Remembering Lou Reed

October 27, 2013 § Leave a comment

lou_reed_takes_his_best_shots-460x307Deeply sad to hear about Lou Reed’s death. I have thought a lot about him since I was lucky enough to interview him for Salon, back in 2006. Days before the opening of the rock icon’s first major photography exhibit in New York, we spoke about his photographs, which were surprisingly sentimental and pretty. “I was following this beauty, this overwhelming beauty that you see in New York,” Reed told me as we sat in the Steven Kasher Gallery, in Chelsea, surrounded by pictures of sunsets, darkly glowing clouds, moving light and the view of the Hudson River from his West Side apartment.

Reed, a notoriously difficult interview, immediately put me on notice. He made fun of my low-tech tape recorder — and my name, which he found absurdly punny, given my profession. He was in complete control of our conversation, leaving me and my list of questions hopelessly scrambling to keep up as he discussed his technique and inspiration and associations. But when he decided I was not out to get him, as he obviously felt many journalists were, he warmed up, speaking to me longer than scheduled, even reaching out, at one point, to give my hand a little approving pat. He appeared to want nothing more than to be heard and understood, to connect.

“I think these things are fascinating and beautiful and available to anybody,” he said of his photographs, or perhaps the moments he sought to capture in them. “And I think beautiful things make us feel good.”

As I finally moved to leave, taking my apparently ridiculous tape recorder with me, Reed enveloped me in a hug. It may have been after I told him I had been seated in front of him years before, in 2001, at soul singer Howard Tate’s first back-from-nowhere NYC gig at the Village Underground, a night no one in attendance would ever forget. Or it may not. I can’t specifically remember what prompted his sudden warm embrace. But I do remember that, after I revealed I had only months before had my second child, he pulled me back into the gallery to look at an image he thought would mean something special to a new parent.

It was a generous gesture, and I was touched, if perhaps a bit confused, by it, as I was by the call I got afterward from his rep, asking if I would be interested in interviewing Reed for a British magazine that wanted a word with him. “Lou wants you to do it,” the rep said, sounding frankly mystified. “He liked you.”

The feeling was mutual.

Lou Reed takes his best shots (Salon)

Molly Ringwald gets her pretty back

April 28, 2010 § Leave a comment

Here’s what you probably already know about Molly Ringwald: Back in the ’80s, she was the pretty, pouty face of suburban teen angst, starring in the iconic John Hughes movies Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, and Pretty in Pink. Here’s what you may also know: recently, she’s returned to the topic of teen angst, playing the mother of a teen mom in the ABC Family series The Secret Life of the American Teenager. But there are many things you may not know about the flame-haired former Brat Pack member, and you’ll learn some of them in her new book, Getting the Pretty Back: Friendship, Family, and Finding the Perfect Lipstick. …

Interview: Molly Ringwald (The Barnes & Noble Review)

“Just tell the truth”

October 5, 2009 § Leave a comment

Years ago, in a past life, I met Jeannette Walls at a conference, a “gossip” symposium organized by some now-long-defunct dot-com. I knew who she was — everyone in the room did; she wrote a widely read online gossip column for MSNBC, “The Scoop,” was a veteran journalist who’d worked at Esquire and New York magazines, and had published a terrific book on gossip called Dish. Strikingly tall, polished-looking, and sitting at the front of the room, she was a respected member of the gossip establishment, surrounded by colleagues and admirers. From my spot in the back, where I was slumped down trading snarky comments with the other dabblers and misfits, I swear, as the light bounced off her lustrous red hair, she looked like she had an aura …

Jeannette Walls: A conversation with Amy Reiter (The Barnes & Noble Review)

Decoding your child’s brain

August 31, 2009 § Leave a comment

Your baby looks up at you with eyes that appear so wise and caring, and you wonder: How much does she know? What does she feel? What’s going on in her mind?

For a long time, science could tell us little about the minds of babies and young children, and, as developmental psychologist and philosopher Alison Gopnik points out in her perspective-expanding new book, “The Philosophical Baby: What Children’s Minds Tell Us About Truth, Love, and the Meaning of Life,” philosophy shrugged at the subject as well. The last thirty years, however, have seen a revolution in our understanding of the way babies’ minds work — and why they work the way they do …

5 minute time out: Alison Gopnik (Babble)

Balancing two kids and one show

July 2, 2009 § Leave a comment

Campbell Brown greets me over the phone so warmly, she could be mistaken for my best friend. “Hey!” she exclaims, with a light Southern lilt. It’s that friendly approachability, along with a passion for getting to the heart of the news and some seriously killer cheekbones, that has propelled Brown from the field, where she’s reported on the Iraq War, the Bush White House and Hurricane Katrina, into the anchor chair on her own eponymous news hour. (Campbell Brown airs weekdays at 8 p.m. on CNN.) …

Interview: Campbell Brown (Babble)

Get the “New All”?

June 1, 2009 § Leave a comment

Mommy wars, brain drains, opt-out revolutions — working mothers have been through (or at least been warned about) them all. Now comes “Womenomics: Write Your Own Rules for Success,” a new book by Claire Shipman, senior national correspondent for ABC News’ “Good Morning America” and mother of two, and Katty Kay, Washington correspondent and anchor for “BBC World News America” and mother of four. In their book, the news veterans call for women to say no to 60-plus-hour work weeks and overly demanding jobs that yank them away from their families. Instead, they urge working women to use their clout in the workplace to demand fewer hours at the office, turn down non-family-friendly assignments, and take control of their time by working from home more, checking e-mail less and avoiding meetings whenever possible …

She works too hard for the money (Salon)

Pretty music in tough times

May 12, 2009 § Leave a comment

Tori Amos has never shied away from thorny subjects. The outwardly lilting, inwardly wrenching songs on the ten studio albums the singer-songwriter has put out in her twenty-year career — her latest, Abnormally Attracted to Sin, is due out May 19th — have dealt with her own rape (“Me and a Gun”) and the three miscarriages she suffered (“Spark,” “Playboy Mommy”) before the birth of her daughter Natashya, now eight. Her gritty-pretty music also routinely reflects on sex and religion, topics that Amos, the daughter of a minister who’s also part Cherokee, has spent years exploring in her own life …

Interview: Tori Amos (Babble.com)

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