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Author Archives: Jon Sobel

Jon Sobel is an Executive Editor of Blogcritics as well as lead editor of the Culture & Society section. As a writer he contributes most often to Culture, where he reviews NYC theater; he also covers interesting music releases. He writes the blog Park Odyssey, for which he is visiting and blogging every park in New York City—over a thousand of them. Through Oren Hope Marketing and Copywriting you can hire him to write or edit whatever marketing or journalistic materials your heart desires. By night he's a working musician: lead singer, songwriter, and bass player for Whisperado, a member of other bands as well, and a sideman.

CNN Refuses to Air UN PSA on Land Mines

CNN is refusing to broadcast a rather shocking anti-landmine PSA which you can read about and see here. No point starting a discussion if you haven’t seen it, so check it out. Here’s a direct link to the video if you’re so inclined. Read More »

CD Review: The Essential O’Jays

You know the O’Jays. Even if you don’t think you do, you do. Beginning with “Back Stabbers” in 1972, the group had a string of hits that also included “Love Train,” “Give The People What They Want,” and the dark masterpiece “For The Love Of Money.” Produced by the legendary Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, the O’Jays’ sound was the ... Read More »

The Gates

Bored now. Read More »

CD Review: Griffin House, Lost & Found

The spacious, airy song “Amsterdam,” which opens Griffin House’s CD Lost & Found, announces that we’re in serious, sensitive-guy territory.  But though the tune recalls Sting’s “Why Should I Cry For You”, House has an earthy, pop-Americana style that ought to stand him in good stead in a mileu where John Mayer and House’s labelmate Sara McLachlan earn loyal audiences. ... Read More »

Book Review: Hello To All That: A Memoir of War, Zoloft, and Peace

Hello To All That: A Memoir of War, Zoloft, and Peace recounts in time-shifting chapters the author’s depression, pharmaceutical cure, and subsequent formative experience as a freelance war correspondent reporting from the siege of Sarajevo in 1993-4. The parallel stories are interesting and vividly told. But readers expecting something heavy, along the lines of William Styron’s depression memoir Darkness Visible, ... Read More »

Confessions of a Sociopathic Social Climber

Stand aside, Bridget Jones. Look lively, Carrie Bradshaw. And look out, Adrian Mole: if you see this woman, run. A sharp-witted British social satire fresh from the New York Times bestseller list, Confessions of a Sociopathic Social Climber hits the idiot box on March 12 courtesy of Oxygen Media. The movie stars former ingenue Jennifer Love Hewitt, Colin Ferguson, and ... Read More »

DVD REVIEW: Tension & Release: Springing the Blues 2003

This DVD documents the 2003 Springing the Blues Festival in Jacksonville, FL. Interspersing performances with artist interviews, it conveys the flavor of what’s happening down South on the blues festival scene in the 21st century. The interviewers also elicit from the artists verbal descriptions and private demos of what the blues means to them: how it got into them, and ... Read More »

Obituary: Max Schmeling, Dead at 99

Max Schmeling’s death at the age of 99 conjures up a rainbow of feelings. Joe Louis’s famous knockout of Schmeling occurred in 1938, right around when my parents were born and exactly a generation before I popped into the world. Schmeling was born in 1905, the same year as my grandfather Martin Panzer (whom I seem to resemble in more ... Read More »

CD Review: Ella Blame, Ineffable Desire

The Ella Blame duo combines Michael D. Temple’s hypnotic electronica with Ella Blame’s snaky vocals. Blame’s voice is a startlingly versatile instrument prone to a metallic nasality. Some of Temple’s music is quite pretty, while Blame’s voice most of the time isn’t, and that makes for interesting contrasts. The duo has a strong experimental streak, which shows first in a ... Read More »

CD Review: Blaine Larsen, Off To Join The World

Through ignorance or bad advice, very young artists often bite off more than they can chew, applying precociously mastered technical skills to adult material they can’t quite get their souls around. Teenage country singer Blaine Larsen, who sings in a clear, rich baritone that sounds at least a few years more aged than he is, has not made this mistake. ... Read More »