Tagged: essay by michael konik

In the Company of Genius?

This past week I’ve had the honor of producing an album for FreeHam Records, the little record company I own. I’ve lived inside the control room of a studio in Hollywood, listening closely to what the musicians are playing and making sure their most stirring creations are captured properly on a computer disk. My job...

The Power of Power

Of all the abstract notions that motivate human beings to behave as they do, power, it seems, is the most compelling. Truth and beauty, fame and wealth — they’re nice. But power (and the mad pursuit of it) makes people betray the basic tenets of decency that allegedly govern our interactions. Power is like a...

The Vegas Shell Game

Work commitments take me to Las Vegas frequently, where, like millions of other visitors, the excess of it all, the unashamed pursuit of pleasure disconnected from meaning or what passes for reality in more responsible precincts awes me. Behind the seductive veil of the casino come-on, though, is an unpleasant fact I’ve written about in...

Anthropomorphism

Being a dog owner, I understand completely the impulse to anthropomorphize our pets, imbuing them with human traits that canines and felines — and goldfish and hamsters and salamanders — don’t really have. Our furry (or scaly) friends seem so much more than mere animals. They’re companions and confessors, students and teachers, and they magically...

The Good, Bad and Ugly

Good: Watching the Los Angeles Marathon. My dog and I walked to the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue, yards from the Kodak Theater (site of the Academy Awards and the American Idol finals). Accompanied by hundreds of other cheering neighbors, we saw thousands of our fellow residents stampede past, a herd of disparate...

Human Animals

Despite our opposable thumbs, superior intelligence, and special relationship with God, we are animals. Lucky for us, we’re at the top of the food chain. But we’re still animals.  Should you require a bracing reminder, go to an airport, or visit an overpopulated city. Look at your brothers and sisters at work, scurrying to wherever,...

Vegas, Old and New

While the core business of Las Vegas is the same as it’s always been, i.e., separating people who aren’t very good at remedial math from their money, the style of the place has undergone a well-documented facelift. Gone are the Mob-run grind joints; scrapped are the family destination ambitions; almost forgotten are the days of...

Punishing the Lookers

Based somewhere in downtown Long Beach, California, a technically adept unit of Immigration and Customs Enforcement that specializes in computer forensics spends the bulk of its workday looking at child pornography. They look at kiddie porn from the Internet. The agents assigned to gather evidence against the suspected pedophiles who create and distribute the illegal imagery...

Astonishing Talent, Astonishing Anonymity

At the annual International Association of Jazz Educators conference, held this past weekend in New York City, one could wander through acres of hotel ballrooms filled with musicians of all ages, colors, and nationalities. And no matter what room one entered, even those chosen randomly or by mistake, one was confronted with so much talent,...

Fear and Whining in Las Vegas

Sprinkled among the reviews for my book “The Smart Money” like so many dog droppings upon an emerald lawn, several notices emanating from Las Vegas — where much of the book’s action take place — have claimed profound disappointment with my use of nicknames for some of the characters. These dismayed critics seem to think...