Tagged: jazz

American Tune

We were youngsters in 1973 when Paul Simon recorded his song “American Tune,” too immature to understand the profoundity of his words, too busy listening to disposable records to grasp the greatness of his creation. The song has been covered many times subsequently, but now that Kurt Elling sings it on his new album “1619...

The Bitter Buddha

There are a million funny comedians telling jokes and getting laughs. There is only one Eddie Pepitone. The ranting, raging performance artist and comic — think Sam Kinison, but smarter and with a social conscience — has long been treasured and revered by cognoscenti in the comedy community. Now, with the release of “The Bitter...

The Art of Being Funny in Los Angeles

Lately we’ve been immersing ourselves in stand-up comedy and feeling altogether good about it. You can be addicted to a lot worse things than endorphins. Much of the past year in Los Angeles has been spent closely observing comedians doing their thing: ranting, rambling, telling jokes, riffing, raving, singing songs, reading from a script, making...

Harana Kings

In the old Philippines, before text messaging and Facebook, a gentleman courted a lady by serenading her at night beneath her window, a tradition called harana. Like Cuba’s “Buena Vista Social Club,” the new Harana Kings album joins seasoned veterans with young interpreters, creating music that’s simultaneously a cultrural remembrance and a fresh discovery. Guitars, light...

Looking Back on 2012: An Oral History of American Values

I was young like you once. Don’t laugh. It seems impossible, I know. An old codger like me of 77! You probably can’t picture when I was only 47 and healthy, with all my own teeth and a libido that didn’t yet require boner pills. Sure, that was three decades ago, and I look a...

Pointing Fingers

Whether or not you subscribe to the curious concept of “American exceptionalism,” you probably sense that America is exceptionally nervous about its future, long-term and short. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall (1989) and the old Soviet Union (1991), the United States of America has rapidly fallen from uncontested #1 global leader to our...

The Greatest Good for the Greatest Number of Great People

The Government is supposed to punish criminals, which is why the Obama administration’s crusading Justice Department has given notice that the feds will seize America’s largest — and best organized, and best known — medical marijuana dispensary, in Oakland. The Citizenry is supposed to punish bad politicians by voting for good ones, which is why George...

Pete Holmes

His prepared material, showcased on “Conan” and “Fallon” and an hour-long Comedy Central special, is sensationally smart and wildly funny. But to see Pete Holmes live, improvising and riffing and creating comedy in the moment, is to experience the kind of alchemical magic one associates with the best jazz musicians. In a town full of funny...

Speak the Truth?

Apologies in advance if this gets all Orwellian right quickly. We try hard not to sound like a nut-job or Coast-to-Coast Radio conspiracy fetishist — is that redundant? — especially when examining the lengths some folks will go to control the lives of others, but this stuff is real, man. Old George – or, Mr....

A Cheap Trick that Might Be Something More

Better than Tristan and Isolde, better than the union of European Nations, the marriage of Form and Content is the zenith of harmonious blending, the devoutly wished for goal of writers and artists and anyone else in the business of making something from nothing — creating, that is — who strive to match message with medium,...