Tagged: michael konik essayist

To Fail Too Big

Remember back in 2008, when it was decided by those who decide such things that Lehman Brothers wasn’t too big to fail, and the planet’s financial infrastructure melted down? Remember when the mortgage bubble built from “collateralized debt” burst like cheap balloons? It’s been five years. Memories fade. You may have already forgotten that the...

How to Grow a Band

The documentary How to Grow a Band is simultaneously an intimate examination of artists (visions, egos, eccentricities, the whole thing) and a brilliant advertisement for the film’s subject. That would be the Punch Brothers, an all-star modern bluegrass band formed around the charismatic mandolin virtuoso and singer Chris Thile. The band’s sublime and sensational music is...

Sanitary Mafias

Opportunistic petty criminals, the kind that go after old lady pocketbooks and unattended bicycles, generally aren’t very organized. They don’t have thorough long-range plans and an extensive network of colleagues to help coordinate their heists. Most unsuccessful criminals are desperate loners, independent contractors of malfeasance who can never stay one step ahead of The Man....

The Dictator

Like us, you may have tired of the extravagantly talented comedian Sacha Baron Cohen shooting fish in barrels. Borat, Bruno — these characters exploited backwards and stupid folk for cheap laughs. That’s why it took us so long to see “The Dictator.” His latest harkens back to Cohen’s early days as the inscrutable hip-hop interviewer...

Litter in Runyon Canyon: An Update

One year ago we began picking up litter in Runyon Canyon and the Hollywood streets near it. For three-days-a-week, for more than 52 weeks, we’ve collected anything we see (and can reach) that doesn’t belong on the ground — or in a tree or on a bush. SINCE PUBLISHING THE ORIGINAL ESSAY, WE’VE COLLECTED NEARLY 3,000...

More People in Metal Cages = A Better America

EXCERPTED FROM “How The Revolution Started: Essays & Impertinent Thoughts (Eggy Press, 2016) The new rankings just came out. We win again! Of all the nations on Earth, the United States of America incarcerates the largest percentage of its population. Out of every 100,000 people, we put 716 in some kind of jail. No other civilized...

Demoting a Hero

This is no joke. This is an outrage. One of our real American heroes, Sgt. Robert W. Richards, a Marine sniper, pleaded guilty to “dereliction of duty” and “conduct prejudicial to good order and discipline.” He was demoted to corporal. Lower pay. Fewer stripes. At least he was permitted to keep his retirement health benefits....

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...

An Open Letter to Bradley Manning

Dear Bradley Manning, In a few days, when your show trial ends, you’ll be sent away to a military prison, where you’ll probably spend the rest of your life. Your captors (us, the United States of America) will figure out some reasonable-sounding excuse to keep you in solitary confinement – for his own protection! –...