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For several years now, Brooklyn-based organist Jared Lamenzo has been researching an 1826 opera performance which was given at the Basilica of Saint Patrick’s Old Cathedral where he serves as Music Director and Organist. The 1826 event featured the first Italian opera company to visit the United States, the Garcia Company.  Their mezzo soprano was the 17-year-old Maria Garcia Malibran, soon to become the greatest operatic diva of her time. Lamenzo was fascinated by the...
I liked what I looked like when I was reading Voices from Chernobyl. Once I looked up at my reflection in the subway train window and I was surprised at how interesting and serious I was. I felt very guilty and strange for these superficial concerns, but not guilty enough to not take a picture. I keep thinking lately that I look like what I want to look like, and it feels good. Especially...
Last month, Tom Meyers and Greg Young, aka The Bowery Boys, published their first book, Adventures in Old New York: An Unconventional Exploration of Manhattan’s Historic Neighborhoods, Secret Spots, and Colorful Characters. Loosely based on their popular podcast—without the accompaniment of which it long ago became impossible in our household to wash the dishes or sweep the floors—the book offers a rich assortment of stories about the city’s always-disappearing past and the many visible...
I read this book for pure pleasure, which is to say I didn’t mean to write about it. SPQR, by Cambridge classicist Mary Beard, promised pure nerdy pleasure: a general history of Rome from its origins (traditionally 753 BCE, though the truth is both older and hazier) to the reign of Caracalla, when, in 212 CE, Roman citizenship was extended to all free men living within the bounds of the empire. This was a...

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