Don’t Look Now

Down at the School of Visual Arts archive they’ve got a tidy selection of James McMullan’s magazine work from the Sixties through the Eighties. I love this one, a cover for New West magazine circa 1979. In his wonderful book, Revealing Illustrations, McMullan said:...

The Old Man and the Mule

Here is a good story from Second Wind: Memoirs of an Opinonated Man by Bill Russell with the historian Taylor Branch (1979, Random House; currently out-of-print). It’s about Russell’s grandfather and his mule, Kate. Russell’s family was from Monroe, La., and he lived...

Remember the Rhythm

Dig this—from Whitney Balliett’s book American Musicians: Fifty-Six Portraits in Jazz: The Cape Cod pianist Marie Marcus came to New York from Boston to do a radio show in 1932, when she was eighteen. Her experience had been limited to Boston radio shows and to...

The Chinese Gourmet Club

Here’s something fun. From Kenneth Tynan’s lavish 1977 New Yorker profile of Mel Brooks (available online only to New Yorker subscribers though you can also find it in Tynan’s wonderful collection, Profiles): After separating from his wife in 1960, Brooks had spent a...

A Letter to Nabokov

I thought you might appreciate this letter written by Nicolai Malko to Vladimir Nabokov. Here, let Malko’s son, George—a fantastic writer and an equally swell guy—explain: The letter was written when my father was in his fifth year as Musical Director of the Sydney...

Bow Down

I’ve never read Conversations with Wilder, the hell is wrong with me? Man, I need to correct that. I’m  grateful that I tuned in to Alec Baldwin’s Here’s The Thing interview with Cameron Crowe, who put the book together, and has some funny Billy Wilder stories to...

The Gookie

The origins of “The Gookie,” from one of the great showbiz memoirs, Harpo Speaks! The man who first inspired me to become an actor was a guy called Gookie. Gookie had nothing to do with the theatre. He rolled cigars in the window of a cigar store on Lexington Avenue....

What’s Old is New

Here is something I have noticed about reprinting material that was previously published but not available to us online—it ain’t for everyone. Why? Well, say I reprint a story that was published 40 years ago. Some folks will be turned off immediately: Why are you...

Sugar Ray

Ray Robinson died last November at the age of 96. He was born and raised in New York, spent pretty much his whole life here and he died here. Ray wrote about sports and worked as an editor for magazines like Pageant, Good Housekeeping and Seventeen. As a kid, Ray...