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R.E.M.: Life And How To Live It

I’m pretty sure I’d never seen a man wearing eyeliner, let alone one stabbing, sweating and strutting his way shirtless across a stage back lit by 16mm film of fish swimming in slow-motion. I was in the second row. Standing on my seat for two hours...

Thirty-Eight Songs

Sometime after midnight thirty-eight years ago today in a sterile-white, fluorescent-lit University of Iowa hospital room, my parents welcomed me into the world just a few weeks shy of my due date. My mother was studying classical guitar that summer. Moreover, the...

Underground

Dear Ben, In just a few weeks, you’ll be laying in a hospital bed with a broken jaw. You’ll look in the mirror but — what with those wired teeth and that Elephant Man swelling — fail to recognize yourself. It’s a whole lotta’ trauma...

Music Could Provide The Light You Cannot Resist

It was spring. Everything was in bloom. The pavement was slick from an overnight rain. The bus stop on the corner of Spencer and Fairfield Roads was crowded with middle schoolers. Including me: a tall, bespectacled and braced ninth grader in a blue Land’s End...