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 of(…)

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 adjusting(…)

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, and(…)

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 are(…)


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(…)