Arts Desk

Arts Roundup: Dog Days Edition

Sorry Bob: WaPo's presidential majordomo Bob Woodward still cranks out a new book every one-to-three years, but does anyone bother to read them?Writing in the July issue of Washingtonian, Hudson Institute fellow Tevi Troy guesses that no, they probably don't. Troy discusses a phenomenon dubbed the "Washington Read," in which a new title seeps into the conversational ether around federal Washington. These books tend to be presidential biographies like Doris Kearns Goodwin's Team of Rivals, neorealist tracts like Francis Fukuyama's The End of History, and anything by Woodward. Everybody talks about these books, Troy writes, but often enough, they're so constantly blurbed and hyped that they end up more as props for their owners' shelves. Troy recounts an experiment conducted by Michael Kinsley a few decades ago, in which Kinsley left notes with his phone number in bestsellers around town offering cash to people who had actually read them. No one called. "This tended to confirm my suspicion that people like buying books more than they like reading them," Kinsley told Washingtonian.

Influential and Hottest: Billboard has compiled its list of the 10 "most influential clubs" in North America, and at the top of the list is the 9:30 Club. The magazine asked Patterson Hood of the Drive-By Truckers to list the attributes of a great club, which he described as having "a good room, good vibe, great sound, sightlines...and a general vibe or aura that is intangible-but you know it when you are within it." Billboard then sent out a bunch of talent agents to compile the list. The 9:30 was also the only member of the list that also made the "hottest"—aka best box office—list. Owner Seth Hurwitz told Billboard that he likes "to remind people that it's just a fucking rock concert." The list is behind a paywall, so unless you're a Billboard subscriber, you'll just have to take our word for it.

Today on Arts Desk: A bizarre track about synthesizers and crying by Maxmillion Dunbar. Repertory film picks.


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