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The Escape Artist

When one thinks of turn-of-the-century British art, Arthur Cravan is not the first name that comes to mind. Often described as a “poet-boxer,” he dabbled in Dadaist writing and won one amateur heavyweight championship in France, but Cravan’s legacy lies in neither his athletic nor his artistic achievements. A better boaster than boxer, Cravan made pre-fight claims that he was Oscar Wilde’s nephew (true) and a “hotel thief, snake charmer.” The father of performance art, he combined modern-art lectures with boxing and dance at staged events—at one, according to a newspaper report, Cravan fired shots into the air, “half in jest, half seriously.” And then, after a decade living under false identities and raising hell across Europe, he decamped to Buenos Aires, where he promptly disappeared. The Escape Artist, a podcast from the BBC, details Cravan’s many personae and performances—appreciating his strangeness as a prescient version of contemporary art—as it reveals the man behind them and the circumstances of his vanishing. ( —C.F.



Priya Krishna—food writer for The New York Times and Bon Appétit and the author of the essential cookbook Indian-ish—recently hiked through France, Italy, and Switzerland on the Tour du Mont Blanc. After one of her long days of trekking, Krishna arrived in Courmayeur, a small mountain town in Northern Italy. Here, she found the Caffè della Posta. “You sit down in this dimly lit living room of a space, surrounded by wood fitted with vintage fixtures, and you order a spritz. Then, out of nowhere, this platter filled with cheese-stuffed olives, paper-thin ham, focaccia, hunks of Parmesan cheese, appears.” Krishna says that while she’s been “to many of these sorts of places in Italy,” this one felt special. “The drinks were well balanced and unpretentious. I dream of going back all the time.” ( —Clementine Ford


The Windsors

You would think it impossible to parody the opéra bouffe that is today’s British royal family—the harebrained antics of Harry, Meghan, Fergie, et al. are so mind-boggling that they seem immune from satire. And yet, the British comedy series The Windsors, on Netflix, spoofs Prince Charles and Camilla, Wills and Kate, Pippa, and Harry and Meghan with a madcap wit that at times echoes the comedy of Armando Iannucci (Veep, The Thick of It). Hard-drinking, chain-smoking Camilla is a stitch, but Eugenie and Beatrice, the bubbleheaded princesses who are the daughters of Fergie and Andrew, often steal the show. ( —Alessandra Stanley


Sunday Long Read

The Sunday Long Read, or S.L.R., is that rare thing, a newsletter born of love, not marketing or, God forbid, branding. Every Sunday, Don Van Natta Jr., an investigative reporter and ESPN contributor, and his co-editor, Jacob Feldman, compile a list of their favorite stories of the week. Their taste is eclectic and their reach is wide: selections come from The New Yorker and The Atlantic, and also Toronto Life, Hakai Magazine, The Ringer, and, yes, Air Mail. S.L.R. got its start in 2014 when Van Natta sent out a tweet asking if anyone out there would help him start a newsletter. Jacob, then still in college, answered the call. They now rely on a few staffers, scores of volunteers, and crowd-sourcing to select their top picks. The newsletter goes out to about 20,000 readers, and the Web site recently introduced a paid membership with more than 400 subscribers … so far. ( —A.S.

Issue No. 34
March 7, 2020
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Issue No. 34
March 7, 2020