Looking back 3: ‘The United States of Arugula’

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(From Sept. 2006:) The story of how America went restaurant and gourmet food crazy over the past 40 years is told with great page-turning style by Vanity Fair contributing editor David Kamp in his wonderful book “The United States of Arugula: How We Became a Gourmet Nation” (Broadway Books). “The United States of Arugula” shows us […] [Read More]
Categories: General

Looking back 2: Street fashion in Tokyo

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(From 2007:) Part travelogue, part fashion study, “The Tokyo Look Book” (Kodansha) is one of the most entertaining tomes of the fall — it is quite spectacular to look at and informative on levels that few fashion books approach. Like that wonderful regular street fashion feature done by veteran New York Times photographer Bill Cunningham, […] [Read More]
Categories: General

Looking back 1: A Man in Full

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(Your faithful blogger is off recharging his cultural batteries until Dec. 1. In the meantime, I thought it would be fun to re-examine some of the most interesting books from the four years of “Joe’s View.” First up, a terrific biography from 2008 now available in paperback.) Biographies tend to fall into one of two categories — trashy […] [Read More]
Categories: General

Filling in the ‘Every Little Step’ gaps

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I enjoyed the documentary “Every Little Step” when it opened in theaters last spring, but I was very disappointed by the film’s account of the creation of the original landmark production of “A Chorus Line” in 1975. The movie was subtitled “The Journey of ‘A Chorus Line’” but it devoted more of its 93 minute […] [Read More]
Categories: General

The sheer hell of being a young & famous actor

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You can’t really blame Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart for the unvaryingly annoying magazine and newspaper feature stories (tied in to today’s opening of “New Moon”) that have been burying all of us the past few weeks. The gist of every story I scanned — from Harper’s Bazaar to The New York Times to Vanity […] [Read More]
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Issue 8: from gentrification to “gay marriage and utopia”

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Most magazines and journals have highs and lows, but n + 1 can always be counted on for substantive and provocative reading. The eight issues so far have been keepers. Twice a year, from their offices in Brooklyn, the editors and writers of n + 1 put together a dozen or so essays, reviews and […] [Read More]
Categories: General

‘Set Up’: trust issues & fine dining in Manhattan

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Whenever I read something as entertaining — and as insightful — as “Set Up in Soho” (St. Martin’s Griffin) by Dee Davis, I’m left wondering how many other good books I’ve missed just because they fall into the much maligned “chick lit” genre. The label is condescending and too broad to be of much value. […] [Read More]
Categories: General

‘Antichrist’: arthouse vs. grindhouse

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Writer-director Lars von Trier clearly likes to push emotional buttons almost as much as he loves to make films. For more than a decade now, he has managed to keep “shocking” movie critics and arthouse audiences in a pop cultural scene where you would think everyone has long since been shocked-out. Hard core porn is popping […] [Read More]
Categories: General