Daily posts from Bee writers on movies, theater, media, fashion, music and pop culture.


It's rare for local news radio - or, heck, local TV, too - to step off the crime-politics-Britney hamster wheel of coverage and give us an-indepth arts story. So we have to give kudos to KXJZ (90.9 FM), Sacramento's NPR affiliate, for doing just that.

Paul Conley this morning aired a lengthy interview with jazz violinist Regina Carter that would be interesting even to those who think Jean-Luc Ponty is the goalie for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Included: this anecdote about Carter's disbelief at being awarded a half-million-dollar MacArthur "genius" grant - a big deal in the arts world.

"First when he called, I actually said, ‘You know, I’m sorry, I can’t give any money right now, maybe in a couple of months.’ I thought they were calling for money. He says, ‘No, no, we’re actually calling because you’ve been nominated and we’re giving you, you know, this amount of money.’ And I said ‘Who is this?’ And he says ‘No, you obviously have never heard of the MacArthur Foundation.’ I said ‘I have, but why would you be calling me?’ And he explained the whole thing again. I said give me your name and your number and I said I’ll call you back.

Carter logged onto the MacArthur Web site, confirmed the caller’s identity and quickly called back.

“And I remember when I hung up, I just sat there for a long time stunned, staring out the living room window.”

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September 2009

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