Critics, what critical blogs do you trust?
Thu Dec 6 2007
Illustration: Nathan Huang
Douglas Wolk—whose blog Lacunae is beloved by TONY Music editor Mike Wolf—loves Fluxblog. And TONY critic Steve Smith cites An Unamplified Voice and My Favorite Intermissions as the two best opera blogs out there (Smith’s own blog, Night After Night, was also namechecked by critics—it’s a regular lovefest here).
Smith’s also into Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society, like many others. “Especially for his liveblogging of the Bang on a Can marathon last June,” says sharkskin girl, coeditor of Obscene Jester. “That sort of at-the-moment writing is exactly what a blog can do that print media can’t.”
Still, the blogger who got the most nods was New Yorker critic Alex Ross and his The Rest Is Noise. His own faves: “I’ll cop out of playing favorites in classical music and instead name a few leading lights in other fields,” he says. “Sasha Frere-Jones, for the purity of his devotion to pop; Carl Wilson [Zoilus], for his pragmatic love of a huge range of music; Maud Newton, for her witty mastery of the chaos of books; Dave Kehr, for his eagle-eyed attention to neglected films; and Terry Teachout, for his old-school command of the entire cultural field.”
Steal Observer art critic Mario Naves’s bookmark list: Modern Art Notes, Modern Kicks, artcritical.com, 2 Blowhards, Henri Art Magazine Blog. Then poach from Paul Laster, editor of Artkrush: “I trust We Make Money Not Art, Artworld Salon, Art Fag City, The Art Life, The Guardian Art & Architecture blog, Design Observer, and Treehugger,” he says.
“Oddly enough, I tend to trust blogs written by folks who’ve honed their skills over the years in print,” says TONY film critic David Fear. “Zero for Conduct (Mike Atkinson’s blog), The House Next Door (Matt Zoller Seitz’s blog), the various blogs on The Guardian site (specifically, David Thomson and Ryan Gilbey’s contributions). I trust them because I know these guys have logged in the hours.”
Isaac Butler at Parabasis, and Garrett Eisler’s Playgoer got multiple votes—even one grumpy approval. “Who ever heard of trusting bloggers, or any other kind of writers?” asks Michael Feingold, chief theater critic for the Voice. “But I must say that on the few occasions when I’ve checked in with Garrett Eisler’s Playgoer, I’ve always found things of interest.”
Among the faves: Maud Newton’s literary blog and Scott McLemee’s obsessive review blog. “I also like to check in on James Fallows at The Atlantic sometimes,” says Old Hag blogger Lizzie Skurnick. “He seems very excited about the medium, à la 1992, which is cute.”