Moments after hearing about the death of 94-year-old singer and activist Pete Seeger, June Atley, 39, sat on her Chapel Hill, NC porch reminiscing about growing up with 70s-era union rep parents. Pete Seeger—whose five-string banjo twanged out the backdrops to the civil rights, social justice and labor movement—provided the family soundtrack. “I remember sitting in the back of our Volvo station wagon belting out 'Bring ‘Em Home' and 'Wimoweh,'" Atley says. “Pete Seeger was a hero to me, and I’m going to start living in a way that respects that.” Atley works in software marketing, but she’s going to cut back her hours so she can start volunteering at [...]
I've never heard anyone say an ill word about the Berlin Holocaust Memorial! And yet here is a fairly thorough take-down. The title doesn’t say “Holocaust” or “Shoah”; in other words, it doesn’t say anything about who did the murdering or why—there’s nothing along the lines of “by Germany under Hitler’s regime,” and the vagueness is disturbing. Of course, the information is familiar, and few visitors would be unaware of it, but the assumption of this familiarity—the failure to mention it at the country’s main memorial for the Jews killed in the Holocaust—separates the victims from their killers and leaches the moral element from the historical event, shunting [...]
I discovered news of Paul Walker's passing the way we all discover celebrity deaths these days. My friend Rick had posted a filtered picture of a candlelit vigil with the description, “Here’s a shitty photo of the impromptu Paul Walker memorial service at the house that, apparently, the first Fast & Furious movie was shot at in Echo Park. It was weird.” He added a hashtag: #RIPPaulWalker.
My first thought was, “Aww man, Paul Walker was so hot. He’s dead?” Paul Walker! The apex of high school goy fantasies, the chiseled matinee prince of my 90s adolescence. The non-Dawson in “Varsity Blues.” The only man ever who could get away [...]
Did you enter the competition to design the AIDS Memorial Park in the "upper West Village," at what they call "St. Vincent's Triangle"? Did you pay that $50 entry fee, in the hopes to win the big $5000 prize (and, you know, design a park)? Well, you did not win. And neither did anyone else who entered, because Rudin Management, the developers, hated them all, even the rather lovely design chosen by the jury. They will be sticking with their extremely dull own plans. (The memorial has a classic New York history, with lots of angry community board meetings; if you want to dive [...]
Recently I spent a week in Ithaca, where I went to Cornell from 1986-1990, or six hundred million years ago. Not having been there since graduation, I immediately noted a very important difference between my present and former self: namely, I couldn't wait to spend some time in the botanical gardens, toward which I had been largely oblivious as an undergrad.