Ellin Stein


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Slate Magazine
The '80s Spy Novel That Uncannily Predicted the Rise of Donald Trump

With the subsiding of the Cold War at the end of the '80s, the heyday of the spy thriller appeared to be over. But thanks to recent events in the news (and several seasons of The Americans), suddenly we're all au fait with safe houses, double and even triple agents, moles, fake identities, switching cars (or Ubers), kompromat, and other staples of espionage.

Doug Kenney, My Teenage Pal

I met Doug Kenney, the subject of Netflix's new biopic A Futile and Stupid Gesture, when I interviewed him for a New York radio station right before the launch of the National Lampoon. I would love to be able to provide some examples from the interview of the spiraling flights of wit Doug was known for ("Doug [...]

David Simon on Cities, the Police, and His Next HBO Show, Coming in 2015

"The city to me is the only possible vehicle we have to measure human achievement," David Simon said earlier this month, in a rapturously-received keynote speech for Observer Ideas, a one-day, TED-like collection of thought-provoking talks held at London's Barbican Centre on Oct. 12. "We're an urban species now," Simon continued....

Public Radio Exchang
All About the Base - Carol Kaye at 80

Legendary bass player Carol Kaye, one of the top session musicians of the 60s and 70s and the only woman in this elite group, recalls recording with musicians and producers like Brian Wilson, Phil Spector, Ray Charles, Sonny and Cher, Barbra Streisand, and Frank Zappa, as well as playing in LA's jazz clubs as a teenager. Among the classic tracks Carol played on are The Monkees' I'm A Believer, Ike and Tina Turner's River Deep Mountain High, The Righteous Brothers' You've Lost That Lovin'...

Benny Andersson Band on Hampstead Heath, review - Telegraph

As one quarter of ABBA and one-half of the writing team responsible for the songs the Great British Public is most likely to launch into after a drink or five, Benny Andersson could easily have played - well, maybe not the O2 Centre for 50 nights but certainly something larger than the Hampstead Heath bandstand.

USA Today
London revs up with hip, stylish new hotels

Many Olympics host cities experience a spate of hotel openings in the run-up to the games. But even two years after the event, London's high-end hotel boom shows no sign of stopping, with several of the world's most exclusive brands launching outposts in the U.K. capital.

Fruitvale Station

Michael B. Jordan gives a "complex, charismatic performance" in 'Fruitvale Station' In the very first hours of 2009, Oscar Grant III, a 22-year-old African-American, was traveling back to the East Bay suburbs with a group of friends after celebrating New Year's in San Francisco when they were herded off their BART train (the Bay Area's version of the Tube) by the transport police onto a platform at Fruitvale Station following an altercation.

5 Whimsical Treehouse Hotels in Britain

What could be more romantic-or, if you're a child, more exciting-than being tucked away in a cozy treehouse surrounded by beautiful woodlands? Britain has fallen in love with treehouses as an environmentally friendly/unconventional alternative to the traditional hotel room, and they are to be found in every part of the country.

The Arts Desk

by Ellin Stein Wednesday, 24 December 2014 Michael Keaton is Birdman Directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu, Birdman is the story of a fading star's search for professional rehabilitation and personal redemption that perches adroitly between dark humour and darker despair and injects a familiar story of mid-life crisis with fresh vitality and emotion thanks to vivid flights of an intensely cinematic fancy.

First person singular: Why is the screenwriter the Cinderella of film?

Screenwriters are solitary creatures who rarely get recognised for their achievements. Ellin Stein ponders why If the film industry were an American high school, the actors would be the athletes and cheerleaders whom everyone wants to date, the director would be the cool kid everyone wants to be friends with, and the writer would be the bright but unprepossessing geek whose work everyone wants to copy but who never gets invited to parties.

NBC News
Noble retreats

Not far from London, a new breed of sanctuary is taking shape at country house estates, where, as Ellin Stein reports, hip decor and aristocratic service are giving spas a bit of English. Each spring, as winter's leaden cloud cover gives way to blue sky, England's famously verdant countryside stirs back to life.

Ellin Stein | InStyle

InStyle.com is part of the Time Inc. Style Network Copyright © 2014 Time Inc. InStyle is a registered trademark of Time Inc. All rights reserved.

Scottish and Northern Irish characters beware

Nothing raises hackles in the British film world more than the suggestion that some regional accents are difficult for the untrained ear. The issue is that the comprehensibility - or not - of an accent might limit a film's market. Yet being subtitled or dubbed can also cause offence.

New York Times

SATURDAY NIGHT A Backstage History of ''Saturday Night Live.'' By Doug Hill and Jeff Weingrad. Illustrated. 510 pp. New York: Beech Tree Books/William Morrow & Company. $17.95. IN the mid-1970's, satire changed from what closed on Saturday night to what people stayed at home to watch on Saturday night.

Fred Goodwin, White Knight - Telegraph Blogs

I am the 2009 equivalent of a Bateman cartoon, The Woman Who Had A Good Word for Sir Fred Goodwin . A couple of years ago, shortly after the arrival of a new manager, my RBS branch rejected my mortgage direct debit on the grounds of “insufficient funds”.

W.W. Norton
That's Not Funny, That's Sick

The National Lampoon and the Comedy Insurgents Who Captured the Mainstream The untold story behind a revolution in American comedy. Labor Day, 1969. Two recent college graduates move to New York to edit a new magazine called The National Lampoon.

Slate Magazine
Netflix's New Movie About the National Lampoon Fails to Capture the Spirit of Its Subject

Given that it's about a man who was famous for his ambivalence, particularly when it came to choosing a persona and sticking with it, it's perhaps not surprising that the new Netflix movie A Futile and Stupid Gesture , a biopic of National Lampoonfounder and Animal House screenwriter Doug Kenney, is somewhat confused about what it wants to be and who it's aimed at.

Zócalo Public Square
Bringing Shakespeare and Shaw Live from the Stage to the Screen - Nexus - Zócalo Public Square

Since its founding in 1963-with Laurence Olivier as artistic director and Kenneth Tynan as dramaturg (plus a rep company that included new faces Michael Gambon, Maggie Smith, Derek Jacobi, and Lynn Redgrave)-the National Theatre has been one of the jewels in Britain's cultural crown.As an American arts journalist living in London, I have always appreciated what a luxury it is to have access to a repertory company whose government funding means I can go to stellar productions at reasonable...

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