Category: New Discoveries

The Todd Glass Show

Since every creative person in America has a podcast, it’s difficult keeping up with the overwhelming output. So many personal revelations, so many jokes. So much repetitive blathering. The best podcasts, like The Todd Glass Show, don’t require regular listening to understand what’s going on. Dive in anywhere — more than 100 shows in the...

Rory Scovel

The Los Angeles-based comedian Rory Scovel has some funny jokes written down somewhere. But he doesn’t really need them. Scovel, who’s currently destroying Montreal’s “Just for Laughs” festival, is an ingenious improviser who owns the rare skill of being able to live in the golden present, with his audience, inside the energy, every minute he’s on...

Kumare

Vikram Gandhi is a handsome and charismatic filmmaker; Kumare is an Indian guru who espouses a nice-sounding mélange of yoga, Ayurveda, meditation, and chanting — all standard stuff for seekers of Wisdom.  Gandhi’s documentary shows how Kumare, with the help of two fetching female assistants, builds a fabulous reputation and a community of followers. The...

Cambodian Space Project

Aside from the usual side-effects of hypnotic music — tapping toes, pumping heads, swaying shoulders — one of the interesting results of listening to the Cambodian Space Project is the onset of what feels vaguely like a psychoactive hallucination. They’ve got a delightful weirdness factor (at least to unseasoned Western ears). You feel transported. But...

Don Johnson Big Band

Finland’s Don Johnson Big Band is an ironically named collective of modern hip-hop artists. They’re not big and they’ve got nothing to do with the former star of “Miami Vice,” but they are a band. A funky one. With percussion and a flute-and-sax man. They’re extremely groovy and unabashedly weird — klezmer gangsta rap, anyone? The best...

Fighting for the Press

Author James Goodale was chief counsel for the New York Times during the Nixon era. His new book, “Fighting for the Press: The Inside Story of the Pentagon Papers and Other Battles,” outlines our government’s pernicious (and ongoing) threat to media freedom. Some prescient authors get all the luck: Every morning it seems we’re greeted to...

Enrich LA

Certain simple ideas have the power to transform humanity (for the better). Creating an organic community garden is one of those life-changing concepts. The forward-thinking nonprofit, EnrichLA, builds gardens at schools, using students, parents, and community volunteers to construct irrigated planting beds, trees, flowers, and vegetables. In the tradition of Habitat for Humanity, it all happens...

Here Lies Love

Entertaining, educational, and totally boogie-licious, the New York Public Theater production of “Here Lies Love” is the most fun we’ve had at a show since the age of disco. Originally a stellar recording project created by David Byrne and Fatboy Slim, with vocals from, among others, Cyndi Lauper, Tori Amos, Nathalie Merchant, Santigold, Florence Welch,...

Kim Richmond’s “Artistry”

The idea has intrigued modern American composers for decades: What would happen if you mashed-up jazz with the symphonic form? Duke Ellington, Gil Evans, Vince Mendoza, and Maria Schneider have written ravishing scores in this vein. Now, the respected Los Angeles reed-man, arranger, composer and band leader Kim Richmond has released his latest masterwork, “Artistry,” a...

Neil Hamburger

Andy Kauffman. Tony Clifton…Jackie Mason — America’s glorious tradition of professional funnymen lives on in the fabulous Neil Hamburger.  Hamburger’s live act, which reportedly differs from his many celebrated albums, features a barrage of Socratic jokes, tough questions with tougher answers. If you’re his ex-wife, we’re sorry! Neil’s pacing is legendary, and he uses the abundance of mucus...