Performance: A Hard Act to FollowBy Arthur Vaughan
“We’re talking about the birth of show business,” Trav S.D. writes in No Applause—Just Throw Money, his vibrant and engaging history of vaudeville. Thanks to the massive changes that separate our era from its own, the word “vaudeville” is now a synonym for “stale” and “antiquated.”
Brooklyn Boy Makes Good: Charles Reznikoff, the Poet of New YorkBy Charles Bernstein
The Poems of Charles Reznikoff is necessary reading for anyone interested in 20th-century American poetry. Reznikoffs astonishingly engaging and quietly powerful work has been steadily gaining a passionate following.
Kate Braverman with Lisa Kunik
Kate Braverman is an experimental poet, short fiction writer, essayist and author of four novels, whose short fiction has been widely anthologized. Subversive, surreal, insightful and discerningly witty, Braverman never ceases to surprise.
Fiction: Some GirlsBy Corrie Pikul
Today, the 1970s sometimes seem as distant and inscrutable as the Middle Ages. In her sparkling new novel, The Last of Her Kind, Sigrid Nunez illuminates that complicated time by introducing us to several characters who are still a product of that age.
Politics: Pro-choice or no choiceBy Eleanor J. Bader
At first glance, Cristina Page’s How the Pro-Choice Movement Saved America seems to belong in the fantasy aisle. Between the war in Iraq, Samuel Alito, global warming, and federal funding of anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centers substituting school-based sex education, America seems far from salvation.
History: Back to Square OneBy Michael Calderone
Honestly, I rarely visit Times Square. Just trying to get past the maddening crowd—slow-moving tourists, screaming TRL fans, and beefy dudes heading to the ESPN Zone—can be a trying experience. Nevertheless, I kept an open mind while reading professor Marshall Berman’s On the Town, a whimsical, idiosyncratic history of Times Square. And it paid off.
No More Acts of God: Tim Flannery’s The WeathermakersBy Cassandra Neyenesch
There’s no question that we’ve been a destructive species. The question is more of how long, and how much longer? New evidence suggests that it may even have been late-Pleistocene man that wiped out the era’s megafauna—giant sloths, beavers, camels—rather than climate change, as was believed.
Giorgio Morandi: The Art of SilenceBy Eyal Danieli
In the 20th century pantheon of modernist European painters, Giorgio Morandi’s image of formal purity, and his reputation of personal asceticism has been second to none, except, perhaps, for Alberto Giacometti.
Not Quite Crazy, But Close EnoughBy Pat MacEnulty
Something in the human psyche revels in the failings of others. That’s probably the appeal of Richard Burgin’s recent collection of short stories The Identity Club.
The King of BoredomBy Kenneth Goldsmith
A great big book of graphical scores, sound poems and experimental performative texts arrived in my mailbox recently. Doings by Jackson Mac Low (1922-2004) is a massiveand massively importanttome for anyone interested in the history of 20th innovative poetry.