“Material Madchen”: I read “The Artificial Silk Girl”

at AmCon: I picked up Irmgard Keun’s 1932 novel The Artificial Silk Girl at the Neue Galerie in New York, basically on a whim. It promised to be a dizzying tour of Weimar Berlin, last call before Hell and all that, from the perspective of a young, single woman whom the introduction compares to Madonna’s “Material Girl.”Certainly our heroine, Doris, is materialistic in a certain sense. She pays her bills by dating men. Her closest relationship is with her stolen fur coat. (The letter she writ … [Read more...]

Indiegogo Campaign for Film Festival on LGBT/Faith Issues

The Level Ground film festival is raising money for its second year, & I've signed on to support the project. The festival focuses on screening & discussing films which concern, in some way, the intersection of lgbt/queer/same-sex attracted life, and religious faith. I've suggested a couple movies for this year, although I can make no promises about the festival's content. You'll see from the Indiegogo site that many people involved with it are coming from a very different religious … [Read more...]

“Disorientation”: I review a photography show at the Sackler Gallery

for AmCon: Now that the shutdown is over, I can tell you about a small but punchy photography exhibit at the Sackler.“Sense of Place,” which runs through November 11, disrupts many of the cliches of East vs. West. In these tired oppositions, Europe is a clash of swords and horses; China, Japan, or any other part of the undifferentiated East is a lone monk crossing a quiet pond. The West is the land of change and history, the East is the land where life is as fleeting and yet eternal as the s … [Read more...]

From Irmgard Keun, “The Artificial Silk Girl”

tr. Kathie von Ankum: At the table next to me was a wonderful lady with really expensive shoulders and with a back--it was straight all by itself, and such a wonderful dress, it makes me cry--the dress was so beautiful, because she doesn't have to think about where she's getting it from. You could tell by looking at the dress. And I was standing next to her in the restroom, and both of us were looking in the mirror--she had such light white hands with elegantly curved fingers and an assertive … [Read more...]

“Crawl of Faith”: Me at Acculturated

on Balanchine's "Prodigal Son" ballet: I’m glad nobody told me anything about George Balanchine’s choreography for The Prodigal Son before I watched it. The librettist, Boris Kochno, made a lot of changes to the Biblical story, and all of these changes sound like terrible ideas. more--from my series on portrayals of penitence. I really like how this turned out. … [Read more...]

“Wounded Beauty”: Me in America

magazine, talking about horror films and the sublime: I love horror movies because they show me the sublime. I love them for a lot of other reasons too, I admit, depending on my mood. I don’t believe in a grand, unified theory of horror, or of any other genre of film; most genres are a welter of traditions and counter-traditions. Sometimes you want to see evil defeated by the triumphant “final girl”; at other times, by contrast, you want to see that even the most competent and loving heroines ca … [Read more...]

Evelyn Waugh’s Celebrity Ascesis

What on earth is going on in this "interview"? It is 20% actual interview, 50% psychoanalysis, and 30% inquisition. Never before have I thought, Evelyn Waugh is so patient! Fascinating, in a kind of sick way. … [Read more...]


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