Ebert, upcoming concerts (M&S!) + a young poetry fan

Posters my friend made for
her school's Austism
Awareness Month observance.
Read more below.
No new articles this time, but I'm nearing the end of reading for a book review on online dating, after which I turn to Mary Roach's Gulp.

We're still working out the details for the Songreader sight-reading party I mentioned last time, but if you're interested in participating, you might want to get your copy now. At $34 for 20 lavishly detailed song charts, it's pretty reasonably priced. The album includes parts for piano, guitar, ukelele, several voices (at least one song has harmony) and a few wind instruments that I'll have to double-check when I'm home. Order it from McSweeney's or, if you don't mind a trip to the Richmond District, pick up a copy from Green Apple Books. They had several in stock when I stopped by. The Pirate Store at 826 Valencia might also have a few, but call first to be sure.

:: Concerts ::
Notable shows in the next several weeks:
  • Tonight! David Wilcox at Freight & Salvage in Berkeley
  • April 24: Little Willies (a Norah Jones project) at Great American Music Hall -- I'm really hoping to go; will probably try to buy tickets before my trip next week. Let me know if you want to come with!
  • May 29-31: Mumford & Sons at the Greek in Berkeley. You can save about $10/ticket by shopping the on-campus box office (hours here).
:: National Poetry Month ::
3-year-old recites Billy Collins' poem "Litany": Somehow I missed this video when it first circulated three years ago, but it's deservedly the sensation it became. HuffPo notes that the boy, Samuel Chelpka, has also:
A commenter on the NYT blog post about the video shares more about Samuel's exposure to poetry. Here's the text of Collins' poem. I'm chagrined to say I didn't know much about his work until this video, but I certainly plan to read more now. "Litany" is wonderful.
:: tunes ::
  • The NYT recently ran this interview with Emmylou Harris, which included two delightful tracks from her recent duet album with longtime friend Rodney Crowell. Perhaps because my two maternal grandparents are in their early 90s, her comments on aging -- especially as she observes it with her 92-year-old mother -- really resonated with me.
  • One of the songs featured in that story also made Paste editor Josh Jackson's recent list of the year's 25 best songs so far, which includes several from albums NPR has featured on First Listen.
  • Gym-music sweet spot: to maximize the impact of your playlist's workout impact, WSJ says you should pick songs within a certain tempo range
  • I don't know a lot about this musician, but Audrey Assad's interview with Christianity Today caught my eye because she gets into communal singing, which has been on my mind a lot lately. She discusses why she's switched from making albums for people to play in their cars or on their stereos to a project more focused on congregational singing
:: visual art & film ::
  • Just one day after announcing he was taking a break from writing again, Rogert Ebert has died. Even with my media-light upbringing (no TV until high school), I knew his name by adolescence. The New York Times obit includes a nice slideshow, but the Sun Times tribute is probably the most thorough. A couple pieces of his that were shared on Twitter today:
  • Portraits of centenarians: pictures of 100-year-old people might not sound that interesting or attractive, but these are really wonderful. Every now and then, I encounter an artistic project -- a friend's three-person play I saw years ago comes to mind -- that rises to the level of medium-defending art. As in, you see it and think, This is why ___ [art form] exists. Nothing else can do quite this. For me, these portraits rise to that level. The photographer did such a great job capturing each person's life, vitality and personality. I liked the side shots less, but perhaps those people were more shy about direct eye contact and that, too, showed part of who they are.
  • A while back, I shared a photography project focused on people with albinism. A friend's recent effort to change the Autism Awareness Month posters at her school reminded me of that. Read the whole story on her blog. I'm so proud of Robyn.
:: the Keller corner ::
  • Work: What is it Good For? I haven't seen this video yet, but it's an hour-long discussion between Keller and his co-author Katherine Leary Alsdorf, who only recently stepped down from leading Redeemer's Center for Faith and Work.
:: food ::
  • For Easter dinner, I tried a new side this year, partly to use up some home-grown sage my aunt let me snip from her garden before I left Washington. The result: a mash-up of these two recipes for mashed sweet potatoes with sage (to which I also added some garlic). Very tasty, rich in eye-nourishing vitamin A and no gravy-making required.

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