Features

How the Homeless Listen to Music

Until I could find an a apartment, I rode the number six bus up and down Highway 99 most of the night, from downtown to Aurora Village, listening to muffled, skewed robotic drum beats of fellow travelers from behind the earphones of turned up Walk-mans, looking out into the dark. No, scratch that, looking at myself in the reflection of myself on bus windows in the dark.

Most Timely: Hooray for Hollywood

Now is an apt time to look back on Caleb Peterson’s protest, both as an antecedent and as inspiration. His strategy, which turned Hollywood’s moneymaking spectacles into race relations controversies, smartly used theatricality as a tool for protest. While its impact on equal hiring practices was unclear, it can still be read as radical and successful.

Talking With Girls About Katy Perry

The complicated relationship between girls and music, and the mobility that it both affords and denies them, is only legible through conversations with girls. As it turns out, the music of Katy Perry makes that relationship most legible.

“The Best of Friends Must Part Someday”

There may be songs whose histories are uncorrupted or wholly unrecoverable. “(The) Lonesome Road” is not among them. The road that everybody, including “E.V. Body,” in this story tredges on is crowded with two-way traffic: some stretches are dusty, others are paved with Tin Pan Alley gold or earnest populist intentions, and it is constantly being dug up and laid anew.

@HigherSlyStone

On Twitter the entire point is that somebody is watching you. Success is measured in followers. No wonder Sly Stone never seems at home there, and never alights there too long.

Post-Nostalgia Poster Child?

If Pokey LaFarge is post-nostalgic, it is only partway. If anything, his music and personae expose the extent to which older, simpler virtues—for worse and for better—survive in St. Louis in so many ways.

The Queen of the Kingdom of Swing

Despite a mountain of insecurities and sheer craziness, Peggy Lee remained undaunted. Engaging, and at times challenging, she made remarkably sophisticated music well into the 1980s, refusing to be an oldies act. But perhaps her greatest claim to public attention was that the blonde, North Dakota-born singer sounded black.