Archive for Art

Lolita is Back…

Marilynn and I have been battling for years over the derivation and significance of Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov’s infamous 1955 novel. To refresh your memory, the first-person narrator is a middle-aged literature professor obsessed with a 12-year-old girl whom he nicknames Lolita and with whom he becomes sexually involved after marrying her mother. The premise is creepy, but the book is an acknowledged masterpiece of world literature often cited as one of the best books of the 20th century.

Our disagreement centers on her belief that the book could only have been written by someone who experienced or fantasized about what is described in its pages, while I think it’s a work of pure literary imagination. The Annotated Lolita unpacks my side of the story. The Nabokov text in The Annotated Lolita is 309 pages, but the book is itself is 455 pages, including Editor Alfred Appel Jr.’s 67-page introduction, 6 pages of bibliography, 6 pages of Nabokov notes, and 138 pages of annotations. Serious scholarship. read more

A Modern Adaptation…

A glooming peace this morning with it brings, The sun for sorrow will not show its head. Go hence, to have more talk of these sad things, Some shall be pardoned and some punished. For never was a story of more woe Than this of Juliet and her Romeo.

A Different Ending…

You can’t make it up. Or…maybe you can. A TV celebrity with a reputation for infidelity plays at being POTUS, the President of the United States? What could go wrong with casting like this? Could it possibly have a happy ending? Suspend your disbelief for a New York minute.

After a successful state dinner with the French president and his wife, but with his teenage child living in the White House, he pursues a woman, not his wife. They have sex. Headlines in all the papers. He refuses to comment. The press camps out at her apartment hoping to get a statement. read more

Art, Artifice or Pageantry?

Donald Trump’s disdain for “fake news” is legendary as is his love of pageantry. At this very moment, with Covid-19 ravaging the country, Washington under martial law, and Visigoths planning a second takeover of the U.S. Capitol, The Donald is busy working out the details of his departure pageant – Air Force One, red carpet, honor guard, military flyover, 21-gun salute, and a final pass over the White House on his way to Mar a Lago.

Nero fiddled, Donald fidgets. 

We know about his creepy interest in Miss Teen USA, Miss Universe, and military pageants, but his affection for fake art is less well known. Trump Tower, Mar a Lago, and Bedminster are full of it. You’d think the son of a wealthy New York real estate investor, with an Ivy League diploma, who’d spent most of his adult life in Manhattan would have a nodding acquaintance with the real thing, but from the faux-gold chandeliers and fake Renoir in his Trump Tower apartment to the forged Time Magazine covers of himself at Bedminster, The Donald has shown us his love of fakery.  read more

Who Knows Where the Time Goes?

Sometimes good fortune feels like destiny. Stars align and something magical occurs. In the spring of 2001, before 9/11 and 20 years before Covid-19, Marilynn and I rode our bikes from Bordeaux through the Dordogne in southwestern France. No itinerary, just three weeks alone rolling through the countryside. 

We had grown up together, married other people, and were back together after a 40-year break. I had traveled a lot in those 40 years. She had done some but wanted to do more. I asked if she would be willing to try it on a bicycle. She was game and we were off on the first of our ten self-supported bike trips. read more