Pam Houston directs the Creative Writing Program at U.C. Davis. Her most recent novel is Contents May Have Shifted.
Luang Prabang, Laos, is so close to the equator that daybreak happens at the same time each day. Also each day, a few dozen women set up rice cookers on small collapsible tables on street corners next to the more than 30 monasteries that grace this riverside town. If you get up with them and walk the silent streets in the misty Mekong predawn, you smell, under the sweetness of the frangipani blossoms, the thick odor of cooked starch.
Today marks the 10th anniversary of the death of singer-songwriter Dave Carter from a sudden heart attack induced. He and Tracy Grammer, his partner in both music and life, were the fresh new act in folk at the time, having joined forces in 1996. In accordance with Carter's wishes, Grammer has continued to perform their songs even into her blossoming solo career, which so far includes three studio albums.
I was curious to see how Gang Gang Dance would present their edgy mix of dance and more experimental electronica at the outdoor Prospect Park Bandshell for Celebrate Brooklyn. The answer was: convincingly. Gang Gang Dance's set featured keening, alien vocal lines soaring over choppy keyboards, rhythmic samples and glitches, and two live drummer/percussionists.
While the concept of the American dream has been a part of our national consciousness for generations, you'd be hard-pressed to find two people who define it precisely the same way. We can say that with some authority, because, as part of our series, American Dreams: Then And Now, we asked you to share your own take on the dream. Sure enough, no two responses were the same.
I'm trying to get things on a regular schedule, I'm still off by a couple days and I apologize! Pretty decent picks this week.
The Three Stooges (2012) dirs. Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly
When this film was going to star Sean Penn and Benecio Del Toro I was totally thrilled. It slowly devolved into a ridiculous side show, campy, blah blah blah. Might check it now on DVD. Some folks actually claim it's funny.
China and Russia this morning vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution that could permit sanctions against Syria unless the government of President Bashar Assad stops using weapons against civilians. This is the third time China and Russia have rebuffed measures pushed by the United States and its allies to try to bring a halt to Syria's violent civil conflict.
A man who stripped naked to protest security screenings at the Portland International Airport was exercising his right to free speech, a court ruled Wednesday.
John Brennan was charged with indecent exposure after the incident, but Brennan said he stripped only after he refused to walk through a scanner and security agents found traces of nitrates on his clothes.