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Daniel Menaker
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Entries by Daniel Menaker

Screwing Up

(3) Comments | Posted February 17, 2013 | 5:37 PM

Warning: This post is about something that doesn't happen. But it does have underwear in it.

A few weeks ago, my daughter, Elizabeth, and I went over to the Highline Ballroom, in deepest Chelsea, to see and listen to Ladysmith Black Mambazo, the South African a-capella singing ensemble. They...

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Searching for Searching for Sugar Man

(10) Comments | Posted August 5, 2012 | 4:32 PM

Heisenberg haunts every documentary movie. The viewer never knows how the presence of the camera has affected what he or she is seeing. But we can always be sure that it has. Even static pictures of non-human scenes, events, and occurrences can of course look different from each other depending...

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Stonecasting

(0) Comments | Posted June 8, 2011 | 5:17 PM

Looking for renewable energy sources? Find a way to convert into kilowatts the endless supply of outrage, "surprise," and indignation generated by male public-figure sexual indiscretion and predation. But, dining-table hauteur, compared to effective action and effort, you're our baby! You're so *easy*! No surprise there, either, but at least,...

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All That Jarosz

(1) Comments | Posted May 24, 2011 | 12:59 AM

Sarah Jarosz, a prodigy in the kind of music loosely called Americana, just last week released a new CD, Follow Me Down. She was in New York for three separate performances, the first at the Living Room. Overflow crowd.

She was here a few...

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A Rejection Is a Rejection

(47) Comments | Posted May 17, 2011 | 6:18 PM

If you're curious about this kind of thing -- what goes on inside the submission process of publishing -- there follow, a few paragraphs down, eight edited examples of the rejection notes I got, through my agent, for 25,000 words of a memoir. The book is about my childhood,...

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Mandolins

(74) Comments | Posted February 22, 2011 | 8:51 AM

Commerce has no shame -- it really doesn't. From 1919 to 1923, Lloyd Loar worked for the Gibson company, making F-5 mandolins whose quality has never been matched, according to everyone, including mandolin hero Ricky Skaggs, who played at the BB King Blues Club a few weeks ago. There are...

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City and Country

(14) Comments | Posted January 29, 2011 | 9:00 AM

At the end of True Grit, behind the credits, the amazing American folksinger/songwriter Iris Dement sings a nineteenth-century hymn called "Leaning on the Everlasting Arms." Her voice, always plaintive, seems particularly intense here. The Coens love that kind of ur-American sound -- that's why they made O Brother Where Art...

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Politics and Pressure

(22) Comments | Posted September 2, 2009 | 11:34 PM

Tom Ridge has been on TV recently flacking for his new book, The Test of Our Times, about his tenure as head of the Department of Homeland Security. Among other appearances, yesterday, he braved the "Rachel Maddow Show," and today he was interviewed by Chris Matthews, on "Hardball." Speaking...

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Backward and Forward

(36) Comments | Posted July 22, 2009 | 10:07 AM

There's a piece in the Times this morning about the so-called bind that Attorney General Eric Holder finds himself in about whether to investigate the interrogation methods of terrorist suspects after 9/11 in order to determine if some of these methods constituted crimes. On the one hand, the piece...

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The Public Theater's Presentation of "Twelfth Night"

(0) Comments | Posted July 14, 2009 | 4:14 PM

The Public Theater's presentation of "Twelfth Night," starring Anne Hathaway and Raul Esparza, closed Monday night. It has been a resounding success, artistically and in terms of bringing publicity and support to New York's Public Theater. There can be no doubt that some people went to it not only to...

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Mayor-For-Life

(1) Comments | Posted June 25, 2009 | 8:00 AM

At the beginning of this month, Michael Barbaro of the New York Times did a piece about the generally prickly news conference Mayor Bloomberg held about his positions regarding a) his calling another reporter "a disgrace" for asking him about his decision to run for a third term despite the...

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Sugar, Sugar

(24) Comments | Posted June 4, 2009 | 2:52 PM

Typically for our day and age, the news that Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor has Type 1 diabetes seems for the most part to have come and gone like those particles that appear for a nanosecond in a cloud-chamber experiment. And most of the media quickly deemed it to be...

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For Pete's Sake

(12) Comments | Posted May 4, 2009 | 12:15 AM

The huge party held just now at Madison Square Garden for Pete Seeger's ninetieth birthday, and to raise money for his eco-project, the Hudson River sloop Clearwater, was fun enough. Slapped together, consisting of one- or two-song appearances by Bruce Springsteen, Joan Baez, Dave Matthews, Roger McGuinn, Taj Mahal, Emmylou...

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Boehner's blunder

(65) Comments | Posted April 23, 2009 | 1:28 PM

It's telling that in a news conference today John Boehner, the House Minority Leader, referred to some of the Bush Administration's terrorist-suspect interrogation methods as "torture"--as reported just now on the Huffington Post by Ryan Grim. Boehner uses this honest word as part of a defense of these methods, but...

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Discomfort Zone

(5) Comments | Posted March 13, 2009 | 1:54 AM

At the end of his "face-off" with Jim Cramer tonight, Jon Stewart said something about hoping that the audience felt as much discomfort watching it as he did conducting it. This audience of one certainly did, and it also sensed some restiveness and embarrassment in the studio-audience reactions to...

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Boo Who?

(153) Comments | Posted January 21, 2009 | 12:52 PM

The boos that greeted former President Bush on the Mall in Washington and at Symphony Space in Manhattan and, no doubt, at venues across the nation and maybe around the world were misguided, or at least unfortunate, for two reasons.

1. If we are to take President Obama and...

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Zombies, Torture, Bloodsuckers

(29) Comments | Posted November 30, 2008 | 9:24 PM

True Blood is not on right now, to the disappointment, not to say withdrawal symptoms, of the millions addicted to its veinous entertainment . HBO's vampire series is over for the season, not to return the Louisiana backwater where it's set until next June. Bill Compton, the "good" vampire...

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Incurious George

(4) Comments | Posted November 5, 2008 | 9:52 PM

I'd be curious to know if the visits to this site have fallen off today or if they will decline in days to come, now that the election is over. My guess -- and my fervent hope -- is that if there is any decline, it will be far less...

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Racial, Racial

(13) Comments | Posted November 2, 2008 | 11:49 PM

Last night on Hardball, Chris Matthews kept pressing former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell to say that a recent third-party ad that attempts to re-ignite the controversy about Barack Obama's connection to the reverend Jeremiah Wright was essentially racist. Blackwell, who is himself African American, didn't budge from...

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Packaged Goods

(166) Comments | Posted October 29, 2008 | 11:38 PM

Barack Obama's infomercial -- fairly long on the mercial and comparatively short on the info, or at least on new info -- was moving and effective. It was also slick and sleek, like its protagonist. It seems pretty clear from the post-show cable stitchers and the Internet that it's...

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