From the sedulous to the surreal in cultural context

Month: April 2015

Independent Bookstore Day 2015

  Every collector knows the probably apocryphal story of the nineteenth-century composer and bibliophile Charles-Valentin Alkan, found dead in an avalanche of his own books, crushed when his shelves upended onto him. Like the sex addict who suffers an aortic catastrophe during coitus, Alkan, at least, died smiling. William Giraldi, “Object Lesson: Why We Need… Read More ›

Is Ponce City Market Renewing Atlanta?

  Atlanta landed a big fish.  Nick Cave, a superstar of the art world, was just here. Cave is Chair of the Fashion Department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago with a rich body of work in performance art, dance and sculpture. As a close friend of  mine who is also chair… Read More ›

The Two Flavors of MAD MEN

  Note: This is light on spoilers for those who are behind on the current (half)season.    Do you remember Season 2 of Mad Men?  Sure you do.  In the sixth episode (“Maidenform”), Don Draper’s Creative team at Sterling Cooper once vainly hatched a campaign for the Playtex bra.  After a night on the town copywriter… Read More ›

ATL in the News: What MoS is Reading, April 15

  As always in the ATL, a lot is happening this month, and there are too many stories to keep up.  This roundup of some intriguing recent local stories might help.     1.  Gwinnett County got the national spotlight for a big political problem: it’s “the most diverse county in the Southeast,” but its elected… Read More ›

LOVETOWN: Welcome (Back) to Asheville

April: an auspicious moment for a sojourn to Asheville, North Carolina, the “Sweet Cesspool of Sin.”  A homecoming of sorts, a return to the scene of previous stories about the tyranny of choice confronted by the AVL’s pleasure-and-inspiration seeking visitors and the national media’s interest in the Appalachian “Beer City USA.”  Also a return to a lovely Airbnb… Read More ›

MAD MEN’s Ken Cosgrove: A New Biography

Ken Cosgrove and Mad Men have always gone together.  In the very first episode of the series, Ken (played by Aaron Staton) makes his mark, exemplifying the sexism and sexual harassment rampant at the 1960 version of Sterling Cooper.  After crudely hitting on Peggy Olsen (not for the last time), Ken confidently justifies his behavior to… Read More ›

“Rejoice”: Readers, Books, and an End to Literary Sexism

  For a great writer, Jonathan Franzen has certainly distinguished himself as a scold.  A conservationist, Franzen’s recent essay in The New Yorker stirred controversy for seeming to reproach those who concentrate on climate change.  Hostile to Twitter, Franzen is also no friend of genre writing: Most of what people read, if you go to the… Read More ›

WOLF HALL and the Madness of Power

“The fate of peoples is made like this, two men in small rooms. Forget the coronations, the conclaves of cardinals, the pomp and processions. This is how the world changes: a counter pushed across a table, a pen stroke that alters the force of a phrase, a woman’s sigh as she passes and leaves on… Read More ›

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