Death of Cleopatra by Arnold Bocklin (Swiss, 1827–1901)

A number of dramatic Victorian paintings depict “Mother of Kings, Queen of Kings, the Youngest Goddess” Cleopatra VII releasing herself from life with a deadly snake at her pale breast. Like many of the sparse, but vivid, stories about Cleopatra, it’s poetically stirring. It would have been a gruesomely painful death, though, and according to Plutarch when her body was discovered by Octavian, she was laying in peaceful repose with her handmaidens Iras and Charmion joining her in death. Chairman, was still awake, and is said to have spoken before she passed out, indicating that what killed the trio may have been a kind of narcotic elixir.

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fMark wanted more time to sleep, more time to just think. He wanted to just think lushor a moment t’snstead of trudging through this swamp of days. He had very little time to leave the house before Evette inname home from work. He woke up at 2 p.m. usually, and was out the door by 3 p.m., free from an excited midday reunion with Evette. It used to give him a little thrill, getting out in time, but his motivation… Read more »

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Honestly, I hardly notice when I’m confident. It feels like water through my fingers. It is smooth and quiet bath, this state of confidence I step into from time to time. Most other times I am very aware what I am feeling, and what I am feeling is self doubt. Self doubt isn’t a spring day where you barely notice a breeze, it is a pricking cold, a suffocating heat. It is present and whining, an alarm.

RobertDurst

In our age of surveillance, unsolved crimes still live in the moments unseen. “What happened?” stays in a dark, unknown place, immune to light and logic. People seem to keep dying around 71-year-old Robert Durst, the subject of upcoming six-part HBO documentary series The Jinx, but no one can quite pin him down. The series has been compared to the popular true crime podcast Serial, which had no conclusion, only a gripping journey of questions. With unsolved murder cases, answers don’t change things, but still we want them. We want the right perpetrator to be identified and punished (and hopefully removed from society so they won’t kill again.) We also want to “know,” because in the knowing there seems to be some kind of peace. But, when we only have suspicions, what do we do? How do we linger in the uncertainty?

normadesmond4

In 1950’s Sunset Boulevard, Norma Desmond’s anachronistic glamour singes in its desperation. And still, we can’t get enough of her. She represents for us something awful, a monster choosing to reside in a delusion, trapped in a narcissistic painting of the past.

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We were wedding guests, both feeling tortured and small. He had those blue eyes that blinded everything else, and I was drinking, saying weird things to strangers: feeling invincible and dead. Sexy by default, but it didn’t matter, and couldn’t matter. The thought of my beauty slipped through me like a curious breeze. I wasn’t oblivious, but I couldn’t handle myself.

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Vivian Maier’s secret dust of art and grit was part gunpowder. Lying dormant, it was nothing, but when it got kicked around it lit up the world. Her work also caused legal complications, dueling documentaries, a host of questions about Vivian’s intent and desires, and a lot of talk about her difficult personality. Her identity and her story got packaged as a mystery tale. As her photographs gained fame, Vivian herself garnered intrigue. The more we scrutinize Vivian, the longer we stare into ourselves.

broadcitythelmaandlouise

Everyone has a bit of a misspent youth, to varying degrees. No matter what you do, or what success you do or don’t have, that strange decade between college and your 30s is a confusing time. You think you literally feel opportunities pass by with an agitated prickling. Youth can feel like one of those dreams where you know you have something to run from, but your feet are stuck in sludge. The days collect together imperceptibly, but you can acutely feel the slow glug of a single second. The farce of Broad City captures that absurd time of adult youth in a totally new and refreshing way, and it does so on the back of a genuine friendship, something rare in both life and art.

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It was 8 a.m., and Nora was in her beat-up car smoking, texting, and blaring Blood on the Tracks. Oliver could hear it from his upstairs bedroom. Everything was familiar, but he felt he had stepped through into another world. Nora had brought with her a tear in the universe. When he looked out the window, he saw Mrs. Roberts jogging, which elicited from him half-hearted feelings of guilt and desire. It was one of those cold, clear mornings that surged with sorrow and vigor, and his sister was downstairs disturbing the neighborhood.