A Rail Glossary

One simply never knows who might turn up in the Rail. Readers of the Brooklyn Papers are surely familiar with Patrick Gallahue, a veritable one-man wire service, whose byline graces nearly every front-page article. Gallahue, now winning deserved local and national recognition, first wrote a couple of articles for us last summer. Or how about one Nicola Kraus, co-author of the best-selling Nanny Diaries? Well, her monologue “My Cup of Tea” shimmered across these pages in the winter of 2001. And just recently, one of our artists/critics in residence, Mr. Chris Martin, was awarded a Guggenheim. As we congratulate these three folks on their successes, we invite all of our readers to join us in pondering the eternal question: Who will be next?

Since this issue brings the introduction of two new sections, and one new subsection, it also seems high time that we define some of our terms. Some may be so obvious as to need no explanation; yet, if critical theory has taught us anything, it’s to not accept language at face value. Just the other day, in fact, some 10-year-old pipsqueak called me a “big dildo” – right outside of my house, no less! Instead of clobbering him, I merely chuckled, chalked it up to the postmodern turn in the American educational curriculum, and took it as a sign of respect. Without further adieu, here are less hidden meanings of our own:

Local: critical perspectives on urban affairs; making all the stops cross-town.

Express: personal and/or professional exchanges, taking you non-stop to global issues.

subsection: Depot: announcements and other ephemera (puts you right in the middle of Penn Station, waiting for the Jersey Transit track number).

Art: a big generic; tried “Graffiti,” but it’s passé.

            Subsections: Artseen: clever, but is it original?

            Arbeat: a new one, see for yourself.

Books: couldn’t think of another term; “bound words” is too constraining

Tracks: new, goes back in time, and puts us back on board.

Music, Dance, Theater, Film: temporarily de-Rail us; tried “Sounds,” “Moves,” “Stages,” and “Pictures,” but all connoted therapy.

Streets: time to move above ground: think women and men view of; view from; (mostly apolitical) people in.

Fiction: stranger than truth, whenever possible.

Dining Car: sort of a new one; the place you go for nourishment.

Last Words: a really new one, self-explanatory; should be called the “Caboose,” eh?

No, I didn’t forget poetry, because if you’re like us, you find it everywhere. What’s new, though, is the presence of Monica de la Torre, the Rail’s stellar new Poetry Editor. Along with our reigning Art Editor, Daniel Baird, Monica will be part of the ongoing reading series that we’re sponsoring at the main branch of Brooklyn Public Library. Hope to see yous there on June 3rd, not to mention July 1st!

Contributor

Theodore Hamm

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