Adam Baer is a New York-bred, Los Angeles-based writer of essays, opinion, humor, scripts, music/arts criticism, and magazine journalism. He also works as an editor and editorial-content strategy consultant for print and digital media. Originally a professional, conservatory trained musician, Adam began his writing and media career as a critic and an NPR cultural/music content and digital producer who quickly began simultaneously writing for the New York Times, New Republic, Slate, and Washington Post. Over the years, Adam has also written for Harper's, Rolling Stone, The New Yorker, Los Angeles Times, Atlantic, Virginia Quarterly Review, Popular Science, Playboy, Inc., Salon, Village Voice, The Believer, GQ, Wired, Travel + Leisure, Town & Country, The Financial Times Magazine, Men's Health, Men's Journal, and other publications. Adam's essays have been anthologized in popular books, including Before and After; Lost and Found: Stories from New York; and A Leaky Tent is a Piece of Paradise. He's also currently writing a "vexing medical questions" advice column for The Awl as "Somehow Still-Alive Guy" (ask him questions confidentially by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org).
Born in New York City and raised mostly in Queens and on Long Island, Adam currently lives in Los Angeles. A former concert violinist and current amateur guitarist/keyboardist, he comes from a family of Juilliard-trained concert pianists, the odd sculptor, and one sturdy bassoonist. Outside of performance, Adam has worked in music as a creative producer and editor for NPR on cultural programming; in that capacity he created, launched, edited, and wrote various new NPR digital media sites and projects after the dot-com boom, including subjects for "Performance Today," spoken-word, popular, and jazz projects. (In a bizarre, Forest Gump-like turn of events, Adam's NPR time had him interview great musicians, perform an on-air personal essay, create special projects on Aaron Copland's centennial and Martin Luther King, Jr., serve as an expert interview subject on music and the Internet, and shoot all of NPR.org's photos of the U.S. Supreme Court protest scene on 2000's Gore vs. Bush Decision Day.)
As a writer, Adam has looked into a wide variety of subjects including the history of music, especially heinous violins, apps, Bob Dylan, books, film, protons, 80's rock stars, Bach, slime mold, Hollywood, hip-hop, sous-vide cooking, Mel Brooks, Jascha Heifetz students, Sardinian food, performance artists, Big Sur yurts, rappers, headphone technology, surfing, Radiohead, sauceless pizza, Lebowski fans, film composers, i-things, postmodernism, contemporary list-making, string quartets, bluefish, Robin Williams, oncology, modern architecture, Louis C.K., profanity, anxiety, and leasing apartments in Los Angeles (unrelated).
Adam has written opinion columns for Slate (on music and pop-cultural film subjects) and The New Republic (on Internet music). Other journalism gigs include working as a regular music and culture critic for the New York Sun and Los Angeles Times while writing regularly for the weekly New York Times technology section for over five years, along with Sunday T Magazine contributions. Other past contributions include reviewing long-running productions, like the opening night performance of the Met Opera, for The New Yorker's Goings On About Town section; writing and consulting on editorial at Conde Nast's website for GQ and Details; covering travel and food for Men's Journal and Town & Country; and reviewing books for the New York Times Book Review, GQ, and the San Francisco Chronicle Book Review, among others. Adam is deeply passionate about humor and has written about and interviewed comics and directors for Rolling Stone, the NY Sun, Radar, and GQ. Because of an unusual medical history, Adam has written on health subjects like policy, science, doctors, and nutrition subjects for publications like Men's Health, Popular Science, the Awl, Proto, and the Los Angeles Times, among others.
In magazines Adam has additionally served as a staff correspondent and editorial consultant for Travel + Leisure as well as an editorial consultant for Conde Nast Digital. He currently writes for many publications and works as a contributing editor at Inc., where he covers entrepeneurs, apps, startups, technology, design, and digital entertainment.
Adam's humor writing has appeared, among other places, in/on McSweeney's, Whim Quarterly, and the Nook/Barnes and Noble Review's "Grin & Tonic." A trained screenwriter, Adam is currently writing comedic and dramatic scripts for various projects.
Adam does not consider himself a Jack of all Trades. He cannot roll his Rs.
Adam is also an editorial site creator and creative content and storytelling consultant who was a co-founder of The Faster Times (1.0), currently a humor-only news site, which was originally a new breed of multi-section Internet newspaper/journalist collective, created in 2009 due to the Great Recession and quickly profiled in the New York Observer and New York Times Magazine for its large collection of respected writers and editors. For the first incarnation of that project Adam worked as editor-at-large and travel editor, contributing revenue-generating content strategy and acquiring as well as editing columns, longform essays, and book excerpts from authors published by highly regarded journalistic and literary outlets -- as well as publishers like Random House, FSG, and HarperCollins. With the first version of The Faster Times, Adam originated, curated, and edited essays published in the acclaimed "Slow Travel" section, the first of its kind to explicitly acknowledge, name, and chronicle the economical, two-pronged trend of traveling locally (even within one's city) and staying somewhere far away for a lengthy amount of time without becoming a lifelong expat. The section also asked readers to spend more time reading (slowly) and attempted to reinvigorate the life of the literary travel-and-culture essay online before the arrival of today's great longform apps and websites.
As a musician, Adam studied with members of the original Juilliard and American String Quartets as well as direct musical descendants of Jascha Heifetz, Ivan Galamian, and David Oistrakh at the Manhattan School of Music, Peabody Conservatory, Aspen Music Festival and School, and Tanglewood. Adam attended the double-degree bachleor's program at the Johns Hopkins University (Arts & Sciences) and Peabody Conservatory of Music, where he combined studies in performance, the humanities, history of music, and The Writing Seminars department, and even an impractical course called "Internet." For grad school Adam attended the MFA program in creative writing at Sarah Lawrence College, where he worked with New Yorker magazine veterans and a National Book Award winner.