Sunday, May 29, 2011

Weekend Reading: Lady Gaga gets Fryed, Groupon's gag writers, Bikini Waxes, Kissinger's murderous sycophancy, Hunt Lieberson's sublime Berlioz

Some great weekend reading:

Not-So-Odd Couple - This weekend's Financial Times' Lady Gaga Takes Tea with Mr. Fry offers an engaging and enlightening account of the inimitable Stephen Fry's visit with the unsinkable chanteuse.

Kissinger's China - also in the FT, the last British governor of Hong Kong, Chris Patten, reviews Henry Kissinger's new book On China, and paints a portrait of a brilliant man devoid of any moral sense. In his latest work the chronic enabler of blood-soaked tyrants offers up a whitewashing of Mao's crimes, to which Patten provides an sobering rebuttal.

Over at Business Week, there's a portrait of New Royalist Torquemada Grover Norquist. When even Tom Coburn thinks someone's a dangerous extremist, you know you're dealing with a real piece of work. Also in Business Week, there's a discussion of the relationship of the bikini wax to Brazil's measure of inflation.

On the music front, The Financial Times finds Glyndebourne's Meistersinger flavorless mush, and reports that, after a slew of cancellations of dates earlier this year, including Chicago, Maurizio Pollini was back in top form at a Royal Festival Hall recital that included Chopin, Schumann, and Stockhausen Klavierst├╝cke.

Over at the Sunday New York Times, David Streitfield's Funny or Die: Groupon's Fate Hinges on Words suggests that Groupon's continued success may hinge on its gagwriters - "musicians, poets, actors and comedians" who write the copy that keeps subscribers clicking coupons.

Elsewhere, Zachary Woolfe has a glowing review of the new live recording from 1995 of Lorraine Hunt Lieberson's sublime acount of Berlioz's Les Nuits d'Ete , plus a selection of Handel arias, a must-have release that has been topping out my iPod for the past few weeks.

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