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‘Temporary’ Is a Debut Novel That Leans Into the Absurdity of How We Work Now

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In 1973, Elizabeth Hardwick declared that sex could no longer be the subject of great literature. The novel of seduction — in the vein of “The Scarlet Letter” and “Tess of the D’Urbervilles,” of Dreiser, Zola and Henry James — was dead. “You cannot seduce anyone when innocence is not a value,” she wrote in a precise, imperiously beautiful essay, “Seduction and Betrayal.” Some 25 years later, Vivian Gornick asserted that the novel of love was now in uncertain health. We simply know too much to believe such stories with the old fervor, she argued in “The End of the Novel of Love.” The notion of romance as a vehicle for self-discovery asks us to disregard what we know to be true: This is work we must do for ourselves.

I’ve always been intrigued by, if wary of, these arguments, out of a streak of weird, warrantless optimism, at least where fiction is concerned. I share Arnold Schoenberg’s hope that “there is still much good music that can be written in C major.” But there’s no denying that the novel of love, of sex, has recessed. Friendship is ascendant, or parenthood or elegant alienation (see Rachel Cusk). Even in fiction that takes coupling as its subject, as in the novels of Sally Rooney, the characters seem a bit sheepish, as if caught participating in a nostalgic exercise.

The drama of the romance hasn’t totally withered away, however; it’s merely migrated. You’ll recognize all the familiar throes — exalted expectations and dashed hopes, disillusionment and embarrassing self-delusion — in fiction about work. Specifically, about late capitalism’s carousel of grinding, precarious labor; see the books of Helen DeWitt, Catherine Lacey, Ling Ma, Hiroko Oyamada and Sayaka Murata.

In “Temporary,” a brisk, wildly imaginative first novel by Hilary Leichter, the unnamed protagonist is a temp worker who trudges between 23 jobs. “I have a shorthand kind of career,” she tells us. “Short tasks, short stays, short skirts. My temp agency is an uptown pleasure dome of powder-scented women in sensible shoes. As is customary, I place my employment in their manicured hands. With trusty carpal alchemy they knead my résumé into a series of paychecks that constitute a life.”

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‘The Addams Family’ Musical Was Panned. Then It Became a Hit.

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LIPPA It’s a very public forum, writing a Broadway musical. If you’re going to play in the big leagues, as it were, you have to learn how to tune out the voices that you don’t necessarily want to listen to.

HOFFMAN Nothing really prepared us for the unleashing of absolute cruelty and vitriol when the New York press got wind of it.

PRICE One of the most enlightening moments of my producing career was the day after opening night in New York, where Stuart Oken and Roy Furman laid out the disastrous New York Times review that we all read the night before. That team started that ad meeting reading the terrible first paragraph, and then the terrible first paragraph of the “Mamma Mia!” review and of the “Les Miz” review and of the “Wicked” review and of the “Cats” review — all these hit shows. It was very encouraging, because we were like, “You’re right, it’s not over.”

HOFFMAN It only really affects you as a performer if the audiences are affected. There were a couple of nights where you felt from the audience, “Well, I kind of like it, but I’m not supposed to.” I mean, people are very, very affected by reviews. They shouldn’t be, but unfortunately they are.

ELICE I was in the elevator in my building with some neighbors who live on a lower floor. The woman said, “Well, we just came from ‘The Addams Family.’ What a disaster.” Fortunately for me, the elevator opened and they got out. The next morning, under my door was a note: “Oh my God, I’m so embarrassed. When we got out of the elevator, my husband said, ‘You idiot. He wrote it.’ So I just want you to know I’m really sorry for being so rude. But we would like our money back.” My husband, who was a wonderful actor and a great human being, said, “I want you to write her a check right now.”

OKEN Even though the show ran 20 months and recouped a big chunk of its money on Broadway, it was hard. It was a hard experience.

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Teresa Giudice Holds Dove Release Ceremony 4 Days After Dad’s Death

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Teresa Giudice has laid her father to rest.

The Real Housewives of New Jersey star and her family held a special memorial service for Giacinto Gorga, who passed away last Friday morning.

On Tuesday afternoon, Teresa took to Instagram to share a video clip of her late father’s ceremony. In the footage, Gorga’s grandchildren could be seen releasing doves from a beautifully decorated box.

The grandkids, which included Teresa and Joe Gorga‘s kids, were all dressed in black. Moreover, as they released the doves, Italian music played in the background.

“today we set you free,” the reality TV personality captioned her touching post. “fly high to mommy.”

Teresa’s brother also wrote the same message on his Instagram page.

“The beautiful Grandchildren watching the doves fly into the heavens in honor of their Nonno,” Melissa Gorga, Joe’s wife, shared, alongside a photo of the kids looking up in the sky.

It appears the family kept the memorial service small, which could be due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic and many states’ restrictions around gatherings.

“My father, my protector, my hero, God took you early this morning to be with mommy, I saw you peacefully pass & I know you kept fighting for my daughters and I,” Teresa shared, announcing the heartbreaking news that her father died.

“I have so many amazing thoughts of you, every day seeing you in the kitchen at my home, teaching my girls to cook, my partner in crime on shopping trips, your love of the shore & my travel buddy,” she continued her message. “You always wanted everyone to have a good time, eat great food, have a stiff drink and enjoy life. You are the absolute strongest man I know & I know you missed mommy so much but you stayed for us.”

She added, “Thank you for being the best husband, father & Nonno. Your devotion to mommy was one for the record books, you were the true example and a gentleman and devoted husband. You visited mommy every single day & would go twice for the days you missed while traveling or if you were to sick to go, my silver lining is knowing you’ll be together now.Thank you for showing us all what true love is. Love you Papa Rest In Peace.”

Additionally, Joe also expressed his heartache over his dad’s passing.

“I can’t believe he is gone,” he wrote on Instagram at the time. “The world lost an amazing man human being today. He was exactly what a true father and husband should be. I will miss you more than you know, But go find your wife because I know that’s all you want and all you’ve ever talked about for the past 3 years.”

He added, “You will be missed every single day. You had energy that lit up a room and everyone fell in love with you. You were truly one of a kind. I’m so happy you’re in no more pain. Rest In Peace Finally.”

Giacinto was 76 years and passed away peacefully.

At this time, the family hasn’t disclosed the cause of his death. However, Gorga had battled health problems for years, which was sometimes shown on the Bravo series.

(E! and Bravo are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)



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He Made Brooklyn Comedy a Scene. But His Life Took a Different Turn.

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Mirman didn’t just help establish two landmark comedy homes. He also became a focal point of a community of comics, helping give many their start. (In the documentary, Kumail Nanjiani says Mirman was the first person to give him a big credit.) In 2011, Interview magazine called Mirman the “de facto leader of the Brooklyn scene,” and in the new documentary, Bobcat Goldthwait describes him this way: “He’s the drain in the sink that catches all the weirdos.”

Did this diverse community of weirdos share an aesthetic?

It’s easier to define what that aesthetic wasn’t: club comedy and traditional stand-up. But even that is a simplification, since those approaches were welcome as well. Mirman has always defined comedy as broadly as possible, and while there are still comics with rigid ideas about what constitutes stand-up, Mirman’s more catholic tastes have won the day. What was once alt is now mainstream. Asked if he thought there was a common style to the scene back in the day, Mirman pointed to “a sort of sincerity to themselves, an authenticity, a silliness.”

Mirman’s own stand-up is infused with a warm and cheerful sense of the ridiculous, including satirical bits that sting instead of lash and stories using show-and-tell-style props. He has a prickly side, too, and some of his best-known stunts build on minor grievances, as when he took out a full-page newspaper ad venting ludicrous rage about a parking ticket in a New Hampshire town. The ad closed by turning the state’s motto (“Live Free or Die”) back at the town, saying drivers don’t even get “freedom to back into a spot.”

His greatest legacy might be helping build something so successful, its end was inevitable. He stopped doing the weekly show and the festival was over after a decade, when most of his peers moved to Los Angeles for TV and film work. Mirman recalled specifically when he realized the end was near, when Kristen Schaal (who along with Kurt Braunohler hosted Hot Tub, another regular comedy show that moved to Brooklyn) told him she was moving to the West Coast. “I came home and told Katie: The world I am part of is winding down.”

The Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival has been replaced by the Janelle James Comedy Festival, and a new generation of Brooklyn comics has filled the spaces he pioneered. And while his reputation has faded among young comics, you can see echoes of his influence in the bustling, vital Brooklyn scene today. Video is common as is his off-kilter, multi-hyphenate aesthetic. Compare his advertisements for shapes like squares and triangles on his debut album with the surreal meditations on shapes in the recent HBO special of Julio Torres. But also, the mood of Mirman’s shows — amiable, casual, a bit chummy, as the title Pretty Good Friends suggests — is common.

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