Brooklyn Rhapsody

LOS ANGELES TIMES / 2013
A journey through the new classical music scene in Brooklyn. Read more

Techno in the Concert Hall

NEW YORK TIMES / 2012
Mason Bates is one of the young saviors of classical music, thanks to his gift for rinsing the gray out of traditional forms with the searing beats of electronica. Read more

The Conductor Who Occupies Oakland


NEW YORK TIMES / 2011
To conductor Michael Morgan, the orchestra is more than a vehicle for pretty music; it is a political tool for probing racial tensions and repairing them. Read more

Steve Reich Revisits 9/11


LOS ANGELES TIMES / 2011
The composer drew on personal experience and the voices of people who were around Ground Zero for his searing new work. Read more

Ballet's Rebel Dane

LOS ANGELES TIMES / 2011
Former New York City Ballet star Nikolaj Hubbe puts a radical new spin on the Royal Danish Ballet: "I like tradition but only because you have to jump from it." Read more

Renee Fleming Rocks Out


LOS ANGELES TIMES / 2010
Why has the acclaimed soprano traded Mozart and Puccini for Arcade Fire and Death Cab for Cutie? Read more

When They Were Just Kids



LOS ANGELES TIMES / 2010
Walking through the Chelsea Hotel, Patti Smith remembers when she and Robert Mapplethorpe were a couple of "awkward" unknowns. Read more

Cormac McCarthy, Violent Mystic


ESQUIRE LATIN AMERICA / 2010
As The Road hit movie theaters, Esquire Latin America asked me to map Cormac McCarthy's literary career. The English text follows the Spanish translation. Read more.

The Beauty and Terror of Science


SALON | 2009
Romantic poets and scientists tapped the marvels of nature and sounded a clarion alarm that can transform us today. Read more

The Other Side of Rick Steves


SALON | 2009
He may seem like Mister Rogers. But in a revealing interview, the travel guru shares his daring views on Iran and terrorism, spoiled Americans and the best places to smoke pot in Europe. Read more

Sarah Palin's Swat at Science


SALON | 2008
Sarah Palin, the Republican nominee for vice president of the United States, does not appear to know as much about science as a smart 5th grader. Perhaps you have heard this. Read more

Who Killed the Honeybees?


SALON | 2007
A round table of experts answer all our pressing questions about the sudden death of the nation's bees. What they have to say has a bigger sting than we ever expected. Read more

Bjorn Lomborg Feels a Chill


SALON | 2007
The infamous author argues polar bears are doing just fine and Al Gore is way too hot under the collar. But can the "skeptical environmentalist" back up his rosy views? Read more

The Artist as Mad Scientist


SALON | 2006
She is an intellectual and emotional storm. Her renowned public artworks are reshaping the ways we think about science. Activist, environmentalist and former rock promoter Natalie Jeremijenko turns the art world upside down. Read more

My Homeless Friend



SAN FRANCISCO / 2005
He seemed like just another homeless guy, the kind you walk by every day in San Francisco, or try to walk by, before he irritates the hell out of you by asking for spare change. "Pardon me," he said. "I don't want any money. I just want to ask you a question."

The Ninth Tale


SALON | 2005
A sublime new recording of Mahler's Ninth Symphony, and the recent publication of "Letters to His Wife," recall the chilling summer when the Austrian composer faced down his demons and wrote his masterpiece. Read more

Don't Dream It's Over


SALON | 2004
Former Crowded House frontman Neil Finn still writes songs than can stun you with their beauty. Read more

The Paris Review: Richard Powers


THE PARIS REVIEW | 2003
“The use of music is to remind us how short a time we have a body.” What do you mean by that?

You start the song, it has a pulse, three-quarters time, one hundred twenty beats per minute, and you know, even as you round the corner of the first verse, that it’s only going to last for four and a half minutes. All you can do is keep moving to it. When the beat stops, you are aware of having had that beat moving through you, and moving you, and you are aware of the ephemerality of your own existence, the fragility of your own body, the fact that your body is already becoming something else. Read more

What Just Happened Here?


SAN FRANCISCO | 2002
A sprawling oral history of the dot-com boom and bust in San Francisco and how they changed the city forever. Read more

Clash Over the Runways


SAN FRANCISCO | 2001
How SFO's big plans have created the most dramatic environmental showdown over the bay in 50 years. Read more

Sam Shepard's Brilliant Career


SALON | 2001
Sam Shepard is wearing black slacks, a black mock-turtleneck sweater and a glossy black leather jacket. The legendary cowboy of American theater looks dressed up. Like he's heading down to the chapel on Main Street. Read more

Amazing Disappearing Book Review Section


SALON | 2001
"Wait, I think the stairwell is over there," said a San Francisco Chronicle editor, accompanying me to the paper's book-review department. "I've actually never been down there." Read more

Everywhere Is a Place in Patagonia


SAN FRANCISCO | 2000
I was sitting on the top deck of the Cabo Tamar, tightly gripping its rail, as the 55-foot fishing boat pounded across the rocky blue Strait of Magellan. Read more

Elementary Houellebecq


SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE | 2000
Is Michel Houellebecq the most piercing social novelist since Balzac, or a grandstanding misanthrope who should just take his lithium and get over himself? Read more

All That Glitters


SAN FRANCISCO | 1999
What would you do if someone offered to make you a millionaire? Read more

Secrets of Fiction


SAN FRANCISCO | 1999
Three years before my father died in 1994, he discovered Richard Brautigan. He was looking for family photographs in the attic and came across a box of worn paperbacks; Brautigan's Trout Fishing in America was lying on top. Read more

Fantastic Voyage


SAN FRANCISCO | 1998
Deep inside our DNA, Geron has found a key to aging. Is it the fountain of youth? Read more

Is Traffic Good for Us?


SAN FRANCISCO | 1997
If we're talking about an incentive to change, said the social ecologist, "traffic isn't bad enough." Read more

Call of the Wild


EAST BAY EXPRESS | 1996
This is one of the very first detailed investigations of the environmental and cultural impact of sports utility vehicles (the term SUVs hadn't caught on yet). Read more