Arts Desk

Arts Roundup: Greener Pastures Edition

In Through the Out Door: Yesterday, the Washington Post announced two significant personnel changes. First, TBD.com editor Erik Wemple will leave the beleaguered Allbritton website to blog about media and politics under Editorial department leader Fred Hiatt. Second, Style section editor Ned Martel—amidst ongoing rumors of drama and conflict in his section—will transition to covering the "personalities, the offbeat" and "the veiled dramas" of the 2012 presidential campaign. (Disclosure: I have worked for both TBD and the Post.)

Nasty Boys: Music writers are still tittering over the Great Common Controversy of 2011, which was launched Monday when the Daily Caller criticized Michelle Obama's decision to invite the "controversial" rapper to perform at a White House poetry event on Wednesday night. (Were conservatives similarly offended when the Obamas booked Common for both the 2009 and 2010 White House Christmas tree lightings?) Sarah Godfrey at TBD writes, "Not since Bill O'Reilly's 2002 attack on Ludacris has a more benign, less controversial rapper been called out by conservatives." White House press secretary Jay Carney defended the White House's decision in a press conference yesterday, even delving—awkwardly— into the long-running debate over "bad" vs. "good" hip-hop: "I mean, he is—within the genre of hip-hop and rap, he is what's known as a conscience rapper—or a conscious rapper, rather," Carney told reporters.

Fine Arts News: White House party crasher/fameball Michaele Salahi has released a spellbinding new song called "Bump It." Equal parts Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen, and the sound of military tanks crushing a thousand skulls, it's an admirable work of songcraft that will surely be passed down through generations. Lyrics sample: "Release me from my cage, I belong on center stage, I'm an animal....The club is rockin', bottles poppin', I'm a danceaholic. I came to party hard and do what I do. My main objective is to be the hottest girl in the room." The song is available on iTunes for 99 cents plus tax—a reasonable investment if you were just going to burn that dollar instead.

Awesome: Techno producer and DJ Carl Craig has canceled his May 27 appearance at the U Street Music Hall. I received this news one hour after our Summer Music Guide went to press. As you're thumbing through our incisive, tastefully curated, and handy guide—out today!—just ignore the part where I say Craig's show is one of five "must-see" dance music events this summer.

Yesterday on Arts Desk: Benjamin R. Freed reviews Life Swap, the new solo LP from Bluebrain's Hays Holladay; Bruise Cruise part deux is so on, reports Jonathan L. Fischer; Matt Dunn shares photos from the bizarre human art installation at Philippa Hughes' apartment; Joe Warminsky reports on the possible career moves of "Southeast D.C.'s Own First Black President Skater" Darren Harper.

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