Featured Stories
  • For years I did not “understand” W.H. Auden; his work did not sound like “poetry” to me, which is to say I could not recognize his “feeling,” the wellspring of his language. But I kept buying his books and putting […]

    Wystan

    For years I did not “understand” W.H. Auden; his work did not sound like “poetry” to me, which is to say I could not recognize his “feeling,” the wellspring of his language. But I kept buying his books and putting […]

  • Fats Waller. Even when he couldn’t get his feet off the ground, he walked on clouds. He was irrepressible in his joy when it came to music, voices, the sweet and sour smells of backstage life; his clergyman father’s disapproval […]

    Fats

    Fats Waller. Even when he couldn’t get his feet off the ground, he walked on clouds. He was irrepressible in his joy when it came to music, voices, the sweet and sour smells of backstage life; his clergyman father’s disapproval […]

  • Sarah Lucas. Historic. Couldn’t be happier about this. See Sarah’s show at Gladstone. As always whenever Sarah puts something on, I burst out laughing because why not, our bodies, not to say minds, are very funny, particularly if you don’t […]

    Sarah

    Sarah Lucas. Historic. Couldn’t be happier about this. See Sarah’s show at Gladstone. As always whenever Sarah puts something on, I burst out laughing because why not, our bodies, not to say minds, are very funny, particularly if you don’t […]

  • The thing freely given often isn’t. It’s rare to find a gift giver who doesn’t want to be congratulated for their generosity, which usually includes the generosity of their charm. None of us escapes this impulse–we have all been children […]

    The Gift

    The thing freely given often isn’t. It’s rare to find a gift giver who doesn’t want to be congratulated for their generosity, which usually includes the generosity of their charm. None of us escapes this impulse–we have all been children […]

  • I’ve struggled with this film for years, and it’s not only because of Julie Christie’s lips, which have always struck me as being filled with embalming fluid. It has something to do with the world of “hip” vs. “square,” that […]

    Petulia (1968)

    I’ve struggled with this film for years, and it’s not only because of Julie Christie’s lips, which have always struck me as being filled with embalming fluid. It has something to do with the world of “hip” vs. “square,” that […]

  • If Anything, I Am A Poet Who Loves Plastic Poetry–Film, Photography, Sculpture, Drawing–as Much as I Love Verbal Poetry. There, I’ve Said It. Reading Marianne Moore’s poem, “Poetry,” helped Get Me There. Along with Calvin Tompkins biography of Marcel Duchamp, […]

    Coming Out

    If Anything, I Am A Poet Who Loves Plastic Poetry–Film, Photography, Sculpture, Drawing–as Much as I Love Verbal Poetry. There, I’ve Said It. Reading Marianne Moore’s poem, “Poetry,” helped Get Me There. Along with Calvin Tompkins biography of Marcel Duchamp, […]

Most Read
  • Fats Waller. Even when he couldn’t get his feet off the ground, he walked on clouds. He was irrepressible in his joy when it came to music, voices, the sweet and sour smells of backstage life; his clergyman father’s disapproval […]

    Fats

    Fats Waller. Even when he couldn’t get his feet off the ground, he walked on clouds. He was irrepressible in his joy when it came to music, voices, the sweet and sour smells of backstage life; his clergyman father’s disapproval […]

  • This season, the black story line on “Boardwalk Empire,” does something so extraordinary I didn’t think it was possible–certainly not on television, or in film: it presents an entirely authentic nineteen-twenties Negro world, part Harlem Renaissance perversity, and part “Macbeth,” […]

    On the Boardwalk

    This season, the black story line on “Boardwalk Empire,” does something so extraordinary I didn’t think it was possible–certainly not on television, or in film: it presents an entirely authentic nineteen-twenties Negro world, part Harlem Renaissance perversity, and part “Macbeth,” […]

  • Dear Miss Bankhead: I thought I was a friend of yours. That’s why there was nothing in my book that was unfriendly to you, unkind or libelous. Because I didn’t want to drag you, I tried six times last month […]

    Letter from Billie Holiday to Her Former Lover, Tallulah Bankhead re: the former’s autobiography, “Lady Sings The Blues”:

    Dear Miss Bankhead: I thought I was a friend of yours. That’s why there was nothing in my book that was unfriendly to you, unkind or libelous. Because I didn’t want to drag you, I tried six times last month […]

  • From “My Lunches With Orson” edited by Peter Biskind: Interviewer: How did [Hedda Hopper] know about things like you and Lena [Horne]? Orson Welles: She offered fifty dollars for information and people called her up. Not friends, but waiters or valet-parking […]

    On Lena:

    From “My Lunches With Orson” edited by Peter Biskind: Interviewer: How did [Hedda Hopper] know about things like you and Lena [Horne]? Orson Welles: She offered fifty dollars for information and people called her up. Not friends, but waiters or valet-parking […]

  • When Vincente Minelli was asked to come to Hollywood–he had been a very successful scenic designer in New York–the studio brass asked him what he’d like to do. He said: I want to to do a black musical. Like Welles, […]

    Orson and Lena and Vincente

    When Vincente Minelli was asked to come to Hollywood–he had been a very successful scenic designer in New York–the studio brass asked him what he’d like to do. He said: I want to to do a black musical. Like Welles, […]

  • Mrs. Loving had a cloth overcoat, and it had a fur collar. She wore that overcoat when she took her three children–two boys and a girl–shopping in her local grocery store in Central Point, Virginia, a state she had no business […]

    Mrs. Loving’s Overcoat

    Mrs. Loving had a cloth overcoat, and it had a fur collar. She wore that overcoat when she took her three children–two boys and a girl–shopping in her local grocery store in Central Point, Virginia, a state she had no business […]