Category: New Discoveries

The Physics of Light

Almost everyone knows who Albert Einstein was. Almost no one can articulate his General Theory of Special Relativity. Ditto Issac Newton and how he mathematically proved planetary gravity. The pop science series “The Physics of Light” explains these universal concepts with superb animations, trippy CGI and clever graphics, all delivered in a storytelling, non-academic style. The...

Katie Bull

On her fifth album, “All Hot Bodies Radiate,” Katie Bull continues to redefine the concept of “jazz vocalist.” She’s no chick singer. Bull’s instrument, her voice, isn’t extraordinarily powerful, plangent or peculiar, and she doesn’t project conservatory-trained technique and tuning. Yet her work mesmerizes and invites repeated listening. That’s because Bull is a singing poet, a writer...

MondayPunday.com

For five years, every Monday, the comedian Matthew Broussard has published a cartoon pun puzzle on his site, MondayPunday.com. It could just as well be called, “Think You’re Clever?” These are not painfully obvious joke drawings. Broussard’s visual puns are witty, subtle, and frequently adorable. Many of them are also quite difficult, which makes MondayPunday the kind of site...

MOPDTK’s “Mauch Chunk”

Mostly Other People Do the Killing’s latest iteration, a quartet, is led by bassist Mopppa Elliott, whose modern bop compositions are featured on the band’s new album, “Mauch Chunk,” a rollicking, raucous  dash through jazz history that’s firmly in the right now. MOPDTK’s sax man is Jon Irabagon, one the most exciting players in the world....

The Debt Resistor’s Operations Manual

An offshoot of the Occupy movement, Strike Debt is helping defaulters retire debt for pennies on the dollar. They’re also helping the 99% understand that the design of our financial system is built to keep masses of workers indentured to creditors. In Strike Debt’s easy-to-understand book, “The Debt Resistor’s Operations Manual,” the entire concept of who owes...

Mortal Coil

The novel “Mortal Coil” is a clever chameleon that passes itself off as, variously, a thriller, a fantasy, a romance. But this splendid book is foremost a work of intensely considered philosophy, a metaphysical exploration of heaven and earth, reality and imagination, humans and angels. The author is Amnon Buchbinder, a Canadian screenwriter, director and...

The Better Angels Soundtrack

It’s been nearly five years since our favorite singer, Charmaine Clamor, released a new album. In the interim, she’s taken her much-noted talent and made it deeper, stronger, richer, imbuing her expressive voice with enhanced gravity. On “The Better Angels,” Charmaine sings 11 songs of hope, all of them connecting in  some way to the higher...

The State of New Music

All is well. If you can avoid televised singing contests (among other depressing purveyors of nicely packaged sweet nothings), you realize that music, genuinely new and never heard-before music, is being composed and produced and distributed at unprecedented levels. So much of it is good — in all that imprecise word’s manifestations. There’s the straight-ahead virtuosity...

“House Hour” (PoemJazz2)

“House Hour” is the second installment in the landmark “PoemJazz” collaboration between poet Robert Pinsky and pianist Laurence Hobgood. Everything that was good in the debut is even better here. Pinsky has mastered his instrument, transforming his voice from “peculiar” to “unique.” Hobgood’s musicality and virtuosity dazzles. And the production — the mix, the equalization, the...

The Better Angels Festival

“We are not enemies, but friends…the mystic chords of memory will yet swell when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.” Abraham Lincoln said it more than 150 years ago. From July 3 – 12, a community of beautiful Los Angeles volunteers are living those words at The...