The Weaponized Christmas

We should have seen this coming the moment the GOP picked the Heat Miser to run as president. Only we’d have needed a capacity for suspending disbelief that still remains a daily struggle. The effort of collective national to just imagine the living incarnation of a flaming-haired, stop-animated villain from a 1970s Christmas special actually becoming president. Then to imagine him stepping into a role he’s likely coveted since he bullied whoever had it in his grade school Christmas pageant: the jolly old elf who, with a visible sneer, calls the impending $1.5 trillion tax cut a “Christmas present for America.” The Baffler, December 22, 2017.



The 808 Heard Round the World






Roland’s mighty TR-808, 35 years after it  helped send hip-hop into orbit. Less audio product than force of nature, its bass-rolling subsonic boom is what people mean when they say “an 808.” Similar to the oceanic crescendo that runs through Wagner’s Vorspiel to “Das Rheingold,” the sound is felt before it’s heard, its downbeat swooning to fill a space, tuned to its own harmonic center. The New Yorker‘s Culture Desk. August 13, 2015.


The Butterfly Effects: Amid Butterflies, a Bit of a Lingua Franca


Language and Lepidoptera: found science at the American Museum of Natural History, New York Times. May, 2015.


Enter the Chambers: Making Once Upon A Time In Shaolin


You are looking at a Wu Tang Clan album—unique by even Wu Tang standards. There’s one copy. This is it. (photos: Ilja Meefout)


The 8-years-in-the-making Once Upon a Time in Shaolin is not priced for Walmart. It went up for auction at (click photos for more), and is the bravest, illest, most genuinely provocative work of conceptual music I’ve had the pleasure of helping along. March, 2015.



Dying In Public

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A media capital’s reaction to one of its neighbors, celebrities, and casualties as his story unfolds in real time. 2008.



Real Death Metal


The story of the first rock star shot to death onstage, Pantera guitarist “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott,” and the man who killed him in an Ohio nightclub, ex-Marine Nathan Gale.  In case it isn’t obvious, this one’s a tad dark. Blender, 2006.


Bounce With Me

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Critical beat-downs, and insane posses. Enjoying Detroit nightlife with the bouncers of St. Andrew’s Hall. 2002.




Reality World



On the reality show as 21st-century travel guide. 2012.



Allergic To New York City



Non-metaphorically sick in the city, an illness memoir. 1999.



Lolita and The Damage Done















Regarding the nymphet on the 50th anniversary of Nabokov’s masterpiece.



Among the Gastronauts

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Raw, uncooked, and under-washed: dietary extremists at century’s end. 1999.

“I’m a raw-foodist myself,” she said. “Dr. Pierce is our leader. “You must have seen his ads—‘Know-All Pierce-All.’”
“Oh, yes,” Tod said. “You’re vegetarians.”
She laughed at his ignorance.

                                                      – The Day of the Locust, Nathanael West

The Medicated Me



The author had tried Zoloft, Paxil, Effexor, Lamictal, Geodon, and many more during a decade of positivewell-being—then stopped.To find out what happens when people stop taking medication and start getting real…read only as directed. 2011.

Sober Is the New Black













Have ex-junkies, -cokeheads, and -drunks quietly taken over the world?


Generation Waxed



On a soul-killing depilatory trend. 2007.


Our Lady of the Perpetual Gaga


On the healing wisdom of Born this Way-era Lady Gaga. Vulture. 2011.