The Magazine
May 24, 2021
“Venturing Out,” by Gürbüz Doğan Ekşioğlu.
Letter from England
The Mysterious Origins of the Cerne Abbas Giant
On a hillside ages ago, people inscribed a naked man with a twenty-six-foot-long erect penis. Why did they do it?
By Rebecca Mead
American Chronicles
Burnout: Modern Affliction or Human Condition?
As a diagnosis, it’s too vague to be helpful—but its rise tells us a lot about the way we work.
By Jill Lepore
The Sporting Scene
Can Horse Racing Survive?
In a time of changing sensitivities, an ancient sport struggles to justify itself.
By William Finnegan
Wendy Williams Dishes the Dirt
The daytime gossip queen has tussled with P. Diddy, Whitney Houston, and Tupac Shakur. But her own private life can be as messy as the celebrity dramas she skewers.
By Michael Schulman
More Reporting
The Critics
Francis Bacon’s Frightening Beauty
Obsessed with the body and its torments, the artist said that he wanted to strike the viewer’s “nervous system.”
By Joan Acocella
Briefly Noted
“Light Perpetual,” “The Five Wounds,” “A Cure for Darkness,” and “We Had a Little Real Estate Problem.”
On Television
The Achievement of Barry Jenkins’s “The Underground Railroad”
We have known Jenkins as a portraitist. In his reimagining of Colson Whitehead’s novel, he is a virtuosic landscape artist.
By Doreen St. Félix
The Theatre
Echoes of Trauma in Two Plays
For “Zoetrope,” viewers peer into a trailer to watch two lovers on lockdown talking past each other in well-educated millennialese; Bill Gunn’s “The Forbidden City” follows a Black middle-class family in 1936.
By Vinson Cunningham
The Art World
The Return of the Art Fair
Three things made the late-pandemic Frieze New York a tonic: the joy of seeing works in person, the smaller number of galleries, and face masks.
By Peter Schjeldahl
The Current Cinema
Small-Town Crimes and Eco-Crimes in “The Dry”
Eric Bana stars in Robert Connolly’s thriller, about a cop returning to his parched home town to solve mysteries old and new.
By Anthony Lane
More Criticism
The Talk of the Town
Nicholas Lemann on Liz Cheney and the G.O.P.; Black cuisine meets the small screen; a socially distanced slam; the scattering of Gem Spa; David Byrne’s dance revival.
The Larger Lesson of Liz Cheney’s Ouster
It is to her credit that she stood up to Trump, but, with the Middle East erupting again, let’s be careful that we don’t also embrace her bellicose foreign-policy views.
By Nicholas Lemann
Closeup Dept.
Tracing the African Diaspora in Food
Jessica B. Harris, the author of the book “High on the Hog,” which has been adapted for Netflix, searches for the roots of African-American cuisine, like the dishes at Reverence, a tasting-menu restaurant in Harlem.
By Helen Rosner
Mouths of Babes
Shall I Compare Thee to a Cooladapt Tee?
When the pandemic caused New York’s teen-age poetry slam to move from the Apollo Theatre to the Puma store in midtown, twenty aspiring Amanda Gormans recited anaphoras and accentual slant rhymes to mannequins.
By Adam Iscoe
The Gem Spa Sign, in My Kitchen
When the cigarette-and-candy shop and putative birthplace of the egg cream—favored by Basquiat, Patti Smith, and Madonna—closed down, its auctioned-off miscellanea found second lives in boomer houses and refurbished barns upstate.
By Michael Schulman
Making Do Dept.
Dancing with Yourself, and with David Byrne
The onetime Talking Heads front man hosted a socially distanced dance party at the Park Avenue Armory, in which ninety-six revellers a night grooved to Byrne’s exhortations.
By Andrew Marantz
More Talk of the Town
Shouts & Murmurs
Shouts & Murmurs
Sheets Are the Undergarments of the Bed, According to the Times
Does that make pillows the breast implants of the headboard? And is a duvet the tongue of the boudoir?
By Paul Rudnick
More Shouts & Murmurs
The Cicadas Are Coming
After seventeen years, Brood X is back.
By Peter Kuper
“The Party”
“Suddenly the world has wrapped itself around her, embraced her house with music and laughter. The world is here. And she feels she should say hello.”
By Keith Ridgway
More Fiction
Puzzles & Games Dept.
The Crossword: Wednesday, May 12, 2021
A moderately challenging puzzle.
By Wyna Liu
“Under Limestone”
“It was like desire / entering and possessing you quietly.”
By Richie Hofmann
“In the Cloud”
“I made a list I can’t find now / (where did all my folders go?) / of words my students didn’t know.”
By Rachel Hadas
More Poetry
Goings On About Town
Night Life
CHAI’s Groove-Friendly Sound
For its new album, “WINK,” the Japanese quartet traded in the maximalist pop of its previous album, “PUNK,” for cozy dance music.
Tables for Two
Bringing Challah Into the Mainstream
Dolly Meckler, of Challah Dolly, ships loaves nationwide; Erez Blanks, of Parchment, in Brooklyn, offers bread boxes that include Israeli-inspired salads, sides, and dips.
By Hannah Goldfield
More Goings On About Town
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