In this week’s New Yorker

October 23, 2011

The central feature is a long, absorbing profile by Ken Auletta of Jill Abramson (above, photographed by Mary Ellen Mark), the first female executive editor of the New York Times. I admire her and wish her well, and the article told me lots of things I didn’t know. (Among other things, she’s exactly my age and was at Harvard while I was at Boston University.)

David Sedaris’s “Personal History” piece about his travails as a boyhood swimmer and his unsuccessful attempts to ever get his father’s approving attention is funny and stinging, typical for Sedaris. (And if you’re a subscriber, you can hear him read the piece aloud on your app.) And John Lahr’s review of The Mountaintop and We Live Here  served the purpose of confirming my suspicions and convincing me that I don’t need to see those plays.


I also appreciated this “Critic’s Notebook” by Joan Acocella, brief enough to quote in full:

“Press releases and reviews are always telling us how our savviest artists ‘deconstruct’ the things of the past: take them apart and reveal their wrong, wrong assumptions. In fact, when today’s artists do adaptations of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ or Martha Graham, it’s usually not because they scorn those old favorites but because they cherish them. Modernism was a harsh, puritanical movement. Times have changed, under postmodernism. Actually,w e should probably thank something more specific, the gay art movement of the nineteen-sixties forward. In a world blasted beige by modernism, Charles Ludlam, John Waters, and Jack Smith gave magenta back to us. But all reforms get absorbed, and John Kelly is a product of such synthesis. His 1988 dance-theatre work ‘Find My Way Home,’ which will be revived at New York Live Arts Oct. 21-29, is a modern take on Gluck’s ‘Orfeo ed Euridice.’ There is no ‘deconstruction’ here: no knowing-better. The piece is a tribute to Gluck, and a serious essay on how it is to lose the thing you loved.”

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