Graham Greene in the Côte d’Azur

Spread out along the bay, Nice was an old fashioned city with a certain dilapidated look to it. It had become a kingdom of blue-haired grandmothers and deeply suntanned old men, all wandering the English promenade, pulled along by poodles toward the Great Beyond. Its times of glory now in the distant past, Nice at […]

Dorothy Parker in New York

During my first trip to New York, just as if I had been a Syrian arriving in Nero’s Rome, it was necessary to fulfill certain unavoidable rituals: see Picasso’s Guernica at MOMA; cross the Brooklyn Bridge on foot; have a martini at The River Cafe; spend the night in the Chelsea Motel beneath the shadow […]

Paul Gauguin

Around 1870, at the tender age of 25, when he closed his office every evening, Paul Gauguin would leave the Berlin Bank, where he worked as a liquidator, and cross the Rue Laffitte puffing on an English cigar. He wore expensive clothes: well-brushed, straight legged pants, polished boots, a velvet frock coat, and cravat. He […]

John Huston

In the biography of a writer there is a moment in which fascination with literature unites with, even surrenders to, the mythology of cinema. When I was 16 years old, I ran away from home and took a train to Valencia. It was a brief escape, a gallinaceous flight that lasted 24 hours with one […]

The Bullfight

On these dusty grounds, every year more than 30,000 fighting bulls are publicly beaten, pierced by gaffs, dragged by the neck with a rope, burnt alive by tar bullets, and beheaded in the midst of a great revelry. There is no longer a bloodthirsty God presiding over this carnage who needs to be satiated. The […]

The Dynamiter With A Cig In His Lips

The entire French Resistance against the Nazis can be encapsulated in this film sequence: a man—a loner, standing and leaning on his bicycle, smokes a cigarette alongside of the railroad tracks. He carries a newspaper folded up beneath his arm that perhaps serves as a countersign. A freight train passes with a brazen whistle and […]

Joseph Conrad: The Sea As Morality

During any melancholy evening, no child with a vivid imagination, lying face down in bed with an open atlas, has hesitated to sail through every blue sea with the tip of his index finger, or advance with reckless abandon deep into the most dangerous jungle. With his mind filled with pirate ships, treasure chests, lions, and the tusks of elephants, there comes a moment in which the child detains his finger over some point on the map — the most exotic place possible, and thinks: “One day, when I’m older, I will go there.”

Six Bullets For Andy Warhol

He invented frivolity as aesthetic attitude to life and determined that the essence of things is merely in the packaging. This designer was Andy Warhol, born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1928, son of a coal miner who was a Slovak migrant. After being baptized in a Byzantine Catholic rite, the youngster contracted Saint Vitus Dance at the age of 13, which caused his four limbs to move uncontrollably.

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