paper trail

Jun 29, 2010 @ 9:00:00 am

Ben Sonnenberg's window, from Matteo Pericoli's The City Out My Window

On the Paris Review blog, Lorin Stein pays tribute to the influential editor of Grand Street, Ben Sonnenberg, who passed away last week at age 73. Stein writes "Although Grand Street may never have had more than a few thousand subscribers, it was one of the great literary magazines of our time," and posts an excerpt from Matteo Pericoli's recent book of New York City views featuring Sonnenberg, who describes the vantage from his window with typical eloquence: "Fortunately for my wife and me, the modern buildings of Donald Trump, with their ugly fenestration and hostile immensity, figure only in the distance. The glory of our view is the lordly, moody Hudson River, much reduced here in the middle-right. For the twenty-seven years of our marriage this has afforded us sunsets that on some days are spectacular, on others merely beautiful."

Writer Elena Schilder went to a reading at McNally Jackson Books curious about Keith Gessen's looks, but became more interested in Elif Batuman as the night went on.

If you are lucky enough to get a copy of New Yorker theater critic Hilton Als's new self-published book, Justin Bond/Jackie Curtis, you'll find a slim, sharply designed, and engrossing text and photo tribute to the titular characters: drag performer Bond and Warhol superstar Curtis. Tactile and elegant, the book's fine design, confiding prose, and alluring photographs invite intimate engagement. Als starts each paragraph of the introductory essay with the refrain "It's the queers who made me," until the last graph, which pivots into "It's my queerness that made me," before invoking an emblematic memory of Curtis walking up Bank Street. Als's portraits of Bond aptly call to mind the aesthetic of Nan Goldin's photos—though with a more cheerful atmosphere—and are interspersed with archival stills of Curtis. Overall, it's an impressive mix of revelation and artistry, and with any luck, a book that will not slip into the privileged oblivion of the limited edition collector's item.