Posts Tagged: Features
1

A Night Walking with Dinosaurs

Earlier this month, the Barclays Center was filled with children and animatronic dinosaurs. Both of them made a lot of noise. "Walking With Dinosaurs" was an approximately two-hour long show, hosted by a man with an Australian accent in a leather duster who claimed to be a paleontologist. His name was Huxley, and he invited us to join him on a journey through time, "to see how far dusting off a few old bones can take us."

There were no bones, but the kids in the audience didn’t care. "That dinosaur is pretty big," observed the young man next to me. "Are they gonna fight?" he asked his [...]

5

The Brooklyn Prophesy

I never thought I'd shake Questlove’s hand.

It was at the book release party for Bradley Spinelli’s novel Killing Williamsburg at Trash, a bar in Williamsburg, where Questlove was DJing. Spinelli had simply walked up to Brooklyn’s most famous alternative hip-hop star at his own book signing and asked; Spinelli mentioned that his novel was launching on World Suicide Prevention Day, and as Questlove scribbled his thousandth autograph of the day, Spinelli listed some of the great pop musicians who had committed suicide. Questlove rattled off some more as the people standing in line shifted uncomfortably from foot to foot and rolled their eyes. Half an hour [...]

3

The Uniform Outfit

The short black sleeves on Alex Pappas’s jersey were offset by a triptych of white and orange lines near the shoulder. "Yaquis de Obregon" was splashed across the front in a slanted, stylized font, the dark letters bordered in orange. Pappas told the small crowd around the table about how he had hopped the border to get the jersey, which represents a team from a Mexican winter baseball league. The kid next to him, Mike Engle, wore the blue and red of the Montreal Canadiens and offered a tamer story: He’d merely custom-ordered his clothes to look like those of the team’s mascot, and replaced the usual numbers with an [...]

8

Are You Useful to Anyone?

Pitchfork Reviews Reviews was a Tumblr that launched in 2010. It, as one might expect, reviewed Pitchfork album reviews in a piercingly strange and touching voice—flat, declarative, obsessive, a bit breathless—that made it wildly compelling. But Pitchfork Reviews Reviews was only partly about Pitchfork reviews. The true subject of the blog was the anonymous young man who wrote it—his insecurities, his fears, and his triumphs of experience and understanding as he made his way through the various milieus of New York. It was weirdly elegant, tender and funny because of the author's willingness to share uncomfortable details about his own life.

The deceptively banal confessional tone had a charm [...]

4

A Subtlety of 'A Subtlety'

Last week, I went with a friend to see A Subtlety: or the Marvelous Sugar Baby: an Homage to the unpaid and overworked Artisans who have refined our Sweet tastes from the cane fields to the Kitchens of the New World on the Occasion of the demolition of the Domino Sugar Refining Plant, the installation by Kara Walker that will close after this weekend, following an eight-week run. When we left, I asked my friend what he thought. “Well, it’s all over Instagram,” he said. “So it’s pretty much what I expected.”

Reviews of Walker’s installation have tended to focus on a few themes: Gender and sexuality is [...]

4

How to Be a Black Country Star

The Statler Brothers were a gospel band most famous for the years they spent as Johnny Cash's backup singers and opening act. In 1979, they released a song called "How to Be a Country Star." "There's questions," it began, "we're always hearing everywhere we go: like how do I cut a record or get on a country show?"

Their comical answer was a rambling list of what today we'd call shout outs: "learn to sing like Waylon or pick like Jerry Reed," "put a cry in your voice like Haggard," and "get a hip band like Willie." On and on the song goes, naming more names than a teacher [...]

4

Premaking 'Transformers 4,' the Blockbusterest Film of Our Age

On Friday, Michael Bay will give us another 164 minutes of 3D-IMAX robots riding robots riding robots as they blow shit up in America—Detroit and Chicago—and China—also Detroit, actually—while Mark Wahlberg has to grapple with the fact his name is Cade Yeager. A fete of more than just Bay's extraordinary vision for setting General Motors vehicles and American military hardware against perfectly golden sunlight shining over a canyon as they race from one Optimus Prime death scene to the next, Transformers 4: The Age of Extinction is both the nexus and the prototype of a new kind of cinema-industrial complex that spans from Hollywood to Beijing.

That's the focus [...]

2

Space Invaders

Tourists are freaks. (For context: I work in Times Square.) Tourists are unnatural to the environment into which they insert themselves; they walk funny; they talk wrong. David Foster Wallace wrote (in a footnote) that to be a tourist “is to spoil, by way of sheer ontology, the very unspoiledness you are there to experience. It is to impose yourself on places that in all noneconomic ways would be better, realer, without you.” Something similar might also be said of journalists, who also insert themselves awkwardly on someone else’s turf. But the journalist, if we’re being high-minded about it, serves some civic or artistic purpose; the presence of the tourist [...]

34

Ask Polly: You Are Not Uniquely Fucked

Hi Polly,

I’m 29 and have been through an enormous amount of shit that is both situation-specific and universal; I am not unproud that I’ve made it this far, considering. I’m in therapy and have been off and on since I was eight, looking for a way to beat back some severe depression and find good reasons to keep doing normal people things that actually feel excruciating. I’m on some meds now that make me not feel like I’m walking around without any skin, but I know that’s just about getting level and now I’ve got actual work to do. I just have no idea where to go or what to do [...]

0

Death of a Mr. Dream

The first Mr. Dream show was on Halloween night, 2008 in a New York City apartment. Adam Moerder, Matt Morello, and Nick Sylvester dressed up as Dhalsim from Street Fighter, Daniel Day-Lewis and “the Karate Kid [after] letting himself go (concept costume),” respectively, and played to a room that included “two furious girls who kept trying to dance and failing, since you can't really dance to a band that sounds like Nirvana, or the Wipers.” Over the next five years the band would go on to release a few EPs and an LP; tour with Archers of Loaf, Sleigh Bells, CSS, and Cloud Nothings; and sing in the [...]

3

The Beauty of a Pissing Contest

People drop things on the Internet and run all the time. So we have to ask. In this edition, writer Cat Ferguson tells us more about a weeklong pissing contest she undertook with her roommates.

i told my roommates about this study and now they're measuring how long it takes them to pee http://t.co/XaLLEnn7Hp pic.twitter.com/MtliELwqEQ

— cat ferguson (@biocuriosity) June 25, 2014

Cat! So what happened here?

I just moved back to New York City after moving away in 2010 for school. I’m subletting in a loft where I don’t have walls or a door, which is a little terrifying and weird, especially [...]

18

Ask Polly: I Had a Stillbirth and My Husband Totally Lacked Empathy

Dear Polly,

I think my husband is spineless, selfish, and prioritizes his convenience over my emotions. 

Background: My husband is from another country. We visit for a month or so every summer, when he catches up with friends and family. I am cool with this. (I do wish he might also, I dunno, set some time aside for his *wife* during our only vacation time, but that's another letter). However, he has this one friend whom I would actually happily feed to rodents of an unusual size.

I had a stillbirth almost five years ago. It took a year to figure out what the problem was, during which I had two more miscarriages. They diagnosed [...]

6

Dov Hates Dust: When the CEO Comes to Town

I used to work at American Apparel, the one in Williamsburg. Internally, it’s called NY5. Every so often a mid-morning, brunch-faring couple would ask how business was going.

Business was bad. So bad that I’m almost wondering why American Apparel continues to exist. According to the Los Angeles Times, it’s lost nearly $270 million over the last four years; in the process, it’s accumulated more than $200 million in debt.

But I’d shrug, and mention one of our two-for-one sales. We always had two-for-one sales. Eventually they became three-for-two sales, but it’s less sing-songy; as you can imagine, it didn’t catch on.

When I started [...]

13

The Case for Drunk Texting Mom

People drop things on the Internet and run all the time. So we have to ask. In this edition, VanityFair.com critic and columnist Richard Lawson tells us more about the horrors of accidentally sending the wrong text message to your mom.

Cool beans. Sent my mom a text about Fire Island plans that was meant for a friend. So I'm committing seppuku now

— Richard Lawson (@rilaws) June 17, 2014

Richard! So what happened here?

I was coming home from a staff drinks kind of a thing and was juggling several text message conversations, one with my mom who just visited me and my sister [...]

3

The Book I Didn't Write

I didn’t write the book because the thought of it made me feel vaguely ill at all times. Even when I wasn’t thinking about it directly I was thinking about it. None of the thoughts were good.

I didn’t write the book because it was a book about betrayal that could only be facilitated by my betrayal of other people, many of whom had already been betrayed. This wouldn’t have been a clever metatextual commentary on the nature of betrayal; it would have just been really quite mean of me, and sad.

I didn’t write the book because I thought that in the end it would not [...]

1

The Pull

I interviewed Saul in 2011 for a project about sex addiction that never came to fruition, at least in the form I had originally envisioned. A sixty-something native of Bensonhurst, he had the most delicious speaking voice, which I dare describe as a potion of equal parts Jewish, gay, and old-school Brooklyn. But it was his untapped authorial voice that moved me to develop our conversation into a monologue, unburdened by an interviewer's questions, and strung together into a reflection on the intersection of sexuality, religion, and identity in the 1960s and 70s.

I didn’t have sex until I was already out of college, and was a social worker. I [...]

26

Ask Polly: My Boyfriend Thinks I'm Clingy and This Terrifies Me

Dear Polly,

I’m writing with a deceptively simple question. How can I be vulnerable? Some pertinent background: I’m an academic, working in a field that requires me to live in very remote places for extended periods of time. I find my work incredibly engaging and rewarding, and I know I’m lucky in this regard. Still, the life of an academic (particularly a traveling academic) is often isolating. I don’t have a place to call home. My family is deeply dysfunctional; although I love my parents and siblings, our relationships are fraught and I have never felt unconditionally loved by my parents. I was diagnosed as a child with OCD, and [...]

2

A Novel for the End of the (Publishing) World

Edan Lepucki’s novel, California, will launch next week as one of the most pre-ordered debuts in the history of the publisher Little, Brown. It has become, in recent weeks, an unintentional emblem of the war that Amazon is currently waging on Little, Brown’s parent company, Hachette, as the focus of a campaign by Stephen Colbert to “not lick [Amazon’s] monopoly boot” by pre-ordering it from independent bookstores. In some ways, it’s a fitting choice, since it tells the story of a couple, Frida and Cal, making their way in the world after the collapse of society as we know it. But it’s about much more—love, marriage, [...]

2

Against 'Alan'

People drop things on the Internet and run all the time. So we have to ask. In this edition, writer Alan Hanson tells us more about why the name Alan is terrible.

my dad is getting mad at me for shitting on his middle name pic.twitter.com/7DMAgcPOXm

— Swizz Keats (@iluvbutts247) June 9, 2014

Alan! So what happened here?

I was on my lunch break and texting my dad when that thought crossed my mind, definitely not for the first time. My dad’s name is Kirby Alan Hanson, so that’s where my name comes from, and I’m pretty sure there isn’t any deeper connection to [...]

0

A Morning in Isla Vista

I don’t remember much about that first time I drove through Isla Vista, except that it wasn’t what I had expected. Our parents told us that it had a higher rate of STDs than anywhere else in the country, and that it accounted for one percent of all alcohol consumed in the U.S. Isla Vista, just a dozen exits north on the 101—a shorthand for danger and debauchery. But it was just beachy and grimy, pleasant and closer to whatever I imagined the real world was supposed to be like. There were palms and eucalyptus trees, and I saw a passed out man face down on a beat-up couch [...]