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July 20 2019
Issue No. 1

It Was a Great Week for …

… the United States Congress (or, anyway, better than the week Pyotr Kikilyk had—more on him in a moment): Robert Mueller’s testimony was delayed till July 24, freeing up Democrats to bicker among themselves…

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The View from Here

Welcome to this first edition of AIR MAIL. It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles we plan for it in the months ahead. But as a general roadmap of where we plan on going, it will have to do.

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The crew of Apollo 15 in Houston, 1971. From left: David R. Scott (mission commander), Alfred M. Worden (command-module pilot), and James B. Irwin (lunar-module pilot).

First Scam on the Moon
Apollo 11 was one small step for man, one giant leap for some German philatelists

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Hidden Figure

At the Moon launch, NASA engineer JoAnn Morgan took a small step for womankind
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Cam Spence in the West Village, New York, June 2019.

Cam Spence When the comedienne talks to herself, other people listen

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Château Diter, a palazzo in the South of France.

Fawlty Towers The château that ate Provence

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A scene from the HBO series My Brilliant Friend, based on the novels of Elena Ferrante.

Ferrante Fatigue Why Italian women un-friend the author of My Brilliant Friend

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John Malkovich as Barney Fein and Ioanna Kimbook as Yung Kim Li (behind her, Doon Mackichan as Sondra) in Bitter Wheat, at the Garrick Theatre, London, June 2019.

#MeToo Takes the Stage
In London, Mamet’s new “Weinstein play” repels critics but delights audiences

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Instagroan


Signac's Lézardrieux, l'Église is estimated to sell for $20,000 to $30,000 at Sotheby's.

Vue de Signac

The art of French Neo-Impressionist painter Paul Signac is in high demand. So much so that, in May of last year, his 1915 depiction of the port of La Rochelle, valued at about $1.7 million, was stolen from the Museum of Fine Arts in Nancy, France. (This spring, it was recovered in Ukraine and returned to the museum.) Signac, born in 1863, is best known for his contributions alongside Georges Seurat to the pointillism movement. Throughout his career, Signac also painted watercolors: Lézardrieux, l’Église, painted in Brittany, circa 1929, is on view at Sotheby’s in advance of its sale in the Impressionist and Modern Art Online auction on July 24.


The Man Behind the Craigslist for Sloanes and Squires

“What ho, Nigel!”
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Austria's Bregenz Festival, on through August 18, features Verdi's Rigoletto on the lake.

Rigoletto, Alfresco

For drop-dead operatic dazzle on a colossal scale, the Bregenz Festival’s floating stage at the Austrian end of Lake Constance takes a back seat to no showcase on earth, not even the fabled Verona Arena. Conventional scenic design is useless here. The action is far away. Nuance is a lost cause. What’s needed is an extravagant visual metaphor that distills the essence of the classic at hand. Engineered like spaceships, each show takes months to build and runs for two seasons, to almost invariably sold-out houses. The new attraction this year is Rigoletto, Verdi’s twisty tragedy of a court jester’s revenge. —Matthew Gurewitsch

Discover
The Boom Overture, expected by the mid-2020s.

Supersonic Boom New York to London could take 90 minutes

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Greetings from the Anthropocene: in Brazil, combines harvest soybeans on land that was part of the rain forest.

Grim Reaping Forest twice the size of Wyoming destroyed to grow food

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"The Twelve Dancing Princesses," a Brothers Grimm fairy tale, was illustrated by Kay Nielsen for In Powder and Crinoline, published in 1913.

Nielsen Enchanted

It’s not every fairy-tale illustrator who could pull off collaborations with both Walt Disney and Karl Lagerfeld, but the Danish artist Kay Nielsen (1886–1957) forged a sophisticated aesthetic that embraced the strangeness of these tales while mirroring the latent eroticism that have made them stick for centuries. He was, in a word, catnip to big-time make-believers like Disney and Lagerfeld. READ ON

Discover
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with their offspring and their offspring's nannies.

Nanny State Norland nannies have looked after royalty, rock stars—and even Boris Johnson. His sister recalls the hand that rocked the cradle

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Massimo Bottura in the streets of Modena in 2016.

How to Get a Reservation at the Least Accessible Osteria on Earth

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Michael Lewis Selects three dark horses

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The Liberation Of Paris: How Eisenhower, De Gaulle, And Von Choltitz Saved The City Of Light

by Jean Edward Smith
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If: The Untold Story of Kipling’s American Years

by Christopher Benfey
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Travel Light, Move Fast

by Alexandra Fuller
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Elvis Presley, shortly after marrying Priscilla Beaulieu in Las Vegas, Nevada, May 1, 1967.

King City You’d be surprised what Richard Zoglin learned while writing Elvis in Vegas

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Jesus Spotted on Red Sea

Ever since it sold for a record-crushing $450 million at auction in 2017, and then was whisked away…

Braking News

Some reporters are driven to get a story.…

Bottom-Feeders

When the Galeries Lafayette department store in Paris hung a four-stories-tall billboard on its façade…

Burial Plots

In Russia, even death provides no reprieve from a shakedown


Ask Victoria

Dear Victoria,

I want to go on holiday to Morocco, but my wife thinks it is too dangerous. Is there a place we can go where she will feel safe and I will feel that I am in Morocco?

Bob
Winnetka, Illinois

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Mediterranean Piscine


La Dolce Como

Marchesi comes to Mayfair.

Prada Puts Pastry
on the Fashion Runway

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Karl-Ludwig Rehse at his​ Chiltern Street studio, London, in 2006.

Karl-Ludwig Rehse Couturier to the Queen

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