Media reviews in 200-words or fewer.
The Outlet is co-edited by Jay Cullis.
The Ojai Valley News
Reporter from 2003 to 2006
Samples coming soon...
The Bryan Times
Reporter and editor from 2006 to 2007
Samples coming soon...
October 16, 2013
Phish Halloween 2013: The Case for Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots
"As the clock ticks down on late October and the much anticipated Comet ISON plunges toward the sun -- with millions of astronomers on the edges of their seats about what kind of sky display will occur in the dawn hours of early November -- Phish would crash into "Do You Realize?" This heart-rending bit of personal apocalypse would give us all a chance to "let 'em know you realize that life goes fast," and that "it's hard to make the good things last."
The Ojai Valley Visitor's Guide
Features writer for this glossy publication from 2003 to 2006. The magazine is distributed to all businesses, hotels and spas in the Ojai Valley. Samples coming soon...
Ringside Reviews was a book, music, and film review site that ran from 2009 to 2012.
Germany glows with the Führer’s bonfires. Stealing a book is an act of defiance and hiding a Jew is an act of treason. Everything, it seems, is punishable by death. He is coming. He knows when, where and why. You cannot escape.
But in a book narrated by Death himself, dying is the least punishment distributed. Even getting through the book is a kind of punishment. You started this, now you have to finish it. Death knows how this ends, and still he has a sense of humor. Sometimes his secrets slip out.
It doesn’t hurt any less.
This is a book about 40 millions deaths costumed in the story of a little girl, her friends, her family, and the Jew they hide in the basement.
The worst punishment? The laughter through the tears as the final pages turn. Because even as the words snap, whip, and beat the reader with the butt-end of a rifle – even as the world is swamped in Nazi red, white, and black – the reader smiles. Because this is a story about a little girl holding Death at bay, looking him in the face and smiling while the world burns in his wake.
Review of Train Dreams by Denis Johnson
These chapters pass like visions – like the fevered hallucinations that infect a logging crew near the beginning of this spectacular, short burst of fiction. These are pieces of a puzzle, which, when completed shows the weathered and indelible portrait of one Robert Granier. Lumberjack. Freight hauler. Railroader just after the turn of the 20th century. He’s a western type with a weary casualness banked against the severity of the time. He’s simple. Honest. Curious about this world and the people in it. He observes and experiences, but rarely interferes. He lives. He’s solid while others evaporate. He’s a husband, a father and later a widow. He’s haunted by curses and she-wolves and the death that’s more constant a companion than the red dog that happens upon his acre one season. And we, in turn, are powerless against the haunting clarity of Johnson’s writing. Like deathbed daydreams we become – for just 120 pages – Grainier. We see his life as memories. Like puffs of smoke belching from a train stack. And we wish, as we all will likely do when the final pages turn on our own novella, that just one more log might be thrown upon the fire.
Review of Tramp by Sharon van Etten
Sharon Van Etten is the real deal, and Tramp is the first great album of 2012. It’s the album we waited for through dark winter days, and Tramp delivers on every promise made by Van Etten’s maddeningly short, cheekily titled debut album epic. You may have heard Van Etten deals in heartache. But blessedly Tramp is devoid of whining. Van Etten avoids melodrama while spilling secrets and dreams and sadness that lesser artists would coat in cheap histrionics. Rarely are such powerful, poetic lyrics elevated so much by an artist’s voice. “You’re the reason I’ll move to the city or why I’ll need to leave,” she sings on early standout track “Give Out.” Her strength is writing lines in the present tense while imbuing the words with the seasoned voice of experience. It’s like she’s done what we’ve all wanted to do at one time or another: go back and re-live some terrible experience with the chance to change the things that made it hurt so much. Her songs transport us backward in time. They give us options. And more often than not they remind us that changing those moments would fundamentally change the people we are today.
Review of Whokill by tUnE-yArDs
It happens every day – creative people expressing themselves through art. It’s commonplace, and yet, still, sometimes, crossing paths with such creativity can be arresting. Listening to a Tune Yards album for the first time might just be one of those times. The work of one woman and a loop pedal, when Merrill Garbus puts her talents, energy, and voice to work, the results are quirky, twisty collages of music. Sometimes it doesn’t sound like much at all – rickety cacophonies, like a ship made of junk sailing on a quiet sea. Other times Garbus squeezes intricate groves out of her ukulele and a variety of drums. She makes this stuff live (both senses of the word are appropriate: as “in the moment” and also “living”). Listen to the album and then look up videos. On album, in concert – it doesn’t matter. This is a musician so committed and purposeful that it’s hard to not be overwhelmed. Jealous. She cites Central African music as an influence. It’s easy to hear that tradition of interlocking percussive beats wrapping together. But it’s not tribal. And it’s not familiar. And it’s creativity far from the commonplace.