SERVICE, STOCK OPTIONS, A SENSE OF HUMOR, AND ONE LAST SECRET
TO OPRAH WINFREY'S SINGULAR SUCCESS

(Yes, she whispered it to me.)

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Photograph by Ruven Afanador.  Permission of Oprah Winfrey.

I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN FASCINATED BY OPRAH WINFREY. WHEN MY FIRST MEMOIR, MISSISSIPPI SISSY, WAS PUBLISHED, SHE CALLED ME TO TALK ABOUT ALL THE ISSUES I RAISED IN THE BOOK AND ALL OF THEM IT RAISED FOR HER.  SHE LOVED IT.  WHEN MY SECOND MEMOIR, I LEFT IT ON THE MOUNTAIN, WAS ABOUT TO COME OUT, WE TALKED ABOUT IT AT A PARTY AND SHE TOLD ME TO SEND HER A COPY.  I DID.  THIS IS THE STORY OF HER DIFFERENT REACTION TO IT AND HOW THAT REACTION – AND SHE HERSELF – LED ME TO UNDERSTAND THE AUTHENTICITY OF HER CULTURAL POWER.

VIEW THIS STORY FOR FREE.

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OPERA STAR LEAH CROCETTO SURPRISES US AND SINGS SOME DUKE ELLINGTON.

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THE TENOR OF OUR TIMES:

Opera star Michael Fabiano talks about maestri, what it means to be a man, and his musical influences: Nirvana and Green Day.


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TIMELESS GRACE, BUT NOT A PRINCESS:

JULIANNE MOORE'S MANY TALENTS

THE OSCAR-WINNING ACTRESS IS ALSO A STYLE ICON WHO CAN TALK ABOUT PIERRE JEANNERET AND KARL LAGERFELD AS WELL AS THE EXQUISITE PRECISION IT TAKES TO CRACK A WALNUT, ONE OF HER FAVORITE MEDITATIVE PURSUITS.

(It's all rather Chekhovian. You'll see.)

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Photograph by Herb Ritts, 2001.  Courtesy of the Herb Ritts Foundation.

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Photograph by Paola Kudacki.  2013.

THE SALLY FIELD INTERVIEW: PART ONE, in which Field - our second Oscar winner this month who visits us here at the magazine - talks about her early years and how they shaped her into the remarkable artist and woman she is today.

(and how Madeleine Sherwood and Lee Strasberg saved her life)

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Kaufman and Urie, opening night of Harvey Fierstein’s Torch Song.

THE CHAT

Second Stage Theater in New York has a big-time, big-hearted hit with its production of "Torch Song." The show's director Moises Kaufman talks with its star Michael Urie about what it took to balance that heart with its humor. They also debate bisexuality. And debunk Kevin Spacey.

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Urie as Arnold.  Photo by Joan Marcus.

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GREG GORMAN: NUDES AND KNOWN NAMES

GREG GORMAN HAS JUST PUBLISHED A NEW BOOK OF NUDES, PRIVATE WORKS, 2000-2015.  WE LOOK AT A FEW OF THOSE IN THIS PHOTO ESSAY AS WELL AS SOME OF THE OLDER ONES THAT REMINDED US OF OUR OWN COMFORTING SENSUALITY IN THE DARKEST DAYS OF AIDS WHEN SEXUALITY WAS NOT ONLY FRIGHTENING, BUT ALSO FATAL. HE MADE FAME COMFORTING, TOO.  CLICK ON THE TITLE ABOVE TO SEE MORE OF HIS WORK.  DO NOT AVERT YOUR GAZE.  GORMAN NEVER HAS.

(Above, left to right: Tony, LA; Iman, LA; Brigitte, LA.)

DIGITALIZED DIALOGUES: SAM SHEPARD, PART TWO

Here is the second part of the archival podcast of my 1988 interview with Shepard for the September 1988 cover story of Andy Warhol's Interview magazine. "Life is made up of contradictions," he told me. "The tricky part is to stay in the middle. If you can stay right in the middle of a contradiction, that's where life is." And death? "It doesn't scare me so much," he said at the time. "My terrors now have more to do with being alienated from life. It's absolutely frightening - this incessant estrangement. People are being amputated from each other, and from themselves."

Sam Shepard (with Cigarette), Virgina 1988

Photo by Herb Ritts, 1988 / Courtesy of Herb Ritts Foundation 

Kevin Sessums

Photo by Matt Edge

WELCOME TO NOVEMBER. NEW NAME. NEW START.

let’s start a magazine 

to hell with literature/ we want something redblooded/lousy with pure/ reeking with stark/and fearlessly obscene/but really clean/get what I mean/let’s not spoil it/let’s make it serious/something authentic and delirious/you know something genuine like a mark/in a toilet/graced with guts and gutted/with grace/squeeze your nuts and open your face  –   e.e. cummings

 

“How does one start an online magazine?” Tom Hanks asked me when we were milling about before Bruce Springsteen’s opening night on Broadway last month. 

“I am – like you, Tom – 61 now,” I told him. “I’ve been doing this for over 30 years.  It’s what I do.  It would be like my asking you how does one star in a movie.”

And yet it has been harder than I was letting on to Tom before Bruce took the stage that night.  I am not referring to the editorial aspect or the writing.  That, I love.  I am talking about the business side of it all.  I made a few mistakes during the initial launch.  I am less innocent now.

iI purposefully used the word “initial” above for this is, in the early life of his online magazine, its second launch.  If you look at the title at the top of the page and all mention of it throughout this month’s iteration you will see that the name has changed to sessumsMagazine.com.   There were many reasons for that – gaining control of the site myself, moving forward in a different business direction, and branding the site more specifically. When you now subscribe, you will see the name of my new media company, ARCHIE LEGACY, which I have named in honor of my dog who died in January.  Archie helped save my life.  So much of my saved life is his doing; my ability to launch this magazine is part of his legacy to me. 

My tech officer will be sending each of my earlier subscribers a reset password so that you can have access to sessumsMagazine.com.  Check both your email queue as well as your spam one.  This process should be completed by November 14th.   But don’t worry. Your email address and payment are in the magazine’s system. If you still have problems, please send me an email at the Contact page and I will have this solved for you by having the tech officer manually reset your password and sending you the new one.  I had to make the editorial and business decision to get this newly branded online magazine up the first of November even with some of the technical aspects still being worked out.  If you did subscribe at the end of September for one year, that year will now start in November as a small token of my appreciation for your support and patience.  

This is not my Facebook Page, Part Two.

This is not a blog.

This is a true magazine in the way I envision a magazine can endure in the digital age

I am doing something rather counterintuitive with sessumsMagazine.com.  I am translating the pace and allure of the best print magazines to this digital format and, in doing that, I am rejecting the usual template of what we are told one must create for digital purposes.  I do not aspire to the alacrity of rapid clicks and rapacious headlines and a cursory paragraph or too.  I want this magazine to be a place where a respite can occur from your hectic online life and you can luxuriate a bit in its culture and conversations and thoughtful writing. I want this site to be respectful of its readers and not condescend to you in any way.  I trust that your attention spans can handle a thousand or so thoughtful words.  I hope, as well, that sessumsMagazine.com will make you smile and think and you will come to appreciate its … well .. its stillness in your life.  I want this magazine to do two opposing things: offer a kind of exalted stillness in its beauty and in the keen attention I am paying to it editorially even as it challenges you and churns your thoughts and emotions.  Like the best art – and my creation of this magazine is an artful impulse – sessumsMagazine.com is carving out an incongruous cultural space.

There are daily weekday postings Monday – Friday with my Morning Memo.

There are weekly postings with SF Serial, Meta-Memoir,  Before Google, Stars in Black Turtlenecks, and Some Joy.

The rest will be on a monthly timetable and post the first week of each month.

Welcome to the November iteration of sessumsMagazine.com.

And thank you for your patience and support as we, freed of encumbrances,  sally forth.  Now go read what Field has to say.  She’s wise and witty and deeply honest – just like I want this magazine and all those associated with it to be as well. 

Kevin

BEFORE GOOGLE

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Wagner and Wood. 1960.

STARS IN BLACK TURTLENECKS

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Natalie Wood.

SOME JOY

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McQueen and Wood. 1963.

IN THE COMING WEEKS ...

Sarah Jessica Parker. Laura Linney. Judith Light. Ellen Barkin. Style icon and photographer Lisa Eisner. Ford Foundation President, Darren Walker. Writers Armistead Maupin, Julia Reed, George Hodgman, Jesse Kornbluth, Joyce Maynard, Sheila Weller, Mark Childress, Natasha Fraser-Cavassoni, Jennifer Raiser, Benoit Denizet-Lewis and William Norwich. Part Two of The Sally Field Interview. Part Three of Sam Shepard's Digitalized Dialogue. And Part One of Catherine Deneuve's. And Elizabeth Taylor's. And Bette Midler's. (Oh: Don Bachardy also draws my portrait and he and Kathleen Turner, who have voices that demand their own podcasts, decide to do them with me.)

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Lillian Hellman.  Photograph by Bill King.

MINAJ-A-DEUX

This month our compendium of quotes contains those by Lillian Hellman and Nicki Minaj.  Take the dare.  Discern who said what.  It’s harder than you think.  Damn.

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Nicki Minaj.  Photograph by Kai Z. Feng

AT THIS STAGE:

Three directors, two playwrights, and a couple of mothers. The feminine mystique of theatrical clarity.

We honor our parents by carrying their best forward and laying the rest down. By fighting and taming the demons that laid them low and now reside in us.”  – Bruce Springsteen, his mother’s son

Director Rachel Chavkin, playwright Bess Wohl, director Loretta Greco, playwright Barbara Hammond, and director Rebecca Taichman

 

Guest Columnists

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Detail from portrait of Wilde by Robert Pennington. 1881

HOW OSCAR WILDE "ALTARED" OUR LIVES: A PARABLE

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BY TOM CAPELONGA

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Portrait of Genet by Leonor Fini.  1950

FEASTING WITH PANTHERS (AND PALESTINE): EDMUND WHITE'S JEAN GENET

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BY SARAH SCHULMAN

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SF Serial

In the mode of Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City, this serial In the Land of Start-Ups will introduce you to a fictional cast of San Francisco characters. Get ready for a new chapter each week in this narrative of loss and love and lust – and, yes, lucre.  This week we get the backstory of how Paul and Isaac first met and fell in love when the latter was a Rasta-locked street punk before making his fortune with two tech start-ups.

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Morning Memo

My thoughts each day on the political climate in this country.  This morning in And A Little Child Shall Lead Them, I write about Al Franken and Leeann Tweeden, and how I hugged it out with a three-year-old child after she taught me a lesson.

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Meta-Memoir

This week in Hugh Jackman Asks Me a Question, I write about the birthday lunch I had with Jackman in Beverly Hills when we talked about The Bacchae and The Camino and his meditative practice and our animalistic instincts and dying.  And then he asked me a question that stymied me and summed up my spiritual search.

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Travel

World traveler, TheWrap.com’s theatre critic Robert Hofler, takes his discerning eye on safari in Out of Africa, At Last.  He captures the brutal beauty of the continent with language and wit and, finally, yes the wonder the place inspires.  Picture Waugh eyeing (with rolled eyes) wildebeests and you’ll come close to what it’s like to read this remarkably rendered travel piece.

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THE OTHER SAN FRANCISCO BART

Bartlett Sher talks to Brendan Lemon about growing up in the Bay Area and how the city, and the Jesuit education he got there, still influence his work as one of the most sought-after theatre and opera directors.

Photograph by Annie Leibovitz/Vanity Fair 2015

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