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Monday, April 27, 2009

Doing the wrong thing by Public Enemy

Long Island, N.Y., rap crew Public Enemy is an elite musical entity: a long-lasting group that jolted popular music out of its apolitical stupor and inspired black Americans to learn their history and redirect their future. It's no mere trivia tidbit that Barack Obama's first date with Michelle was Do the Right Thing, a film sonically structured around Public Enemy's rhetorical gut-punch "Fight the Power."
Monday, Feb. 2, 2009

Kerouac and Burroughs’ lost novel

In 1944, years before On the Road and Naked Lunch made them household names, 22-year-old Jack Kerouac and 30-year-old William S. Burroughs took turns writing chapters of a novel. They envisioned the story, based on actual events between close friends, as a dime-store page-turner. The title of this would-be potboiler: And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks. Burroughs and Kerouac submitted the book to Random House and Simon & Schuster, both of whom refused it. The manuscript remained unpublished until issue...
Monday, Nov. 3, 2008

Waiting for the heavenly utopia

With its deadly accuracy, the rifled musket may have wrought unprecedented psychological terror during the American Civil War, but more influential in the hearts and minds of soldiers and their loved ones was America's culture of death. So argues Hendrix College history professor Mark S. Schantz in Awaiting the Heavenly Country: The Civil War and America's Culture of Death (Cornell University Press). The harshness of life in those years, worsened by urban crowding, resulted in an average white male life expectancy of 43...
Monday, June 9, 2008

(Broadway Books), by Paul Trynka

Former Mojo magazine editor Paul Trynka appears to have spent 15 years, on and off, interviewing thousands of people, listening to an ungodly number of recordings and poring over tens of thousands of pages of documents and photographs, only to come up with one important revelation about singer Iggy Pop:
Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2008

The faith of Easy Rawlins

There’s never a scarcity of problems for people like me,” proclaims private investigator Easy Rawlins in Walter Mosley’s latest novel, Blonde Faith (Little, Brown), the 10th in a series of Easy’s adventures. By “people like me,” Easy might mean black men in 20th-century America. But, given Easy’s dramatic personality change in this story, the proclamation bears rereading.

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