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 [...]
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 [...]
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, [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
Braco is a middle-aged Croatian man with long, graying hair and a face permanently molded into a close-lipped smile. His eyes are dark, soft and gooey, like slightly melted Tootsie Rolls, and tens of thousands of people have traveled enormous distances to be caught, if only for a moment, in their field of view.
"Braco does not teach, talk or diagnose to give treatments—he simply gazes in silence and offers his gift to visitors—independent from religion, ideology, race, color and culture," his website states. "Amazing transformations happen, and many find new power, vitality and a zest for life resulting from their experience." His verified Facebook adds, "many report about [...]
If Lana Del Rey were a Tumblr, she would be photos of Elvis, classic cars, movie posters, and vintage paperback covers, broken up by YouTube clips of singers performing string-slathered ballads on decades-old TV shows. Her early self-descriptions—“gangsta Nancy Sinatra,” “Hollywood sadcore”—seem to suggest meaning. But when you think about them too long, they dissolve into nothingness. That vagueness—the hand-waving in the direction of something that once meant something specific, but is now an archetype, hollow and half-obscured by a glow of glamor and nostalgia—is her artistic strategy. And it’s working: Lana Del Rey is appealing because she is a self-curated collage of references and images in which she [...]