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Posts Tagged ‘Holidays’

Ghosts on the Nog

December 19, 2014 | by

The great English tradition of Christmas ghost stories.

One of John Leech’s illustrations for A Christmas Carol, 1842.

I’ve long thought of Christmastime as a season of mostly pleasant intrusions: thirty or so days of remembering to tend, checklist style, to the latest pressing bit of Yuletide business that comes racing back to you. The well wishes. The trip to the Home Depot. The seasonal ales.

This is the Fezziwig side of Christmas, that portion that makes you look up the word wassail when you encounter it and think, Ah, that would be fun. But what of the darker elements of Christmas—and what of Christmas for those people who enjoy making merry most years but may have hit upon a bit of a tricky patch? What succor of the season might they find at the proverbial inn?

Having experienced both sides of Christmas, there is but one constant I am aware of that serves you well both in the merriest of times and in the darkest: the classic English Christmas ghost story. You’d think Halloween would be the holiday that elicits the best macabre stories, but you’re going to want to check that opinion and get more on the Snow Miser side of the equation. Time was the English loved to scare you out of your mind come December, but in a fun way that resulted in stories well afield of your typical ghost story outing. Read More »

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Happy Haneke

December 16, 2014 | by

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A still from the German version of Haneke‘s Funny Games, 1997.

“My students, meanwhile, pitch only the gravest of topics. For them it’s always got to be the Holocaust. I usually tell them, Back off. You have no idea what you’re talking about. You can only reproduce what you read or heard elsewhere. Others who actually lived through it have said it much better than you ever could. Try to create something that springs organically from your own experience. For only then does it stand the slightest chance of being genuinely interesting.” —Michael Haneke, the Art of Screenwriting No. 5

I felt enormously clever writing that pun up there. Then I remembered that it’s already been used—it’s the title of Anthony Lane’s excellent 2009 profile of Haneke in The New Yorker. Tant pis!

Even so, my point stands: tonight marks the first night of Hanukkah, and our new issue features the Art of Screenwriting No. 5, an interview with Michael Haneke, whose name is pronounced in very nearly the same fashion. Coincidence? Yes, absolutely, nothing more.

And yet.

You may consider, during these eight nights of gift-giving, capitalizing on the Haneke/Hanukkah near-homonym and presenting your loved one with a subscription to The Paris Review, starting with our Haneke issue—just forty dollars for a year’s supply of fiction, poetry, interviews, and art, including a postcard announcing your gift with a personal message. They make a great present for aspiring writers, who should, in the words of William Kennedy, “read the entire canon of literature that precedes them, back to the Greeks, up to the current issue of The Paris Review.”

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Most Wonderful Time

December 12, 2014 | by

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Santas overtake London, 2011. Photo: Garry Knight, via Flickr

Two winters ago, I accidentally found myself in the East Village on the day of SantaCon. For those fortunate enough to have been spared it, this is an annual holiday event in which punters in Santa costumes (mere hats won't cut it) pay an entry fee toward charity and then go on a daylong bar crawl. This happens in cities across the globe. My most vivid memory of that nightmarish evening is a single lewd elf stopping traffic as he squatted in the middle of Second Avenue and slowly, hypnotically, rotated his hips to music only he could hear. 

SantaCon is one of the easiest targets for snark, but it really is pretty awful. The NYC branch says it’s going legit this year—no public nuisances, no blocking traffic, no street urination or gutters running with vomit—and to this end the organizers have hired a prominent lawyer and posted rules of conduct to its site. (Exposing yourself in public is a sex offense, it reminds the Santas.) In further efforts to curb the charitable, drunken Santas’ behavior, various commuter trains, including the Long Island Railroad, have banned pre-gaming. Read More »

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Our Holiday Pop-up Shop Is Coming This Sunday

December 11, 2014 | by

paris review popup banner

We’re making a banner and everything. That’s how serious we are.

Experts (i.e., us) have found that holiday shopping is altogether more bearable when there’s food and drink involved. Which is why we’re opening a pop-up shop in a restaurant.

If you’re shopping downtown this Sunday, December 14, come visit us at Contrada, a cozy Italian restaurant in the East Village at 84 East Fourth Street. From three-thirty to six-thirty, we’ll be there with discounted subscriptions, back issues, T-shirts, and boundless reserves of holiday cheer (i.e., snacks and drinks). We’ll gift wrap anything you’d like to give as a present. Stop by and say hello!

If you’re not in New York, you can still get a gift subscription to The Paris Review—just forty dollars for a year’s supply of fiction, poetry, interviews, and art, including a postcard announcing your gift with a personal message. They make a great present for aspiring writers, who should, in the words of William Kennedy, “read the entire canon of literature that precedes them, back to the Greeks, up to the current issue of The Paris Review.”

Order before December 15 and your gift is guaranteed to arrive by Christmas.

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Visit Our Holiday Pop-up Shop This Sunday

December 8, 2014 | by

You may have heard that The Paris Review offers gift subscriptions—just forty dollars for a year’s supply of fiction, poetry, interviews, and art, including a postcard announcing your gift with a personal message. They make a great present for aspiring writers, who should, in the words of William Kennedy, “read the entire canon of literature that precedes them, back to the Greeks, up to the current issue of The Paris Review.”

If you’re shopping downtown this weekend, you can pick up a gift from us in person. For one day only—this Sunday, December 14—we’re opening a pop-up shop at Contrada, a cozy Italian restaurant in the East Village at 84 East Fourth Street. From three-thirty to six-thirty, we’ll be there with discounted subscriptions, back issues, T-shirts, and boundless reserves of holiday cheer (i.e., snacks and drinks). We’ll gift wrap anything you’d like to give as a present. Stop by and say hello!

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Make It

December 3, 2014 | by

“More Than a Hundred Things for Boys and Girls to Make and Do.”

Here’s a gift idea for you, suitable for children and arrested adults—which is to say, a large part of your Christmas list. Go online at once and buy several copies of McCall’s Giant Golden Make-it Book.

Until recently, I had totally forgotten about the Giant Golden Make-it Book, but I ran across a copy at a used bookstore and immediately realized how well it’s held up. Simply put, no modern activity book can compare. It’s truly giant, and really comprehensive, but like the same-vintage Betty Crocker’s Cookbook for Boys and Girls, it’s as much about the illustrations as the ideas. A smart publisher has seen fit to reissue the latter; McCall’s really needs to do likewise.

There’s everything you might hope for—games and homemade costumes and simple recipes and easy knitting instruction and theme parties—but also a lot of things that never occurred to you. Dutch painting! Soap carving! Elementary flower arranging!  Read More »

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