Sunday, March 18

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Desperately Seeking Kraftwerk

Searching for the reclusive band’s studio in Düsseldorf.

Tuesday, March 13

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Pavement: The Return of the Heavily-Favored Underdogs

Stylistically speaking, in terms of clothing, they arrived in shirts and pants and shoes (there’s really no other way to say it). They had haircuts, but it didn’t really look it. While other bands were mumbling or over-enunciating their dreary positions or penny-candy philosophies, Pavement kind of screamed for a generation. But they did it in a way that was so deeply American that it was almost Scandinavian.

Playwright Will Eno profiles the band and their cult as they grow up and prepare for a reunion.

Saturday, March 10

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Radiohead's Runaway Guitarist

On Jonny Greenwood:

Greenwood is an anomaly: a musician who made his name with a rock band and who is now embraced by the modern-music establishment as an actual, serious composer. The night before the Alvernia session, he was onstage in an aircraft-hangar-size room at a steel plant in Krakow, performing the minimalist composer Steve Reich’s “Electric Counterpoint” for an audience that included Reich himself, as part of a weeklong new-music festival, Sacrum Profanum. (Reich is a fan; he praises Greenwood’s decision to have the string section play with guitar picks on “Popcorn Superhet” as “the first new approach to pizzicato since Bartok.”) He wasn’t the only performer at Sacrum Profanum with pop-music credentials — the bill also included the techno provocateur Aphex Twin and Adrian Utley, from the trip-hop band Portishead. But he was the only guy from a superfamous rock band whose singer has appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone.

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On the Market

An essay on working at Sotheby’s.

Art pricing is not absolute magic; there are certain rules, which to an outsider can sound parodic. Paintings with red in them usually sell for more than paintings without red in them. Warhol’s women are worth more, on average, than Warhol’s men. The reason for this is a rhetorical question, asked in a smooth continental accent: “Who would want the face of some man on their wall?”

Wednesday, March 7

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Paperback Writer

A profile of thriller writer Harlan Coben and what it takes to succeed as a novelist even when the literary establishment doesn’t acknowledge your existence.

Tuesday, March 6

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Downtown Is for People

Jane Jacobs has a somewhat ambiguous legacy—or at least one that's contested by different factions in the present-day debate over cities and urbanism—but to me her most important idea is encapsulated in the title and spirit of this piece. It's old and, I think, utterly prescient about what successive waves of planning fads miss. The purpose of urban space is for people to use it. A great place is a place where people want to be.

-M. Yglesias

Monday, March 5

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Does a Sugar Bear Bite?

A profile of Suge Knight, 29 and the C.E.O. of Death Row Records, before the deaths of Tupac and Notorious B.I.G.

Sunday, March 4

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How Now, Mr Chow? The Sweet ’n Sour Saga Behind the City’s Epic Food Fight

Inside a restaurant lawsuit.

Michael Chow’s complaint, which sought $21 million in damages, alleged that the team behind Philippe, including chef Philippe Chau, restaurateur Stratis Morfogen (also behind the well-received Ciano) and several codefendants, appropriated the Satay recipe and 11 other Mr Chow standbys, the “modern” decor of Mr Chow’s restaurants and even the name Chow—thereby engaging in deceptive trade practices, swiping trade secrets and infringing on the Mr Chow trademark.

Saturday, March 3

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Björk’s Big Bang

The artist discusses her latest record, Biophilia, science and music education. 

Up until she developed a vocal-cord nodule a few years ago, Björk made a point of not investigating how that instrument worked. “With arrangements and lyrics,” she says, squinting over her coffee, “I work more with the left side of my brain. But my voice has always been very right brain. I didn’t try to analyze it at all. I didn’t even know until I started all this voice work, two years ago, what my range was. I didn’t want to let the academic side into that—I worried the mystery would go.”

Friday, March 2

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Cat People

An analysis of Dr. Seuss’ literature.

Monday, February 27

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The Gary Oldman Story That Almost Wasn't

The strange saga of a 2009 Gary Oldman profile that his manager, Douglas Urbanski, aggressively sought to kill.

"Mr. Heath's motives are dishonest in the least...supposed 'journalism' at its very lowest...while Mr. Heath may find his sloppy reporting cute, in fact it is destructive, and he knows it...his out of context and uninformed pot shots...out of context swipes at me...stretching the most basic rules of journalism...in certain ways has aspects of a thinly disguised hit piece... a hole filled swiss cheese of wrong facts, misleading insinuations, and in general lazy, substandard, agendized non-reporting...again and again Mr. Heath attempts to turn the piece into a political piece...GQ has allowed Heath to go for the cheap shot..."

Sunday, February 26

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The Man in the Glass House

A pilgrimage to J.D. Salinger’s New Hampshire home:

The silence surrounding this place is not just any silence. It is the work of a lifetime. It is the work of renunciation and determination and expensive litigation. It is a silence of self-exile, cunning, and contemplation. In its own powerful, invisible way, the silence is in itself an eloquent work of art. It is the Great Wall of Silence J.D. Salinger has built around himself.