Monday, January 2

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Muddy Waters and Mozart

A memory of interviewing the late great songwriter Townes Van Zandt shortly before his death.

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Scandals of Classic Hollywood: Cary Grant's Intimate Bromance

The phrase “knew how to wear clothes” is a loaded one. To “know how to wear clothes” is another way of saying that Cary Grant embodied class, which is to say high class: Grant wore well-tailored clothes, and he knew how to hold himself in them. But he came from nothing, and the way he wore clothes was just as much of a performance as his refined trans-Atlantic accent, his acrobatic slapstick routines, and his masterful flirtation skills.

Sunday, January 1

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China TV Grows Racy, and Gets a Chaperon

On “If You Are the One”, the smash hit Chinese dating show that raised the ire of censors.

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Notes from a wedding: In the age of digital music and the relative bargain of a single DJ, wedding singer Kenney Holmes is determined to keep it real

A profile.

Because business ebbs and flows with the seasons and the economy, Holmes, who lives in Upper Marlboro, has always kept a variety of sidelines, including a job driving a limousine for nine years to put his oldest daughter through a private high school and college. These days, at gigs, he hands out a stack of million-dollar "bills" printed with his image and his current enterprises: bandleader, commercial mortgage broker, hard money lender (slogan: "Hard Money with a Soft Touch").

Tuesday, December 27

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Trash, Art, and the Movies

There is so much talk now about the art of the film that we may be in danger of forgetting that most of the movies we enjoy are not works of art.

Monday, December 26

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Stumptown Girl

A profile of Carrie Brownstein, riot grrrl and creator of Portlandia.

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Stumptown Girl

A profile of Carrie Brownstein, riot grrrl and creator of Portlandia.

Sunday, December 25

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The Last Movie Maestro

A profile of John Williams.

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The Last Movie Maestro

A profile of John Williams.

Tuesday, December 20

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Chuck Berry Goddamn!

Now 85, Berry still records live music. He just doesn’t want you to hear it.

Thursday, December 15

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Give All

James Wood on Saul Bellow:

One realizes, with a shock, that Bellow has taught one how to see and how to hear, has opened the senses. Until this moment one had not really thought of the looseness of a lightbulb filament, one had not heard the saliva bubbling in the harmonica, one had not seen well enough the nose pitted with black pores, and the demolition ball’s slow, heavy selection of its victims. A dozen good writers–Updike, DeLillo, others–can render you the window of a fish shop, and do it very well; but it is Bellow’s genius to see the lobsters “crowded to the glass” and their “feelers bent” by that glass–to see the riot of life in the dead peace of things.

Sunday, December 11

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Our Own Worst Enemies

In the fantasy and superhero realm, the most chilling and compelling villain of the year was surely Magneto, who in X-Men: First Class is more of a proto-villain, a victim of human cruelty with a grudge against the nonmutants of the world rooted in bitter and inarguable experience. Magneto is all the more fascinating by virtue of being played by Michael Fassbender, the hawkishly handsome Irish-German actor whose on-screen identity crises dominated no fewer than four movies in 2011. Magneto, more than the others, also evokes a curious kind of self-reproach, because his well-founded vendetta is, after all, directed against us.