Lady Day

By Nat Hentoff From Jazz Is 1974 Dizzy Gillespie’s big band, at Birdland in New York. Coming down the stairs I heard a crackling, stunning trumpet cadenza, brilliant in content as well as in its reckless virtuosity. And yet it wasn’t Dizzy. I looked at the stand and...

Remembering Roger Ebert

By Peter Richmond Bronx Banter April 5, 2013 Unlike many of my social-media colleagues who were lucky enough to meet Roger Ebert, I never did. I only knew him a while back as a guy on a TV show, with another guy in the other chair, presuming to tell me whether a movie...

The Grandeur of Elvis

By Greil Marcus From Mystery Train 1975 These days, Elvis is always singing. In his stage-show documentary, Elvis on Tour, we see him singing to himself, in limousines, backstage, running, walking, standing still, as his servant fits his cape to his shoulders, as he...

How Hollywood Ruined Our Best Football Novel

By John Schulian The Chicago Daily News 1977 Long before he established himself as the Ring Lardner of the Pepsi generation, Dan Jenkins wrote about sports for the blighted Fort Worth Press. He had to rise at 4 every morning to put out the paper’s first edition, and...

The Rise and Fall of the Beatles

By Nik Cohn From Awopbopaloobop Alopbamboom 1969 Next came the Fab Four, the Moptop Mersey Marvels, and this is the bit I’ve been dreading. I mean what is there possibly left to say on them? In the beginning, I should say, the Beatles were the Quarrymen, and then they...

Janis Joplin

By Ellen Willis From The Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock & Roll 1980 Janis Joplin was born in 1943 and grew up in Port Arthur, Texas. She began singing in bars and coffeehouses, first locally, then in Austin, where she spent most of a year at the...

The Clear Line

By Luc Sante From Give Our Regards to the Atomsmashers! 2004 In a corner of my office, on top of a bookcase, lies a hunting horn—a sort of bugle, curved in the manner of a French horn. It has occupied a place in my inner sanctum wherever I’ve lived since childhood....

French Fries and Sympathy

By James Wolcott Texas Review May 1982 Coffee and Coca-Cola, the crackling hiss of food on the fry, the ring of laughter in a bustling room—Diner, written and directed by Barry Levinson, is a bittersweet reverie about the pleasures of noshing and chumming about until...

Buster Keaton

By Charles Simic From Writers at the Movies 2000 Only recently, with their issue on videotape, have all the films of Buster Keaton become widely available. It’s likely one may have seen The General (1926) in some college course, or caught a couple of shorts at some...

Stop Making Sense

By Pauline Kael The New Yorker November 26, 1984 Stop Making Sense makes wonderful sense. A concert film by the New York new-wave rock band Talking Heads, it was shot during three performances at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre in December, 1983, and the footage has...

The Kerouac Legacy

By Seymour Krim From Shake it For the World, Smartass 1965 I met Kerouac only twice, both for brief periods of not more than 15 minutes, and communication between us was abrupt and unreal. What I wrote about the man and writer was the result of feeling, experience and...

Something Wild

By Pauline Kael The New Yorker November 17, 1986 For seven decades of romantic screwball comedies, sexy, smart, funny women have been waking up heroes who, through fear or shyness or a stuffy educational background, were denying their deepest impulses. The women...