Popular Culture

“Popular culture” is not the opposite of or the alternative to something called “high culture.” It is not degraded, debased, simple, or undisciplined. Nor is it defined primarily by its mass appeal or commercial values. It is not the size of the audience Aa* is important but its diversity.Read more »

Frankophilia

WHY SINATRA IS OUR GREATEST SINGER, PERIOD

AT ZITO’S BAKERY ON BLEECKER STREET, a Greenwich Village institution, there are two framed photographs on the wall behind the counter. One is a picture of the Pope. The other is a picture of Frank Sinatra smiling broadly and holding a loaf of Zito’s bread. Read more »

“The City At The Nation’s Front Door”

Hoboken’s hardworking history exudes an undeniable gritty charm—and its view of Manhattan is incomparable.

On September 26, 1918, the Meuse-Argonne offensive began. The attack on the German lines in France lasted for 47 days, until the war’s end, and remains the longest battle in American history. During the assault, Gen. John J. Pershing, commander of the American Expeditionary Force, made his troops a surprisingly blunt promise: By Christmas, he told them, they would be in heaven, they would be in hell, or they would be in Hoboken. Read more »

Fly Me To The Moon

Reflections on the Rat Pack
Everybody knows what they did. This is what they meant.

 

On January 19, 1961, at a gala in Washington’s National Armory on the eve of his Inauguration, President-elect John Kennedy made a remarkable gesture. He rose to tell the crowd, “We’re all indebted to a great fnettes—Frank Sinatra.” Read more »

Swoon Song

On December 30, 1942, New York’s Paramount Theater was packed for Frank Sinatra—the young balladeer from across the river in Hoboken, home from tours with Tommy Dorsey—when a young admirer in the twelfth row did something provocative: She passed out from a combination of hunger and excitement. This shocked a second girl, who screamed, and so they began, standing and screaming one after another as teen-age hysteria surged through the house.Read more »