I've been writing a book review and working on a Best of Winnipeg Arts 2012-13 Season series of posts; the latter project has become particularly demanding. Not to mention that, after six months of winter, warm 20-degrees-Celsius-plus weather has finally arrived, and most days it's often far more appealing to spend time outdoors, especially when a torrential rainstorm could be right around the corner.
So, here are some things I wanted to get up on the blog, but haven't had the time:
I reviewed The Restoration Artist by Canadian writer and painter Lewis DeSoto for the Winnipeg Free Press. It's a novel with a compelling plot and is set in a very picturesque location - an island off the coast of Normandy. McNally Robinson Grant Park has almost an entire shelf of their New Fiction section dedicated to this book, so I'd say it's worth giving a look if you're interested in art, loss and memory. You can read my review online here.
Online pop culture magazine PopMatters has begun a series of essays examining Liz Phair's landmark 1993 album Exile in Guyville, song-by-song, in commemoration of the record's 20th anniversary. The essays are being written by Joe Vallese, who was a primary contributors to PopMatters' superb Performer Spotlight on Tori Amos last year, and I'm extremely impressed by what he's written so far. Even if you're unfamiliar with Phair's music (or not a fan), these essays are worth reading for their intelligence and insight into the creative process. The first article in the series is here.
Also on PopMatters is a piece by Zach Schoenfeld that talks about Eleanor Friedberger's brilliant, heartbreaking song "Other Boys," off her fantastic new album Personal Record. Both the album and "Other Boys" are serious contenders for my best-music-of-2013 lists. You can read the article here.
Finally, jazz/world music collective Pink Martini has put the first teaser trailer for their upcoming album Get Happy, due to be released on Sept. 24th, online. I'm looking forward to the record - it seems as though it may be a return to form for the band, whose 2007 album Hey Eugene! was one of my best albums of the 2000s.