It's currently Beer Week in Philadelphia, and though I've been trying to restrain myself for the sake of my health and finances, I couldn't hold myself back from an event at Tria (highly recommended) featuring Dogfish Head brewery and its founder, Sam Calagione. With my long-held interests in both beer and journalism, and the brewery's prominent feature in the New Yorker last November, I knew I had to meet Sam and ask him what the writer of that feature, Burkhard Bilger, was like.
With a friend in tow, I did end up meeting Sam, who regaled me with stories of Mr. Bilger's preparation and in-depth research. They've become good friends since the profile was published. When discussion turned to my own writing, I mentioned my interest in classical and new music, to which Sam replied, "Oh, man, you've gotta hear this guy I've been listening to." He pulled out his iPhone, flipped through it, and showed me an album labeled "nico muhly," a composer who has himself been the subject of a New Yorker profile.
He asked me if I'd heard of him, and I said I had; in fact, I interviewed him last year for Phawker, attended (and enjoyed) his concert at First Unitarian, and had previously transcribed an interview with him for another site. Could it be there's some strange affinity between people who have been featured in the New Yorker? Does Nico Muhly drink Dogfish Head beer? Was Sam serious when he told me he'd trade "good beer for some good music"? Stay tuned.