Fun, meaningful, even great works that dozens or hundreds of people labored over, that built careers and fortunes and whole industries, become emotionally contaminated to the point where you can’t watch them anymore. Forget the masterpieces that Jeffrey Tambor has been a part of. Louis C.K.’s show Louie helped pave the way for the “Comedy in Theory” genre that includes You’re the Worst, Atlanta, Better Things, Master of None (ahem, Aziz), High Maintenance, Insecure, and many other notable shows. Now, because of the indecent-exposure allegations by Corry and others — allegations C.K. himself confirmed as true — that series has become the Voldemort of recent TV: You dare not speak its name.
The way we view ourselves is distorted, but we do not realize it. As a result, our self-image has surprisingly little to do with our actions. For example, we may be absolutely convinced that we are empathetic and generous but still walk right past a homeless person on a cold day. The reason for this distorted view is quite simple.
“Our story starts with Geno Smith getting punched in the jaw by a teammate, as most good stories about copyright law do.” Justin Peters introduces us to “the scourge of the media industry, the shame of many in the copyright bar, and the salvation of the underpaid photographer” — Richard P. Liebowitz, who, “in the past 2½ years, … has filed more than 600 federal lawsuits on behalf of photographers who believe their copyrights have been infringed by entities that have used their pictures without license or permission. That number averages out to roughly five lawsuits per week.”
I saw how practicing, even when I didn’t want to, led inevitably to progress. That lesson affects everything I do today professionally and personally, because in my adult life I actually got to apply it to something I wanted to do. Obviously, if I had never been made to continue, it may have taken me decades to really learn the value of pushing myself.
“The pair were the cultural beacons of their generation, but their relationship, known in their refined circle, was to remain secret from the public throughout their lives. In his missive, in scrawled and often barely legible handwriting, Proust, then 24, writes: ‘I want you to be here all the time but as a god in disguise, whom no mortal would recognise.'”
“Nor did anyone mind when … he said, ‘What happened to your mother — is she dead?’ to a man named Richard, who wanted a book signed for his father.
‘She is to him,’ Richard said.
Mr. Sedaris drew a little person and gravestone with ‘R.I.P.’ written on it. ‘Here is your father looking at the ashes of his failed marriage,’ he explained.”
“The actress said in a statement: ‘Merely to join the list of distinguished recipients of this award would be honor enough, but, as a student of both American history and literature, the fact that Mr. Twain himself will be presenting the award to me in person is particularly gratifying.'”
“The Flux Divorce” – a famous public ceremony he staged with his wife, artist Nye Ffarrabas, to mark their split – “was just one of many adventurous artworks and art events he created or participated in during a career that also included teaching art at Rutgers University for 47 years. Mr. Hendricks literally looked to the heavens for inspiration for some of his art; he was known for paintings of the sky, which he would render on traditional canvases and assorted other surfaces. (A fellow artist, Dick Higgins, gave him the nickname Cloudsmith.) But, like other Fluxus artists, he went far beyond the boundaries of painting.”
“I am very aware that I make my living with a weird grab bag of skills that probably shouldn’t add up to anything. My primary skill is that I’m a good editor. That’s the main thing I do all week. From the start it was the one thing in journalism I had a natural talent for … an easy command of. I also have a bunch of showbizzy skills that go into packaging material into a program – pacing and flow and humor and emotional arcs. Stuff I learned basically in high school musicals and as a teenaged magician at children’s birthday parties.”
“The big one – the Nobel prize in literature – eluded him, but there can be few American literary careers so richly laurelled, early and late. He was a bestselling writer only once in his career, when Portnoy’s Complaint (1969) sold 420,000 copies in the first 10 weeks after publication.” Roth was, however, embattled throughout his career, known for both his mental health troubles and the constant criticism he received for his relations with women and with Judaism.
“Robert Indiana stands as one of the very few artists in history to make a work of art that got away from its maker and took on an incredible, even improbable, life of its own. His iconic presentation of the word ‘LOVE,’ which he created in 1964, ranks as one of the most popular artworks of the 20th-century — an utter crowd-pleaser that is instantly recognizable to millions, whether rendered as a giant metal sculpture or emblazoned across a T-shirt. Such omnipresence could be the signal achievement for any artist, but Indiana was also one of the cornerstones of the Pop art movement of the 1960s.”
“An actress who combined ravishing beauty with cool sophistication, [Morison] was promoted as the ‘Fire and Ice Girl’ when she landed in Hollywood in the late 1930s. She appeared opposite some of the most popular stars of the era — from Spencer Tracy to Tarzan actor Johnny Weissmuller — but her career stalled from typecasting as a well-coiffed vamp. [She] did not emerge to public recognition until returning to her Broadway roots in 1948 to perform in Cole Porter’s Kiss Me, Kate, which became one of the most popular stage musicals of all time.”
The long-serving archaeologist “was not the first person to see the pottery fragments, nor did he order the partial excavation of the complex, which became a national treasure.” But he was the first one to reassemble the statues from the broken fragments that were first discovered. “Decades later he was still signing his name with a grand title: ‘Zhao Kangmin, the first discoverer, restorer, appreciator, name-giver and excavator of the terra-cotta warriors.'”
A Falstaffian provocateur, Mr. Alsop believed that his visually spectacular projects brightened their landscapes, and that architects had a calling to inspire the public. “Lifting the spirit, whether you’re working in a building or walking past it every day, is the job of the architect,” he told CNN in 2005.
“I’ve been kept alive by music, and I’ve had friends who were kept alive by music. And the thing I know is that when a musician dies at the hands of their own demons, it makes the demons in your life—the ones that the musician helped you understand—seem briefly larger and more menacing. A person inspires you by enduring in the face of insurmountable pain, until they decide not to endure anymore. By virtue of having imagined yourself in the same boat, that death can become a fresh and dark isolation.”
Gold designed the posters for Casablanca, A Streetcar Named Desire, Alien, and thousands more. “Long before poster artists turned to photography and computer-generated images in the 1980s and ’90s, illustrators like Mr. Gold billboarded movies with freehand drawings, based on scripts and first screen prints, that hinted at plots and moods and mysteries, without giving away too much — priming audiences for love, betrayal, jealousy, murder.”
Nora Twomey: The factory “was an incredible training for my imagination. The machinery was very loud so I had to wear earplugs and then headphones on top of the earplugs and I couldn’t talk to anybody. And I’d just make up stories and entertain myself with beginnings, middles and ends in my head for those 12 hours.”
The researchers found that chronic isolation leads to an increase in Tac2 gene expression and the production of NkB throughout the brain. However, administration of a drug that chemically blocks NkB-specific receptors enabled the stressed mice to behave normally, eliminating the negative effects of social isolation. Conversely, artificially increasing Tac2 levels and activating the corresponding neurons in normal, unstressed animals led them to behave like the stressed, isolated animals.
“Pintilie directed plays at the prestigious Bulandra Theater in Bucharest in the ’60s and early 70s. However, his work was censored by the communists and one film was personally banned by Communist leader Nicolae Ceaușescu. … U.S. theatre director Andrei Serban, who was born in Romania, told Pintilie last year: ‘You were the first person to give me the courage right from the start, that with courage and theatre you can do anything.'”
To say that Wolfe’s writing was the poetic refinement of the art of sixties advertising is to say only a good thing about it—Wolfe took the taste for the potent phrase, the loaded short sentence, the startling intervention, even the wild punctuation, of sixties advertising copy, and turned it into a kind of art.
“Richard Gray Gallery opened in 1963 in Chicago, becoming one of the first spaces in the city to show work by some of the day’s most prominent artists, among them Jules Olitski, Morris Louis, Hans Hofmann, Louise Nevelson, and Jim Dine, as well as works by modernists like Fernand Léger, Pablo Picasso, Josef Albers, Milton Avery, and many others. … But Gray’s gallery didn’t only show contemporary art — he also had a passion for work by aboriginal and African artists, antiquities, and prints and drawings.”
“A renowned Russian playwright who wrote a play about the death of anti-corruption lawyer Sergei Magnitsky has been found dead, according to a number of reports from Russia. Elena Gremina, 62, reportedly died just six weeks after the death of her her husband, Mikhail Ugarov, who directed the play, which was called One Hour and Eighteen Minutes. The play revolved around the death of Magnitsky in a Moscow prison cell in 2009 after he exposed a coverup by state officials to embezzle an estimated $230m from the Russian treasury.”
Fintan O’Toole: “[He] didn’t do kitchen-sink drama and he was always a little bit on the outside. But he produced play after play marked by soaring imagination, ferocious honesty, great artistic ambition and unshakable integrity. … What made Murphy such a distinctive, original and restless presence in the theatre of the last six decades was his ability to evade easy categorization, to bring together the intense exploration of private anguish and the epic treatment of history, politics and myth.”
“Lee is suing POW! Entertainment for fraud and conversion, claiming the company and two of its officers conspired to steal his identity, name and likeness in a ‘nefarious scheme’ involving a ‘sham’ sale to a Chinese company. POW! was acquired in 2017 by Hong Kong-based Camsing International, and Lee says POW! CEO Shane Duffy and co-founder Gill Champion didn’t disclose the terms of the deal to him before it closed.”
“It turned out that, among the middle-aged people (those aged 35 to 64), the higher-status participants both had more gray matter and more of this beneficial “segregation” in their brain networks. Both measures are correlated with better memory and are considered protective against dementia and other signs of brain aging. This relationship held even after the authors controlled for things like mental and physical health, cognitive ability, and even their socioeconomic status in childhood, rather than adulthood.”
“As the dean enumerated this extraordinary set of failings, he warmed to his task — leaning ever further forward, as if sharing gossip with a group of intimates or inmates. Encouraged, no doubt, by a sense of rightness and righteousness, the faithful apparatchik’s eyes lit up like a chap embarked on a quest with like-minded souls.”