259 posts tagged with Longform.
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The Musical that (almost) Fell to Earth

"This is David Bowie. I hope I’m not calling at an inconvenient time..." When Pulitzer Prize–winning novelist Michael Cunningham got a call from someone claiming to be David Bowie, he thought it was a friend pulling a prank. He didn’t know he was about to be launched into a yearlong collaboration on a musical involving space aliens, mariachi bands, and an imaginary trove of unreleased songs by Bob Dylan. Here, for the first time, is the story of their unfinished show—and what it’s like to work alongside a bona fide pop genius.
posted by I_Love_Bananas on Jan 11, 2017 - 24 comments

Hate in America is alive and well

The LGBT movement, like every other battle for civil rights, is not a simple, straightforward march toward liberation. In the coming years, as being labeled a racist or bigot is falsely equated with acting out of racism or bigotry, as evidence of hate and its terrible outcomes is clouded by self-interested suspicion and denial — it’s worth remembering that in 2016, love did not trump hate. A Buzzfeed piece uses the 1998 Matthew Shepard murder as the focal point of a longform piece on how far we've come - or not.
posted by AFABulous on Jan 4, 2017 - 17 comments

"Neo-Sithism and Neo-Imperialism are the same ideology."

Leia Organa: A Critical Obituary
Leia Organa, the politician and revolutionary who led the defeat of the Galactic Empire, died after a short illness. She was 60 years old. Hers was a life laced with controversy concerning everything from her tactics to her very ancestry, but her intelligence, commitment to the Republican cause, and place at the heart of the Rebellion, and later the Resistance against Neo-Imperialism, remains the indisputable core of her legacy.
posted by Faint of Butt on Dec 28, 2016 - 32 comments

6,944km, 17 restaurants, many stories

Chop Suey Nation (Globe & Mail) - Ann Hui
I became determined to find Huang, to understand how she ended up running a Chinese restaurant on Fogo Island. I wanted to know how she wound up there alone. So I set out a plan: to drive across the country, visiting as many small-town Chinese restaurants as possible. I’d start on the West Coast, where the earliest wave of Chinese settlers began arriving in 1858. From there, I would make my way east across a 2 ½ -week period, roughly tracing the path of the railway. [more inside]
posted by CrystalDave on Dec 26, 2016 - 32 comments

Cahokia was bigger than Paris—then it was completely abandoned.

"The more they dug, the more obvious it became that this was no ordinary place. The structures they excavated were full of ritual objects charred by sacred fires. We found the remains of feasts and a rare earthen structure lined with yellow soils. Baires, Baltus, and their team had accidentally stumbled on an archaeological treasure trove linked to the city's demise. The story of this place would take us back to the final decades of a great city whose social structure was undergoing a radical transformation." Annalee Newitz for Ars Technica: Finding North America's lost medieval city [more inside]
posted by amnesia and magnets on Dec 21, 2016 - 31 comments

Homer and Harold

In 1924, Connecticut prosecutor Homer Cummings saved accused murderer Harold Israel from a death sentence. Their shared story didn't end there.
posted by mudpuppie on Dec 20, 2016 - 17 comments

An Enemy of the Kremlin Dies in London

A longform article from The Atlantic: Who killed Alexander Perepilichny?
posted by Joe in Australia on Dec 12, 2016 - 5 comments

Well jel

Businessweek have published their annual list of the stories they are most jealous of in other titles. [more inside]
posted by garlicsmack on Dec 9, 2016 - 12 comments

overwhelmed by all the ancient color

How a workshop uses digital technology to craft perfect copies of imperilled art: The Factory of Fakes [more inside]
posted by Joe in Australia on Nov 27, 2016 - 3 comments

a uniform chorus of desperation

"In 2015 alone, Women on Web*, the Dutch not-for-profit, received more than 600 emails from US women looking for a way to end their own pregnancies. (The group does not send abortion drugs to the US, because the US does not outright ban abortion.) Women on Web agreed to share scores of these emails with the Guardian, providing an unprecedented window into the lives of women who feel they have no other option but to end their pregnancies themselves." [more inside]
posted by amnesia and magnets on Nov 22, 2016 - 14 comments

it's twice as hard to swallow when you know precisely what the pill is

Broadly takes a deep dive into the racist and sexist history of keeping birth control side effects secret. The Atlantic follows up with an examination of the different stakes of male and female birth control: "...it makes perfect sense that women would be willing to endure all kinds of side effects in exchange for, essentially, freedom. Being able to control whether and when they become pregnant has opened up so many opportunities for women, opportunities that men already had greater access to by virtue of being men. Men's careers, men's bodies, men's control over their own lives, have never been at stake in the same way."
posted by amnesia and magnets on Nov 2, 2016 - 49 comments

American gun violence and legislation in the "shelter in place" age

We teach our students that the first move in an argument is often one of definition: gun as tool. Gun as "objective correlative" (T. S. Eliot) of "liberty" (Wayne LaPierre). Gun as "right" that, if left "unexercised," will be lost (opencarry.org). While running for president, Jeb Bush argued that our country is a gun when he tweeted a photo of his engraved handgun with a one-word caption, "America." A gun is a little cannon for killing that we've sentimentalized and normalized. [American Weather]
posted by amnesia and magnets on Oct 20, 2016 - 46 comments

Who Tells Their Story?

"For Asian-American actors, there is a persistent fear of being left out of the conversation entirely, since “diversity” has often been conflated with black representation only. As Hamilton star Leslie Odom Jr. put it, “In America, things get boiled down into a black and white issue, but I want to see stories about Asian people, I want to see stories about trans people — diversity is not just a black and white issue. … We’ve still got some work to do when you talk about real diversity.” (Buzzfeed longform)
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Sep 29, 2016 - 16 comments

Humans are monsters

A Visit to The Dead Tiger Warehouse
posted by Joe in Australia on Sep 17, 2016 - 15 comments

Britain's Secret Wars

For more than 100 years, Britain has been perpetually at war. Some conflicts, such as the Falklands, have become central to our national narrative, but others, including the brutal suppression of rebels in Oman, have been deliberately hidden.
posted by Joe in Australia on Sep 10, 2016 - 6 comments

Knives Out

Ian Parker writes about The New York Times' restaurant reviewer: Pete Wells Has His Knives Out
Previously, previously, previously.
posted by Joe in Australia on Sep 5, 2016 - 21 comments

Five years after the tsunami, a husband still searches the sea

"Takamatsu went out with [the] regular dive customers -- the ones who dove for fun. They had no idea Takamatsu was searching for a body." [SLNYT] [warning: some graphic details re body decomposition]
posted by trillian on Aug 30, 2016 - 12 comments

"He makes his work look effortless."

Will somebody please give Norm Macdonald another TV show? by Geoff Edgers, Washington Post
"If we could have, we would have had Norm on every damn week,” Letterman says. “He is funny in a way that some people inhale and exhale. With others, you can tell the comedy, the humor is considered. With Norm, he exudes it. It’s sort of a furnace in him because he’s so effortless. The combination of the delivery and his appearance and his intelligence. There may be people as funny as Norm, but I don’t know anybody who is funnier.” -- David Letterman
(Norm Macdonald, most recent previously: 1, 2, 3, 4)
posted by Room 641-A on Aug 23, 2016 - 33 comments

Gevaldike nayess

Gitl Schaechter-Viswanath of Teaneck finishes her father’s Yiddish dictionary: Yiddish has a word for it
posted by Joe in Australia on Aug 4, 2016 - 25 comments

What Happened to 'The Most Liberated Woman in America'?

Barbara Williamson co-founded one of the most famous radical sex experiments of the 1970s. Then she got wild.
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jun 24, 2016 - 17 comments

The shining

The Polyamorous Christian Socialist Utopia That Made Silverware for Proper Americans
posted by Joe in Australia on Jun 22, 2016 - 26 comments

Citizen Khan

Behind a Muslim community in northern Wyoming lies one enterprising man—and countless tamales.
posted by Joe in Australia on May 31, 2016 - 16 comments

Living is complicated

Last Men Standing. The stories of eight men who aren't supposed to be here. Diagnosed with HIV in the 1980's, when that was a death sentence, they are now living lives they never expected to have. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Apr 20, 2016 - 8 comments

I didn't know how to protect myself if that meant disappointing men.

"Just recently, I began to see what I lost. It wasn't a job, a wife, a house. There was no tangible evidence of my fall, no record of my mistakes to be expunged. There was only the wreckage of my early adulthood, the loss of my unstoppable nature, and the empty hole where once my confidence grew. There was only a string of decisions to run and run again, to hide from ambition, to leave the theater forever, and to disown my dedication as a childish fantasy. And the reinforcement of my suspicion that I was only visible when I was wanted, and that nothing about me would ever eclipse my objecthood." (Content warning for child sex abuse)
posted by amnesia and magnets on Mar 24, 2016 - 5 comments

There Is Light Here As Well

"Growing up in this home, I was ensconced in blackness — and as an adult, I now see and appreciate the ways that affirmed my identity. I finally saw Ferris Bueller’s Day Off when I was 24, and I was shocked that it was lauded as a 'staple of teen comedy.' I had always thought that the classic tale of Chicago youth skipping class was Cooley High. I didn’t learn whiteness as a default, or the limitations placed on those who exist outside of it, until I was much, much older." Jasmine Sanders (@ToniAliceZora) writes for Buzzfeed on growing up in one of Chicago's poorest black neighborhoods. [more inside]
posted by capricorn on Mar 20, 2016 - 18 comments

So THIS is what you do with a liberal arts degree

In some ways, it is hard to imagine two paths more different than being a writer and being a spy. It is certainly hard to imagine two careers with more wildly disparate stakes. And yet there are parallels in the underlying qualities of their practitioners: an interest in psychology, a facility with narrative, a tendency to position oneself as an observer, and a willingness to lie and call it something else.--writer Jennifer DuBois explains what it was like to be hired by the CIA.
posted by MoonOrb on Feb 27, 2016 - 18 comments

At least we spelled your name right!

The New Yorker unfurls a longform expose on Harvey Levin's gossip empire, TMZ, in The Digital Dirt - How TMZ gets the videos and photos that celebrities want to hide.
posted by Room 641-A on Feb 15, 2016 - 24 comments

"Everyone has a story. Like mine, it's rarely visible from the outside."

In the short hush right after, I think about something Chris said: "It is such an emotional journey to train for your first fight, even if you are a totally stereotypical dude." I am surprised to find myself so overwhelmed with gratitude that I tear up... And then they call my name.
"Why Men Fight" — a beautiful longform story about manhood, trauma and amateur boxing, by Thomas Page McBee.
posted by nebulawindphone on Feb 12, 2016 - 83 comments

20/20 vision in the world of high-end art

A painting commissioned for the firm’s hundred-and-fiftieth anniversary, “Transport Through the Ages,” hung above the reception desk. Bouvier insists that he never used confidential information from his logistics business to buy and sell paintings. None of the thirty-five works that he sold Rybolovlev were in storage with Natural Le Coultre. “I have the information not because I am a shipper,” he said. “It is because I am clever.”
The high-end of the art market is full of mystery, built on trust, reputation, and secrecy. What happens when someone starts turning all of that on its head? An art shipper, Russian oligarch, and a Rothko in The Bouvier Affair. (Sam Knight, for The New Yorker)
posted by redct on Feb 2, 2016 - 12 comments

'...follow the law or you’re no better than the crook.'

Inside the Snitch Tank. After his arrest for the worst mass shooting in Orange County, CA history, Scott Dekraai poured out his feelings to a jailhouse informant. But instead of nailing down a death-penalty conviction against a confessed killer who was arrested with murder weapons in his car, the bugging of Dekraai’s cell touched off a legal storm over prosecutorial misconduct and the misuse of jailhouse informants which has delayed justice and drawn national attention. The Orange County Register has set up an extensive website to accompany their ongoing investigation and report.
posted by zarq on Jan 13, 2016 - 17 comments

The Long Fall of Phoebe Jonchuck

"He was a schemer who used the courts for profit and revenge. He was a paranoid, angry meth addict who had been arrested for battery and domestic violence seven times. He had been involuntarily committed, by his family’s count. And yet, in its report on Phoebe’s death, the Florida Department of Children and Families concluded, “There was nothing in the preceding several years that could have reasonably been interpreted as predictive of such an event.
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Jan 8, 2016 - 13 comments

215 Of The Best Longreads Of 2015

215 Of The Best Longreads Of 2015 [more inside]
posted by triggerfinger on Jan 1, 2016 - 19 comments

just the sounds of buzzing flies and sobbing

The art of tour guiding
When you’re driving a bus full of tourists through the Australian outback,
a packet of chewing gum may be your only hope.

posted by Joe in Australia on Dec 28, 2015 - 27 comments

Where "schools aren’t a place to learn, they’re a place to fear."

In 2007, the Pinellas County, Florida School Board abandoned integration, joining hundreds of US school districts in former Confederacy states that have resegregated since 2000. The Board justified the vote with bold promises: Schools in poor, black neighborhoods would get more money, more staff, more resources -- none of which happened. This past August, the Tampa Bay Times published an exposé, revealing how district leaders turned five once-average schools into Failure Factories. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Dec 18, 2015 - 62 comments

“Perhaps the next time you hear from me I’ll be dead,”

Dead Air: The Philippines is one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a journalist, especially if you’re in talk radio. [The California Sunday Magazine] By Saul Elbein Photographs by Jes Aznar
When Elgin Damasco’s radio talk show was over, his bodyguards would hustle him out of his fortified studio and into his car. They would drive him through the leafy streets of Puerto Princesa, capital of the western Philippine province of Palawan, and bring him home. There he would hunker down until morning. Police had warned him that men had been casing his house. “I don’t even have the freedom to go to the mall,” Damasco told me. Inside the cinder-block walls of his studio, the cherubic 32-year-old felt safe. His sonorous voice was hooked into the most powerful transmitter on Palawan island. He was charging forth, as his station ID went, “to defend the weak and criticize the corrupt.” From 4:00 to 5:30 weekday afternoons, no one could shut him up.
posted by Fizz on Dec 18, 2015 - 3 comments

"I would maybe compare it to... it's like a light monkey's paw."

"There's a snideness about it that is in keeping with the experience and the inner life of being a certain kind of teenager. It's very anti-earnest. There was a moment after the period where that song came out where everything was humorless and grotesque. But after that, it seems like what happened was that everything got pretty earnest." Why Harvey Danger's '90s alt-rock hit "Flagpole Sitta" endures. [more inside]
posted by divined by radio on Nov 11, 2015 - 115 comments

we just make a little money and we buy a little mercy

"I think there are different kinds of mercy: big Mercy and little mercy. Big Mercy is so big because it is made out of suffering and ultimatums, out of saviors and omnipotence, and out of stories that have only one way of ending, which are brutal and where almost nobody wins... But maybe there's another kind of mercy—mercy so little that it costs almost nothing. So little most of us never notice it." [more inside]
posted by divined by radio on Oct 5, 2015 - 14 comments

"Women like me are very lucky and exceedingly rare."

"I've collected the suffering that men so recklessly visited on myself and other women and fashioned it into a livelihood. It is not a fortune but it is a tasteful empire of pain. I might be unlovable but I am not unsellable. I know some women who drink from mugs labeled 'Male Tears.' That's what I've labeled my checking account." Alana Massey for Medium: The Monetized Man.
posted by divined by radio on Sep 30, 2015 - 59 comments

Damn Cold in February: Buddy Holly, View Master and the Atomic Bomb

Someday this country’s gonna be a fine, good place to be. Maybe it needs our bones in the ground before that time can come: An essay on the summer of the Atomic Bomb, by Joni Tevis. Originally published in The Diagram
posted by Rumple on Sep 29, 2015 - 8 comments

nobody likes to be reminded, even implicitly, of his own selfishness.

"Julia is a do-gooder – which is to say, a human character who arouses conflicting emotions. By 'do-gooder' here I do not mean a part-time, normal do-gooder – someone who has a worthy job, or volunteers at a charity, and returns to an ordinary family life in the evenings. I mean a person who sets out to live as ethical a life as possible. I mean a person who is drawn to moral goodness for its own sake. I mean someone who commits himself wholly, beyond what seems reasonable. I mean the kind of do-gooder who makes people uneasy."
posted by divined by radio on Sep 25, 2015 - 125 comments

why do empires care so much about women's clothes?

"Whether it is the covering of breasts in Southern India or the wearing of burqas in Afghanistan, women's comportment and clothing have offered an emotionally powerful shorthand for all that is wrong with native culture and all that must be corrected by the empire." Rafia Zakaria for Aeon: Clothes and daggers. [more inside]
posted by divined by radio on Sep 22, 2015 - 23 comments

Losing the language of love

Every relationship brings with it a private language built on shared memories and experiences. Maybe it's a joke shared on a date, maybe a saying or misspoken phrase that privately comes to represent so much more. Following the death of her husband, publicist/copywriter and blogger Virge Randall writes about life after losing the shared language of love.
posted by garius on Sep 16, 2015 - 56 comments

#Space

America's Mad Scientist: 24 hours with Elon Musk (Clickhole)
posted by michaelh on Sep 9, 2015 - 23 comments

Take Me Out to the Brain Game

Baseball, perhaps more than any sport, is always straddling that delicate line between old school and new.
posted by MoonOrb on Aug 15, 2015 - 5 comments

A 'constant chorus of skepticism' about the"establishment."

"They Don’t Give a Damn about Governing... Once allied with but now increasingly hostile to the Republican hierarchy, conservative media is shaping the party’s agenda in ways that are impeding Republicans’ ability to govern and to win presidential elections."
posted by zarq on Aug 8, 2015 - 81 comments

Or how to get ahead.

Pope Frankenstein, by the erudite and amusing Yanko Tsvetkov.
posted by Joe in Australia on Aug 3, 2015 - 3 comments

All we want from you is just your best

Jennifer Pan’s Revenge: the inside story of a golden child, the killers she hired, and the parents she wanted dead. - Karen K. Ho writing for Toronto Life magazine [via tabs]
posted by Potomac Avenue on Jul 23, 2015 - 32 comments

Powerful And Triumphant And Lonely All At The Same Time

“Happy people don’t need you to say you understand. As an artist I don’t have much to say to happy people. And that works out great because they’re busy being content. For the rest of us, coming to terms with rejection, failure, death, and the fragility of love is very important. Some people are self-conscious about these things and maybe they don’t want to talk about them, but sometimes it just feels good to know you’re not alone. Books and music do this better than possibly anything else."
Author Joe Bonomo explores the sadness, yearning, and warmth of the music of Greg Cartwright. [more inside]
posted by Turkey Glue on Jun 30, 2015 - 5 comments

the essential work of art is to magnify the ordinary

As with anything in this world, excess is excess, but inadequate is inadequate. A writer must know when the weight of the words used to describe a scene is bearing down on the scene itself. A writer should develop the measuring tape to know when to describe characters' thoughts in long sentences and when not to. But a writer, above all, should aim to achieve artistry with language which, like the painter, is the only canvas we have. Writers should realize that the novels that are remembered, that become monuments, would in fact be those which err on the side of audacious prose, that occasionally allow excess rather than those which package a story — no matter how affecting — in inadequate prose.
Chigozie Obioma for The Millions: The Audacity of Prose.
posted by divined by radio on Jun 23, 2015 - 9 comments

"We have a tornado on the ground in town! Tornado on the ground!"

One year later, Wessington Springs High School senior Owen Witte chronicles the story of the tornadoes that descended on his home town and destroyed more than 50 homes and left 77 people homeless. Witte's story artfully conveys the heroism and resilience of his 950-person community.
posted by MrJM on Jun 13, 2015 - 5 comments

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