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Jed Lipinski

JED LIPINSKI used to play tambourine in the band Hexa.

A Brief History of Beards

For something as simple as letting the hair on your face grow, wearing a beard can be a strange and sometimes dangerous thing to do. Beards historically have been a common source of cultural controversy.

Interview with Sean Wilsey

Sean Wilsey is the author of the memoir Oh the Glory of It All (Penguin, 2005) and the co-editor, with Matt Weiland, of the newly released State by State: A Panoramic Portrait of America, which features original writing on all fifty states by the U.S.’s finest novelists, journalists, and essayists. Rail contributor Jed Lipinski recently met with Mr. Wilsey to discuss his new book.

In Conversation

LAWRENCE WESCHLER with Jed Lipinski

Lawrence Weschler, the director of the New York Institute for the Humanities at New York University and the author of many mind-altering books, including the newly released Uncanny Valley: Adventures in the Narrative, braved the elements on a monsoon-like evening to pay a visit to the Brooklyn Rail headquarters, where Rail contributor Jed Lipinski spoke with him about his life and work.

Mating Minds: David Byrne and Evolutionary Psychologist Geoffrey Miller Ask Why Humans Make Art

On October 10th, David Byrne of The Talking Heads and Geoffrey Miller, PhD, an evolutionary psychologist at the University of New Mexico, took part in a conversation at the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) in Boston titled, “Connections between biology and culture, sex and beauty, genes and creativity.”

Sigur Rós

On June 17th, Iceland’s Independence Day, the Icelandic post-rock band Sigur Rós played MoMA’s lobby in support of their forthcoming album Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust (With a Buzz in Our Ears We Play Endlessly) and in conjunction with Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson’s comprehensive exhibit, Take Your Time.

In Conversation

Geoff Dyer with Jed Lipinski

Geoff Dyer is the author of But Beautiful: A Book About Jazz (winner of the Somerset Maugham Award), Out of Sheer Rage (a finalist for a National Book Critics Circle Award), Yoga For People Who Can't Be Bothered To Do It, and The Ongoing Moment, among other titles. His newest book is scheduled to be published by Pantheon in 2009. Recently, Dyer took time to speak with Rail contributing writer Jed Lipinski about his life and work.

Non-Fiction: You Are Neither Here Nor There

At the moment he is hot and thirsty; he is unsure of his location; and as soon as he sees the boy and girl, they are gone. Chemical winds, warehouses and a field of dead grass replace the vision. He writes: “I was touched by a golden pathos almost entirely purified of sadness.” For someone in search of everywhere, Vollmann suggests, it may be necessary to establish an equilibrium between freedom and imprisonment, beauty and ugliness, movement and stillness. The reward for maintaining such a precarious balance, to Vollmann and his readers, are these little pockets of enlightenment he encounters along the way.

FICTION: To be yourself, or not to be yourself

In 2003, the novelist Ben Marcus wrote an appreciative essay on John Haskell in the Believer (“The Genre Artist”) that predicted the course of Haskell’s development over the next five years.

In Conversation

Susan Bernofsky with Jed Lipinski

Susan Bernofsky, widely considered to be one of the best English translators of German literature today, has translated the work of Robert Walser, Hermann Hesse, and Yoko Tawada.

Gamblin’ with the Ice Machine

"Gambling is a nihilistic endeavor,” Graham Watling, aka Ice Machine, says on a recent Monday night in Atlantic City, leaning over a $5-minimum roulette table at the Tropicana Casino. “And I see making music as basically a nihilistic endeavor.”

Tired Soldiers of the Modern Age

Thomas Mann once said, “Only the exhaustive is truly interesting.” That may be so, but exhaustive things don’t have to be exhausting.

Sounds in the Dark: Two New Late-Night Talk Shows Embody Old-Time Radio in the Digital Age

On a recent Monday afternoon, Dave Perlis and Andy Theodorou were interviewing a 106-year-old Polish parapsychologist named Dr. Alexander Imich in his apartment on the Upper West Side. A soft-spoken man with a wizardly streak of white running through his gray hair, Imich was sitting amidst stacks of New Age magazines (Life Extension, The Fortean Times) and a small pile of cutlery, bent—allegedly—by the gaze of Uri Geller, the famous psychic.

Herzog: (Non)Fiction

Werner Herzog explores the heart’s crevasses more thoroughly than any living director.

DVD Culture

Can't Lose What You Never Had

Charles Burnett shot his first film, Killer of Sheep, during the early seventies in the Watts section of LA, using actors and crew members from the community and a budget under $10,000. Not anticipating a theatrical screening, Burnett chose a soundtrack that included songs by Scott Joplin, Louis Armstrong, Rachmaninoff, Earth, Wind, and Fire and many others, none of which he’d purchased the rights for. It took thirty years and $150,000 before the film could be seen in a theater or on home video.

DVD Culture

What Is It Good For?

“I would tell a filmmaker today to have something to keep them going and to fall back on. Some will make Hollywood films and some won’t be able to get in. However, you can always make films on a certain level. “

DVD Culture

Freedom, Misery, Tenure

Woman Is the Future of Man begins with a reunion between two guy friends, the joy of which lasts for about ten seconds before the onerous complexities of their past relationship start weighing them down. Next thing they’re drunk at a noodle bar, barely restraining their contempt for the other’s lifestyle.

DVD Culture

Thank God I'm an atheist. Two Films by Luis Bunuel.

Though formally quite different, they show Buñuel’s affinity for the grey areas between innocence and sin, and his distaste for the easily psychoanalyzable.

Acting Strangely: A Light Lunch with My Brother

If you’re related to one of the actors, the subject of a play is often beside the point.

Paying for War

On March 18, a photo appeared on the New York Times website of a small white-haired woman in a purple sweatshirt named Ruth Benn, coordinator of the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee (NWTRCC), being forcibly removed from the IRS building in Washington, DC.

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DEC 19-JAN 20

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