The perfect encapsulation of Galaxie 500 appears rather late in Temperature’s Rising, a brief but intriguing scrapbook and oral history about the band. A college classmate of theirs explains, “Their album covers made a statement. Cool Restraint. Educated. Upper Class. Lots of Social Contacts.” This frames them in a way few musicians would aspire to be framed. From one perspective, it could even be taken as a devastating bon mot. First of all it’s about their album art, not their music. Second,
On entering a major Nigerian city, you’re likely to encounter some aged signage that welcomes you to the city and encourages you to enjoy yourself. For example, in Calabar, the welcome sign reads, “Welcome to Calabar. Come And Live And Be At Rest.” But in Lagos—Nigeria’s most populous city and its former capital—you get simply, “This Is Lagos.” The subtext is clear: This is a no-nonsense city. Lagos will not coddle you or gush mushy endearments. A common expression here is “
Whenever I sit down to write about a place that’s become very familiar, my first impulse is to imagine it in the strangest way possible. I try to take in its mood, faces, and streets as if for the first time, and then give them a darker, more obscure, slant. For my new novel Asunder, I aimed to do this above all for the sections set in Paris, a city I’ve been visiting since childhood. This time I went to the city in search of the old “drafts and currents” that still blow through the streets,
Learning Cairo’s thousand-year history was a requirement at my alma mater, and it was usually taught with a resigned sigh, as if to admit, Al-Qahirah, “the city victorious” had always seen better days. Our professors at the American University of Cairo all seemed to mourn a place we would never know—a city of glamour and glory. But the secret of Cairo is that every generation mourns its brighter days, though in truth, more things stay the same than ever change. This might be why every few
Jun 18 2013

The Riot Grrrl Collection

Lisa Darms, Johanna Fateman, Kathleen Hanna, and Sheila Heti

The 1990s punk feminist movement Riot Grrrl has had a resurgence in recent years, in books such as Sara Marcus’s Girls to the Front (Harper Perennial, 2010), films like The Punk Singer, and the establishment of the Riot Grrrl Collection at NYU’s Fales library. The Feminist Press has just published The Riot Grrrl Collection, which presents vivid reproductions of zines, flyers, and other works from the Fales archives. Editor and archivist Lisa Darms recently sat down with The Riot Grrrl Collection
Aesthetics is, at its best and at its origins, a form of hunting. Not only a hunt for the beautiful and the sublime, but also for the ensnarement and identification of subtle experiences, ambivalent impressions, and novel sensations. If beauty and truth represent the big game—the promise of freedom, happiness, and peace on earth—the minor aesthetic categories are smaller, but still significant, quarry. Even in the eighteenth century, in the writing of Edmund Burke and Richard Payne Knight,
Joel Dicker, a 27-year-old Swiss novelist, is the talk of the town in his native city of Geneva. Dicker’s second book, La Vérité sur l’affaire Harry Quebert (ed. Fallois/l’Age d’Homme, Sept. 2012) has won three major literary prizes, including the novelist’s award from the Académie française, and was long-listed last year for France’s Prix Goncourt. At the Frankfurt Book Fair last fall, Harry Quebert was a sensation: one observer compared the buzz surrounding the book to that of Stieg Larsson
At the climax of Mila 18—the late Baltimore-born novelist Leon Uris’s epic retelling of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising—a fat and bumbling SS minion is dispatched to negotiate with the leaders of the Jewish resistance. “So you are a superman,” a Joint Jewish Forces commander sardonically inquires as the Nazi cowers, feeling “inept before the lean, black-eyed young Jew who could obviously rip him to shreds.” Exhaustively researched and sweeping in scope, the beloved 1961 novel contributed
To begin with the most obvious of philosophical questions, What is pornography? The problem of definition is well known and often invoked as part of the argument against the legal repression of pornographic materials. If we decide to censor, the worry goes, what will be the fate of works by artists such as Robert Mapplethorpe and Norman Mailer? What should be done about ad campaigns like those of Victoria’s Secret, which openly draw on soft-core tropes, and American Apparel, which invokes the
Perhaps the most famous single line in Guillaume Apollinaire’s body of work is the opening declaration of his 1912 poem “Zone:” “You’re tired of this old world at last.” “Zone” heralds modernity—with its urban setting, its montage of images (the Eiffel Tower, billboards, a “ghetto clock running backwards”), and its jump cuts through time and space. The poem marks a transition between the lyricism of a prior generation of French verse and changing ways of seeing and imagining
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