Posts by: Kevin Nolan

City of Angels

“City of Angels,” by Christa Wolf

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City of Angels or, The Overcoat of Dr. Freud—the patently autobiographical final novel by Christa Wolf—begins in 1992 with a passport to a country that no longer exists, East Germany. After arriving at Los Angeles International Airport, the narrator Christa Wolf’s documents are scrutinized by an immigration official.

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DAVID WOJNAROWICZ: The Man and The Mythology

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Artist David Wojnarowicz died twenty years ago this past Sunday, on July 22, 1992, from complications caused by AIDS. Cynthia Carr has written a new biography of Wojnarowicz called Fire in the Belly. Dwight Garner reviewed that book last week at The New York Times. “Wojnarowicz…was a painter, a photographer, a writer, a performance artist, a […]

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The Summer (and Autumn) of Dark Money

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Foul-mouthed adman and blogger George Parker talked recently with fellow Brit Nicole Powers, in a conversation published on the Suicide Girls website, about the American Dream, the ad business, Super PACs, and what Parker calls the coming “shitstorm” of Citizen United-enabled political advertisements. It is expected that during the current US presidential election cycle spending […]

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On Not Playing It Safe

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“P.S. Reading is a commitment. You’ve got to disengage and pay attention. But when done right, you enter a whole ’nother world. Kind of like a great record, at least those of yore which were not background but doors to an alternative universe. You can bat people over the head or you can entice them […]

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Tonino Guerra

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“My poems were an essence of images. They had the cinema inside them before I started working for it.” A quote from Tonino Guerra, in a New York Times obituary about an extraordinary life. Guerra, the prolific screenwriter, poet, novelist and artist, died on Wednesday in northern Italy, at age 92. Among others, he collaborated […]

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E.L. Doctorow on John Leonard

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“There was something of a religious about John Leonard, however much of a principled skeptic he may have been. With his pale complexion, his round eyeglasses, there was a translucence to him such as is given to the spiritually employed. It was as if he had been assigned, somewhere off the earth, to take note […]

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Sam’s Casual Reading

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The Letters of Samuel Beckett: Volume 2, 1941–1956 was published recently by Cambridge University Press, and on its blog the publisher has compiled a list of books Beckett read during those years, culled from his letters, with commentary from the Irishman. Here are a few of his judgments:

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Memory Art in Sheboygan, Wisconsin

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Memory is a protean thing. There is an eerie room of memories at the current exhibit at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. Walk into it and all the signposts of a collective nostalgia are there but the room is more than the recognizable objects therein. And this might be what memory […]

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Bill Cunningham

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Bill Cunningham, longtime fashion photographer at The New York Times, is the subject of a new documentary, Bill Cunningham New York, and what an enchanting film it is.

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On Reading Civil Complaint No. 11-2472, Tasini v. AOL Inc. et al.

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A week ago the labor writer and activist Jonathan Tasini filed a $105-million lawsuit in United States District Court, in New York’s Southern District, against HuffPost’s new owner AOL Inc., and HuffPost co-founders Arianna Huffington and Kenneth Lerer, seeking to “vindicate the fundamental principle that creators of value deserve to be compensated.”

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Literary Knuckleballer

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Baseball’s spring training—really winter training—seems pretty superfluous these days. Most players employ personal training staffs, stay in top shape year-round, and hone their skills relentlessly with the aid of the most advanced technologies available. Yet still they arrive at camp for a month and a half of training and exhibition games each February, all of […]

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Walker Percy: A Documentary Film

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In Win Riley’s fine Walker Percy: A Documentary Film, Walker Percy’s friends, family, and biographers discuss the life, work, and philosophy of the author of The Moviegoer, Love in the Ruins, and The Thanatos Syndrome. Most notable in the film is the trenchant commentary and criticism of Jay Tolson and Paul Elie. Narrated in part […]

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Adam Purple’s Garden of Eden

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“I first met Adam Purple in 1978, when journalist Norman Green and I did a story about him for New York Magazine,” says photographer Harvey Wang, in an interview with Vanishing New York. “I found [Adam] to be one of the most intelligent and interesting people I had ever met, and though I didn’t understand […]

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The Windmills of Old New Amsterdam

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Fourth Avenue in Manhattan deserves an epitaph, bookseller Walter Goldwater told The New York Times in 1981, for a story about the neighborhood that was then still known as Book Row. “As a book center, the street is gone,” he was quoted as saying. “Somebody dies, somebody becomes moribund, somebody moves to Florida. Most of […]

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Washington D.C. Real Estate Advice

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At the end of a CNBC post about how U.S. home values have fallen 26% since the 2006 peak, surpassing the drop experienced from 1928 through 1933, there is a link to the Zillow page for 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, in Washington D.C. The White House is not for sale (not literally, anyway), but here are […]

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Fran Recommends (From 1997)

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Martin Scorcese’s HBO documentary Public Speaking is about the writer Fran Lebowitz and, judging by the trailer and reviews, it consists mostly of Scorcese filming Lebowitz while she talks, which might be her true métier. If you’ve seen Lebowitz interviewed, it’s no wonder Scorcese chose to make his movie this way. For those who don’t […]

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George Orwell’s 1940

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For more than two years now the Orwell Prize has been blogging George Orwell’s diaries, in real time, seventy years to the day that each entry was originally penned. They are now halfway through their project. The posts begin in 1938, when Orwell traveled to Morocco in order to recuperate from illness, and the online […]

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Latest on the Digital Public Library of America

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“There is great promise in the digital future for libraries,” says John Palfrey, Henry N. Ess III Professor of Law and Vice Dean of Library and Information Resources at Harvard Law School, “but we need to work in coordinated fashion across many institutions to shape it in a way that is in the public interest. […]

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Steal This Blog Post

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“In a recent New York Magazine article about Frey’s new fiction factory, Frey is quoted saying that documentary is ‘a thesis on truth that hasn’t been proven yet’ and that he ‘should have never fucking apologized’ to Oprah. Many would agree with him. What’s to apologize for? In the age of Google, YouTube, BitTorrent, etc., […]

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Strange Powers

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It has been eleven years since The Magnetic Fields released the three-album set 69 Love Songs—with its funny-sad, sarcastic, satirical songs about, well, love songs.

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