Banksy in New York

A few cultural items that I have been enjoying/keeping my eye on of late...  

First, as has been well-reported, the brilliant Bansky is currently in New York and blessing our streets and walls with some of his work.  I made the pilgrimage to check out one piece (see above) which was located a few blocks from the Center for Court Innovation's headquarters on the west side.  Alas, it had already been partially painted over.

My mother-in-law, Kathleen Vellenga, has published her first novel, Strangers in our Midst,  a historical adventure that is loosely based on her family's history, dating back to the Mayflower days. 

As a small acknowledgement of the passing of Elmore Leonard a few weeks ago, I decided to read his Western novel Hombre.  It is probably the most banal observation I've ever made, but man, could that guy write.  Anybody interested in the craft of writing -- not just fiction, but all forms of writing -- would do well to study his work. 

I can't speak to the quality of this exhibition since it hasn't actually opened yet at the Jewish Museum in London, but I love the topic and I love the cheekiness of its title. 

Speaking of football, after several grim years, Arsenal finally seems to be back on the right track -- they are currently sitting on top of the Premiership standings.  There are a number of good soccer writers that I read on a regular basis, including ESPN's Roger Bennett and the Daily Mail's Martin Samuel, but my favorite to read specifically about Arsenal is the Guardian's Amy Lawrence, who typically manages to combine the passion of a true fan with the objective analysis of a good journalist.  

Finally, I have been going through a little bit of a dry patch with regard to music of late.  I like the new Arctic Monkeys album (AM) although it does feel like they have evolved into a very different band than the one that made the unbelievably good Whatever People I Say I Am, That's What I Am Not.  

As I have gotten older, I have found myself gravitating away from the ambitious music that I favored as a kid (the Clash, Bruce Springsteen, Public Enemy), all of which seems faintly pretentious/preposterous to me at the moment.   Instead, I have been enjoying bands with more modest aspirations.  The album that I seem to be listening to the most at the moment is Everlast's Life Acoustic, which somehow marries acoustic guitar with a hip-hop sensibility.   

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