I’ll confess: I’m a planner. I download maps and menus. I read reviews. But you know that Yiddish proverb, “You plan, God laughs”? That’s what this city does too. You’ll be walking through Central Park on your way somewhere and be mesmerized by a group of a cappella singers. Or you’ll be heading to a favorite dinner spot and be pulled into a small little cafe you’d never noticed before. This city seduces you with its endless possibilities. And Moth StorySLAMs very much embody this sensibility.
For those of you who may not be familiar, The Moth is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the art of storytelling. They host competitions all over the country where, similar to an open-mic night, people get on a stage and tell a story. Each event is assigned a generic theme (for example, “betrayal” or “joy”), and the stories are tied to the theme. The stories have to be true, and they have to be yours. And boy, some of them are fantastic.
The 2015 movie Woman In Gold starring the magnificent Dame Helen Mirren is based on the true story of a woman who takes on the Austrian government in an effort to recover family paintings seized by the Nazis. Meet the movie’s other leading lady: Adele Bloch-Bauer.
Ask any English Lit major if they have a take on Authorial Intention/Authority, and they’re bound to have a well-articulated and robust opinion. They may say the author or the author’s experiences or both are immaterial, or they may say they are absolutely essential to the understanding and enjoyment of a literary work. Even if you have an opinion, and regardless of what that opinion happens to be, you’ll likely find the collaboration between the Morgan Library & Museum and the John F Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum – the first major exhibition devoted entirely to Ernest Hemingway – fascinating. Spanning the author’s life, but primarily focused on the periods of the first and second World Wars, the exhibit beautifully articulates the connection between the author and his experiences, both as inspiration for his writing and detriment to his sanity. Among the treasure trove included in the exhibit are manuscripts and transcripts of his major novels, as well as correspondence from such notable literary figures as Gertrude Stein, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and John Steinbeck. There’s even wartime correspondence from none other than J. D. Salinger, in which he begins his missive with the cheeky salutation, “Dear Papa”.