A book title can make a big difference. After all, as much as our mothers warned us against it, as humans we can never seem to help ourselves from judging books by their covers. And some book titles — whether we’ve read the attendant books or not — are just burned into our brains, ushered in by the collective consciousness. But how did they come to be? After the jump, a few of the fascinating stories behind the titles of classic books, sprung from poems, paintings, and saloon bathroom stalls. Hey, inspiration can come from anywhere. … Read More
Today, we celebrate the 85th birthday of one of America’s greatest playwrights, Edward Albee, the mastermind behind Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, The Zoo Story, and The Goat: or, Who Is Sylvia? — plus, oh, 30-odd more. To honor the great (and often somewhat crotchety) writer on his birthday, we’ve put together a list of some of his greatest lines, from his interviews, nonfiction, and plays. After the jump, indulge in a little Albee talk, and let us know if we missed your favorite quip in the comments. … Read More
This week, like everyone we know, we fell head over heels for Joel Lovell’s wonderful profile of Flavorpill favorite George Saunders in The New York Times Magazine. What with that and his amazing new collection, we’re thinking that this might just be the year that Saunders transitions from being every writer’s favorite writer to everybody‘s favorite writer — after all, when the cover of The New York Times Magazine calls out your book as the best of the year (in January, no less), that’s as good of a ticket to household name status as you’re likely to get, shy of any Oprah-gilding. For those of you who, like us, inhaled Lovell’s profile and found yourself itching for more great writing on great writers, we’ve put together a few great profiles that you can read online to slake your literary lust. Read through for some choice quotes and links to the original articles, and do point us toward your own favorite author profiles for further reading in the comments. … Read More
Yesterday marked the 50th anniversary of the Broadway opening of Edward Albee’s now-iconic play Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, which went on to win a Tony for Best Play and the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award. It also brought us the incomparable George and Martha, a bickering, bitter couple whose frustrated, drunken antics have turned them into modern archetypes. Inspired by the anniversary of this wonderful play, we’ve put together a list of the most twisted couples in literature — with George and Martha leading the pack, of course. Read through our choices after the jump, and if we missed your deliciously self-destructive or unfailingly dysfunctional favorites, add to our list in the comments. … Read More
Tomorrow marks the release of much beloved, left-of-center author Daniel Johnson’s new book, entitled Soul of a Whore and Purvis: Two Plays in Verse. Like many of his readers, we are most familiar with Johnson through his novels (Tree of Smoke) and short stories (Jesus’ Son), so we were psyched to jump into this new-to-us format for the author. Inspired by Johnson’s plays, we started thinking about all of the wonderful contemporary playwrights out there whose work deserves a spot on anyone’s reading list, whether they’re a theatre junkie or just an average lover of fantastic literature. Click through to check out our list of contemporary plays that everyone should be reading, and if we’ve missed your favorite, be sure to add to our recommendations in the comments! … Read More
Earlier this week Slate released their list of most influential octogenarians in America for 2010, highlighting men and women who are still culturally relevant in their 80s, 90s, and beyond (rock on, Wesley E. Brown). As with every year, there are plenty of “fresh old faces” (i.e. newly-qualified icons) as well as some veterans of the list. Assuming that most of you weren’t around for World War II, we’ve pulled together a cheat-sheet to Slate’s cultural relics in the arts — because while you might know who Maurice Sendak is, you probably didn’t realize that he was 4 months old when the stock market crashed in 1929. … Read More
During its 30 years in business, well-known artists and cultural heavyweights designed over 65 menu covers for New York City restaurant Chanterelle. Now owners David and Karen Waltuck have put dozens of menus from their archives up for sale to help pay off creditors. Visit their website to scoop up one by Cy Twombly for $3,000; Robert Rauschenberg for $1,000; and Marcel Marceau for $400. But hurry — two by Kiki Smith have already sold for $3,000 a pop.
View some arty menus — including a few that are really cool, but not for sale — after the jump. … Read More