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October 3, 2008

Shorties (Chuck Klosterman, Hipsters, and more)

The Grand Forks Herald reviews Chuck Klosterman's debut novel, Downtown Owl.

The best thing about “Downtown Owl,” Chuck Klosterman’s first stab at fiction, is this: Every key character sounds suspiciously like Chuck Klosterman.


PopMatters ponders the cultural phenomenon of hipsters.

Unlike past social movements, which pretended to bear a social message, hipsters don’t have a philosophy. The hipster seeks only to pose as chic without sacrificing ironic distance. Haddow suggests that the future of a world dominated by hipsterdom is empty, trafficking in pale sketches of culture rather than any true culture: a Baudrillardian dystopia. (Baudrillard, the author of Simulation and Simulacra, described how our symbols detached from stable meaning and posited that society may be primarily composed of such simulacra.)


Amanda Petrusich, author of It Still Moves: Lost Songs, Lost Highways, and the Search for the Next American Music, puts her iPod on shuffle for the A.V. Club.

Ashlee Simpson, "Little Miss Obsessive"

AP: Okay, this one's a little embarrassing. Actually this is not embarrassing, because it's a good pop song, it has a great chorus. I find Ashlee Simpson to be, in general, a sort of weirdly engrossing public figure. Which is strange, because objectively, I think she's probably not very interesting at all. But I totally watched her reality show when it first came on MTV, and she had this kind of great, petulant little-sister faux-rebellion thing going on for a while. Which seemed at the time very real to me, in an Angela Chase sort of way. You know, "I hate my parents, I'm dying my hair and painting my nails black." I'm not sure that I like the new-wave Ashlee Simpson with that weird guy.

see also: Petrusich's Largehearted Book Notes essay for her book


The Guardian art blog profiles comics legend Alan Moore.

I've found a British artist who is serious, complex, and shocking - whose work is utterly sensational yet repays looking at again and again. There are just two problems. One is that you won't find Alan Moore's work in an art gallery. The other is that he doesn't create his images himself but works, like a film director and screenwriter, with visual artists who realise his extraordinary visions. But wait a minute... if Damien Hirst doesn't need to make his own artworks to be their author I suppose Moore doesn't either.


The Village Voice interviews Savannah Knoop, the woman who pretended to be JT LeRoy.

Many people rallied around JT. Why?

He fit easily into most people's projections. He was the Jean Genet, the quiet-sage mute. He was wild and crazy; he was a train wreck. Or he was hope that we could all get through it and transform it into art. I was never offered so many drugs in my life as when I was the recovering addict JT—and for someone who didn't like to be touched, I was constantly being touched.


The Chicago Reader examines the genesis of the television program Soul Train.

The show debuted in the middle of a magnificent era of black music and fashion, and it quickly challenged its venerable Saturday-morning colleague, American Bandstand, in the ratings.


NPR lists five songs for ill-advised office romances.


Gotham Acme interviews Rab Allan of Glasvegas.

H: Just a couple more quick questions. All of the reviews of the album mention Phil Spector and mention the girl doo-wop groups from the 50s and the 60s. How influenced do you really see yourself by American music?

R: I think in general, as a band we’re probably quite influenced by just America in general. As far as the music goes, Phil Spector and the girl groups is what we were listening to. I mean James wrote the album basically. I think in terms of the band, it’s definitely a big influence. Even today, we were still speaking of Phil Spector today and again, obviously making the album in America as well…


Creative Loafing's Crib Notes blog interviews comedian Neil Hamburger.

Sarah Palin has been in the news a lot lately. Do you have any good Sarah Palin jokes?

Don’t have any jokes about her, but she’s sort of creating her own, really. What a mess. I would try to write jokes about her but then when I turn on the TV she’s making the jokes herself and it’s so much funnier. People sit at work and see things that make them laugh and then cry and when they want to come out to my show they want to hear something different, like a joke about Smash Mouth.


Adam Green talks to Drowned in Sound about his music career.

Green continues to explain that he is now in ‘Phase 3’ of his recording career. "Phase 1 was all the home recordings, Phase 2 was all the rigid band playing and orchestration,” he explains. “This is me cutting loose a lot more. Mellower, more folkier – even though I’m really not identifying with being a folk singer lately. I guess it’s more like a film – Woody Allen music.”


LiveDaily interviews Rhett Miller of Old 97's.

What can we expect from your solo career? Are you working on anything new?

I've got a pile of songs. I'm going to try and bust out a solo record. I think it'll be really acoustic and quiet and campfire-sounding. I think it'll be pretty easy to make. I'm talking to another label right now about who's going to put it out.


Idiomag has relaunched its online personalized music magazine service.


The Guardian music blog explains why MySpace Music is unfair to indie labels.


Idolator examines the growing trend of loudly mastering music.


Disorder & Its Opposite lists 10 ideal books to introduce readers to comics.


Best 100 Novels is taking votes for the best fictional books of all time.


Nextbook profiles Rutu Modan, the cartoonist behind the graphic novel, Exit Wounds.

Modan’s visual style may at first appear somewhat plain, but she has a masterful skill for pacing and perspective, a keen eye for postures and facial expressions, and a command of composition and color that rivals the old masters of Sunday comics. Her illustrations recall the whimsical work of Little Nemo creator Winsor McKay, or, as Douglas Wolk has suggested, the “clear line” style of Tintin creator Hergé, where simple characters stand out against finely drawn landscapes to make for an oddly affecting sense of reality.


Chuck Klosterman talks to Minnesota Public Radio about his novel, Downtown Owl.


Instructables offers instructions to build an inverted bookshelf.


IndieBound is a community that supports independent bookstores as well as other independent retail outlets.


Drowned in Sound recaps September's music releases.


also at Largehearted Boy:

daily mp3 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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