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Sunday, September 21, 2014, 3:24 p.m.
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Philip Martin

Stories by Philip

Spirits: Moonshine's legend distills historical facts

posted: 09/21/2014 2:10 a.m. Discuss

One of the differences between art and science is that, given the proper controls, science insists on the repeatability of experience, while art argues all experience is relative and peculiar. Romance lives in our margins for error -- what the lover of vinyl records perceives as authentic warmth is really distortion and cyclic wow and flutter.

Columnists: Boys will be boys if we let them

posted: 09/21/2014 1:54 a.m. Discuss

Anyone who encourages others to routinely eavesdrop on their internal monologue runs the risk of being misconstrued, so let me state for the record that I am basically a boy.

Review: Shaggy dog story

posted: 09/19/2014 2:49 a.m. Discuss

God bless Kevin Smith.

Review: The Last of Robin Hood

posted: 09/19/2014 2:13 a.m. Discuss

The Last of Robin Hood opens in 1959 with the death of "the hero of a generation, equally known for his swashbuckling in public and in private," Errol Flynn at age 50. We quickly learn of the salacious details -- Flynn died in the arms of a "much younger girlfriend" -- via the device of a behatted radio reporter talking down his skinny microphone into his reel-to-reel tape recorder as he awaits the girl's imminent arrival at a Hollywood airport. As she disembarks, popping flash bulbs and probing questions cause the girl to swoon.

Critical Mass: Intimate venues resonate more

posted: 09/14/2014 2:24 a.m. Discuss

There is a part of me that believes that popular music ought to be experienced in a semi-feral setting, that somehow moving it into a theater or any venue with assigned seating places a governor on our potential enjoyment. This is, at best, a superstition based on experience. The best shows I remember have generally been held in small venues by performers who were more respected than famous.

On Books: Ellroy's new LA quartet gets good start in Perfidia

posted: 09/14/2014 2:23 a.m. Discuss

I confess I haven't quite finished reading Perfidia (Knopf, $28.95), Los Angeles-based crime novelist James Ellroy's latest novel and the first in what he says will be a new L.A. Quartet. It is a kind of prequel to the series of novels he wrote from 1987 to 1992 -- The Black Dahlia, The Big Nowhere, L.A. Confidential and White Jazz -- that were set in Los Angeles between 1946 and 1958.

Columnists: How Brooklyn is like Africa

posted: 09/14/2014 2:09 a.m. Discuss

BROOKLYN, N.Y.--Africa is much bigger than you think it is if you grew up looking at Mercator projection maps. Those are the maps we hang on the walls in our schools, that we reprint in textbooks.

Critical Mass: State's encyclopedia sparks spinoff projects

posted: 09/07/2014 2:29 a.m. Discuss

A few days ago, a friend asked his Facebook constituency what event from Arkansas history they'd like to see re-enacted on the Comedy Central show Drunk History. Within minutes he had a number of responses: The Brooks-Baxter War.

Capturing a moment of routine sublimity

posted: 09/07/2014 2:02 a.m. Discuss

The Supreme Critic on the errors of the past and the present, and the only prophet of that which must be, is that great nature in which we rest, as the earth lies in the soft arms of the atmosphere; that Unity, that Over-soul, within which every man’s particular being is contained and made one with all other, that common heart. — Ralph Waldo Emerson, “The Over-Soul" If you have a chance between now and Oct. 18, you should drop by Little Rock’s Cantrell Gallery and take a look at the John Deering exhibit, “The Arkansas Traveler.”

Review: Land Ho!

updated: 09/05/2014 1:54 a.m. Discuss

A couple of weeks ago, during the podcast we've started doing for our public radio station, we touched on the subject of plot-light movies such as Richard Linklater's Boyhood and Guardians of the Galaxy. As obviously different -- and excellent in their own ways -- as these films are, neither is as much about what happens as the way in which it happens.

Review: Yves Saint Laurent

posted: 09/05/2014 1:53 a.m. Discuss

There's a remote feeling to Jalil Lespert's bio-pic of Yves Saint Laurent, the French fashion designer who died in 2008, that suits the world the man apparently lived in -- the louche luxury of what used to be called the "jet set." While at no point should we imagine that we actually learn much about "the genius" at the center of the story, it might be enough to vicariously experience the furious flutter of the beautiful exotics who populate the ateliers and nightclubs in which he dwelt.

Critical Mass: Cash's Tears: A voice crying in the wilderness

posted: 08/31/2014 3:09 a.m. Discuss

"Cash, in narrative and song, documents the tragic history of the American Indian."

On Books: Author uses real name on No. 5 in Red series

posted: 08/31/2014 3:08 a.m. Discuss

There are any number of reasons a writer might decide to write under a pseudonym, and some of them are innocent. Just over a year ago I wrote about Holy Orders, a faux genre mystery written by distinguished English author John Banville under the pen name Benjamin Black.

Handle the truth with depressed expectations

posted: 08/31/2014 2:04 a.m. Comments 4

I've always presumed that if you're reading this column, things aren't so bad for you.

Review: Life After Beth

posted: 08/29/2014 2:09 a.m. Discuss

Watching Jeff Baena's Life After Beth, my mind kept turning to the HBO series The Leftovers.

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