Free Jazz
Ornette Coleman and the Contrarian’s Lot

Being contrarian is easy. Sticking with it is the hard part, as Maria Golia’s new book on the jazz saxophonist shows.

Courtesy of Flanneryfilm.com
The Literary Life
The Enduring Chill of Flannery O’Connor

A new documentary captures the steely genius and hard-earned faith of the great Southern Gothic writer.

T.S. Eliot, 1923 (Wikimedia Commons)
A Study in Poetry
Eliot the Enigmatic

A new collection of “The Essential T.S. Eliot” samples his poetic genius, but fails to meet the modern reader halfway.

“The Best Man” poster detail via Pinterest
Retroview
May the Best Man Win

Gore Vidal’s 1964 political drama is a study in the ethics of mudslinging, which remains all too relevant as we enter this year’s election season.

(Wikimedia Commons)
A Cinematic Centennial
A Century of Dr. Caligari

Robert Wiene’s Expressionist classic still retains its power 100 years later, with a timely parable of authority and social control.

7th Street Theatre via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)
At the Movies
All About Eve and the Rules of the Hollywood Game

The 1950 classic All About Eve vividly showcases both what Hollywood pretends to be and what it actually is—a contrast that couldn’t be timelier.

(Wikimedia Commons)
Trump at the Movies
Our Own Norma Desmond

President Trump’s fondness for Sunset Boulevard reveals more than his taste in film—though for reasons that he himself might not consciously realize.

“The Writing Master,” Thomas Eakins (Wikimedia Commons)
The Literary Life
James Wood and the Art of Criticism

In his new career-spanning collection, the esteemed book critic James Wood affirms his credo: “Literature teaches us to notice.”

“The Thinker: Portrait of Louis N. Kenton” by Thomas Eakins (Wikimedia Commons)
The Literary Life
The Quiet American Novel

A new book by Steve Almond offers a deeply personal take on John Williams’s classic novel Stoner: a minor-key masterpiece about ordinary life, the pursuit of passions, and the lost art of paying attention.

Modern Hell
The Staying Power of Sartre’s No Exit

Seventy-five years after its debut, the existentialist drama speaks profoundly to our age of social media-fueled isolation.

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