Sundays at Slugs’

Charles Simic

Milan Simich: After the gig Ornette Coleman gave me his address and invited me to visit. About a week later on a Sunday afternoon, I went to the West Village. I forget the street, he had a basement apartment. I hesitated, couldn’t ring the bell, and walked away. Thing is, I was nineteen, what was I going to talk to him about?

Following Coleman’s death, Charles Simic spoke with his brother Milan Simich, who has produced concerts and recordings for more than twenty-five years, about the avant-garde jazz scene in New York’s East Village that gave rise to that music.

Devaluing the Dirty War

Adam Thirlwell

Rene Burri/Magnum Photos

Roberto Bolaño wrote that Alan Pauls was “one of the best living Latin American writers”—curious readers unacquainted with Pauls’s work might begin with his new novel A History of Money, a desolate, delighted history of our impermanent valuations.

What the ‘Times’ Got Wrong About Nail Salons

Richard Bernstein

Carlo Allegri/Reuters

As a former New York Times journalist who also has been, for the last twelve years, a part owner of two day-spas in Manhattan, I read the Times’s recent exposé of the nail salon industry with particular interest. But it was troubling to discover that many of the story’s claims and sources, on which sweeping conclusions were based, were flimsy and sometimes wholly inaccurate.

Some Japanese Ghosts

Christopher Benfey

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

I was expecting the current Katsushika Hokusai exhibition in Boston to showcase works beautifully, ingeniously executed—arresting views of Mount Fuji, The Great Wave—and I wasn’t disappointed. But I also found a different Hokusai in Boston—weirder in imagination, grander in scale, more audacious in technique.

Edge of Europe, End of Europe

Timothy Snyder

Dean Conger/Corbis

The crisis of the European Union has two sides. The political crisis is on view in Germany and Greece. But the philosophical crisis is on display in Russia and the eastern borderlands of Ukraine. Since a large number of Ukrainians have been willing to take risks, suffer, and die in the name of Europe—even as the EU itself suffers a grave identity crisis—it makes sense to ask what they think they are working toward.

Guzmán: The Buried Truth

Alma Guillermoprieto

Marco Ugarte/Associated Press

Chapo Guzmán’s jailbreak is arguably the greatest pie-in-the-face embarrassment any Mexican government has ever had to deal with. But as the country’s highest officials try to recover face, serious questions continue to pile up—including claims that he was captured last year by US agents disguised as Mexican marines.

The Iran Deal Goes to Washington

Elizabeth Drew

Gary Cameron/Reuters/Corbis

I can find no one on the side of the nuclear deal with Iran who thinks that it will have majority support in either the Senate or the House of Representatives, which means that the president will veto what Congress sends him. Therefore, beneath all the rhetoric, the realists here are looking for one thing: whether there will be enough votes in either chamber—one-third plus one of the members—to uphold that veto.

Modern, English and Strange

Jenny Uglow

Ministry of Defence, United Kingdom

I’m heading to the Dulwich Picture Gallery to see an exhibition of the work of Eric Ravilious, who, though little known abroad, is one of the most distinctive British artists of the 1930s and 1940s. The adjective “English” applies to much of Ravilious’s subject matter and his affiliations, but not to his style or atmosphere.

Which Iran Deal?

Jeremy Bernstein

Ebrahim Noroozi/Associated Press

Listening to the American and Iranian presidents, One has the impression they are living in alternate universes. In Obama’s universe, Iran has agreed to stop work on centrifuges and vastly reduce its stockpile of enriched uranium. In Rouhani’s universe, being able to keep 6,000 centrifuges is a major victory, work on new centrifuges will proceed, and uranium will continue to be enriched.

Mexico: Making the Dogs Dance

Alma Guillermoprieto

Arturo Hernández/Demotix/Corbis

Within a few hours of his relaxed escape from Mexico’s highest security prison, Joaquín Guzmán Loera, better known as “el Chapo,” was back on Twitter. “Never say never,” the world’s most wanted drug trafficker cried. He thanked his collaborators, praised his sons, and made rude references to President Enrique Pena Nieto: “And you, @EPN, don’t call me a delinquent again, because I give people jobs, not like your piddling cheap government.”