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Golden Anniversary: In The Beatles Romance, “Yesterday” Is the Good 9/11

Beatles publicist Derek Taylor (1932-1997) begins his preface to Volume 1 of The Beatles Anthology (1994) by contrasting his “rose-colored” view of the group’s worldwide impact — “the Twentieth Century’s…

Revisiting Stanley Kubrick’s “Lolita” at 50: “You Gasp as You Laugh”

The most hysterical high-profile response to the literary timebomb called Lolita came, predictably, from the New York Times’s Orville Prescott, whose August 18, 1958 tirade (“dull, dull, dull” “repulsive,” “disgusting,”…

Now’s The Time: Making History With Charlie Parker and Jerry Garcia

I consider life to be a continuous series of improvisations. —Jerry Garcia (1942-1995) There’s too much in my head for this horn. —Charlie Parker (1920-1955) I am looking at a 12-inch Verve…

Debussy, Born 150 Years Ago Today: “One Can Travel Where One Wishes and Leave By Any Door”

Music is a dream from which the veils have been drawn! It’s not even the expression of a feeling — it is the feeling itself. —Claude Debussy (1862-1918), from a letter On…

“Rio Bravo”: Fellow Feeling, Human Frailty, and the Pleasure Principle

If I were asked to choose a film that would justify the existence of Hollywood, I think it would be “Rio Bravo.” —Robin Wood in Howard Hawks (1968) “One of…

Remembering Gore Vidal’s Early Work, Love of Movies, and Kind Words for a Young Novelist

As I now move, graciously, I hope, toward the door marked Exit, it occurs to me that the only thing I ever really liked to do was go to the…

Monroe and Melville: Blending Two American Legends in the Best of All Possible Worlds

How significant was the first week of August for Herman Melville? He was born August 1, 1819, married August 4, 1847, first encountered Nathaniel Hawthorne, the most momentous meeting of…

Woody Guthrie’s Book-Writing, Subway-Riding, Swamp-Crossing, 100th-Birthday Blues

“I am out to sing songs that will prove to you that this is your world.” —Woody Guthrie (1912-1967) Hey, hey Woody Guthrie, I wrote you a song ‘Bout a…

Reading and Listening to Faulkner: Soft, Swift, and Insidiously Seductive

If I had not existed, someone else would have written me. —William Faulkner (1897-1962) This time last year, on the fiftieth anniversary of Ernest Hemingway’s death, I described “the big…

A Father’s Insights on Roosevelt Now Available in English Edition

Borough resident Marianne Farrin has worn many hats over the years: Stanford University alumna, wife, mother (raising her three children on several continents), psychotherapist, theologian. The list goes on, and…