It’s good to remember that this is a dream job, whether you’re performing or working in broadcasting, or writing or the biz. So dream. Dream. Be generous, don’t be stingy. Please. I can’t help but note that it always seems to be the pursuit of the money that coincides with the great art, but not its arrival. It’s just kind of a death agent. It kills everything that fails to reflect its own image, so your home turns into money, your friends turn into money, and your music turns into money. No fun, binary code – zero one, zero one - no risk, no nothing. What you gotta do you gotta do, life’s a hurly-burly, so I would say try hard to diversify your skills and interests. Stay away from drugs and talent judges. Get organized. Big or little, that helps a lot.

I’d like you to do better than I did. Keep your dreams out of the stinky business, or you’ll go crazy, and the money won’t help you. Be careful to maintain a spiritual EXIT. Don’t live by this game because it’s not worth dying for. Hang onto your hopes. You know what they are. They’re private. Because that’s who you really are and if you can hang around long enough you should get paid. I hope it makes you happy. It’s the ending that counts, and the best things in life really are free.

Iggy Pop on BBC Radio 6. 

Does the work you do change the way you think about death?

This work does skew your worldview a bit. We all watch old movies with an eye toward who’s getting on in age. I watch the Oscars memorial presentation and sit there going, Did him, did her, didn’t do that one. For obit writers, the whole world is necessarily divided into the dead and the pre-dead. That’s all there is. 

Margalit Fox on writing obituaries

Jennifer Egan recommends “Card Tricks” by James Hannaham



Issue No. 101


I’ll confess that when my friend James Hannaham first mentioned that he was writing fiction in the form of art gallery plaques, my reaction was selfish: I wished I’d thought of it. The idea is so clearly excellent, involving the use of a non-literary genre that is textual, but also rich with its own conventions and dramatic possibilities. What more could a fiction writer possibly want?

But a manifestly great idea can be dangerous—as likely to smother as to sustain the fiction we beckon into its midst. In the end, the narrative must be absorbing enough to make us forget about the concept. Hannaham’s “Card Tricks” brilliantly achieves this. Presented first in a gallery space on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, Hannaham’s work probes the genre of art gallery plaques from many angles, fabricating them from metal as well as paper, varying their sizes in significant ways, placing a plaque outdoors as well as on gallery walls, and—most powerfully—implicating the viewer directly and playfully. Anyone familiar with Hannaham’s fiction knows already the potent blend of innovation, humor and gravitas that is his trademark. It is exhilarating to see the same qualities at play in three dimensions.

You’re envisioning, perhaps, a collection of plaques that suggest the portrait of a fictional artist who made the art they describe, using an accretion of personal details and revelations. That’s the route I probably would have taken. Which is why it’s a good thing that I didn’t have the idea of using gallery plaques to write fiction, because what Hannaham does is so much more profound. By invoking the existence of artworks involving the gallery space, the people inside it, and the larger world (quite literally), Hannaham performs an ingenious reversal: the subject illuminated by the plaques ends up being us, the reader-viewers. And our experience of reading and viewing them—in what order we choose, in what state we’re in that day or night, in what company, in what mood, in what weather, is the narrative. It’s different for each of us, and it changes every time. The experience has something in common with theater, a medium Hannaham worked in for many years.

“Card Tricks” reminds us that prose fiction was invented to be open, flexible, and provocative, capable of absorbing whatever forms exist in the culture around it, and bending them to the task of high amusement.

Jennifer Egan
Author of A Visit from the Goon Squad

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Sophia Loren playing records at home, 1950s.
Sophia Loren playing records at home, 1950s.
“It was just such a different time, a different era: pre-Internet, pre-Instagram, pre-social media, and the psychology surrounding that particular group of kids was much different than what you see today. Back then, a lot of those kids were seeking some kind of oblivion, a shadow culture, something that would allow them to get away from it all. It was about trying to get lost, whereas youth culture today is a performative culture. It’s about exposing yourself, posting, being hyper-present. Teens want to be connected to their parents, to everyone; it’s a more media-saturated experience. Then, it was about people not knowing what you were up to. Now, everyone wants to know what the fuck everyone’s eating.” — Harmony Korine
“You know too little and it doesn’t exist. You know too much and it doesn’t exist. Writing is drawing the essence of what we know out of the shadows. That is what writing is about. Not what happens there, not what actions are played out there, but the there itself. There, that is writing’s location and aim. But how to get there?”

My Struggle, Book One, Karl Ove Knausgaard. 

Luke Haines on Alan Vega:

"My friend [and former Black Box Recorder bandmate] John Moore told me a great story about Alan Vega. When John was going through his huge rock ‘n’ roll phase in the late ’80s, he lived in the Gramercy Park Hotel in New York for several months and Alan Vega was also there.

"One night Alan Vega invited John up to his room and played him all his new songs. He had the backing tracks all on a cassette and Alan Vega proceeded to go through all his songs, doing his act - but in his underpants, jumping up and down on the bed.

"But all the songs were kind of the same. All like [does Alan Vega voice] ‘Whoah baby’, ‘Ooooh’, ‘New rock ‘n’ roll’. That’s what I love about Suicide. The dedication that you can do your new album on a cassette to some guy you met in a bar! Obviously, completely completely righteous."

“I figured out a way to survive by helping rich people pretend they were making a movie, helping rich people pretend they were writing a film score, helping rich people become one thing or another. I helped a lot of pretenders like that. There’s always people pretending.”

Gary Indiana.

R.I.P. Alain Resnais. 

Alain Resnais with Delphine Seyrig on the set of Last Year at Marienbad

R.I.P. Alain Resnais. 


Alain Resnais with Delphine Seyrig on the set of Last Year at Marienbad


Mock Life magazine cover for November 26, 1965. This issue featured Edie Sedgwick's "Girl in Black Tights" iconic photo shoot photographed by Fred Eberstadt, and was the first outlet in which her title as superstar became national. Wearing a long sleeved dress by Rudi Grenich, "I swish them the way other girls swish their hair," she said of her chandelier earrings by Kenneth Jay Lane.
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