Michael

Walken is one weird dude. But he's also so much more than that.

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Avant-Garde Persuasions

The Steins Collect Metropolitan Museum of Art   Van Gogh: Up Close Philadelphia Museum of Art   Van Gogh: The Life By Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith (Random House, 953 pp., $40) Nobody in the history of culture has known more about the art of persuasion than the avant-garde painters, sculptors, writers, composers, choreographers, and impresarios who transformed European art from the end of the nineteenth century to the middle of the twentieth century.

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Are some families more dramatic than others? Is this something covered by Tolstoy’s famous law about families—that the happy ones are all alike, while the unhappy ones are unhappy in their own way—or was he hopelessly isolated on the far side of that moment when modern media began?

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The Kings and I

Like a lot of writers, I have a Facebook page where I post articles that I’ve published. Over the past year or two, I’ve accumulated a few hundred followers--that is, Facebook friends--and, based upon the comments they leave, they tend to see the world the same way that I do. They’re left of center, by and large, and they believe fervently in health care reform. If they have something negative to say, it’s typically that President Obama and his allies in Congress aren’t being ambitious enough.

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On The Hillary Bus

I'm in her bubble today. First stop: Vinton, population 5,102. Claim to fame, according to Wiki: Small portions of the unforgettable 1996 John Travolta movie Michael were filmed there. More soon. --Michael Crowley 

Hash of the Titans

"Matisse Picasso," the exhibition that has now arrived at the Museum of Modern Art after packing in the crowds at Tate Modern in London and the Grand Palais in Paris, begins as a sort of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid for culture vultures, a study in male bonding in the artistic stratosphere that features the somewhat older, more formal Matisse and the younger, unabashedly bohemian Picasso. Later on, when the show really gets going, museumgoers are supposed to be agog at what amounts to a clash of the titans with avant-gardist sparks flying, a High Modernist love-hate-love kind of thing.

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The Week

FRANCO-ITALIAN relations are in the center of the European limelight once again. Just as France and Spain were about to renew their endless discussion of the question of Tangier, Mussolini sent a division of the Italian fleet there, to help the large Italian community celebrate the fifth anniversary of Fascism.

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