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The Beatles and “A Hard Day’s Night” — Fifty Golden Years Making the World a More Companionable Place

When the closing credits of Richard Linklater’s Boyhood came on the screen at Princeton’s new community cinema Friday, people applauded. The Garden was full to overflowing, an extraordinary turn-out on…

Of Mice and Men and Player Poets — Alec Guinness at 100 

An actor is an interpreter of other men’s words, often a soul which wishes to reveal itself to the world but dare not, a craftsman, a bag of tricks, a…

“My Stars Shine Darkly Over Me” — Shakespeare Says It, Charlie Parker Plays It

A soft summer’s day in New York. When the rain falls, you can count the drops. I’m sitting on a bench in Tompkins Square Park reading Twelfth Night as a…

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…