Jonathan Demme’s Offbeat America

By James Kaplan The New York Times Magazine March 27, 1988 In a dim room high above the controlled chaos of Times Square, Jonathan Demme is watching a movie. To be more precise, the director is looking over the shoulder of his film editor, Craig McKay, at an editing...

Tales from the Cancer Cure Underground

By Ron Rosenbaum New West November, 1980 …terrible apprehensions were among the people. —Daniel Defoe A Journal of the Plague Year The captain rapped on the door of my hotel room promptly at 6 a.m. He was eager to get this expedition under way. He had a decision to...

Damn Black Sox

By Bruce Buschel GQ June 1988 It is World Series weather in Indianapolis. Thirty-five degrees. Charlie Sheen is dancing around center field, trying to warm up. He is worried about his arm tightening up before the big throw. He worries whenever he can. He worries about...

All Power, No Lunch

By Ron Rosenbaum Manhattan Inc. November, 1984 “That’s Barbara Walters over there,” Roy Cohn tells me, pointing helpfully to the other corner table along the front wall of Le Cirque. The second-best corner table. Roy’s got the best, the one with the wide-angle view of...

Nice Guys Finish First

By Alex Belth The Stacks Reader June 18, 2020 The spotlight never seemed to find Bill Gildea, but he was one of the best whether it was in sports or Style at the Washington Post. He was quiet, slyly funny and as good a guy as  you could hope to meet. On a staff full...

“May I Kiss You on the Forehead, Sam?”

By Jon Bradshaw New York December 29, 1975/January 5, 1976 It was practically dawn and the weather, he noted with particular pique, was diabolic. On mornings like these, he preferred to rise late. He liked to walk down to the Yale Club and play a little squash. He...

Oedipus Rocks

By John Eskow New Times May 29, 1978 Karl Wallenda plunges to his death, and the man beside me booms out “Gawd!” In the slow-motion TV replay, Wallenda’s last-second grab for the wire seems to sum up everyone’s will to live, in one gesture. Then he falls. It’s a...

Why I Hate Parties

By Helen Lawrenson From The Hussy’s Handbook 1944 In the George Kaufman-Moss Hart drama, Merrily We Roll Along, there was a scene depicting a typical smart New York party. In one corner sits a very stewed lady. As another guest wanders near her, she looks up at him...

Kim Philby and the Age of Paranoia

By Ron Rosenbaum The New York Times Magazine July 10, 1994 The Heart of the Matter The presence of the Philby papers in London was still a closely guarded secret when I stumbled on them through an inadvertent slip by Graham Greene’s nephew. I’d found him, the nephew,...

A Comedian of Guilt

By Albert Goldman Life Feb. 7, 1969 The publication of a book is not often a major event in American culture. Most of our classics, when they first appeared, met with disappointing receptions, and even the much-ballyhoed best-sellers of recent years have rarely cut a...

Catherine the Great

By Joan Juliet Buck Vanity Fair April, 1989 “Do you blow your money? I mean, just blow it?” she asked. “There’s a vertigo in going too far—the thrill that produces—especially if it’s likely to put you in an impossible situation. And then, cash worries are easier to...

The Stacks Chat: Derek Cianfrance

By Alex Belth The Stacks Reader May 20, 2020 When you watch a movie by Derek Cianfrance you know you are witnessing something deeply personal. No mistaking that. There is nothing light or frivolous in his work. Best known for his features Blue Valentine, A Place...