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The New Yorker

The New Yorker August 8, 2016

Founded in 1925, The New Yorker publishes the best writers of its time and has received more National Magazine Awards than any other magazine, for its groundbreaking reporting, authoritative analysis, and creative inspiration. The New Yorker takes readers beyond the weekly print magazine with the web, mobile, tablet, social media, and signature events. The New Yorker is at once a classic and at the leading edge.

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in this issue

2 min.

Jill Lepore (“The War and the Roses,” p. 24), a professor of history at Harvard, is writing a history of the United States. Steve Coll (Comment, p. 19) is the dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University, and a staff writer. He has published seven books, including “Ghost Wars.” Sheelah Kolhatkar (The Talk of the Town, p. 20) recently joined the magazine as a staff writer. Nicole Sealey (Poem, p. 31), the programs director for the Cave Canem Foundation, is the author of “The Animal After Whom Other Animals Are Named,” her début poetry collection. Sam Knight (“Prance Master,” p. 34) is a journalist living in London. Mark Ulriksen (Cover) has contributed to The New Yorker since 1994. A retrospective exhibition of his work will be on view at the Galerie Oblique,…

2 min.
the mail

UNEARTHING THE TRUTH Paige Williams’s Profile of the controversial paleoanthropologist Lee Ber ger reveals the discrepancies between the claims that Berger makes about his discoveries and his actual accomplishments (“Digging for Glory,” June 27th). Numerous scientists have questioned Berger’s assertion that the fossils he found in the Rising Star cave system, in South Africa, displayed “ritualized behaviors directed toward the dead”—a claim that, if true, would mean Homo sapiens is not the only species with funerary practices. Science is supposed to provide a measure of certainty, but, increasingly, we are blurring the distinction between speculation, supported hypothesis, and well-proven theory. As the standards of scientific certainty decline, the public loses faith in scientific claims, and in scientists. As a result, even established science, such as climate change or Darwinian evolution, which…

51 min.
goings on about town: this week

This summer, the U.S. will send a sixteen-year-old, Kanak Jha, to Rio—Jha may be the youngest male to qualify for table tennis in Olympic history, but the sport remains graciously ageless. At Riis Park Beach Bazaar, in Queens, Jared Sochinsky has opened the Push, a pop-up for games, installing beachside tables that have attracted ringers like the seven-year-old Cole Weiner, above. It will be open weekends through Labor Day, along with Fletcher’s BBQ, Ample Hills Creamery, and a bar, which won’t serve as indiscriminately. THE THEATRE OPENINGS AND PREVIEWS The Layover Trip Cullman directs a drama by Leslye Headland (“Bachelorette”), about two strangers who meet on a plane when their flight is delayed. (Second Stage, 305 W. 43rd St. 212-246-4422. Previews begin Aug. 9.) The New York International Fringe Festival The wide-ranging festival returns for its…

2 min.
all for one

For classical composers, a consistent style, along with the musicianship to support it, is the guarantor of a sustained career. But the mastery of David Lang, whose style blends elements of postminimalism, modernism, and conceptualism, is of an unusual sort. Making his music from tenderly spun-out fragments of scales, he sometimes invites inanity (as in “Simple Song #3,” written for the Paolo Sorrentino movie “Youth”). When the conditions are right, however, the poverty of his material can bloom into an austere kind of sonic, and expressive, richness: he has a genius for maximizing the potential of negative space. Two years ago, Lang wrote “Crowd Out,” a composition for, as his Web site states, “1000 people yelling.” The raucous piece, which was premièred by England’s Birmingham Contemporary Music Group (with a little…

2 min.
dance revolution

The heyday of disco, in the nineteenseventies, was defined by conflicts that have recently come to the fore again. The cultural advances of black people, homosexuals, women, and urban élites which challenged the mainstream presumptions of middle-class white men are the focus of some of the major offerings in Metrograph’s series “Dim All the Lights: Disco and the Movies” (Aug. 5-11). In “The Last Days of Disco,” from 1998, Whit Stillman unfolds disco’s lines of power with a historian’s insight and a novelist’s eye for satirical nuance. Set in Manhattan in the early eighties, the film stars Chloë Sevigny and Kate Beckinsale as recent college graduates and editorial assistants whose social life is centered on a flashy and exclusive club. Their circle of men includes an environmental lawyer (Robert Sean Leonard),…

2 min.
above & beyond

Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival This decorated-boat race and cultural festival returns to Flushing, for its twenty-sixth year. The tradition is said to have been inspired by the ancient poet Qu Yuan, who spent years in exile and then jumped to his death, in the Ni Lo River, after learning that his home state had been invaded. (Fishermen sped onto the river but could not save him.) Today, teams in more than thirty dragon boats race along the Meadow Lake to cap off days full of food, folk art, and crafts as well as a performance by the Chinese Music Ensemble of New York and a showcase of fifty years of photography from the newspaper Sing Tao. (Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, Grand Central Pkwy., Whitestone Exwy., between 111 St. and College Point…