Posts Tagged ‘ken auletta’

In this week’s New Yorker

December 6, 2012

new yorker dec 10 steinberg cover
Three fine long stories:

* the great art writer Calvin Tomkins’ profile of Laurie Simmons, not skirting her complicated relationship with her now-famous daughter, Lena Dunham (of Girls fame);

* Rachel Aviv’s fascinating and extremely informative article on gay teens in New York City, “Netherland,” mostly following a young lesbian from central Florida named Samantha; and

* “The Heiress,” Ken Auletta’s in-depth report on Elizabeth Murdoch, daughter of Rupert, who is married to someone from another famous family (Matthew Freud, great-grandson of you-know-who). A passage I liked “Rupert Murdoch, who is eighty-one, abhors the gossip about his successor. Like Charles de Gaulle, he cannot imagine death knocking on his door. He maintains a careful diet, works out with a trainer, and reminds people that his mother, Dame Elisabeth, is a hundred and three years old. ‘When the Queen Mum died, at one hundred and one,’ Roger Ailes recalls, ‘I said to Rupert, “She had a good run.”‘ Murdoch replied, ‘I’d call it an early death.’ ”

Plus some amazing images in the arts listings and an extra-good cartoon:

illo of experimental pop band Black Moth Super Rainbow by Daniel Krall

illo of experimental pop band Black Moth Super Rainbow by Daniel Krall

instagram cartoon fosso                                    Samuel Fosso’s photo “Le Chef Qui A Vendu l’Afrique aux Colons”

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.”

In this week’s New Yorker

July 6, 2011

The article that most grabbed me was “A Woman’s Place,” Ken Auletta’s profile of Sheryl Sandberg, the chief operating officer of Facebook. It’s a fascinating portrait of a really smart, successful manager (Sandberg is credited for making Facebook financially profitable for the first time) and of a new kind of businesswoman. I love the basic attitude she brings to both women and men, employees and colleagues: “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”

Sandberg is a protege of Larry Summers, her professor when she majored in economics at Harvard. I was struck by this passage: “At her Phi Beta Kappa induction, there were separate ceremonies for men and women. At hers, a woman gave a speech called ‘Feeling Like a Fraud.’ During the talk, Sandberg looked around the room and saw people nodding. ‘I thought it was the best speech I’d ever heard,’ she recalls. ‘I felt like that my whole life.’ At every stage of her time in school, Sandberg thought, I really fooled them. There was ‘zero chance,’ she concluded, that the men in the other room felt the same.” Actually, in my experience, PLENTY of men live with the exact same existential experience, which has even been named “impostor syndrome.”

Speaking of management styles, there’s also this cartoon by Bruce Eric Kaplan:

I haven’t finished Ruth Prawer Jhabvala’s short story, “Aphrodisiac,” but I look forward to it. Something else I look forward to reading is Rob Young’s book Electric Eden, of which there’s a short unsigned review in the New Yorker. It’s a study of the quirky British pop-folkies that proliferated in the late ’60s and early ’70s such as Fairport Convention and the Incredible String Band. Can I just say, though, that this book starts by focusing on Vashti Bunyan, whom historical revisionism has given prominence — but I was around back then and listened avidly to all this music, and I never heard of Bunyan until a few years ago when “freak-folkie” Devendra Banhart cited her as an influence. Clearly, she was around but had nowhere near the profile of people like the late great Sandy Denny. Just sayin’.

I will never watch the movie Transformers: Dark of the Moon, but I loved reading Anthony Lane’s review of it. Among other things, I learned that the cast of this cretinous movie includes John Turturro, Frances McDormand, and John Malkovich, “hardly the first to burnish their status, and please their accountants, by putting a hand to the Transformers plow,” Lane notes. He also says,”The real [Buzz] Aldrin, now eighty-one, shows up int he film, to make nice to Optimus Prime — the toughest and most pompous of the Autobots. These, despite sounding like a new range of self-applying diapers, are well-intentioned metal dunderheads, residing here on Earth, and promising, ‘The day will never come when we forsake this planet and its people.’ Oh, God. Never?”

In this week’s New Yorker

July 2, 2010

Three items of special interest:

  1. Ken Auletta’s report on Afghan media mogul Saad Mohseni
  2. Sarah Shun-lien Bynum’s eerie short story “The Erlking”
  3. Tad Friend’s beautifully written, deeply reported, thoughtful and funny profile of Steve Carell, which is equally much a study of the contemporary genre of improv-heavy film comedies and the Bucket Brigade of writer/performer/director buddies who create them. My favorite passage: “At times, Carell can seem like a brilliant piece of software, a 2.0 fix for the problem of unfunny comedy. Tina Fey says, ‘Steve is like a Pixar creation, a character you know was designed and intended to be endearing and funny — like a cobbler mouse.’ She hastened to add, ‘But with a gigantic penis.'”

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