In this week’s New Yorker

September 26, 2013

new yorker sept 30 cover
It took me a while to understand Barry Blitt’s cover (“Bad Chemistry”), but I guess I’m one of the last halfway sentient people in New York who has never watched an episode of Breaking Bad.

I found all four of the feature stories absorbing:

* Xan Rice’s “Now Serving,” about a brave Somali who opened a string of restaurants and hotels in Mogadishu and continues to operate despite being attacked by the Shabab, the same band of crazed thugs who shot up the shopping mall in Nairobi this week;

* Josh Eells’s “Night Club Royale,” about the dance nightclub industry in Las Vegas, where certain clubs pull in half a million dollars a night from drinks alone and star DJs get paid astronomical fees;

* I kept telling myself, ugh, I don’t want to read any more details about the distressing/hopeless situation in Syria, and yet the great reporter Dexter Filkins’s piece “The Shadow Commander” tells us about a figure it’s important to know about, Qassem Suleimani, an Iranian operative who has been calling the shots in Iraq and Syria for the last fifteen years;

edie windsor
* Ariel Levy’s “The Perfect Wife,” about how marriage equality activists and lawyers selected Edie Windsor as the case to take to the Supreme Court — and what a wild gal she is, even today.

I read with interest Emily Nussbaum’s essay about “Key and Peele,” a TV comedy show by a team of biracial comedians I’ve never heard of — I definitely plan to check them out. I also liked Cora Frazier’s hilarious Shouts & Murmurs piece, “To The N.S.A.: Some Explanations.”

Still not loving the newly designed Goings On Around Town, though I did admire this illustration accompanying Joan Acocella’s Critic’s Choice about two dance pieces based on Othello:

OTHELLo illo
But the best thing in the entire issue is Ian Frazier’s Talk of the Town piece about Shaina Harrison, a young community activist working hard to educate kids about guns in Red Hook. I liked the piece so much I reproduced it in full here.

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