1. “Marty Rathbun Is Scientology’s Public Enemy No. 1. And He’s Okay with That.” The ex-member of the Church and Going Clear subject talks about the enemies who ambush him and encouraging people to speak out about Scientology’s abuses.
“Scientology is such an effective bubble and such an effective defense mechanism set up in everybody’s minds that I found that is really not effective. I think really everybody I have dealt with, and I have dealt with hundreds of people since I left, would say they left because the abuses that they saw or participated in—the effect of that outweighed the benefits. That’s really the bottom line in the final analysis. In terms of the common experience, there is one… and it’s that there is so much put into creating this bubble with this whole disconnect policy and the suppressive persons and all that, that by design you are completely alone. When you go out, nobody shares your experience. In the last five or six years, my atonement has sort of been to contribute a lot to making it safe for people to talk, and connecting people together so they can share their experience. That’s the first step I think of helping them decompress and reintegrate.”
2. “Kristen Stewart and the Movie Actor’s Dilemma.” Richard Brody on what the actor’s craft expresses.
“The conflicts that Stewart expresses in this interview arise from the conflicts and torments that are the very essence of movie-making. In theatre, the actor gives; in movies, something is taken from the actor—something which may not at all be what the actor is trying to give. The performer’s best intentions are beside the point; what comes through is what the camera takes—and what the director (if he or she is a strong one) looks for. The very idea of modern training in acting is to provide a sense of control and to give actors confidence that the technique they use to maintain control isn’t applied from without but supplied from within. It’s a high-pressure, high-stakes, anxiety-inducing, existentially terrifying profession—one in which each new image, which exalts the actor’s person and creates the actor’s persona, threatens to expose the actor to humiliation or ridicule. The desire to exert control is natural and normal, but doomed—not because of any failing on the actor’s part but because the relationship with the director, and with the camera, is the essence of what’s on-screen. The actor’s performance is largely the creation of others—even as the actor bears its physical and moral risk. “
3. “The Lonely Female Taxi Driver.” For Mubi, Jacqueline Valencia on Barbara Loden’s Wanda.
“Wanda refuses to be a mother and a wife. She gives up those roles because she cannot fulfill them the way others want her to. The tiny hint of her past is in a photo of her with her husband. She drunkenly holds a beer bottle as she sits on her husband’s lap. There are no clues to her taking on responsibility. She doesn’t look for a purpose or meaning in her life. There’s a symbolic scene where Wanda goes into a movie theatre. She falls asleep and wakes up to sixties Mexican singer Raphael singing ’Ave Maria’ to Shirley Jones (not seen) in the film El Golfo. The song pleads with the motherly archetype of the Virgin Mary not to leave while Raphael’s character sings it to Jones, declaring his love for her. The fact that Wanda has woken up to this scene signifies her displacement with the gender role she’s expected to fill. To herself and to society, she is nothing without acting on her duties as a mother and a wife. To the film viewer, she’s a solitary wanderer without a life or a home.”
4. “Lydia Davis at the End of the World.” On learning Norwegian and writing the beauty of the dying world.
“I do find the everyday, what other people might find mundane or boring, interesting. For example, I participate in various local groups devoted to issues in the community, and I do actually enjoy them all. Others might say: ’Do we really have to hear about potholes in the road for an hour and a half, God, that sounds really boring.’ But I am interested in looking at the people, seeing their expressions, the dynamic between them. If I went to an academic conference on literary theory, I would have been bored out of my mind! But a town meeting about potholes, that interests me. I don’t know what that says about me, except I know it’s important for me to look at each thing freshly, without preconceived notions.”
5. “An Oral History of the Sex, Drag Queens, and Glory of NYC After Midnight.” Chi Chi Valenti, Johnny Dynell, Anita Sarko, and Lady Bunny dish on legendary downtown nights—from Studio 54 to Jackie 60.
“Jackie 60 was one of the only clubs that I would go out to and just have a blast. And y’all closed it and said, ’We’re going online to have a virtual community,’ and I was like, ’Fuck you. I can’t drink a virtual drink and I can’t suck a virtual cock!’ But you were right. You started off with the Motherboards [their chat site], which is essentially Facebook. You predicted it! And at Jackie, I was blazing drunk and high and carrying on and wasn’t worried about no damn camera! At a Sirius party at Studio 54 a few years ago, every time the silver spoon set piece came down or a scantily clad dancer came out, everyone had their cell phones out. They weren’t dancing, they were standing on the dance floor!”
Video of the Day: HBO teases season two of True Detective:
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