockers

The opening chopped guitar riff, executed with such abrupt power and precision, immediately informs you that you're in the presence of true greatness. Punk was primarily a male youth culture and the song audaciously kicks over the previous lads' icons - Bowie and (the pre-nonce) Gary Glitter. It was saying that it wasn't wearing make-up that made us shocking: it was because we were obnoxious, spotty, angry, bored, young c*nts.

This was one of the songs that made me leave home and go to London. It was always on at all hours in the Shepherd's Bush squat. I became an insomniac because of this song. Every time you put it on, you were making a statement: this is our time and we will not be denied.

A lot of water, beer, amphetamines and music has flowed under the bridge since then. But under the right conditions - for example, blasting out from a Stoke Newington stereo on a hot London summer's day - I feel a shiver down my spine and nearly 30 years seem to have been shed.


The Washington Post reports that teens are jumping from MySpace to Facebook.

The high school English class cites several reasons for backing off of MySpace: Creepy people proposition them. Teachers and parents monitor them. New, more alluring free services comes along, so they collectively jump ship.


Reclusive author James Hamilton Patterson talks to the Observer.


offBeat reviews The Bob Dylan Encyclopedia by Michael Gray.

Reading the book end to end would require monumental discipline or obsessive dedication to all things Dylan, but it’s great for the bathroom. Gray seems sufficiently thorough in his research and provocative in his opinions, though the lit crit passages would benefit from a little dry wit he shows elsewhere in the book.

see also: Gray's LHB Book Notes entry for the book


The New York Times' F.Y.I. column explains author Maxim Gorky's New York "sex scandal."


The Observer examines the rise of fan fiction.

The rise of fan fiction comes as little surprise - it mirrors the trend in music for bands basing their careers on a single sound or period of a earlier act, or in film for endless sequels and remakes of older, classic films. With so much to choose from, at least there will be the enticement of familiarity - or so the thinking goes. Only perhaps in published literature has the premium on originality lasted somewhat longer, though this, too, has been taking a beating with so many recent cases of literary plagiarism.


Singer-songwriter Tom Waits talks to the Observer about his new rarities collection, Orphans (out November 21st).

It's the first time in over 20 albums that Waits has divided his music along such generic lines. I figure that, at 56, he's finally mellowing out. 'Don't know 'bout that,' he says, sounding even more gruff than usual, maybe a little offended. 'Just thought it would make for easier listening if I put them in categories. It's a combination platter, rare and new. Some of it is only a few months old, and some of it is like the dough you have left over so you can make another pie.'


Minneapolis Star Tribune books editor Kay Williams talks about her job and lifelong love affair with literature.

"Featuring the very best of local authors makes our pages different from anything else in the country," she said. If there is criticism of her approach, she added, it's that she doesn't focus enough on popular fiction in the Sunday pages. Those books often are relegated to the Wednesday book feature.


The Independent reports that indie rockers are helping birdwatching grow as a hobby in the UK.

Big-name bird-lovers from Jarvis Cocker to Bill Oddie have also boosted twitching's image.One celeb birder, Noble, the lead singer of indie band British Sea Power, says: "Just the other day, Fyfe Dangerfield [lead singer with the Guillemots], told me about his rare sighting of a nightjar ... that's real-life magic".


The Telegraph examines the current state of British copyright law regarding ripping CD's to digital form.

Unknown to many, the 1709 Statue of Anne which came into law as the first Copyright Act in 1710 still governs the enforcement of copyright in the UK. It thus prevents copying an artistic work into a different format, such as a record on to a tape, or a CD on to a computer file.


The San Francisco Chronicle reviews three recently published children's books about jazz and blues music.


NPR's Weekend Edition interviews author Bill Bryson, and excerpts from his memoir, The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid.


see also:

this week's CD & DVD releases

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