Doomed Queen and Beaten Champion: Concert review, Tristen & the Mountain Goats

A few weeks ago I got a chance to see the Mountain Goats in concert. Let me tell you to do this thing if you get the chance. The Mt Goats is sort of one guy, John Darnielle, and the people he gets to help him make narrative, terrifically-structured indie music; I've yapped about their stuff here and here among other places. I super love them but am wary of live music for whatever dumb reason, so when I finally saw them at Calvin College, I was totally blown away. Darnielle was losing his voice … [Read more...]

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“This Undertaker Buries the Bodies Nobody Else Will Touch”: MEL Magazine

profile: "People say to me sometimes, ‘We don’t go to you because you bury those people’ – the poor people,” Peter Stefan tells me in the second-floor office of his Worcester, MA funeral home. “I say, ‘Then don’t come. We don’t need you.’ You bury who you bury.” That statement might serve as a motto for Stefan, whose weathered appearance seems wholly apropos for a man who, for 41 years, has made a living burying those whose bodies have nowhere else to go – AIDS patients in the ’80s and ’90s; … [Read more...]

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File Under Sacred Music: Movie Notes

Daisies: A mid-'60s Czech feminist romp, and incredibly enjoyable from the first frame to the last. The costumes and set designs are all about childlike fun; the overall ethos is, "Eat dessert first!"Victor Morton points out the way this film is women's lib, not women's rights, and like all purely liberatory gestures it can't be justified--and Daisies itself acknowledges that! It cheerfully admits that it's unsustainable and gratuitous, utopian in the fullest sense, a Candyland and not a … [Read more...]

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“Free to Choose, Revisited”: David Lapp

on Yuval Levin: Yuval Levin believes that neither hyperindividualism nor centralization can help financially struggling Americans like Lance, whom I wrote about yesterday in the first part of my review of Levin’s The Fractured Republic. I basically agree with Levin and found his focus on empowering mediating institutions—beginning in the family and spreading outward to places like schools, religious congregations, and the marketplace—right on point. And it’s precisely because I agree with him th … [Read more...]

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“Escape from Detroit”: I watch “Don’t Breathe”

for AmCon, and end up ranting about the sacred Victim, obviously: Don’t Breathe, the new horror flick from director Fede Alvarez, opens with the flapping of wings and far-off sirens. Dawn is breaking on a deserted street, which we slowly approach from the sky. A man is dragging a blonde body through a city where everyone else seems to have vanished. more (also apparently I badly misremembered Wait Until Dark so apologies for that...) … [Read more...]

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From Evelyn Waugh, “The Ordeal of Gilbert Pinfold”

His strongest tastes were negative. He abhorred plastics, Picasso, sunbathing, and jazz--everything in fact that had happened in his own lifetime. The tiny kindling of charity which came to him through his religion sufficed only to temper his disgust and change it to boredom. There was a phrase in the thirties: "It is later than you think," which was designed to cause uneasiness. It was never later than Mr. Pinfold thought. … [Read more...]

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“Celibacy, Self-Acceptance, And the Extra Inkling”: I’m at First Things

readin': I’ve just finished Charles Williams's 1937 novel Descent into Hell, which was recommended to me by a couple of Catholic friends. Williams might be called “the extra Inkling.” Everybody knows J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, but far fewer people remember the other, less aggressively punctuated members of the club, including the philosopher Owen Barfield and Tolkien's son Christopher.Williams is the best-known of these auxiliary Inklings, and his writing is indeed what the youth of toda … [Read more...]

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