Author: Michael Konik

Tyrese Coleman’s “How to Sit”

Offered as a “memoir in stories and essays,” the debut book from Tyrese Coleman, “How to Sit,” blurs the lines between genres and categories, focusing, instead, on searingly honest recollection of a childhood — and a life — shaped by unreliable women and predatory men. Coleman’s prose is spare, direct, powerful. “I am the product...

A More Exceptionally Perfect America

Experts on matters patriotic, including members of Congress and the corporate oligarchs for whom they toil, believe that those of us who are fortunate enough to live in the greatest country on Earth benefit from a magical phenomenon known as American Exceptionalism. According to those who have made a kind of casual study of our glorious history,...

Our Undemocratic Impulse to Defeat the Waze App

Vista, the little Sunset Square “capillary” street we live on, runs North-South between two major “artery” boulevards, Hollywood and Sunset. Because there’s a school at the end of our block, diverting traffic around the block to the East or West, Vista Street is inconvenient for those in a hurry. Most drivers take a more direct route, one that...

Vocal Music Delights

Two new vocal recordings — one from a likely source, the other not — remind us that genuine vocal artistry brings delight not quite like anything else. The human voice, malleable and expressive and colorful, vibrates with genuine (and profound) feeling on “Close Up,” by Sara Serpa, the celebrated singer, known for her angelic tone,...

Our Golden Age of Corporate Apologies

Some of the most popular and successful companies in America — Wells Fargo, Facebook, Uber — have suffered a series of highly unfortunate blemishes on their otherwise pristine public images. They did very naughty things. To their customers. Stole from them. Lied to them. Treated every person like a valuable revenue stream instead of an...

When We Were Ghouls

Amy E. Wallen’s childhood was different than most little American girls from Nevada. Thanks to her dad’s job as an oil prospector, the family spent her formative years in Nigeria, Peru and Bolivia, where daily life was kissed by exoticism: parrots for pets, servants calling her “small sister,” and dead bodies. Many of them. Wallen’s...

The Experience That Changed Your Life

Do you have an experience that, in retrospect, seems to have set you on your life’s journey? A formative moment? An epiphany? Mine came when I was 16, more than 35 years ago. The summer after my sophomore year of high school, I attended (and completed) a 24-day Colorado Outward Bound course in the Rocky...

Dealt

The documentary “Dealt,” about one of the world’s greatest card magicians, a Texan named Richard Turner, contains no gunshots, explosions or, for that matter, violence of any kind. But it never fails to fascinate, mesmerize and inspire. If there’s a “super-hero” character in this movie, it’s Turner, who practices card moves — false shuffles, false...

Further Refinements to the NFL Anthem Policy

The National Football League recently announced a change in their rules regarding the playing of “The Star Spangled Banner,” that great paean to durable fabric. They understand the symbolic importance of standing and pretending to know the words to a song about a symbol. It’s symbolism: Singing a song that pays homage to a symbol...

The Denuding of Los Angeles

Before he takes his war chest of political “donations” to the national arena, where his handlers will attempt to re-package him as “presidential,” our bumbling failure of a Mayor, the man who oversees an ongoing humanitarian disaster known as “homelessness in Los Angeles,” seems determined to wreck as many neighborhoods as possible. The Eric Garcetti ethos: If a...