Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Four by four, one on one

Two belated posts from a brief flurry of activity for Phawker.com, one of the Internet's largest and snarkiest repositories of my writing.

Q&A with David Harrington of the Kronos Quartet, for Phawker, Nov. 6, 2009.

Before setting up this interview, I wondered if the Kronos' publicity manager would put forward a member other than David Harrington; it had always been my impression that Harrington dominated the group's media presence. In the end, though, Harrington was a wonderful interview -- very thoughtful and generous, and digressive in the best possible way. We were both on the road as well -- he to San Francisco International Airport, I from Bucknell University back to Philadelphia -- and managed to avoid any dropped calls or poor connections.

The collected works and quirks of A.J. Jacobs, for Phawker, Nov. 6, 2009.

I really wanted to attend Jacobs' event at the First Person Arts festival, and it seemed the best way to do that was to put together a retrospective look at his two books and the genre (the First Person Arts director called it "shtick-lit," a surprisingly harsh dig) he's birthed, or at least revivified. Jacobs' presentation ended up being almost stand-up-comedy-like, and though people familiar with his works could have seen many of the punchlines coming, he was funny and endearing off-stage as well, and, fortunately for me, willing to give autographs and to inquire about the work of young, ambitious writers.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


The Bay-Atlantic Symphony, reviewed, for the Courier-Post, November 9, 2009.

The Mendelssohn = so good. In addition to the elements of Bach I heard in the Andante "Pilgrim's March," I also felt the kind of relentless, forward-pressing quality that I love about the famed Allegretto in Beethoven's 7th. I hope Rowan and the Symphony can muster a larger crowd for the next concert in January.

Symphony in C's Music du Jour series, for the Courier-Post, November 16, 2009.

The "alt-classical" angle is partly my invention -- Cork isn't (Le) Poisson Rouge -- but I'd love to see more of this kind of activity crop up in Philly and the surrounding area.

I missed the first dinner, the Bulgarian one that Rossen and Rosie prepared, but I won't be missing the Cork event. The strength of their beer list alone (peep it here; it's mostly up to date) demands that I attend.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Two cheers

Brewpubs in New Jersey and the Philadelphia area, for the Courier-Post, Oct. 30, 2009.

Bay-Atlantic Symphony's "Night at the Opera," previewed for the Courier-Post, Nov. 1, 2009.

I don't know how I got so lucky to provide coverage of such disparate but enjoyable topics. A second assignment to write about beer... I never thought there'd be a first!

I'll also be reviewing the Bay-Atlantic's performance on Friday at Rowan. I'm interested in seeing what kind of audience their initial foray into Gloucester County will bring, and also in finally hearing an orchestra that I've been writing solely previews about for more than a year.