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The Offending Classic

- By Tanya Jayani Fernando

Introduction: The Classic and the Offending Classic

Cover Image: William Blake, Oberon, Titania, and Puck with Fairies Dancing. (circa 1786). Pencil and watercolor, 1’7” x 2’ 3” [From William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer’s Night Dream

Last year, dance historian Mark Franko published an essay in the Massachusetts Review on Jerome Robbins’s Opus Jazz, where he argued that Robbins uses Black aesthetic forms to create an American classic. In a moment where our society is splintering along racial lines, Franko has reminded us that American art is hybrid and can point to another reality—one of unity. Within...

Favorite Things

Hard Way to Go

- By Jim Hicks

Photo: Prine in 1975. Tom Hill/WireImage

Like a lot of folks since the news came in, I’ve been listening again to John Prine. Among his fans, though, I suspect I was the only one to be reminded of a class in Paris with the French philosopher Gilles Deleuze, a few days after Christian Metz—the film theorist—passed. I remember that day Deleuze addressed the matter simply and purely: “We should return to his work.” That’s all we can do, but we can at least do that.

John Prine’s death anytime would have broke the dams for most of us, but in today’s waters it’s hard not to hear—and feel—more than an undercurrent of outrage. After all, the guy beat cancer twice. And now this? Against the global drumbeat that now...

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