What Is True/Slant?
275+ knowledgeable contributors.
Reporting and insight on news of the moment.
Follow them and join the news conversation.

Sep. 16 2009 — 8:57 pm | 21 views | 0 recommendations | 0 comments

The Magician’s Table at the Cafe Edison

A 20 segment panoramic image of the New York M...

The magical city at dinner time

From magician Bob Friedhoffer demonstrating how to behave if your wallet catches on fire to George Schindler on playing a magician in    Woody Allens’ great old film, New York Stories (with Curb Your Enthusiasm’s Larry David playing the stage hand in the same scene), enjoy the sights, sounds, and backstory on New York City’s best kept secret — lunch at the Magician’s Table at the Cafe Edison.  It’s my latest, out today in flyp magazine, and brought to you here with my best wishes.

(Don’t miss the audio and video flyp is famous for incorporating into its digital pieces.  My favorite?  The sound of turning pages as you “flip” through it by clicking the arrow on the bottom right corner.)

FLYP | 35.

Sep. 12 2009 — 5:54 pm | 9 views | 0 recommendations | 0 comments

Fifteen-Minute Cinema: The Sculpture Diaries

The Eagle Nebula (M16): Peering Into the Pilla...

Some of the most fascinating programming on the arts is now coming from The Smithsonian Channel.  In this two-minute sneak peek of the HD program, The Sculpture Diaries, take a look at Nancy Holt’s “Sun Tunnels” in Walking Among the Stars.

Best thing ever said to me by a sculptor  — walk around it, look up and down and through it; every angle tells a piece of its story.

Smithsonian Channel: Walking Among Stars – Video.

Sep. 7 2009 — 12:17 am | 24 views | 0 recommendations | 3 comments

Fifteen-minute poetry theater: Wallace Stevens seduced by conflict

Eye of the Blackbird

Image by *clairity* via Flickr

Lots of fascinating reviews coming out about the poet Wallace Stevens with the recent release of his Selected Poems, edited by John N. Serio.

Wallace Stevens, Hartford insurance man with a difficult wife and difficult parents, had a secret life in which he turned his personal conflicts into seductions made out of words, sounds, ideas, descriptions.

Sounds so trite by contemporary standards for great escapes.

He was a sort of heartbreaking Walter Mitty, whose heroic fantasies played out as poems.   Here are a few lines from Stevens’ Notes Toward A Supreme Fiction, called out in an excellent review by James Longenbach in The Nation:

Two things of opposite natures seem to depend

On one another, as a man depends

On a woman, day on night, the imagined

On the real. This is the origin of change.

via A Music of Austerity: The Poetry of Wallace Stevens (Page 2).

Sep. 6 2009 — 10:11 pm | 6 views | 0 recommendations | 0 comments

Fifteen-minute cinema: “World Cinema” with Joel and Ethan Coen

Actor Josh Brolin at FLAUNT Magazine's 9th Ann...

Coen main man, Josh Brolin

What was the world like before sub-titles?  And what is expected of us since sub-titles?  Are we measuring up?

Three minutes on making life’s difficult decisions, with the Coen Brothers and Josh Brolin.

For some backstory, click here for Very Short List.

Here’s the show… YouTube – World Cinema by Joel and Ethan Coen.

Sep. 5 2009 — 1:20 pm | 25 views | 1 recommendations | 3 comments

Ashton Kutcher talks public service, Star Trek, and football pants

ashtonMy conversation with Ashton Kutcher and the good folks at his media studio, Katalyst, just went up at huffpo.  Thought you might like to see it here, and maybe take the Kutcher/Booker Challenge …

In April 2009, Jake Coyle reported at huffpo that actor Ashton Kutcher and CNN were in a dead heat to see who could be the first to break a million followers on Twitter.

Kutcher won.

According to www.twitterholic.com, Ashton Kutcher’s following on Twitter has since reached 3,471,076.   It will probably surpass 3.5 as you read this. That’s more than President Obama, Al Gore, or Oprah.

Kutcher, an avid fan of social media, has been suggesting to people he admires that they harness the power, but the concept tends to fare about as well as talking abstract expressionism or the public health option.

Not so with Newark’s Mayor Cory A. Booker, who took Kutcher’s advice to talk with his constituents on Twitter.   The Mayor began tweeting dozens of times a day about where he was going, what he was doing, sharing favorite quotes and spontaneous thoughts on the issues, and his online following rapidly rose to 650,000.

This week, in a Ustream chat, the actor spoke with Mayor Booker about community service, positive change, and an upcoming Sundance Channel premiere of “Brick City,” a five-part documentary about Newark premiering September 21st.

Halfway through, Kutcher challenged the Mayor to inspire 300 Twitter followers to send video “declarations” of community service to pledgeservice@gmail.com.

If 300 video commitments come in, Kutcher has volunteered to wear a Giants jersey and hat, despite the fact that he is a devoted Bears fan, and go to a Giants game with the Mayor.

“Go to serv.gov,” Kutcher says in the interview.  “Pick the thing you like to do.  Send in the video. And we’ll post it.”

“Can we put a challenge out there?” asked the Mayor.  “We could do a little one on one.  If we get … what number do you want … if we get 300 videos sent in?”

“We go one on one and the loser has to, what, fill in the blanks, Mayor?” Kutcher asks.

“I take you to a Giants game.  I want you wearing the jersey, the hat, the football pants…”

They settled on just the cap and jersey.

Three hundred declarations of service to pledgeservice@gmail.com, then the one on one game, and the loser has to wear the cap and jersey to the winner’s favorite team’s football game.

Here’s the full chat.

A Kutcher/Booker Challenge.  The results should be interesting.  And you can bet you’ll be hearing all about it on Twitter.

My T/S Activity Feed


    About Me

    I've written short pieces for The New Yorker about the first Arab prince in outer space, a Ph.D who travels the world studying garbage, an Australian attorney who played werewolves in the movies, and the man who set the “Pledge of Allegiance” to music. I've written pieces for The New York Times about olfactory sculpture dropped from a plane on thousands of tiny cards on New Year's Eve, and inscriptions on old buildings that have become ironic over time. At ABC, Bravo, A&E, and PBS, I wrote live interviews with celebrities and docs about Hemingway, Dorothy Parker, and lesser known poets. It's culture and arts. It's people in the news. It's the ongoing comedy of who we are. I hope you enjoy it here at True/Slant and write in to tell me what you think. Also hope to hear your ideas and stories at "Third Screen" on www.huffingtonpost and www.thirdscreenconfidential.com

    See my profile »
    Followers: 94
    Contributor Since: January 2009
    Location:New York

    What I'm Up To

    Ping pong project

    A piece called Hip Hop Meets Ping Pong.  The thrill of victory.   The agony of defeat.  And you can dance to it.  Stay tuned.