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Reel Brooklyn is a monthly column chronicling the definitive history of Brooklyn on-screen, one film—and neighborhood—at a time. They finally adapted Hubert Selby Jr.'s 1964 cult classic Last Exit to Brooklyn in 1989, after the nostalgia for the 1950s that began with George Lucas's American Graffiti became calcified into dinosaur bone dust with the Reagan administration, and it still took a German production to make it happen. Selby's notoriously foul, working-class portrait of 1952 Sunset...
I am in an introductory fiction writing class in college in New York City, and we are tasked with bringing in a paragraph we find particularly moving. I choose the paragraph from Hubert Selby, Jr.’s Last Exit to Brooklyn in which a transgender sex worker, Georgette, saves the atmosphere of a party by pulling down a book and reading Poe’s “The Raven” aloud as Charlie Parker echoes from the record player. I don’t then...

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