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  • ‘Out Stealing Horses’ Tops Norway’s 2019 Amanda Awards August 17, 2019
    HAUGESUND, Norway —  Hans Petter Moland’s sweeping literary adaptation “Out Stealing Horses” put in a dominant showing at Norway’s Amanda Awards on Saturday night, placing first with a collected five awards, including best Norwegian film. Celebrating its 35th edition this year, the Norwegian industry’s top film prize helped kick off the Haugesund Film Festiv […]
    John Hopewell
  • George R.R. Martin Says HBO’s ‘Game of Thrones’ Ending Won’t Influence Future Novels August 17, 2019
    Geroge R.R. Martin is sticking to his original plan when it comes to the future of “Game of Thrones.” In an interview with The Observer, Martin claimed that HBO’s controversial ending for the series would have no affect on the endings of the last two novels. “No, it doesn’t. It doesn’t change anything at all,” […]
    Nate Nickolai
  • Listen: ‘Pennyworth’ Executive Producer Talks Delving into Alfred’s Backstory August 17, 2019
    Bruno Heller may have served as an executive producer on the Batman-inspired series “Gotham” for the past five years, but it’s actually real-life people (not superheroes) that intrigue the producer the most. It’s for that exact reason that Heller’s newest series finds him exploring the origin stories of Batman’s butler Alfred in the Epix drama […] […]
  • ‘Instinct’ Canceled After Two Seasons August 17, 2019
    CBS has canceled “Instinct” after two seasons. Series creator Michael Rauch announced the cancellation Friday on Twitter, writing, “I’m very sad to relay the news that @instinctcbs won’t be renewed for a 3rd season. We will double up this Sunday and our season/series finale will be Aug 25.” Rauch also thanked series stars Alan Cumming […]
    Nate Nickolai
  • Richard Williams, ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit’ Animator, Dies at 86 August 17, 2019
    Renowned animator Richard Williams, best known for his work on “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” died Friday at his home in Bristol, England, Variety has confirmed. He was 86. Williams was a distinguished animator, director, producer, author and teacher whose work has garnered three Oscars and three BAFTA Awards. In addition to his groundbreaking work as […] […]
    Nate Nickolai
  • Locarno Film Review: ‘Instinct’ August 17, 2019
    Now that “Game of Thrones” has finally reached its conclusion, releasing its gifted international ensemble into the casting wilds, will Hollywood remember just what it has in Carice van Houten? It’s not that the statuesque Dutch thesp hasn’t been consistently employed since her startling 2006 breakout in Paul Verhoeven’s “Black Book,” or even that she’s […] […]
  • Box Office: ‘Good Boys’ Eyes Best Original Comedy Opening of 2019 August 17, 2019
    Universal’s “Good Boys” is surpassing expectations as it heads toward an estimated $20.8 million opening weekend at the domestic box office following $8.3 million in Friday ticket sales. That’s well above earlier estimates which placed the film in the $12 million to $15 million range, marking the first R-rated comedy to open at No. 1 […]
    Nate Nickolai
  • As Woodstock Turns 50, the Fest’s 10 Most Sacred Music Moments (Watch) August 17, 2019
    Cars were left abandoned along the New York Interstate. Electrical and speaker systems fuzzed and popped. Amps blew then went silent. The rain was endless as the mud sank deep and rank. Young children ran naked and dazed through crowds of strangers. Food was scarce. Water, unclean. Looking back, Woodstock seems a more apocalyptic, than […]
    Shirley Halperin
  • My Mostly OK Maisel Day (Column) August 17, 2019
    When Amazon announced its first-ever Maisel Day, I was intrigued. For one day, Aug. 15, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” fans and Angelenos (fangelenos?) could hit up various restaurants, theaters and retailers throughout Los Angeles for special deals, all at 1959 prices. Among the gems: $2.50 makeovers, $0.99 pastrami sandwiches and $0.30 for a gallon of […] […]
  • Pedro Costa’s ‘Vitalina Varela’ Triumphs at Locarno Film Festival August 17, 2019
    The 72nd Locarno Film Festival drew to a close Saturday with Portuguese auteur Pedro Costa’s dark and detached film “Vitalina Varela” coming away with several awards together with superlatives from segments of the hardcore cinephile crowd, including jury president Catherine Breillat. In announcing the Golden Leopard prize for the film, as well as best actres […]
    Leo Barraclough

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  • Delighting in Ross Gay, One Essay at a Time
    I put off beginning the poet Ross Gay’s The Book of Delights, which was published earlier this year, because I was afraid it would end too quickly. I felt sure that the book’s 102 essays, most between one paragraph and three pages in length, would be kin to his poems, which are tender, tactile, and human, whether he's celebrating the spastic joy of listening to a good song or articulating a swelling fury. Gay wrote the book's essays over the period of a year, one each day, for the simple reason that he thought it would be nice to write about delight every day. The handful of rules he set out for himself included composing the essays quickly and writing them by hand. I decided to read one entry from the book each day, to follow the model of how he’d written them and to give each entry its own space to unfold in my mind—to let it warm me, I’d come to realize, like sunshine.
  • Data Leviathan: China’s Burgeoning Surveillance State
    Today, in Xinjiang, a region in China’s northwest, a new totalitarianism is emerging—one built not on state ownership of enterprises or property but on the state’s intrusive collection and analysis of information about the people there. Xinjiang shows us what a surveillance state looks like under a government that brooks no dissent and seeks to preclude the ability to fight back. And it demonstrates the power of personal information as a tool of social control that is both all-encompassing and highly individualized, using a mix of mechanisms to impose varying levels of supervision and constraint on people depending on their perceived threat to the state.
  • El Lago
    We called it El Lago. The Lake. As kids, growing up in the Guatemala of the 1970s, we spent most weekends and holidays of my childhood there, jumping off the wooden dock, learning to swim in the icy blue water. One early morning, we all woke up to find two indigenous men floating face down by the wooden dock. They were naked and bloated. Guerrilleros, my father said, his tone far from compassionate or even sympathetic. Guerrilla fighters, probably from one of the surrounding villages. I was still too young to understand that the military used to dispose of some of their enemies there, dumping the dead and tortured bodies into the water. A few weeks later, my grandparents sold the chalet.
  • The Fight Against Trump’s Other Family Separation Policy
    This week, on August 14, a federal appeals court will hear oral argument from attorneys for the Department of Homeland Security, on one hand, and Temporary Protected Status holders, on the other, as to whether the terminations should occur as originally scheduled. For Maribel Hernández Rivera, the litigation is personal: her husband, Giddel Contreras, is a TPS holder. A native of Honduras, Contreras has been in the United States for nearly twenty-five years, but was undocumented until he got TPS. His thirteen-year-old daughter, Madison, Hernández Rivera’s stepdaughter, is a US citizen. “We’re going to fight,” Hernández Rivera told me. “We’re going to do everything we need to do.”
  • Kashmir on the Edge of the Abyss
    Narendra Modi, once disallowed a visa to the US as a punishment for the massacre of Muslims that took place in 2002 under his watch as chief minister in Gujarat, is today feted as a statesman not afraid to take tough decisions: an Indian mixture of Trump and Netanyahu. Modi has said that what he is doing is the only rational “Kashmir solution.” For him, it is the final political solution, and if the Muslims of Kashmir object, they will simply be crushed. Non-Kashmiri entrepreneurs are licking their chops in anticipation as they plan opening up the last frontier with all legal obstacles removed. And disgusting tweets from Brahmins (upper-caste Hindus) are celebrating the idea of settling there and “marrying Kashmiri girls,” and worse.
  • ‘So Huge a Phallic Triumph’: Why Apollo Had Little Appeal for Auden
    When I asked W.H. Auden what he would like to hear Armstrong say, he replied at first with a mischievous chuckle: “I’ve never done this before!” adding, “What else should he say? It would be a true statement.” But when I went on to ask if he would not prefer something more elevating, perhaps about world peace, he grew sober. “Well, that’s a little different,” Auden said. “We all know that the chief reason for their going there is military, so I don’t think you should ask them to say much about that!”
  • ‘A People’s Cry of Indignation’: A Dispatch from Puerto Rico
    Puerto Rico is a colony, and as such, its government has only those powers the US Congress grants it. Puerto Rican legislators might protest the closing of their schools, the cutting of their pensions, or the gutting of the great university that has produced so many of the island’s most subversive and iconic leaders, but ultimately, the Fiscal Control Board appointed by Congress overrule them. When I asked about what it would take to get rid of this junta, as activists call it, they offered me two options. First, the 5 million-strong Puerto Rican diaspora now living in the US could make Puerto Rico a political issue, advocating for their families on the island, who, as colonial subjects, are not allowed to vote in federal elections. Second, Puerto Ricans can make the island ungovernable. 
  • Keeping Up Appearances
    The Supreme Court today has five conservative justices and four liberal ones. Since 2010, for the first time in US history, all the conservatives have been appointed by Republicans, and all the liberals have been appointed by Democrats. If the justices voted like members of Congress, almost all significant cases would be decided 5–4, with the conservatives prevailing. But the justices are not members of Congress, and that matters. It matters even more after the deeply partisan fight over Justice Kavanaugh’s nomination. A striking number of the recently completed term’s cases were decided by majorities that included at least one conservative justice joining the liberals, or at least one liberal justice joining the conservatives—almost as if the Court were seeking to reassure us that it is nonpartisan.
  • ‘To Get Things More Real’: An Interview with Ira Glass
    Claudia Dreifus: Who were some of your influences in those early years? Ira Glass: Roland Barthes. At college, we were assigned Barthes’s S/Z , which made me understand what I could do in radio. In S/Z, Barthes takes apart a short story by Balzac, line by line. He asks: How does this story pull you in, engage, and give you pleasure? He names things that are helpful if you want to make stories about people. Barthes explains: here’s how to structure a narrative by creating a sequence of events that will create forward motion that will create narrative suspense, planting questions along the way that can be answered. That turned out to be an enormously useful way to think about how to do an interview.
  • The Daily Alchemy of Translation
    What is translation if not an intimate act between two people, away from the eyes of the world? It might be the mirth of two sisters, suppressed at table: a mutual tautening, hands flitting to faces until the effect of the secret subsides. It might be an embrace. It might even be an angry struggle. The nature of the relationship between translator and writer depends on the text. But it is always a close one. I wanted Sylwia Siedlecka—whose circumstances seemed so near my own: she was about my age, also a linguist and an academic—to teach me the balancing act she had already mastered, wanted to get inside her defter imagination to plumb my own heartbreak. I decided to translate her book.
  • Toni Morrison in the Review
    A life in literary criticism: how Review writers read and responded to the novels of Toni Morrison (1931–2019).
  • America Is Not Rome. It Just Thinks It Is
    Back in the dying days of the Roman Republic, it had pleased the conservative senators who defined themselves as “optimates,” the best, to disparage their opponents as “populares”: populists. Yet the popularis tradition was one which, no less than their own, had long been part of the fabric of Roman politics. That it came to be weaponized by a succession of notorious Caesars—Caligula, Nero, Commodus himself—did not mean that it was necessarily incompatible with the functioning of a republic. The realization that mockery of elites and the trampling of political convention might be transmuted into popularity with the plebs had not inevitably doomed Rome to autocracy.
  • The Utopian Promise of Adorno’s ‘Open Thinking,’ Fifty Years On
    The culture industry of the late-capitalist era has metastasized to such a degree that even resistance is easily co-opted by the market and what passes for criticism circulates in forms pre-packaged for consumption. In an environment saturated in social media and ruled by the tweet, critical reflection can barely survive, and it should hardly surprise us that the brute simplicities of authoritarian rule have gained new currency. It was Adorno who helped to identify this trend. For this reason alone, we cannot afford to ignore his critical legacy. Fifty years after his death, Adorno still resists fashion and category. But his ideas sustain the utopian thought that there might be a right life, after all.
  • Burning Down the House
    I’m not the only writer to wonder whether books are still an appropriate medium to convey the frightening speed of environmental upheaval. But the environment is infinitely intricate, and mere articles—much less daily newsfeeds or Twitter—can barely scratch the surface of environmental issues, let alone explore the extent of their consequences. Ecology, after all, is about how everything connects to everything else. Something so complex and crucial still requires books to attempt to explain it.
  • Casablanca’s Gift to Marrakech and the Birth of Morocco’s Modern Art Movement
    Fifty years ago, in the Atlas mountain city of Marrakech, a group of leading Moroccan artists hung their dazzlingly experimental abstract paintings in the Jemaa el-Fna, the great market square in the oasis city at the crossroads of Saharan trade routes. The small artists’ group behind it, the Casablanca Art School, whose influences ranged from Bauhaus and New York Hard-edge painting to Islamic Sufism and Berber rugs, has now been rediscovered and is gaining recognition as one of the great Modernist moments of the global South. Their 1969 market-place show has become a touchstone for contemporary artists and curators across the Arab world and the African continent—where new art museums seek ways to connect with a local public.
  • How Rodin Kept His Feet on the Ground
    The Thinker is not my favorite Rodin sculpture. But then something brought me closer to The Thinker. In a glass case at the Musée Rodin, displaying preparatory studies, my attention settled on a terra-cotta fragment identified as “The Thinker’s Right Foot.” His foot! Suddenly, I had a completely different feel for The Thinker. And I found myself wondering whether Rodin, too, had felt that the success of the sculpture might depend in some crucial way on getting the feet right.
  • On the Beat with Harper Lee
    How do you write the history of a book that was never written, by an author who, if not exactly a recluse, was more determined than most not to publicize her life or writing process? And how do you make that mystery worth reading when its conclusion is widely known? These questions loom in Casey Cep’s remarkable, thoroughly researched Furious Hours, an account of the true-crime book that Harper Lee intended to write but ultimately abandoned more than two decades after the publication of To Kill a Mockingbird had made her a household name.
  • My Travels with Oliver Sacks
    We were close for a long time. I was his photographer, colleague, friend, subject, and occasional collaborator. He used to say that he wanted to take off his white doctor’s coat and see Tourette’s in real life, outside a clinic or hospital. I facilitated this not only as a photographer, but also as someone with access to others with the same condition. In my travels with Oliver, I photographed the lives of patients, beyond the confines of the doctor’s office or examination room. Some said I was his “Tourette pet,” which I found endearing or insulting, depending on how it was said.
  • The Dying Art of Instruction in the Digital Classroom
    This year will be my last year teaching at the university; I’ve decided to throw in the towel three years before retirement age. There are a number of reasons behind this decision, but one is definitely the changed situation in the classroom. Even at post-graduate level, it is getting more and more difficult to feel that one has the attention of students or that something really useful is happening during the lessons.
  • An Iranian Dissident’s Tale
    Kian Tajbakhsh wanted to own his punishment—to see himself as part of a struggle, alongside millions of other Iranians, that may have been fruitless but had been worth fighting for. His interrogators had been coaching him for his appearance at the trial, but when he took the stand, Kian diverted from the script in a small but crucial way. He told the judge his real crime had not been treason, but the naivety to believe that the Islamic Republic could ever be compatible with Western-style democracy.
  • Real Americans
    The cornerstone assertion of the Declaration of Independence is that government exists in order to secure the equal, inalienable rights of persons. This is the formal raison d’être and official ideology of the United States. It follows that those who fully embrace those rights—liberals—have political and patriotic legitimacy, and those who reject them lack legitimacy. Psychically, liberals often don’t seem to believe this. A deference to “Americans” inheres in their worldview, even if the Americans in question aspire to subvert our democracy.
  • Absent Opposition, Modi Makes India His Hindu Nation
    The rot may have set in decades ago, but it has taken Modi only five years to dismantle the idea of India as democratic and secular. The opposition movement is fragmentary and local. India under Modi was no longer the world’s fastest-growing economy. And whatever upward mobility was anticipated thanks to social welfare programs implemented by earlier governments could no longer be taken for granted. The prime minister’s opponents fought for a more equal society, but Modi himself, like strongmen elsewhere in the world, could only prosper in an unequal and divided one. And yet, Modi won again: a divisive and ineffectual prime minister returned to power with a historic mandate.
  • The V&A Makes a Meal of It
    The V&A could usefully have taken a leaf out of its own history. In the catalog foreword by the museum’s director, the historian and former Labour Party parliamentarian Tristram Hunt, we learn that the V&A boasted the world’s first “purpose-built museum refreshment rooms,” designed by William Morris’s firm. The V&A also included, Hunt goes on, “an early food museum, alongside displays of working fish hatcheries—installed by the eccentric, visionary zoologist Frank Buckland.” To be sure, the Comté cheese made using microbes taken from chef Heston Blumenthal’s pubic hair is as playful as it is subversive, but the theme of this scatter-shot show remains elusive: Is it about food really, or is it a show of food-related conceptual art?
  • Paula Rego’s Wild Women
    As in so much of her work, the phantasmagoric takes on something of the real, a nightmare brought to life, or the turmoil of a psyche revealed. Paula Rego’s well aware that women’s bodies are sites of trauma. She recounts her own birth, for example, as a horror story: her mother labored for three days, at the end of which she, the baby—“this carcass,” as Rego pointedly describes herself—was “dragged” out, ripping her mother’s bladder in the process. Rego’s work is dense with symbolism, but all in service of portraying the realities—as unpalatable and grotesque as they sometimes are—of the female body.
  • ‘Between Hospitality and Hostility’: An Interview with Michael Rakowitz
    Marisa Mazria Katz: Why did you position the Lamassu this way?  Michael Rakowitz: I decided there was no way that I was going to allow for this Lamassu to look like it is one more piece that is going to be sheltered in this Western museum. I’m very happy to say that the Lamassu stands there with its ass to the museum and it’s actually looking southeast toward Parliament, and toward the Foreign Office where the decision to enter the Iraq War was made. It’s also looking past them, toward Nineveh, toward Iraq, hoping that it will return one day.
  • Moon Fever
    First it was a heavenly body—a beacon, or a world, a place where no one could possibly go. Then, from 1969 to 1972, twelve people landed there in spaceships. On behalf of all humanity, they said. Is it time to go back? Moon fever is rising. The fiftieth anniversary of the first lunar landing has stirred dormant memories and produced a bounty of books, films, and exhibitions. Meanwhile, technocrat billionaires have helped catalyze a new moon race. Elon Musk is marketing moon trips to the superrich, and Jeff Bezos says we should colonize the moon to save the earth. China landed a robot called Jade Rabbit 2 on the far side in January, and India is trying to get a water-seeking rover, Chandrayaan-2, to the lunar south pole.
  • Clarification
    To the Editors: In my “The Rules of the Game” I wrote that the 15 percent of Democrats who identified as conservative “were probably mostly older, white union men who vote Republican for president as often as not, and a smattering of older Latino men as well.” But according to Kathleen Frankovic, what mostly sets them apart is that they are more religious than other Democrats.
  • Lincoln The Hack?
    To the Editors: James Oakes writes, “It is a commonplace among historians his early career [Lincoln] was something of a Whig Party hack.” I find this statement amazing. How in the world do those words apply to the brave, eloquent, and politically costly words and actions undertaken by the first-term congressman Lincoln in opposition to James K. Polk’s mendaciously undertaken war of conquest against Mexico?
  • Worlds Apart: Sci-Fi Visions of Altered Reality
    Living in an era when we can easily tweak the small (delete a sentence, crop an image) but feel helpless when facing the large (political turmoil, climate change), it’s hard not to fantasize about reworking our histories. But this inclination is not new. Attempting to rework the past, at least on paper, has been the outlet of artists and authors for as long as people have been wishing for different endings. “As If: Alternative Histories From Then to Now,” an exhibition at the Drawing Center, presents eighty-four works from 1888 to the present that “offer examples of how we might reimagine historical narratives in order to contend with the traumas of contemporary life.”
  • ‘A Compelling Power’: When Mesmerism Came to America
    Between 1836 and the late 1850s, mesmerizing another person—or seeing someone get mesmerized, or denouncing mesmerists as charlatans—became a way of stockpiling control for one’s own use. The direct encounters between clairvoyants and the men who mesmerized them seem less like collaborations than like competitions over who would set the terms of the session and whose interests it would serve. The subjects’ flashes of insight have a sharp-edged, glinting tone. They become ambushes against the mesmerist’s authority, ways of struggling for dependencies that gave the somnambulist’s mind more room to move.
  • ‘Fiddler,’ Tevye’s Daughters, and Me
    For me, the story of Fiddler on the Roof and Tevye’s casting out of Chava is personal. In June 1963, when I married a nominally Episcopalian professor of French, my parents disowned me, and so did my grandparents, all but two of my twenty-plus aunts and uncles, and all but three of my dozens of cousins. No one from my family came to our wedding, and I did not see them again for fifteen years. I sometimes wonder if I should write a sequel called Chava Returns. In my directorial mind, just one woman appears, and she’s no longer a girl. It’s Chava, but she’s not alone. She’s with her husband and she’s happy.
  • Between Regime and Rebels: A Survey of Syria’s Alawi Sect
    The Assad regime’s heavy reliance on Alawis in the army units and militias dispatched to the front-lines, coupled with the community’s relatively small size, have resulted in disproportionate losses of the sect’s young men. In addition, corruption and war-profiteering, mainly benefitting high-ranking regime officers and mukhabarat (secret police) agents, reinforced the image of Alawis as corrupt, privileged and rich, in the eyes of Sunnis. The Alawis are fully aware of this image and are quick to reject it. “We are a community that sacrificed many of its youth, and lived, and is still living, in poverty,” said Samira, a twenty-five-year-old university student. “The ugly, barbaric way people picture us is applicable to barely one percent of us.”
  • Dancing with the Ancients
    By its nature, dance poses unique challenges for scholars. There’s no universal notation system, and the various ways we have to document it are incomplete and unreliable. There is no full way to capture the presence of dance except through dance itself. This tension—between dance and the representation of dance—is always at the heart of dance; dancers feel it, too, and so do the people who watch dance and the people who write about it. The recent exhibition “Hymn to Apollo: The Ancient World and the Ballets Russes” at NYU’s Institute for the Study of the Ancient World reminded me how intriguing this tension is.
  • Singapore: Laboratory of Digital Censorship
    On May 8, Singapore’s parliament passed the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA), with an audacious aim— to defeat “fake news.” The new law empowers any minister to demand corrections from anyone who has generated content that the minister believes is fake and to dictate the words and phrases of that correction; the government can also ask for the content to be taken down, and require Internet service providers or platforms to prevent access to it. The implications of Singapore’s law, however, go far beyond a family row and even the governance of Singapore itself. Around the world there are plenty of governments that would love to wield such powers. They will be watching how Singapore uses its new law—with keen interest and considerable envy.

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