Archive for the 'good stuff online' Category

Good stuff online: Lincoln Center Theater Review’s OSLO issue

June 16, 2017

Lincoln Center Theater’s in-house journal, LCT Review, consistently assembles high-quality interviews, excerpts, and tangential background information to illuminate the plays that the theater produces. The issue devoted to J. T. Rogers’s Oslo, which just won the Tony Award for best play of the season, is an especially good example.¬†You can pick up a copy of the journal in the lobby of Lincoln Center Theater (you can toss in a “suggested donation” if you like) or read it online here.

The play dramatizes the real-life story of two Norwegian diplomats who stage-managed the secret negotiations between Israel and Palestine that led to the Oslo Accords — a brief, probably never-to-be-repeated moment of international diplomacy that led to a famous handshake between Yitzhak Rabin and Yasir Arafat in 1990. The play builds to that shining moment of hope, and the audience is left both with a feeling of joy at the sense of possibility and a sinking feeling of hopelessness, because we know that we are no closer than ever to seeing a resolution of the long-standing conflict between Israel and Palestine.

The journal goes way beyond duplicating the themes and facts of the play but surrounds it with alternate perspectives. “You in the Wrong Place,” a beautiful piece of writing by Naama Goldstein, captures tiny moments of the author’s journey through uncomfortable shifts in her identities as both Israeli and outsider. Raja Shehadeh’s “The Peace That Ended Peace” arms Oslo audiences with a grain of salt with which to measure the sweet conclusion at which the play arrives. Milbry Polk’s “The Love of Desert Lands” introduces Gertrude Bell, the extraordinary British woman who helped organize the Arab revolt against the Ottoman Turks, sometimes called the Mother of Iraq. And Chris Voss’s “The Art of Negotiation” offers practical advice useful not just for international hostage crises but for everyday life:

“Whether it’s in the office or around the family dinner table, don’t avoid honest, clear conflict. Engaging in it will get you the best car price, the higher salary, and the largest donation. It will also save your marriage, your friendship, and your family. One can be an exceptional negotiator, and a great person, only by both listening and speaking clearly and empathetically, by treating one’s counterparts — and oneself — with dignity and respect, and, most of all, by being honest about what one wants and what one can — and cannot — do. Every negotiation, every conversation, every moment of life is a series of small conflicts that, managed well, can rise to creative beauty. Embrace them.”


Good stuff online: John Leland on Gloria Steinem

October 10, 2016

John Leland is an excellent reporter for the New York Times who has made it his beat to write about the wise old heads of this big weird city, both the famous ones and the ones you’ve never heard of. He’s currently working on a series called “Lions of New York,” and Sunday saw the publication of “Showgirls, Pastrami, and Candor,” his walk-about profile (beautifully written, as ever, and full of tiny surprising details) of Gloria Steinem, who is one of the people I admire most in the world. Bravo! (The portrait is by Caitlin Ochs.)



Good stuff online: New York Magazine October 3-16 issue

October 5, 2016

The latest issue of New York magazine is a conceptual triumph, worth seeking out and reading in toto. The concept: “Hope, And What Came After.” It’s an oral history of the last eight years, centered on a fascinating multi-part interview with President Obama conducted by Jonathan Chait. It touches a lot of obvious bases and some not-so-obvious landmarks.

My personal favorite photo:


My personal favorite Quote of the day, Andrew Sullivan on “Is This What Unites Us?”:

“Support for [legalized marijuana and gay marriage] transcended the usual demographic polarities. Marijuana use is the rare cultural phenomenon that unites urban blacks and southern whites, western hippies and southern good ol’ boys. And with gays, every family, red and blues, turns out to have them. And so sodomy and stoners did what Obama couldn’t all by himself. They helped create the pragmatic, constructive fusion that faltered in almost every other way and on almost every other issue.”

Good Stuff Online: interview with Ryan Bahr, amputee camp counselor

August 7, 2016

I was surprised, delighted, and moved to learn that there are summer camps for kids who are amputees (or have some other kind of “limb difference”). I came across this regular column by Jordan Floyd called “5 Spot: Random Questions, Surprising Answers” in the Salt Lake City Weekly, Utah’s independent newspaper, during a recent whistle-stop in that city. The column asked five questions of Ryan Bahr (below), a 21-year-old medical student who recently spent his summer as a counselor at the Amputee Coalition’s Paddy Rossbach Youth Camp in Ohio, which is designed, as the column says:

to help young amputees feel like any kid should: normal and accepted. The decision to help children who face similar struggles as Bahr seems to be an easy one for him. Perhaps, just as easy as the decision to amputate his right foot, which he made by simply saying, “Get rid of it.”

You can read the whole interview online here.

ryan bahr

Good Stuff Online: Eve Ensler on gender diversity and THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES

November 16, 2015

Playwright and activist Eve Ensler has long been a courageous and articulate advocate for the rights of women facing oppression and physical violence from every direction. Recently, there has been some brouhaha generated by students at Mount Holyoke College who have objected to Ensler’s play The Vagina Monologues on the grounds that it fails to affirm transgender experience. Ensler has responded with an essay published on Time magazine’s website, of all places. In it, Ensler models with exceptional grace the art of responding to criticism with engagement, intelligence, respect, and not a shred of defensiveness. Check it out here and let me know what you think.


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