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Don DeLillo: The Art of Fiction No. 135

We have a rich literature. But sometimes it’s a literature too ready to be neutralized, to be incorporated into the ambient noise. This is why we need the writer in opposition, the novelist who writes against power, who writes against the corporation or the state or the whole apparatus of assimilation. We’re all one beat away from becoming elevator music.

Thursday, May 5

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Rent: The Oral History

The story of the landmark musical’s improbable success.

Wednesday, May 4

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Downtown Is for People

On the then-new phenomenon of dead downtowns.

“It is not only for amenity but for economics that choice is so vital. Without a mixture on the streets, our downtowns would be superficially standardized, and functionally standardized as well. New construction is necessary, but it is not an unmixed blessing: its inexorable economy is fatal to hundreds of enterprises able to make out successfully in old buildings. Notice that when a new building goes up, the kind of ground-floor tenants it gets are usually the chain store and the chain restaurant. Lack of variety in age and overhead is an unavoidable defect in large new shopping centers and is one reason why even the most successful cannot incubate the unusual--a point overlooked by planners of downtown shopping-center projects.”

Tuesday, May 3

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Angel So Fly

An oral history of Aaliyah.

Tuesday, April 26

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The Strange and Mysterious Death of Mrs. Jerry Lee Lewis

How Jerry Lee Lewis got away with murdering 25-year-old Shawn Michelle Stevens, his fifth wife.

Saturday, April 23

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Everybody Is a Star: How the Rock Club First Avenue Made Minneapolis the Center of Music in the ’80s

The fabled venue where the Replacements, Hüsker Dü, and Prince emerged.

Friday, April 22

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I Am Your Conscious, I Am Love

“A paean 2 Prince.”

Thursday, April 21

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Even Sex Goddesses Get the Blues

The Cosmo editor and author of Sex and the Single Girl’s rocky real-life relationships.

Adapted from Not Pretty Enough: The Unlikely Triumph of Helen Gurley Brown.

Monday, April 18

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The Brilliant, Troubled Dorothy Parker

“The tragedy of Dorothy Parker, it seems to me, isn’t that she succumbed to alcoholism or died essentially alone. It was that she was too intelligent to believe that she had made the most of herself.”
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The Godmother of Soul

A profile of Erykah Badu.

Friday, April 15

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Immediate Family

A profile of author Maggie Nelson.

Sunday, April 10

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The Man Who Recorded, Tamed and Then Sold Nature Sounds to America

How Irv Teibel pioneered the capturing and repackaging of nature’s acoustics.