It’s high tourist season for a lot of cities and towns. For people seeing New York’s Times Square for the first time, the lights, massive billboards, and living statues (“Hello, Statue of Liberty!”) offer a lot to see. But for locals going about their daily routine, they might get a bit impatient with walking behind tourists craning their necks skyward. That seems to be the case for this Gawker blogger, who crankily suggests, “Bring Crime Back to Times Square.” A new generation of tourists might think this means the extortionate price of a hot pretzel. Have a listen to the first of a two-part story by Mike Shuster. He talks to the hustlers and pornographers who used to run the block. Come back this afternoon for part two.
(Found by library intern Kimberly Springer. Original airdate: 06/13/1984)
Retta & Ming Na: on being actors and children of immigrant parents
Retta:African parents are like that too, you guys! (wipes tears)
Ming-Na Wen:(laughs) I know, right? It's true.
Retta:I was supposed to be a neurosurgeon. Can you imagine?
Ming-Na Wen:*hugs her*
Retta:My parents are from Liberia, and Liberians are ALL about school. It's like no joke. Most of them send their kids to the States to go to school because they think that's where the best schools are, that sort of thing. And I was a math science girl, I was pre-med. I was supposed to be a neurosurgeon.
Retta:And I remember when I started doing stand up, I was like, "shit, my mother is going to be like, 'are you fucking kidding me right now?'" And I remember calling my mom and saying, "So I'm going to drive to California and do the stand up thing so I can get into TV."
Retta:And my mom-- you know she didn't freak out like I thought she was totally going to freak out--My dad freaked out. He was like, "Please get health insurance." That was his big thing, "GET HEALTH INSURANCE."
Retta:But my mom was like, "Just remember you're carrying around your father's last name. So don't embarrass him." She was like, "Do the best that you can. Don't go playing. If you're going to do it, do it." So I dropped my last name.
Retta:But God bless, because a lot of parents wouldn't...
Ming-Na Wen:You know, we have to talk. Because I dropped my stage last name Wen for the longest time when I did ER (Which, by the way, I got to tell my mom, "I got to be a doctor for 5 years.") because of same issues, fatherly things.
Ming-Na Wen:But now I have it back because I'm proud being who I was born as, and...We have so much to talk about, girl.
El escritor Arturo Pérez-Reverte fue visto ayer por la tarde en compañía de una musa mucho más joven que él a la que manoseaba sin pudor alguno pese a encontrarse en un local público. ‘Se estaban dando el lote de manera escandalosa y, […]
"Era la diosa Calíope, musa de la elocuencia”, aclara el autor
It’s easy to pick on Comic-Con. God knows I do it; I have a real love/hate relationship with the world’s biggest pop culture convention. Every time I find myself swept away by the joy of like-minded weirdos coming together I also see a crowd of people all but fighting over a free branded fanny pack; every time I see a young person meet a creator whose work has made their life a little less lonely I also see gross dudes ogling or pawing at scantily-clad cosplayers. I get emotional whiplash at Comic-Con, yo-yoing from remembering why I love fandom to being forcefully reminded why I hate certain fans.
But I come to praise Comic-Con, not bury it. Yes, the convention is, at the best of times, a chaotic clusterfuck that is managed with a ramshackle attitude that never ceases to amaze me, but it’s also an extraordinary event that shouldn’t be happening at all, a gathering of many nerd tribes to mingle in one overcrowded, smelly building for four days. Nothing in this debased world is perfect, but Comic-Con at its best has moments that aspire towards perfection, moments about real human connection, sheer enthusiasm and unbridled imagination.
“Potter has done too much for me for me to ever want to shit all over it. I’m never going to say: ‘Don’t ask me questions about that’. I remember reading an interview with Robert Smith from The Cure. Somebody said to him: ‘Why do you still wear all that makeup, don’t you feel a bit past it?’ And he said: ‘There are still 14-year-olds coming to see The Cure for the first time, dressed like that. I’d never want to make them feel silly.’ It’s a similar thing with Potter. People are still discovering those books and films. It would be awful for them to find out the people involved had turned their backs on it. Though sometimes, people do come up and say ‘I loved you in The Woman in Black,’ which is really sweet. That’s them knowing that it matters to me that I’ve done other stuff.”—Daniel Radcliffe for London Magazine (x)
I remember a point in the middle of The A.V. Club’s 2012 annual planning meeting when I realized I had it about as good as I was ever going to have it. I looked around the room and saw all of these people whose writing I had read and enjoyed and idolized for years when I was working an office job I hated, whose words had kept me tethered to reality through some very dark times. Keith Phipps. Scott Tobias. Tasha Robinson. Steven Hyden. Sean O’Neal. Nathan “Nabin” Rabin. Josh Modell. Kyle Ryan. Noel Murray had Skyped in earlier to share some thoughts. Hell, I had been reading the site long enough to remember when Genevieve Koski was the newbie, to have watched her grow into a vital, trusted member of the staff. (I don’t think John Teti was there, but my brain keeps trying to insert him, so let’s just say he was.) And there were other faces, new faces, whom I hadn’t read back before I started working, people like Erik Adams and Marah Eakin and Sarah Collins (whose tenure as our web person was regrettably short—she was great).
I’m sure I’m forgetting someone—or many someones—but you take my point. That these people thought I belonged in that room was one of the greatest feelings I’d had up until that point. (And I’m married to the greatest human being alive, so it takes a lot to crack my “great feelings” list.) I had been up late the night before, worn down by jet lag from flying to Chicago and my general inability to sleep in hotel rooms, to say nothing of the weird, foreboding nightmares that kept waking me up intermittently. But every time my attention would start to flag, I would remember where I was, and it would send a whole new surge of energy through me. And I’d been working with these people for almost three years at that point, first as a freelancer and then as a full-time staff member. The feeling shouldn’t have struck me, over and over again, but it did, and it was so welcome. To do meaningful work is one of the best things we can do with our lives, and even if the rest of my life is filled with abject failure, my five years at The A.V. Club were filled with meaningful work. Time passed, and faces changed, but I still felt like everybody surrounding me had only the best interests of myself and the publication at heart. That’s not nothing.
Of course, I’m leaving now, and in all of the excitement and sadness over new ventures beginning and old ones wrapping up, I haven’t taken nearly enough time to look back at that work. Fairly early on in my tenure at the AVC, I realized I had wandered into a situation where my editors would let me write about essentially anything, then treat it with the utmost of care when it landed on their desks. That’s a kind of paradise for a writer, and it was something I was always, always grateful for, even when I was squabbling with my superiors or huffing about having to write yet another What’s On Tonight or even just having days when I wanted to stab my job in the heart and leave it for dead. (A valuable lesson from this job: You will have days like this even on your dream job.)
I’m excited about Vox—not least of which is because I, once again, get to work with people whose writing has gotten me through many a long day and caused me to think about the world in new ways—but I didn’t want to let this passing go by without marking it somehow, without taking a moment to remember the work. (And, of course, because I am an insane workaholic, I have a handful of pieces still scheduled that have yet to run. I’m ridiculously proud of the last piece I ever wrote for the site, a retrospective on Frank’s Place, which will run July 23. Also, of course, it might have been the last piece I wrote, but it won’t be the last piece that runs from me, because scheduling is weird.)
With that in mind, here are the 10 pieces I will look back on with a great deal of fondness when I remember my time at the AVC. I am kind of grumpy about my own work and hold myself to impossible standards, but these ones… these ones I thought managed to get close to what I wanted.