Publications
We Wish There Were Fewer Print E-mail
San Diego Reader

20190123(San Diego Reader January 23, 2019)

Today, a brace of mourners is bidding farewell to twins Baby Andy and Baby Honey, the briefest of brother and sister. Their scant hours among the living are over, the endlessness of eternity begun. Days before, they were wrapped in blankets and tucked into separate 10-inch by 20-inch coffins with a beanie baby by their side. The caskets, woodworking projects of Eagle Scouts, are made of pinewood, finely glossed vaults with handles attached. The lids, the last act, were glued on. The Clairemont mortuary has delivered them, and now a two-by-two formation of a dozen Knights of Columbus leads two of their group who carry the precious cargo up a sodden, sloping hill, massed with flat headstones, in El Camino Memorial Park.

Read more...
 
Review: Making Violence Holy Jo Scott-Coe's MASS, a Dialogue with Renee D'Aoust Print E-mail
Criticism

Mass(River Teeth Online December 03, 2018)

Note: D’Aoust and Larson reflect on the structure, style, and meaning of Scott-Coe’s research-based prose meditation on the mass murderer Charles Whitman. The ex-Marine sniper killed his mother and wife as well as more than a dozen people from the University of Texas Tower in Austin on August 1, 1966. But there’s a companion story—that of an alcoholic Catholic priest whose friendship with the killer (he married Whitman and his wife) is also core to the tale. The priesthood creates a secretive brotherhood that hides male violence, especially against women, from public scrutiny, while it sanctions the same in the patriarchy.

TL: First, I’d like to orient our readers with a little bit about Scott-Coe. She is the author of Teacher at Point Blank and the essay “Listening to Kathy,” has taught at Riverside Community College for many years, and advises the literary annual, Muse. I have much to say about Mass, which is provocative and challenging because of its unusual style and its inescapable implications about the Catholic church whose all-male hierarchy continues to hide deviant laity and sexual crimes within its ranks.

Read more...
 
Sorrento Valley Lacks Stickiness Print E-mail
San Diego Reader

20181121(San Diego Reader November 21, 2018)

Last August, many of us were aghast at a news story, summed up in the Union-Tribune webby headline, “Three dead in wrong-way I-805 crash in Sorrento Valley that shut down freeway for 6 hours.” An 18-year-old man, going 100 miles per hour and against traffic in a McLaren sportscar, smashed into an SUV carrying a mother and daughter. On impact, the cars ignited in a firestorm and all three were killed. Deadly accidents are not rare occurrences at the nexus, “in Sorrento Valley.” Charred swaths and shattered glass on the highway speak of a Pickett’s Charge to get through the Merge, famed for its 22 northbound and southbound lanes that move thousands to destinations, ever elsewhere.

Read more...
 
Review: Sing Out! Peggy Seeger''s "First Time Ever: A Memoir" Print E-mail
Criticism

Peggy Seeger(Another Chicago Magazine October 23, 2018)

Among the most artful duos to lift their voices in the cause and community of folk music are the singers Peggy Seeger and Ewan MacColl. They fell in love in 1956—she, twenty-one, newly arrived in London from Maryland to play the five-string banjo on a television show; he a songwriter, actor, and communist, English-born of Scottish parents, twice her age (and married), whose balladry (“Dirty Old Town,” “My Old Man“) had helped ignite the British Folk Revival, ablaze in cellar club, busking corner, and studio single-takes.

Their voices were set—MacColl, the tufted wobble of an English dockworker, Seeger, the wren-like lilt of an Appalachian schoolgirl. Together, though, their alloy is like bronze. Listen to them synchronize melody and rhythm on the “Ballad of Accounting.” It’s an anthemic tune about taking ethical stock of one’s life, questions of moral pungency few bother with any more:

               Did you stand there in the traces and let ‘em feed you lies?
               Did you trail along behind them wearing blinkers on your eyes?
               Did you kiss the foot that kicked you, did you thank them for their scorn?
               Did you ask for their forgiveness for the act of being born?

Read more...
 
All Those Glittering Notes: The Music of Richard Thompson Print E-mail
Essays and Memoirs

richard-thompson(San Diego Troubadour May 1, 2018)

1 /

My favorite sentences in my favorite jazz book ever come from Kansas City Lightning: The Rise and Times of Charlie Parker. The lines arrive near the end when author Stanley Crouch is at his summarizing best; he notes that jazz, a performer’s art, involves “navigating a landscape in which spontaneous creation whizzes by in layered stacks.” He quotes the great bebop drummer Max Roach: “Jazz is about creating, maintaining, and developing a [musical] design.” Jazz was designed—forget, for the moment, by whom—to maximize its players’ skills as improvisors, often at what seems like the speed of light. Whether it’s such standards as the calm “Stormy Weather” or the blustery “’Round Midnight,” good jazz men and women push themselves and their ensembles to create, maintain, and develop the music—bend expectation with surprise, follow the uncommon riff or abrupt turn where it wants to go.

Read more...
 
Fanfare for an American Maverick: Ruth Crawford Seeger Print E-mail
Essays and Memoirs

15SEEGER2-master675(San Diego Troubadour February 1, 2018)

1 /

Say the name, and the action is clear: Xerox, to copy; Google, to search; Maverick, to go it alone. The latter (the refined term is eponym) comes by way of Samuel Maverick, an early twentieth-century Texas drover who refused to brand his calves. Without a burnt-flesh insignia, cowboys couldn’t tell one cow from another. But, since Sam so hated impaling animals and upset the cattle business because of it, we honor him with an Americanly distinct word.

Read more...
 
Rejoice! Secularism Won! Why We Can Never Celebrate Print E-mail
Articles

noel-neill-atom-man-vs-superman(The Truth Seeker January 31, 2018)

1 /

Flying home from Washington D.C. to San Diego on a new American Airlines plane, I have, privileged American individual that I am, my own TV screen on the back of the seat in front of me—inane movies, dopey sitcoms, time till landing. The welcome-image is a grinning, competent woman, fifty-ish, professional, sartorially regal, with non-lustful red lipstick, tartar-blasted white teeth, a blue-and-red striped artificial silk scarf tied jauntily around her neck, white shirt, smart dark blazer, and a winged ID badge—Abigail.

Read more...
 
<< Start < Prev 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Next > End >>

Page 1 of 40