A brilliant new podcast steps up. Drones are now making haunting films. These cave paintings sent an art critic into paroxyms of joy. David Carr’s course syllabus is a trove. And, a buzzy new entry into the music streaming world. “And all of us laughed as we walked and drove and rode our way back to our lonely, lonely houses.” ― Sherman Alexie, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
When writers speak | A Tiny Sense of Accomplishment
For your long walks around London, Prague, Edinburgh, Seattle, Portland, New York and wherever. I’ve been desperate to tell you. If Serial is the mother of all podcasts, then A Tiny Sense of Accomplishment, is the beautiful offspring. Two of America’s best writers, Sherman Alexie (newly elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters) and Jess Walter. Long time pals from Spokane, Washington. One from the reservation, one from the ‘hood. Both grew up dirt poor. Both are highly literate, funny, accomplished storytellers. If you’re a writer, you have to tune in. If you love fiction, poetry, the making of same, the struggles that come with, do tune in. If you’d like to hear work in progress by two very fine artists, get on it. Brilliant, honest and delightful. Start here >>
Auschwitz by Drone
We’re starting now to see drones as tools for film makers. But look at this. Deeply moving and shot by the BBC, this sobering footage carries us over the massive Nazi concentration, camp built in Southern Poland, where 1.1 million people died during World War II, most of them (90%) European Jews. Many died in the gas chambers. Others of starvation, forced labor, infectious diseases, and sadistic medical experiments.
“The most powerful artwork I have ever seen” | The Niaux Caves
New York Magazine art critic, Jerry Salz swoons:
I have places inside me where there are works of art: internal abysms that feel full, physical, like forces that fuse past and present. In the early 2000s, I spent four straight days in the Prado; all of it’s still within me like some huge, Proustian madeleine. Almost every Bosch, Cézanne, Matisse, Alice Neel, Bill Traylor, Martín Ramírez, and Marsden Hartley that I’ve ever seen can flash like lightning at will. I spent a day enraptured by Matthias Grünewald’s Isenheim Altarpiece in Colmar. (I still wonder if I became invisible that day, when guards silently allowed me to remain in the museum while it closed for its two-hour lunch.) I have a psychic zero-point for all the Seurat drawings I’ve ever seen, and at the center of this point is the small Giovanni di Paolo in Chicago that I saw when I was 10 years old, which set me on the course of my life — the genesis moment when I understood that paintings weren’t only things to be looked at but are objects that do things.
What was and coulda been | Press Pass with David Carr
Many people (including your correspondent) took the loss of New York Times reporter David Carr terribly hard. Such gorgeous writing flavored by that redemption story. He touched a lot of people. It came as a surprise and no surprise at all, to learn he had a big hand in the career of another 5CT favorite, Ta Nehisi Coates. You can get a feel for what he meant to people by reading Coates’ lovely tribute, King David. Carr taught journalism at Boston University and below, you can find some of the reading he’d assigned to his class. If you have to pick one, go for Dr. Glimer and Mr. Hyde, by Sarah Koenig. Amazing tale.
Press Play :: Readings from David Carr
“The Case for Reparations” by Ta-Nehisi Coates for The Atlantic
“The Empathy Exams”
“The Wrestler” by David Carr for Medium
“Newspapers and Thinking the Unthinkable” by Clay Shirky
“2013: The Year the Stream Crested” by Alexis Madrigal for The Atlantic
“Baptism by Fire” by N. R. Kleinfield for The New York Times
“Why did Jodon Romero Kill Himself on Live Television” by Jessica Testa for Buzzfeed
Want the whole syllabus? Go here: Press Play
Tidal, Music Streaming
Tidal isn’t new but it is gaining some press attention around its high-fidelity sound quality, HD music videos, and the fact that Jay-Z is going to buy it. Or has already. Tidal has a 7 day free-trial and it’s worth taking for a test drive. Some listeners can tell that there was a big difference in the sound quality, some can’t. Here’s what the verge.com had to say,
THE SOUND IS STUNNING
That price represents a huge premium over services like Spotify and Rdio, which cost $9.99 (or less if you share a plan). But in a few days of testing Tidal, I can see its appeal to audiophiles — you can absolutely tell the difference in sound quality between existing services and this one, and at times its 16-bit FLAC files can be stunning. Tidal is built on the back of WiMP, a goofily named Spotify competitor in Europe, and so it comes with a catalog of 25 million tracks that so far has had most of what I’ve searched for. (It also has 75,000 ad-free music videos in high definition.)
What Tidal doesn’t have is great design — if you’re used to the elegance of Rdio, or even the more workmanlike Spotify, Tidal’s black-and-white hodgepodge likely won’t impress you. And those huge files you’re streaming have downsides of their own: there’s a noticeable lag when you skip tracks as the file buffers; saving files to your mobile device can quickly chew through your storage; and streaming for even a few hours over LTE could be hell on your data plan.