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April 21, 2008

Shorties

Crosscut Seattle profiles the Portland Cello Project.

Much of the current interest in cello is due to popularity of cello-rock groups like Apocolytica and the chamber-rock group Rasputina. PCP has teamed up with many local groups for performances at Holocene, The Doug Fir Lounge, the Someday Lounge, and the Wonder Ballroom, often performing compositions by PCP members. “Wherever we play, we try to make sure that the ticket price is inexpensive,” adds Jenkins.


The Boston Herald examines the Big Dipper reunion.

If the reunion succeeds, will the members of Big Dipper - public radio producers and suits commuting to and from the Financial District - give up their day jobs for another shot at rock’s brass ring?

Nah. But that doesn’t mean there won’t be a few more one-offs.

“We’ve actually been asked by Camper Van Beethoven to open their 25th anniversary show at the Fillmore in San Francisco,” said Waleik. “But we don’t know if we’ll get that far.”


The Fresno Bee profiles authors who happen to be the children of famous writers, including the progeny of John Steinbeck, John Cheever, and more.

Thomas Steinbeck, son of American literary lion John Steinbeck, has a wonderful, self-deprecating sense of humor. He chats in a rapid-fire fashion and shares anecdotes with the agility of an entertaining storyteller, which is what he is.

He's often asked what it's like to be a writer who is the son of a famous writer. As if there is an easy, standard answer. As if that is all there is to know about him.

"From my point of view, once there's a Nobel Prize in the family, there's no place to go but down," Thomas says, good-naturedly.


Popmatters reconsiders the film adaptation of Nick Hornby's High Fidelity.

When the 2000 adaptation directed by Stephen Frears was released, Hornby told the New York Times that after seeing the film, “At times, it appears to be a film in which John Cusack reads my book.” Cusack, who plays Rob, does an outstanding job of portraying the self-obsessed, but loveable, record store owner. And like Hornby said, he does literally seem to be reading the book as he addresses the camera directly, saying things like, “What came first, the music or the misery?”


The Washington Post's Express profiles the Constantines.

On "Kensington Heights," the band's first album for the Canadian label Arts & Crafts, Constantines have toned down their usual anthemic bombast for a more mature, dynamic sound that is highlighted by melodic, overlapping guitar lines in slow-burning tracks such as "Time Can Be Overcome" and "Our Age."


Popmatters interviews Supergrass drummer Danny Goffey.


Oregon Public Broadcasting features in-studio videos of performances by the Helio Sequence and Thao Nguyen.


Author Steven Poole discusses the effects of distributing an old book of his for free via the internet.

Internet distribution is awesome, but you knew that already. More people got Trigger Happy from this website than ever bought a copy of the printed book. The interest shown in an eight-year-old book about videogames by people as far afield (from my point of view) as Brazil and Russia has been immensely gratifying. My book was converted to be readable on the Nintendo DS; and the Nebraska Library Commission made a spiral-bound printed copy for their collection. Links to the download attracted a lot of attention to this site, and in December there was even an article about the book published in the French newspaper Libération.

All of which is to say, it was a pretty good publicity stunt. It might have sold a few more hard copies; more importantly, it gives my future books a better chance of at least being picked up in a bookstore by people who downloaded this one.


GamesRadar lists the best videogame stories ever.


Five Chapters is serializing a short story by Nathaniel Rich, whose debut novel The Mayor's Tongue was just published.


The Telegraph visits the home of Nobel laureate Doris Lessing.

The room, by the way, is everything you would hope a literary giant's sitting-room might be: splendidly chaotic, more like a junk shop. Someone once said that Lessing seemed to camp out in her own home. There are stacks of books, some teetering precariously, a globe, a tray of nick-nacks, African masks, oil paintings, rugs rucked up on the floor. She lives in here now, sleeping on a red sofa because her backache, caused by osteoporosis, makes it difficult for her to sleep on a bed. She shares the sofa with her huge cat, Yum-Yum, the name taken from The Mikado. 'One day I'll fall over Yum-Yum and have to be carted off to hospital,' she says, stroking the cat. Lessing is clear-minded and clear-voiced, but she does seem to gnaw at words, biting them, talking through gritted teeth like Clare Short. It gives even her moments of frivolity a certain sternness.


The Houston Chrionicle interviews Pulitzer prize winning poet Robert Hass.

Q: Did the experience of being poet laureate make you more optimistic or less optimistic about the fate of poetry in American society?

A: The experience of being a poet laureate taught me about work being done on issues like literacy and environmental protection and environmental education. It made me understand better how powerful a fourth estate the nonprofits are. People working privately in their communities for social change. I came to see a lot of that work and respect it deeply. That made me more optimistic about this country and about people.


PC World and Londonist profile Get London Reading's Google Maps mashup that places over 400 books on their London locations.


Ars Technica previews the Zune Joy Division special edition.

I seriously doubt many people nowadays love Joy Division so much that they would buy their limited edition Zune; this, along with the Allen Iverson Zune package (at least Joy Division is a band), is a serious contender for worst Zune promotion initiative. Zune's marketing team has done some very interesting things to get people talking about the Zune, but lately it's as if they've run out of ideas and have set their minds on producing limited edition Zune this and limited edition Zune that. For the sake of healthy competition against the iPod, I hope they have more under their sleeves that we just haven't caught wind of yet.


Free Comic Book Day is May 3rd.


The Seti.com blog lists ten must-read "first contact" novels.


Setlist.com is an online database filled with almost 100,000 live performance setlists.


also at Largehearted Boy:

2007 online music lists
Daily Downloads
Try It Before You Buy It (mp3s and full album streams from this week's CD releases)
this week's CD releases


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