The Many Faces of Arianna

By Steve Oney Los Angeles Magazine October 2004 On a July evening several days before the opening of the Democratic Party’s national convention in Boston, Arianna Huffington steers Dr. Justin A. Frank through a throng of people packing the hallway of her $7 million...

Shakespeare in Rewrite

By Ron Rosenbaum The New Yorker May 13, 2002 In 1997, when Harold Jenkins, the editor of the Arden “Hamlet,” a leading scholarly edition of Shakespeare’s play, went to see Kenneth Branagh’s film version of “Hamlet,” he was both excited and...

Helen—An Introduction

By Nora Ephron from The Attentive Eve May 2002 The first time I heard about Helen Dudar, I was working at Newsweek magazine as a fact-checker in the National Affairs department. A new writer named Peter Goldman had just arrived at the magazine from St. Louis, and he...

Dylan Brings It Home: Memoir Is a Ballad to the Beat Village

By Ron Rosenbaum The New York Observer October 14, 2004 Thaddeus Stevens? Who knew? One of the least-understood of Dylan mysteries has to do with influences: His music seems to come from everywhere, and from nowhere but him. You can listen to endless droning folk...

Thriller of the Century: The Third Man

By Ron Rosenbaum The New York Observer January 17, 2000 Wait a minute, I’m not finished. I was just getting started. I’ve got more awards to bestow for Bests of the Century. I was just warming up last month when I named Pale Fire Best English Language Novel of the...

The Worst Pop Singer Ever

By Ron Rosenbaum Slate January 23, 2009 This may seem an odd moment to bring up the subject of Billy Joel. But the recent death of the painter Andrew Wyeth revived a long-standing debate over whether his art is respectable or merely sentimental schlock. (Say it: good...

The Attentive Eye

By Peter Goldman Introduction to The Attentive Eve May 2002 New York City For our forty-two years together, I have been assuring Helen Dudar that she ought to do a book. For forty-two years, she has assured me that she should not. My argument, reduced to its essence,...

Agee Unfettered

By Will Blythe The New York Times June 15, 2008 On May 16, 1955, James Agee, 45, died of a heart attack in a New York City taxicab while on the way to his doctor’s office. Elegized by the critic Dwight Macdonald as a literary James Dean, he left behind an...

Benching Himself

By Will Blythe The New York Times November 4, 2001 At 59, the novelist John Edgar Wideman has recently given up the game of playground basketball. His new memoir, Hoop Roots, originates in that loss, which is monumental, the terrifying and inevitable fate of every...

Death in Venice

By Steve Oney Los Angeles Magazine May 2005 “The boardwalk squeaks and out come the freaks,” declares Ian McShane, plainly including himself in the assortment of street preachers, panhandlers, and body builders gathered at Venice Beach on this foggy spring morning....

Dean Smith

By Will Blythe From To Hate Like This is to Be Happy Forever 2007 Soon after I returned to Chapel Hill , I had arranged to visit with Dean Smith, the former North Carolina head coach. I dressed up for the occasion, although these days the journalist in me had become...

Coming to My Senses

By Charles Bowden GQ October 2004 She stands in the small kitchen of the ancient building by the canal. The stove rides at a right angle to the wall so that she can look out while she cooks in her fourth-floor aerie. She cannot stand to cook if she must stare at a...