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Jeff Tompkins

JEFF TOMPKINS, a writer and comics artist in New York City, is the Online Content and Community Manager for the Library of America.

Jonathan Cott, Dinner With Lenny

The dinner begins in mid-afternoon, with your gregarious host pressing a glass of vodka into your hand and dropping the needle on one of his favorite records. It doesn’t end until past 2:30 a.m., with your host still flipping LPs on the turntable, “One more glass of wine,” he insists, “and then it’s a night.”

Colleen at SubCulture

The June 23rd Wordless Music concert by Colleen, with Katya Mihailova, at SubCulture, was an oasis of cool in several respects.

Shostakovich Slips the Noose:
Quatuor Debussy and Circa

I sat down for Opus, at BAM, with a certain amount of skepticism. A French string quartet, the Quatuor Debussy, playing three Shostakovich string quartets while a troupe of Australian acrobats gamboled around them onstage? And the musicians were going to be blindfolded for part of the performance? The word gimmicky wasn’t the furthest thing from my mind as I tried to warm to this scenario.

Four Episodes from Robert Ashley’s Vidas Perfectas

Sealed off from the clamor of a major New York art event, a viewer who sat through successive episodes was rewarded with the sense of a parallel world unfolding inside a space the size of a storage closet.

Timur and the Dime Museum at the Brooklyn Academy of Music

For three consecutive nights in September, BAM showcased the Los Angeles band Timur and the Dime Museum as part of the Fall 2015 Next Wave Festival. The group was presenting the New York debut of its hour-long concert program Collapse, which came with the intimidating subtitle “A Post-Ecological Requiem.”

MATA April 16, 2014

The 2014 MATA Festival of New Music shot out of the gate with a performance at the Kitchen by Uusinta, a sometimes 12-member new music ensemble from Finland making its American debut.

About Last Night

The first pages of the Library of America’s new collection make it clear that when Virgil Thomson was named head music critic of the New York Herald Tribune in the fall of 1940, he came in spoiling for a fight.

The Maestro and His Double

The “Conversations” in this book’s title took place over a period of several months in 2010–11, in locations around the world, beginning with novelist Haruki Murakami’s home near Tokyo and culminating in the Swiss town of Rolle, on the shores of Lake Geneva, where Seiji Ozawa was presiding over a summer academy for young musicians.

Jon Savage’s Very Good Year

“When did music become so important?” an exasperated Don Draper asks his younger wife in a fifth-season Mad Men episode, set in the fall of 1966. Don’s wife responds with a copy of the Beatles’s Revolver, which had come out that August—but Don is so unmoved by what he hears that he shuts off the hi-fi in the middle of “Tomorrow Never Knows.”


The Brooklyn Rail

SEPT 2023

All Issues