LOGO

LARB’s Top 25 Most Read Articles of 2014

1. Young Adult Cancer Story by Briallen Hopper, July 16th, 2014

Author John Green called it his “favorite essay on The Fault in Our Stars yet.”

2. We Need To Talk About Tyrion: How HBO Failed George R. R. Martin’s Iconic Character by Ilana Teitelbaum, November 21st, 2014

“What is most remarkable about this moment in the TV series is that the show gets it wrong.”

3. Hitler, Continued: Afterword from the Updated Edition of “Explaining Hitler: The Search for the Origins of His Evil” by Ron Rosenbaum, July 10th, 2014

Ron Rosenbaum’s characteristically brilliant response to all the important updates that have occurred in Hitler studies in the past 15 years.

  1. Sarah Mesle on Texts from Jane Eyre by Sarah Mesle, November 6th, 2014

Texts from Jane Eyre is not only a major work of bathroom humor reading, but also a significant contribution to feminist literary criticism.

5. The Posthuman Scar-Jo by Sophia Nguyen, September 12th, 2014

Scarlett Johansson in Her (Spike Jonze, 2013), Under the Skin (Jonathan Glazer, 2013), and Lucy (Luc Besson, 2014). Continue reading

MAYAHAYUK.aCooperMaya8278.2

This Week’s Triptych Artist: Maya Hayuk

With their symmetrical compositions, intricate patterns, and lush colors, Maya Hayuk’s paintings and massively scaled murals recall views of outer space, traditional Ukrainian crafts, airbrushed manicures, and mandalas. Hayuk weaves visual information from her immediate surroundings into her elaborate abstractions, creating an engaging mix of referents from popular culture and advanced painting practices alike while connecting to the ongoing pursuit of psychedelic experience in visual form. She has painted her iconic outdoor murals all over the world and, when not traveling, maintains an active studio in Brooklyn, sketching in paint to inform the large-scale works. She sees her studio painting practice and mural making as both inversely relational and symbiotic.

amy li

The Interrogation Room

Image © Amy Li — 2015 

By Jessica Gross

A week after the journalist and critic Deborah Solomon visited the Museum of Communism in Prague, she spoke about it in a workshop on how to conduct interviews. “They have something there called an interrogation room,” she told the couple dozen of us, mostly women and mostly journalists, clustered around the table. The interrogation room was a Soviet-era recreation, and Solomon was curious what she’d find. “I looked, and it was just a desk and a chair,” she said. “No water boarding instruments or weapons. And I thought, well, whoever was sitting behind that desk must have known how to ask great questions.” Continue reading

larb blog victoria dailey image

Piety and Perversity: The Palms of Los Angeles

Image by Stefano Galli

Victoria Dailey, the author of “Piety and Perversity: The Palms of Los Angeles,” which was part of our recent collaboration with Flaunt Magazine, is giving a talk (the talk has the same title as the piece) today at UCLA.  Information on the talk is below.

Piety and Perversity: The Palms of Los Angeles

Thursday, January 15, 2015
4:00 pm – 6:00 pm, William Andrews Clark Library – Facility

Free and open to the public, but advance registration is requested. Please be aware that space at the Clark is limited and that registration closes when capacity is reached. Confirmation will be sent via email.

This illustrated lecture seeks to analyze, document, and interpret the history of palm trees in Los Angeles and how they came to dominate not only the landscape but also the cultural mythos. Although the palm tree is not native to the Los Angeles area, it has become accepted as a regional icon. More recognized than native sycamores, oaks, or willows, palms have become a visual synonym for Los Angeles. An explanation of this phenomenon and a suggestion about a new horticultural future for the city comprise the talk.    Continue reading

Osborne cover

The Book the China Crowd Missed – Lawrence Osborne’s The Ballad of a Small Player

By Paul French

Every so often, a novel that captures the essence and flavors of the modern China experience is published — yet seemingly totally escapes the attentions of the devoted China reading crowd. They praise and discuss, absorb and dissect other, often distinctly inferior, novels, while Lawrence Osborne’s The Ballad of a Small Player has attracted no attention and fallen through the cracks of the Sinology drain. Yet Osborne has written an acutely observed novel detailing one part of the contemporary China experience and he deserves to be widely read. In fact, I’m going to just go right on and out and say it — Osborne’s novel is the best on contemporary China since Malraux’s Man’s Fate (which, rather depressingly, means we might have to wait another 80 years for the next one!) Continue reading

in Port au Prince, Haiti, Friday, February 26, 2010.

Haiti: Then and Now

The following are selections from a photo essay by Allison Shelley titled “Haiti: Then and Now,” documenting Shelley’s time both covering Haiti on location in 2010, and then just recently, 2015 during her trip back there. The photo gallery includes 32 photographs presented in pairs: one from 2010, another from 2015, typically of the same scene or subject. The full photo essay, along with an essay by Allyn Gaestel titled “Still Fissured: Haiti’s Health System, Five Years After the Earthquake,” is located on our main site. 

¤

A water tank in a tent camp behind the Notre Dame de l’Assomption Catholic church sports a message from its inhabitants, in Port au Prince, Haiti, Friday, February 26, 2010. ©Allison Shelley

 

Five years after the quake, a tent camp behind the Notre Dame de l’Assomption Catholic church still houses the displaced, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, January 4, 2015. ©Allison Shelley Continue reading

blog je suis charlie

Je Suis Charlie

The following piece is a reaction to the events on January 7, 2015 in France by Martina Sternfeld. Martina can be reached at martina.sternfeld@gmail.com. 

last night we had search and rescue missions running over the English channel and most especially right at the beach outside our door.  the helicopters were at my window level blowing the tree tops in my buildings garden.  the coast guard was on the water with lights strong enough to make it feel like we were in the middle of the afternoon.  it made me incredibly sad because I thought back to when the children would wake me up in the night and I would sit with them through a feverish period or a bad dream and I reflected that here I am and always have been a liberal minded woman.  I don’t believe in God or religion.  I don’t believe in luck or dreams coming true.  I don’t believe in the death penalty.  I am the daughter of a soldier who died in his prime as a direct result of his service to our country where he fought so that we could be free.  all of us.  to practice whatever human ritual we wanted to.  I lived in that world for my whole life.  every mother wakes up to the fevered scream of their child in the same exact way that I did and yet now, today, I can feel it when I walk past my head shrouded sisters on the streets that a stake has been driven into the ground between us.  the people who did this have become virtual movie stars, their faces on the front pages of all our papers and each and every one of our many means of communication.  they are nothing more than publicity hounds who make the suffering of ‘everyman’ so much more profound on the planet.  the horrible conditions that our fellow human beings live in all over the world, which should be the true subject of our attention pales in comparison to the car chase and shoot ’em up action these egotistic savages perform on the worlds stage.  they add nothing.  they help no one.  no matter where we are in the world, our children will all wake in the wee hours with the same feverish cry.  that is the one we should answer.  we need to listen to the light in our hearts.  it is still there, burning brightly in our children.  we must stand together and fight for them to have the world they deserve and which we are capable of giving them.  ‘hands across the world’. today I will try harder to wish my neighbour well.

MASS MURDER, 2014
Installation View

This Week’s Triptych Artist: Samara Golden

Samara Golden (b. Michigan, 1973) received her MFA from Columbia University in 2009, and her BFA from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design in 2005. She has exhibited extensively in Los Angeles, at Night Gallery, LAXART, Various Small Fires, ACME, and MOCA, and in 2014 was included in “Made in L.A.,” the Hammer Museum Biennial. Samara’s solo exhibition “The Flat Side of The Knife” will be on view at MoMA PS1 through September 2015. She has also recently shown at CANADA, Rachel Uffner Gallery, Marlborough Chelsea, Derek Eller Gallery, and On Stellar Rays in New York, as well as at The Suburban in Chicago, and Loyal Gallery in Stockholm. She lives and works in Los Angeles.

Images courtesy of the artist and Night Gallery

ACTIONS REFLECT, 2014 Installation view

MASS MURDER, 2014, Installation View

 

MASS MURDER, 2014 Installation View

ACTIONS REFLECT, 2014, Installation view

blog avidly middle aged women

Essays That We, As Ladies of Early Middle Age, Would Like to See Written*

Today’s post was originally published by LARB Channel Avidly

“Witty Meeting Comebacks that Indicate Your Displeasure While Concealing the (Professionally Discrediting) Whirling Dervish of Your Rage”

“Throwing Money at Problems: A Justification”

“Is This Sex Position Degrading or Just Uncomfortable?”

“Age-Concealing Procedures: Talking to Someone While Pretending They Haven’t Had One, or, Injectables: Agreeing to Disagree”

“Strangely Funny Moments in The House of Mirth

“Women Who Take Care of Too Many People and the People Who Take Care of Them, i.e. Other Women”

“How to Get your Eyebrows Done Without Feeling Weird About It”

laura petrie“Rules for Wearing ‘Challenging’ Clothing Items, Ankle Boots Specifically”

“I Don’t Know Why I Asked You if You were OK a Third time, Perhaps Because I am Dissatisfied with Your Answer of [Shrug]?”

“Am I the Only One Not Enjoying Delightful, Airy Chitchat with my Hair Stylist? An Investigation”

“Ten Satisfying Ways of Letting Your Enemy Know That You are Ignoring Her, While Still Ignoring Her.” Continue reading

blog kongfz

Kongfuzi: The Other Chinese Website You Should Know About

By Austin L. Dean

By now you have probably heard of Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce company that had a gargantuan $21 billion initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange in September. You might have seen an interview with Jack Ma, the former English-teacher and CEO of Alibaba, as he made the rounds of the American business media. You might have even read stories about the vast number products for sale of Alibaba’s website: cherries from American farmers, freshly caught oysters from off the coast of New Zealand. Everything, it seems, is available through one of Alibaba’s online marketplaces—one of which, Taobao, was described in detail in Alec Ash’s post for this blog just last week. The company, or at least their public relations materials, claims it is bringing the world to China and China to the world. Continue reading