WHY DO SOME PEOPLE TAKE CELEBRITY DEATHS REALLY HARD?

I pursued this question for New York magazineRobinW in the wake of Robin Williams’ death, talking to people who grieved for him–and for Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Cory Monteith–as though they were their own loved ones. Why the intense reactions? 

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BELLE DE JOUR REDUX: INTRODUCING FRENCH BEAUTY MARINE VACTH

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There’s a new French beauty in town. It’s Marine Vacth, an YSL and Chloé model turned actress (and 23-year-old mother!) I chatted with Vacth for the NYTimes’ T magazine blog about her starring role in François Ozon’s new film, Young and Beautiful, in which she plays a teen call girl from an affluent family whose youthful exploration of her own sexual power is interrupted by unexpected tragedy.

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TRANSGENDER WOMEN OF COLOR FIGHTING BACK AGAINST VIOLENCE

In summer 2013, the brutal beating death of young Harlem transgender woman Islan Nettles was but one of an alarming number of such assaults on trans women of color, often fatal, throughout the U.S. Half of all assaults on LGBTQ people in the U.S. are against trans women of color. On the bright side, this community is fighting back, demanding respect, legal rights and greater accountability from law enforcement for their safety. This special report I did for OUT magazine includes the impassioned voices of prominent transwomen Laverne Cox (from the TV show “Orange is the New Black”) and Janet Mock, author of Redefining Realness.Image 

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PARIS’ LADY IN BLACK: AN INTERVIEW WITH STYLE BLOG PIONEER AND FILMFEST FOUNDER DIANE PERNET

ImageNew York expat Diane Pernet is an iconic figure in the streets of Paris, appearing daily in head-to-toe black mantilla, veil and sunglasses. She started one of the first fashion blogs nearly a decade ago and since then has founded a fashion film festival. I chatted with her for the NYTimes Styles section right before she brought her filmfest to her old hometown of Gotham for the very first time.

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THESE BUSHWICK WITCHES DON’T RIDE AROUND ON BROOMS

Image There’s a cool new social networking group in outer Bushwick, Brooklyn. They call themselves witches but they’re more about tarot cards and cool music than brooms and black cats. I hung out with them for the NYTimes Styles section and found out how they’re taking the traditional power of witches and applying them in our contemporary digital indie culture.

 

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A TENNESSEE WILLIAMS MOMENT FOR THE PERFORMANCE ART ICON PENNY ARCADE

Ever since I saw her landmark stage show “Bitch! Dyke! Faghag! Whore!” when I moved to New York more than 20 years ago, I’ve loved the no-holds-barred honesty of the performance artist Penny Arcade, who has had a foothold in the downtown performance and art scenes since the late 1960s. I’d been wanting to write the first NYTimes piece on her for several years, and finally I got my chance when Penny appeared opposite the John Waters movie actress Mink Stole in an acclaimed revival of the late-stage Tennessee Williams one-act “The Mutilated.” I only wish I’d been assigned three times the word count…it’s hard to do Penny’s amazing life and career justice in 1,200 words.Image

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WHY ARE SO FEW GAY GUYS TAKING THE PILL THAT CAN PREVENT HIV?

This feature I wrote (for the October 2013 issue of OUT magazine) has gotten thousands of views, tweets and comments. It’s about the HIV med Truvada, which, taken daily by HIV-negative people, can prevent HIV infection. So then why are so few guys taking it one year after the FDA approved it for this purpose, which means that most health plans will cover it? Read the story and find out.Image

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