Chinatown

Hurricane Sandy observed the borders of gentrification as scrupulously as Brooklyn residents do.

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Chinamen

Charlie Chan: The Untold Story of the Honorable Detective and his Rendezvous with American History By Yunte Huang (W.W. Norton, 354 pp., $26.95)  Even in our fading half-life of cultural memory, the notion may endure that 1925 was a good moment for American literature. In that year, we were given Dreiser’s An American Tragedy, Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, Anita Loos’s Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, and Willa Cather’s The Professor’s House. Hemingway was writing The Sun Also Rises.

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Chinamen

Charlie Chan: The Untold Story of the Honorable Detective and his Rendezvous with American History By Yunte Huang (W.W. Norton, 354 pp., $26.95)  Even in our fading half-life of cultural memory, the notion may endure that 1925 was a good moment for American literature. In that year, we were given Dreiser’s An American Tragedy, Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, Anita Loos’s Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, and Willa Cather’s The Professor’s House. Hemingway was writing The Sun Also Rises.

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No one who loves his hometown should ever feel the need to explain that it is in fact not a place where souls go to die—but I do, incessantly. It’s a reflex now, developed over a decade of having lived on the east coast, of having a simple statement—“I grew up in LA”—regularly followed by a grimace, or, at best, a sympathetic pursing of the lips. Most New Yorkers and Washingtonians, you see, don’t have a whole lot of respect for Los Angeles.

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Greg Veis on the traditional side of L.A.: No one who loves his hometown should ever feel the need to explain that it is in fact not a place where souls go to die—but I do, incessantly. It’s a reflex now, developed over a decade of having lived on the east coast, of having a simple statement—“I grew up in LA”—regularly followed by a grimace, or, at best, a sympathetic pursing of the lips. Most New Yorkers and Washingtonians, you see, don’t have a whole lot of respect for Los Angeles.

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Dancing In the Dark: A Cultural History of the Great Depression By Morris Dickstein (W.W. Norton, 598 pp., $29.95) Dorothea Lange: A Life Beyond Limits By Linda Gordon (W.W. Norton, 536 pp., $35) American Hungers: The Problem of Poverty In U.S. Literature, 1840-1945 By Gavin Jones (Princeton University Press, 248 pp., $38.50)   “Let me tell you about the very rich,” F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote in a story of 1926, at the height of the economic boom and his own creative powers.

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Roman Polanski, the brilliant director of Chinatown, was arrested by Swiss authorities over the weekend; he might be extradited to the United States soon. Polanski fled America after concern that he would face serious prison time over the rape of a 13-year-old girl. Alas, one gets the nasty feeling that many of the people rushing to his defense are doing so simply because he is a great artist. This feeling is strengthened when his supporters...admit to as much!

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Altering States

VOLVER (Sony Pictures Classics) IRAQ IN FRAGMENTS (Typecast Releasing with HBO) It happens to almost every successful director, and it has certainly happened to Pedro Almodóvar: he has entered the Age of the Larynx. In this age, sheer talk--the interview--becomes as much a part of a director's life as anything other than directing itself. Almodóvar interviews flood the press, especially just before a new film appears. He is more supple and funny than most directors can be, but even he can indulge in interview lingo. (From a recent one: "What always attracts me, and it's almost a physical need,

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Reorientation

"You want to know about the awakening? This is the awakening." Ginny Gong, a manager in the Montgomery County culture and recreation department, is crowded into the wood-paneled school board chamber in Rockville, Maryland. Squeezed into the aisles around her are a Vietnamese financial analyst from Lockheed Martin, a Chinese administrator from the National Institutes of Health, and about a dozen other activists.

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Suspect Policy

Consider the following case study in the complex interaction of race and law enforcement. An officer from the Drug Enforcement Administration stops and questions a young man who has just stepped off a flight to Kansas City from Los Angeles. The officer has focused on this man for several reasons. Intelligence reports indicate that black gangs in Los Angeles are flooding the Kansas City area with illegal drugs, and the man in question was on a flight originating in Los Angeles.

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