Wynton Marsalis talks basketball with William Rhoden at The New York Times in this video. The whole thing, all 4 minutes of it, is worth an enjoyable look. At one point, he talks about the difference between the history of musicians and athletes (rough transcription):
The arts deal with the human soul. A person can arrive at any time in any art form and be the most advanced. No one has taken the art further than Homer, or Shakespeare, or Louis Armstrong. No one’s going to play better than him. You can bring your own thing. But great art doesn’t become old…Athletes can beat the opponents of their era. Musicians speak across epochs. Louis Armstrong wasn’t trying to beat anybody.
The Cold War Kids have made the coolest music video ever (which you have probably seen, but which I am posting anyway, because it’s that cool). OK, certainly the most interactive one. Which makes it the coolest in the past 5 years. The first time you turn off the bass and vocals, I guarantee you’ll smile.
Their first album is stellar; I may go buy the second one just because of this.
I don’t know how they put this together, but this visualization of the Indy 500 turns all 200 gas-guzzling laps into a pretty elegant slot car race. And a newspaper (the Indy Star) put it together. Cool.
Lots of interesting (if pointless) bests I encountered today:
Sound Opinions asked for the best live album ever a few weeks back. Jay-Z Unplugged got a white boy from Missouri interested in hip-hop, but there isn’t much cooler than the electric version of Like A Rolling Stone that Bob Dylan cranks out after a stunned audience member calls him “Judas.”
Which brings to mind one of my favorite hypotheticals: if you could see any band live, in their prime, who would it be? I pick The Who.
And last on today’s Bests: sentences. More Intelligent Life is starting a series on great sentences. They start with this opener from Salman Rushdie. I’ll cheat a pull from a recent post:
He could move fast, and the back porch gave onto the kitchen, and before the screen door had banged shut behind him the Daddy had taken the scene in whole, the overturned pot on the floortile before the stove and the burner’s blue jet and the floor’s pool of water still steaming as its many arms extended, the toddler in his baggy diaper standing rigid with steam coming off his hair and his chest and shoulders scarlet and his eyes rolled up and mouth open very wide and seeming somehow separate from the sounds that issued, the Mommy down on one knee with the dishrag dabbing pointlessly at him and matching the screams with cries of her own, hysterical so she was almost frozen.
Posted: May 20th, 2009
Tags: "Royal Albert Hall"
, Bob Dylan
, Like a Rolling Stone
, More Intelligent Life
, MTV Unplugged
, Salman Rushdie
, Sound Opinions
, The Who
Comments: No Comments
My two favorite videos today, delivered without comment (and via MetaFilter):
Milky Way galactic center rises over Texas
Man saves ducklings
Posted: May 20th, 2009
, milky way
Comments: No Comments
So I’m looking at the redesigned Newsweek – the one with a gigantic Barack Obama covered by gigantic unreadable type so you can’t tell it’s Barack Obama. I like the content approach Newsweek has taken, both because it seems what I like to read and because it seems like it might actually work.
But the design team has taken what was a perfectly serviceable albeit boring layout and created the equivalent of a trade magazine for news junkies. I can’t read any of it because a) I can’t figure out what’s an ad and what isn’t, and b) once I do figure it out, I am distracted by the fact that I am looking at one of those poorly conceived “Special Advertising Sections” designed to look like a column by Fareed Zakaria…except it actually is a Fareed Zakaria.
Maybe I’m way off on this. Maybe designing your content to look like ads will make advertisers more eager to pony up. But I don’t think so…
The first sign of trouble in Angels and Demons – you already know what it’s the sequel to – is the opening music. Hans Zimmer’s score is so infused with overbearing tones of conspiracy that you can’t help but be humored by the conspiracy that unfolds over the subsequent 137 minutes. How many times can a statue’s hand/spear/eyes point Robert Langdon in the right direction? It all gets a bit tiresome.
There are bright spots: the actors give it a more than college try, and Ron Howard still knows how to put on a spectacle. But there are also many other sore spots: I don’t want to watch a conspiracy-tinged thriller to be overly lectured on the conservatism of the Catholic church, or the inanity of cable news, or anything else for that matter.
No, Mr. Howard. Like everyone else, I want more conspiracy.
Stephen Marche, the man with the best recurring magazine feature running, hits Dan Brown’s popularity on the head: we love conspiracy theories.
So, which one is your favorite? This one’s definitely true.
Not that he needs any more post-morterm honors, but I now pronounce that David Foster Wallace has written the best short horror story. Ever.
That is addition to several other Bests of his. Best story about the porn industry. Best book review (You should probably get this book). Best tennis profile. Apparently the best book about Quebec separatism (I haven’t read it).
If only he’d gotten ahold of Mr. Rogers.
Thank you, New York Times, for this. A story without images just would not have been the same.
What’s with all the ruckus about the WSJ cutting back on its front-page stories about the rebranding of Providence, RI?
Robert Thomsen said back in December that “Certain U.S. newspapers have been designed for journalists rather than for readers.” It wasn’t clear whether he was referring to the Journal, as Liza Featherstone notes in this piece in the Columbia Journalism Review, but, uh, he was. Featherstone goes on to criticize Thomsen’s assessment (via Romenesko), arguing that the Journal “is abandoning values that have long distinguished it: a commitment to deep reporting and elegant writing.”
But distinguished it in the minds of whom, exactly? Journalists. I love the front page stories on what the number of clotheslines hanging in neighborhoods says about our society. But I don’t subscribe to the Journal. My uncle does. He works in business and he reads it, yes, because it is well-written and deeply reported. But more importantly, he reads it because it gives him the information he needs to effectively keep abreast of the financial and business worlds.
Thomsen is right here. Some magazines and newspapers may be perfectly suited to appeal to journalists and writerly-types – The Atlantic comes to mind. But that’s their audience. The WSJ would be silly to slash its financial reporting for the sake of some elegant story-telling.