Friday, October 22News That Matters

Tag: Music

Vinyl Is Selling So Well That It’s Getting Hard to Sell Vinyl

LifeStyle
Within the Indianapolis office of Joyful Noise Recordings, a specialty label that caters to vinyl-loving fans of underground rock, is a corner that employees call the “lathe cave.”There sits a Presto 6N record lathe — a 1940s-vintage machine the size of a microwave that makes records by cutting a groove into a blank vinyl platter. Unlike most standard records, which are pressed by the hundreds or thousands, each lathe-cut disc must be created individually.“It’s incredibly laborious,” said Karl Hofstetter, the label’s founder. “If a song is three minutes long, it takes three minutes to make every one.”This ancient technology — scuffed and dinged, the lathe looks like something from a World War II submarine — is a key part of Joyful Noise’s strategy to survive the very surge of vinyl popular...

‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ at 50: What Was the Buzz?

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“A lot of that has to do with how you plant themes and how you deal with them,” he said. “My idea for the overture was to introduce every ingredient that I could think of within the musical palette we were going to hear through the rest of the recording.”And then those themes recur, one by one, as when the whole of the overture is mirrored in the trial of Jesus before Pontius Pilate, or when a song reappears with a twist, like “I Don’t Know How to Love Him.” To Mary Magdalene it’s a love song about Jesus; when it returns as a motif sung by Judas as a lament, the lyrics change: “He’s not a king, he’s just the same/As anyone I know/He scares me so.”“Judas understood Jesus, and he obviously was clearly obsessed and loved him,” Lloyd Webber said. “And then at the same time, you’ve got this wom...
Discovering the Irish Loop in Newfoundland, Canada

Discovering the Irish Loop in Newfoundland, Canada

Travel
“It looks like the edge of the world out here,” my wife, Holly, mused, not disapprovingly. Our picnic blanket was spread out on a high cliff, with green-capped rock stretching alongside us, endless blue ocean in front. It was the first of many leisurely breaks we would take on our slow road trip through Newfoundland’s Avalon Peninsula.We were as east as you can get in North America (not counting Greenland), so the edge-of-the-world comparison was apt. But I couldn’t stop comparing it to another, more earthly location. Over and over again, as we drove down the coast I found myself marveling, “It looks just like Ireland.”This stretch of Newfoundland shares many links with Ireland, beyond the striking green landscape. This area’s Irish heritage dates back to the 1600s, when a fishing colony e...
A Year in the Life: Who Gets a Master’s Degree in the Beatles?

A Year in the Life: Who Gets a Master’s Degree in the Beatles?

LifeStyle
LIVERPOOL, England — On Wednesday morning, as a new semester began, students eagerly headed into the University of Liverpool’s lecture theaters to begin courses in archaeology, languages and international relations.But in lecture room No. 5 of the university’s concrete Rendall Building, a less traditional program was getting underway: a master’s degree devoted entirely to the Beatles.“How does one start a Beatles M.A.?” asked Holly Tessler, the American academic who founded the course, looking out at 11 eager students. One wore a Yoko Ono T-shirt; another had a yellow submarine tattooed on his arm.“I thought the only way to do it, really, is with some music,” she said.Tessler then played the class the music video for “Penny Lane,” the Beatles’ tribute to a real street in Liverpool, just a ...
‘Fire Shut Up in My Bones’ Review: A Black Composer at the Met, Finally

‘Fire Shut Up in My Bones’ Review: A Black Composer at the Met, Finally

LifeStyle
Enthusiastic ovations at the end greeted Blanchard, a jazz trumpeter best known for his scores for Spike Lee films, and Kasi Lemmons, the writer, director and actress who with “Fire” becomes the first Black librettist of a work performed by the Met in its history. It was exhilarating to see them cheered on by an almost entirely Black cast, chorus and dance troupe, as well as by an audience with notably more people of color than usual at a Met opening.“Fire,” which premiered at Opera Theater of St. Louis in 2019, is based on a 2014 memoir by the New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow; it’s an account of his turbulent upbringing in rural Louisiana as he endures emotional confusion, longs for affection from his tough-love mother and tries to come to terms with the wounds of sexual molestati...
How Billy Strings Picked His Way to the Other Side

How Billy Strings Picked His Way to the Other Side

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It’s not only the sound of bluegrass that Strings is reimagining but also the image. Sitting in his bus as 6,000 fans drifted into a sold-out amphitheater near Portland, Ore., this month, Strings held a svelte black vaporizer in one hand while gripping a $300 electronic bong with the other. Giggling beneath a hat that read “Sex & Drugs & Flatt & Scruggs,” he looked more like the thoroughly tattooed brother of Shaggy from “Scooby-Doo” than those bluegrass patriarchs.He joked about covering “Dueling Banjos,” made famous in the film “Deliverance,” in full B.D.S.M. regalia and lampooned bluegrass posters for looking like antique-auction handbills. He extolled the hallucinogen DMT for making him a kinder person. Scrolling through his recent Spotify favorites, where Juice WRLD rubbed...
Bushwig Grows Up

Bushwig Grows Up

LifeStyle
The annual festival celebrated 10 years of drag, queerness and artistry this month, but some local queens want more.Bushwig, the end-of-summer drag weekend extravaganza held each year in New York, was born of a simple desire.It was 2012, and the drag queens Horrorchata, 36, and Merrie Cherry, 38, were day drinking with their friend Simone Moss, 41, at a bar in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn. At one point, Horrorchata recalled in a recent phone call, she realized: “All my friends do drag.” And: “I wanted to see all my friends on the stage.”A decade later, the annual festival created by Horrorchata and Ms. Moss has grown from a modest affair, held in someone’s backyard, to a two-day jamboree that draws all types of performance artists, singers, dancers and stylish queer people to ...

Bicycle Diaries: Cruising With the ‘American Utopia’ Family

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On a dock in Queens, David Byrne’s musical bike gang was gearing up to go.“Are we ready?” Byrne called.It was a Saturday in late August, and the gang — three percussionists, a guitarist, a bassist and me, along with a daredevil photographer and lighting assistant — were sitting astride bicycles as Byrne, our fearless two-wheeled leader, outlined the plan.He wore a brimmed, pith-style helmet and a tour guide’s relaxed confidence: He’d done this route before, from Astoria to Flushing. The destination was the Queens Night Market, a paradise of global food stalls at the site of the 1964 World’s Fair. He’d already been talking up a ceviche stand and the all-women samba drumline he’d seen the last time he’d pedaled through.The market, in its diversity, “is really extraordinary,” he said — the ki...
Curtains Up! How Broadway Is Coming Back From Its Longest Shutdown.

Curtains Up! How Broadway Is Coming Back From Its Longest Shutdown.

LifeStyle
A Positive Test Before Opening NightIt was a half-hour before curtain on the night of Sept. 2, and the company of “Waitress,” led by Sara Bareilles, had gathered onstage at the Ethel Barrymore Theater for one of those kooky theater rituals — an opening night ceremony at which the chorus member with the most Broadway credits runs three circular laps in a quilted robe, inviting other actors to touch it before visiting each dressing room to bestow a blessing.The “Waitress” legacy robe ceremony was even odder than usual. The robe recipient, Anastacia McCleskey, was not present: she had tested positive for the coronavirus, though vaccinated, and was isolating at home.What to do? Theater artists are nothing if not resourceful, so another cast member placed a FaceTime call to McCleskey, and then,...
Signature Moves With Sean Bankhead

Signature Moves With Sean Bankhead

LifeStyle
Last year, when Cardi B’s team reached out to the choreographer Sean Bankhead to help create dances for the “Up” music video, he asked if she had two months to dedicate to learning them.As it happens, she did. Mr. Bankhead didn’t waste any time. The dance, with its lunges, jumps and squats, seems straight out of a high-intensity interval training class. “I pushed her, and that’s a really hard thing to learn the balance when you’re working with a high-profile celebrity like that,” he said. “You need to know how to push, but not overly push them off the cliff.”Pushing has become one of his hallmarks. Mr. Bankhead, 32, is the choreographer behind some of the year’s biggest music videos — including Lil Nas X’s “Industry Baby” and Normani’s “Wild Side” — and he is in high demand, despite the ti...