Articles2020-06-23T00:56:12+00:00



Articles

When I’m not obsessing over the career of Jeff Goldblum, I also write any number of news articles, features, profiles and cultural criticism. These days, I do it for The Washington Post. Before that, I wrote for anyone who would have me, including Esquire, GQ, Time, Southern Living and a variety of other extremely kind publications that gave me money for words. Here are a few of my favorite pieces.

Charli D’Amelio is TikTok’s biggest star. She has no idea why.

THE WASHINGTON POST  | May 26, 2020

The young people of Ohio weren’t physically distancing, and Gov. Mike DeWine needed to do something.

“Young people think they’re pretty invincible. That just goes with the age,” DeWine said. They are “the hardest demographic to reach … You’ve got to have the right messenger.”

But who? The Republican governor is 73 years old. As the pandemic swept the country in late March, he needed Charli D’Amelio — even if he didn’t yet know who she was.

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The joys — and challenges — of adapting Stephen King for the screen

THE WASHINGTON POST  | March 9, 2020

Most Stephen King fans know his work exists in two worlds. First, there’s the page, where images of psychotic, otherworldly clowns, reanimated pet corpses, the ghosts of murdered young girls and haunted cars are injected into our imagination. Then there’s the screen, where we actually see them.

These worlds are not always kindly to each other …

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The missing Oscars

THE WASHINGTON POST  | September 25, 2019

Peter O’Toole never won an Oscar. Nor did Marilyn Monroe, Cary Grant or Vincent Price. That, right there, should tell you how flawed the awards have been, despite the best intentions of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. As we barrel toward awards season and its annual slate of serious awards-bait films, we decided to remind you of 37 living actors you probably thought already had statues at home — and the roles they should have won them for …

(Writer’s note: Since the publication of this article, the Academy got it together and righted some of these wrongs. It’s still a pretty good read!)

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After 16 years, the Hold Steady is changing the ‘business of being a band’

THE WASHINGTON POST  | August 29, 2019

The Hold Steady, an old-school rock-and-roll outfit once dubbed “America’s best bar band,” was falling into the kind of unofficial hiatus that can settle upon a band after a decade of relentless touring when they fielded an unusual request: Toronto’s Horseshoe Tavern wanted to book them for four straight nights.

Even considering their obsessive cult following, that felt a little excessive. However, every night they played, the club was packed, recalled frontman Craig Finn. Similar extended stints in Brooklyn and Chicago also did well. It took a couple of years, but eventually, the band realized it might have a new touring model on its hands …

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Stop pretending you’re having fun at this outdoor concert

THE WASHINGTON POST  | July 15, 2019

Outdoor concerts are garbage, and not only because they smell like it. Don’t take my word for it. “I don’t even understand them in theory,” Lexington, Ky.-based freelance journalist Sarah Baird, 31, said, calling them “antithetical to enjoying music.

The very nature of what makes an outdoor concert special — specifically, inviting nature into a concert — is what turns off so many …

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The state of Bob Dylan in 2018? As mysterious as ever.

THE WASHINGTON POST  | November 23, 2018

On the song “Early Roman Kings” from Bob Dylan’s 2012 album “Tempest,” he sings, “If you see me coming and you’re standing there, wave your handkerchief in the air. I ain’t dead yet, my bell still rings.”

It’s never a good idea to take a Dylan lyric literally. His songs are usually shrouded in so many layers of metaphor, it all blends together like individual ice cubes melting into a pool of water. This song’s no different …

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Billboard’s charts used to be our barometer for music success. Are they meaningless in the streaming age?

THE WASHINGTON POST  | July 9, 2019

As the charts struggled to come up with a streaming equivalent to an album purchase or a song download, the media has been awash with headlines touting the latest record-breaking chart numbers. Artists such as Adele, Beyoncé, Taylor Swift, Drake, Kanye, Lil Wayne and Post Malone are constantly breaking each others’ records, leaving bands such as Prince, the Rolling Stones and ABBA in digital obscurity …

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You’re going where? Lexington

THE WASHINGTON POST  | October 17, 2018

The first words I hear when I deplane in Lexington are: “The bourbon store is open if you’re thirsty.” It’s 11:28 a.m., and indeed, the airport liquor shop is open. I’m then greeted by several statues of horses stately planted in the grass outside the baggage claim. As a Southerner — New Orleans-born with stints living throughout the South — I’m particularly sensitive to the ways our towns are often stereotyped. But as more than one person, in varying dialects, points out to me, if you do something well, celebrate it. By the Kentucky locals’ estimation, no one does bourbon and horse racing better than Lexington …

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