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“Too Marvelous” — Lauren Bacall, Humphrey Bogart, and the Last Dance

Look at that face of hers. There you’ve got the map of Middle Europe slung across those high cheekbones and wide green eyes …. As a woman she holds all…

 “What We Stay Alive For” — Robin Williams Gave Us His Joy

Poetry, beauty, romance, love — these are what we stay alive for. —Robin Williams as John Keating In Peter Weir’s Dead Poet’s Society (1989) a prep school English teacher played…

In the Center of the Storm — Walton Goggins and “The Shield” 

To be in the center of that storm, what greater honor could a person have? —Walton Goggins You may think you’re delving into the past when you sort through old…

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…

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