Brubeck, Douthat, 46 free songs + Books and Culture giveaway

The Rathaus Christmas market in Vienna.
Truly, I did not think I could possibly find this much in the few days since I've been back from Europe, but go figure. December brings too much of almost everything. I've only had one article published since my last email, but I think it applies to holiday eats in general.
And coming next month, I return to the actual pages -- not just the servers -- of Books and Culture, with a review of Christian Smith's book Lost in Transition. Which brings me to my holiday giveaway.

Since the viability of publications like Books and Culture enables me as a writer to not just reach interested readers, but actually get paid for my efforts, I'm giving away a one-year subscription to Books and Culture this month -- your choice of print or online edition. (After all, as artists, we all ought to "support media," no?) To enter, write a one- or two-sentence comment below about why I should give you the subscription (be sure to include your email address in the appropriate comment field). I'll notify the winner shortly before Christmas.

:: events ::
  • Tonight! New York Times columnist Ross Douthat speaks on his new book Bad Religion, 6:45-9 p.m. at Christ Church (Cedar and Walnut in Berkeley, 10 minutes' walk from the Downtown Berkeley BART station). Tickets may be scant, but purchase them here.
  • Sunday: Open Studio at Mills College, noon to 4 p.m. I do believe Dave Young Kim may be one of those with work on display ...
  • Monday: Join the folks at ReImagine for Filled with the Spirit(s): Towards a Healthy Relationship with Alcohol. People of faith have often had a simple relationship with alcohol: don’t drink. Yet, wine "that gladdens the heart" was praised in the Psalms and the first miracle of Jesus was turning water into wine. Many Christian communities haven't talked about the proper use of alcohol, because it was forbidden. But if we are going to be spiritual people who also enjoy spirits then we need to be thoughtful about how we drink-- inviting each other into honest self-reflection and develop best practices for alcohol consumption. Join us for an evening of lively story-telling and group discussion.
:: tunes ::
  • Jazz legend and one-time Bay Area son Dave Brubeck has died -- one of probably very few such musicians whose death could become a Twitter trending topic, as it did this morning. Death is never good news of course, but the jazz lover in me thrills to see the medium touching so many tongues and ears, however briefly. Here's a small roundup of the obituaries and assessments of his career and musical impact.
  • Noisetrade is giving away a 28-song holiday road trip mix featuring Guster, Young the Giant and others (note: you'll need to "like" them on Facebook to get the songs).
  • And Noisetrade and Paste have teamed up on a free, 18-song holiday sampler featuring Sufjan, Leigh Nash and others.
  • Paste has compiled a nice holiday gift guide for music lovers, most of which have wrapable mass. For those of you considering electronic gifts, however, say of the Andrew Bird album Break It Yourself, I'm still trying to sell my unused download code so I can buy a real CD version (emails to the record label having gone unanswered; I know you're as shocked as I am). My Christmas special price is $7.50 + mystery holiday treat, probably edible and homemade.
  • Album streams:
  • Lastly, you can now hear Ryan Adams' contribution to the soundtrack of Judd Apatow's forthcoming movie, This is 40.
:: reading/food for thought ::
  • Even if you're not a writer, this analysis of C.S. Lewis' success with Mere Christianity provides food for thought on boundaries in work and ministry (to the extent those are distinct things!). When we feel strongly about certain issues, it can be so tempting to weigh in -- and channels like Facebook and Twitter give us increasingly public platforms for doing so, yet as Lewis' example suggests, restraint can afford long-term fruit.
  • The New York Times profiles the woman behind the great Brain Pickings blog I've shared from in the last few months.
:: visual art ::
  • Writer Tony Carnes' New York City Religion projects shares a cool video on Mako Fujimura's latest painting Golden Sea. The accompanying text reports that some of his works at the Dillon Gallery escaped damage, but I haven't yet found further substantiation of that.
  • Two recommendations from the Grotto folks:
      "Throughout his career," writes Alex Baker in the exhibition catalog, "Barry McGee has continued to surprise and contradict expectations." Including rarely seen early etchings, letterpress printing trays and liquor bottles painted with his trademark cast of down-and-out urban characters, constellations of vibrant op-art painted panels, animatronic taggers, and an elaborate re-creation of a cacophonous street-corner bodega, along with many new projects, this first mid-career survey of the globally influential San Francisco-based artist showcases the astonishing range of McGee's compassionate and vivacious work. Through Dec. 9.
      Check out some truly amazing and novel artworks created by IPhone art applications, of all things, in the exhibition "The Third Wave," at the Garden Gate Creativity Center in Berkeley. Artists include DIY types and professional photographers, and contributors have made images from fantastic animals to painterly landscapes to provocative nudes. Garden Gate Creativity Center, 2911 Claremont Avenue, Berkeley. Through Jan. 30.
:: food ::
  • Eric Felten, one of my favorite writers for the Wall St. Journal returns to his old beat, cocktails, for a piece on downsizing libations, which is right in step with my experience at two hip Chicago cocktail spots last month. And, the piece includes 11 drink recipes. Merry Christmas.
  • While in Vienna, I discovered this easy recipe for chicken breasts, which really does take about an hour to make, start to finish.

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