MUSIC: Venus On Earth by Dengue Fever If maybe like me you have a hard time finding new music thats unique, different and fun, yet also with some cultural depth, then Dengue Fever is the band for you. The Los Angeles group mixes Cambodian pop with garage rock (and draw in such other diverse strains as Indian, Iraqi, Ethiopian and surf music) into a delightfully picturesque sound thats catchy, offbeat and charming as all get out. Singer Chhom Nimol is an actual Cambodian pop star who sings in Khmer and English, and the end result is a truly international music thats irresistible.
DVD DOCUMENTARY: New York by Ric Burns The story of New York City is also the story of America, as this comprehensive and fascinating seven-part, nearly 15-hour film makes plain if not obvious. Yes, to an ex-New Yorker such as myself (who still feels its my spiritual home), the film is utterly compelling, but its also engaging and informative to anyone who has any interest at all in the American urban experience. As our nations biggest and most important cityand as I like to call it, the center of the universeNew York is the place where all the most important human, social, cultural and political aspects of America were stirred together in a cauldron that was a true melting pot. Issues that we continue to face todayimmigration, race, class, economics, labor and unionism, modernity and technology and moreare part and parcel of the story of New York. Its time well spent that leaves you entertained, informed and enlightened.
BOOK: The Musicians Guide to the Road by Susan Voelz Full disclosure: Voelz is a friend who hired me to write a press release and bio for this books publication. I found when she sent me an advance copy, its a great read with lots of humor, insight and fun anecdotes that gets inside what its really like for a touring musician. Next time you go see a band thats on the road, if you wonder what it took for them to get there and what the process is like, Voelza rock violinist who plays with Poi Dog Pondering and Alejandro Escovedo and a solo act in her own rightcovers the gamut with wit and panache. And if you are a working musician who tours or plans to, this book is essential.
From The Progressive Populist, April 15, 2008
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