Last week, The New York Times ran a strange story about Louis C.K., whose comedy walks an artful line between insight and indecency. The piece cited “unsubstantiated internet rumors of his sexual misconduct with female comics.” I call this story strange because of that word–unsubstantiated. Substantiation is the essence of good reporting. You don’t print what you can’t pin down. But at the Times, this standard is changing, at least when it comes to allegations of sexual abuse. Hearsay is permissible, as long as women are doing the saying.
Celeste Dupuy-Spencer has been painting up a storm. The artist told art blogger Brienne Walsh she usually takes 6 months to a year and a half to finish a picture but for “Wild and Blue,” her first solo show in New York (which runs until October 7th at the Marlborough Contemporary Gallery), she only had the summer and the “paintings just got ripped out of me.” More than a few of her pictures hint at hurricane weather. And Dupuy-Spencer, who’s lived in New Orleans (though she’s based in L.A. now), knows from floods of feeling. Pictures like Cajun Navy and Lake Pontchartrain look back to Katrina’s aftermath but are all up in this time of climate change.
Dupuy-Spencer is “painting the news” as one reviewer has written in New Republic, citing her picture of the Confederate monument torn down last month in Durham, which “amounts to a kind of monument to the search for social justice.”
John Ashbery’s death reminded your editor of Philip Levine’s comments on Ashbery’s wit. Not to worry, I’m aware Ashbery and Levine were something other than brothers in verse but bear with me…
Hay sólo dos países: el de los sanos y el de los enfermos/por un tiempo se puede gozar de doble nacionalidad/pero, a la larga, eso no tiene sentido. -Enrique Lihn
A brother-writer has been pumping iron and taking boxing lessons ever since Trump won. He’s Jewish (with a Latin tinge).
An oasis of fascism in a desert of liberalism…
It seems like maybe we could all use a good story about a civil war statue, a good story about an American President, and a good story about the power of the common people against the rich and powerful, so I’m going to start with this one. It’s probably for the best that you’re reading this here because I haven’t managed to tell this story in person without crying.
To which our historically savvy president responds: “Why not the monuments to Washington and Jefferson as well?”
The other week, deep summer, we went to see David Johansen in his persona as Buster Poindexter. For many years now, Johansen, former New York Dolls lead singer and front flounce, has in his cabaret act been one of the great American songbook curators (Jonathan Schwartz wishes), lurking in the brilliant corners of U.S. pop. (Without Johansen I’d never have heard Katie Lee’s late-1950s pop-Freudian homage, Songs of Couch and Consultation, lead song “Shrinker Man.”) At the end of this particular set at City Winery, he called to the stage his wife Mara Hennessey, who announced that she had a particular favorite she’d like David to sing, whereupon she started to intone the line, “that summer feeling, that summer feeling, that summer feeling,” and Johansen took off into the lyrics. It was so haunting! I knew that song! What was it again? When I got home I looked it up and of course: Jonathan Richman’s “That Summer Feeling.” Astonishing song.
Trump knew what he was doing with this “both sides” shit. If you think it’s irreparably damaged his presidency, I humbly suggest you not judge too quickly. Here’s why: That neo-Nazis and white supremacists exist in America has been generally acknowledged for a long time. News reports about them have been popping up for decades; Edward Norton and Ryan Gosling (to name just two) have played skinheads in movies. But almost everyone could see that Charlottesville was different. Nearly everyone wanted to know what accounted for that difference.
A brother-writer has been pumping iron and taking boxing lessons ever since Trump won. He’s Jewish (with a Latin tinge). I’m not. And that’s probably on point. The threat posed by those who chant “Jews Will Not Replace Us” may be more visceral for him than it is for me.
Despite a lot of persiflage to the contrary, Donald Trump is sometimes a remarkably cautious man. Yesterday he was able to see many sides to the controversy down in Charlottesville, and was strikingly careful about inflaming any of them.
In the summer of 1970, at about the time of the release of her novel Play It As It Lays, Joan Didion spent a month driving through the Gulf Coast states with her husband John Gregory Donne hoping to discover a magazine piece to write.
Like a bad Broadway play, the Anthony Scaramucci show closed after only 11 days. But in his brief time as White House communications director, the Mooch gave quite a performance. He announced himself with a string of profanities, duly reproduced in the quality journals, which was a real pleasure.
(Rondeau with a Line by Anthony Scaramucci)
Jay-Z & his mother Gloria Carter rap about her coming out in “Smile”–an exemplary track on 4:44.