This week: Southern photography, subway geography & more.
“Bijan Omrani on Caesar’s Footprints,” a conversation between Bijan Omrani and Jason Pedicone at Book Culture on 112th Street (March 20): Bijan Omrani’s new book, Caesar’s Footprints, paints the historical landscape of France’s countryside in following the trail of Julius Caesar’s account of the brutal Gallic Wars. A relatively new voice in the field of Classics, Omrani draws from his experience as an Oxford-trained scholar and a teacher at Eton College and Westminster School to bring new energy to a text seen by many first-time Latinists as an interminable slog. As Jason Pedicone commented in a review of the book for our February 2018 issue, “This reminder of the continuing relevance of the exploits of Rome’s greatest general, and of the omnipresent cultural web that connects our society to his actions millenia ago, is, for this reviewer, the most important achievement of Omrani’s entertaining and edifying work.” Pedicone, the president and co-founder of the indispensable Paideia Institute, will sit down with Omrani on Tuesday at Book Culture’s 112th Street store to discuss the new work. —AS
“The Photographs of Thomas Merton: I am Myself as I Exist in the World,” at Union Theological Seminary, James Chapel, New York (through April 13, 2018): The theologian Thomas Merton, a Trappist monk of the Abbey of Gethsemani, Kentucky, was most known for his influential writing, in particular The Seven Storey Mountain of 1948. Yet Merton was also a photographer in a circle of Southern photographers, in particular the under-appreciated Ralph Eugene Meatyard. Now at Union Theological Seminary, in an exhibition curated by Eric Brown, “I am Myself as I Exist in the World” considers Merton’s photographs for the first time in New York, illuminating Merton’s social engagement through the lens of monastic insularity. Opening reception: Monday, March 19, 6–8 PM. —JP
The Glyndebourne Opera Cup, streamed on medici.tv (March 23–24): Glyndebourne in England has long enjoyed a reputation as one of the world’s premier opera festivals. This summer, they’re adding a new element into their already top-flight programming: the Glyndebourne Opera Cup, a brand-new international competition for young singers. Contests like this are an exciting way to hear the major talents of the next generation before they hit the stage—medici.tv’s live streams of the Tchaikovsky Competition were a highlight of the summer of 2015, taking on an Olympic-like energy as coverage moved from one instrument, and one city, to the next. Watch highlights of the semi-finals and the entire final round live this week on medici.tv. —ECS
“The Subway” at the Museum of the City of New York (April 26): Complaining about public transportation is New Yorkers’ version of sighing at the weather. And lately there’s been much to complain about; a disintegrating, even putrefying infrastructure has led to near-constant delays on many subway lines. Though each New Yorker feels specially targeted by subway troubles, the truth is that no city denizen is safe from arguably the two most infuriating words in the English language: “signal problems.” It’s not all gloom, however. The opening of the first phase of the Second Avenue line (only a century in the making!) has heartened a small segment of the subway-riding public. And the MTA continues to promise that improvements are on the way. Leading the cheer this Wednesday at the Museum of the City of New York will be Joseph Lhota, the erstwhile mayoral candidate and current chairman of the MTA, and Veronica Vanterpool, an MTA board member, in conversation with Sarah Maslin Nir of The New York Times. Should Lhota and Vanterpool prove unconvincing, the event graciously offers a reception with beer courtesy of the local brewery Harlem Blue, sure to uplift the spirits of even the most dejected straphanger. —BR
From the archive: “Michel Foucault,” by David Gress. On the late French philosopher’s intellectual career.
From the current issue: “The permanence & failure of Surrealism,” by Micah Mattix. On what’s lost in surrealist poetry.