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January 22, 2007

Shorties

The Los Angeles Times examines the local and cultural relevance of The OC.

My problem with "The O.C." wasn't its ignorance of the "real" Orange County, the postmodern suburban stew of multiculturalism and Mexican bashing I call casa. No fictional depiction of a region can possibly synthesize it entirely, John Steinbeck notwithstanding. Nor am I too bothered with out-of-towners now calling us "The O.C.," a nickname as inane as "Hollyweird." Creator Josh Schwartz's greatest sin was to transform my homeland into a synonym for avarice and vapidity — which is what Orange County's leaders want. In the eyes of America, we're now "Dallas" with better tans and a coast, and the movers and shakers of la naranja love it.


The Chicago Tribune profiles last.fm, the music social networking service.

As social networking exploded into the public consciousness last year, so has Last.fm. It is based in London, but before the recent holiday season it launched sites in a dozen other languages, including Polish, French and Russian. Now it's a global phenomenon for music fans, with more than 15 million active users each month.


Popmatters examines the change at the Village Voice singe the weekly was bought by New Times Media.

But some say that the roots of the changes are more complex than the straight-up money grab. “I don’t necessarily think the choices were made for financial reasons,” says Eric Weisbard, a long-time Voice contributor and one-time music editor who currently works for the Experience Music Project in Seattle. “I think New Times hated what the Voice stood for: the alternative weekly that assumed its left-oriented, educated pop-culture writing has an audience; the idea that you should write about pop music with the same depth and the same number of cultural references that you would talk about a novelist in the New York Review of Books.”


Comics Should Be Good features Elektra: Assassin in its series, Comics You Should Own.


The Killer List of Video Games remembers the Journey console arcade game.


The Los Angeles Times reviews two graphic novels dealing with cancer, Marisa Acocella Marchetto's Cancer Vixen and Miriam Engelberg's Cancer Made Me a Shallower Person.


Author Neal Pollack talks to Inside Bay Area about his parenting memoir, Alternadad.

"In some ways this could be a parody of a whiny Gen-X dad, you know?" he said of his new book. "In some ways I am a parody of a whiny Gen-X dad. ... It's weird talking about your life in terms of material. But I guess I'm here, right? Everybody's life is material."


The New York Times reviews the new Shins album, Wincing the Night Away.

This album is a bit more warmblooded than the first two, full of characters trying to decide between trying anew or giving up. “Sea Legs,” which has a drum-machine beat and a hint of Morrissey, builds to a half-asked question: “The choice is yours: to be loved, come away from it empty of ...” Mr. Mercer doesn’t finish the thought. And “Australia” slowly comes into focus as the portrait of a mope: “Been alone since you were 21/You haven’t laughed since January.”


The Guardian, Independent, the Evening Standard, and Telegraph reviews Joanna Newsom's recent London performance.


The Sydney Morning Herald profiles the "humblest of instruments," the singing saw.

The mournful whine of the musical saw has become ubiquitous, with buskers, folk musicians and pop groups drawing bow across vibrating steel. The singing saw, as it is also known, can be heard on Clare Bowditch's album What Was Left and on Mercury Rev's All Is Dream.


The Library of Michigan named its "2007 Michigan Notable Books."


see also:

Largehearted Boy's favorite albums of 2006
2006 Year-end Music List Compilation
this week's CD & DVD releases

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