Archive Words

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Subway Love We stand an army of urban soldiers waiting for the train Our feet teeter onto the restricted yellow paint Contorting our bodies into cranes To look past the backs of human beings In search of the speeding metal … Continued

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Madonna Reads Neruda

As part of the soundtrack of the 1994 film Academy Award-winning Italian film Il Postino, a group of artists (including Sting, Glenn Close, Samuel L. Jackson and Ethan Hawke) recited poems by Chilean poet Pablo Neruda. Madonna was also included … Continued

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Revisiting Tampa

In the summer of 2013, author Alissa Nutting unveiled her scandalous novel Tampa. Inspired by the real-life saga of Debra Lafave (pictured above), Tampa tells the tale of a 26-year-old school teacher who becomes obsessed with seducing her 14-year-old students. It was a shocking premise … Continued

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Back in 2004, when Kanye West was still trying to make his mark on the world of rap, he appeared at the Def Poetry Jam, a spoken word poetry showcase created by music producer Russell Simmons, hosted by hip hopper Mos Def … Continued

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Act Out: American Beauty

The multiple-Oscar winning 1999 drama American Beauty is a tale of midlife angst. Written by Alan Ball, the film follows Lester Burnham (Kevin Spacey, who nabbed a Best Actor Oscar), a 42-year-old suburban dad who—left unsatisfied by his sexless marriage to his … Continued

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Woody Allen’s 1977 film Annie Hall—which, incidentally, beat Star Wars in the Oscar’s Best Picture race—follows the up-and-down relationship between neurotic comic Alvy Singer (Allen) and the title character (played by Diane Keaton, for whom Allen wrote the role.) In the … Continued

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Phenomenal Woman

  Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelou Pretty women wonder where my secret lies. I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size But when I start to tell them, They think I’m telling lies. I say, It’s in … Continued

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My Mouth Hovers Across Your Breasts by Adrienne Rich My mouth hovers across your breasts in the short grey winter afternoon in this bed we are delicate and touch so hot with joy we amaze ourselves tough and delicate we … Continued

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Valley of the Dolls

After getting rejection slips from a series of squeamish publishing houses, aspiring actress-turned-writer Jacqueline Susann finally got her risque first novel released in 1966. Written with melodramatic, soap-opera-style flair, Valley of the Dolls became the literary embodiment of the 1960s counterculture. It dealt with … Continued

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Heartburn is Nora Ephron’s autobiographical novel about the breakdown of her second marriage. Thanks to Ephron’s infamous mix of humor and heartache, the book became a bestseller and was adapted into an equally successful movie. Meryl Streep, who starred opposite Jack Nicholson … Continued

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David Tennant’s Hamlet

In 2009, David Tennant—the British actor best known for playing Doctor Who in the UK sci-fi series and as the bad guy in the Netflix superhero series Jessica Jones—tackled the role of Hamlet in a Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of … Continued

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Marianne Faithfull’s Rant

In 1979, after years of drug abuse and homelessness, Marianne Faithful released the comeback album, Broken English. The last track on that new wave punk album—which came to be known as Faithfull’s masterstroke—was the six-and-a-half-minute song, “Why D’Ya Do It?” With lyrics adapted from … Continued

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PARIS, FRANCE - MARCH: British Singer Marianne Faithfull In Paris, France, in March 1966 . (Photo by Giancarlo BOTTI/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
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At the time True Romance was made in 1993, Quentin Tarantino was not yet well known, and Tony Scott, the director (Top Gun, The Hunger), was promoted as the creative force behind it. But once you’ve read any scene in … Continued

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Jeremy Irons Reads Lolita

Considered one of the most controversial works of 20th century literature, Vladimir Nabokov’s 1955 novel Lolita was banned in various countries due to its scandalous subject matter. The protagonist is Humbert Humbert, a middle-aged professor who develops an erotic fixation on 12-year-old Dolores … Continued

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The 1992 erotic thriller Basic Instinct (written by Joe Eszterhas) revolves around the police investigation of the murder—by ice-pick—of retired rock star Johnny Boz. During the course of the investigation, Detective Nick Curran (Michael Douglas) becomes intimately involved with the prime suspect, … Continued

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5 Great Beach Reads

City on Fire by Garth Risk Hallberg Set in the crime-plagued, graffiti-ridden New York City of the late 1970s, City on Fire is a sprawling novel that draws its multitude of characters—ranging from wealthy uptown strivers to a downtown gay … Continued

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A Daring New Poem

James Franco is back in cultural provocateur mode with a new book of poems that explore sex and gender roles in society. The actor/writer/director—who’s taken the long-running speculation about his sexual orientation and used it for creative inspiration—shares with PROVOKR this poem in which he fantasizes about … Continued

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He was the ultimate provocateur. Walt Whitman lived during the Victorian era, but he refused to abide by the prudish dictates of the time. His first collection of poems, Leaves of Grass (published in 1855 and continuously revised by Whitman … Continued

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The Dirtiest Poem Ever!

There’s no doubt that Auden was an intellectual force—he wrote esteemed essays on politics, psychology, religion and literature, and his poems drew raves for their stylistic achievements. The gay poet, however, was not afraid to show off his carnal side. … Continued

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“There is between my legs a crisp city,” wrote ee cummings in his poem “As We Lay Side by Side…” Cummings wrote those words from a woman’s perspective, but given his licentious personal life (he was known to have a … Continued

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Act Out: Shakespeare in Love

Set in Elizabethan England, the 1998 romantic comedy Shakespeare in Love—written by Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard—imagines the lusty inspiration behind Romeo and Juliet. The plot revs up when Will Shakespeare (Joseph Fiennes) begins auditioning actors to star in his … Continued

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The 1996 neo-noir crime drama, Bound, marked the directorial debut of the transgender Wachowski siblings, formerly Larry and Andy, now Lana and Lilly, respectively. The film revolves around the burgeoning relationship between Violet (Meg Tilly)—the live-in girlfriend of mobster Caesar … Continued

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In the fall of 2014, Emma Cline couldn’t quite wrap her head around the fact that— at 25 years old—she had just landed a $2 million book deal (and sold the movie rights) for her debut novel, The Girls, which is loosely based … Continued

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Broadway Bared

  Frankie and Johnny in the Claire de Lune (2002) This revival of the two-character Terrence McNally play about a date between a down-on-their-romantic-luck waitress (Edie Falco) and short-order cook (Stanley Tucci) drew a lot of press attention for the … Continued

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allen ginsberg kolkata BENARES, INDIA - FEBRUARY 1963: Beat poet Allen Ginsberg points at art poster during February 1963 in his tenement apartment near the banks of the Ganges river in Benaras, India. Ginsberg explored Eastern philosophies with Peter Orlovsky and other founders of the Beat movement during his March '62 - May '63 stay. (Photo by Pete turner/Getty Images)

His most famous poem, “Howl,” has become synonymous with the 1950s Beat Generation, but Allen Ginsberg’s countercultural worldview wasn’t confined to just one decade. In fact, as Bill Morgan, the editor of Wait Till I’m Dead—a new book of Ginsberg’s … Continued

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Actors As Authors

From Nicole Kidman as Virginia Woolf to Philip Seymour Hoffman as Truman Capote to Jason Segel as David Foster Wallace, this fascinating supercut of some of Hollywood’s best film portrayals of authors reminds you just how many interesting characters emerge … Continued

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D31AB2 On The Road. Image shot 2012. Exact date unknown.
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Filmmaker Kayhan Lannes Ozmen directed this short film that brings to life the typically-risque Bukowski poem “Girl on the Escalator.” Read the poem in its entirety below. Girl on the escalator —by Charles Bukowski as I go to the escalator a … Continued

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Act Out: Blue Velvet

The 1986 film noir, Blue Velvet, is director David Lynch’s most notorious work. In classic Lynch style, it takes a piercing look at the dark underbelly of small town life. The plot involves a slowly unraveling mystery that’s filled with … Continued

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With The Romanovs: 1613-1918 (2016), pop-historian Simon Sebag Montefiore, the award-winning biographer of Joseph Stalin and Grigory Potempkin, delivers his richest and most ambitious tome to date. Spanning three centuries and twenty rulers, Montefiore chronicles the rise and fall of Russia’s greatest—and raunchiest—dynasty … Continued

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Poetry Slam

Nineteen-year-old Savannah Brown has been posting her spoken-word poetry on YouTube for more than five years. In this video, she tackles the double standard women face when it comes to sex. “This poem floored me, and I appreciate it immensely,” wrote one … Continued

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Pulp Fiction Flirtation

Quentin Tarantino’s dialogues have no equal. And this scene from his breakthrough hit, Pulp Fiction (1994), is certainly a case in point. In it, Vincent Vega (John Travolta) is taking Mia Wallace (Uma Thurman), the wife of Vincent’s boss, drug … Continued

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3 Erotic Poems

Although he’s often referred to as the “Dirty Old Man of American Letters,” Charles Bukowski also had a vulnerable side. In On Love, a new anthology of his work, Bukowski’s typically gritty style is in full view, but given the subjects at hand—lust, sex, neediness, loneliness … Continued

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In case you haven’t seen the 1967 movie here’s a quick set-up to the scene below: A young college graduate, Benjamin Braddock (played by Dustin Hoffman), is being feted at his parents’ house, where he becomes reacquainted with a friend … Continued

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D.H. Lawrence

Lawrence’s novel about an aristocratic wife who has an affair with a lowly gamekeeper was so shocking in its detailed depiction of sex that even Lawrence’s contemporary—legendary poet T.S. Eliot—described the book as “sick.” Lawrence died of tuberculosis before the … Continued

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The 1997 film Boogie Nights, written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, follows high school dropout Eddie Adams (Mark Wahlberg), who uses his one remarkable characteristic—his ample endowment—to transform into Dirk Diggler, the biggest porn star of the 1970s. In … Continued

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The Naked and Famous

The New Zealand indie band, the Naked and the Famous, released their newest album, Simple Forms, last October. “There’s pain and passion behind this art,” said singer-keyboardist Alisa Xayalith of their new work. To prove that point, the band recently released … Continued

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  INT. LIVING ROOM – DAY DON enters his posh but untidy apartment. He looks around for his wife. DON Megan!? Where are you?! MEGAN walks briskly out of the bedroom in a thin robe. She’s holding a wastebasket. MEGAN … Continued

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Candy Girl

Written by Terry Southern (who wrote the screenplays for Barbarella and Easy Rider), Candy was one of the first “dirty books” to pop up on an American bestseller list, selling millions of copies and causing an uproar among the more … Continued

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candy by terry southern and mason hoffenberg
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In 1992, Eileen Myles ran for President of the United States as a write-in candidate. The openly gay poet threw her hat in the ring solely as a protest against a speech President George H.W. Bush gave, in which he disparaged … Continued

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Atonement’s Erotic Climax

Atonement is a 2007 British drama based on Ian McEwan’s novel of the same name. It begins in 1935 on the country estate of the aristocratic Tallis family. Cecilia Tallis (Keira Knightley) is the older daughter of the family and Robbie … Continued

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Starring Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams as a young, beautiful married couple whose world is coming apart despite the intense bond between them, the 2010 film Blue Valentine is as heartbreaking and heated as they come. The script, written by … Continued

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Dorothy Parker’s Poetry

Best known as one of the most tart-tongued members of the Algonquin Round Table in the 1920s, Dorothy Parker was a prolific poet who often channeled her wit into verse that oozed with sexuality. This is the woman, after all, … Continued

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Born in Kenya before emigrating to the UK, 27-year-old poet Warsan Shire is becoming one of the leading literary voices of her generation. First she attracted an ardent following by posting poems on Tumblr and Twitter. In 2014, she was … Continued

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Groupies Revisited

On February 15,1969, Rolling Stone dedicated an issued to “The Groupies,” the vivacious, often outrageously-dressed and seductive women who were always in the vicinity of popular bands. The article was punctuated with amazing portraits by Rolling Stone photographer Baron Wolman. This issue put groupies … Continued

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As soon as you meet Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix) in Spike Jonze’s 2013 drama, Her, you can see that he’s a man who’s much more at home cocooning with his technology—playing holographic video games, lurking in internet chat rooms—than he is … Continued

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Postmodern Erotica

Thomas Pynchon’s postmodern masterpiece, Gravity’s Rainbow, was on track to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1974 when the organization’s board of trustees got squeamish about allowing such a provocative novel—one that features plentiful scenes of explicit sexuality—to earn their stamp … Continued

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One of the best books of this year is actually a graphic novel. Enter the intriguing world of Monstress and you will be immediately enchanted by its heroine, Maika, a young woman warrior struggling with a hungry monster living inside her. … Continued

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Act Out: The Affair

EXT. ROAD – NIGHT. Noah and Alison walk down a little paved road that runs parallel to the beach. They are both smoking. ALISON Wow. You are a writer? You must be so smart. NOAH (pleased) Not really. ALISON I … Continued

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Dominic West as Noah and Ruth Wilson as Alison in The Affair (Season 2). - Photo: Steven Lippman/SHOWTIME
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In his 2011 novel House of Holes: A Book of Raunch, Nicholson Baker creates a coital wonderland in which a series of unsuspecting characters get sucked into the titular house after experiencing outrageous sexual adventures. In the following erotic and typically … Continued

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Read the Zipless Fuck

In 1973, Erica Jong made her debut on the literary stage with Fear of Flying, a novel about the sexual soul-searching of a young poet named Isadora Wing. Not only was the book a commercial success, it also got rave reviews … Continued

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If Raymond Chandler, H.P. Lovecraft and Margaret Atwood ever collaborated, it would probably be a lot like Fatale. The series, created by award-winning author Ed Brubaker and artist Sean Phillips, is completely unique, a supernatural noir epic with a fascinating … Continued

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Act Out: Spartacus

There’s a lot more to Spartacus than men with swords—Stanley Kubrick’s 1961 original is a masterpiece about the meaning of life, the need for freedom, and also an epic love story. In this scene below, Thracian slave Spartacus (Kirk Douglas) … Continued

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For all you romantics out there longing for the days of chivalry, dancing and a beauty standard that didn’t hinge on starvation: forget about it! In Unmentionable: The Victorian Lady’s Guide to Sex, Marriage, and Manners, a hilarious new tour through … Continued

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Sexiest Movie Quotes

From a surprisingly erotic Gone With the Wind quote uttered by Clark Gable to a tantalizing come-on from Ryan Gosling in Crazy, Stupid Love, here are PROVOKR’s picks for the hottest lines in film history.   “Women! What can you say? … Continued

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In his new novel, Christodora, Tim Murphy puts his 20 years of experience with HIV/AIDS reporting to good use. Using the titular East Village building for his central location, Murphy recounts the effect of HIV/AIDS and drug addiction on NYC’s past, present … Continued

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Provocative Playwright

In honor of the recent passing of the great American playwright Edward Albee, PROVOKR presents a snippet from one of his greatest works, 1963’s Tony award-winning Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? The play centers on the volatile marriage of a … Continued

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The word wanton, meaning “sexually immodest or promiscuous” and usually referring to women, is an old-fashioned one. Almost puritanical in nature and origin, it’s rarely seen beyond the vocabulary sections of standardized tests. But once upon a time, in the … Continued

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Sexy Pulp Fiction Covers

In 1957, an American publishing house called Midwood Books launched with a specific goal in mind: to produce cheap, erotic paperback romances that would appeal to a male audience. Although the publisher of Midwood, Harry Shorten, wasn’t a literary expert, he … Continued

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With Future Sex, seasoned reporter Emily Witt melds her abilities as both a journalist and memoirist to produce a work about being a young, single and sexually adventurous woman in the age of the internet that is both outwardly perceptive … Continued

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James Bond Book Covers

Penguin Books 2008   Penguin Books 2008   Jonathan Cape 1966   Jonathan Cape 1960   Penguin Books 2008   Jonathan Cape 1956   Penguin Books 2008   Jonathan Cape 1963   Jonathan Cape 1956   Signet Books 1967

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What Sappho was to poetry, Ann Bannon was to pulp fiction. Dubbed the “Queen of Lesbian Pulp Fiction,” she changed the landscape of how fiction depicted gay relationships with her Beebo Brinker chronicles, six books penned from 1957–62 that employed … Continued

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How to Murder your Life

Cat Marnell is clean now…except for the Adderall, sedatives as needed, the occasional upper, maybe a drink now and then and the sleeping pills at night. She looks gorgeous considering her wild past. There is the issue of her hair—the … Continued

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Whether he’s rocking or writing, punk icon Richard Hell has always pushed the envelope. Born in Lexington, Kentucky, Hell’s listless spirit first led him to the hallowed ground of CBGB, where he originated the punk trend of ripping his clothes and … Continued

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ACT OUT: The Girlfriend Experience

INT. BEDROOM – NIGHT Christine is on her side in a queen-sized bed attempting to sleep when she hears a voice. VOICE (O.S) Christine. Christine turns over to see Avery standing in her doorway in a tank-top and underwear. CHRISTINE … Continued

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Vladimir Nabakov’s Lolita started its life simply in 1955 with a plain, green cover—no doubt the subject matter was controversial enough without adding fuel to the fire. Nabokov himself had something to say at the time about Lolita’s original look: “I want … Continued

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Poet Segovia Amil

Always looking for a fresh face or a new voice, PROVOKR has found both with the poet Segovia Amil, whose macabre words and dark Victorian portraits are pleasing to both the eyes and the mind. Her poetry has been featured … Continued

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Written and performed by visual artist Phoebe Boswell, “Dear Mister Shakespeare” is a mesmerizing short film that breaks down Othello and its cultural implications to ask some hard questions about otherness, blackness, and immigration. Shot over two and a half days as part … Continued

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The Bell Jar

Sylvia Plath’s haunting coming-of-age story in The Bell Jar is a stand-alone American classic. Most famous as a portrait of a fragile psyche slowly unraveling, it’s maybe more importantly a portrayal of a young woman coming to terms with a world … Continued

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Mothering Sunday opens with “Once upon a time,” but this luminous novella is less a fairy tale than a vivid recreation of a specific place and time now lost. It’s about an intense sexual relationship, now ended. It recounts a … Continued

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The Handmaid’s Tale

Margaret Atwood’s 1985 dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale explores the intersection of gender and religious politics through the eyes of Offred, a sex object used purely for her ability to bare children in the largely sterile society of Gilead. As … Continued

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Set out candles and dim the lights—after reading these steamy odes to sex, your heart will be pounding. From Lord Byron to Adrienne Rich, these wordsmiths all have one thing on their mind and they know how to set the … Continued

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Q&A with Amma Asante

Amma Asante’s impressive latest effort, A United Kingdom (starring David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike), is unquestionably the best film of 2017. The true story of a bi-racial love affair that faced fierce opposition and an international diplomatic crisis in the … Continued

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Novelist Edmund White described The Sexual Life of Catherine M. as “the most explicit book about sex ever written by a woman.” The 2001 memoir—written by French art critic Catherine Millet—details the wealth of exotic sexual experiences she’s had throughout her … Continued

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Eve Babitz

The image above is a famous one, an icon of art history and also of a certain place and time in ‘60s American culture. The girl in the photo is Eve Babitz. She’s probably the wildest—and wittiest—child of the ‘60s … Continued

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Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Steig Larson Even for the uninitiated, one look at this salacious cover and all the hype starts to make sense. The Mercy Room, Gilles Rozier This one manages to be sexy and classy in its use of a leather-bound … Continued

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Act Out: Game of Thrones

INT. CAVE – DAY  JON descends into a cave behind YGRITTE. She gives him a seductive look and begins disrobing in front of a waterfall. YGRITTE Is Orelle right? Are you still a crow? Time you proved yourself. JON Ygritte… … Continued

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This certainly a change from Sex in the City…in A Quiet Passion, Cynthia Nixon channels the transcendent wit of Emily Dickinson. Acclaimed British director Terence Davies (House of Mirth, The Deep Blue Sea) evokes Dickinson’s pathos, intellectual independence and deep attachment … Continued

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The Lesser Bohemians

For her sophomore effort, Eimear McBride (A Girl Is a Half-formed Thing) brings her singular voice to an unlikely love story between a naive young acting student and an older thespian in 1990s London. Shortlisted for the Goldsmith prize, The Lesser … Continued

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A unique and compelling history of the Beats, in the words of the movement’s center, Allen Ginsberg. In 1977, twenty years after the publication of “Howl” and Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road”, Allen Ginsberg began teaching a course on the history of … Continued

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General Idea

Just published in paperback, General Idea: A Retrospective (1969–1994) presents an overview of the legendary Canadian collective. Founded in Toronto in 1969 by Felix Partz, Jorge Zontal and AA Bronson, the trio adopted a generic identity that “freed it from the tyranny … Continued

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Rudy Francisco is one of the most recognizable names in spoken word poetry.  He was born, raised and still resides in San Diego, California. As an artist, Rudy Francisco is an amalgamation of social critique, introspection, honesty and humor—he uses … Continued

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Words, Images, and Dreams

This beautiful publishing celebration covers the the most memorable editorials, the top fashion models and is filled with dazzling photography. In 1867, Fletcher Harper had an idea for a fashion magazine that catered to the new rich women of the … Continued

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November 1929, photo by Baron Adolph de Meyer.