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Talking About Bad Motherfucker

Well, as you may have heard, there’s a pandemic going on. One sad side effect of that is that it didn’t seem like a good idea to do in-person bookstore readings in recent months: I love meeting readers and signing books, but I’m not such a big fan of hosting superspreader events. The unexpected silver […]

posted 20 January 2022 in Buy My Stuff, Outside. no comments yet

2022 MIT Mystery Hunt

Three decades ago, my first job in publishing was as a proofreader at the (big, glossy, squarebound, massively profitable) PC Magazine. I shared a cubicle with Eric Berlin, a young playwright and theater critic, and we killed time when we were waiting for page proofs (exciting stuff like laboratory tests of hundreds of almost-identical printers) […]

posted 18 January 2022 in Outside. no comments yet

In Memoriam

I recently wrote two obituaries in The New York Times on two amazing musicians with very different sensibilities: Johnny Ventura and Nanci Griffith. Johnny Ventura was a mainstay of modern merengue, while Nanci Griffith was one of the great folk-music voices of recent decades. They were both grounded by their homes–the Dominican Republic and Texas, […]

posted 16 August 2021 in Articles, Outside. no comments yet

Thank You, Cary Regional Library!

On Sunday afternoon, I visited the Cary Regional Library in Cary, NC, which opened only a few weeks ago—it still has that new-library smell. (And it’s apparently been a huge hit: they had thousands of visitors on opening day. Kudos!) I was there to read from Kindness and Wonder: Why Mister Rogers Matters Now More […]

posted 19 November 2019 in Outside. no comments yet

Kindness and Wonder: Some Interviews

In the wake of the release of Kindness and Wonder: Why Mister Rogers Matters More Than Ever, I have been doing interviews about Mister Rogers, his neighborhood, and my book with a variety of media outlets. If you want to catch up with them, now is your chance! I visited the show Good Morning Charlotte […]

posted 4 November 2019 in Outside. no comments yet

R.I.P. Kim Shattuck

I was very sad to hear of the death of the mighty Kim Shattuck, the creative force behind the Muffs–the band never achieved the commercial success of some of their pop-punk peers in the early 1990s, but they made some excellent albums and Shattuck had one of the all-time great rock screams, right up there […]

posted 7 October 2019 in Links, News, Outside. no comments yet

R.I.P. Dr. John

Dr. John, the New Orleans singer and piano player so mighty that he exerted his own gravitational force, died last week. I wrote his obituary for the New York Times. (The vagaries of obituary writing being what they are, I actually wrote it three years ago, but I’m thankful that he stayed around for as […]

posted 10 June 2019 in Articles, News, Outside. no comments yet

I Know Times Are Changing

A few weeks ago, I was driving across North Carolina to interview a photographer–but halfway to my destination, I needed to pull over someplace where I could do two crucial interviews for an article I was writing for The New York Times about Originals, the next album drawn from Prince’s vaults. That’s how I ended […]

posted 6 June 2019 in Articles, Outside. no comments yet

I Want to See Some History

I recently interviewed Tim Mohr for Billboard on the topic of his excellent new book, Burning Down the Haus, which tells the story of punk rock in East Germany before the Berlin Wall fell–in other words, a punk scene that had real political stakes (unlike many in the United States). He told me, “The German […]

posted 29 September 2018 in Articles, Outside. no comments yet

Aretha Franklin at the Kennedy Center

Three days before Aretha Franklin died, I got a call from an editor at the New York Times, asking if I could put together an oral history of the Queen of Soul’s amazing 2015 performance of “Natural Woman” at the Kennedy Center (honoring Carole King). The catch was that since she didn’t have very long […]

posted 10 September 2018 in Articles, Outside. no comments yet