[Not single-page] The writer, from Brooklyn, explores the still rapidly changing borough—preparing for the arrival of the Nets and discovering his daughter is a hipster:
"Didn’t like to disagree with Adam, whom I love. But these were my kids we were talking about, them and their friends. They weren’t the ones building high-rises in Williamsburg, the big arenas. They were just looking for a place to be young. Who knew why perfectly normal-seeming people get tattoos, drink so weirdly much, make fetishes out of various food groups like cupcakes, and adopt the diffident poses of actors in Wes Anderson movies? Youth occurs in a time of its own, immune to criticism from those claiming to have had better youths. As idiotic and privileged as it might seem on the surface, growing up remains no easy thing. Every passage to adulthood is a hero’s journey, to be respected, in its own way.
"So it was a good thing these people lived here now, sold their overpriced sodas at Smorgasburg, downloaded from Pitchfork. What else were they supposed to do? Work on the docks, like some Arthur Rimbaud figure? Fly off into space? Brooklyn, of ample context, was a good place to spend a youth, better than South Beach, on the Jell-O-shot diet. Besides, most of them would soon be gone, back to wherever they came from. The ones who stay would be subsumed into the giant swirl of time and place that is the true Brooklyn Brand."
PUBLISHED: Sept. 23, 2012
LENGTH: 29 minutes (7301 words)
How did the 1970s and Los Angeles end up creating such idiosyncratic singer-songwriters as Randy Newman, Harry Nilsson and Van Dyke Parks?
"The first thing you should know about Harry Nilsson is that he won a Grammy for covering a schmaltzy Badfinger ballad called 'Without You' in 1971. The second thing you should know is that I once read an interview with Nilsson where he claimed to have recorded 'Without You' after having taken what he described as 'a little mescaline.' The third thing is that 'Without You' is on an album called Nilsson Schmilsson, a title basically designed to make fun of Nilsson's name, and that the cover of Nilsson Schmilsson is a picture of Harry Nilsson, unshaven, wearing a bathrobe."
PUBLISHED: April 13, 2012
LENGTH: 15 minutes (3917 words)
?uestlove might not rap, but he's still one of hip-hop's best storytellers, and he had plenty of yarns when we spoke with him recently about all of the above-- including the time Puffy screamed on him for an hour and how he bonded with Jay-Z over their mutual love of "The Simpsons". One of these days, ?uestlove will write a memoir, and it will be incredible. Consider the following a preview.
PUBLISHED: Aug. 19, 2011
LENGTH: 16 minutes (4102 words)
"he touches Dan Colen's painting with his fingers, moving his fingers over the birdshit lumps, and looks unimpressed. he asks me if i've heard of Dan Colen and i say 'yeah because i read a lot about Dash Snow after he died.' as we're standing next to the bird shit painting, i tell Julian Schnabel about the tiny Pacific island nation of Nauru, which is the fattest country in the world (97% of men and 93% of women are overweight or obese), because, re: the birdshit painting, the island's chief export is guano, which is the excrement of bats, birds, and seals. the island got really rich off selling this shit to the rest of the world for fertilizer, and then the rest of the world repaid Nauru by making it the fattest country. Julian Schnabel is entertained"
PUBLISHED: March 30, 2011
LENGTH: 9 minutes (2397 words)
Two years ago, at the nadir of the financial crisis, the urban sociologist Sudhir Venkatesh wondered aloud in the New York Times why no mass protests had arisen against what was clearly a criminal coup by the banks. Where were the pitchforks, the tar, the feathers? Where, more importantly, were the crowds? Venkatesh's answer was the iPod: "In public spaces, serendipitous interaction is needed to create the 'mob mentality.' Most iPod-like devices separate citizens from one another; you can't join someone in a movement if you can't hear the participants. Congrats Mr. Jobs for impeding social change." Venkatesh's suggestion was glib, tossed off—yet it was also a rare reminder, from the quasi-left, of how urban life has been changed by recording technologies.
PUBLISHED: March 28, 2011
LENGTH: 14 minutes (3586 words)
last week Das Racist's new mixtape got a glowing review and a score of 8.7 out of 10 on pitchfork, and a coveted Best New Music designation, and then the next day i was in central park seeing Pavement and when Pavement was finished playing, i texted Himanshu, one of the rappers in Das Racist, to see if i could ask him some questions.
PUBLISHED: Sept. 28, 2010
LENGTH: 22 minutes (5721 words)