Columns

Thursday, June 8 2017

Life in the Interzone in Old Shanghai

The Sing-song Girls of Shanghai and Flowers of Shanghai capture a William S. Borroughs-like Interzone in Old Shanghai.


Wednesday, June 7 2017

Jazz, Cocktails, and the Overlooked Players of Film Noir

A noir protagonist usually finds himself encountering a new danger around each corner. A jazz musician, in venturing into the throes of an intricate composition, must also anticipate the unknown.


The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire and the Continuing High Cost of Fashion

The poor workplace conditions that led to this tragedy have been outsourced to places like Bangladesh, where similar factory tragedies happened as recently as 2013.


Tuesday, June 6 2017

From the Superhero Universe of Brute Ego, Wonder Woman Arises, Unsullied

Seventy-five years ago Wonder Woman arose to show what a stagnating comic book medium could achieve; now she does it again, and in so doing, rescues the DC franchise from itself.


‘Bop Apocalypse’: What Happened When the Beats and the Boppers Set Out to Change the World

Fifites' jazz and the Beat Generation are often linked. Aside from the drug use, however, this new book on the history begs to differ.


Monday, June 5 2017

The Hollywood Star as Fetish Object: Joan Crawford in ‘Mildred Pierce’

Joan Crawford embodies the universal cipher: a flat, empty surface that reflects anything but reveals nothing. There was never a more perfect actress.


A Clean-up Worker’s View Inside Fukushima’s Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant

Ichi-F is rich in detail and strikingly perceptive in analysis, and yet it oddly supports the nuclear industry even as the radiation continues to take its toll.


Friday, June 2 2017

Tuesday, May 30 2017

Something Borowczyk, Something Blue: A Cinema of Sex and Power

Walerian Borowczyk is a filmmaker of glimpses and ellipses. Long neglected and obscure, his films are now emerging on Blu-ray.


By Wonka, for Wonka, Against Wonka: The Eugene J. Candy Co.

Fickelgrubers, Prodnoses, and Slugworths: modern candy "freak" Eugene J. reflects on the science behind the literary legend, Willy Wonka.


Friday, May 26 2017

Joe Gould, Madness, Creativity, and the World in Between

How do we treat our most disturbed fellow citizens? How far should we go to accommodate and tolerate eccentricities for the sake of a good story?


Wednesday, May 24 2017

Roots Remain: A Conversation With Bill Kelliher of Mastodon

Among other things, Mastodon rhythm guitarist Bill Kelliher delves into how loss and life shaped their sixth outing, Emperor of Sand.


Tuesday, May 23 2017

An Unmerciful Consideration of Anne Lamott’s Book on Mercy

The profession of teaching has taught me that Lamott’s view of merciful action is impractical and improper.


Monday, May 22 2017

Asta Nielsen and Fatma Girik’s Hamlets: Old Mysteries, New Problems

Wherein Hamlet is no longer a neurotic male in princely guise but a woman invested with an identity crisis.


Friday, May 19 2017

The Perfectly Suitable, Perfectly Silly Comedy of Harry Hill

Harry Hill pulls funny faces and he does stupid things. But these are things I like in a comedian (as opposed to, say, a US president).


On Norman Mailer, Jack Henry Abbott, and the Legacy of Going Too Deep Into the Belly of the Beast

How Norman Mailer, while preparing 1979's The Executioner's Song, collaborated with Jack Henry Abbott and opened doors that should have remained shut.


Thursday, May 18 2017

David Sedaris’ ‘Theft By Finding’, Truth or Elaboration, Matters Not

David Sedaris' decades-spanning collection of his diary entries reveals the growth of one of America's most beloved humorists.


Wednesday, May 17 2017

We Write Our Own Ends: Emergent Endings in Gaming

There’s no such thing as a premature ending for a video game. There’s only your ending.


Adolescent Awakening: KC and the Sunshine Band’s “Get Down Tonight”

In 1975, an aimless teenager goes to an obscure discothèque in Boston and discovers “Get Down Tonight” -- just the kind of funk he's looking for.


Tuesday, May 16 2017

Fans Killed the Magic of Mystery in Hollywood Films

The Force is no longer mysterious. We've demanded to know everything about Logan’s history at the expense of his mystery. Hollywood complies. The magic is dead.


//Mixed media
//Blogs

Authenticity Issues and the New Intimacies

// Marginal Utility

"The social-media companies have largely succeeded in persuading users of their platforms' neutrality. What we fail to see is that these new identities are no less contingent and dictated to us then the ones circumscribed by tradition; only now the constraints are imposed by for-profit companies in explicit service of gain.

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