On the coast of Abu Dhabi, gilded outposts of the Louvre, the Guggenheim and New York University are being built by foreign workers who cannot leave and are paid half of what they were promised.
A sociologist learns techniques for evading the authorities.
Excerpted from On the Run.
The early days of Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers.
A profile of Uruguay President José Mujica, a former revolutionary who’s been shot six times, was imprisoned for 14 years and, since taking office, has shunned the presidential mansion in favor of a small farm while legalizing gay marriage, abortion and marijuana.
A tour with the Stones, an appearance on The Munsters, and a song about “how Boston is a shit hole.”
Moe Tucker narrates her time drumming in the Velvet Underground.
Life on the other side of the laptop.
An interview with novelist Marilynne Robinson, conducted by a graduating student.
Adventures with a group of young Hasidic men looking for God in psychedelic drugs.
The Mennonite women of the Manitoba Colony would awake with blood and semen stains, dried grass in their hair, and tiny bits of rope on their wrists and ankles. Their rapists, armed with a veterinary tranquilizer converted to spray form, were eight young men from their own community.
A party game drives a woman to reflect upon a history of manipulation.
"After each killing, Claire tried to be kind—defensive of those who were accused of being the werewolf and suspicious only of those making accusations. And throughout each round Claire asked questions about how the game was played, whose answers, in all honesty, she did not have figured out. (Though again, was that the werewolf playing the game, posturing innocence even in her private thoughts? Yes, it probably was. This freaked her out.)"
Desire and dental surgery in Northern India.
His father leaned back on his hands and tilted his face to the sun. Daniel bent over his cushion. In the habit of telling The Number his thoughts, he had already begun to narrate for her his feelings about the woman."
Inside the White Student Union of Towson University.
The story of Kokie’s, and its gentrifying Williamsburg neighborhood.
A war travelogue through Mali alongside French troops as a “place just like Afghanistan” descends into chaos.
The history of blue jeans, “America’s greatest contribution to the global closet.”
A bag-maker takes on a medically unique client. From the new collection Revenge: Eleven Dark Tales.
"It was indeed a strange bag. The complicated shape of it was difficult to achieve. I had assembled nine different pieces of leather into an asymmetrical balloon with seven holes of varying size. The bottom of it was an oval, but the bag tapered toward an opening at the top that fastened with hooks."
The last men who ride the rails, “where silence and lawlessness still reign.”
A simple title; a complex, detailed look at the ebbs and flows of modern dating and instability.
"'I’ve never felt you act this way before,' said Michelle, unsteadily, looking down; something in her previously assured, or at least focused, was now tired and scared, the protest of it having dispersed to something negotiable or seizable. They stood not looking at each other as the rain fell on them in an idle, general insistence of somethingness. Paul felt himself trying to interpret the situation, as if there was a problem to be solved, but there wasn’t anything, or maybe there was but Paul was three or four skill sets away from comprehending it, like an amoeba trying to create a personal webpage using CSS."
Unraveling the layers of upstate New York’s most reclusive community.
An aimless man forms a connection with a one-armed woman.
"Our date ended on that uncomfortable accusatory note and I didn’t see Lenore again for quite some time. Occasionally I would have these little fantasies, daydreams involving Lenore and her metal pincher hand. She’d stare at me with those light eyes while we made love and that other rubber hand would lie on a table next to us, feeling left out of the action."
An interview with the experimental filmmaker and Hollywood chronicler Kenneth Anger, 85.
A clandestine meeting between Western journalists and Hezbollah fighters in a Beirut strip mall.
From Lutz's new collection, Divorcer: a man mourns his deceased wife in an unorthodox fashion.
"Death didn’t have any of the detergent effect I thought I had been led to expect. Things that had looked violently dirtied before looked even dirtier now, and there was a marital malodor to our place, but make no mistake: we had been lovers, my wife and I, meaning mostly that we had coated things and people with love, had used our love to cover things up, to see to it that layer after layer got put over everything."
As part of his cover, a spy is forced to work at a big-box store called "Circuitpalooza."
"There are, I suppose, far unluckier fates than my own. I remember the botched assassination in Paraguay, the decapitated arms dealer in Slovenia, the lone orphan girl in Kuwait. However, I can’t help but feel that, as a spy, my position here at Circuitpalooza demands perhaps a little more from me than it would from most."
There’s a price you have to pay for fame, and people who don’t want to pay that price can get in trouble. I accepted the idea of celebrity because of a French expression: “You cannot have the butter and the money for the butter.”
George Lois never actually worked at Esquire, he simply designed the most iconic magazine covers of the 60s as a moonlighting gig while revolutionizing (and, generally pissing off) the advertising industry by day.
Behind the scenes with Kenny Powers, on set filming the 2nd run of Eastbound & Down, probably the only American TV series that would set an entire season in Mexico.
An interview with William Gibson on the “dark, dark world of marketing, advertising, and trend forecasting.”
The author enrolls in three cults - ADIDAM, the Moonies, and Aleph (formerly Aum, who carried out the Tokyo metro Sarin attacks) - via their New York branches.