Tom Carson

Yoko Ono has been reviled as John Lennon’s weird wife and patronized as his goofy widow, and even those who grant that her own music has its virtues don’t necessarily want to listen to it. But while Ono’s husband is hardly irrelevant to her art, it’s wrong to think she’s nothing without him. Long before she started making experimental records under Lennon’s wing, Ono was a rising star in New York’s early-’60s multimedia art scene, making the pain of female identity her theme.

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An appreciation of Pauline Kael

Normally, The New Yorker is the world’s most decorous magazine. So when a notice in its March 11 issue began, ”We regret that Pauline Kael feels that it’s time,” the grammar’s awkwardness was enough to imply that her retirement was an event too big to grasp.

So far as movies go, it was. That Kael has spent 24 years happily parked behind her machine gun at the magazine is the least of it. Since the days of James Agee — whom Kael surpassed — no other critic has ever had her brains, her humor, her enthusiasm, or her influence.

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