Assia Wevill was a woman erased for a time, her existence concealed by her final lover, poet Ted Hughes. For decades, he shared very personal things with the world but always wrote Assia out of her own life. More recently, however, Assia’s existence is being retraced again, pieced back together and presented as part of the story of Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes. After Sylvia died, Assia stepped into Sylvia’s life for a time, like walking into a ghost’s shadow. She cared for Sylvia’s children, lived in her rooms, and finally, six years later, killed herself the exact same way Sylvia committed suicide.

Billie Holiday takes a swig of her drink as she sings into your eyes, and then absentmindedly leaves her glass on your table before she saunters over to seduce the next table. When she vanished the scent of her liquor lingered, rising up from ice cubes in a stinging mint vapor. While she was there, she made you feel like the only person in the crowded room.

Patricia Highsmith wrote The Price of Salt, the novel that was rereleased as Carol decades later, in 1949 while undergoing intense psychoanalysis in an attempt to get herself into “a condition to be married.” Being gay was so socially unacceptable at that time that even a free-thinking, tradition-bucking, iconoclast like Highsmith temporarily bowed to the intense pressure to mold herself into who society thought she was supposed to be.

We all think we have full autonomy and sovereignty over our thoughts and actions. Sure, we have the hardware of our DNA, we are shaped by our upbringing and experiences, we are inspired by our heroes, and seek figures of wisdom to help us fumble our way through life – We learn from each other, we seek community, we share and grow. But, when it comes down to dire situations, someone couldn’t possibly “wash” our brains clean and fill it with new thoughts that go against our best interests and core values! That’s what it feels like, but psychological experiments like the 1961 Milgram study have proven that we aren’t always in control of our actions when we’re told what to do by an authority figure we trust.

The Coen brothers’ latest effort, Hail, Caesar, shines not when it’s lambasting showbiz, but when it’s celebrating it. The over-the-top musical numbers are stunning and just as magical as the iconic performances they’re inspired by. These types of displays are the essence of entertainment: an attempt to pull you out of yourself and into a looking glass world that sparkles with song and graceful, effortless movements. They’re dream sequences of the human spirit.

We all know what Black Friday is: in the U.S. it’s the madcap discount-driven shopping day after Thanksgiving that usually ends up with some kind of mayhem. Ask anyone these days what Black Friday means, and they’ll usually say it represents the day when retailers’ annual profit moves from red (a loss) to black (a gain,) due to this rush of maniacal shopping. The past few years an alternative theory about the origins of Black Friday suggested it’s linked to… Read more »

The events of the new film Room, a screenplay Emma Donoghue adapted from her best-selling 2010 novel of the same name, have echos of the Cleveland kidnappings (which came to light after the book was published) and the Jaycee Dugard case, but the main story that loosely inspired this emotional film happened in Austria.

The word demon usually isn’t taken literally anymore, but even figuratively, wrestling with demons is a serious issue. We’re usually talking about intense personal struggles with mental health issues and addiction that are robbing us and our loved ones of our selves, our identities, our peace, and our happiness. Many, though, believe demons are literal spirits that can overtake our bodies, turning us, unwittingly into puppet-type monsters.