People

Secrets And Suicide At The 92nd Street Y

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“Sol Adler devoted his life to the 92nd Street Y, courting its billionaires and burnishing its cultural power. But when he brought scandal to its doorstep, the institution kicked him to the curb. And that, his family says, is what killed him.”

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Mike Nichols, 83

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Over a six-decade career as a performer, director and producer, he racked up a Grammy, at least two Emmys, nine Tonys (!), only one Oscar (surprisingly), a National Medal of Arts and the Kennedy Center Honors – and had a profound effect on American theater and film.

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John Cleese Says Comedy Ain’t What It Used To Be Because Audiences Today Don’t Know Anything

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“In my day, anyone who is vaguely educated – in other words, they know where Pakistan was … or that they had a vague idea which century Henry VIII [lived in] – would give you the opportunity for all sorts of humor. … The general feeling is that anything that doesn’t affect you personally is not worth knowing about. … It’s kind of like, ‘Geography? Well, I don’t need to know about that.'”

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Here’s Why Chopin’s Heart Has Just Been Exhumed

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“Chopin’s heart inspires a deep fascination in Poland normally reserved for the relics of saints. For Poles, Chopin’s nostalgic compositions capture the national spirit — and the heart’s fate is seen as intertwined with Poland’s greatest agonies and triumphs over nearly two centuries of foreign occupation, warfare and liberation.”

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Dylan Thomas, The Last Rock-Star Poet

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“Marshall McLuhan hadn’t yet given us the formula, but if Dylan Thomas was the medium, poetry was the message. Already a radio favorite in Britain, he blazed his reputation across 1950s America with a sequence of Led Zeppelin–esque reading tours, multicity road shows in which the dying throb of Romanticism met the incoming crackle of mass communication.”

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The Life Of A Modern-Day Dungeon Master

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That’s as in Dungeons and Dragons, not … anything else. Yes, there are still D&D Dungeonmasters, and they’re by no means all geeky white boys anymore. (This one’s an Asian-American woman.)

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Longtime LA Times Critic Charles Champlin, 88

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“During his 26 years at The Times, Champlin served as the paper’s principal film critic from 1967 through 1980. He then shifted to book reviewing and, with his “Critic at Large” column, offered a more general overview of the arts. He retired in 1991 but continued to contribute to The Times’ daily and Sunday Calendar sections and wrote two books despite becoming legally blind from age-related macular degeneration in 1999.”

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When Professors Refuse To Retire

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“Professors approaching 70 who are still enamored with hanging out with students and colleagues, or even fretting about money, have an ethical obligation to step back and think seriously about quitting. If they do remain on the job, they should at least openly acknowledge they’re doing it mostly for themselves. Of course, there are exceptions.”

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John Leguizamo Tortures His Kids With Black-And-White Movies

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“I bring plenty of adversity into their lives. … I mean, I’m a fun dad, but I’m a tough dad. They have to play a musical instrument while they’re under my roof, they gotta read all the time … I make them watch black-and-white movies, and foreign movies, so they have to read subtitles. … They’re like ‘Why?! Nobody else watches black-and-white movies.’ And silent films! I make ‘em watch silent films. They’re being tortured.”

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Stop Asking Judi Dench When She’ll Retire

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“It drives me absolutely spare when people say: ‘Are you going to retire?’ or: ‘Don’t you think it’s time you put your feet up?’ or tell me my age. I loathe it. I don’t want to be told that I’m too old to do something; I want to try it first and then, if I don’t succeed, then I can be told I can’t do it.”

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Jerry Tallmer, 93, Theater Critic Who Founded The Obie Awards

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The Village Voice was a young paper and Mr. Tallmer its young theatre critic when, in 1955, he decided the burgeoning Off-Broadway scene south of 14th Street merited a practical response outside of weekly reviews. He hatched the idea of the Obie Awards, a downtown answer to the uptown Tonys.” He went on to spend 30 years at The New York Post.

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He Really Was Funny Once (Adam Gopnik On Bob Hope)

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“When I was a teen-ager, I sort of hated Bob Hope. All of us did. … There he was, year after year, on those post-Christmas U.S.O. specials, with shrieking starlets and shirtless soldiers, swinging his golf club like a swagger stick. … America, however, is the country of the eternal appeals court, where judgment, once it has worked its way through the system, has to work its way through it all over again.”

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What It Was Like To Work With Jian Ghomeshi (It Wasn’t Pretty)

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“One day, Ghomeshi would be jovial and generous; the next, cold and dismissive. His chronic lateness kept staff on edge; he kept people waiting for hours. Everyone bridled – at least privately – at his mood swings and his penchant for playing staff against one another. The predominantly female staff found themselves reduced to tears by his tirades. The trauma and unhappiness within the unit was known within CBC … and yet, CBC management never intervened.”

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The Woman Who Explained D.C. To Warhol

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“‘Ina [Ginsburg] interviewed top-level people who weren’t necessarily seeking publicity,’ Bob Colacello, a former editor of Interview, said several years ago. ‘She gave us a gravitas we hadn’t had. Moreover, Andy loved her parties.'”

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Patricia McBride At 72

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“For her part, McBride, a mother of two, now a grandmother of three, says she’s enjoyed the transition from dancer to teacher, though in some ways finds it even more nerve-racking than being on the world’s grand stages as a dancer.”

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Stephen Hawking As You Don’t Know Him (Yet)

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“If Hawking didn’t exist in real life, a canny screenwriter might have invented him: A sly physics genius who slacked his way through life until given a death sentence, an atheist who wooed and won a devout Anglican co-ed as his wife, a prisoner of his own body whose quicksilver mind let him transcend the heavens above: He is a metaphor in waiting, a real-life inspirational hero finally getting his Hollywood close-up.”

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The New Hollywood Assistants (Millennials Breaking The Mold)

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“The image earned by decades of tradition — that of the well-groomed, highly educated automaton living to serve an abusive boss’ every whim in exchange for an invitation into the industry club — has given way to a new breed of assistant: gentler, more self-involved and not necessarily motivated by such time-honored enticements as money, fast cars and power.”

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