Call for Essays About Any Aspect of Popular Culture, Present or Past

 
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Friday, Apr 24, 2015
I can only agree with the title. I am astonished.

In 1977, director Hebert Ross captivated American moviegoers with The Turning Point. An inside look into the world of professional ballet, the film starred Anne Bancroft, Shirley Maclaine, Tom Skerritt, and a gorgeous young Russian named Mikhail Baryshnikov.


Based on Ross’s wife, ballerina Nora Kaye, and her friend and fellow dancer Isabel Mirrow Brown, The Turning Point incited a brief bout of American balletomania. Actresses Anne Bancroft and Shirley Maclaine were already superstars; Baryshnikov soon joined them. Co-stars Leslie and Ethan Brown, Mirrow’s children, enjoyed long dance careers.


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Thursday, Apr 23, 2015
Kelly Link's imaginative, sometimes challenging, stories follow their own rules but they never take the easy way out.

You might get to the end of “Summer People”, the first story in Get in Trouble, and wonder how you got there. Without giving too much away, it’s probably not an ending you’d expect and it kind of comes out of nowhere. 


But then later, while you’re doing the dishes or folding the laundry, it hits you like a smack of lightning: Link set that ending up perfectly, and by the rules laid out in the story, it makes total sense—even if it still might not fit your expectations.


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Thursday, Jan 8, 2015
James offers you an opportunity to get to know each of the suspects in full before the murderer's identity is revealed. And so you feel a kind of intense shock at the climax of a novel.

One victim has his throat slit in a church. Another is immolated. Still another undergoes a medical procedure, imagining that the stuff in the syringe is going to be helpful, when in fact the stuff is poison. A hated barrister is sliced open with a letter opener. An old cranky wheelchair-bound man is sent sailing off a cliff. A writer of murder mysteries is found in a boat with both hands chopped off at the wrist.


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Tuesday, Jul 29, 2014
by Leo Warner
Lobel could have done his little gay readers an immeasurable and un-parallelled service. Instead, he set us up for perpetual disappointment.

Everyone applauds Arnold Lobel’s Frog and Toad books for covertly introducing children to the idea of long-term gay love. (Well, almost everyone.) And yes, on one level, the bond between Frog and Toad is touching and inspiring.


These creatures cook for each other, make special gifts, tell each other stories, act as bedside nurses, write kind letters to each other, and do a million other small, nice, thoughtful things. Just like we’re taught to do. And then we grow up.


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Monday, Jul 21, 2014
A splendid collection of tales of Southerners traveling abroad and children of immigrants living in the South and reflecting on their heritage.

When I was a senior at Purdue, I took a class on “American Regionalism” with Sean “Kip” Robisch, and it completely changed how I looked at literature. From delving into Ken Kesey’s underrated classic, Sometimes a Great Notion to discovering Willa Cather for the first time, Robisch opened a door for me into a world where the physical setting of a novel or poem mattered just as much as its contents and that writing about a place was the highest form of realism.


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