Arts Desk

Arts Roundup: “Children by the Million Sing for Alex Chilton” Edition

Good morning! This is the fifth post on this Web site about the death of Alex Chilton. I found out about it last night via Twitter, and an hour later, the influential Big Star leader was beginning to feel overmemorialized. Everybody wants their piece of Chilton's death.

And that, especially in this case, is OK: For me, and for a lot of people, Big Star was like The Wonder Years but cool, inhabiting that anxious, bittersweet teenage universe I associate with a number of films from the '70s but that truthfully none of them nails as well as #1 Record/Radio City. That disc collects the band's first two albums, and I bought it seven or eight years ago in a shitty used CD store on Rockville Pike that's probably not there anymore. I'm fairly sure the clerk told me it was perfect. He also recommended Television's unfortunate early-'90s reunion album, but I didn't know enough at the time to realize that should've raised some flags.

I'm not sure where I'm going with this, and I don't have any Big Star memories as acute as March Hirsh's (you should really read his tribute). All I know is that the chorus of "The Ballad of El Goodo"—all shimmering guitars, sad-angel harmonies—still releases all the right chemicals in my head.

IN OTHER NEWS:

The D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities' latest issue of its ART(202) Journal is online.

DCMumboSauce.com reminds purveyors of mixtapes: Include a tracklist!

The New York Times' Ben Sisario ponders the stakes of South by Southwest. Conclusion: They're not very high. When I wrote about New York's CMJ Music Marathon in the fall, I landed on a similar thesis.

Here is a video from David Byrne's ill-advised song cycle about Imelda Marcos.

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