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Discovering John Howard Griffin: A Life Worth Remembering, a Novel Worth Reading

John Howard Griffin was one of the most remarkable people I have ever encountered. He was just one of those guys that comes along once or twice in a century…

On Gluck’s Tercentenary: Wigs, Nightcaps, and the Infinite Varieties of Beauty and Deception

Art is the most beautiful deception of all! —Claude Debussy (1862-1918) Simplicity and truth are the sole principles of the beautiful in art. —Christoph Willibald Gluck (1714-1787) Debussy’s line about art…

The Good, The Bad, and Eli Wallach — The Role of a Lifetime 

I hate guns, have never had any use for them. —Eli Wallach (1915-2014) A week ago Eli Wallach, the actor who gave the world Tuco Benedicto Pacifico Juan Maria Ramirez,…

Life As It Happens: George Orwell, Horace Silver, and the Sound of Surprise

Musical composition should bring happiness and joy to people and make them forget their troubles. —Horace Silver (1928-2014) You never know. Things happen. Life happens, death happens, music happens. You…

Curses, Riots, and Voodoo —  Deep in the Mines of Macbeth on Shakespeare’s 450th Birthday 

The theatrical superstition known as the Macbeth curse has it that terrible things may happen if you say the name of the play offstage; to be safe, say “the Scottish…

A Giant Among Us — “Game of Thrones” Star Peter Dinklage Turns 45 Today

I fell hopelessly in love with Peter Dinklage’s sexy dwarf, who is a schemer but a noble one by Lannister standards. —Maureen Dowd Like Maureen Dowd, who gave a shout-out…

Mark Twain Slept Here, Or Did He? —  Celebrating New York From the Morgan to the Belleclaire

Bliss. Feeling like a kid up past his bedtime, I’m stretched out on a cushioned window seat on the ninth floor of a century-old Beaux Arts hotel gazing at the…

Robert Desnos, Henri Rousseau, and “A Cat Like Nothing Else on Earth”

There’s a rapping at my study door, a soft persistent tapping, with a hint of claw in the sound. The door is gently banging back and forth in the frame…

“The Common Fate of All Things Rare”: Or Fats Waller’s Last Ride

Aware that this issue will be appearing on Fats Waller’s 110th birthday, I’m listening to “Honeysuckle Rose,” the first track on If You Got to Ask, You Ain’t Got It,…

On and Off the Crooked Road of Genius — A Shady Dog Story

If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there. —George Harrison, from “Any Road” First off, I didn’t know that last week’s trip to the Shady…

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