Still Seeing: Berger's Critique of High Art Turns 30

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Standing in front of the Mona Lisa at the Louvre in Paris, I notice bulletproof glass encasing the painting. I imagine pulling out a semi-automatic and letting loose on the da Vinci as polyester-clad guards rush me from behind.

Dance Machine

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The hook in Charles Joseph’s Stravinsky and Balanchine: A Journey of Invention is its deep focus upon the collaborative negotiations between Stravinsky and choreographer George Balanchine, a working partnership yielding at least two major masterpieces of the ballet of the 20th century, Apollo and Agon.

Clearing the Wreckage

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While a sizable chunk of the books written over the past year concerning the 9/11 attacks are destined for publishing obscurity, the law of averages is on the side of there being a few standouts. One that almost certainly will is William Langewiesche’s American Ground: Unbuilding the World Trade Center.

In the Land of The Free

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In this collection of essays, 47 politicians, writers, lawyers, musicians, civil rights activists and ACLU flacks add their voices to the cacophony of pundits weighing in on the state of American civil liberties, post-9/11.

A Work in Progress

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Because one of our Founding Theorists called New York City “a cloacina of all the depravities of human nature,” any discussion of the nature of cities should begin with the enemies of the metropolitan. New York, that hurly-burly port whose streets were mired with shit, loose pigs, prostitutes, and foreigners (by 1640, 18 different languages were spoken here), clearly didn’t fit into the grand Jeffersonian plan.

Missionary Creeps

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Not every literary debut gets blurbed by the president of the United States, and not every Christian proselytizer gets out of darkest heath alive, saved by three Special Forces helicopters in the dead of night in time to have their hair done in Islamabad before a press conference in the morning. But this was the astonishing, if not miraculous, fate of Dayna Curry, 30, and Heather Mercer, then 24, when their three-month ordeal in Afghanistan came to a close on November 14, 2001.

War Clips

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In his new book, Get Your War On, Brooklyn-based comic artist David Rees breathes life into a series of stock art yes-men, and, frankly, in their hands, the future doesn’t look good.

A Modern Hobo?

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Hobo exploits a stockpile of homely colloquialisms from a bygone era— the America of Depression and dustbowls, touring carnivals and vaudeville shows, locomotives and tramping; and this renders some form of lexicography a necessity.

Paul’s Ostiary

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David Zimmer’s family is killed in a plane crash. The loss of his wife and two sons sends him into a downward spiral of pills, alcohol and depression. He battles the life he had, until there is nothing to go back to. Suicide invites him. And then, watching an old silent film on television, he laughs. And thus begins the second phase of Paul Auster’s tenth novel, The Book of Illusions.

Controlled Emotions

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You Are Not A Stranger Here is an intelligent collection on themes of order and sense, diminished by possessing these characteristics to a fault. This is a book about control: about longing for it and about wanting desperately to lose it.

The Atmospherics of Plague

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From the opening scene of this short novel everything is perfectly off-center by just one degree. Life seems fine: two men in love, steady jobs, a country home and two cats named Toledo and Omaha. But seeping through the seams of this upper-middle class gay domesticity is a dangerous unease, an awful specter that reveals only pieces of itself.

Hanging Loose with Robert Hershon

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Hanging Loose refreshes with its “can do” list of facts. It has no angel nor any institutional support. It possesses no office and none of its editors takes a salary. It features a section for high school age poets— a rarity among literary magazines— which Hershon initially opposed but later came to endorse. The journal has also survived despite the advent of Hanging Loose Press.

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AUTUMN 2002

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