John Jeremiah Sullivan Explores the World of Massage

John Jeremiah Sullivan Explores the World of Massage

  For this weekend’s read, we’re in a throwback mood and recommending John Jeremiah Sullivan’s 2012 piece for the New York Times Magazine, “My Multiday Massage-a-thon.” In the piece, Sullivan, the author of the 2011 essay collection Pulphead and contributor to publications such as The Paris Review and GQ, first declares...
Art Imitating Life: Drones Appearing on Afghan Rugs

Art Imitating Life: Drones Appearing on Afghan Rugs

Here at Broad Street we are fascinated with the ways art reflects life—sometimes in surprising forms. The Atlantic recently ran a piece that showcases one such example. Cosimo Bizzari writes about a recent trend taken by Afghan rug-weavers: When it comes to what to depict on rugs, Afghan weavers traditionally turn to...
Contemporary Art as Crime - Part 2

Contemporary Art as Crime – Part 2

by Jamal Stone Contemporary art—art from the late 20th century to the present—often challenges preconceptions, stretching the boundaries of what is and is not art. But sometimes, definitions in the art world get too fuzzy—take, for instance, our understanding of art crime. Traditionally, art crime is simply crime committed against art,...
Typhoid Mary and the Public's Right to Health

Typhoid Mary and the Public’s Right to Health

  by Carla Dominguez Earlier this month, it was confirmed that there are more than 100 cases of measles in the United States—the largest outbreak in the post-vaccination era. An urban legend quickly circulated about a single unvaccinated woman who had traveled to Disneyland, spreading the disease. This misinformation fueled the dispute between those who choose to...
Rafil Kroll-Zaidi's "Findings" Offers a New Take on the Facts

Rafil Kroll-Zaidi’s “Findings” Offers a New Take on the Facts

This week’s recommended weekend reading is the latest installment of the “Findings” column, a staple of Harper’s Magazine, originated by Roger Hodge in 2003 during his tenure at that magazine and currently written by editor Rafil Kroll-Zaidi. In this ongoing project, Kroll-Zaidi mines the pages of each month’s issue of the...
Contemporary Art as Crime - Part 1

Contemporary Art as Crime – Part 1

by Jamal Stone Contemporary art—art from the late 20th century to the present—often challenges preconceptions, stretching the boundaries of what is and is not art. But sometimes, definitions in the art world get too fuzzy—take, for instance, our understanding of art crime. Traditionally, art crime is simply crime committed against...
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The Curious Case of Harper Lee vs. the County School Board

The Curious Case of Harper Lee vs. the County School Board

by Jamal Stone Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird has become a rite of passage for middle- and high-school students for its sensitive approach to mature topics such as racism, rape, and murder. But in 1966 some parents found its subject matter “immoral.” At least that was the reason given when Virginia’s Hanover School Board, then embroiled in the...
Julia Scheeres Documents the Untold Story of Jonestown

Julia Scheeres Documents the Untold Story of Jonestown

This week we recommend the Longreads exclusive excerpt of journalist Julia Scheeres’s New York Times bestselling investigative work, A Thousand Lives: The Untold Story of Jonestown. In this piece, Scheeres follows the story of Tommy Bogue, a troubled teenager who followed his parents from San Francisco to the ill-fated Jonestown compound founded by Jim Jones deep in the Guyana...
The Woman Behind "The Grapes of Wrath"

The Woman Behind “The Grapes of Wrath”

by Carla Dominguez Sanora Babb was a writer, poet, and journalist who spent most of her adult life living in the shadow of John Steinbeck. By a strange twist of fate, the meticulous notes she took during her time visiting migrant workers in the Dust Bowl underpinned two novels: her own, Whose Names Are Unknown, and...
Edward Ruscha's Deadpan Artistry

Edward Ruscha’s Deadpan Artistry

by Carla Dominguez Edward Ruscha was the wrong kind of pop artist.  While other pop artists were moving away from the movement’s Dadaist roots and pursuing an avant-garde image, Ruscha maintained the simplicity and quiet truth of the movement using direct, even dull, photographs and paintings. The pop-art movement came loudly and boldly, using images...
Mary Karr on Reading and The Art of Memoir

Mary Karr on Reading and The Art of Memoir

This week we recommend an interview with poet and memoirist Mary Karr at The Paris Review, The Art of Memoir No. 1. In the interview, Karr, the author of the memoirs The Liars’ Club, Cherry, and Lit, as well as four volumes of poetry and other works, speaks with Amanda Fortini on the nature of memoir,...
Electric Literature asks: Was 2014 the year of the essay?

Electric Literature asks: Was 2014 the year of the essay?

This week we’re recommending Jason Diamond’s piece over at Electric Literature posing the question of why, exactly, 2014 seemed to be “the year of the essay.” Citing a wide range of literary memoirs, ranging from the personal to the political, published anywhere from established presses to open-source blogging sites, Diamond writes, “Whether it be from...
T Clutch Fleischmann asks: But Is It An Essay?

T Clutch Fleischmann asks: But Is It An Essay?

The past few months we’ve been following T Clutch Fleischmann’s blog over at The Kenyon Review, where, in a series of posts titled “But is it an essay?”, Fleischmann has assembled a collection of genre-bending or otherwise esoteric texts: Marina Abramovic’s “The Artist is Present” performance, staged at the Museum of Modern Art, in which...
Silent Histories

Silent Histories

by Carla Dominguez Portraits have always been the most popular type of photography. Besides being an excellent preservation of our history, portraits give us permission to stare at people, quietly learning their stories. Hugh Mangum was a self-taught itinerant photographer from Durham, North Carolina who understood the truth that portraits convey. At the beginning of...
Revisiting Don Belton's "Voodoo for Charles"

Revisiting Don Belton’s “Voodoo for Charles”

This week we’ve been remembering the late writer Don Belton, in particular his essay “Voodoo for Charles,” a touching account of one uncle’s fears and muted hopes for his nephew in the face of overwhelming odds. Taken from a 1995 anthology edited by Belton, Speak My Name: Black Men on Masculinity and the American Dream, “Voodoo for Charles” tells the story of...

Poet Claudia Emerson Sings of Lost Love

In 2006 Claudia Emerson won the Pulitzer Prize in poetry for Late Wife. The deeply personal collection ended with reflections on her second marriage, to Kent Ippolito, a musician who had been widowed by cancer. This morning, Emerson died from complications due to cancer. She was 57, and a much-loved professor at Virginia Commonwealth University, Broad Street’s...
Magnifying Nature to Reveal Its Art

Magnifying Nature to Reveal Its Art

Karl Blossfeldt was a German photographer who, like many others, found inspiration in nature. He believed the plant “never lapses into mere arid functionalism; it fashions and shapes, according to logic and suitability, and with its primeval force, compels everything to attain the highest artistic form.” Born in 1863, Blossfeldt spent a lot of time...
The Real Lolita

The Real Lolita

Here at Broad Street we love reading about the true-life stories that have inspired some of our favorite fiction. That’s why we recommend a recent piece over at Hazlitt investigating the 1948 abduction of Sally Horner, a New Jersey fifth-grader whose kidnapping at the hands of Frank La Salle, along with the trip Horner made...