John Cage

Eternal Cage

Today is John Cage’s birthday, as it will be for the next several billion years. His ideas and accomplishments will be eternally important and relevant. Everyone and their mother (especially this awful book) namechecks 4’33”, but his magnum opus—at least in my current view—is Song Books. Below are some moments from the fantastic performance Alarm Will(…)

Interim Listings

Summer’s coming to a close, and the next round of Brooklyn Rail listings won’t be up for a while. So here’s some things you might want to catch between now and Labor Day: August 24, Cornelia Street Cafe: Dave Ullmann’ release show for his new disc Corduroy. An interesting and groovy jazz concept album, coming out(…)

Winter Was Hard

Looking up from the endless chill and gloom of this past winter, I see that it’s been four weeks since I last posted here. Mea culpa. I had been using weekly playlists as a shorthand way of producing implicit reviews, but even those fell by the wayside under an unexpected rush of writing assignments and(…)

Video of the Week


Meanwhile …

Not all the thoughts and thousands (thousands?) of words go here, of course: The latest issue of The Brooklyn Rail has my concluding article on the 30th BAM Next Wave Festival, with concerts of music from Michael Gordon and David Lang. I wrote an article on the great, expansive Beyond Cage Festival this past fall,(…)

John Cage, With Stars

    Twenty years ago, Petr Kotik planned a concert to celebrate the music of John Cage that became a memorial. The feature work was Atlas Eclipticalis, one of the series of wonderful works Cage made from star charts. The performance was enough to wake up a certain prominent critic to the possibilities and joys(…)

John Cage, 1912 – ∞

The Heart Beats Not for Thee

Perhaps the true measure and quality of greatness in Cage is that his life and work ignore such thinking, letting it pass like the breeze. The best art doesn’t offer answers, it asks probing, fascinating questions. It is antithetical to this value to think that one thing is the answer to all things in Cage, when his achievement lies on a spectrum that, in maturity, begins with tossing coins and continues to question after question after question, leaving us to explore what answers might lie inside ourselves.

Links of a Dirty Old Man

An intellectual is a man who says a simple thing in a difficult way; an artist is a man who says a difficult thing in a simple way.   Summer has just begun, and that means it’s not too soon to think about where you’ll be sitting in come the fall. The brochures and booklets(…)


On the home page of this site, I maintain a news feed that keeps track of stories on John Cage, in this, his centennial year. I’ll also be writing a couple things for publication in other journals, and in the meantime, I troll the intertubes for news of new and reissued recordings (if you have(…)