People

Sam Hunter, 91, Curator, Art Critic, Founder of Rose Museum

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“Over six decades, Sam Hunter could usually be found at the center of some of the most exciting times for art in New York and beyond. He was an art historian (an authority on 20th-century art), a museum director, a curator, an art critic and an art adviser to museums, corporations and private collectors” – not to mention author or co-author of some 50 books.

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So Zaha Hadid Is Suing The Venerable New York Review of Books. Who Wins Here?

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Hadid may not withdraw her suit since, Reuters says, she sought damages and the closing of the venerable NYRB. Why did she ever file it? The retraction should not have been hard to get; a suit simply extends the damage to her reputation, which, in spite of Filler’s serious error, was principally done by her own flippancy, abetted by the Internet’s facility in sating our lust for “how the mighty have fallen” stories.

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Nerding Out With David Mitchell

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“One of the pleasures of hanging out with Mitchell is that he is, by self-identification, many kinds of nerd – a Star Trek nerd, a Doctor Who nerd, a map nerd, a taxonomy nerd, a tea nerd, a word nerd, and, for good measure, what you might call a nerd nerd: an enthusiast of nerdery of all kinds. At one point in our conversation, he speaks admiringly of sheep nerds.”

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When Lena Dunham Was Always Afraid

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“My parents [were] getting worried. It’s hard enough to have a child, much less a child who demands to inspect our groceries and medicines for evidence that their protective seals have been tampered with.”

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How Bookslut Became A Tarot Card Reader

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Jessa Crispin: “We all tell ourselves stories, as a way to understand and cope with what’s happening. … Stories were my way in. Those figures in the cards became characters and plot points. I would pull one card every morning, and then look for that character or that plot point in my own life. That argument I keep having with my ex, the one that never resolves? Five of swords.”

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Poet Simin Behbahani, 87, The “Lioness Of Iran”

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A two-time Nobel Prize nominee and one of the country’s most revered writers, “she was a fierce feminist who subverted the form of Iran’s traditional ghazals, love poems traditionally written by male admirers to women. Behbahani flipped the ghazals and wrote hers to men. She used them to write about a mother’s anguish over the loss of her son in the Iran-Iraq war and the horrors of stoning women to death.”

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The Other Wagner Great-Granddaughter

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Nike Wagner, Wieland’s daughter, pretty much knew that she’d never lead the Bayreuth Festival once her uncle Wolfgang took over. (The job went to his daughters, Eva and Katharina; Eva is now retiring.) So she’s made her own way as a writer (including a predictably dirt-filled family tell-all) and dramaturg, and now she’s directing the world’s top Beethoven festival.

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Fluttering Passion: Vladimir Nabokov, Lifelong Lepidopterist

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“The pleasures and rewards of literary inspiration are nothing beside the rapture of discovering a new organ under the microscope or an undescribed species on a mountainside in Iran or Peru. It is not improbable that had there been no revolution in Russia, I would have devoted myself entirely to lepidopterology and never written any novels at all.”

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Margaret Atwood Would Totally Fit In At Comic-Con

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“I designed some costume events for these doctors … The male doctor was a kidney surgeon, and he wanted the magic power to immediately implant kidneys in people, so his alter ego was named Kidney Boy, and the female doctor was Dr. Snit, and she had pain issues. And I gave them some little flying kidney helpers, because you have to have helpers. And Dr. Snit got a magic wand with a little halo of Tylenols.”

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The Day I Broke Into James Baldwin’s House On The French Riviera

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“I had been told that it was derelict and vacant; that after Baldwin’s death in 1987 there had been legal disputes about who in fact owned the eighteenth-century Provençal building (Baldwin thought he did). The rusty padlock on the austere gates and the broken buzzer confirmed that the house was unoccupied. I glanced furtively around to check that no one was watching and prepared to scale the wall.”

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What Daniel Radcliffe Really Hates About Press Interviews

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“Frankly, since the age of 20, all of the interviews I’ve done have involved people asking about my impending failure [after all the early success], and how I felt about the possibility of that. … Which is hard to deal with, because a lot of us already have those fears anyway: what if this doesn’t last for ever?; what if I don’t end up working in 10 years? So for other people to then be asking you about those things all the time is like having your innermost fears confirmed by somebody outside of yourself.”

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Paulo Coelho Is King Of The Internet

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“Years before other novelists joined Twitter and Facebook, Mr. Coelho was reaching out to fans on MySpace and, later, putting short videos on YouTube. He has accounts on Instagram, Tumblr, Vimeo, Google+ and Pinterest.” On Twitter and Facebook, he has more followers than Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, Danielle Steel and John Grisham combined.

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Jeff Bridges And The Zen Of An Almond Croissant

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“I love taste, and I love the immediate gratification of flavor and that satisfying swallow you feel all over. But I look at my body and I should say, ‘Is that really the most healthy thing for me?’ Wouldn’t it be great if I stopped eating this and worked out every day? Imperfection and perfection go so hand in hand, and our dark and our light are so intertwined, that by trying to push the darkness or the so-called negative aspects of our life to the side … we are preventing ourselves from the fullness of life.”

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Frans Brüggen, Pioneer Of Period-Instrument Movement, Dead At 79

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The Baroque flute and recorder soloist of choice for many of the pathbreaking recordings by the likes of Nikolaus Harnoncourt and Gustav Leonhardt, Brüggen went on to a busy career conducting both period and mainstream orchestras. In 1981, he founded the Netherlands-based Orchestra of the 18th Century, with which he did hundreds of concerts and dozens of recordings over the next three decades.

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The Best-Selling Identical-Twin Novelists

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Maria Konnikova interviews Austin (Soon I Will Be Invincible) and Lev (The Magicians) Grossman – really, they interview each other – about separating (and not) from each other and from the family business: both parents were writers, the black-sheep sister is a sculptor, and they say they’re “failed non-writers”.

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Lauren Bacall, 89

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“[She] was one of the last surviving major stars of the studio system, which flourished from the silent-movie era to the dawn of the television age. … [Her] husky voice and smoldering onscreen chemistry with her husband Humphrey Bogart made her a defining movie star of the 1940s … Decades later [she] won Tony Awards in the Broadway musicals Applause and Woman of the Year.”

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These Are The Guys Who Put The White Flags Atop The Brooklyn Bridge

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“When the flags appeared, rumors flapped: It was a prank or a grave security breach. But the artists, Mischa Leinkauf and Matthias Wermke, … explained that they only wanted to celebrate ‘the beauty of public space’ and the great American bridge whose German-born engineer, John Roebling, died in 1869 on July 22, the day the white flags appeared.” (They even say the flags were white-on-white stars and stripes.)

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Robin Williams Dead At 63 In Apparent Suicide

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“The Juilliard-trained actor and uncontainably exhibitionist comic who became one of the most dazzling all-around talents in show business … was found dead Aug. 11 at his home in Tiburon, Calif. He was 63 … The cause of death was [apparently] suicide due to asphyxia … His media agent said he had been battling depression.” (includes slide show and video clips)

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The Tragedy Of Robin Williams’s Career

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David Edelstein: “He never found a form that would capture the genius of his stand-up act or his early appearances on The Tonight Show, when his mind worked faster than anyone alive and very possibly dead, when he seemed to be channeling a fleet of circling UFOs containing the galaxy’s best comedy writers.”

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14 Great Robin Williams Moments

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Sure, there are clips from Mork & Mindy, Dead Poets’ Society, Good Will Hunting and Mrs. Doubtfire – but there are also treasures like an old Richard Pryor roast, a 1977 pop-up on Laugh-In, and a phone company commercial.

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