Eighth Blackbird will shortly go on tour with Dawn Upshaw and Gustavo Santaolalla to present Osvaldo Golijov's Ayre, which I got excited about a couple of weeks back. The stops are La Jolla, CA; Disney Hall in LA; Stanford and Davis, CA; Iowa City; South Bend, IN; and Severance Hall in Cleveland. I'm relatively sure this will be something worth seeing. Incidentally, I my own self will be in Iowa City on Oct. 19, as part of the New Yorker College Tour. I'll be talking about the "art" of criticism with two favorite colleagues, Nancy Franklin and Sasha Frere-Jones. The event is at noon at Iowa Memorial Union, and it's free.