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 “There Is No Limit to Paris” — Revisiting the City of Hugo, Baudelaire, Walter Benjamin, and Daumier

“Paris is always showing its teeth; when it is not scolding it is laughing.” – Victor Hugo Read in the aftermath of the terrorist attack on a satirical journal in…

Cheering New Work from Paul Muldoon in the Wake of Charlie Hebdo

Even if you work for a small, essentially well-meaning weekly, you don’t have to wear a Je Suis Charlie pin to connect with the fellow journalists who died in last…

New Year’s Hopes and Thoughts on Salinger and Cinema, Luise Rainer and the “Other Man”

On the last afternoon of 2014 I drove to Doylestown, our sister city in cinema now that the Garden and the County share the same management. As we crossed the…

Over the Top Over Falstaff — Into the New Year With Shakespeare and Sir John

… the brain of this foolish-compounded clay, man, is not able to invent anything that tends to laughter, more than I invent or is invented on me: I am not…

On Christmas Eve: Looking for Shakespeare and Finding Dickens and Two Cats Under the Tree

Oh, now all common things become uncommon and enchanted to me. All lamps are wonderful; all rings are talismans. —Charles Dickens, from A Christmas Tree Through four decades of marriage, we’ve…

Brave New World — Tatiana Maslany’s Performance Lifts “Orphan Black” to a Higher Level

Friday afternoon I’m sitting in a parked car in south Philadelphia reading about the Spanish Civil War. It’s easy to imagine dark deeds brewing on a cold grey December afternoon…

“The Soul of All of Us Together” — Scheide, Schubert, Bach, and the Dance of the Organist

Once you reach a certain age, your catalogue of associations is so extensive and so many-sided that it’s possible to discover a personal connection to virtually any worthy subject that…

When the Purpose is “High and Strong” — Mike Nichols and “The Graduate” 

An audience is a ruthless, heartless, and unruly monster, and if it doesn’t sense purpose then get out of its way, because it’s going to be difficult …. But when…

On the Streets of Philadelphia — Discovering the Noir Universe of David Goodis

A nondescript sign hanging above an uninviting door on a street in Philadelphia says ART, BOOKS. The door opens easily and what you see on the other side makes it feel…

Poe’s Precipice of the Perverse: Hitchcock Takes the Plunge in “Vertigo”

I suggest that Hitchcock belongs —and why classify him at all? — among such artists of anxiety as Kafka, Dostoevsky, and Poe. —François Truffaut According to a 2012 critics poll…

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