April 9, 2015 |
Joni Mitchell's health crisis - the Canadian songwriter was found unconscious March 31 in her Los Angeles home and rushed to the hospital - put a scare into legions of fans. Many can't get that line, "You don't know what you've got till it's gone" - from "Big Yellow Taxi" - out of their heads. Mitchell, 71, hasn't released a new album since 2007's Shine . Even ardent followers who scooped up last year's high-concept, self-curated box set, Love Has Many Faces: A Quartet, A Ballet, Waiting to Be Danced , or celebrated a victory against ageism when she was featured in an Yves Saint Laurent ad campaign, would admit her greatest work was decades behind her. But then, as now, you don't have to go very far in the singer-songwriter universe to encounter the presence of Mitchell, who "continues to improve" and "is resting comfortably" in an L.A. hospital, according to her website.
January 24, 2014
MY HIGH-SCHOOL haircut is in mourning today: The Captain and Tennille have called it quits. This one definitely came out of left field, and while the last time I thought of them was when Reagan was still in office, it's hit me pretty hard. Why, you might wonder, am I grieving over the breakup of a couple I never met and that was capable of producing "Muskrat Love"? It's complicated. At the most simplistic level, I hate change. Those who think that evolution is what keeps us alive (beyond the literal, Darwinian sense)
November 2, 2013 |
The musical Once , currently enjoying its first national tour, is a far simpler affair than all its awards (among them eight Tonys, one Grammy), accolades, and devotees might indicate. Adapted from John Carney's 89-minute 2007 independent film, which was even simpler than its staged twin, Once follows a Dublin busker boy and a Czech immigrant girl over the course of a week as they make beautiful music together. Both onscreen and onstage versions feature Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova's Lumineers-y romantic stomp-alongs and wistful ballads for solo and duet, all heavy on minor-chord yearning, with lyrics such as "I wouldn't trade her for gold/I'm walking on moonbeams.
July 16, 2012 |
Several years ago, when I was working for a congregation of Catholic sisters, I visited their mission in Swaziland, a landlocked country in southern Africa. Swaziland is ruled by a king who has been known to make Parade Magazine's list of "world's worst dictators. " St. Philip's Mission is far removed from any city and most of the nearby homesteads have no running water or electricity. Rural Swaziland only began to get pit toilets in the 1990s. St. Philip's has a school, medical clinic, and orphanage that houses 127 children whose parents died from HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, or other diseases that are all too common in region.
July 16, 2012 |
In the summer of 1997, as a young reporter scouring the suburbs for stories, I landed on the Sunday front page with a 1,000-word ode to a Swarthmore College professor's belief that kids growing up in the ugliest of places could make the most beautiful music. Back in the corner, another fight is brewing , the story began. Up front, a couple of boys are dozing. But in the middle of the school bus lumbering toward some of Chester's most impoverished neighborhoods comes a voice straight from the heavens.
June 15, 2012 |
There's a not a band in the world better at projecting postmillennial unease on a grand scale than Radiohead, the six-man art-rock outfit from Oxford, England, that spent a lovely late-spring evening in Camden on Wednesday making beautifully jittery music. All century long, ever since the career-redefining Kid A in 2000, Radiohead has been turning inward, relying on fractured polyrhythms, ambient textures, and Thom Yorke's elegantly alienated vocals to convey a sense of sublime digital-age anxiety.
May 19, 2012 |
In its East Coast premiere, Daniel Catán's operatic version of the film Il Postino is infinitely more engaging than one could ever have predicted from an opera that has little exterior action, characters that aren't especially heroic, and music that hasn't a fraction of the usual tension of the opera's 20th-century predecessors. You aren't likely to walk away from the Center City Opera Theater production, which opened Thursday at the Prince Music Theater, thinking you've seen a masterpiece.
December 31, 2011 |
Bucks County authorities ruled the death of a Levittown blues guitarist and songwriter a homicide Friday. But two days after Bristol Township police found Daniel DeGennaro, 56, dying from a shotgun wound to the chest near the front door of his Crabtree Drive home, investigators remained tight-lipped regarding any leads they may have. "We don't believe it was a random attack," said District Attorney David W. Heckler. "But there are a number of avenues of investigation to pursue.
October 31, 2011 |
IN HIS REVIEW of Amber Heard's new movie, "The Rum Diary," Daily News film critic Gary Thompson referred to Heard as "a dish. " It's an objectifying term, for sure, but one from a previous era - the type of term Alan Ladd might say about Veronica Lake, or Robert Mitchum in referencing Marilyn Monroe. And it's fitting for Heard, whose beauty and style is from another era. Yes, she's been on the cover of Maxim , but her image could just as easily be painted on the side of a World War II plane, like Betty Grable, or working for French director Roger Vadim in the 1960s, like Brigitte Bardot.
July 22, 2011 |
Alison Krauss' crystalline voice, simultaneously airy and weighty, lends even the saddest songs - and her new Paper Airplane is full of sad songs - a sense of affirmation and pristine beauty. It's Krauss' first album in seven years with her longtime bluegrass band Union Station, and it was one of her most challenging to create, although it doesn't sound that way. Krauss spent several of those interim years working with Robert Plant and T Bone Burnett on the Grammy-winning Raising Sand.