I Review “Russian Modernism: 1907 – 1917”

for AmCon: The first room of the Neue Galerie’s “Russian Modernism: Cross-Currents of German and Russian Art, 1907 – 1917” (on view through August 24), takes us back to a vanished world. This is a world of silk stockings and fiacres, cavalry officers, and the Woman Question: the modern world. It’s a cosmopolitan world, alive to the distortions of human perception, and an international world in which Russian artists looked West and Western artists looked to Africa for inspiration. It will not las … [Read more...]

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“How This Tree Growing 40 Different Fruits at Once Was Made”: io9

overlooks the obvious explanation: This tree growing 40 different types of fruit—including varieties of peaches, plums, apricots, and almonds—may look like something plucked straight from the imagination, but it’s very real. And this is how it was made. witchcraft (gorgeous photo though!!) … [Read more...]

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A Vindication of the Rites of Whores: Rumer Godden’s “Five for Sorrow, Ten for Joy”

When I asked people to recommend books about life in religious communities, this (as well as Godden's In This House of Brede) was one of the most frequent responses. It's a story set among the Dominican Sisters of Bethany, whose charism involves prison ministry--and so many of the sisters are themselves former criminals, what we'd call "ex-offenders" or "returning citizens." These are I think the same nuns you see in Robert Bresson's terrific nun-noir The Angels of Sin. (This is the Bresson for … [Read more...]

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“Everyone I Love Is an Allegorical Representation of Ireland”: And Other Catchy Folk Tunes

I forget where I found this: im putting together a couple of scottish folk mixes bc that’s what i do and im honestly curious if anyone in my country has ever been unequivocally happy about anything ever scottish trad music genres:Everyone I Love Is Dead The English Have Stolen All My Sheep You Want To Be My Boyfriend? First You Must Answer These Riddles Three The Protestants Have Stolen All My Sheep I Love You A Lot But You’ve Left Me And It’s Raining [fiddle solo] The Sea Is Tre … [Read more...]

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“What’s a Nice Girl Like You Doing in a Movie Like This?”: I review “Trainwreck”

for AmCon: “There will never be an American AbFab.”This was the first thought in my mind as I left the theater after seeing “Trainwreck,” the new Judd Apatow/Amy Schumer moralizing romcom. The movie seems to think that it’s the story of a bad girl who triumphs over adversity and gets her man. It’s actually the story of a basically nice girl with major daddy issues, who learns and teaches a few heartwarming lessons on her journey toward somewhat delayed adult responsibility. This movie pulls … [Read more...]

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“Terry Castle: The Anti-Paglia”: Helen Andrews

alerts us: ...Like Paglia, Castle’s entrée into the literary tradition of sexual inversion was a teenage fascination with Oscar Wilde—she dreamed of being “male, dandified, and in some sort of filial relationship to various 1890s Decadents.” Unlike Paglia, her grown-up persona is less flamboyant, more Jamesian. Indeed, the two ladies juxtaposed remind me a little of Wilde and Henry James circa Guy Domville: Wilde the crowd-pleaser reigns supreme over the London stage, for now; James, no less of … [Read more...]

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An Actual Zombie Jamboree! And Other Movie Notes

What I've been watching.The Gallows. Out now. To call it "bog standard" would be an insult to God's honest bog. This is a haunted-school/revenge-of-the-past flick. Lead actor is handsome and appears able to act. The sets for the school play are terrific, very spooky and effective. Otherwise this feels padded at an hour and a half. Tons of yipping exposition and repetitive arguments from shrill teens; the girls are damsels in distress. Found-footage, which at this point, if you're just going … [Read more...]

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