Good Poet, Bad Father

If you are brilliant poet and translator, knighted by the King of Spain, does it matter that you screwed up your relationship with your kids?  If you screwed up your relationship with your kids, does it matter that you are a brilliant poet and translator, knighted by the King of Spain? Those are some of […]

My Notorious Life: a Q & A with Kate Manning

Kate Manning’s My Notorious Life, is a “big, fat, fierce” historical novel loosely based on the trials and triumphs of a midwife and abortionist in 19th century New York. Amazon chose the book as a September “Editors’ Pick,” calling it “compelling, assured and irresistible.” Kate Manning spoke to the Narrator about her process of creation. […]

Carnival Time in Brooklyn

Every Labor Day, the annual West Indian Carnival parade draws millions of spectators and revelers to Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn to watch Caribbean-New Yorkers celebrate their vibrant culture with floats, brilliantly costumed masqueraders, stilt dancers, and bands. Although the parade is hardly an under-the-radar event, plenty of pre-Carnival festivities are equally interesting and much less […]

Theater Review: Then She Fell shows the dangers of Wonderland

As the lights come up at the end of Then She Fell, a two-hour theatrical tumble into the world of Alice in Wonderland, I find myself sitting alone in a large room at the head of a long table with a lukewarm cup of tea before me and some scraps of paper clutched in my […]

Stories We Tell Ourselves

The other night I went to see “Stories We Tell,” a much-praised autobiographical documentary by Canadian actor and filmmaker Sarah Polley. (Stop here if you plan to see it and haven’t already.)

The Collective Creative Genius of “Beasts of the Southern Wild”

“Where do you get your ideas?” This dreaded question, asked all the time of writers and artists, has no satisfactory answer, or at least no satisfactory short one. So I resisted the urge to ask it of Benh Zeitlin, director of “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” when I interviewed him for a magazine around the […]

“Mr. Joy” at Lincoln Center

The title character Mr. Joy never appears in the one-man show that bears his name, but his presence is felt by every one of the multiple characters portrayed by Daniel Beaty, the actor and creator of “Mr. Joy.” A Chinese-American and the long-time proprietor of a shoe repair shop in Harlem, Mr. Joy has had […]

Performance Art Review: Heard*NY is the Emperor’s New Horses

I was intrigued when I read glowing references to Heard*NY,  a new performance art piece in Grand Central Terminal, sponsored by the innovative arts organization Creative Time. Artist Nick Cave designed a herd of 30 shaggy, colorful life-size horses that twice- daily prance across Grand Central Station’s Vanderbilt Hall.  Periodically the herd breaks into choreographed […]

The Fat Cat: Uplift with a $3 Cover

Near the corner where Christopher Street meets Seventh Avenue in Manhattan, it is possible to leave behind the glossy, gentrified precincts of the West Village and tumble down a rabbit hole into a cavernous subterranean establishment called the Fat Cat. Nothing about this place is slick. A crowd of refreshingly unhip patrons drink beer (the […]

Abram Himelstein and the New Orleans’ Neighborhood Story Project

In 2004, Abram Himelstein was teaching high school in New Orleans’ Seventh Ward and thinking about how people didn’t know enough about their neighbors. The time that once was spent on the porch telling stories and playing dominoes had been largely replaced by staying indoors and watching TV. So he and fellow teacher Rachel Bruelin […]