Recent Features
Austerity and the Arts—and George W. Bush

I never would have thought it possible, but George W. Bush’s recently revealed attempts at creating art have had the incredible effect of forcing me to see him as a human being.

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River of Dark Dreams: Slavery and Empire in the Cotton Kingdom

This bold reaccounting dramatically alters our understanding of American slavery and its role in U.S. expansionism, global capitalism, and the upcoming Civil War.

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What Happens When ‘Downton’s Head Valet, John Bates, Loosens His Vest?

Forget Bates the valet and his perfect Windsor knots. Agent Gates wields a gun, kicks ass, and otherwise protects Devonton Abbey from unsavory spies.

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3 Mar 2013 // 11:30 PM

I Write, Therefore I Am

Black people had plenty to say about slavery -- especially slaves themselves -- and as soon as they learned to write, they did.

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A Great and Monstrous Thing: London in the Eighteenth Century

White introduces us to shopkeepers and prostitutes, men and women of fashion and genius, street-robbers and thief-takers, as they play out the astonishing drama of life in 18th century London.

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The Pop Culture Death Trap Part 2: The Death of Beauty

Despite having seen it all before – the rock star and the blonde actress – we look on each such instance of celebrity death with the same mixture of surprise, curiosity, horror, and glee. Pop culture reflects our capacity to simultaneously ignore death and make of it an obsession.

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Abandoned ‘Star Wars’ Plot Points Episode II: The Force Behind the Scenes

With Disney's purchase of Lucasfilm already changing Star Wars, let's look at the prior behind the scene changes in the saga.

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‘Why Jazz Happened’ Makes Its Points Like a Snazzy Lawyer in the Courtroom: Zip, Zam, Zot

New Orleans to swing, swing to bop, bop to cool, cool to hard bop, hard bop to free jazz—"jazz style periods" are so often presented like this. But jazz's transformation often shifted independently of cultural happenings, and those shifts were far from linear.

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‘Going Clear’: Lawyers, Guns, Money & Scientology

Lawrence Wright’s devastating, impeccably researched history of Scientology’s “Prison of Belief” vividly illustrates the ability of this “Church” to successfully prey upon nearly every dark strain in the modern American psyche, from celebrity-worship to ego-mania and the lust for power and money.

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Jelly Roll, Bix, and Hoagy: Gennett Records and the Rise of America’s Musical Grassroots

Gennett Records produced thousands of records and debuted such stars as Louis Armstrong, King Oliver, Bix Biederbecke, Jelly Roll Morton, Hoagy Carmichael, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Charley Patton, and Gene Autry.

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‘Pray the Gay Away’: On Being Beaten with the Bible Belt

A mother attempting to stab her own daughter, an exorcism, a school suspending a student -- author Bernadette Barton describes growing up in the religious South.

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The Beatification of Philip K. Dick

Fueled by his science fiction work, by his mystical aura and his growing legend, the cult of Philip K. Dick continues to expand.

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The Best Non-Fiction of 2012

Memoirs in graphic novel form blur the line that snakes between non-fiction and fiction; humorists and pulitzer prize winners delight, inform and terrify us; the real world, artfully penned, opens itself into a book, vulnerable, yet daring us to look. Here is the best of what we saw.

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Chicago—The Other Black Renaissance

The biggest difference between the Black Chicago Renaissance and the Harlem Renaissance is brand awareness. The fact is, from roughly the early ‘30s to the ‘50s, Chicago was black America’s most fruitful cultural capitol.

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17 Jan 2013 // 11:15 PM

The Best Fiction of 2012

Historical fiction, science fiction, graphic novels, anthologies, mysteries, satire, young adult, even poetry(!) -- on subjects from the lighthearted to the apocalypse -- our favorites from 2012 are as wide-ranging and diverse as our writers and our readers. Dive in and revel in the pleasure of getting lost in a good book.

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Anonymous and the New Religion: Data

As the world is increasingly filtered through computers there is emerging a reliance on data as a belief system. Groups like Anonymous are pushing us further towards data, as they highlight the divide they see between belief and information.

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In America, Imagination is a Third Party: The Presidency in Fiction

Fiction lets us to explore our weirdest speculations and darkest fears about the person who sits in the White House. Is reality, under America's current president, worse than fiction?

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After Mary Wells Dared to Leave Motown, Did She Fall Off the Face of the Earth?

Back when Martha (Reeves) and the Vandellas and the Marvelettes would have one big hit and then nothing much for months, and the Supremes didn’t have a hit among their first nine releases, Mary Wells was Motown’s reigning pop star, queen and cash cow.

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The Best Music Books of 2012

This year's best books about music include thought-provoking reads on how music works, in-depth histories of the underground, and soul-searching autobiographies from legendary (and not-so-legendary) performers.

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13 Dec 2012 // 11:15 PM

The Biographical Dictionary of Popular Music

An incredible and opinionated collection of celebrated cultural critic Dylan Jones’s thoughts on more than 350 of the most important artists around the world—alive and dead, big and small, at length and in brief.

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More Recent Features
//Mixed media
//Blogs

NYFF 2017: 'Mudbound'

// Notes from the Road

"Dee Rees’ churning and melodramatic epic follows two families in 1940s Mississippi, one black and one white, and the wars they fight abroad and at home.

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