This entry of The Out There Side blog series celebrates live music in the post-vac world, vis-a-vis two recent outdoor shows in New York City: The Socially Distant Orchestra at West 104th Community Garden, and George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic at Central Park’s SummerStage. Brains or booty: take your pick!

Adam Grannick (left) plays with the Socially Distant Orchestra at the 104th St Garden; Parliament-Funkadelic guitarist Michael Hampton wails under a moonlit sky (and his own hoodie) at SummerStage.

“It’s just so great to hear live music again!” exclaimed a middle-aged woman as she greeted Adam Grannick after the first in-person performance by The Socially Distant Orchestra. “It’s great to have a live audience!” Grannick replied. “Thank you for coming.”

The Socially Distant Orchestra (SDO) made its live debut…

This entry in The Out There Side blog series celebrates a delicacy of Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine that’s inexplicably hard to find in the Big Apple — but out there nonetheless. Here’s a Top Ten survey.

In our humble opinion, there’s nothing more exquisite than topping off a morning run with a great breakfast taco. It provides the perfect combo of savory delight, grab-and-go portability, carbo-replenishment, and all the essential food groups, including that oft-overlooked one: spice!

In our former city of Austin, TX, great breakfast tacos (BTs) seem more ubiquitous than roadstripe armadillos. Found every few blocks, their differences…

This entry in The Out There Side blog series was written for a forthcoming anthology about midlife.

The other night I had a strange dream: I’d showed up to work at some office building but I couldn’t find my desk. They’d moved me, and everywhere I thought my cube might be, somebody else was working. Finally I saw M, a good friend and reliable editor, so I asked her where I was supposed to be. “I don’t know anything,” she replied, “because I just got fired.” I thought, “Whoa, if M is fired, there goes all my reliable editor’s work…

Album cover for J Catz: Can’t We All Just Go Dutch?

This entry in The Out There Side blog series celebrates the release of a new album by J Catz — a virtual band — created during a year of pandemic lockdown with help from GarageBand, WeTransfer, iPhones, and a lot of dear friends. Readers can stream the album on Spotify, iTunes, etc: J Catz: Can’t We All Just Go Dutch?

This musical sojourn started a couple years back when my niece, Jordan Cherry, visited New York City and, per tradition, we went on a long run together and visited our favorite photo backdrop along the Hudson River.

This entry in The Out There Side blog series excerpts a StoryCorps interview with Dr. Marty Kuhlman, associate professor of history at West Texas A&M University, and a lifelong friend of the author. It covers wild US elections, great rock & roll songs, and other topics du jour.

“Hit me with your best shot!” That was the email reply I received from Dr. Marty Kuhlman, after I sent him the link to my recent blog post about our interview — along with a reminder that we never really talked about rock & roll so we needed a do-over. …

This installment of The Out There Side blog series focuses on the life and work of Texas-based historian Dr. Marty Kuhlman.

Members of the Equal Suffrage League at West Texas State Normal College, 1912

Marking the centennial of American women gaining the right to vote, The Dallas Morning News recently ran an article about women’s suffrage in the Texas Panhandle. When the piece came over my email transom, I noticed it was penned by Dr. Marty Kuhlman of West Texas A&M University in Canyon, Texas.

“The Canyon campus,” Kuhlman writes, “was home to many who wanted to accord women permission to vote — a battle finally won 100 years ago, with the Aug…

This continues the blog series The Out There Side. Unlike the previous post on Flower Power in the present, this one revisits the concept a half century ago.

A large photograph in the museum, shot in a San Francisco in 1967.

At the 51st anniversary of Woodstock, I’m here to say: I was there, man!

That is, I was recently at the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, a museum located on the site of the 1969 Woodstock Music and Art Fair. Of course, Woodstock, NY is a fun town — but the museum and festival site lie 40 miles away in a rural corner of Sullivan County. When we visited it was…

This continues the blog series The Out There Side. This post celebrates the reopening of a public space on the Upper West Side.

© Robin Langsdorf

The flowers have been liberated! When my family and I returned to New York City from a July vacation at an upstate lake, one pleasant surprise was the reopening of a venue near our apartment: the West Side Community Garden.

The garden — which combines flower plots in the public area with vegetable plots in a private section — had been shuttered since the beginning of the Covid-19 outbreak in mid-March, after Governor Andrew Cuomo’s orders to…

This continues the blog series The Out There Side. This post is pretty corny.

Apparently there are as many ways to shuck an ear of corn as there are chefs working a grill.

That fact has made itself clear during this last week, when my family and I have been in upstate New York, staying at a lake in the foothills of the Catskills. We have a group of five cabins and five families, connected by a cookout area — a little community that one kid has affectionately dubbed Covid Cove. …

This is a continuation of the blog series The Out There Side. This installment honors the late, great Milton Glaser.

Milton Glaser was one of the most famous designers of the last century, so it’s safe to say he’s the most famous designer I ever interacted with. I knew him from my days as editor of Graphis magazine, where he was a regular fixture, a wise elder, and a generous friend of the mag. He was also, of course, a monumental icon. As one family friend put it, I ♥ Milton Glaser.

Since his passing on June 26 at age…

Jack Crager

Jack Crager is a writer and editor based in New York City (

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