arts 09.2.03

Patty Griffin

If any singer/songwriter sounds like autumn, it's Patty Griffin; her music and lyrics are suffused with the melancholy of October light.

Ms. Griffin's album "Thousand Kisses" is a perfect cameo of heartache. She has also contributed tracks to two tribute albums, both of which will be released on September 9th. A Springsteen tribute has Ms. Griffin singing "Stolen Car" on it. Elvis Costello, Pete Yorn, and Billy Bragg also contribute tracks. "Remembering Patsy Cline" includes Ms. Griffin's version of "Faded Love" and other Cline songs from Norah Jones, Diana Krall, k.d. lang, and Natalie Cole.

You can hear Ms. Griffin perform on Sunday, September 14th (3pm) at the Rumsey Playfield in Central Park, along with other great singer/songwriters: Dar Williams, Mary Chapin Carpenter and Shawn Colvin. The concert is called An Acoustic Afternoon, general admission tickets are $35 from 212.307.7171, and Later in the fall at Carnegie Hall, Ms. Griffin will be part of the week-long celebration of Emmylou Harris. That concert takes place at 10pm on October 22nd, 212.247.7800, tickets are $30.
Politics is usually outside MUG's bailiwick, but Joe Conason's book, Big Lies, is essential reading: a brisk, spirited, thoroughly researched, and well-argued counterblast to Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, and other lock-step blowhards on the right. Indeed, the subtitle of the book is The Right-Wing Propaganda Machine and How It Distorts the Truth.

Mr. Conason, the national correspondent for the New York Observer, and a columnist for Salon,, takes on all sorts of myths and received wisdom. He unmasks the Bush populist image, the idea that the media always tilts left, the common assumptions that Republican are historically tougher on terrorism and better stewards of the economy, as well as the smug moralizing of Helen Chenoweth and her ilk.

One example of the distorting right-wing propaganda machine: two months after the September 11th attacks, Clinton gave a speech at Georgetown University, with a passing reference, Conason writes, "…to the brutality of the Crusades against Islam. But the thrust of his speech was that 'we have to win the fight we're in.' And he went on to say, 'I am just a citizen, and as a citizen I support the efforts of President Bush, the national security team, and our allies in fighting the current terrorist threat. I believe we all should.' The Washington Times report was instantly regurgitated on talk radio and right-wing Web sites, which distorted his remarks into an assertion that 'America got what it deserved.'"

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