Jan 25, 2012
Ray Charles: Live in France 1961 (DVD)
Watching this 16 mm footage—lost for 50 years—in its black-and-white glory is a revelation. The goosebumps begin the second Charles and his band (featuring David "Fathead" Newman on sax) fire up the head-boppin' riffs and rhythms. The eight-piece band nails "One Mint Julep" (though without music stands—they have to use chairs to prop up their sheet music). It's sassier and brassier than the studio instrumental—and a testament to Brother Ray's prowess as a live performer and bandleader.
Was Ursula Niebuhr Reinhold's coauthor?
Ancient & Modern by the Mekons
One of the UK's pioneering punk groups, the Mekons got together in Leeds in 1977. Leader Jon Langford now calls Chicago home, and the group still produces music at a prolific pace. Ancient & Modern is the band's 26th album, and it showcases the Mekons pumping as hard as any primal punk band ("Space in Your Face"), spinning burlesque vamps worthy of the flapper era ("Geeshie") and running scrub-brushed blues through back-alley echo ("Calling All Demons"). Bruising and beautiful, it's an ambitious disc not to be missed.
Barely enough: Manna in the wilderness of depression
Modern Art, by Matthew Sweet
On his first album since 2008, Sweet employs vinyl in the mastering process to sweeten the sound—a sign of his '60s-pop infatuation. Fans of Girlfriend-era Sweet may wish that this record rocked more; others may find its introspection a sign of growth. "Late Nights with the Power Pop" shambles through a cheeky false start to affirm Sweet's love for the genre, while the title cut's kaleidoscope of piano, organ, distant strings and vocal panning evokes late-'60s psychedelia.
Sex on campus: Duke University
When asked about the hookup culture, students' responses ran the gamut. Some took the stance of "live and let live," while others said, "They really need to stop that sleeping around." Some told me that it is not the norm for students, whether male or female, to have sex whenever and wherever they feel like it, with whomever and however they so desire. Students say that the vast majority are having sex in monogamous relationships or not at all.
Sex on campus: St. Olaf College
There is indeed a dark side to emerging adulthood on campuses, and it does seem to be more problematic for women than men. One professor here polled her students and found that they agreed with sociologist Christian Smith's concerns. But they thought there is even more peer pressure on young men than young women to be sexually active. The pressure on women students is to be good at everything and look good doing it. Young adults live in a culture in which one can ask questions like, "Who am I? What does it mean to be a responsible sexual being?
Courage to date: Kerry Cronin, relationship adviser
Mating games: Changing rules for sex and marriage
Sex on campus: College chaplains on the hookup culture
Sex on campus: University of Southern California
We were meeting for lunch, at her request. She was a first-semester senior, a bright, lively, attractive young woman. I assumed she wanted to ask me for a recommendation for graduate school or for a job. But she stunned me: "What is wrong with me?" she pleaded. "Why isn't anyone hitting on me?"
Sex on campus: Princeton University
The analyses of these cultural commentators sadly ring true. Many of my students struggle against powerful forces of societal objectification and internal fragmentation as they navigate a complex campus culture that sends mixed messages. On the one hand, women are expected to be assertive and equal intellectually. On the other hand, they are expected to be submissive and available sexually. Although Princeton women are confident and capable academically, often they are insecure and uncertain relationally. Though there is parity in the classroom, it does not extend to the bedroom.
Sex on campus: Florida State University
In recent weeks, I've met with three women who have each woken to discover that they had sex the previous night but have no memory of it. In each case, the women had been drinking. In each case, a date-rape drug may have been used. In one case, the sexual partner was a male "best friend," whom the woman had assumed she was safe with. In another case, the woman went home with an acquaintance. In the third case, the woman went home with a total stranger. Each woman felt a combination of anger, personal responsibility and shame.
Live from Kegworth Studio, by Phil Keaggy
Fans of guitar superslinger Phil Keaggy (which include, it is said, the late Jimi Hendrix) know that he's incredible live, the high quality of his studio discs notwithstanding. Here he combines studio precision and live spontaneity as he tackles classic-rock covers ("To Make You Feel My Love," "Here Comes the Sun") and his Christian-music chestnuts ("What a Day," "Salvation Army Band"). Keaggy's nimble picking and honeycomb tenor cut sharp, and he achieves his jawdropping mix of looped rhythms and solos without a single overdub.
Pay pals: A small group for debtors
Mylo Xyloto, by Coldplay
Mockingbird Time, by the Jayhawks
Mark Olson and Gary Louris reunited for a duo record in 2008, but this is the first album they've made together with the Jayhawks in 16 years. The two harmonize like a countrified Simon and Garfunkel, and they write potent songs that stick to your synapses. The waltz-time ballad "Guilder Annie" and the uptempo "She Walks in So Many Ways" showcase these gifts—along with a slipstream, jangling rhythm that makes this album a delight.
Sex on campus: Arkansas State University
I confess to being a skeptic when I first read the reports about a toxic sexual culture on campus. Arkansas State is a long way from elite East Coast colleges. Even though it's not uncommon to find entire sororities dressed in nothing but T-shirts and high heels at a function, most women on our campus are much less overt in communicating sexual availability. I thought the stories of women participating in their own objectification, while disturbing, were probably overblown.
Awakening Islam, by Stéphane Lacroix
Stuff; Objects of Our Affection
The average house size
has nearly doubled since 1970. Yet self-storage units, once nearly
nonexistent, are a booming business.
Drawing on Harry S. Stout, Stanley Hauerwas argues that the Civil War became a total, unlimited war because the demand to participate assumed a sacral status.