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Vying for the mouse clicks of geeks everywhere, Comic Book Resources and Newsarama are the Web's two titans of comic-book chatter. The former gets the edge for user-friendliness. You'll find daily news items on comics and comic-book movies, exclusive interviews and an array of staff-written reviews. Most attention is paid to superheroes, but its writers also keep up on the large number of indie comics by the likes of Adrian Tomine and Chris Ware.
This pretty little site gives you a peek into all things cool in the young Minneapolis art scene. Most useful is the colorful calendar, which lists events and openings at such hip galleries as SooVac and the Soap Factory. No snobbery here. The site was started in 2005 by Emma Berg, a Target employee by day and self- described "art pusher" by night. She relaunched a better version a year later with Robot Love owner Kristoffer Knutson. The two now update a blog that offers musings on coolness happening here and elsewhere. There are reviews, photo galleries from opening nights and parties and even a "street art" section with photos of local graffiti and stencils. At: www.mplsart.com.
Fans of classical music, including disconsolate devotees of the late andante.com, should get acquainted with La Scena Musicale, a free Canadian site that, Italian moniker notwithstanding, offers content in English and French. Active for a decade, LSM distributes a monthly magazine in pdf format, provides links to news stories and reviews from around the world, and features a weekly CD review and a column by the gossipy, razor-tongued London critic Norman Lebrecht. Don't be deterred by the cluttered design. At: www.scena.org.
YouTube is terra incognita for many classical types, but shouldn't be. On a recent visit, I watched Stravinsky conduct "Firebird" and Elgar lead his "Pomp and Circumstance." ("Please play this tune as if you've never heard it before," he says to the orchestra.) The copyright status of such gems is often murky: see them while you can. At: www.youtube.com.
Book bloggers blog not just because they love to read, but also because they love to write. The problem is that envy, jealousy and other (unedited) venal sins can creep in and taint the medium, resulting in personality-driven diatribes. But some sites offer substantive content for a wide range of readers. The National Book Critics Circle and its venerable president, John Freeman, observe the highest possible standards. Go to the site now, and you can read an interview with James Lee Burke on Katrina's impact on writers or easily click your way around the global book world from well-selected links. Others to check out are www.thebookbabes.com (consumer-friendly, pithy and timely reviews), www.bookslut.com (great variety of reviews, columns and interviews) and www.complete-review.com (amazingly comprehensive). At: www.bookcriticscircle.blogspot.com.
Sarah T. Williams
Sure, musical-theater fanatics can get their daily doses of Broadway legend on YouTube (my favorites include a grainy but thrilling Donna McKechnie from "A Chorus Line" and Jennifer Holliday having a 'Screamgirls' meltdown in "Dreamgirls"). But searching YouTube can be a drag, which is why I also bookmark Blue Gobo. Webmaster Jeremy Aufderheide keeps the focus strictly on the pros -- in other words, no high school sophomores belting "I'm Still Here" -- all neatly organized. With snippets from nearly 200 shows, the site's range is impressive, from the ubiquitous ("Cats") to the arcane ("Let it Ride!"). Don't miss watching Savion Glover grow up on the Great White Way in a dazzling triple-play (1984's "The Tap Dance Kid," 1989's "Black and Blue" and 1996's "Bring in 'da Noise, Bring in 'da Funk"), ballerina Natalia Makarova putting a vampy spin on "On Your Toes" and the hilarious Marilyn Cooper doing the impossible -- upstaging Raquel Welch -- in "Woman of the Year." At: www.bluegobo.com.
Poll: Which most deserves a Grammy nomination for album of the year?