• MUSIC

Leonard Cohen Live

"Rock and roll," says Robert Christgau,  "has produced a surprising bounty of old men with something to say. Leonard Cohen fits this paradigm, with two significant differences. The first is that he's rock and roll only by association. He's really a Gallic chansonnier, in it for the lyrics rather than the liberating musical intensity even Dylan has made a vocation. The second is that he was always old -- older than Elvis and also more sophisticated, the kind of artist you'd look up to at 24 only to find yourself surprisingly, alarmingly entering his age group four decades later."

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  • MUSIC

Suburban Triumph

"Their goal is to make old structures of feeling signify anew," wrote Robert Christgau last summer about Arcade Fire and their album The Suburbs. Sunday night the record picked up the Grammy for Album of the Year.  In "Maturity for Modern Kids"  Robert Christgau gives his take on why this "exceptionally principled" Montreal band is also capable of getting a jaded crowd to reach for the sky.

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July 23: Jessica Mitford died on this day in 1996.

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Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
The Hundred-Year House

When a poetry scholar goes digging through the decrepit estate of his wife's family to uncover a bygone arts colony's strange mysteries, he awakens a tenacious monster: his mother-in-law. A wickedly funny take on aging aristocracies from author Rebecca Makkai (The Borrower).

Watching Them Be

What makes a film actor into a larger-than-life movie star? James Harvey's passionate, freewheeling essays explain why there are some faces (from Greta Garbo's to Samuel L. Jackson's) from which we cannot look away.

Landline

What if you called up the spouse on the verge of leaving you -- and instead found yourself magically talking to his younger self, the one you first fell for?  Rainbow Rowell, author of the YA smash Eleanor & Park, delivers a sly, enchanting take on 21st-century love.