Posts Tagged ‘hats’


Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

Stylish readers!  I’m London bound for a series of really promising events.  Tomorrow evening I will be heading straight from the airport to the Auburn & Wills clothing store in Notting Hill, for a double-booking with the visibly fabulous Molly Parkin:


“the queen of bohemia resplendent in her urban turban”

This event must not be missed by anyone who (a) is in London, (b) loves literature, and (c) needs to pick up some light yachting wear.

Seriously when we were going over the schedule, my publicist mentioned that I should pack something elegant for a photo shoot.  I immediately got demoralized, because all two of my pairs of leggings now have holes in them – and then I was like, “Wait – if I’m reading in a clothing store, can I just buy something there?”

“Oh, yes – I believe you get a discount,” my publicist said, a shade hesitantly.  “It’s just, the clothes might be a bit preppy.”

stonyfold cardigan


Clearly Ms. Parks and I are gonna fit right in.  I actually have my eye on this rather attractive duvet cover to wear to my next engagement:

duvet cover


This will be at the British Museum on February 21, where I will talk about Cervantes, Balzac, and Double-Entry Bookkeeping, as part of the LRB Winter Lecture Series, the other two speakers in which series being, hilariously, Judith Butler (who spoke on the Kafka papers controversy) and TJ Clark (who spoke on Picasso).  A huge honor and I plan to dress accordingly.

Apropos of all my hard work researching Kafka and kittens last year, I was delighted to note that Quirk Classics, the visionaries who brought us Android Karenina, are finally putting out a Kafka-kitten mash-up:


Looking sharp, little guy!

The art issue

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

For those who might be wondering what is new with Roz Chast, the amazing artist who did the cover of The Possessed:

multi eggs-BEST PIC

While we are looking at beautiful images, I would like to mention another talented reader, Abraham Kelso, who actually gave me some original prints at my reading last month in Brookline.  On the train back to New York the next morning, I had the foresight to place these beautifully rolled-up prints in the overhead luggage compartment, so they wouldn’t get smooshed.  At that point, with the satisfaction of a job well done, I fell into a deep sleep.

Now here is the thing with the New York – Boston train: you can fall asleep going to Boston and it’s all fun and games, but if you fall asleep going to New York, you end up in our nation’s capital.  Luckily, I woke up just as we were pulling into Penn Station, whence I rushed directly to the Times building in order to record a podcast.  Unluckily, in my alacrity to disburden myself of some more thoughts and feelings about Russian literature, I forgot the beautiful rolled-up prints in the overhead compartment.

Well, I hope and trust the originals are hard at work right now representing our interests in DC.  In the meantime, you can enjoy some simulacra here:



The film issue

Wednesday, April 14th, 2010

As a C-list writer, one has to wear many hats, including, it turns out, the hat of someone who knows something about movies.  In February, for example, I was really happy to be asked to write something for The Believer, because I had never written for them before.  In fact this was my first time writing for any publication in San Francisco, a city apparently famous for having such a friendly literary scene that guests at a roast for Amy Tan were literally unable to think of anything insulting to say about her, even as a joke.  “This is San Francisco literary life in a nutshell,” reported the New York Times:

a willingness to honor and an unwillingness to undermine. You could probably find mean-spirited, competitive writers here, the kind who make literature a blood sport and the literary life a conniving enterprise and a purely mercenary pursuit. But not without a serious hunt.

Hey guys!  Yoo-hoo!  I might be up here on a mountain, living on oatmeal and pretending that my cat can talk, but I do exist! (more…)

Close relations

Wednesday, December 10th, 2008

Remember my 6-month-old, still-not-published piece on large Russian bells? So it’s actually about the once-recent (now several months old) restitution of some historic and very large Russian church bells, for many years in the possession of a famous American university, back to the seat of the Russian Orthodox Patriarchate—conditional upon the aforementioned university’s receipt of an equivalent set of bells, and by equivalent I mean not only did they have to be fully as large as the originals, but also they had to be personally blessed by Patriarch Alexiy II, the colorful personality who drew international media attention last year for his characterization of homosexuality as a "distortion of the human personality like kleptomania."

A few days ago I got an email from my editor, notifying me of the recent death of Alexiy II, with the following comment:"Good news for gays, maybe; hard to gauge its significance for bells other than the insertion of the word ‘late’ before his first appearance in your piece." Well, I’ve been thinking about this statement and, while I concur that the death of one Russian patriarch doesn’t have any immediately calculable significance in terms of the content of anything I wrote about large Russian bells, I still do hope that they publish the piece before too many more of the involved parties have time to die—because if there’s one thing that’s really distracting in a sexy, super-topical piece about large church bells, it’s having to slog through a bunch of five-syllable Russian names with "late" before them.

I leave you, dear readers, with these amazing photographs of the late Alexei "enjoying close relations with the Kremlin," which look like they might have been taken by AFP / AP photographers who were working overtime as private detectives in the service of Mrs. Putin.

image image

Genghis Khan garden gnomes

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008

Let me begin by thanking Ryan for the link to the Roudinesco conference, which does indeed include such promising titles as: "‘In Pursuit of the Nazi Mind?’ The Deployment of Psychoanalysis in the Struggle against Fascism." I am also curious about who decides the ad placement in the LRB print edition. The last piece I wrote for them, on graphic novels, ran with an ad for Turkey: The Space of the Mind(d)Field, a special issue of the art journal Third Text, including articles like "Parrhesiastic Games in the Turkish Art Scene" (by Süreyyya Evren, who really spells it with 3 y’s, possibly to convey the eternal question of contemporary academic discourse: "Why? Why? Why?"), and: "Dear Europe, Dear Turkey: Why are You Making Us So Depressed [Why why why]?" (by Kevin Robins).

I remember when that LRB came out, a certain prominent YA author wrote to me that she was puzzled "by the decision to advertise Turkish language lessons (or was it Genghis Khan garden gnomes?) at the bottom of your first page."  and, although I initially thought "Genghis Khan garden gnomes" was really funny, I soon I realized it’s no laughing matter, because guess who introduced garden gnomes—in fact, "models of Central Asian dwarves that were kept as house pets by wealthy families during China’s glorious Tang Dynasty"—to the ignorant West?  That’s right… the Mongols!



This important discovery into the genealogy of garden gnomes (viz., they too are related to Genghis Khan) was made by Bu Congming, professor of archeology and finance at the Urumqi Institute of Desert Exploration and Real Estate Development, and his colleague Xuan Zhang, on the basis of "a letter written in Sogdian, an extinct Central Asia language, [discovered] in a garbage pit at Dunhuang":