Monthly Archives: May 2009

Evita’s Exquisite Corpse

Eva Peron
Remember Evita, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 70s bio-musical about the beloved Argentine political icon Eva Perón? Cinema-tized with Madonna in the 90s? No? Well, it did tend to linger on the relatively dull early section of Perón’s story: the part where she’s alive.

It turns out that when Perón traded cancer for immortality at the martyrdom-enabling age of 33, her role in steering her country’s future was just beginning.
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Jay Bennett Memorial Playlist

Jay Bennett

Jay Bennett died on Saturday night. He was, I am increasingly convinced, the source of much of what I love about Wilco’s music, as the five albums made with his input — 1996’s Being There through 2001’s yankee hotel foxtrot — are the ones to which I always return. The records Wilco made on either side of the Jay Bennett era haven’t moved me nearly as much.

I attribute this more to Bennett’s pop sensibility and studio wizardry, which made a song like “Secret of the Sea” from Mermaid Ave. Vol. II what it was, than to his lead guitar work, which was, if more traditional than Jeff Tweedy’s, also a lot more fun to hear. Continue reading

Live Saturday Night: The Bangles

Susannah-Hoffs-2008

If your memory of The Bangles begins and ends with their two breakout hits, “Walk Like an Egyptian” and the Prince-penned “Manic Monday,” you could be forgiven for assuming the all-female band was primarily a studio creation like so many of their fellows in heavy rotation on MTV circa 1986. But you’d also be quite wrong. Continue reading

Masterpiece Theatre: The Woman Who Amuses Herself

Mona.Lisa.smile.by.da.Vinci
Oh, like you’ve never taken a lady home and had second thoughts about it.

You know the Mona Lisa, yeah? A lot of smart people think a big reason why the half-millennia-old Renaissance masterpiece remains instantly recognizable to you, you Big Mac-eating, CW-watching, New York Times-ignoring philistine, is because in 1911, somebody stole it. Continue reading

Bruuuuuuuce at Verizon Center: Building Up the House

Bruce Sprinsteen at Verzion Center, Monday, May 18, 2009.  Photo by Kyle Gustafson.

Bruce Sprinsteen at Verzion Center, Monday, May 18, 2009. Photo by Kyle Gustafson.

Better: Read this review on DCist, where you can enjoy the rest of the great Kyle “Information Leafblower” Gustafson’s fabulous concert photos.

Bruce Springsteen is still Working on a Theme.

Actually, it’s more or less the same theme he’s been working on at least since Darkness on the Edge of Town in 1978, when the theme morphed from, essentially:

This town is full of losers. Let’s you and me pull out of here to win!
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In Advance of Tonight’s Brucetivities . . .

Bruce-2009-Danny-Clinch

. . . for which I will be departing directly, a porkpie-tip (though I’m more into Western shirts just now) to the Paper of Record’s ace pop critic Josh Fredom du Lac for posting all these old reviews of DC-area Springsteen concerts on the Post Rock blog. (Also for his interview with local boy and E Street Band guitarist Nils Lofgren, required reading for any E Street fan.) As someone who reads old rock journalism obsessively, I love this.
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Live Last Night: Etta James

ettajames

Sasha Fierce, keep your distance.

“Y’all know where Beyonce is?” demanded Etta James at the Birchmere Saturday night. The septugenarian sexpot is still cranky that the 27-year-old one-namer who portrayed her in the film “Cadillac Records” got to sing “At Last” for the President and the First Lady back in January.
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The Folger’s Radiant Arcadia: Sexy-Time for Your Brain

Arcadia---1809

Whaddaya mean I’m two years too late for a Borat joke?

This still from Aaron Posner’s brilliant new staging of Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia at the Folger wouldn’t make me want to run out and see it, really. But I hope my DCist review will inspire you to do just that. Best thing I’ve seen on a stage in 2009, certainly, and probably going back a goodly while earlier than that. Run, don’t walk.

What, you want more? Okay. Review proper begins after the jump.
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Live Last Night: Leonard Cohen at Merriweather

Leonard-Cohen-hat-in-hand

Ladies and Gentlemen, opening for the serene and poetical Mr. Leonard Cohen this evening: the brilliant and genteel Mr. Leonard Cohen.

At Merriweather Monday night, under skies that might be called “Coheneque” — cold, rainy, despairing, but not without a solitary beauty — the spry 74-year-old* songwriter’s songwriter glided on-stage at 7:35, and sang for 65 minutes. Yes, sang. Save your jokes. He’s heard them all, and written some of the better ones himself.** Continue reading

Live Two Nights Ago: John Doe & The Sadies at IOTA

Photo by Derek von Essen / courtesy Yep Roc Records

Photo by Derek von Essen / courtesy Yep Roc Records

The great Los Angeles punkabilly quartet known as X had already made their best albums by 1985, when three-fourths of its lineup joined guitarist Dave Alvin to form the country and western offshoot The Knitters. That band took 20 years to brew a follow-up, but X/Knitters co-frontman John Doe’s sand-polished voice instantly proved to be such a natural and expressive delivery system for old-timey C&W that you knew (or at least hoped) he’d eventually get around to cutting a record like “Country Club”— his month-old set of (primarily) Bakersfield-centric “countrypolitan” classics, recorded with Toronto-based roots eclecticians The Sadies.
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Coming Soon: St. Vincent.

stvincent

Stop the Presses: I’ve got a little bit on St. Vincent nee Annie Clark in the Paper of Record’s Sunday Style + Arts roundup of musical young comers who’ll be playing around town in the next month or so.

Art Spiegelman: Deleted Scenes

spiegelman-illus-web-layers

What a thrill it was for me to talk last week with comics master Art Spiegelman, who’ll give his Comix 101 lecture tonight at the Corcoran. If you’re still curious after reading my preview (it’s a PDF) in today’s Examiner (aimed, like Spiegelman’s talk, at comic book civilians, after all), here’s a little more Spiegelmania, in the from of excerpts from our conversation last Thursday.
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