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The New Yorker

The New Yorker June 20, 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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47 Issues

in this issue

2 min.

Ryan Lizza (“Occupied Territory,” p. 26) is the magazine’s Washington correspondent and an on-air contributor for CNN. Roger Angell (The Talk of the Town, p. 24), a longtime New Yorker senior editor and writer, won a 2015 National Magazine Award for his essay “This Old Man.” A collection of his writings, under that title, was published last November. D. T. Max (“Confessional,” p. 34) is a staff writer and the author of “Every Love Story Is a Ghost Story: A Life of David Foster Wallace.” Marie Howe (Poem, p. 48) has published three books of poems, including “The Kingdom of Ordinary Time.” Her next collection, “Magdalene,” is due out early next year. Barry Blitt (Cover; Sketchbook, p. 67) has contributed to the magazine since 1992. His illustrations are featured in “You Never Heard of…

3 min.
the mail

BREAKING THE CYCLE Ian Frazier illustrates the town-by-town, city-by-city battle that is under way to diminish our reliance on single-use plastic bags (“The Bag Bill,” May 2nd). The very properties that make single-use plastic bags attractive are the same ones that cause environmental harm: they are light, flexible, extremely durable, and, above all, cheap. In theory, these bags can be recycled, although the fifteen-per-cent rate that Frazier quotes, which comes from the American Chemistry Council, is misleading. This number includes other kinds of recycled waste—not just the single- use shopping bags in question. Most experts agree that the actual rate for post-consumer shopping bags is dramatically lower. According to calculations using U.S. Environmental Protection Agency data, the national rate is less than three per cent. Furthermore, the bags cause major problems…

38 min.
goings on about town: this week

For fifteen years, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s River to River Festival (June 16-26) has been staging free events in public places. The current crop is strong on magnetic female performers. Okwui Okpokwasili (above) revisits Nigerian protest movements, in a Governors Island fort; Alicia Hall Moran sings about African-American finance, in Federal Hall; and the wraithlike Japanese dance legend Eiko indicts Wall Street. THE THEATRE OPENINGS AND PREVIEWS Minor Character In the company New Saloon’s riff on Chekhov, sixteen actors perform a mashup of different translations of “Uncle Vanya,” from a standard 1916 version to the garbled results of Google Translate. (Invisible Dog Art Center, 51 Bergen St., Brooklyn. 347-560-3641. Previews begin June 17. Opens June 20.) Oslo Bartlett Sher directs J. T. Rogers’s play, which recounts how a Norwegian diplomat (Jennifer Ehle) and her husband…

2 min.
better with age

GEORGE STEVENS’S GREATNESS as a filmmaker is in part attributable to his ability to clear sentimentality out of the way and focus on the emotional realism of his characters’ lives. After directing Katharine Hepburn in the 1935 adaptation of Booth Tarkington’s underrated, if a trifle treacly, novel “Alice Adams,” Stevens went to work, in 1948, on “I Remember Mama.” The piece began as a novel. Written by Kathryn Forbes and published in 1943, “Mama’s Bank Account” describes how a family of Norwegian immigrants, the Hansons, make a life for themselves and their first-generation Norwegian-American children in San Francisco in the early twentieth century. Filled with evocative characters— Forbes wrote a great deal for radio, and her ear for dialogue is sweet and snappy—the book’s occasional sentimental strain wasn’t done away…

2 min.
classical music: nature boy

IF YOU’RE A composer from a small country without a long tradition of great classical music—say, Denmark—and you want to reach the kind of heights that the Germans and the French have summited for centuries, there are two radical approaches you might take. The first is that of Carl Nielsen: burrow into yourself until you hit gold, producing an irreducible, sui-generis style that communicates your essential self. The opposite way would be that of Per Nørgård: open yourself to the world and absorb anything you find interesting, but without ever forgetting where you came from. Nørgård, born in 1932, is the current eminence grise of Danish composers, but he has never enjoyed a big presence in American concert halls. That will change, for a few days, at least, when Scandinavia House…

2 min.
movies: the best of the fests

BAMCINEMAFEST, THE EIGHTH edition of which runs June 15-26, is, in effect, the New York Film Festival for independent films. Few of the screenings in the BAM series are world premières; rather, the programmers scoop up notable movies first seen at other festivals. The director Joel Potrykus specializes in monomaniacal loners on the wrong end of luck, and his third feature, “The Alchemist Cookbook” (June 16), which premièred in March, at South by Southwest, gives obsession metaphysical dimensions. Holed up in a trailer deep in the woods, Sean (Ty Hickson), a young man accompanied only by his cat, tries to master the art of alchemy. His weird science— intended to change base metals into gold—starts innocently enough, with chemistry and incantations. Then Sean turns to animal sacrifice, and, becoming ever more…