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BAM Next Wave, Part I

In the 1980s I witnessed a lot of dreary performance art, which in retrospect might have been amusing except for all those minutes and hours lost, never to return. To think of the constructive things I could have been doing, like drinking beer, masturbating, or listening to Bob Murphy broadcast a Mets game.

World Music in the Cradle of (Someone’s) Democracy

WOMEX, its name an acronym for World Music Expo, is an itinerant annual conference, trade fair, and showcase concert event—in the manner of SXSW or CMJ—bruited by its organizer, the German record label and festival promotion firm Piranha, to be the “largest and leading international networking lounge for World, Roots, Folk, Ethnic, Traditional, Local, and Diaspora Music.”

Hell, Set to Music

Dies iræ! Dies illa. So begins the brimstone Sequentia proper of the Requiem Mass.If you find this, or America’s current sociopolitical state, unfathomable, you may be in denial that, according to a 2011 Gallup Poll, 92 percent of Americans “believe in God.”

Randy Newman’s “Birmingham” as Ironic Southern Anthem

I have an aunt who lives in Birmingham, and though I don’t think she’d care for Randy Newman’s other work—certainly not his recent salvo, “I’m Dreaming of a White President”—she does like “Birmingham,” a pleasant tune from his 1974 album Good Old Boys.


I find the fact that I can read difficult to comprehend, and therefore I stumble along as I do so. With writing, on the other hand, I find the process a bit more natural, though awkwardly so; it is usually one or two steps behind the thinking that creates it.

Reading and Listening with Listener

There is beautiful, heartbreaking, fascinating work resounding in the basements of every punk house in the country, and it behooves us all to listen.


The Brooklyn Rail

DEC 12-JAN 13

All Issues