Posted inArts & Culture

Confessions of a Mormon Boy

Writer-performer Steven Fales has an extraordinary story to tell. Born gay and Mormon, he married, had kids, and underwent “reparative therapy” in an effort to go straight. Finally he gave up, suffered through divorce and excommunication, and descended into a vortex of drug addiction and self-destruction as a sex worker in New York City. But […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Michel Doneda, Jack Wright & Tatsuya Nakatani

Fifty-year-old French saxophonist Michel Doneda has been a presence in European improv circles for decades, but he’s relatively unknown in the U.S. He favors heavy abstraction and precise extended technique, not the fireworks better-known European free-jazz reedists like, but recently he’s found a natural niche within the bustling electroacoustic improv scene. On Strom (Potlatch), a […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Neko Case, Sadies

Like a photograph of a movie star’s good side, Neko Case’s last studio album, Blacklisted (2002), was a perfect but incomplete picture of her outsize talent. The noirish production on the album spotlighted her dynamic, expressive vocals and emphasized an atmosphere of unease, but it also gave short shrift to the earthy humor and unbridled […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Straight Dope

I keep hearing claims that the Salem witchcraft trials were the result of poisoning by grain infected with ergot fungus, which caused convulsions and other symptoms that the simple souls of the day interpreted as signs of demonic possession. Any truth to this, Cecil?–Daniel L., Kenosha, Wisconsin Not likely. While it’s rarely possible to prove […]