Author: Michael Konik

Two Approaches to Jazz Drumming

For two consecutive weeks, we’ve been treated to compulsively listenable new albums by two excellent jazz drummers, Raphael Pannier (“Faune”) and Matt Wilson (“Hug!”). In many ways, the recordings couldn’t be more different. Pannier is a next generation virtuoso surrounded by other jazz killers — Miguel Zenon, Francois Moutin, Aaron Goldberg — whose spectacular modernist...

Last Moment of Clarity

The cinematic thriller “Last Moment of Clarity,” written and directed by James and Colin Krisel in their major film debut, is a melange of Hitchcockian plot devices — “Vertigo,” particularly — assembled with assured artfulness and narrative control. We’re given what seems like a set of facts — a hapless fellow (Zach Avery, nicely understated)...

Leah Lewis in “The Half of It”

Alice Wu’s autobiographical romantic comedy “The Half of It” is worth watching for many reasons, including its original and modern take on the Cyrano de Bergerac theme of love letters written by a surrogate. Perhaps the movie’s biggest revelation is the performance of Leah Lewis, a singer-songwriter whose utter naturalness on screen suggests she’ll soon...

Mercy

Exploring the fascinating (and disturbing) connection between an obsession with “true crime” television and one chronically ill woman’s serial surgeries and medical emergencies, Marcia Trahan’s bravely honest memoir Mercy compels readers to consider the omnipresent violence — both literal and figurative — visited upon women’s bodies. Not a jolly subject, right? Surprisingly, Trahan’s telling of her...

Hope Rekindled

This past week has given us more hope for our diseased republic than any other time in 50+ years of paying attention. Observing and participating in a long-overdue peaceful uprising, occupying the streets, feeling the righteous energy of people of all ages, colors, faiths, and wealth (or lack thereof), has renewed our belief in the...

Accelerate Every Voice

Aficionados of the weird and wonderful, rejoice! Pianist-arranger Cory Smythe’s “Accelerate Every Voice,” gives new meaning to term “original music.” The recording offers strange and alluring sounds emanating from electronic keyboards and loopers, but the main sonic source is a quintet of human voices orchestrated into a collage of aural splendor that’s hard to describe...

May 5, 2020

May 5, 2020

MK reads Chapter One of “The Unexpected Guest” LIVE from his front porch!

Hand in Hand

The photographer Meg Boscov makes macro pictures; the writer Randall Brown makes micro stories. Teaming their extravagant talents, they’ve produced one of the loveliest — and most useful — coffee table books we’ve encountered. “Hand in Hand” contains a ravishing photo (many of them from nature) and an accompanying page of text in each chapter,...

An Antidote for Corrosive Polarization

The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension…is itself a frightful despotism [serving] always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot...

I Lost My Body

When a movie’s plot is almost impossible to describe with a straight face — “Um, it’s an animated film about an amputated hand searching for its body, a motorcycle pizza delivery boy. . .in Paris” — you know you’re dealing with a singular creation. The French director Jeremy Clapin’s “I Lost My Body” is one...