Arts & Life

Book Reviews
7:03 am
Thu November 1, 2012

'Elsewhere' Has Beauty, But No Happy Ending

Knopf

Originally published on Fri November 16, 2012 8:07 pm

Richard Russo sits in his elderly mother's home, holding her hand. She's just been diagnosed with dementia, one more illness to add to the long list of ailments she's been battling for years. She wonders aloud whether she'll ever be able to read again, plainly scared at the prospect of a life without her favorite hobby. She takes a look around her small apartment, and tells her son that she hates it.

"I just wish you could be happy, Mom," he says, heartbroken. "I used to be," she responds. "I know you don't believe that, but I was."

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Author Interviews
5:06 am
Thu November 1, 2012

'Smitten Kitchen' Takes The Fuss Out Of Cooking

Deb Perelman

Originally published on Thu November 1, 2012 3:26 pm

Think of the smallest kitchen you can imagine, and then take away a few square feet. That's Deb Perelman's New York kitchen. It's so small that the blogger, and now author, literally has to wedge herself between the stove and the refrigerator to cook.

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Arts & Life
5:11 pm
Wed October 31, 2012

A 'Witch Queen' Who Casts Her Spells Year-Round

Courtesy of Faith in the Five Boroughs

Originally published on Fri November 2, 2012 3:53 pm

Lady Rhea is not the kind of witch you'll find in a pointy hat this Halloween. She is a real workaday witch, grinding out a living selling magic products in a booth at Original Products, a grocery store-sized botanica in the Bronx. She's been a practicing Wiccan for nearly four decades, making her one of the longest-serving high priestesses in New York City.

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Digital Life
4:33 pm
Wed October 31, 2012

A Mohawk Hero In The Not-So-Diverse Gaming World

For the latest installment of Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed series, set in Colonial America, the hooded main character is part Mohawk. The company brought in a Mohawk consultant and hired a Native actor to play the role.
Courtesy of Ubisoft

Originally published on Mon November 5, 2012 5:49 pm

The Assassin's Creed video game series has become a megahit for gaming enthusiasts. The story line follows a bloody war between Assassins and the Knights Templar, first during the Crusades and then in Renaissance Italy.

The newly released Assassins Creed III crosses the ocean and a couple of centuries so the action could take place during the Revolutionary War and would be wildly anticipated on its own.

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PG-13: Risky Reads
2:43 pm
Wed October 31, 2012

Possessed By 'The Exorcist': Are You Terrified Yet?

Originally published on Thu November 8, 2012 11:51 am

Mark Danielewski is the author of The Fifty Year Sword.

When I was 12, the movie was forbidden. What my parents matter-of-factly declared too scary, friends confirmed with added notes of hysteria: "Nothing more terrifying!" "The most horrifying film ever made!" "People pass out!"

In Provo, Utah, where I grew up, Mormon children — and in my world that meant all of my friends — reported how just a glimpse resulted in actual, irreversible possession.

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Monkey See
2:07 pm
Wed October 31, 2012

In 'Nobody Walks,' Lena Dunham's Lost 'Girls' Relocate To Heavier Drama

Martine (Olivia Thirlby) is either oblivious to or apathetic toward the chaos she causes in the lives of those around her.
Magnolia Pictures

A friend of mine — whose opinion is shared by hosts of viewers — has griped about Lena Dunham and the fame of Girls and its cast members: "Everybody talks like they're the voice of our 'lost generation,'" she said. "But their parents are all famous people." In other words, the complaint goes, the extent of the Girls cast's success comes from the connections available to them.

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Television
12:46 pm
Wed October 31, 2012

Katey Sagal, Holding Court On 'Sons of Anarchy'

Katey Sagal as Gemma Teller Morrow in Sons of Anarachy on FX.
Prashant Gupta FX

Originally published on Wed October 31, 2012 3:59 pm

As Gemma, the fierce matriarch of the biker gang in the FX series Sons of Anarchy, Katey Sagal has shot and killed people, hit somebody with a skateboard, pulled a gun on a baby and done other horrible things. It's all part of the challenge of playing the character, Sagal says.

"She does things in the name of loyalty, which I relate to, but she goes way beyond anything I would do."

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The Salt
12:05 pm
Wed October 31, 2012

Behind A Halloween Mask, Even 'Good' Kids Can Turn Into Candy Thieves

Is there an angel or a devil behind the mask? Scientists say it may not matter in terms of anonymous behavior.
Joel Saget AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 31, 2012 3:07 pm

Vampires and monsters will be out in force tonight, but some of the darkest creatures out there might be your little angels inside those Halloween costumes.

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First Reads
10:59 am
Wed October 31, 2012

Exclusive First Read: Ian McEwan's 'Sweet Tooth'

Originally published on Wed October 31, 2012 1:39 pm

Ian McEwan's latest novel is an exercise in deception — the author of Atonement has created an engaging book that's as much suspenseful drama as it is romantic love story. At the center is Serena Frome, who after graduating from university as a math major (but with a reputation for being a lover of novels) lands a desk job with the intelligence agency, MI5. Early on Serena receives an assignment: She must pose as a representative for an arts foundation and begin to cultivate a young writer. Keeping her identity from him proves challenging.

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Monkey See
10:57 am
Wed October 31, 2012

What Makes A Horror Game Go Bump in the Night?

The Stauf mansion, as featured in the updated version of The 7th Guest.
Trilobyte Games

The first computer game that really frightened me to the bones was 1994's The 7th Guest. It's certainly primitive compared to today's games, but parts of it were indubitably scary. Even early on, when a kind of Steadicam slowly led me up a Victorian mansion's stairs, there was a feeling of uncomfortable dread. Don't go there, I said to myself. Yet, like so many ill-fated protagonists in the movies, I went there. And when ghosts moved about on the second floor — damn — that was eerie. It was like that "cold spot" in Robert Wise's The Haunting.

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