A Map of Every Building in America (NY Times)

Traces of Distant Culture

South of New Orleans This arrangement of buildings along a narrow spit of land on either side of a Louisiana bayou shows the imprint of the region’s history under France: “long lot” development, which stretched skinny holdings laterally away from important waterways. Geography shapes settlement, but culture does, as well.

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Allowing for Context: A Constitution in Dialogue with the Present

Last Sunday evening at New York Theater Workshop, Heidi Schreck, playwright of What the Constitution Means to Me, walked on stage and the house lights dimmed imperceptibly. The confirmation hearing of, now, Justice Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court had taken place only one day prior. But Schreck doesn’t make us forget the outside; in fact, she keeps that door open and thanks us for being there during this time. This play only grows when the context of our reality bleeds into the room, it feeds on the here and now, unflinching from one of the more dire truths we find ourselves facing: the US Constitution is in need of attention and we must decide if we are to stand by it, or to cast it aside.

Photo by: Joan Marcus

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Seeking My Revolutionary Generation

Where are you? Who are you? Which path did you take when you left us here alone? Why did the grass look greener? How could you run when we needed you? These and many more questions are asked by those who stayed the course. Just because you got a job and started to grow up and accept the establishment's values of what life should be didn't mean you had to abandon the moral fiber of who you once were. Assimilation into a society that put blinders on your eyes, denying the movement as though you were never apart of it, surely doesn't let your spirit rest when you remember the cause that you so fervently loved. There was a time when words were louder than actions and peace was our banner that moved like fire across a country. Who fooled you? Who coerced you into thinking you were wrong and they were right? These are questions that I am seeking as I look for the revolutionary generation that still burns in my inner being.

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The Sixth Borough

If you can make it there, you’ll make it anywhere. And I almost made it in New York. The grand irony being that when I was finally strong enough to live in the city, I decided to leave it. The first half of my thirties were spent annulling the many mistakes of my twenties: the unavailable men, a daily struggle with bulimia, that phase in the fetish scene. By the time 33 rolled around (the exact age in which Jesus had died for our sins, according to my Catholic upbringing), I had learned to keep my meals down and my head up.

 

15 years in the Big Apple had afforded me a wild ride, but I was in danger of becoming rotten all the way through. Despite the perks of living a semi-glamorous life in Manhattan—being a wellness guru to celebrities and scions while living in a centrally located shoebox—40 was a threat, not a promise. I had become so good at distinguishing the married women from their lonely single counterparts on the subway, before ever looking at their fingers, only their faces, whether their eyes possessed a certain softness or not, that I avoided my own reflection in those train windows. I didn’t need to be married, but I was sick of being single.

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A Word on Language Prejudice: A Review of Amy Tan’s “Mother Tongue”

If you’ve read any of my other reviews (or any of my work at all, really), you’re probably familiar with my mother: the stunning, savvy, Israeli cosmetologist, whose brilliance surpasses that of her art. Her wisdom is so apparent, her intelligence so easily gleaned through her speech -- the difficulty being that most Americans have a tough time understanding her.

 

My mother’s way of speaking is familiar to me. Her heavy Middle Eastern accent and “incorrect” grammar are components of my second language: I understand her English as easily as I understand that of a native speaker. However, I also recognize the effect that her idiosyncratic English has had on her experience in America -- the prejudice she faces in everyday encounters; the stigma surrounding her foreign speech she’s learned to internalize; the “evidence” she receives that her English is inherently lesser, because she doesn’t speak a standard English. That’s something called language prejudice, and it’s a force that’s ever-present and ever-pervasive in her life.

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Pontchartrain Park - How a new subdivision built in New Orleans in the mid 1950’s during the height of segregation brought momentous changes to the life of a black family

In 1955, during this era of segregation, a subdivision for middle class and affluent African Americans was built in New Orleans. It was the only one of its kind built in the city and one of the first in the nation.

This subdivision, Pontchartrain Park, consisted of a horse shaped 83 acre golf course and Park surrounded by modern single family ranch style homes. The impact on this development gave blacks the realization that they too could also have a place in the sun.

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Introducing Soon-Yi Previn As controversies tumbled around her, the daughter of Mia Farrow and wife of Woody Allen stayed silent for decades. No more. (Vulture)

nce, she was seen as a victim, her youth and relative innocence taken advantage of by a powerful, much older man who sucked her into his vortex. Or, alternately, she was a Lolita, a seductress who wittingly betrayed the Mother Teresa–like figure who’d saved her from life in an orphanage. These days, Soon-Yi Previn is seen as an accomplice of sorts, who, in the wake of renewed accusations by Dylan Farrow that Dylan’s adoptive father, Woody Allen, sexually molested her, has stood by Allen even as his reputation has plummeted and his once-revered films have been reassessed in the light of the #MeToo movement. Throughout this time, Soon-Yi herself, the slim Korean-born woman with a curtain of dark hair who showed up occasionally at Allen’s side in grainy news images, has said virtually nothing, her sphinxlike presence adding to the mystery of what actually took place. He did what? She’s how old? And whose daughter?

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