I’m just back from New York, remembering life back in the US-of-A for a week or so. I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time reading the New York Times; for all the very real problems it’s shown on the news side over the last few years, its feature writing retains an amazing breadth and depth, combined with an unwillingness to differentiate between so-called highbrow and lowbrow culture.
Despite having always abjured the comics page that’s a staple of most other American newspapers, the Times has started The Funny Pages in its Sunday Magazine. Last year, they presented Chris Ware’s “Building Stories”, and now they’re giving us “La Maggie La Loca,” updating Jaime Hernandez’s Love and Rockets. Maggie Chascarillo, a punk-rock chick from East LA when the comic started back in 1982, now aged a quarter-century like the rest of us. Now she’s off adventuring somewhere in Central or South America with former pro-wrestling Rena Titanon. Well, not really adventuring anymore — Maggie (and Hernandez) has long ago given up the sci-fi/magical-realist trappings that gave the series its name, in favor of real life.
Other good stuff in the Times over the past week:
- A sad article about the closing of Cody’s Books in Berkeley, CA — harbinger of the gradual decay of hippie/homeless mecca Telegraph Avenue.
- A lengthy appraisal of DJ Danger Mouse and Gnarls Barkley, his project with singer Cee-Lo — better than anything written on him here in the UK, despite the number 1 chart position their single, ‘Crazy’, held from download sales alone (and the clearly greater importance of a monolithic pop-music culture here).
- My favorite 80s indie-rock band, The Replacements, get at least some of the credit they’re due.