I’m an experienced, digital-savvy writer with years of experience synthesizing often complex topics on deadline with a clear, conversational voice.
Since 2003 I’ve contributed a broad variety of stories to the L.A. Times’ arts and entertainment coverage while also acting as the paper’s jazz critic for over 10 years. In 2016, I made a shift toward TV with various forms of features, commentary and reviews. I also write a long-running weekly column Overrated/Underrated, which has been syndicated in a few newspapers around the country. Which is nice.
Here are a few samples, in addition to these rounded up by that paper where I work.
(Note: With regard to the above image, I’m pretty sure that 97.6% of the time my critical personality runs far closer to Bugs than Daffy.)
- Commentary and cultural perspective
A weekly, sometimes syndicated column where I mouthed off about pop culture. The whole mess ended with a farewell edition here in June of 2019
2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013, pt 1, pt. 2 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009
Recap and analysis: ‘Game of Thrones’, the final season
Ep. 1 | Ep. 2| Ep. 3 preview: Who will die? | Ep. 3 | Ep. 4 | Ep. 5 preview: This won’t end well | Ep. 5 | Seven futile hopes for the finale | Ep. 6: No one’s very happy
A look back at the year that was in stand-up comedy
Three names that broke ground in comedy in 2019: Hannah Gadsby, Drew Michael, and Donald Trump (Dec. 22, 2018)
I also looked at how charged the Oscars felt in 2017 and how they do/don’t matter.
Overrated/Underrated: Oscars 2017 have never mattered less yet continue to stand for more (Feb. 25, 2017)
…and before that, I thought about a bit of an existential crisis on the impact of social media on the very idea of over- and underrating things.
After a year of hot takes and backlashes, what are we doing here? (Dec. 15, 2016)
This column first stretched out and walked around as a full-length essay about the artists that have reached a plane beyond criticism.
Pop culture’s sacred cows: Just dare to dis them (May 16, 2014)
- Sports and Pop Culture
- TV and Comedy Reviews
Amazon’s ‘Absentia’ puts Stana Katic back in action (Feb. 1, 2018)
‘Spielberg’ dives deep into the filmmaker’s venerated career (Oct. 7, 2017)
- TV and Comedy Features
By design, ‘Lodge 49’ is the ‘least aspirational show on TV’ (August 9, 2019)
The odds for 7 shows vying to become heirs to ‘Game of Thrones’ (April 12, 2019)
‘Abby’s’ heads outside to shake-up the typical sitcom (March 27, 2019)
The creators of ‘High Maintenance’ traffic in human connection (March 16, 2019)
Morley Safer dies at 84: A reluctant voice on camera, he helped change television news (May 19, 2016)
I grew up watching 60 Minutes, then I wrote an A-1 obituary for one of its key figures.
‘Idol’ vs. ‘Voice’ (Summer 2012)
I recapped ‘American Idol’ and ‘The Voice’ in 2012 and compared the best contenders. I made fun of both equally, which shows a kind of journalistic impartiality
Showtracker: Season five of ‘The Wire’ (2008)
Humbly attempting to cover the end of, okay, the best TV drama of all time. Mistakes were made, but fun was had.
More interviews and features: Melissa McCarthy, On set with Showtime’s ‘I’m Dying Up Here’ , Sebastian Maniscalco and the Comedy Store, ‘Catastrophe’s’ Rob Delaney, ‘Me, Myself, and I’, Questions from the ‘Game of Thrones’ finale, Recap: ‘Game of Thrones’, Emmy nominations: ‘SNL’ and late-night comedy nods, Viceland’s ‘What Would Diplo Do?’, Obituary: Gwen Ifill, ‘Big Little Lies’, Super Bowl LI, ‘Lemony Snicket’, The Summer Olympics, Bill Simmons ‘Any Given Wednesday‘, Documentary Now!’
- Music Criticism
Live review: Radiohead reflects on a timeless body of work at the Shrine (Aug. 5, 2016)
Thinking about how some bands don’t sound dated.
Appreciation: Jazz musician Charlie Haden spoke for beauty (July 12, 2014)
Charlie Haden called me one day to talk music — but his career said so much more.
Jazz review: Charlie Haden speaks volumes at REDCAT (Dec. 11, 2013)
I reviewed a poignant show with a jazz master as his body fails him. A strange honor.
Review: ‘Holding It Down’ awakens us to veterans’ dreams (Sept. 10, 2013)
Pianist Vijay Iyer with wordsmith Mike Ladd, making important music.
‘Blurred Lines’ verdict: In jazz, the vibe is everything (March 13, 2015)
What does Robin Thicke have to do with jazz? Not a lot, which is sort of the point.
Critic’s Notebook: San Francisco turns the sound up on jazz (Jan. 26, 2013)
This little thing landed on A-1, as in the front page. This may be bragging.
Critic’s Notebook: Vince Guaraldi’s ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’ score is a gift (Nov. 24, 2012)
Proud to have written about the music that got me into this mess.
Notebook: The groove where jazz and dance music meet (Aug. 26, 2012)
EDM, as the kids say, is colliding with jazz. And it is good.
Critic’s Notebook: Cutting edge jazz is missing at the Bowl (July 17, 2011)
I bark at the whirlwind. Here’s where I told L.A. Phil they weren’t booking enough new jazz.
- Music Features
Norah Jones looks back toward a familiar sound on new album (Oct. 7, 2016)
When you can call Wayne Shorter and Brian Blade for your album, you do.
Five songs proving David Bowie can’t be captured in five songs (Jan. 11, 2016)
Where were you when David Bowie fell to earth? I was here.
Kamasi Washington expands jazz’s boundaries with ‘The Epic’ (May 4, 2015)
Something is happening with music in Los Angeles. This guy is near the center of it.
‘Mistaken for Strangers’: Matt, Tom Berninger on the not-National doc (April 25, 2014)
I also like The National, and their strange little movie.
Wayne Shorter marks his 80th, but is far from ‘finished’ (Aug. 24, 2013)
Talking to a great like Wayne Shorter is a little like a carnival ride.
When you say ‘jazz,’ Nicholas Payton hears BAM (April 27, 2013)
A profoundly talented trumpeter talks about some serious issues with jazz.
Jazz Bakery finalizes deal for new home in Culver City (Jan 13, 2011)
Breaking! News! At the time, anyway.
Jazz echoes through the ribs of the Blue Whale (Oct. 22, 2010)
An unconventional space opens in Little Tokyo–and becomes the hottest room in town.
Finding jazz at a cool price: Alternative jazz venues in L.A. (Aug. 22, 2009)
There’s always good music to be had if you know where to look.
Playboy Jazz Festival plays to a wide audience (June 10, 2009)
In which I wonder why Playboy books so much smooth jazz. It’s okay, we’re friends now
Other interviews: El Vy, Nels Cline, Robert Glasper, Charles Lloyd, Dave Holland, The Bad Plus, Ambrose Akinmusire, Vijay Iyer, Norah Jones, Medeski Martin and Wood, Christian Scott, Robert Glasper, Esperanza Spalding, Charlie Hunter, Skerik, Bill Cosby, Anthony Wilson, Gerald Wilson, Calexico, Sparklehorse
More reviews and features: Spiritualized, Cecile McLorin Salvant, Wayne Shorter, The Grammys: New voices in jazz , Appreciation: Dave Brubeck, Atoms for Peace, Medeski Martin and Wood, Keith Jarrett, ‘Joni’s Jazz’, Allman Brothers, Robert Glasper, Obituary: Chico Hamilton, Herbie Hancock, Vijay Iyer, Jason Moran, Playboy Jazz Festival, Angel City Jazz Festival, Ornette Coleman, Esperanza Spalding, Sonny Rollins, Ambrose Akinmusire
You know Hollywood is serious about stopping Trump when they call in the Avengers (Oct. 5, 2016)
‘Will & Grace,’ Joss Whedon and Shonda Rhimes take election year stands.
For some time I was the daily blogger for the Times’ arts and culture blog Culture Monster, which has sadly been lost to the dustbin of Internet history after various site redesigns. There’s a small collection of posts to be found here
A complicated canopy for Siqueros ‘America Tropical’ set to rise (April 24, 2012)
Bone flutes found in Germany point to roots of creativity (May 19, 2012)
- Local entertainment
Amusing asides (Jan. 25, 2007)
A Calendar Weekend cover story on the alternative comedy scene in L.A., written long, long ago
Beyond last call (Nov 9, 2006)
Another cover story on places for after hours dining in Los Angeles. Service!
Get out of town: Reno, Nevada (Feb. 21, 2008)
I like Reno.