Author: Michael Konik

Matt McCarthy

Comedians have their strengths. Some are good with “paper”  — prepared written material. Some are expert improvisers. Some create indelible characters. And a few, the rare ones, can do it all. Matt McCarthy, a longtime New York comic currently destroying Los Angeles, has got the magic. We’ve seen him in several realms, including bar-raising sets at Troy Conrad’s...

Honoring Our Laborers

As we make final preparations for the most solemn American holiday, Labor Day, our mind turns to ways that we, and perhaps all of us, can make Monday’s national celebration of workers into a perfect expression of how we all really feel about laborers. Vegas, baby! Disneyland? Another less exalted way of honoring those of...

Is the Tall Man Happy?

Driector Michel Gondry (“Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”) is currently flummoxing viewers with his persistently inventive “Mood Indigo.” But of all his blazingly original creations, the 2013 documentary “Is the Tall Man Happy: An Animated Conversation with Noam Chomsky” might be his most densely wonderful work. Gondry and the indispensable linguist and social critic...

News Quiz

Who said what? “This act of violence shocks the conscience of the world.” A) Eric Holder, on the Boston Marathon bombing. B) Reverend Al Sharpton, on the slaying of another unarmed black man by American police. C) Prime Minister David Cameron, on the downing of Malaysian Air #17. D) None of the above.   “They...

Tom Chang’s “Tongue & Groove”

Guitarist Tom Chang’s debut recording,Tongue & Groove,is an arresting, curry-flavored gumbo of jazz, contemporary classical, and South Indian Carnatic music. What this mélange sounds like is newness personified, a foreshadowing of the globalization of musical cultures. The sonic unfamiliarity doesn’t jar; it seduces. The title track opens with a 30-second vocal percussion solo that would make Bobby...

Encouraging Suicide Note

I’m hoping something good will come of my early exit. So it won’t have been a big waste. I’m optimistic, but I’m also realistic. Jesus Christ died for all our sins yet we find increasingly perverse ways to thank him and his Father. He just wanted us to love each other. That’s the challenging part...

Pandora’s Promise

Committed environmentalists know that nuclear power is bad. Evil. The worst. We’ve been trained by incidents like Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and Fukushima to fear the inevitable disasters that radioactivity will surely wreak upon our energy-hungry world. Not to mention the apocalyptic weaponry that nuclear power begets. It’s a settled issue. According to the provocative...

Additional Golden Rules

The original Golden Rule — “treat others as you wish to be treated” — sounds fantastic in theory, but isn’t really possible to apply practically, as evidenced by the lives each of us lead. Or maybe it is being applied and is difficult to recognize. Maybe how people wish to be treated is “horribly,” which explains all...

The Shape of Content

The painter, writer, and progressive thinker Ben Shahn died in 1969. But his thoughts on Art and Life read today like a freshly-digitized TED talk. His famously provocative — as in provoking genuinely new ways of looking and cogitating — series of 1950s lectures at Harvard were collected into a graciously illustrated short book, originally published...

Israel’s Final Solution

Enough already. We’re sick and tired of hearing about the conflict in Gaza, especially when there’s a new turtle movie coming out. Sure, our tax dollars pay for Israeli and Egyptian weaponry, and, yeah, OK, that sort of makes us involved. But, really, what does this decades-old grudge match have to do with us here...