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blame it (on the brandy)

In 1738, King Louis XV of France granted a royal accord to winemaker Rémy Martin, securing for the grape grower exclusive planting rights in the fertile department of Charente.  Nearly three centuries later, in 2013, American rapper Fetty Wap formed his upstart Jersey rap crew, “Remy Boyz 1738,” a gesture towards “Accord Royal 1738”—a 1991…

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the fountain’s curse

the life and death of edgar alan poe

There are two portraits in wooden frames, resting on a dusty shelf, in the corner of the room. A man with mismatched eyes. A woman with hair in curls.  Edgar Allan Poe and Sarah Helen Whitman,” the tall librarian leading the tour points to them. She pushes her large spectacles back and continues, “We don’t…

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sprung

breaking a dry spell

It’s astounding how, despite my qualms about the app, the mediocre experiences I’ve had, the friendships breached as result, and the number of times I’ve told myself that I’d stay away, I find myself downloading and using Tinder again and again. To give my pitiful self some credit, each time I delete the app, I…

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the sound of music and cabaret

escaping nazi europe onstage

This article contains spoilers for “The Sound of Music” and “Cabaret.” The Kit Kat Club is raucous onstage. Clothing is scant and tight-fitting, and the décor is seedy and gaudy; the audience is entranced and a little uncomfortable. The host, the Emcee, delights in this. The protagonist, a young American novelist, is entranced and uncomfortable as…

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of gurus and gossip

the buddha of suburbia

I first stumbled upon Hanif Kureishi’s 1990 novel “The Buddha of Suburbia” in a jumbled cardboard box stuffed with novels that belonged to my father. The book itself was dog-eared; its spine was wilting yellowing pages. But it boasts a riotous storyline that bursts with life: pompous theatre directors and interior designers whose craft is…