In this week’s New Yorker…

November 30, 2010

Aside from the cheeky and up-to-the-minute cover image by Barry Blitt (above), I was most intrigued with Kelefa Sanneh’s Critic-at-Large essay, ostensibly a review of Jay-Z’s book Decoded, which betrayed an extreme familiarity with every scrap and tittle of Jay-Z’s music and discusses it with the detailed obsessiveness that Stephen Sondheim fans apply to every new item from the master. And then Sanneh goes on to review Sondheim’s memoir Finishing the Hat. A rare cultural critic whose sphere of reference spans hip-hop and Sondheim, innit? Go, Kelefa!

Speaking of cross-cultural stretch and the New Yorker, I was intrigued to read in New York magazine that the New Yorker‘s rapacious pop music critic Sasha Frere-Jones has been hired as culture editor of The Daily, Rupert Murdoch’s new iPad-aimed digital newspaper.

What else? I was also fascinated to read Gay Talese’s almost breathlessly starstruck account of traveling with the young opera star Marina Poplavskaya, currently appearing at the Metropolitan Opera in Don Carlo. She sounds like a terrific singer — can’t wait to hear her in person.

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