1. “Fran Lebowitz to Tourists: ’Stay Home.’” The accalimed author and public speaker on tourists, Bloomberg, hotels, Brooklyn, and more.
“Tourism as a number-one industry is a terrible, terrible idea for any city, especially New York. If you were going to turn a city, which is a place where people live, into a tourist attraction, you’re going to have to make it a place that people who don’t live here, like. So I object to living in a place for people who don’t live here. As it became more and more intense, it became more and more a place where the actual citizens are pushed out to the edges. A friend of mine always says this: ’I don’t care what kind of aesthetic people have; the second they have a kid, their house becomes hor-rible.’ The second you have a kid, whether you think it’s going to or not, your house becomes full of plastic junk. So this is the same with tourists. The city will sink to that level of having a house of three- year-old children, so they like certain things, they don’t like certain things. And they like things that you don’t like, or that I don’t like. I do object to it. And I would like to see fewer and fewer tourists and I’m tired of hearing about how much money they bring to the city because the kind of jobs the tourists bring to the city are the worst jobs. They’re hotel maid jobs, they’re jobs that have no future to them.”
2. “The Sad Hidden Plight of Child Grooms.” The consequences of early marriage on young girls are well known, but millions of underage boys are also married off each year—and there is little research on their fates.
“Across the globe, millions of boys and girls are betrothed so young they spend the majority of their adolescence already married. Each day, 39,000 girls are married off. They suffer sky-high maternal mortality rates, illiteracy, and a daily struggle against violence and poverty. The younger they’re married, the more risk they face and more unlikely it is they’ll succeed later in life. But boys, too, are negatively affected by premature nuptials. They are often forced to drop out of school and take menial jobs to support their new family. This perpetuates the cycle of poverty that led to their marriage in the first place. Generation after generation will struggle to lift themselves out of this tradition. In fact, 156 million men alive today were married as children, according to the most recent UNICEF data. Despite that massive figure, there is scant research or work being done to address the issue of child grooms, meaning there are tens of millions of young boys and men who are almost virtually invisible in research, advocacy, and on-the-ground prevention work.”
3. “Polly Bergen R.I.P.” The Emmy-winning actress and nightclub singer, who appeared in the original Cape Fear, dies at 84.
“Polly Bergen, an outspoken actress who also gained acclaim as a nightclub singer, a cosmetics entrepreneur and a ubiquitous quiz-show panelist, did not start out as an overnight smash. When her first film—a Dean Martin-and-Jerry Lewis comedy called At War With the Army—came out in 1951, Los Angeles Times reviewer Philip K. Scheuer allowed that there might be hope for the attractive but inexperienced newcomer. ’Miss Bergen looks like a nice person, and her voice is pretty good, but she doesn’t know how to face a camera,’ Scheuer wrote. ’Give her time. She’s new.’ Seven years later, Bergen won a best-actress Emmy for her compelling Playhouse 90 portrayal of Helen Morgan, the troubled torch singer of the 1920s and ’30s. Over the next six decades, Bergen appeared in memorable productions such as Cape Fear, a 1962 suspense thriller with Gregory Peck and Robert Mitchum, and the World War II TV epics The Winds of War (1983) and its sequel War and Remembrance (1988). For the latter, she was nominated for an Emmy as best supporting actress. Bergen died Saturday at her home in Southbury, Conn. She was 84.”
4. “How to write a film on a piano: Norman McLaren’s visual music.” By physically carving soundtracks onto celluloid, Norman McLaren—who would have turned 100 last April—anticipated digital music.
“’I have said somewhere that it was not enough to hear music,’ Stravinsky once noted. ’One must also see it.’ The synaesthesia of Norman McLaren’s animations might not have been what he had in mind but it’s this drive to marry sound and image that propelled the Oscar- and Palme d’Or-winning pioneer. He’s known for making films without a camera; he also created music with light. Half scientist, half artist, McLaren would have turned 100 this April. As a teenager in Scotland, he would lie back with his eyes closed, listening to music on the radio and watching dancing shapes projected by his mind. He started making films, always with ’a musical script’ instead of dialogue, attempting a ’visual translation of the music’. McLaren was a good translator. The visuals of Colour Cocktail, the amateur silent short that led to his discovery by documentarist John Grierson, were so well matched to a gramophone record that people were convinced the sound and image had been pre-synced.”
5. ”Mahogany and Me.” Michael A. Gonzales on Diana Ross and how she was the woman she wanted to be and he wanted to have.
“Like something out of a romantic comic strip, the storyline was straight-up corny. Even as a kid, when she left the grandeur of Europe to return to the grime of Chicago to be with Billy Dee Williams, the love-struck ending got on my nerves. But the real story was about chasing your dreams, aspiring higher, making your life better and escaping the ghetto. ’Did you know that Diana Ross designed her own clothes in that movie?’ Virgie asked as we dumped them in a nearby trashcan. ’You’ve only told us that like nine thousand times,’ I said drolly. ’But, if you’d like, please, tell me again.’ ’I’m just saying, Diana Ross is real talented.’”
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