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Writing Back to the City

I’ll begin my review of Joe Austin’s fascinating new book right where he does, with the following brief, illuminating, and little-known New York story.

A Man Called Ames

Taking up where he left off in his memoir, What’s Not To Love?: The Adventures of a Mildly Perverted Young Writer (Crown, 2002), Jonathan Ames comes out fighting in My Less Than Secret Life: A Diary, Fiction, Essays.

Soul Not on Ice

Michael Brownstein’s new poetic book-length masterpiece, World On Fire, did exactly what it was supposed to do to me, but we’re not talking metaphors here. Rather, it short-circuited my new T23 IBM laptop computer, leaving me temporarily keyless to pen this review.

Noir in Flux

Perennially, pundits decry the loss of Bohemia and the concomitant disappearance of the outrageous art such enclaves are said to produce. In New York City, essayists lament the towering rents that have driven the creative from the East Village and, more recently, Williamsburg.

A Poseur’s Politics

Early in his self-purgative exposé/ psychodrama Blinded By The Right, David Brock confesses that for all the neo-conservative movement’s “ferocious intensity, our hatred of big government and big media, our ideology was in a way empty, more an attitude, a kind of playground politics, than a philosophy of government.”

Media Mayhem

It’s no new news that the Time Magazine article on Sylvia Ann Hewlett’s book has the city’s female population all in a hurry to have a baby… or in a panic to defend their Sex & the City lifestyles. What’s more baffling to me is the vast array of messages – or dare I call it propaganda – that permeated the media after Time’s cover story.

Laws to Live By

Flipping though the bold and beautiful portraits in photographer Ali Smith’s second book, Laws of the Bandit Queens, one is stuck by the simple fact that this is a rare and thoughtful collection of women. Featuring witty, playful and provocative images of artists, writers, thinkers, activists, provocateurs, athletes, comedians and politicos of all kinds, Ali Smith complements her photographs with each woman’s stated “law to live by.”

In Conversation

The Sexual Life of Natacha M.

Natacha Merritt’s debut photo collection, The Digital Diaries (Taschen, 2000), was a notable commercial success, selling over 200,000 copies worldwide. Earlier this summer, the Rail caught up with Merritt at her studio in Williamsburg.


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