“Once called ‘the Camelot of jazz rooms,’ the Village Vanguard hosted Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Bill Evans, to name just a few of the legendary talents who’ve graced its tiny stage. In 1935, Lorraine Gordon’s late husband Max opened the club on the site of a former speakeasy; she inherited her role as its honored caretaker when he passed away 54 years later. She became almost as much a fixture as the club itself.”
No, but “a more interesting question might have been: was the comic novel ever alive? Is there something distinctive you can point to that can be called ‘comic fiction’? And are those two questions, or a different way of phrasing the same one?”
Gordon took over the Village Vanguard in 1989 and ran it with fierce protectiveness. “She fell in love with jazz as a teenager in the 1930s, listening to it on WNYC radio. The music pierced her soul, she said, ‘like a spike in my heart.’ It was the start of a lifelong romance.” She’d made her first trip to the club in 1940.
A classic book of speculative biology gets an update and gets republished. “The mythological-looking creatures illustrated in the book seem to come out of a Tim Burton movie. There’s the rabbuck, a rabbit-like animal that has grown the size of a deer because it lives where there are no predators. Then, there’s the reedstilt — also called Harundopes virgatus — with a long, beaky snout and razor thin legs to snatch fish out of the water. And mountainous regions will be inhabited by the groath.”
After a legal battle, Bath’s Victorian pews are going away to an airplane hangar before being sold. This “will create a vast open space under the abbey’s spectacular fan vaulting. Supporters of the project say this will allow the abbey to host community events, concerts, exhibitions and even formal dinners, and allow the restoration of ancient ledger stones in the floor, hidden for 150 years.” But critics aren’t happy.
Wait, what? “Despite enjoying Grade II-listed status, the property is all but abandoned. The paintwork is cracked, its wooden window frames have been replaced with plastic, and graffiti is scrawled across the walls. An unsightly steel fence runs along one side of the litter-strewn lawn, and a large To Let sign hangs outside. Until recently, the only clue to its historical importance was a small bronze plaque above the entrance.”