Category Archives: All

September 11

Today, September 11, is a terrible date in New York’s collective memory, a day of mass death and destruction surpassed only by the coronavirus. But September 11 is also awful for New York in another sense: seven years back, the city’s … Continue reading

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Easy on Main

Earlier this week I was fortunate enough to participate in a Zoom book launch of Mindy Thompson Fullilove’s latest creative endeavor, Main Street. I plead guilty to a certain partisan partiality here, because I wrote its foreword. A hundred-plus kindred … Continue reading

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ANDRÉ GREGORY — Living With His Art

Review Essay of André Gregory, This Is Not My Memoir (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, November, 2020) “Ah yes. My impulsiveness had its consequences, my dear Mr. Brack” —Ibsen, Hedda Gabler Theater director André Gregory has had an eye gouged out in … Continue reading

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Surrealist Encounters—When We Could Still Have Them

In June 1933, launching the first issue of the Surrealist magazine, Minotaure, [1] poets André Breton and Paul Éluard conducted a survey that posed two questions to its readers: “What do you consider the most important encounter of your life? … Continue reading

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Over the Rainbow — Pynchon and the Pandemic

“Toto, I have the feeling we’re not in Kansas any more…” — Dorothy, arriving in Oz Maybe it was all those rainbows in lockdown that got me thinking about Gravity’s Rainbow, Thomas Pynchon’s masterpiece from 1973. His rainbow had been there … Continue reading

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Remembering Spalding Gray

Spalding Gray, who died in 2004, would have been 79 on June 5, 2020. Here is my personal remembrance of a sadly missed storyteller and artist. I was so excited waiting in line to enter. I was there early, eager … Continue reading

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BEAT CITY 4 — Emancipation of the Shufflers Passing By

“If you ride around on the subway with Jack,” Kerouac’s friend “Davey” Amram remembered, “or just go out on the street, he would talk to everybody, be natural and real with anybody.” “We used to walk around New York’s streets … Continue reading

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BEAT CITY 3 — Goofing at the Table

My favourite Beat diner image is an inspiring black & white shot, taken in a long lost Lower East Side diner. In the photo, we can see Kerouac (left, front on) sat at a booth with poet friends Allen Ginsberg … Continue reading

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BEAT CITY 2 — On the Road and On the Sidewalk

THAT ARTISTIC ROMANTICISM I spoke about last time evoked the thrill and possibility of urban life. Inscribed in the art, in the activity of that age, in its human poetry, was something about the city itself; how the creative energies … Continue reading

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BEAT CITY 1 — Burning Like Roman Candles

One of the many amazing things about the Beat generation is just how photogenic its protagonists were. They liked taking pictures of themselves, and celebrated photographers of their age, such as Robert Frank, did too. Magnum photographer Burt Glinn also … Continue reading

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