At 42, Jordan Roth has become Broadway’s singular showman, pushing the boundaries of what it means — and, yes, what it looks like — to be a theater tycoon. In a famously flop-prone industry, he is wrapping up his best season ever — successfully luring not only Bruce Springsteen but also Disney (“Frozen”) and Tina Fey (“Mean Girls”) to his theaters, joining the long-running hits “The Book of Mormon” and “Kinky Boots.” He has three Tony Awards as a producer, and this weekend he is vying for a fourth, for a starry revival of “Angels in America.” As his confidence has grown, so has his appetite for provocative self-expression.
In recent years, being busy has become an unmistakable badge of honor in many Western societies. It’s quite common for people to humblebrag that they don’t have a minute to themselves. Feeling busy — that is, perceiving oneself to be a busy person — thus makes individuals feel that they’re prized, important members of society. In research forthcoming in the Journal of Consumer Research, we looked at busyness through this modern self-concept lens. We found that the perception of oneself as a busy person — having what we call a busy mindset — can actually increase people’s self-control via a boost in self-importance.
“Fountain was enrolled at the age of eight into the Alabama Institute for the Negro Deaf and Blind. While singing in the school’s choir, Fountain and five friends formed the Happy Land Jubilee Singers … [and changed] their name to the Blind Boys of Alabama at the turn of the decade. … Despite being one of the more famed black gospel groups during the Fifties, the Blind Boys of Alabama’s popularity waned in the late Sixties and Seventies as secular soul music emerged.” They returned to wide popularity in 1983 with their participation in Lee Breuer’s famous Off-Broadway production of The Gospel at Colonus.
“Often performing with a large American Indian headdress or a wide, flat-brimmed Stetson hat, Mr. Clearwater commanded the crowd’s attention. He duckwalked across the stage and liked to wade into the audience with his guitar. Though classified as a Chicago bluesman, his mostly original repertoire combined elements of gospel, soul and rock-and-roll — particularly the music of Chuck Berry and Louis Jordan — into a boisterous musical stew that he termed ‘rock-a-blues.’ The Blues Foundation inducted him into its hall of fame in 2016.”
When the Ginsberg showed up at Senator Kennedy’s office without an appointment, the senator heard the poet out “on everything from the plight of heroin addicts to federal drug policy to global warming to the war in Vietnam to the invention of LSD to the degraded state of New York City.” Then Ginsberg asked RFK if he had ever smoked marijuana, and Kennedy said no. Uh-oh. (And before he finally left, Ginsberg insisted on singing Kennedy the Hare Krishna mantra.)
“Morley is often discussed in relation to the Photorealist movement, which sought to strip any sense of authorship from the act of painting through the creation of carefully worked images that mirror their photographic sources. However, Morley said he preferred the term ‘super-realist’ to describe his work, because it aligned it with Suprematism, the early 20th-century Russian avant-garde that sought to distill painting to its most basic forms.”
“The Australian-born Dr. Conway was just 40 when, in 1975, she became the first woman to lead Smith, the nation’s largest liberal arts institution for women. In her decade-long tenure, she presided over a transformation that brought the women’s movement to a school dominated for more than a century by conservative male faculty and administrators. … In a wide-ranging career, Dr. Conway was an accomplished scholar who focused on early-20th-century women’s reformers but later wrote a trio of critically acclaimed memoirs.”
Sandler, who wrote many books about Abstract Expressionism and the artists in that movement, “was a senior critic of Artnews in the late 1950s to early ’60s and a contributor to Artforum, among other publications.” He was also an educator, cofounder of Artists Space in New York, and a writer, with a novel coming out in the fall.
Anyone who’s ever played a video game in a pizza place – this must be about 99 percent of Americans over age 30, surely – has Dabney and Atari cofounder Nolan Bushnell to thank. “The electrical engineer, U.S. Marine and Atari co-founder led a life about as eventful as his packed CV suggests — but things did really seem to accelerate when those thoughts of pizza entered the picture.”
Sal Soghoian “is a guy who’s built a long career creating technology that lets users hand the tedium of repetitive grunt work off to their computers in creative ways” – and he changed the way we use our computers and phones. Now he’s called “the dean of automation” and is working on new ways to make everything faster, more productive, and more automatic.
But there is still a strong campaign against her. “Fonda’s incandescence has been deliberately dimmed, even in 2018, when the day seems to have arrived in which, as George McGovern predicted in 1988, ‘Jane Fonda will be fully atoned for anything that happened in connection with the war.'”
“The renowned Thoreau scholar Robert Sattelmeyer spotted an odd entry in the Boston Vigilance Committee’s accounting books and wondered: is that the Samuel Clemens, who grew up to be Mark Twain? The committee used most of its funds to help runaway slaves escape to freedom, in direct violation of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. But in an unusual expenditure in September 1854, the radical abolitionists sent $25.50 to a Samuel Clemens for ‘passage from Missouri Penitentiary to Boston — he having been imprisoned there two years for aiding Fugitives to escape.'”
PEN International recently issued a statement demanding Dareen Tatour’s unconditional release. PEN’s President, Jennifer Clement, wrote the following: “Dareen Tatour is on trial because she wrote a poem. Dareen Tatour is critical of Israeli policies, but governments that declare themselves as democracies do not curb dissent. Words like those of Dareen Tatour have been used by other revolutionary poets, during the Vietnam war, during other liberation wars, and they can be found in the works of Sufiya Kamal of Bangladesh, of Ernesto Cardenal of Nicaragua, and so on.”
One reason we struggle with fear is that we’re simultaneously too primitive and too evolved for our own good. Our lizard brains are ruthlessly efficient: Signals speed to the threat-sensing amygdala within 74 milliseconds of the slightest hint of danger. This speed has, over eons, helped save us from extinction. But it’s also led to plenty of false alarms.
Anna Delvey’s story is a kind of apotheosis of the “Instagram Effect,” where everyone projects a more perfect, happier life than they actually have via social media, and the envy generated becomes a kind of currency. Her Instagram life is stuffed full of deluxe signifiers and only rare flickers of actual sociality. The sense they cultivate is of a private and exclusive world. They are, in their arid glamor, both self-aggrandizing and kind of haughty, which is the air she projected according to copious testimony from her victims.
“In Lagos, she is as recognizable as the President. Her face is on billboards. People crowd around her at the airport. When she enters a restaurant, there is a ripple of recognition. Sometimes she will ask for the check and discover that someone else has paid for her meal. … She is admired as a Nigerian who has become an international celebrity, bringing renown to her country and a sense that now, for a Nigerian, anything is possible. But, because she is so visible, everything she does or says is scrutinized.”
This was the beginning of the end of her performing career. However, far from sinking into despondency and brooding on fate’s cruel hand, Fisher reinvented herself as a piano teacher. And, over the past four decades, she has built up a reputation as one of the best in the business, dedicating herself to the advancement of pianists, many of whom are now enjoying the sort of career for which she herself was once destined.
Her sons say without doubt that if the real Katharine could see herself now she would be horrified, never having wanted to end up as she is. Indeed, most people find the prospect of this ending a negation of self, denial of a life’s work and character, a mortifying indignity no one should suffer. Who wants to leave family and friends with a final memory of themselves as a vegetable, a distortion, an alien being?
“A fabricated coffee meeting. Key facts withheld or walked back. A ‘great party story’ about a sexual assault — which the accuser now says may not have actually happened. What happens when an activist’s legacy is tarnished by the story of an old friend who later says it could have all been a misunderstanding? And how do we process such an anomaly in an era of overdue social justice?”
Peck’s books, including Are You in the House Alone?, were popular, and he was a showman who always promoted his books. But “Peck’s final novel, “The Best Man” (2016), echoed his personal life more than most of his books. A coming-of age story about a young boy, it, deals in part with the same-sex marriage of his uncle and his teacher. Around the time of its publication, the intensely private Mr. Peck publicly came out as gay.”
Barry Jenkins, director of the Best Picture Oscar-winning Moonlight, is a fan. And her actors appreciate that she deeply understands her medium. “Alex Descas, one of the actors with whom Denis has worked longest, and who credits her with writing complicated, realistic roles for black actors at a time when few others did, described her artistic mode succinctly: ‘Film is not theatre,’ he told me.”
Author Alice Hoffman: “Everyone knows that if Elaine Markson was your agent you had a fierce and loving protector for life. … She was pure Greenwich Village with clients like Andrea Dworkin, Abbie Hoffman (I was often billed for advances Elaine loaned him as we were both A. Hoffmans) the great Grace Paley, and the iconic feminist writer Tillie Olsen. Elaine was the one agent in America who didn’t care about making deals.”
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.”