Browsing: Americana

May – June, 2012

John Waters caricature
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IF ANYONE, anywhere, doubted that John Waters was a great talker, this new anthology of interviews will put these doubts to rest. In John Waters: Interviews, editor James Egan has done an admirable job of collecting interviews that span the length of the filmmaker’s delightfully otherworldly career.

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Reviews of Beatitude by Larry Closs, History of a Pleasure Seeker by Richard Mason, and In the Company of Strangers: Family and Narrative in Dickens, Conan Doyle, Joyce, and Proust by Barry McCrea.

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BORN IN AN ERA when lesbianism was considered deviant and unmentionable, Jane Rule grew up to write books in which same-sex love was portrayed as sane, nurturing, and entirely normal.

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IF YOU’RE READING this magazine, then you’ve probably danced to the music of Nile Rodgers at some point in your life, and probably more than once. A pioneer of the disco era and co-founder of the powerhouse R&B/dance group Chic, Rodgers created some of the most memorable club hits of the late 1970’s …

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The Black Cat Bar
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… It’s just a few minutes before midnight on New Year’s Eve at the Black Cat, and the Rhythm Queens, a trio of black women singers hired for the night, are getting ready for their big number. Suddenly, the jukebox cuts off, and for a brief moment all that can be heard is the tinkle of champagne glasses. …

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AUTHOR JOY LADIN “never much wanted to live.” Born into relative privilege, Ladin had a good childhood, but death always “seemed close.” Ladin remembers thinking that the idea of dying was exciting, while life was not, because he was forced to live in the wrong body, having been born as a boy.

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William Inge caricature
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AS THE 2013 CENTENARY of William Inge’s birth approaches, his plays continue to be produced even as some critics consider his work creaky, dated, and beyond resuscitation. …

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THIS INVENTIVE NOVEL tells two interrelated stories. In the main one, an author named Ben Markovits is traveling around the U.S. and England in pursuit of information about his recently deceased former colleague, Peter Sullivan, whose writings form the secondary narrative. …

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Hamilton and Laurens statue
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PERHAPS no American icon has had more speculation raised (and dismissed) about his sexual orientation than Alexander Hamilton. This controversial Founding Father left behind an abundance of questions after dying a premature death following an ill-fated duel with political rival Aaron Burr. Hamilton’s story is one that cries out for re-examination and that may be ripe for revision. …

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FEBRUARY HOUSE is a wonderful new musical, movingly acted and beautifully sung. Closely based on Sherrill Tippins’ book of the same title, it was first presented at Vassar’s Powerhouse Theater last summer …

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