Author: Michael Konik

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Cowboys & Frenchmen: “Our Highway”

“Our Highway,” the new multi-media project from the jazz quintet (trio + two reedmen) Cowboys & Frenchmen is a monument to the boundless power of creativity. Rather than merely record an album of their brilliant modern music, the group has made a film — a purposefully trippy film, befitting the notion of travel and motion...

“Goodness”

The righteous social justice publisher, Wising Up Press, from Decatur, Georgia, has released their latest anthology, this one simply called Goodness. Several  dozen writers grapple with the concept, sharing poems, short stories, essays, and many affecting memoirs, all manifesting a sense, a feeling, of something we all recognize and yearn for but often cannot define....

MichaelKohlhaas.org

If you have the stomach for in-depth reporting on corruption in Los Angeles — at City Hall, on the City Council, the police force, everywhere there’s money and power — the citizen journalist Michael Kohlhaas is a necessary read. Just like old-fashioned investigative reporters used to do before being co-opted by papers uninterested in offending...

The Trial of the Chicago 7

The timing of Aaron Sorkin’s new historical drama, “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” couldn’t be better — or more poignant. After a summer in which millions of American’s discovered the reality of police brutality, the profound corruption of the authorities who control the uniformed thugs, and the shocking disrespect powerful men have toward the...

Sharing the Burden of Repair

The culmination of a six-year listening project, Sharing the Burden of Repair: Reentry After Mass Incarceration, is alternately heartbreaking and inspiring, infuriating and hopeful — and a necessary read for anyone who suspects our current model of “criminal justice” is misconceived. Authors Heather Tosteson and Charles D. Brockett interviewed more than 200 participants — offenders, administrators, stakeholders...

Two Approaches to Jazz Drumming

For two consecutive weeks, we’ve been treated to compulsively listenable new albums by two excellent jazz drummers, Raphael Pannier (“Faune”) and Matt Wilson (“Hug!”). In many ways, the recordings couldn’t be more different. Pannier is a next generation virtuoso surrounded by other jazz killers — Miguel Zenon, Francois Moutin, Aaron Goldberg — whose spectacular modernist...

Last Moment of Clarity

The cinematic thriller “Last Moment of Clarity,” written and directed by James and Colin Krisel in their major film debut, is a melange of Hitchcockian plot devices — “Vertigo,” particularly — assembled with assured artfulness and narrative control. We’re given what seems like a set of facts — a hapless fellow (Zach Avery, nicely understated)...

Leah Lewis in “The Half of It”

Alice Wu’s autobiographical romantic comedy “The Half of It” is worth watching for many reasons, including its original and modern take on the Cyrano de Bergerac theme of love letters written by a surrogate. Perhaps the movie’s biggest revelation is the performance of Leah Lewis, a singer-songwriter whose utter naturalness on screen suggests she’ll soon...

Mercy

Exploring the fascinating (and disturbing) connection between an obsession with “true crime” television and one chronically ill woman’s serial surgeries and medical emergencies, Marcia Trahan’s bravely honest memoir Mercy compels readers to consider the omnipresent violence — both literal and figurative — visited upon women’s bodies. Not a jolly subject, right? Surprisingly, Trahan’s telling of her...

Hope Rekindled

This past week has given us more hope for our diseased republic than any other time in 50+ years of paying attention. Observing and participating in a long-overdue peaceful uprising, occupying the streets, feeling the righteous energy of people of all ages, colors, faiths, and wealth (or lack thereof), has renewed our belief in the...