The worldwide reception of Chinese novelist Yu Hua’s fourth novel, Brothers, reminds me of the Slumdog Millionaire paradox. The country it portrays protests with indignation while the rest of the world showers it with accolades.
Public art works in Oakland live the good life. While city-commissioned sculptures and murals in San Jose and San Francisco have been targets of graffiti and vandalism, curators working in Oakland’s public arts program say that here, people are mostly content to admire public art without adding their own editorial flair. But even though passersby aren’t a problem, there is another threat lurking the streets.
During the Great Depression, lavish movie palaces New York to San Francisco suffered serious financial setbacks. The theaters that didn’t shut down altogether came up with new tricks to lure customers and fill seats. Thus, the Dec-O-Win was born, a spin-wheel raffle game played onstage before the movie feature.
[from the Reading Room] I just read a requiem the wisecracking short-story writer Lorrie Moore wrote for John Updike in the NYT, and I’ve never known her to be so somber.