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Film, "The Oranges": John Updike's Christmas Vacation

"The Oranges": John Updike's Christmas Vacation

Yeah, all right already, we get it about suburbia — it's a topography of middle-age despair hidden under a sunny beige façade. Also: Suburbia's dark underbelly — it's so dark! Now maybe Hollywood can finally move on and get to…
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Calendar, Night&Day Ups and Downs

Ups and Downs

Consider the elevator. Colson Whitehead did in his first novel, The Intuitionist, in which "the lift" occupies the center of a secret society. Certain elevators have minds of their own — in the same way that cars have “psychosomatic” problems…
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Culture, The Exhibitionist The Conan O'Brien and John Updike '80s Buddy Comedy That Almost Was

The Conan O'Brien and John Updike '80s Buddy Comedy That Almost Was

Here's a mystery: What urgent message did august important person John Updike impart to a very young Conan O'Brien way back in 1984? Before getting to O'Brien's surprise cameo in an early '90s literary essay, let's do some background. Long…
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News, Sucka Free City Amidst a budget crisis, the city is losing its shirt in the antiques business

Amidst a budget crisis, the city is losing its shirt in the antiques business

Last August, Amy Brown, director of San Francisco's real estate division, stood before a Board of Supervisors committee and made the kind of promise that gets elected officials' attention in a time of budget crisis. Should supervisors authorize her department…
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Calendar, Night&Day Making Eating an Art

Making Eating an Art

John Updike called her “the poet of the appetites.” W.H. Auden said, “I do not know of anyone in the United States who writes better prose.” And yet Mary Frances Kennedy Fisher, who published more than 20 books from 1937…
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Culture, Books Cover Up

Cover Up

The other night on Stacked (oh please, you know you're curious) the bookstore employee played by Pamela Anderson traded insults in Yiddish with a formerly ugly old friend played by Jenny McCarthy. This was after the two characters felt each…
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Film, Death Warmed Over Again

Death Warmed Over Again

Give Dan Harris, the writer/ director of Imaginary Heroes, plenty of credit for boldness and ambition. Not many kids fresh out of Columbia University would have the wherewithal to tackle a complex family-crisis drama with four or five different kinds…
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Culture, Stage Give Till  It Hurts

Give Till It Hurts

Michael Frayn's Benefactors is nothing like the playwright's two most famous works, which are nothing like each other. Noises Off! is a wild, busy farce about an acting troupe; Copenhagen is a spare and stylized drama about Niels Bohr and…
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Culture, Stage Our Bodies, Ourselves

Our Bodies, Ourselves

In a story published last month in The New Yorker, John Updike gently prods The Vagina Monologues. An annoying Updike character named Georgie tells a woman called Annabelle about "the most amazing production I've seen lately," which "has the rather…
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