Art and Social Practice
An Interview with Wendy MaCNaughton About Meanwhile in San Francisco
"I hope that this book is more like you get whatever you want to get from it. Some people I'm sure will look through it and see pictures and think it's a behind-the-scenes travel guide of San Francisco. And that's fine. But if somebody wants to think about the discussion of how art and storytelling can have a social impact, then that's an important way to come at it also." Alex Behr talks to Wendy MacNaughton about her new book and links between art, oral history, and social work.
Clarice Lispector's The Hour of the Star
"The self-reflexivity of the novel is one of Lispector's strengths—her mastery lies not in the simplicity of the characters, but in the odd, at times awkward interjections of the narrator. The reader is continually reminded that the characters do not exist, that they are not real, and yet the question of reality and existence is at the same time of crucial importance." Sarah Kruse on The Hour of the Star.
Feeling Operates Backwards
Ashbery and "That Which is Given to See"
"Empathy fails me when it would do the most good, and then shows up later and catches me unprepared, minding my own business." Wendy Bourgeois on a line by John Ashbery and the end of whales and childhood.
A Champion Emerges
Final Match-Ups Reveal 2013 Album of the Year
"They couldn't be more different. On one hand you have the smug Brooklyn hipsters with a penchant for wordplay and borrowing African rhythms, and on the other hand you have a Southerner who likes to tell dark stories of characters looking for redemption." Matthew Kauffman Smith unveils the champion of his tournament of 2013 albums.
On Her Own Timeline
Art and Sincerity in The Flamethrowers
"The Flamethrowers offers an implied critique, then, not only of patriarchy, but of New York and other cities like it, which stand as symbols for capitalism and the myth that the city is the best place for artists. For which artists, Kushner asks, is it beneficial?" Emily Burns Morgan on women and art in Rachel Kushner's The Flamethrowers.
Late Night Library
Poetry's Special Way of Folding a Conversation
Late Night Interview with Rodney Koeneke
Late Night Library's Amanda McConnon says, "Etruria stunned me with the way it was both disorienting and deeply grounding, illogical and rational." She talks with Rodney Koeneke, author of Etruria, about history, process, the relationship of author to work, and other poets.
The Monster is In Your Head
Forbidden Planet Diagnoses the Movies
"Forbidden Planet is the science fiction movie trapped between eras. It implies seriousness by adapting Shakespeare and then subjecting him to psychoanalysis, but it lifts mostly the elements that continue the dismal, misogynistic tradition of trying to control female sexuality...but then acknowledges that sexuality is the issue." Dan DeWeese on Forbidden Planet, the Krell, and the questions films couldn't answer.
"Another coffee cup came tumbling from the chopper, and Brady stepped aside to avoid being hit. Rescue? He waved his arms across his body, shaking his head. He would move on, but he wasn’t done running just yet." By Danny Nowell
Herzog and Me
Imaginative Suffering Amid Impositions
"With suffering, we are able to feel fully and dream fully. We let go of the controlling natures of both optimism and cynicism. We let go of order. And yet, how do we let go of order in a world that demands organization, in a reality that demands reason and logic, in an environment that urges us to compete and to judge?" Jonah Hall on finding time to read Saul Bellow.
2014 Album Bracketology
More Than One Kind of Madness
"While the tournament plays out this year, so will my brackets. As I reveal my bracket over the next three weeks, I will also pick out trends from the past year of music—or at least trends in what I was listening to. I will also try my hardest to produce lame sports analogies. Which surprise albums will bust the bracket?" Matthew Kauffman Smith finds 2013's best album through a double-elimination tournament that provokes reader outrage, artist bafflement, and devolves into total incomprehensibility.
Part 1: The Rules
Part 2: Likability Kills
Part 3: God Doesn't Care
Part 4: Underdogs
Part 5: Flip-Flops
Part 6: A Champion Emerges
A Curtain Falls in Pittsburgh
A Major American City's Center for African American Culture is Being Liquidated Just Four Years After It Opened. What Happened?
Pittsburgh's August Wilson Center for African American Culture is being liquidated just four years after it opened. Is this a particularly Pittsburgh story, or does it reveal deeper truths about America's relationship with African American culture, notions of what urban space is for, and the never-ending tension between art and commerce? By Patrick McGinty
Renovation and the Sequel to The Anthologist
"At one point, Paul, who is quite lonely throughout 281 of this book's 287 pages, says, 'I want to forgive everyone. I want to do better with my life. Maybe doing better is somehow finding a way to make people's imaginations work better.' And I believe him." Evan P. Schneider reviews Nicholson Baker's latest novel, Traveling Sprinkler.
Seven Poems by Lauren Haldeman
Haldeman's first poetry collection, Team Photograph, is forthcoming from Rescue Press in Fall 2014.
Letter from Oaxaca
Muchos Muchas Muxes
"A man in the neighboring hammock explains that 'Muxe is blood. Muxe is indigenous. It is not gay. Gay is a Western idea projected onto the muxe phenomenon. I am from Juchitán and I am not muxe but for me muxe is normal. It is indigenous, a culture.'" By Sara Sutter
Long Black Road
Lee Ranaldo on tennis, travel, and Last Night on Earth
"Everything stopped. It didn't matter what you were supposed to be doing. All of a sudden you had all this time to yourself. I got a lot of stuff done that week. A lot of thinking done." Lee Ranaldo chats with Propeller's Alex Behr about music, India, and his latest album.