Greil Marcus, the legendary music writer and cultural thinker (with whom Chris Gray had an interesting e-mail correspondence) showed up in Portland Monday to give the Bernard A. Osher annual lecture for the Portland Museum of Art. He based his talk on the museum's show "Backstage Pass: Rock & Roll Photography," which is up through March 22. The 250+ images in the show are selected from a private collection of more than 500 photos of rock stars - most of which were taken behind the scenes, rather than on stage.
But from his jumping-off point of the images in the show, Marcus quickly broadened his scope to images that were not included in the show, as evidence partly of what the collector himself choosing to leave out, but also to demonstrate a larger point about the cultural position of photography of musicians. What Marcus himself left out of his talk was the explicit statement that a great deal of today's photography of musicians is about stolen moments - or bizarre documentation of largely meaningless moments (like Britney's flash or Katie Holmes's various hairstyles).
Rather, by showing and discussing images whose photographers and subjects imbued the moment with lasting power, Marcus's talk was both a celebration of the cultivated permanence of the rock-and-roll era and a lament for its passing.
-- Jeff Inglis
LISTEN: Greil Marcus at Portland Museum of Art (mp3)
Photos are after the jump.
In keeping with my trend of doing crazy shit for the sake of entertaining Phoenix readers/WFNX listeners, I hopped onstage at Mottley's Comedy Club last week to host and participate in Mortified, a storytelling show that features people reading from their teenage journals, school assignments, poems, lyrics, letters, etc.
The best Revolutionary Road adaptation of 2008, hands down, was season 2 of Mad Men. If Sam Mendes's Revolutionary Road takes home any of the bazilion Golden Globe awards it's up for on Sunday night, it'll have very little to do with the limp, Titanicized performances of Kate Winslet and Leo DiCaprio, and every bit to do with the enormous (and justly deserved) reputation that Richard Yates's novel has acquired over the past half-century.
For just the second time since change came to America, the respective leaders of the Obama and McCain campaigns sat down at the same table -- last week, at the Harvard University Institute for Politics -- to set the record straight about what went wrong, what went right, and what happened behind the scenes during Campaign 2008.
If you picked up the Globe yesterday, you may have been a bit befuddled to read a brief profile of everyone's favorite New Yorker essayist, Malcolm Gladwell, which advertised a reading by the author that evening in Harvard Square. A reading, which any Boston Phoenix reader could've told you, that actually took place the previous Monday.
Earlier this month, in a rare moment of media detente, Boston's finest film critics climbed onstage at the Brattle and talked b-movies, to promote DaCapo's new The B-List: The National Society of Film Critics on Low Budget Beauties, Genre-Bending Mavericks, and Cult Classics We Love. Amazingly, even though Jay Carr was on the panel, the Globe's Ty Burr, the Herald's James Verniere, and the Phoenix's own Peter Keough were able to get a few words edgewise.
Last Wednesday, the Coolidge's upstairs theater was heaving with
excitable dorks of all stripes, all giddy with anticipation for a live
reading and performance from John Hodgman and his surprise musical guest, Jonathan Coulton. You don't get a bill like this too often, folks. (Impatient peeps, scroll down for the MP3 download.
After spinning such gritty urban yarns as Mystic River, Gone Baby Gone, and some cracking episodes of The Wire, Dorchester native Dennis Lehane decided to go ahead and not write the great American novel (he claims), but a great, sprawling Boston novel instead.
In The Given Day,
Lehane surveys the vortex of chaos that gripped 1919-era Boston -- a
city rocked by anarchist terrorism, Spanish influenza, World War I, the
Great Molasses Flood, and the Boston Police Strike --
through the eyes of a black ballplayer and an Irish cop.
Four women from Harvard Book Store stood at the back of the Brattle Theater last night, before the crowds arrived, giggling. “I have the biggest literary crush on him,” said one, referring to the evening’s reader — MIT professor, Boston Review fiction editor, Pulitzer Prize-winner — Junot Díaz, a man, it appeared from listening to the women’s chatter, with many charms.
Christian Lander, creator of the hugely popular blog Stuff White People Like, and now the author of a book by the same name (coyly subtitled “The Definitive Guide to the Unique Taste of Millions”), pulled an overflow crowd to Harvard Book Store last night for his first appearance on his book tour. Poised, self-deprecating, and very fucking funny, the 29-year-old scrufty strawberry-blonde Canadian was almost impossible not to like.