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Blow Out

In the long opening shot of Blow Outavailable next week in 4K from the Criterion Collection—we share a set of eyes with a serial killer who’s cornered a coed in a shower stall. The coed whimpers, and we cut to a screening room where a slasher-movie sound tech, played by John Travolta, is laughing; he’s going to need to record a better scream. So begins Brian De Palma’s 1981 thriller, a meta masterpiece and one of Quentin Tarantino’s favorite pictures. The premise remixes Michelangelo Antonioni’s Blow-Up, about a photographer who thinks he’s captured a murder on film. Sourcing sound effects near some woods, Travolta’s character accidentally records a blowout, a shot-out tire that sends a car off the road and kills one of its occupants, a presidential hopeful. Soon after, the sound tech falls for Nancy Allen’s makeup artist character, who’s mixed up in the conspiracy. (Dennis Franz and John Lithgow also deliver terrific twists as a sleazy photographer and a psychopathic heavy.) De Palma himself is at his most resourceful, splitting his screen and recruiting the inventor of the Steadicam to film that opening set piece of slasher pulp. An unbroken, revolving take of the sound tech discovering that all his reels have been erased gives the movie its dizzying, paranoid center. Forty years later, Blow Out’s ending still creeps up and garrotes you. ($39.95, —Jason Guriel


Smyth Tavern

John McDonald, the veteran restaurateur behind Manhattan hot spots such as Bar Tulix and Lure Fishbar is expanding his reign even farther south, into Tribeca. The new restaurant, Smyth Tavern, certainly lives up to its name. The menu features American fare like broiled oysters, crispy calamari, and an onion-ring-topped burger. Retreat into the mahogany-wood dining room to enjoy a rotating collection of artwork from local downtown galleries while drinking a hickory sour. ( —Clara Molot


Neutra VDL Studio and Residences

In 1932, the architect Richard Neutra built a house for his family that overlooked the Silver Lake Reservoir, in Los Angeles. Bankrolled by Cees H. van der Leeuw, his devoted patron, the project combined Bauhaus simplicity and functionality (neutral colors and built-in couches that easily converted into beds) with a Southern California sensibility (massive windows and outdoor space on every floor). In 1980, Neutra’s widow donated the house—now called Neutra VDL Studio and Residences—to Cal Poly Pomona. Architecture students at the college run 30-minute tours of the home every Saturday. While the tours stopped for a few years during the pandemic, they are thankfully back. ($15, —Jensen Davis


Industry of All Nations

As much as your Air Mail style correspondent would like to take all the credit for discovering Industry of All Nations’ wool sweaters, I cannot. The best-looking and softest knit currently occupying my closet comes courtesy of my husband, whose curiosity was piqued one afternoon last year while walking down Abbot Kinney Boulevard, in Los Angeles. He went into the boutique and emerged with an un-dyed alpaca sweater, made of 100 percent virgin fibers that were sourced and produced by a Bolivian co-op. It’s so soft that it makes cashmere seem coarse, and has a pleasant heft to it—yet just enough ventilation—making it the first thing we reach for when temperatures drop. Next, we’re trying the cardigan. ($195, —Ashley Baker


Saint Laurent

Dear Anthony Vaccarello: just when we vowed to stride into fall wearing trousers that were made from something, anything, but denim, you had to unleash these seriously good jeans and derail our best-laid plans. These marvels were inspired by the style of Paloma Picasso, and if that’s not enough to charm you, the high waist, straight legs, and front seam will get the job done. The designer intended for the wide cuffs to scrunch slightly at the hem, but we will be tailoring ours to a more traditional length. We have to maintain at least some semblance of control in this matter. ($825, —Ashley Baker


Who Killed Daphne?

When Maltese investigative journalist and blogger Daphne Caruana Galizia was killed, in a car bombing in 2017, the story made international headlines. Described as a “one-woman WikiLeaks,” with 47 active libel cases against her, Caruana Galizia had spent her life exposing corruption in the highest levels of government. A seven-part podcast from Wondery looks for answers in this undeniably politically motivated assassination. Written and hosted by Reuters reporter Stephen Grey with help from Caruana Galizia’s son, Matthew, the story is equal parts captivating and distressing. Perhaps because Malta is so small (around 525,000 people), and the events recent, the pair were granted a lot of access—including to the country’s former prime minister Joseph Muscat (who resigned in the aftermath of the scandal) as well as the man who confessed to the murder. ( —Bridget Arsenault

Issue No. 164
September 3, 2022
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Issue No. 164
September 3, 2022