Do Both Sides 'Do It?'

Here is my Nation column: on "Weiner," the documentary, and the media obsession with Weiner's weiner. You can find it here.

And here is a piece I wrote called "Mark Zuckerberg's Dilemma With Conservatives"

This week I took my dad to see Herb Alpert and Lani Hall at the Cafe Carlyle, where, if you are hoping to run into famous people, you could do a lot worse. Together with dad, my close personal friend Bob Redford and the rest of us enjoyed the extremely casual show that the couple has been doing now for a while. They've been together, Herb said, for 42 years, so I guess the secret to a happy, long lasting marriage is to be incredibly talented and filthy rich. (The "A" in "A & M" stands for Alpert.)

Anyway, they have a fine band, with Bill Cantos on piano and vocals, Hussain Jiffry playing this pretty interesting six string bass and Michael Shapiro on drums. The set list veers from TJB hits to Sergio Mendes and Brasil 66-style bossa nova, some straight-ahead American Songbook-style jazz, all of it without breaking much of a sweat. Alpert, who's into his eighties, was a charming host and managed to lead the tony audience in a singalong of "This Guy's In Love With You." Lena (not Lani) Hall is coming to Carlyle in a couple of weeks and I am deeply saddened to be out of town for that. As much as anyone--well, perhaps besides Buster Pointdexter--she is expanding the "American Songbook" into the present and bringing the Carlyle audience with her. Both of these shows are highly recommended, though, I'm afraid, for quite different kind of people. (I would not bring dad to see Lena...) Alpert/Hall is there through the 11th. Lena arrives on the 14th. The schedule is here. Bring your wallet.

I am looking forward, however, to next weekend's celebration of Billy Strayhorn at Jazz@Lincoln Center. As beloved as he is in the world of Jazz, it's weird that he is not better appreciated as a great composer "beyond category." I'm not sure I believe he actually wrote "Lush Life" at 16, but he was already fully formed as a songwriter at 23 when he started composing for and with Duke Ellington. (This show follows the recent tribute to Ray Charles, which featured not only veterans from his band, but also the incomparable Diane Shuur on vocals.) I will be awfully interested to see what the Orchestra's arrangers do to make "Take the A Train" and "Caravan" sound new, as well as to hear the pianist/vocalist Johnny O'Neil join the band. Wynton himself has been rather quiet at most of the shows this year, allowing other members of the orchestra to trying out their mc-ing skills. Here's hoping he brings it for this, their final show of the season Even so, there is still lots going at the different theaters and at Dizzy's so if you're in the city, you can look it all up here.

If you're broke and in the city, Summerstage has a fine show for you on Saturday, beginning at 6 in Central Park. It's called "The Legends Honor McCoy: McCoy Tyner Quartet / Ron Carter / Roy Haynes" and it should be great if people don't talk the whole time, which they tend to do at these shows. The full summer schedule is here I'll be there, too, if it doesn't rain.