All posts by LARB Blog

The Know-How of Korean Netizens in a High-Spec New Paradigm of Synergy: or, Korea’s Dilbert-Era Loanwords

By Colin Marshall

Lulled into a false sense of security by the simplicity of its alphabet, those students of the Korean language who don’t give up in frustration will sooner or later find themselves facing a variety of unexpected challenges of communication and comprehension. Nearly a decade after learning that deceptively easy writing system, I still often get unintentional laughs from Korean interlocutors myself, especially when I fail to recognize one of the many words they borrow from my own mother tongue. “What, you don’t speak English?” they jokingly ask, but in fact I don’t speak Konglish, that curious hybrid of Korean and English now so commonly heard south of the 38th parallel. Continue reading

An Evening with Mary Gaitskill and the Los Angeles Review of Books

By Sophie Browner

Two weekends ago, the Los Angeles Review of Books hosted Mary Gaitskill at Editor-in-Chief Tom Lutz’s home for an evening of samosas, reading, and conversation. I first fell in love with Gaitskill in college when I read her debut collection of short stories, Bad Behavior. Reading Gaitskill for the first time was like the first puff of a cigarette. It felt illicit, invigorating. Continue reading

The Art of the Cover-Up

By James Rushing Daniel

In recent weeks, the already beleaguered Trump administration has become embroiled in yet another complement of scandals. On May 9, in what is now ancient news, Trump abruptly fired F.B.I. Director James Comey, interrupting an ongoing F.B.I. investigation into possible links between Russia and the Trump campaign. It has subsequently been alleged that Trump had previously asked Comey to drop the investigation, what may constitute obstruction of justice if proven. On Friday, the New York Times also reported that in a closed-door meeting with Sergey Lavrov and Sergei Kislyak on May 10, Trump shared code word Israeli intelligence, referred to F.B.I. Director James Comey as “a real nut job,” and suggested that Comey was fired to alleviate “great pressure” on the administration. Continue reading

Shedding the Light — The House in Scardale: A Memoir for the Stage

By Dinah Lenney

“I’ve been trying to write about my family. Our family. Like it’s a mystery, which it is to me. Trying to answer the question of, you know — What happened?
– Dan, in The House in Scarsdale: A Memoir for the Stage

I’m trying to answer a question, too — the question of, you know, why do I love this play as much as I do? What makes this play — now running (in its world premiere) at the Boston Court Performing Arts Center in Pasadena — so moving? So exciting, so engaging, so affirming, so, so, so — so goodContinue reading

Hong Kong on a Bad Day: On Karen Fang’s Arresting Cinema

By Susan Blumberg-Kason

When British director Ridley Scott was filming his 1982 sci-fi cult classic, Blade Runner, he instructed his crew to build their dystopian Los Angeles set to look like “Hong Kong on a bad day.” Filming long before the city became part of the People’s Republic of China, which as a Communist Party-run country is associated by many in the West with Big Brother forms of control, Scott realized something that many outsiders did not: Hong Kong was already a city of high surveillance. University of Houston Professor Karen Fang tackles the history of this aspect of the metropolis in her new book, Arresting Cinema: Surveillance in Hong Kong Film. She shows that Hong Kong has for decades been a metropolis where the movements of people have been tracked by watchful eyes, and she zooms in on how the movie industry has documented the progression of surveillance techniques from the days of black and white film to the present. Continue reading

The Greatest Show on Earth

By Joanna Chen

It’s hard to miss the American and Israeli flags flying on the main highway that connects Jerusalem to Tel Aviv. Too bad President Trump missed those flags, fluttering bravely in the summer breeze. He went by helicopter up to Jerusalem, but the highway was closed anyway, just in case. Trump touched down in Israel yesterday, and tension was high, more in anticipation for the razzle-dazzle than anything else. “We will get it done,” Trump promised Palestinian President Abbas earlier this month, and I wonder today what exactly Trump thinks he might get done here. What kind of a haphazard, hocus-pocus plan does he have up his sleeve that might succeed where others have failed? Continue reading