The Beloved Bard of Solidarity

Jacek Kaczmarski Wrote the Soundtrack for Poland's Cold War-Era Resistance Movement

A microphone on a stand; a man with a guitar. The waiting audience is restless, shifting in seats as he tunes his instrument. He speaks one word—Kołysanka, lullaby in Polish. The audience settles, a few beats of silence pass. He begins with a quiet musical introduction, simple, soothing.

And then he sings. 

The song is about children who walk round and round the yard of an orphanage, but are not orphans. One watches as his father is taken away from their home in shackles. Another wants to write a letter to her …

How 1970s Pop Culture Cemented Today’s Partisan Divisions | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

How 1970s Pop Culture Cemented Today’s Partisan Divisions

Journalist Ronald Brownstein Explores the Creative Explosion in Los Angeles That Prefigures Our Current Politics

Longtime political journalist Ronald Brownstein paid a visit to Zócalo yesterday to speak about his new book, Rock Me On the Water: 1974- The Year Los Angeles Transformed Movies, Music, …

California’s Next Joan Didion Can Sing | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

California’s Next Joan Didion Can Sing

Phoebe Bridgers Offers an Homage to, and an Improvement on, the Classic Golden State Interpreter

California’s next Joan Didion might be an improvement on the original.

For one thing, she can sing.

Phoebe Bridgers, a brilliant and versatile 26-year-old musician and songwriter, isn’t just contending for four …

Looking for Jazz Uplift Under Lockdown | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Looking for Jazz Uplift Under Lockdown

A Music Critic Considers the Power of Time-Honored Rituals When They Can’t Happen as They Should

Three days after the September 11 terrorist attacks I left my Brooklyn home, tracing backward the trail that thick billows of smoke had blown across the East River, to hear …

The Composer Who Saved King Kong—and Transformed Movie Music | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

The Composer Who Saved King Kong—and Transformed Movie Music

The Masterful Max Steiner’s Career and Life Were as Dramatic as Any Hollywood Picture

An international crisis triggers record unemployment. Hollywood bleeds red as movie theaters shutter. And one major studio faces imminent closure, putting all its hopes on a would-be blockbuster.

The year is …