Tired of the writerly hustle and bustle of New York City? Give Kansas City a try: “People stay here, or move here, because they have the cultural and financial freedom to try shit; if it doesn’t work, they try again.”
Growing up, Judy Bolton-Fasman watched her mother study Don Quixote, propping the book up on their kitchen counter while studying for her Master’s in Spanish literature. Her mother was a native speaker, but Cervantes was still a tough writer to figure out, especially if you were reading his work while trying to cook dinner in the background. The author looks back on her mother’s education in a Saturday Essay for The Rumpus.
“‘What pleases the PUBLIC is always what’s most banal,’ he wrote to his brother in 1883. But nowadays Van Gogh pleases the public enormously. So has he become banal?” Julian Barnes reflects on Van Gogh’s life and work and how our perception of him has changed over time in a London Review of Books podcast. Interested in contemporary art? Check out our own Bill Morris’s piece on the Whitney Museum.
In conjunction with the new documentary film “The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975” (reviewed by our own Bill Morris last week), New York’s Third Streaming Gallery will be hosting a conversation on the role of art and artists in contemporary cultural activism. The discussion will be held tonight at 7pm, and it will include Rico Gaston, Jacqueline Hoang Nguyen, Donna Murch, and Minkah Makalani.
The Takeaway hosted two ambitious author panels at last month’s Miami Book Fair International. The first panel covered “love,” and featured Millions contributor Christopher Beha alongside Jami Attenberg and three others. The second panel focused on “death,” and it featured writers and literary figures as well as Benjamin Busch, an Iraq War veteran.
Over at Salon, Matt Zoller Seitz talks about his new book Mad Men Carousel and why audiences felt such a profound attachment to the protagonists. Despite their flaws, Seitz argues that it is the consistency in their behavior that endeared us to characters like Don and Betty, literal misfits though they were. Still having trouble admitting the show is over? This may help.
David Bowie hasn’t performed live in seven years, but he has a good excuse — he’s been reading. His top 100 books are part of the “David Bowie Is” traveling exhibition (currently in Toronto.) The list reveals that he’s a big fan of American lit, including Michael Chabon’s Wonder Boys, Saul Bellow’s Herzog, James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time, and more. He’s also an amateur rock historian, naming Charlie Gillete’s The Sound of the City: The Rise of Rock and Roll and Peter Guralnick’s Sweet Soul Music: Rhythm and Blues and the Southern Dream of Freedom among others. When can we sign up for the class, Professor Bowie?