Arts & Culture


To have your book, CD, app, or other work considered for Output, please send a copy to Arts Editor, Yale Alumni Magazine, PO Box 1905, New Haven CT 06509; or e-mail a copy or link to 

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Suzanne’s Children: A Daring Rescue in Nazi Paris
Anne Nelson ’76
Simon & Schuster, $26

When the Nazis took Paris in 1940, “Jews had lived in France since Roman times.” But years of peaceful coexistence would end when Jews were sent to the concentration camps. Into the breach stepped the unlikeliest of heroines, Suzanne Spaak, a wealthy Belgian heiress whose “genius lay in convincing the Gestapo that she was utterly inconsequential.” Spaak was a key and courageous member of the Resistance and the architect of an underground network that spirited hundreds of Jewish children to safety.


The Harvard Medical School Guide to Yoga: Eight Weeks to Strength, Awareness, and Flexibility
Marlynn Wei ’01, ’07MD, ’07JD, and James E. Groves
Lifelong Books/DaCapo Press, $19.99

More than 36 million Americans, and countless others around the world, practice yoga, the ancient Indian way of incorporating “physical postures, breathing techniques, meditation, and ethical principles” to unite “body, mind, and being.”  The authors explain how yoga works physiologically and provide an eight-week program that “opens the door to new and exciting parts of your life.”


Iowa: Echoes of a Vanishing Landscape
David Ottenstein ’82
Prospecta Press, $75

Send a documentary photographer to the heartland and the harvest is likely to be images of people. Ottenstein has a different take. His haunting images of Iowa are about “the demise of the single-family farm culture” and the “physical changes to the architectural landscape.” Save for a portrait of a portrait, there are no Iowans in these exquisite black and white photos: just shot after beautiful and bittersweet shot of what farmers have built and are now, for better or worse, abandoning.


Picture Titles: How and Why Western Paintings Acquired Their Names
Ruth Bernard Yeazell ’71PhD, Chace Family Professor of English
Princeton University Press, $35

One of René Magritte’s best-known paintings is of a pipe with the supposed title “This is not a pipe.” But, writes Yeazell, when Magritte created his “paradoxical commentary on the nature of representation,” he gave it an entirely different name. Does that matter to our understanding of the work? Yeazell offers a fascinating exploration of what painters call their creations—and, when the artist doesn’t come up with a name, who steps in to supply one. “Titles always make a difference,” she writes, “but some titles clearly make more of a difference than others.”


Rudi Seitz ’98, ’98MS, and Matthew McConnell
self-released, $13 CD, $11 download;

With song cycles and cantatas seemingly all the rage again, why aren’t more composers exploring canons? Rudi Seitz is, unleashing 45 of them on a single album. The pieces, which range from 39 seconds to two minutes and 19 seconds in length, are performed with clarity and purpose by harpsichordist Matthew McConnell.  Seitz is clearly intrigued by the technical challenges of the canon and its mathematical intricacy; his cover art uses polyhedrons drawn by a sixteenth-century artist. But he also finds richness and warmth in this carefully cyclical, repetitive, and probing form. This is classical dance music for the mind.


Vince Giordano: There’s a Future in the Past
Amber Edwards ’82 and Dave Davidson
First Run Features, $24.95 DVD;

This 90-minute documentary follows the New York City bandleader/bass saxophonist Vince Giordano in his mission to keep ’20s and ’30s jazz styles alive. It’s working: he’s kept his band—The Nighthawks, an ensemble up for anything—around for much longer than most bands lasted in the era he’s memorializing. The film gives us Giordano’s high notes, like his successes in festival gigs and film/TV scores; and it gives us the low ones, such as the time the band folded due to troubles with the musicians’ union. Giordano comes across as a harsh taskmaster but also as a force of nature and bringer of much joy. (“More raucous!” he shouts in one rehearsal.) Together, he and the Nighthawks reproduce this lively, jumpy, irrepressible music and make it their own.

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