Thomas Lake has gotten us used to gripping human tales. His latest about a Detroit prisoner turned artist and poet is delicate and tragic, weaving dark truths about lies and death between odes to beauty and hope.
A superb investigation of the ill-fated Diamond Princess, the cruise ship at the front edge of the Coronavirus crisis. Through dozens of interviews with the people on board, Joshua Hunt delivers a portrait of what life was like, including an early blissful ignorance about the virus that shifted rapidly into fear and helplessness after the passengers discovered the ship captain had stopped telling them about new infections.
Prune, a fantastic bistro in Manhattan’s East Village, has been Gabrielle Hamilton’s life since 1999. At 53, Hamilton has four James Beard Awards on the wall, an Emmy on the shelf and a bestselling book. Despite all that, beloved restaurants like Prune, and a talented, ambitious restauranteur’s shot to make it big in the big city, have suddenly become endangered.
On New Zealand's Whakaari/White Island, home to an active volcano that has lured vacationers since the early 1990s, a six-hour tour last December turned tragic when the volcano exploded. In a story with eerie parallels to the global pandemic, Alex Perry explores the risks we're willing to take when lives hang in the balance.
Long before “Tiger King” on Netflix, there was the Tiger King of Harlem. Antoine Yates spent three years living in a New York City apartment with his best friend and “roommate”—a 450-pound Siberian tiger named Ming. We won’t give away the unhappy ending.
One year after his father’s death, Nicholas Thompson set out to run a marathon—well, actually two marathons, back-to-back. “You go up, you go down,” Thompson writes in this lovely essay about more than just one or two big themes. “At some point you reach your peak, but there are still vistas as you descend.”
Our second piece this week from The Athletic (we urge you to subscribe!) is pure, ridiculous fun. It features some of the most quotable quotes of any story we’ve read this year, like, “The bear had no idea he was on a TV show. He’s a bear.”
The first anonymous call to 911 — that a man in a Harlem apartment had just been attacked by a pit bull — was an elaborate lie. So was the second, which emphasized that the man needed urgent medical assistance.
That last part was at least correct. Because when NYPD officers arrived at the Drew-Hamilton public housing complex, they found 37-year-old Antoine Yates on the floor, close to the fifth-floor elevators, “lying face-up” and “screaming and crying in pain.” His right forearm had clearly been torn open by fangs and what appeared to be claw marks. There was also a long gash on his right leg; it was deep enough that it exposed the whiteness of his bone. Despite the reasonable doubts raised by the cops and EMTs, in between cries of pain, Yates continued to offer the same lie as the anonymous 911 callers: He’d been bitten by a brown-and-white pit bull.
The truth, of course, was far wilder. Yates was lying to protect his best friend, his roommate and the one who nearly killed him — a 450-pound Siberian tiger named Ming.
Late last month, Philipp Schindler, Google’s chief business officer, held a videoconference with thousands of the search giant’s employees using Google Meet, three people who attended the call said. During the session, one employee asked why Zoom was reaping the biggest benefits even though Google had long offered Meet.
Mr. Schindler tried placating the engineer’s concerns, the people said. Then his young son stumbled into view of the camera and asked if his father was talking to his co-workers on Zoom. Mr. Schindler tried correcting him, but the boy went on to say how much he and his friends loved using Zoom.
A Google spokesman declined to comment on the episode.
Coincidence or provenance? Daniel Miller sleuths out the connections between Samuel Marlowe, possibly the first licensed black private detective West of the Mississippi and the fictional detectives created by Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler—Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe. What a mystery. (Terrific art by Morgan Schweitzer, too.)
Classic Read curator Jack Shafer writes about media for Politico.
“A progressive and occasionally profane” podcast about the highest court in the land. It goes case by case and looks at how landmark cases don’t just shape the law but are shaped by our politics at large. Like most talk-y podcasts, it only works because there’s great chemistry. And while the hosts don’t hide where they land on the political spectrum, it’s still a clear-eyed look at some fascinating rulings. The most recent episode on eminent domain is particularly worth checking out.
Canceled proms, graduations and senior traditions are the solemn end-of-childhood markers for the homebound Class of ’20. Their sad predicament has sparked a social media trend of people posting their old high school yearbook photos, among other acts of questionable solidarity. Former UPI and USA Today photographer Matt Mendelsohn, now a Virginia-based portrait photographer, decided that wasn’t enough. Armed with a mask, gloves and his long lens, Mendelsohn is crouching in driveways, porches and yards on a self-imposed deadline: To photograph every teenager in the 500-student senior class at suburban Yorktown High School in Arlington, Va. “Not Forgotten: The Yorktown Seniors of 2020” captures all that was lost in a series of sweet, softly-lit environmental portraits. Mendelsohn’s ongoing campaign was published April 23 in The Washington Post. But for full empathetic impact, check out his website. While celebrating each student’s individuality, the series of photos is visually linked by the same black-and-white format, canvas backdrop—and a resilient spirit that will forever connect the Class of 2020.
Patrick Farrell, the curator of The Sunday Still, is the 2009 Pulitzer Prize-winner for Breaking News Photography for The Miami Herald, where he worked from 1987 to 2019. He is currently a Lecturer in the Department of Journalism and Media Management at the University of Miami School of Communication.
I'm a huge fan of Fiona Apple and, man, she does not disappoint here. Her new album is as good as anything she's done in the last 25 years. This one's more percussive, the verses come at you faster, Fiona as a spoken-word majordomo. The songwriting is clever and profound and sometimes snort-out-loud funny. I understand why she takes up to eight years between albums. That she wants to get everything just right is not the same as getting it perfect. "Fetch the Bolt Cutters" is messy and experimental in ways that enrich the experience. Like all of her albums, I'll be listening to this one for a long time.
Paul Kix is a best-selling author, an editor, and the host of the podcast, Now That's a Great Story, where novelists, journalists, screenwriters and songwriters talk about their favorite work, the one that reveals their artistic worldview. For insights from writers that go beyond what's covered in the podcast, like the entry above, please sign up for Paul's newsletter.
Challenging times don’t always call for soothing, feel-good reading, as this piece points out. We ride along with Shukla’s memories about the seminal Spider-Man story by writer J.M. DeMatteis and artist Mike Zeck—which saw our webbed hero buried alive by fading foe Kraven, the Hunter—and learn to view the tale in a different way: as a somewhat optimistic take on life and how to overcome the challenges it presents. Pretty useful info for these days.
Alex Segura is an acclaimed author, a comic book writer written various comic books, including The Archies, Archie Meets Ramones, and Archie Meets KISS. He is also the co-creator and co-writer of the Lethal Lit podcast from iHeart Radio, which was named one of the Five Best Podcasts of 2018 by The New York Times. By day, Alex is Co-President of Archie Comics. You can find him at www.alexsegura.com.
Founder, Editor: Don Van Natta Jr. Producer, Editor: Jacob Feldman Producer, Junior Editor: Étienne Lajoie Senior Recycling Editor: Jack Shafer Senior Photo Editor: Patrick Farrell Senior Music Editor: Kelly Dearmore Senior Podcast Editor: Jody Avirgan Senior Editor of Esoterica: Ryan M. Rodenberg Senior Originals Editor: Peter Bailey-Wells Sunday Comics Editor: Alex Segura
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Contributor in memoriam: Lyra McKee 1990-2019
Header Image: Jialun Deng
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