Editing

Posted by on Dec 14, 2016 in Editing | No Comments

Elizabeth Mitchell has edited books, consulted on screenplays and treatments, coached book proposal writing, and edited white papers. She served as executive editor of George, having started with the magazine as a senior editor before George’s launch in 1995. Prior to that, she worked as features editor at SPIN.

Here are a few of her book editing projects:

SOCCER WARS

Posted by on Nov 29, 2016 in Cultural | No Comments
SOCCER WARS
Editor’s note: One day after this story was published, the WNT filed a civil-rights complaint against US Soccer citing violation of the Equal Pay Act. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission will now launch an investigation.

THE GLASS LABYRINTH
Last July, when the 24 members of the U.S. Women’s National Team rolled down New York City’s Canyon of Heroes, they had every reason to believe they were on top of the world. Days earlier the team had trounced Japan to capture its third Word Cup and now the city was honoring them with a ticker-tape parade, the first ever for a women’s sports team. Their World Cup medals around their necks, the beaming players basked in the admiration of their rapturous fans. Carli Lloyd — who would later be named 2015’s world player of the year — hoisted the World Cup trophy for all to see. Alex Morgan posted photos of herself waving an American flag to her 2 million Twitter followers. Hope Solo, the edgy superstar, snapped selfies with her beaming teammates, confetti dancing around them.

In trying to overcome obstacles created by the very organizations that ostensibly serve to foster and develop their sport, the members of the Women’s National Team — along with players in the National Women’s Soccer League — must contend with systemic biases that devalue and obscure their contributions to the game. Many of these practices are questionable and untenable at best and, quite possibly, illegal.

As the most visible international symbol of women’s soccer, the WNT has readily accepted a leadership role in this fight for fair play. It puts them in the company of Billie Jean King and Venus Williams, pioneering athletes whose off-the-court endeavors rivaled their athletic accomplishments. In the case of the WNT, it is a bid to push for more equal — or, at least, less grossly unequal — treatment in a sport long dominated by men. And it’s a battle they’re waging on multiple fronts, from compensation and working conditions to representation in the sport’s decision-making organizations.

NEW YORK STORIES: How this hastily shot image of John Lennon became an enduring symbol of freedom

Posted by on Nov 29, 2016 in Historical | No Comments
NEW YORK STORIES: How this hastily shot image of John Lennon became an enduring symbol of freedom

Who knows what Strom Thurmond had against the Beatles, but the senator from South Carolina certainly knew how to make John Lennon’s life miserable. On Feb. 4, 1972, the 69-year-old, anti–Civil Rights agitator wrote a few lines to Attorney General John Mitchell and President Richard Nixon’s aide, William Timmons, which would end up threatening Lennon with deportation and entangling him in legal limbo for almost four years.

“This appears to me to be an important matter, and I think it would be well for it to be considered at the highest level,” Thurmond wrote. “As I can see, many headaches might be avoided if appropriate action can be taken in time.”

Thurmond attached a one-page Senate Internal Security Subcommittee report explaining that Lennon appeared to be a threat to Republican interests, particularly their desire to re-nominate Nixon at the San Diego convention that coming summer. Citing a New York Times article and an unidentified informant, the report explained that Lennon was friendly with various left-leaning political activists, including Yippie leader Jerry Rubin. The leftists had gathered in New York and discussed the possibility of Lennon appearing at concerts on college campuses to promote voter registration, marijuana legalization and bus trips to the Republican convention for throngs of willing protesters.

In reality, while Lennon, then 31, spoke his mind about many political issues, he always felt that, as a British citizen, he shouldn’t endorse or attack individual U.S. candidates, says his friend, photographer Bob Gruen. Lennon and his wife Yoko Ono strove never to be negative. “They weren’t anti-war. They were pro-peace,” Gruen says. “They weren’t against a politician, they were for voting.”

NEW YORK STORIES: “The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan” cover immortalizes a budding Greenwich Village love story

Posted by on Nov 29, 2016 in Historical | No Comments
NEW YORK STORIES: “The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan” cover immortalizes a budding Greenwich Village love story

If you walk along Jones Street in Greenwich Village, facing W. Fourth Street with Bleecker Street at your back, you’ll find yourself in the exact spot where Bob Dylan was captured on the cover of “The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan” in 1963. To experience it like Dylan did, you should go in the fading light of a February afternoon, dirty slush on the streets and a VW van parked against the curb. You should wear a suede jacket, too thin for the cold, and have your first real love braced against your arm. Around the corner, your $60-a-month apartment should await you, where you sometimes write songs — some to this first love on your arm — songs that would make you legendary the world over.

The photograph from “Freewheelin’ ” captures Suze Rotolo and Bob Dylan at a time when they lived on the cheap, wearing thrift-store or handmade clothes, mining second-hand book and record stores, slipping into neighborhood theaters and clubs easily accessed by friends with power over guest lists. Just around the corner on Sixth Avenue and Bleecker Street, Zito’s bakery gave out free hot bread to night owls. Grit mixed with glamour. A little farther on and to the east, a butcher on Bleecker and Thompson offered chickens for slaughter, then boiled them free of feathers. Four blocks north, the House of Detention prisoners yelled and catcalled from their exercise roof.

Cuomo vs. de Blasio!

Posted by on Nov 29, 2016 in Political | No Comments
Cuomo vs. de Blasio!

You learn a lot about the egos of politicians when a Dumpster explodes in New York City. The day after a pressure-cooker bomb in Chelsea on September 17 sent the city into a frenzy, Mayor Bill de Blasio called a noon press conference to update reporters on the investigation.

Cuomo popped up two hours earlier for his own press conference, flanked by MTA workers in fluorescent vests. The governor is savvy. The national Sunday shows would air him live. Cuomo labeled the act “terrorism” — de Blasio, advised by the police not to speak ahead of facts, had refrained from using the term — so he gained the headlines.

Clearly, Cuomo was sending the message that, as governor, he was in charge during a crisis, but was he also trying to send a message about the mayor? That de Blasio was sleeping in? Still at the gym? The mayor had been frequently knocked for his long commutes from Gracie Mansion on the Upper East Side to his YMCA in Park Slope, Brooklyn. Suggestions that he needs to knuckle down have emanated from the governor’s office.

When a reporter asked Cuomo why he wasn’t attending the mayor’s press conference, he waved the question off: “This is how we do things.” Actually, who invited whom to the dueling press conferences — and when — is a subject of disagreement. The mayor’s office says the governor declined an invitation to de Blasio’s noon briefing. The governor’s office says he was never invited and, furthermore, that they invited the mayor to his event, but the mayor declined. The mayor’s office says they don’t recall receiving this invitation.

TAKES ONE TO KNOW ONE

Posted by on Nov 28, 2016 in Cultural | No Comments
TAKES ONE TO KNOW ONE

Gay Talese never met an interview subject he didn’t like. Or at least never one he couldn’t sympathize with. He hunts down losers, outcasts, criminals. He etches them into elegantly written books and articles that seem to normalize almost any possible human behavior. “I don’t find anything so unusual,” he says. “If you ask me, What shocks you? I can’t think of anything. I am not judgmental.” He seems almost repentant when admitting his lack of interest in reform, like an adult confiding that he can’t read. It’s a quality that makes him seem either hopelessly behind the times or far ahead of them.

Nevertheless, over the past few months critics have sought to reform Talese. In April, he trended on Twitter when he failed to cite more than one female nonfiction writer who inspired him as a youth. He irritated a New York Times magazine staff writer when he asked her how she got her job, and if she would be headed to a nail salon after a symposium. At 84, he should be enjoying his status as a long-time bestselling author and architect of such journalistic classics as “Frank Sinatra Has a Cold,” collecting honors as a national treasure. But Talese has always set off firebombs. Now, he’s in a mess with an unreliable voyeur.

#FerranteFever: What’s fueling the passion for these captivating novels — and turning their secretive creator Elena Ferrante into a superhero?

Posted by on Nov 27, 2016 in Cultural | No Comments
#FerranteFever: What’s fueling the passion for these captivating novels — and turning their secretive creator Elena Ferrante into a superhero?

THE MYSTERIOUS AUTHOR who goes by Elena Ferrante first discussed her idea for a novel that would become the now-legendary Neapolitan series with her Italian publishers over a lakeside lunch on a sunny summer afternoon in 2009.

“She told us that she wanted to write the story of two friends, middle-aged, and in Naples,” recalls Sandra Ozzola Ferri, Ferrante’s editor and the co-founder, with husband Sandro Ferri, of the Italian publishing house Edizioni E/O. Ferrante had been thinking about her own relationship with a friend who had died, and had envisioned a pivotal wedding scene. Most of the novel’s characters are gathered in one tableau, a group the narrator, Elena, hopes to escape. Sandra continues: “When Elena looks at the crowd and says, ‘Ah, these are the plebes, the ignorant ones and, not only poor, but vulgar.’ Everything is dirty — the floor, the people — and she is really very frightened. This is what she wanted. It was practically one of her first ideas.”

It took Ferrante less than five years to create her epic tale, which sprawls to nearly 1,700 pages. Her impulse to conjure her deceased friend had wired her to crowds of other ghosts, political street violence, abusive industrial conditions, birth, death and betrayal. Sometimes the writing would go so smoothly, she would carry on for 50 to 100 pages without going back to reread or rewrite.

Sandra recalls how odd it was that Ferrante wrote what is now being called a masterpiece with no outline. “She had only the beginning and the end,” Sandra says.

“Practically no notes,” Sandro Ferri adds. “Only in her head.”

The Power Broker

Posted by on Nov 25, 2016 in Cultural | No Comments
The Power Broker

John Gomes doesn’t break stride as he rushes across the black marble lobby of his West Village apartment building. He waves a strong arm to indicate I am to fall in immediately as he’s in a hurry to his day’s first meeting. Even from 50 feet away, underneath the lobby’s colossal, 24-foot ceilings, Gomes seems taller than his 6-foot-1 frame. With his shaved bald head, he resembles a more fashionable Daddy Warbucks: stylish, but not flashy, in a soft, gray felt jacket with suede elbow patches, bright tie and brown wingtips. It’s 9:30 a.m. and Gomes has an appointment downtown to discuss the details of a new condo development that could ultimately yield $113 million in contracts.

He bounds into the back seat of his black Mercedes S550 sedan, tricked out with custom, chocolate-brown leather interior. His driver, Douglas, pulls into the heavy traffic, and Gomes hits the button to lower the passenger-window privacy shade, then the window, and thrusts his smooth head fully out into the cold damp May air, like a dog. “I’m sorry,” he says, eyes closed, a beatific expression on his Buddha-like face. “I know this looks weird, but I need to cool down.” This is just one of his morning rituals.

Routine helps keep his driven life on track. He wakes naturally before the 6 a.m. alarm, puts in 20 minutes of Transcendental Meditation and one hour with a personal trainer. For breakfast, it’s muesli with almond milk and Keurig coffee in front of “Good Morning America,” while dispersing hundreds of overnight emails to his assistant or the assistant of his assistant, followed by a long hot steam to clear yesterday’s construction dust from his pores.

Gomes, 44, and his business partner Fredrik Eklund, 39, are the top brokers of luxury new residential development for Douglas Elliman, the biggest real-estate firm in New York City. Riding Manhattan’s building boom, the duo sells multi-million dollar condominiums — many of them outrageously appointed penthouse units perched atop brand-new, gleaming towers — to the very rich, the very very rich and the GDP-hoarders.

Liberty’s Torch: The Great Adventure to Build the Statue of Liberty

Posted by on Dec 14, 2014 in Historical | No Comments
<i>Liberty’s Torch</i>: The Great Adventure to Build the Statue of Liberty

At three in the morning on Wednesday, June 21, 1871, Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi made his way up to the deck of the Pereire, hoping to catch his first glimpse of America. The weather had favored the sculptor’s voyage from France, and this night proved no exception. A gentle mist covered the ocean as he tried in vain to spot the beam of a lighthouse glowing from the new world.

After eleven days at sea, Bartholdi had grown weary of what he called in a letter to his mother his “long sojourn in the world of fish.” The boat had been eerily empty, only forty passengers on a ship meant to carry three hundred. He passed his days playing chess and watching the heaving log that measured the ship’s speed. “I practice my English on several Americans who are on board. I learn phrases and walk the deck alone mumbling them, as a parish priest recites his breviary.”

These onboard incantations were meant to prepare Bartholdi for the greatest challenge of his career. The thirty-six-year-old artist intended to convince a nation he had never visited before to build a colossus.

What they are saying about LIBERTY’S TORCH

Posted by on Oct 18, 2014 in General | No Comments

An O Magazine 15 Titles to Pick Up Now Selection, Summer 2014 “Journalist Elizabeth Mitchell recounts the captivating story behind the familiar monument that readers may have assumed they knew everything about.”—New York Times “Liberty’s Torch reveals a statue with a storied past . . . Mitchell uses Liberty to reveal a pantheon of historic […]

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