After a short hiatus from newsletter writing, The Usonian is back. Check out my latest post in The Usonian reflecting on my time in Reno, with a new announcement about my new sub-blog, The Cyprus Files. Thanks for reading!
It was great to be a guest once more on the Film at Fifty podcast, this time discussing the 1971 film The Panic in Needle Park, a performance which launched Al Pacino’s career and netted him the role of Michael Corleone in The Godfather.
Thrilled to publish a short piece in Nevada Humanities on one of the most influential figures in American architectural history: Paul Revere Williams, the first African American architect in the American Institute of Architects, one of the designers of LAX and thousands of buildings across California and Nevada. Read the article here.
Paul Revere Williams’s legacy in Nevada will be further explored in an exhibition from the Nevada Museum of Art scheduled for next year.
Photo Credit: Cartoon of Paul Revere Williams. (Drawing by Charles Alston, 1943, Public Domain, USA).
In this week’s issue of The Usonian, I’m excited to bring you a post about Neon in Nevada, a new initiative of the UNR and UNLV libraries to create a digital database of Nevada’s historic neon signs, which are rapidly disappearing.
This is the first edition of The Usonian’s new series, “Urban Feature,” about architecture and design.
(Photo by Chelsea S. Miller, used with permission from Neon in Nevada).
I want to thank Brian Rowe for inviting me as a guest on his new cinema history podcast, “Film at Fifty,” which spotlights films which came out fifty years ago on the day.
This week we discussed “I Never Sang for My Father,” an obscure, Oscar-nominated Gene Hackman movie about death and aging (as well as the career of Gene Hackman). So, if that sounds fun for your virtual commute, we’ve got you covered.
Since the pandemic began, we’ve all had Zoom calls and Zoom meetings. They have their challenges—but what about a Zoom dissertation defense? That was the scenario faced by four Princeton Geosciences Ph.D. candidates this past spring.
It was an honor to be asked to write the cover story for this year’s issue of The Smilodon, the newsletter of the Princeton University Department of Geosciences which traces its history back to 1927.
“Guyot Hall under Quarantine” spotlights the experience of four Princeton Ph.D. candidates who received their doctorates during the COVID-19 lockdown. Taking center stage is their spectacular research—from tracking earthquakes in the most remote reaches of the South Pacific to studying the potential for life on Mars.
In this issue of The Smilodon, it was also a pleasure to write my third article profiling a quirky Princeton mineralogist (the first two, about a Mayor-Mineralogist and Hamilton’s duel doctor, were published in Princeton Alumni Weekly).
“Archibald MacMartin, the Musical Mineralogist” traces the life of a mysterious alumnus who left Princeton with 2,500 exemplary minerals in its collection—as well as founded the first independent music periodical in New York.
You can access a PDF of the issue, featuring both articles, at this link. Thanks for reading, and stay safe and well!
Curious about the connection between the Hamilton-Burr duel, grave-robbing, the US’s first botanical garden, and Rockefeller Center?
Today, Dr. David Hosack is mostly known as the attendant doctor during the Hamilton-Burr duel, a role which overshadowed his career as a leading American physician and botanical pioneer.
Read my latest piece in Princeton Alumni Weekly about David Hosack, one of America’s “founding physicians.”
Art by Daniel Hertzberg for PAW.
Working from home today? Tired of reading about COVID-19?
Maybe you’ll read about Texas. Last week, I got the chance to spend time in San Antonio and Austin, TX during the 2020 AWP Conference (which, of course, was marred by the then-dawning novel coronavirus pandemic).
During my travels, what I learned was this: If San Antonio offers a glimpse of Texas’ past, Austin might just yet be a glimpse of its future.
Check out my new travel piece on the divergent trajectories of San Antonio and Austin, TX, from my Medium blog.
Alexander “Ha Ha” Phillips was no ordinary mineralogy professor. He was also Princeton’s Republican mayor—and may or may not have banned students from going to the movies.
Thrilled to publish this little piece of quirky history in Princeton Alumni Weekly, part of years of research I’ve conducted on the history of Princeton geology. Read the article here.
Art created for PAW by Daniel Hertzberg, based on a painting by Robert Bruce Horsfall (American, 1869–1948), housed in Princeton University Art Museum.
On September 15, 2018 I had the extraordinary opportunity of giving a talk at the Benaki Museum in Athens, Greece, where I discussed the 1960 plans of architect Constantinos Doxiadis for Eastwick, Philadelphia, featuring some ‘cameo’ appearances from Robert Kennedy and Kevin Bacon. You can watch the talk here, courtesy the Bodossakis Foundation. Many thanks to Simon Richards and Mantha Zarmakoupi of the Delos Network for inviting me and allowing me to speak on this subject, one that has occupied my globetrotting research for the past three years.
The Delos Network is an initiative sponsored by the UK Arts & Humanities Council, with academic support from University of Birmingham, Loughborough University, and the University of Pennsylvania. This was the second of three conferences to discuss the work of global architect and urban planner Constantinos Doxiadis (1913-1975), the first such conferences in over a decade.
Thanks to the Delos Network and the University of Nevada, Reno, for financially supporting my visit.