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John Reed

John Reed is a NYC writer and author:

A Candy-Coated Crime Spree

I gave it a few days. I didn’t want to sound dumb. But there may be no undumb way to write about a Skittle crime spree. Yes, I was guilty. But not of winging a Skittle at a short, fat cop. Actually, the Skittle wasn’t winged out the car window, but more like dribbled by a somewhat fearful perpetrator. It wasn’t even a chewed Skittle. Specifically, it was a sour Skittle, meaning it was dusted with stuff to make you pucker—vitamin C and toxins.


City Council Leader Warren Bradley: “Brouhaha is one of Liverpool’s most colorful, vibrant, and diverse cultural celebrations. To see so many people from so many communities getting involved in activities from dance to costume-making, and from music to carnival parades, really captures what Capital of Culture is all about—creativity, inclusion and participation.

Arthur Phillips Stole My Bike

7:30 a.m. The alarm. Meh meh. Clock radio, but I’m too deaf for music to wake me up; I lost my hearing, or made it go away faster, with 20 years of Judo. I reset the alarm for 7:45 and lie there, in a sand of bliss, knowing that the tide of a long day has just rolled in.

Voter’s Guide for the American Immoderate

Rich people will be taxed till their eyes bleed. We’ll squeeze them dry like sausages.

Judith Vivell

Where John James Audubon looked into the avian eyes of faraway migrations and lands unknown, Judith Vivell looks into the eyes of birds looking back.


One can be anywhere in the world, in Havana, in the American Southwest, and come up with the realization, the impossible realization, that “I’ve been here before.”

Elka Krajewska BOUND: a projected walkthrough by Elka Krajewska, light score by Anthony McCall, sound score by Bunita Marcus

In the American experience, scale is all. A big land to conquer. Big dreams to tear out of the world. Big egos, big defeats, big victories. Beyond the American spectrum, scale will more often flitter beyond the spotlight; a thought, an instinct, a budget. Within America, the inclination is to weigh scale—the big novel, the huge public-works installation—as the very soul of the endeavor.

The Anti-Matter of George Orwell

George Orwell matters because he not only coined the term "Cold War," but because he’s been the champion of Cold War propaganda since 1947. Of course, despite his title, Christopher Hitchens won’t tell you that. Indeed, he makes no effort to address the question of Why Orwell Matters. More in keeping with his trajectory is the United Kingdom title, Orwell’s Victory, the imperialist boast of which Hitchens was right to suspect might not play too well in the United States.


No artist is solely responsible for a work of art. Every creative work relies on cultural history, collaboration, and the creative contribution of its audience. Harold Bloom, in declining health, is the subject of discussion these days. Not always a fond subject.

In Conversation

Frederic Tuten with John Reed

I met Frederic Tuten at the diner we only managed to identify as, “that place a block down from the Strand,” where we talked about his essays, his short stories, and his five novels and his interest in the visual arts.

Life Imitating Art

We look at art in context, but what about people?

Regarding the Pain of Others

In a media environment where all images are apportioned to partisan arguments— unreasonable and unthinking—Susan Sontag’s mission to resume a more considered meditation on photography is a noble one.

Harry Mathews's The Solitary Twin

During the years I was pursuing my graduate degree in creative writing at Columbia University, Harry Mathews was a beloved mentor, and in the years since, as I’ve been faculty at The New School graduate writing program, he has been not only a mentor, but a colleague and a friend.

In Conversation

Karen Liebreich with John Reed

In 1646, the Piarist Order, which had introduced education to the masses—and not only an education in Latin but also an education in basic reading and arithmetic—was disbanded by Pope Innocent X.

In Conversation

PAUL AUSTER with John Reed

Paul Auster’s 10 novels include, most recently, The Book of Illusions, which comes out in paperback from Picador this August. He has also written several books of poetry, as well as screenplays including Smoke and Blue in the Face (both 1995).

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.

In Conversation

All The Presidents as Men—Stephen Graubard

Has the U.S. presidency had a consistent reaction to disasters and human suffering around the world?

Paul’s Ostiary

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.


Blank, Davis Schneiderman, performances mime and "qua book or qua gesture."

Review: Dallam-Dougou’s New Destiny (Jumbie Records)

In 2003, Raul Rothblatt, a Brooklyn-based composer active in musical theater, Hungarian folk, and world music, made a pilgrimage to see the Sosso Bala, an eight-hundred-year-old xylophone that once belonged to Sundiata, the greatest emperor in West African history.


The next morning, I had a black eye, and I didn't remember how I got it. Alfred Jarry’s absurdist satire Ubu Roi and the art punk songs of the cult experimental band Pere Ubu come crashing together in Ubu Sings Ubu, replete with a Live Band! Dancing Girls! And Five Dollar Drinks!  Tony Torn and Julie Atlas Muz prance, terrify, and delight audiences as Pa and Ma Ubu, and Dan Safer's rollicking co-direction and choreography make for a whiplash theatrical experience.  Recently, I tempted Dan and Tony out for drinks, two orders of mussels, and an interview.

Shitty Mickey

Recently, I was afforded the opportunity of interviewing Mickey Mouse at his Chelsea art complex. In a spartan loft of 6,000 square feet, the Marlon Brando of the mouse world sat in a warm buttermilk bath and sipped papaya smoothies (evidently excellent for the bowels) while we discussed his most recent body of work, which surrounded us.

excerpt: The Whole

He pushed his shovel into the sand, and edged it out—full. He emptied the load into the sandbox—a six-by-six foot hole that his father had dug and bordered with wood, and filled with sand purchased from Home Depot.

An Excerpt from John Reed's New Book: All the World's a Grave

ACT IV STARRING HAMLET (As the prince of Bohemia) JULIET (As the princess of Aquitaine) IAGO (As Lieutenant to the Prince) KING MACBETH (As Love to the Queen)

Shitty Micky

Shitty Mickey and the whole gang wish you a Very Happy Holiday in this yuletide extravaganza, XXX-MAS!

Michael Row the Boat Ashore

Once upon a time, when I looked at the sky, I saw will. Today, the sky is the disappointments of my ancestors, as many lives as they had, as far as the eye can see.

Shitty Mickey

The Black Rabbit, a little known writer and journalist, interviews Mickey Mouse on the subject of his new series of paintings "The Crapper Is Dapper." (The artist's fecal matter, canvas, is the primary medium.) The interview is interrupted by the financial crisis of October 2008, when Mickey fields a phone call from President Bush. Mickey, facing insolvency, threatens to influence the November election...

Shitty Mickey

Sarah Palin with her boob job! Talk of a wine bar! And free plastic surgery for every man, woman and child in the United States! Tune in to the ongoing saga of Shitty Mickey! You’re gonna crap!

Shitty Mickey

Financial Collapse of October 2008. Mickey wants his money back, but—despite the threats—President G.W. Bush hangs up on him. But what’s this? A call from Vice? The Vice President, that is...

Shitty Mickey

Mickey, Britney Spears, Sarah Palin and the Mystery Blonde take refuge at Netherland, while they wait for their royalty checks to make them rich again.

Shitty Micky

Season Two Continues! A shocking turn! Pinocchio B! And the death scenes! Sickening real life photos of the last moments of Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, and Michael Jackson!


John Reed is the author of A Still Small Voice, The Whole, Snowball's Chance, All The World's A Grave: A New Play By William Shakespeare, and Tales of Woe (MTV Press).


The Brooklyn Rail

SEPT 2023

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