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Posts Tagged ‘Taylor Plimpton’

Happy Fourth!

July 4, 2013 | by

George Plimpton’s passion for fireworks is legendary: he devoted a book to the subject, and held the title of Fireworks Commissioner of New York for some thirty years. In 2011, his son, Taylor, wrote movingly about sending his father’s ashes into space with his favorite firework, the kamuro.

In 1994, Plimpton hosted the terrific documentary Fireworks, based on his book.

 

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Staff Picks: Dioramas, Donald Young and Stardom

September 9, 2011 | by

I’ve been reading Ben Jeffrey on Philip Roth’s later novels and our sometime special tennis correspondent Louisa Thomas on Donald Young and stardom. –Lorin Stein

This week I stumbled across the artfully nostalgic Welcome to Pine Point. Developed by the creative team behind Adbusters and billed as an interactive documentary, it explores the memories of a now-vanished mining town. It’s part film, part photo album, and completely fascinating. –Deirdre Foley-Mendelssohn

A conundrum: two petite biographies from Yale’s Jewish Lives series—Joshua Rubenstein’s Leon Trotsky and Vivian Gornick’s Emma Goldman. Which to read first? Sorry, Lev, the anarchist woman wins. –Nicole Rudick

A friend just drew my attention to an article in the June issue of Plum Hamptons by Taylor Plimpton about his father, touch football at the Matthiessens’, and the Review as seen from a child’s perspective: “Of my introduction long ago to the rich literary culture of the Hamptons,” it begins, “I remember best the nose-hair.” –L.S.

This is the last week to see the incredible diorama show at the Museum of Art and Design, “Otherworldly: Optical Delusions and Small Realities.” The title describes it well. –Artie Niederhoffer

Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life is kind of goofy, very uneven, and has an unwieldy third act. Still necessary viewing for the Serge-o-phile. And I thought Laetitia Casta made a stunning Bardot! –Sadie Stein

Recent perusal of a used book store turned up a Dover Thrift reprint of Clarence Cook’s 1881 The House Beautiful: Essays on Beds and Tables and Stools and Candlesticks. As a furniture enthusiast, I enjoyed its strong opinions on dining-room tables and wash-stands; as a New Yorker, I found it to be rather comforting. There’s just something nice about knowing that Victorian Manhattanites were packed in as uncomfortably as today’s: “In city houses, particularly in New-York, where I believe we are more scrimped for room ... even the richest people are obliged to squeeze themselves into a less number of square feet than in any other city in the world calling itself great. ” –Clare Fentress

Over Labor Day weekend I read Sailing Alone Around the World, Joshua Slocum’s 1899 memoir, because I’ll be damned if I give up the summery feeling of adventure without a fight. –Cody Wiewandt

I went to a garage sale this weekend that boasted a near-complete set of the now nonexistent hardcover Horizon magazine, and picked up a strange-looking issue with only a large gold Chinese character for “Tang” on the cover. Inside, I found an article on the dynasty’s turbulent history by one of my favorite writers, Emily Hahn. Definitely one of my better bargain finds. –Ali Pechman

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Taylor Plimpton and ‘Notes From the Night’

August 11, 2010 | by

Photograph by Landon Nordeman.

Notes From the Night is a memoir about Taylor Plimpton's many years frequenting New York night clubs. (His father is, of course, George Plimpton, a man of many hats—illustrious New York personality, founding editor of The Paris Review, pioneer of participatory journalism.) Despite or perhaps because the club scene might be, in Plimpton's words, “the worst place in the world" to look for life's answers, the after-hours arena of dreams, excess, and potentialities turns out to be the perfect place for him to begin.

How would you describe your book?

It’s partly a memoir of my life out in the New York night, and partly a guidebook on how to live that life as best as one can: how to avoid its pitfalls and savor its sweetnesses.

You once described your book as “the kind of book moms don’t like.” Would you endorse that statement?

Not at all. On one hand I understand, to hear about your son or any kid destroying himself out at night is not something a mom wants to read about. But it’s a fact of life, in your late teens and early twenties, that’s just what people do: they go out. But I wanted to give people the tools to recognize the nonsense and look past it toward the things that do matter.

Were you concerned with creating your own style, your own distinct voice?

I wanted it to read like I was writing a letter to a good friend—as open and honest and natural as possible. I feel like that’s my duty as a writer, because in memoir, if you’re not being honest, what’s the point? I guess the hope is that if you’re really honest about your own madness, it actually turns out that other people can relate to it, too. In terms of being influenced by other writers, I love the long rambling sentences of Kerouac, and of some of Marquez—the three-hundred-word sentence that rushes on.

How long did it take you to finish writing?

About six years. Part of the reason it took so long was that I needed a little distance from that life before I could fully capture what it was about. Trying to write about it while in the midst of it was good for research, but it wasn’t good for finishing it—

Right, for clarity of mind—

—Very little clarity of mind. You know, you go out and you have a good time and take some good notes, and then you wake up the next morning and you’re utterly hung-over—the last thing in the world you want to do is sit in front of a computer to write. Read More »

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