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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
Not all writers are lucky enough for a murderer to be reading his best novel at the moment of his arrest, just after he has committed a historic crime. What’s more, it’s necessary to be a privileged author, blessed by the gods, in order for that famous murderer, Mark David Chapman — who fired five […]
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 […]
In her time, Hedvig Eva Maria Kiesler, known as Hedy Lamarr, was believed to be the most beautiful woman in the world. She has gone down in history as the first actress to be shown completely nude on screen and the first actress to feign an orgasm with her facial expression in a close up. […]
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 […]
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.”
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.
It’s possible that Borges learned from Oscar Wilde, or perhaps from Bernard Shaw, that to achieve fame, one ingenious, malevolent, surprising, paradoxical, polemical sentence that angers the official representatives of culture is sufficient.
In the tertulias of times past, there was always a scholar who knew everything. He remembered names, faces, dates, and data with absolute precision thanks to his privileged memory which was nourished by voluminous, diverse, and at times, useless reading. Any argument would ultimately appeal to him to act as the Court of Appeals.