Brendan McGuirk


Brendan McGuirk likes conversations and learning things.

Here's some stuff he's learned about:

WBUR's The ARTery
Here Are This Year's Boston Music Award Winners

Look at an awards show, and what do you see? An inherently imperfect distillation of creativity, enterprise, community and success? A lumbering institution that struggles to nimbly support, champion and reflect an ever-expanding world of shared art?

Tyler, The Creator's Hunched Back of Modern Fame

Observing Growth, Vulnerability, and Vision on from the IGOR Tour. If it's been done before, Tyler, The Creator isn't interested in doing it. He's not the re-creator, after all.


It had only been three months. It was 2014, and Steve Desrosiers had barely settled into his new job when he was unexpectedly tasked with leading a high school assembly to address the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, after the fatal shooting of teenager Michael Brown by police officer Darren Wilson that summer.

Jefe Replay: The Roxbury Rox Star

Jefe Replay’s recently released debut album, Proper Finessments, begins with the distinctive sound of an iced-down beverage being swirled around a disposable cup. The loophole is Jefe’s finesse...

Metro US
Meet Cambridge's unlikely hip-hop scholar

Danny Ainge messed up Millyz' plans. Before the Celtics bigwig traded Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder to the Caveliers for Kyrie Irving, the Cambridge-bred MC had made fans out of the pair of green teamers, and was eyeing ways to link with the two fan-favorites during the rollout of his upcoming album, "SPED: 2," a sequel to his 2015 mixtape due for release Sept.
Black Panther: Power & Leadership in the Age of Obama

Ta-Nehisi Coates is rightly one of the most celebrated authors of our time. His 2014 "Atlantic" cover story, " The Case for Reparations," was a watershed piece of journalism that brought to bear the United States' amorale redlining practices which served to destroy black wealth for much of the 20th century.

Boston Herald
Last Best Show: Seinabo Sey at Brighton Music Hall

Are all Swedes given pop PEDs as children? Seinabo Sey, the latest in a line of Scandinavian songstresses that spans from ABBA to Robyn, played the first Boston show of her career last night at Brighton Music Hall...

Boston Herald
Stevie Wonder and Songs In The Key Of Family

I grew up in a Stevie Wonder household. Many of my friends grew up in homes where The Beatles were sacrosanct, or The Eagles, or maybe Sinatra. My mother was a child of the '70s, though...

How TJ the DJ keeps Patriots fans on their feet

Whether you know it or not, chances are you've attended an event deejayed by TJ Connelly. After all, he's been the DJ in residence for Red Sox games at Fenway Park since 2005, and just completed his third season in that same role for New England Patriots games at Gillette Stadium.

Metro US
Commemorate Juneteenth with the Museum of Fine Arts

The Museum of Fine Arts will hold a special event for the fifth straight year celebrating Juneteenth, which commemorates the enactment and ultimate enforcement of the Emancipation Proclamation to free American slaves in Texas and other disputed territories.

Boston Herald
Peerless Beyonce dazzles at Gillette

With "Lemonade" - the album, its visual companion piece and, now, the tour in support of it - Beyonce proves herself to be the standard-bearer of pop. When her "Formation" tour made its local stop at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro last night, Beyonce proved herself to be peerless in her ability to impress and inspire masses through pop performance at the highest level.

Rap's Czarface Comes to Life Through Throwback Comic-Vinyl Combo

In "First Weapon Drawn," debuting Saturday for Record Store Day, rap and comics fans finally learn the secret origin of the dastardly hip-hop heel Czarface in an immersive audio-visual experience that resurrects a nearly forgotten storytelling format. It's a scheme as visionary as any a mad scientist might concoct.

Metro US
5 reasons why U2 at Gillette is the concert of the summer

Thirty years ago, U2 made an album that accomplished everything an album could. It sold over 25 million records. It won the Album of the Year at the Grammy Awards. It even launched a tour so massive it spawned a concert film and an album of its own.

Live Review: THEY. Will Rock You

The lifeblood of music appreciation is discovery. Everybody loves the shit we already love, but energy and excitement and most importantly community all arise ...
Thanks to Stan Lee, Comic Fans Know Heroes Can Be Complicated

Today, Stan Lee turns 94. A writer and editor with thousands of stories under his belt, his most unlikely one is probably the story he lived, where starting as an employee of a once-obscure publishing house he became a geek icon, an art form's most public emissary, a figurehead maligned for glory-seeking, a respected institution and even a movie star.

The bar where everybody knows The Bachelorette's name

It's a Monday summer night at a sports bar that was recently recognized as the best of Boston. Listen to the chatter of the patrons, though, and you won't hear any whining about the state of the Red Sox rotation or the injustice of Tom Brady's suspension.

Meet MerkThose: Where science meets street knowledge

What's the difference between a vandal and a street artist? Oh, about 25 years. That's how long it's been since Cambridge-raised Mike Lee stylized himself into the renegade graffiti artist MerkThose, but these days "Merk" doesn't need to scour for neglected urban surfaces to find welcome canvases for his work.

The Pull Up provides a new stage for Boston hip-hop

When it comes to cultural influence, there's arguably no force greater than hip-hop. But for many local lovers of the genre, finding a point of entry into the regional scene can be a challenge. And while there's no shortage of creative folks making quality hip-hop music, opportunities for them to connect with fans via live shows are sparsely limited.

Gronk's new workout plan

Rob Gronkowski is one of the most elite athletes on the planet. You and I are maybe not. But now, at the Boston Sports Club in Medford's Wellington Circle, we can all work out like Gronk.

Dan Savage wants you to stop looking for 'the one'

Dan Savage wants you to get real. If you're feeling dissatisfied with your sex life or your relationship, the author, advocate, and sex advice columnist suggests you start with some housecleaning, quit fantasizing and figure out just what it is you're looking for.
In Defense of a CGI General Leia Organa for Star Wars: Episode IX

Mostly, you just wish Carrie Fisher hadn't died. In the weeks since her passing, one thing has been made perfectly clear: Fisher had much more to give. Her unique biography, her voice, her perspective, her sense of self and her candor made Fisher an irreplaceable public champion for everything from mental health to feminism, ageism, expression and representation in Hollywood.

Last Podcast on the Left laughs into the abyss

The world is weird. People do weird things, they say weirder ones and often believe the absolute weirdest. Comedians Marcus Parks, Ben Kissel and Henry Zebrowski like weird, and on their show, Last Podcast on the Left, they explore the weirdest stories of true crime, cult history and reported conspiracy theories, daring listeners to join them in laughing at the darker side of humanity.

Call it a lifelong Roc-A-Fellaship

Rappers are, ultimately, mythmakers. Jay Z's myth started 20 years ago, when his debut album, "Reasonable Doubt," was released by Roc-A-Fella Records ­-the upstart music label he formed in partnership with Damon Dash and Kareem "Biggs" Burke.

Five artists to watch heading into the 2016 Boston Music Awards

The annual Boston Music Awards are upon us, bringing a yearly opportunity to survey the movers and shakers among the regional arts scene. With the festivities being held tonight at House of Blues Boston, we wanted to shine a spotlight on five need-to-know acts of this year's BMAs.

We took Kanye West's best advice

During last year's VMAs Kanye West begged people to "listen to the kids, bro." This summer, before he took his live show on the road, we went to the events he threw to screen his "Famous" music video and sell his "Pablo" merch pop-up, and did.

Expanding your Garden variety

After last year's ascent as an emerging Eastern Conference powerhouse, and the offseason acquisition of rookie and veteran talent, the Celtics roster holds great promise, but fans' expectations aren't the only thing on Causeway Street that have been renewed for the upcoming season.

What to expect at The Meadows, NYC's new fall music festival

Music festival season has officially been extended. The first weekend of October brings The Meadows Music & Arts Festival, a brand new event looking to keep the summer vibes going as we transition into sweater weather. On Oct.

The fall concert tours you can't miss

James Blake has made a name for himself by innovating in delicate and atmospheric sounds. The "Retrograde" vocalist isn't afraid to experiment with the mechanics of his backing sonics or his voice, and after a high-profile feature on Beyonce's "Lemonade," and the release of his ambitious "The Colour in Anything," now might be your best chance to catch the R&B Brit live.

Is Drake's Summer Sixteen tour this year's best ticket?

To see Drake on his Summer Sixteen tour is to see a performer at the height of his powers. He commands a following whose youth he largely shaped by defining the eras and coining the catch-phrases that they use to punctuate and demarcate their lives.

How Frank Ocean broke our hearts this weekend

Frank Ocean wants you to know that his art takes time. Despite rumors substantiated by no less than the Old Gray Lady of media, the R&B impresario did not release his follow up to 2012's "Channel Orange" Friday, sentencing his millions of fans to a weekend spent feverishly refreshing his website (and Twitter) in hopes of further details regarding his new album, reportedly titled, "Boys Don't Cry."

The Wave breaks down Boston's square dancing reputation

Reports of Boston's inability to "turn up" have been greatly exaggerated. Doubters should probably make a point to visit the Middlesex Lounge on Mass. Ave. in Cambridge this Sunday evening, when the sun is still out. By around 7:30-8 p.m., even the skeptics will be riding the Wave, awash by the unmistakeable sense of revelry brought on by the dance party.

Dutch ReBelle is going to school you

While Dutch ReBelle is known for her distinct ability to rhyme and sing in verse, this week she's lending her voice not to a song, but to a cause. The 2014 Boston Music Award-winner for Best Hip-Hop Artist is throwing a charity event this Saturday with the funds going to a small school in need in her native Haiti.

Boston Herald
With "Innocence + Experience" Tour, U2 unifies generations

I’ve never lived in a world where U2 was anything besides the greatest rock band on the planet. Tuesday’s “Innocence + Experience” show at the Garden, the band’s third of four appearances in their mini Boston residency, did nothing less than affirm a lifetime’s belief in the undeniable excellence of those four Dublin lads.

Comics Alliance
Hammering Away at the History of Thor

Heavy is the hand that wields the hammer. Or something. There's never been a better time for fans that pledge themselves to the Mighty Thor. He's got a top-selling book, a major motion picture active in the works, and a central role in "Siege," Marvel's next major miniseries event.

Are Kim and Kanye on the outs?

Gossip, gossip. There's just no way to stop it. Everybody knows it's an attention-grabbing monster. Rumors of discord between Kanye and Kim Kardashian West surfaced this weekend when Radar Online scored photos of the celebrity couple looking somewhat listless while walking daughter Nori to a playdate in Brentwood, California.

Performer Magazine
Boston Calling 2016 Cements Rep as City’s Signature Show

This weekend, for one last time, the Boston Calling festival descended upon City Hall Plaza, uniting dozens of acts, thousands of fans, and countless grooves in an upbeat celebration of music and community.

Comics Alliance
How Deadpool Became the Most Overexposed Character in Comics

Comic book readers are known to be fickle, and slow to warm to new costumed characters, but Deadpool's stock has risen steadily since his 1991 debut. Now the Merc with the Mouth stands on the threshold to go from cult favorite to household name.

Performer Magazine
Ellie Goulding Lights Up TD Garden

Ellie Goulding has a voice strong enough to stand entirely on its own. It's distinct and full, and with it she scales to heights even a world-class mountain climber might envy.

Boston Herald
Patriots are industry leaders in social, digital spheres

Social media has completely transformed the way modern fans consume and interact with professional sports. The shifting media landscape has forced leagues to experiment with the way their product is delivered. Put another way, the sports industry is redefining its content strategy.The most competitive organizations are working hard to remain ahead of evolving audience behavior, and once again, the Patriots are leaders of the pack.

Boston Herald
Last Best Show: Boston Hip-Hop Fest 2015 at Middle East

It's only right that last night's celebration of all things Boston hip-hop was something of a marathon. Saturday at the Middle East, a host of rhyme-spitters, record-spinners, break dancers and rap lovers descended to the basement at the Cambridge nightclub to dedicate the evening to the past, present, and future of local hip-hop.

Ultron is totally over it in new "Avengers"/ "Office" mashup video

Ultron is so tired of the Black Eyed Peas. James Spader brought memorable charisma and flair to his performance as Tony Stark’s bastard brainchild in “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” marking one of the few times a Marvel-movie villain has rivaled the magnetism of Tom Hiddleston’s Loki. But if you thought Ultron was grating and condescending before, wait til you hear how he sounds when his lines are replaced by those of another James Spader role—Dunder Mifflin CEO Robert California.

Boston Herald
Last Best Show: Bad Rabbits at the Middle East

So much music I love gets classified as "PBR&B," but man I hate that term. The invocation of the hipster class's signature cheap beer is basically shorthand for the non-traditional, progressive, millennial alternatives to conventional rhythm and blues . Boston's own Bad Rabbits might court PBR&B listeners, but their music demands more involved articulation.

Boston Herald
Last Best Show: Talib Kweli at Paradise Rock Club

Think of Talib Kweli as a rapping academic. It's a better title than “conscious rapper,” the one that hung on him for so long. But Talib Kweli is certainly a conscientious musician; an inquisitive thinker with a penchant for articulating his findings in impressive rhyme-bursts...

Boston Herald
Last Best Show: Lana Del Rey's Ultraviolence Tour at Xfinity Center

No one plays the part of the tortured femme fatale better than Lana Del Rey. Her musical career is largely an exercise in working a certain kind of American story, of bad men and ruined girls and sex and drugs and longing. Lana's telling a vintage tale, tailored for modern aesthetics.

Boston Herald
MIT's Sloan conference gets competitive

The word for Day 2 of MIT's Sloan Sports Analytics Conference was competition. For eight years, the conference has united professional sports teams, sports industry organizations and cutting-edge academics, all in the pursuit of appreciating and understanding sports and athletic performance with greater, more sophisticated clarity.
Best Shots Comic Review: BATMAN #30

People often throw the word “icon,” around, but for me, Batman is a total pop star. While an icon is revered, it can also implicate a stagnancy - its someone whose legacy is already set. To be a pop star, though, is to still be acknowledged as in your prime. Like so many pop stars, Batman can be defined through his various periods.
Best Shots Review: GOTHAM ACADEMY #5

You could read Batman comics for a long time without ever realizing that there must be teenage girls that live in Gotham City. Cowardly and superstitious criminals? Steady supply. Brooding vigilantes? More than seem statistically probable. Daring, adventurous young students with a penchant for experiencing adolescence and solving mysteries? Those, it turns out, can be found at Gotham Academy...

'Jurassic World' tops 'Inside Out' with $102M haul, on historic pace to $1B

Streaks and records are made to be broken. Nature finds a way. This summer, it's found a way even faster. Despite making nearly a hundred million dollars in its first weekend, the release of 'Inside Out' constituted the first box office loss in Pixar's history, as its $91M in sales were dwarfed by the ...

Boston Herald
Reflections on Boston Calling Spring 2015, plus soundtrack

This season's Boston Calling was the most fun I've had at City Hall Plaza since playing hooky as a high school senior to cheer the Patriots' first Super Bowl win with Ty Law, Troy Brown, Tom Brady, Bob Kraft's dance moves and about a million of our closest friends in the last non-rolling-rally championship celebration this town will ever see.

Boston Herald
Last Best Show: Sam Smith's `In The Lonely Hour' at Agganis Arena

I'm calling it now-Sam Smith is Boston's most beloved Sam since Malone. Adams is still safe, but on notice. Sam Smith had a big year. He made his major-label debut with “In The Lonely Hour,” which was pretty much universally embraced, netting the crooner six Grammy nominations, including Album of the Year...

Boston Herald
Last Best Show: Broods at The Sinclair

It's all about attachments. We make them with family, lovers, community, sport, art, music - and allow them to shape us. With attachment, though, comes loss. And as so much great art reminds us, loss has a tendency to linger.

Boston Herald
Last Best Show: Beyoncé and Jay Z's On The Run Tour at Gillette Stadium

"Power couple?" Talk about cliché, cliché, cliché. But with their thrilling, blockbuster performance to a jam-packed Gillette Stadium last night, Beyoncé and Jay Z proved themselves worthy of the billing, beyond any reasonable doubt. It was only the third stop of Mr. and Mrs. Carter's...

Boston Herald
Last Best Show: Miguel's Wildheart Tour at House of Blues Boston

Singers take off their shirts for all sorts of reasons -- the showy wardrobe change, the ritual of a crowd fighting for a thrown keepsake, to show off a toned physique. Miguel had a simpler reality to deal with during his show at House of Blues -- the R&B A-lister’s showcase of his “Wildheart” album made last night the hottest of the Boston summer.

Comics Alliance
Why Marvel Owes No Apologies for Captain America's 'Tea Party'

It was so much easier when Captain America could just punch prominent Nazis. Ed Brubaker and Marvel Comics recently came under fire by Fox News due to the characterization of a small town protest group in Captain America #602.

Boston Herald
Conference unites analytic sports lovers

Nothing unites communities quite so well as sports.The MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference at the Boston Conventention and Entertainment Center brings competitive, information-driven sports professionals, intellects and aficionados from all over to discuss their beliefs, theories and findings with people who share their love of sports.

Boston Herald
Last Best Show: Beck at Boston Calling Spring 2015 Day 1

I promised myself I wouldn't lead with a Beyoncé- Kanye-Respect-The-Artistry joke. So I won't. Stalking the stage deck in his Theophilus London-best, Beck shut down day 1 of Boston Calling 's Spring 2015 festival last night with an energetic set that highlighted the breadth and virtuosity of his Hall of Fame-catalogue.

Boston Herald
Guumon and Merk Those smash together for monsterrific art show at Kulturez

If you put equal parts graffiti and Kaiju sensibilities in a blender, turned the color all the way up and inhaled deeply and you can imagine the kind of Monster-mash display at Harvard Square streetwear destination Kulturez from now through the end of July.Kulturez hosted its Monster Hits art opening Friday, showcasing new work from local artists GUUMON and Merk Those.

Boston Herald
Last Best Shows: Azealia Banks at Paradise, Latrell James at Wonder Bar

How will you be won over by Azealia Banks?Whether by rhymes, voice, or moves, it won't take long for the Harlem rapper to get you in her corner. And that's all before she flashes a smile which radiates a charisma so powerful that you almost want to avert your eyes to avoid direct exposure.

Boston Herald
Last Best Show: Run the Jewels & more at Boston Calling Spring 2015 Day 2

They took the stage blasting Queen's "We Are the Champions," like a pair of prize fighters with designs on the title belt. They finished their set with one making boasts about the "Best rap group in the [ever-loving] world," as the other hopped into the crowd to get and give dap to fans.

Boston Herald
Last Best Show: The Pixies & more at Boston Calling Spring 2015 Day 3

Things started quiet, and ended loud.Compared to Day 2, Day 3 of Boston Calling Spring 2015 was more tailgate than turn-up. Where Saturday had been dominated by upbeat, vocally driven dance music, Sunday was more about enjoying the mellow strumming of axes.

Best Shots Comic Reviews: Bryan Lee O'Malley's Seconds

Katie Klay is not the woman she means to be. But she has a lot in common with her. An accomplished chef with some significant life-accomplishment notches under her belt, she takes pride in the one restaurant she helped build into an institution (one she still, in fact, resides above), and has another on the way that she will own and operate with confidence thanks to her considerable experience. Knocking on the door of thirty, she insists to anyone that will listen that she is in no way...

Boston Herald
Last Best Show: Wale at Paradise Rock Club

So it's a show be about nothing? How can it be about nothing? It must be about something. Just what is rapper Wale about? Last night, at a sold-out Paradise, fans got the chance to decide for themselves. Wale linked his legacy to Jerry Seinfeld long before the observational funnyman named the D.C.

Boston Herald
Last Best Show: Usher's UR Experience at TD Garden

For twenty years, Usher Raymond has made music about the tension between the body and the heart. Usher tunes are either defined by their longing and their in-the-moment urgency, or by the regret that follows that variety of impulsiveness. Last night, he brought his UR Experience tour to the TD Garden to confess, implore, seduce and reassure.

Boston Herald
Talib Kweli schools Berklee students on hip-hop and the music industry

Talib Kweli and Berklee College of Music staged a sort of Inside The Rapper's Studio for students this week, with a session that featured an enlightening conversation covering the lyricist's musical biography, career education, feelings on hip-hop as a cultural force, the evolving monetary value of intellectual property in the digital era and its effect on the music recording industry and musicians themselves.

Boston Herald
Last Best Show: Justin Timberlake's 20/20 Experience at the Garden

Maybe you missed the election, but Justin Timberlake is the President of Pop. The honorific very deliberately links the most popular song-and-dance man of the 21th century to the 20th century title-holder, Michael Jackson-- the once and forever King of Pop. JT's presidential handle is clever, cute, and just humble enough to avoid either offending or presuming.

Boston Herald
Last Best Show: Hozier at House of Blues Boston

The problem with a monster hit is that you can hear it so many times that you stop really listening. "If I'm a pagan of the good times, my lover's the sunlight."

Last Best Show: A Johnnyswim Christmas at The Sinclair

You can learn a lot about a person through their romantic choices. Seeing who someone chooses for a partner reveals insight into what makes them happy, who they see themselves to be, and what they see themselves as needing. Some people match through similarities; others fit, complimentarily.

Comics Alliance
Shattering the Ruby-Quartz Ceiling: Why Cyclops Is Finally Cool

Scott Summers has a long tradition of being the X-Men's wet blanket. He was the wedge that separated the simmering passions of Wolverine and Jean Grey. But in Matt Fraction's "Uncanny X-Men," he's finally become the bold leader of a race that he was always destined to be.

Boston Herald
Last Best Show: Ea$y Money, Termanology & Reks at the Middle East

For all the academic bona fides associated with our Commonwealth, we're equally proud of our blue collar cred. Hailing from Merrimack Valley, the hip-hop collective ST Da Squad descended upon the Middle East Friday to celebrate the recent release of " The Motive of Nearly Everybody, Yo," the debut LP from Haverhill rapper Ea$y Money, executive produced by acclaimed DJ Statik Selektah.

Best Shots Review: Sex Criminals

In pop culture, the sex comedy has a pretty hard-earned bad reputation. All too often, “sex” in these kinds of comedies is treated like an endzone...

Boston Herald
Last Best Show: Theophilus London's Vibes Tour at Brighton Music Hall

Theophilus London needs you on his frequency. Last night at Brighton Music Hall, London shared "Vibes," his sophomore release. The album, executive-produced by cultural provocateur Kanye West, hones in on the quality to London's music that's as distinctive as his name.

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