The English poet Francis Quarles, noted paraphrase royalty, once wrote, “The way to bliss lies not on beds of down, And he that has no cross deserves no crown.” As was more or less his M.O., and the standard run of play in seventeenth century literature, he was drawing largely from The Bible, though you could be forgiven if in a vacuum you thought he may have been discussing the rise of Stan Wawrinka, 2016 U.S. Open men’s champion.
Four sets: that’s all Stan Wawrinka needed to upend Novak Djokovic in the men’s final of the U.S. Open, which he captured in a magnificent 6-7 (1-7), 6-4, 7-5, 6-3 win that elicited some of the best shot-making either player has ever flashed. Once an underperforming prodigy, Wawrinka is now, against most well-meaning odds, a three-time major champion as well as, for the moment, the king of New York.
“The night is dark and full of terrors.”
That is a refrain from HBO’s hit fantasy series Game of Thrones, but it applies just as well, literally and figuratively, to the premiere episode of the network’s latest eight-part miniseries The Night Of.
The episode takes place over a single night in New York City, following Naz (Riz Ahmed), the soft-spoken son of a Pakistani cab driver. Naz’s night begins like so many stories about millennials coming-of-age over the course of an evening out in the Big Apple. He breaks the rules, taking his father’s taxi without permission, meets a mysterious seductress (Sofia Black D’Elia) and even swallows some pills (probably Molly). The night culminates with Naz having sex with the hot girl.
But the night is never “fun.” There is no soundtrack of plucky indie music that swells at just the right moment. Instead, Naz awakes to find the girl dead, stabbed to death in a grizzly scene out of a Saw movie.
The Greek tragedian Sophocles is credited with having said, “There is a point at which even justice does injury.”  Sophocles was making a point about well-intentioned people making decisions on behalf of others, seemingly in the best interests of those people, but too often in ancient Greece those intentions went by the wayside due to the people making them – namely, warped, frustrated old men in positions of importance whose self-importance far outweighed the capacity with which they would be able to conduct their due diligence for the greater good.
In news abstractly related to that last part, about warped, frustrated old men and the power they recklessly wield, the New York Knicks traded for Derrick Rose on Wednesday, a move that suggests reaching for a broken jar in order to catch a lightning bolt from a storm long since passed.
Tonight, Devonté Hynes will lead his project, Blood Orange, in the second show of a stand at Harlem’s legendary Apollo Theater with several guests, in charitable performances for Opus 118 Harlem School of Music. Along with the matinee performance this afternoon, Hynes’ two shows at the Apollo were highly anticipated and, as such, sold out almost as quickly as a Bruce Springsteen concert. For the latter, timelessness is an accepted standard; for the former, critical acclaim has become his typical accompaniment, and the Apollo shows should stand to be something of a turning point for Hynes in terms of popular recognition, even in the face of his highly-touted collaboration with Carly Rae Jepsen earlier this year, “All That,” which he co-wrote, and the Saturday Night Live appearance which followed.
Before you go jettisoning yourself into superstardom at the Apollo, however, you must prepare yourself for the endeavor. On Thursday night, in a secret show at Baby’s All Right in Brooklyn, Hynes did just that, with an exclamation point.
Short class this week, gang. The All-Star Break interrupts an intense Western Conference playoff race, and one of its most entertaining teams just made a key hire, perhaps in a case of too little, too late. Elsewhere, Carmelo Anthony seems destined for a shutdown after the break, and the NBA is celebrating the rich history of basketball in New York City. Which borough would you take?
2013 brought many strange occurrences and changes. From the triumphant, like Jason Collins’ admission of homosexuality, to the tragic, like the Boston Marathon bombings, to the downright necessary, like Pope Francis and the charge toward universal acceptance. Toronto got some run, with Drake and Mayor Rob Ford (pictured above) giving the Ontarian capital a few things to consider aside from the Maple Leafs’ collapse and a distinct lack of Chris Bosh in recent years. It also brought a website, born of a hellish New York morning and a few text and Facebook messages, which, we hope, you have enjoyed thus far. Now, several of us discuss 2013 in its many forms. How could 2014 ever follow this performance?
Courtesy of Verbicide Magazine
To call Lou Reed a pioneer is to do a disservice to him as well as elevate other so-called “pioneers” to an undeserved status. To call him influential, the same. So few people in the history of music actually, really changed the way people listened to and created music. As the principal songwriter of the Velvet Underground, Reed did just that. He did it again as a solo artist, repeatedly re-inventing himself and ostracizing his own fan base, which made them love him all the more. He became an urban spokesman, the Bizarro Dylan whose sordid tales of debauchery, sexual ambiguity and repentance gave a window into the twisted, all-too-real world of Warhol’s New York City in the 1960s and 70s.