Recent Features
A Third Spain, Neither Left Nor Right, United by Sex?

"Spanish majas wearing traditional peinetas made-in-Spain enhance their legs with imported French stockings; dark Spanish beauties leave Andalusia to sit in front of American typewriters in an office in Barcelona or Madrid; sexy middle-class señoritas speed away on German bicycles."

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Grunge: Straining to Challenge the Status Quo

Grunge: Music and Memory casts grunge as the unsure middle weight stepping into the ring against one pop music brawler after another. Down goes Michael Jackson, down goes Guns 'n' Roses, and while Springsteen is putting the finishing touches onHuman Touch/Lucky Town, Nirvana and Pearl Jam release the most influential albums of the decade.

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Not Gonna Lie: ‘The Hunger Games’, Twitter, and Reverse Victimization

Would it matter at all if Katniss Everdeen, a white teenager in the book The Hunger Games, had been portrayed in the film by a suitably teenage and female, black actor? For the young racists who have gone berserk on Twitter about the supporting character Rue being portrayed by an African-American actor, apparently the answer is yes.

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A Dot, A Messenger, An Icon: An “A to Z” Conversation with Paul Kelly

If Paul Kelly were an American, he'd be regarded as the States' premiere Americana songwriter. He'd be the king of Austin, or Nashville's ruling prince. But Kelly was born in Adelaide, and often places the aforementioned universal themes amidst Australian locales and history.

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5 Apr 2012 // 3:30 AM

The Story of English in 100 Words

English language expert David Crystal takes readers on a tour of the winding byways of our language via the rude, the obscure and the downright surprising.

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We Need This Map: Tony Judt and Timothy Snyder’s ‘Thinking the Twentieth Century’

This is a three-dimensional map of intellectual terrain, marked hastily but with enormous detail and vividness in the course of a conversation between two well-regarded historians. They have spread the map out on the hood of your car—or perhaps, in honor of Tony Judt, the map has been handed to you in a train station.

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29 Mar 2012 // 11:00 PM

Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power

Written with bracing wit and intelligence, Rachel Maddow's Drift argues that we've drifted away from America's original ideals and become a nation weirdly at peace with perpetual war, with all the financial and human costs that entails.

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In Defense of Adapting Books, Such as ‘The Hunger Games’, to Film

As The Hunger Games phenomenon fills movie theaters, we are reminded of the age-old idea that the book will forever be better than the movie. Or will it?

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22 Mar 2012 // 11:00 PM

Henry Mancini: Reinventing Film Music

Henry Mancini has sold 30 million albums and won four Oscars and 20 Grammy awards. Through Mancini, mere background music in movies became part of pop culture -- an expression of sophistication and wit with a modern sense of cool and a lasting lyricism that has not dated.

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Textbook Oppositions and Alternatives: Re-Thinking the Role of Race in ‘60s Rock and Soul Music

Black rock musicians like Jimi Hendrix, Sly Stone, and Arthur Lee (Love), as well as white soul musicians in the racially integrated bands playing on recordings of singers like Aretha Franklin and Wilson Pickett, existed during the '60s. So why is rock and soul so black and white?

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Close to the Machine: Technophilia and Its Discontents

This reprint of the cult classic memoir, based on Ellen Ullman’s early years as a computer programmer, reaffirms the reach and relevance of her thoughts on technology and creativity. Her insight is also foresight, and her story remains immediate, critical – and very entertaining.

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Talk About Getting Lost In a Book: Our Favorite Fiction of 2011

Read this book, pass it on to those who deserve it, and be thankful that the world contains artists like...

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Africa Speaks, America Answers: Modern Jazz in Revolutionary Times

Four jazz musicians from Brooklyn, Ghana, and South Africa demonstrate how modern Africa reshaped jazz, how modern jazz helped form a new African identity, and how such musical crossings altered the politics and culture of both continents.

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20 Questions: Ellen Ullman

Technophile, humanist and storyteller Ellen Ullman is touring for her latest, By Blood. The cult classic Close to the Machine and runner-up for the PEN/Hemingway Award, The Bug, are enjoying a resurgence, as well. From the sterile environs of an airport terminal, Ullman recalls a glorious range of artists and intellectuals (and the work they have produced) that have shaped her.

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Exceptional Claims: Principle, Personality and Christopher Hitchens

The late Christopher Hitchens helped define the character and popular perception of Atheism for this generation. But for the self-styled contrarian, where did principle end and personality begin?

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1 Mar 2012 // 10:00 PM

The Grey Album: On the Blackness of Blackness

From gospel to soul, funk to freestyle, Kevin Young sifts through the shadows, the bootleg, the remix, the grey areas of our history, literature, and music.

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Dead Stars Tell No Tales: Whitney Houston’s Death Casts New Light Onto Memoirs by Two ‘70s Pop Stars

Just as the winners of the war tend to write the history books, only survivors write memoirs. Nile Rodgers' Le Freak and Gil Scott-Heron's The Last Holiday.

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‘A Moveable Feast’ in ‘Midnight in Paris’

Ernest Hemingway compared Paris to a moveable feast because no matter what time it is, Paris is always the magnificent city of lights. Woody Allen expands upon Hemingway's testimony in the magical Midnight in Paris.

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26 Feb 2012 // 10:00 PM

Learning From Vampires: High Stakes Vampire Literature

What does society's fascination with vampire tales tell us about men, women and relationships? It's time to take one more look.

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The Best Non-Fiction of 2011

Books have a long shelf-life. A loved book may outlast its original owner by a generation – or more -- if well cared for. With that in mind, we recall our best loved books of 2011 here, well into 2012. Better late than never...

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More Recent Features
//Mixed media

The Anti-Zen of 'Thumper'

// Moving Pixels

"There is no tranquility in the music, only menace.

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