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Uptown Meets Downtown


A COMMENTARY BY FRED BEAUFORD


To the reader


I am convinced that the history of literary New York City is wired deeply into my DNA. I can still remember as a fifteen-year-old kid growing up in the Bronx, wanting nothing more than to move to the East Village and hang out with the Beats.


Later, in my twenties, as a student at NYU, I started reading even more about the great literary and artistic heritage of the city. The more I read, the more often I thought that I had lived most of my adult life in the wrong decade; that I really should have lived them in the 20’s


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It was a time of the famed Harlem Renaissance, a time of great literary solons populated by the likes of Eugene O’Neill, Langston Hughes, Theodore Dreiser, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ethel Waters and George Gershwin. It was also a time when Uptown met Downtown for the first time.


Perhaps this is why one of the most enjoyable books I read this quarter is not really a book at all, but a collection of the almost daily activities of Carl Van Vechten, The Splendid Drunken Twenties, reviewed by Joe Johnson in this issue.


With just a few short sentences in his daybook from 1922 to 1930, Van Vechten brings to real life all of these famous names. He was also my kind of guy: a race mixer, a bar fly, an artiste, a deeply social creature, an intellectual snob and a drinker.


What’s more, he almost single-handedly introduced Uptown to Downtown, and set in motion one of the few times in American history that black and white intellectuals, including artists, mixed and mingled freely, and drew strength from each other.


Walter White, then the leader to the NAACP, called him a “one-man NAACP.”


I wonder what Van Vechten would make of our present-day New York City, especially his favorite haunt, the Village. (The East Village is now so upscale that in all probability he would be wandering around looking at all the trendy stores, wondering where the heck he was.)


In the West Village, the bars are full, but not with writers, artists and other intellectuals, but with accountants, lawyers, investment bankers and tourists from all over the world, including inner-America. From talking with some of these curious people, I learn that they had been dying to meet some of those colorful Village types like me about whom they had heard so much.


Alas, I am only one old-fashioned Greenwich Village-type. Especially since I now live in New Jersey, I can only do so much to please these tourists. Who comes to the Village to meet investment bankers and lawyers? So most of the tourists leave in disappointment! Van Vechten probably would be amazed at how identity politics have changed the relationships among creative people. Now, instead of thinking they have more in common with each other, than the rest of America, these creative types belong to a world of ideas in New York City that is one of the most-segregated areas in America.


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This issue, our second, contains much more, and I am pleased that the Neworld Review is coming together much as I had envisioned when I started it. Our doors are still open for writers and photographers who just want to help out.


Enjoy this issue.


Fred Beauford
Publisher



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Neworld Review
Vol. 1 No 2

Editor-in-Chief/publisher

Fred Beauford

Art Director

Bernie Rollins

Associate Publisher/Advertising Director

Margaret Johnstone

Senior Editors

Herb Boyd
Angela Dodson

Contributing Editors

Rona Edwards:film
Jan Alexander: fiction

Editor-at-Large

Tarmaria Skeet

The Neworld Review is a publication of Fred Beauford, 3183 Wilshire Blvd,
Suite 196,
Los Angeles, CA. 90010.

Material in this publication may not be reproduced in whole or in part without permission. Opinions expressed by contributors do not necessarily reflect the views of the publishers.

Manuscripts should be accompanied by a self-stamped envelope. Online submissions are accepted at literarylife1@hotmail.com.

Neworld Review cannot be held responsible for unsolicited photographs or manuscripts.

All correspondence to:

Fred Beauford
Editor-in Chief/Publisher

Neworld Review
3183 Wilshire Blvd,
Suite 196,
Los Angeles, CA. 90010


E-mail



Archives

VOL. 1 NO. 1 2008

This Month's Articles

REVIEWING


The Splendid Drunken Twenties: Selections From the Daybooks 1922-30

By Carl Van Vechten


Reviewed By Joe Johnson


carl van vechten

On leave from his position as the New York Times' assistant music critic, found himself living in Paris during the early part of the 20th century. Van Vechten, was just coming into his own as a writer, and witnessed first hand the brash arrival of modern art, he returned to his job at the New York Times in 1909 a changed man and soon became the first American critic of modern dance. At that time, Isadora Duncan, Anna Pavlova, and.....Read More


INTERVIEW

A Law Professor Who Tells Tales


An Interview with Stephen Carter


By Herb Boyd



stephen carter

For many years after he wrote Reflections of an Affirmative Action Baby, (Basic, 1991) Stephen Carter was content to dash off an occasional article or op-ed piece and to devote time and attention to the classroom at Yale University where he has been a professor of law since 1982. But in 2003 Carter emerged with fanfare in the fictional realm with The Emperor of Ocean Park (Knopf, 2002) which meant that the midnight oil .....Read More

REVIEWING

Helen Clay Frick: Bittersweet Heiress


By Martha Frick Symington Sanger


The Baroness of Art


Reviewed by Russell Burge


The Frick Collection is a lesser-known outpost amidst the colossal museums of the Upper East Side, a neoclassical sanctuary nestled within the chaos and hubbub of Manhattan. Its airy corridors lead back in time, to the venerable masters of the Western canon, and to the discerning tastes of nineteenth .....Read More




REVIEWING

Fear Be Thy Name


The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy

By John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt

Reviewed by Fred Beauford


cover israel lobby

I witnessed first hand the tremendous power of the Jewish Lobby in this country as a journalist in the 80’s. I watched as a marginal Louis Farrakhan was almost instantly elevated as one of the most important leaders in the black community, even though, outside of his home base in Chicago, he wasn’t even on the radar screen of most Americans, even ....Read More









REVIEWING


The Last Mughal—The Fall of a Dynasty, Delhi, 1857 by William Dalrymple

The Arrogant Ones

Two Reviews by Jane M. McCabe

Second review, next article on Indian Summer

cover last mughal

It is not often that readers of history are offered two excellent histories published within the same time-span, that, if read back to back, add enormously to one’s understanding of the events that shaped a country’s destiny. This is what we have with The Last Mughal and Indian Summer.

The first chronicles the Indian Uprising of 1857; the second,......Read More



REVIEWING

Indian Summer—The Secret History of the End of an Empire

by Alex von Tunzelman

Review by Jane M. McCabe


Indian Summer, Alex von Tunzelman, recalls “Only ninety years separated the British victory at the gates of Delhi in 1857 from the British eviction from South Asia through the Gateway of India in 1947.

But while memories of British atrocities in 1857 may have assisted in the birth of Indian nationalism, as did the growing separation and mutual suspicion of rulers and ruled that followed the Uprising, it was not the few surviving descendants of the Mughals, nor any of the old princely and feudal rulers, who were responsible for Indians’ march......Read More

BEYOND BOOKS: Film

Rona’s Reel Take

Oscar & Hollywood
Too Many Movies, Too Little Time


By Rona Edwards

It is that season again -- when movies are thrust out there on screens, mostly in limited release in New York and Los Angeles, just so their hats can be thrown into the Oscar ring. Screenings have abounded here in Hollywood, as they do in New York. Studio marketing teams have been working overtime to reserve every possible theatre and screening room, laying out their Oscar campaigns to beat all Oscar campaigns and celebrate the .....Read More

BEYOND BOOKS: Theater


Sanford and Son Go to the Dark Side

Review by James Petcoff


American Buffalo

By David Mamet
Directed by Evan Bergman

American Buffalo is a play as simple and as complex as its name. The coin of the title represents two aspects of America marginalized by the white man’s greed masked behind the self-righteous veneer of manifest destiny and laissez-faire capitalism. The face of the coin (a old nickel) depicts a Native American, a symbol of a disenfranchised....Read More

BEYOND BOOKS: Music/Travel

The Fearless Wayfarer
Traveling Notes: Jazz in Santa Fe, Olive Oil in Tuscany

By Margaret Johnstone

winemaker in vineyard

Traveling not only expands the experiential lens of your mind, but it also tones the muscles of your heart. My own travels this past summer in the United States and this autumn in Europe have taken me to some very special places uniquely individual in culture and place, but somehow united....Read More