1. “Alec Baldwin: Good-bye, Public Life.” The actor tells Joe Hagan that he gives up.
“Am I bitter about some of the things that have happened to me in the past year? Yes, I’m a human being. I always had big ambitions. I had dreams of running for office at some point in the next five years. In the pyramid of decision-making in New York City politics, rich people come first, unions second, and rank-and-file New Yorkers come dead last. I wanted to change that. I wanted to find a way to lower the cost of the city government and thus reduce New York’s shameful tax burden. I would have decentralized the schools. My father was a public-school teacher. He always told me that although you could encourage a child to work hard, you could only go so far; that half the goal had to be achieved at home. As progressive as I’ve been in my politics, there are other things I don’t think of as liberal or progressive, just common sense. Of course, another thing I would have done—and this will not surprise anyone—is change the paparazzi law.”
2. “Alice Herz-Sommer: pianist and oldest known Holocaust survivor dies aged 110.” Concert pianist said that optimism and discipline helped her survive two years in concentration camp.
“Tributes have been paid to Alice Herz-Sommer, a renowned concert pianist who was believed to have been the world’s oldest Holocaust survivor, after she died in London at the age of 110. She was born into a German-speaking Jewish family in Prague at a time when it was part of the Austro-Hungarian empire, and endured the city’s ghetto following the Nazi invasion of Czechoslovakia. She then spent two years in Theresienstadt (Terezín) concentration camp, where nearly 35,000 prisoners perished. In an extraordinary life, which was the subject of film nominated for the best short documentary at next Sunday night’s Academy Awards, she counted Franz Kafka as a family friend when she was young and carried a devotion to music that sustained her in the camp.”
3. “My boobs, my burden.” I thought that with cleavage came power. But as my breasts swelled to a 32G, I found the opposite to be true.
“Large breasts aren’t a fun burden to carry. For years, my breasts have been spoken to (but as yet, they haven’t talked back). Not only that, they’re sometimes touched without my permission—not by men but usually by smaller-chested women curious to know ’what if feels like’ to have big breasts. One of my girlfriends can hardly have dinner with me without peeking at my breasts between sentences, or announcing ’Chloe! Your boobs!’ to the restaurant. Then there was that charming guy at a bar who thought it would be a swell idea, on first meeting me, to pellet popcorn at my cleavage. And when a friend heard I was writing this story, she told me, because I have ’great tits,’ it’s ’unfair’ for me to write about them. Why can everybody talk about—and hell, to—my breasts, but me?”
4. “Is Method Acting Destroying Actors?” Richard Brody on the torment in Philip Seymour Hoffman’s art and more.
“Hoffman had a fury for acting and a virtuoso technique that he yoked, brilliantly, to it. He found his characters’ passions within himself, took their passions upon himself, and then created, with an uncanny gift for impersonation, a set of gestures and inflections that embodied them. But that supreme artifice became, in turn, a block to the expression of passion, and to make it real he dug deeper and burned brighter—and, then, found the gestures to show it. The connection of his inner life and outer skill generated a sort of emotional short circuit that overheated him terrifyingly, resulting in the justly admired intensity that he brought to every role—which was also, however, a sign of an actor giving more of himself, moment by moment, than an actor should ever be called upon, or need, to give.”
5. “Everyone Who Met Her Fell in Love with Her.” A Letter From Susan, the Secretary of Joan Fontaine.
“Perhaps the most discussed part of Joan’s life was her relationship with her sister, Olivia de Havilland. As with many siblings, their relationship was one of very serious ups and downs. At the time of Joan’s death, she and Olivia had not spoken for a long time. Joan is often maligned for this, and Susan tells of countless letters from fans advising Joan to ’mend fences’ with Olivia, and chastising her for not attending the ceremony when Olivia was awarded the Legion d’Honneur (Joan never received an invitation and didn’t learn of the event until after the fact). However, Susan wants to make it very clear that Joan had no hard feelings toward her sister and that she ’never saw any animosity toward Olivia.’ Susan tells me that Joan was once approached about the possibility of an on-air interview with her and Olivia together, and Joan agreed to it. Unfortunately, the interview never came to pass and the sisters never had the opportunity to come face to face again.”
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