Lorenzo & his humble friends

The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool

Tag: arianna

Quarantena, appunti

Con Arianna.

Cuciniamo: tiramisu (idea di Pierluigi), ragù (idea di Luca e Marco), pasta al pesto, cosce di pollo (idea di Daniela), zuppa d’aglio e zuppa di lenticchie (idee austriache), tartare di salmone (idea di Marco P), polpette di melanzane, zuppa di ceci, risotto di zucchine, piselli con carciofi, polpette di spinaci, risotto al Saint-Émilion (omaggio all’ultimo capodanno), crespelle, zuppa di salmone (omaggio a Johannes).

Corriamo: brevi escursioni sulla collina che porta al Sacro Cuore salendo dal versante nord, quello meno conosciuto ma anche più bello. Passiamo dalla Square Joel le Trac, Maison Rose, Lapin Agile, la vigna di Montmartre, place du Tertre: sono luoghi incantanti, sempre, ma in primavera e con le strade sgombre ancora di più. Quando verrete a trovarci ve li faremo vedere.

Lavoriamo: quanto e forse più di prima, con gli occhi piantati sugli schermi.

Messaggiamo: io ho iniziato a usare Whatsapp assiduamente. Si scherza quanto possibile con tanti amici e parenti. Una quarantena senza internet sarebbe assai diversa. Ho anche sentito cari amici con cui ultimamente si erano persi un poco i contatti: Pierre-Alban e Roberto.

Leggiamo: Arianna divora Metà di un sole giallo di Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie e lo consiglia a tutti. Per me niente libri purtroppo: sono ossessionato dalla situazione attuale e le sue conseguenze in termini di salute, economia, finanza, mobilità, migrazioni. A tal riguardo consiglio due articoli comparsi su The JacobinThe Guardian. Vorrei anche segnalarvi un’espressione che ho appreso dai giornali in questi giorni: “nose-dive“, riferita all’andamento delle borse (e dei miei risparmi).

Smoothie: uno al giorno, ricordando Pietro.

Balliamo: rock and roll (più o meno).

Pensiamo: arrabbiati, a quando tutto questo già succedeva in Italia e la Francia guardava con condiscendenza. Qui si rivive lo stesso film, ma con circa dieci giorni di ritardo.

Idee per i prossimi giorni: ricominciare a giocare online con amici, disegnare, .

Just a bunch of Englishmen

Niccolò chose the place, bargained for the house, and found the motivation to rein everybody in, including those he did not know previously – and there were many of them. Nico, Thomoose, and Tree flew in from Canada. So did Andrew, who landed in Paris shortly after new year’s midnight. Jasper signed in about a week before, just like we had expected of him; whereas Giallu committed in September and never wavered. Erik and Iris drove from Rotterdam. I flew with Arianna from Treviso. And we all met in Bordeaux.

I remember lavish meals, funky games (Les grammes de Bourdeaux), cold hikes around Saint Emilion, impromptu Dixit games, Jasper going blind with a stick, playing limbo with strangers, Chilean dances, Jasper baking bread, Tee making classy Old Fashioned, Giallu dignifying the Mapazzone (stir people’s culinary curiosity and put them to work), Iris’ write-a-poem competitions, melted Mont d’Or for breakfast, scooter hunting and racing on the cobblestones along the Garonne in four teams of two, La Mirabelle and its petrol blue for dinner.

Then Erik, Giallu and all of our two girls left. We made up for their departure going to la Dune du Pilat and taking our traditional January-swim. The title of this post comes from there: we asked a bystander to take a picture of us. She was quite amused and recorded a video instead, commenting at the very start of it: ‘We are at the Dune du Pilat and there is a bunch of Englishmen about to swim“.

Sweet side-memory of that day: the Jon & Roy & Stevie Ray Vaughan playlist.

Books I have read in 2019

I first saw The Schopenhauer Cure in Luxemburg, Torino, next to a dozen other books by the same author. Irvin Yalom is a psychiatrist who turns philosophy into a work of fiction. Arianna gave me this book towards the end of 2018. For some reason, I remember reading it on two distinct occasions: in a café on the hill leading up to the Sacré-Cœur during a cold December night; and at the RER stop in Gentilly, on my way to the Maison Doisneau on a grey January afternoon. I would suggest this book to those who are curious about psychotherapy, meditation, and pain.

Arnold Odermatt, worked as a photographer for the Nidwalden district police in Switzerland from 1948 until his retirement in 1990. He was initially trained as a banker and took up photography as a hobby. His work, which I discovered at Images Vevey, is gracious and ironic. I read and smiled over On Duty in Arianna’s temporary apartment in Marcadet, Paris, courtesy of Mavi. In the future I would like to add to my humble collection his other books, Karambolage and Off Duty.

At some point in January I had to go back to Switzerland, but all trains were full. I remember reading La photographie sociale at 6 in the monring inside Coffee & Friends (a cozy café in the train station of Geneva) after a seven-hour bus ride. This little book is one of the gems of a wonderful collection by Photo poche, Actes Sud. (In Italy, these books are available as Fotografia Contrasto and can be easily found in most museums).

I read most of Waiting for the Barbarians on the train to the Diagonela; then I lost it, found it, lost it again, found it again, and finished it once and for all. I am happy to keep it on my shelves because it reminds me of Florence: I took this book when I left the apartment in Via Ponte alle Riffe, where we (Ada, Dani, Jonas, and I) originally found it in 2013, abandoned there from the previous tenants. The story is not really Florence-like, though: harsh, matter-of-fact, existentialist, with a desolate atmosphere of imperialist denial and defeat. It reminded me of Il deserto dei tartari and Mad Max – weird combination, ain’t it?

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I listened to The Human Stain following Alkistis’ suggestion to dig a bit into the work Philip Roth. I started in Cuba, in 2018, during my wacky journey with Thomoose. However, the general mood of the vacation did not bode well with this book. I stopped for a few months and then resumed. I listened to it mostly on the plateau next to Neuchatel while training for the Marcialonga. This is why it reminds me of these valleys. Ironically, one of the most iconic scenes of the movie is set in a place that could very well be La Sagne, Eglise. This is a difficult book with some truly extraordinary pages. I recommend it highly, although it takes some time to get into the flow. It is a story about public morality and political correctness.

Back in Trento for a couple of days after the Marcialoga I read Il gusto del cloro (which reminded me of Turin, when I used to go swimming quite often ), 100 Brani di musica classica da ascoltare una volta nella vita (this, too, I had first seen it in Luxemburg, Torino), and another book on classical music, Twentieth-Century Classical Music: A Ladybird Expert Book (I remember buying it at Shakespeare and Co.). What a waste, having moved out of Florence where in Winter I could – and often did – go to classical music concerts at La Pergola every Sunday evening. I did not understand a thing, sometimes I fell asleep, but I enjoyed every single session. These are simple books that you can read in-between breaks. Did I learn something new? Probably not, but I felt more intelligent while reading them.

In March I listened to The Adversary: A True Story of Monstrous Deception. This is my fourth Emanuel Carrere book, and hopefully not the last. The story is relatively short, so it only took me one lonely, pleasant day skiing in Les Portes de Soleil. (Sometimes you have to take yourself out on a little date on the snow). This book is mesmerising; but if you want to get into the heclectic prose of Emmanuel Carrère I would humbly suggest to start from some other books he wrote.

In March I went to Brussels where Arianna and I were elegantly hosted by Delina and Giacomo. During our short stay I bought some high-quality bande dessinée: Le Chat, Tome 21 : Chacun son chat (you gotta love Belgian authors); and Egon Schiele (beautiful: brought me back to the exhibition I had seen with Arianna in 2018, Schiele and Basquiat, Fondation Louis Vuitton).

In early April, before spending a few days in Iceland, I wrote to Leonardo, a talented writer and avid cycling fan whose work I throughly enjoy. He answered promptly and most kindly with a list of readings. I only managed to read one: The Good Shepherd. This slim book tells the story of a man who goes looking for lost sheeps together with his dog – Leo – and his wether – Gnarly. The book smells like snow. In case you want to read other Icelandic books, you can start from Leonardo’s own book, Il libro dei vulcani d’Islanda, Luce d’estate ed è subito notte, or the other suggestion by Leonardo: Sotto il ghiacciaio.

Back in Paris at the end of April I went for the first time to Arianna’s new apartment, which is also a little bit mine. Nearby we found a good bookshop, Librairie l’Humeur Vagabonde, and we bought Un anglais dans mon arbre and Orwell. Both of them are elegantly drawn, but not particularly original in their story telling techniques.

In May I spent one happy weekend in Rome with Arianna. I was amazed by the exhibition dedicated to Mapplethorpe at Galleria Corsini, where the provocative pictures were thematically blended with other paintings in the crowded galleries. Shortly after I read Mapplethorpe Rodin that, I believe, I found in one of the boîtes d’echange in Neuchâtel.

There are a few books that I read in my Swiss apartment and on the lake shore sometime between late May and early June: Adieu La Suisse ! Construction Et Deconstruction d’Un Mythe (I saw this book at the museum in Winterthur and bought it shortly thereafter), Marx, Freud, Einstein: Heroes of the Mind (this was Arianna’s gift from Shakespeare and Co) and La ragazza con la Leica. I had great expectation on this latter volume, but it turned out to be boring, unexciting. It was a disappointment. Gerda Taro, whose story inspired this book, truly was an exceptional character.

During a short visit to Florence in June I discovered a strange place: Galleria Immaginaria. I was walking in via Cavour and looking for a quiet spot to work and I bumped in this gallery, wine place, and bookstore. The guy who was there invited me to stay ‘but I have to leave. Here, take my keys. My colleague will be back in half an hour‘. And he left. I was slightly worried this would turn out to be some sort of an insurance scam, but I went with the flow and stayed, a lonely kid managing a shop he just discovered. The colleague who arrived half an hour later was happy to find me there and invited me to a full Chianti tasting, which they have on the menu. In exchange I bought from their library I colori nell’arte. Sweet book. If you visit this place, remember the door is made of glass – I did not realise it and smashed right into it upon leaving the place fully drunk.

In late June I read L’ombra del vento at the Circolino. It was a suggestion of Fabio. Probably a younger version of myself would have liked this book better. Then, just before traveling to Portugal, I read Donna di Porto Pim; in the Azores I read Viaggio in Portogallo; and upon returning from Lisbon I read Poeti di Lisbona. If you have to choose, read Tabucchi and some of the poems written by Pessoa.

 

Ricordo di aver letto Cacciateli!: Quando i migranti eravamo noi nei giorni in cui ero a Murren. Del libro mi ha colpito la desolante descrizione delle domeniche svizzere per gli immigranti italiani, nella quale mi ritrovo ancora oggi. Però nel complesso non raccomanderei questo libro, a differenza di un altro lavoro di Concetto Vecchio, anche quello molto personalmente sentito, che invece regalerei volentieri ad amici e conoscenti.

On the train before my hike on the Pale di San Martino with Giallu I read this collection of essays by Susan Sontag. It is one of the greatest classics in the field of photography. You are likely to find a copy in the bookshops of all photo-museums and exhibitions. For me, this is one of those books that I could easily read over and over again because of its depth and beauty. I was genuinely happy to able to recognise most of the examples used by Sontag, mostly because of the many photography books that I have skimmed through over the last three years. I reckon the essays might not be as interesting for those of you who do not care that much about photography.

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Back in Paris in October, I remember reading the following three books. First, a short but powerful collection of essays: Sull’Iliade. This is a poetic and profound text for all my friends who like epical tales like I did as a kid. Second, quite unrelated, Modigliani: Prince de la bohème. Bought it in Madrid at the market next to the Buen Retiro, I read at Le Village in Place Michael Petrucciani. The third book is another comic text on an artist from the twentieth century: Capa. L’étoile filante. I must have bought it in Brussels. This is a good one, although I recommend Capa’s own ironical autobiography or his and Magnum’s biography by Russel Miller.

Speaking of Magnum, in October I read Magnum Mountains, which I bought at the related exhibition in Le Locle where I went with Arianna on a grey Swiss Sunday. Around the same time in Switzerland I read Dalla mia Terra alla Terra and Quino’s Manger. Quelle adventure, which I bought in a little Neuchâtel bookshop when Iris came to visit me.

I found the book below in an exchange box in Neuchâtel. I have not read many female Italian writers, so I jumped right into L’indomani. It is a short story, intimate, melancholic. A few months later, in the same exchange box, I was to find another book that probably speaks more to my feminist conscience – more on that at the end of this verbose text.

After reading about Mordillo’s death I recovered some of his books at my parents place, and a bought a couple others from second-hand retailers. These are strongly recommended to all the readers of this blog: All’arrembaggio, Lovestory, and Football.


When I went to visit Alberto in Milan, I had a couple of hours to kill, so I visited the Mondadori store in Piazza Duomo and bought Storia d’Italia in 100 foto. My suggestion, if you go to Milan, is to visit the Hoepli bookstore instead. Do not read these random books put together rather haphazardly.

Di ritorno a Parigi in ottobre, mi sono letto d’un fiato le Settantacinque poesie di Kavafis, un regalo di Arianna. Valgono per questo libro le stesse cose che ho scritto per Sull’Iliade e, non a caso, quelle che scriverò poi per le Memorie di Adriano. Un tuffo elegante nelle gioie e nelle contraddizioni della cultura classica. Negli stessi giorni ho letto anche L’arte di essere fragili: Come Leopardi può salvarti la vita. Era sulla mia lista dai tempi di Torino, dopo aver ascoltato un volontario che ne leggeva alcuni paragrafi al circolo per i non- vedenti. Sono rimasto piuttosto deluso: ho trovato il libro ripetitivo e, a tratti, stucchevole quanto il blog che state leggendo. Magari le condizioni non hanno aiutato: lo ho letto nel treno notte verso Parigi, un’esperienza particolare. Ricordo di essere salito pensando a Grand Hotel Budapest. Prendo una birra nel vagone ristorante con Jack (autore di questo bel podcast). Poi lui mi saluta: buona fortuna e buona sopravvivenza. Cosa avrà voluto dire? Prendete anche voi un treno notte e lo scoprirete. En Cuisine avec Kafka. Letto a Reinitas, simpatico, snello.

It is time for the book of the year: Mémoires d’Hadrien. This was a present from Eliana. I started it in 2017 when I was doing research for my Ph.D. thesis in Spain. I dropped it half-way through, because I became unable to find any pleasure in reading. I started again this year, when I found a used copy in this little bookstore next to our house in Paris. I read it and read it all over again. This is a wonderful work, historical, philosophical, poetic, all at the same time. I highly recommend it to all of you, my dear readers, and I suggest you find a version that has the author’s notes with it. Yourcenair’s diary is as poetic as her prose. There is one example that I have posted in a separate space. It is a long quote, but it is magnificent.

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I bought Koudelka: Zingari: bought in Milan when I was with Anna, Jonas, and Irene – right after visiting the Museo del Novecento. This is not an expensive photography book as others. Get a copy. It is a wonderful collection of portraits made in different European countries. I read in Paris together with other photographic classics: Bill Brandt: Shadow & Light; Sebastiao Salgado’s Kuwait, a Desert on Fire and Terres de café, voyage au pays de l’arôme.

La prima guerra del football: ho letto questo libro a Trento, in maniera intermittente, tra giugno e dicembre. Mi ha fatto pensare a Giacomo Zandonini e alle sue avventure con Francesco Bellina. Particolarmente belli i racconti sull’Algeria, Nigeria, e Sudafrica.

Chiudo l’anno con due libri in italiano. Il primo è L’inverno del disegnatore, riprendendo in mano un fumettista strepitoso. Questa storia relativamente è corta; come per tutti gli altri autori che già conoscevo non è la migliore, ma disegnata benissimo e con un taglio storico originale. Se però volete conoscere Paco Roca iniziate con i suoi libri che ho letto nel 2016. Il secondo libro, che si legge piuttosto in fretta, lo ho trovato una delle bussole di scambio libri a Neuchâtel. Invoglia a cercare antichi testi arabi di letteratura erotica.

 


Read my ‘books I have read‘ posts from 2018, 20172016201520142013.

Exhibitions and museums, 2019

Jeu de Paume: Dorothea Lange (Iris, Arianna – Paris). Museé de Quai Branly (Arianna, Jimmi – Paris). African House Bruxelles (Arianna, Delina, Giacomo, Anna – Bruxelles). Fondation Beyeler: Picasso. Blue and Rose Periods (Arianna – Basel). Philharmonie de Paris – Cité de la musique: Doisneau et la musique (Arianna – Paris). Archives de Paris: Mobile/Immobile (Arianna – Paris). Photo Winterthur (Gianni, Claudia – Winterthur. Museum für Gestaltung Zürich: Sebastião Salgado, Genesis (Gianni, Claudia – Zurich). Fotobastei  (Gianni, Claudia – Zurich). Jeu de Paume: Luigi Ghirri (Arianna – Paris). Reykjavík Art Museum – Hafnarhús: Now Nordic (Rejkyavik). Galleria Corsini: Robert Mapplethorpe. L’obiettivo sensibile (Roma). Reina Sofia: Images and Counter-Images from the Spanish Transition (Arianna, Madrid). Galleria degli Uffizi ( Cate, Giallu, Matte – Firenze). Muséee des droits de l’homme: Déclarations, photo exhibition Sebastião Salgado (Arianna – Paris). Musée des beaux-arts Le Locle: Mountains. The archives of Magnum Photos (Arianna – Le Locle). Musée national de l’histoire de l’immigration (Old Tom – Paris). Maison européenne de la photographie: Carte blanche à Hassan Hajjaj (Arianna, Old Tom – Paris). MAMCO: Nous, saisonniers, saisonnières… Genève 1931 — 2019 (Pierlu, Sofia – Genève). Palazzo Morando: Milano anni ’60. Storia di un decennio irripetibile (Anna, Jonas, Irene – Milano). Museo del Novecento (Jonas, Irene, Giovanni, Giorgio – Milano). Fondazione Sozzani: World Press Photo 2019 (Arianna – Paris). Gran Guardia: Il tempo di Giacometti da Chagall a Kandinsky (Arianna, Daniela, Marco, Giulia – Verona).

Scattered notes with a Lusitano flavour

Lisbon. 
With Arianna, Flavia, Jonas, Dani, Anna, Joao.
July 25 – July 28

Fact: this is the only European capital on the Ocean.

Bright, bright light.

Alafama reminds me of Bari Vecchia.

Do not wear Birkenstock if you want to go out dancing.
Going on the seaside on a trotinette with Arianna and Flavia is fun.

I do not think I would like to live here: too big of a tourist industry, too narrow and steeps the roads in the city centre, too far the mountains. There are a few really beautiful things about this city, though: many of the inhabitants have roots in Brazil or in Africa; the buildings are colourful, the graffiti are intelligent; the food is good; the prices are low.

The heroes of the tourist industry are poets: Pessoa, Camões, Garret…

Never before in my life have I been offered such an extraordinary variety of drugs at all corners of the Bairro Alto.


Rabo de Peixe, Island of San Miguel, Azores

With Arianna, Jonas, Dani, Anna, Mariana, Matte, Ludi
July 28 – August 5

This is my second visit to a volcanic island this year, third in three years.

A lot of green: reminds me of the West coast of Ireland.
Cyan, azure, white: hortensias.
Some black volcanic stone.
Brown cows and their smell early in the morning.


Notice the big, fast, well-paved roads. Alas, there are virtually no public buses traveling on them.

The Tosanists are photographers working on the island. Their style is unique: through their masterly use of black and white they turn everyday moments into Kafkaesque representations of life.

Simple, square, and colourful houses.
Elderly men idling in the shadow with their cigarettes.
Village bars – crowded already early in the morning – are inhabited by men only.

Books I have read:

  • Antonio Tabucchi, Donna di Porto Pim. Did not quite like it first, then I read it again and I started to understand. I bought a fancy edition in Portuguese in the Livraria da Travessa. I will never read it but it looks cool on my shelfs.
  • José Saramago, Journey to Portugal. Bright idea: feel the journey, forget the names of the places. Alas, way too many churches.
  • Internazionale, Lisbona. I should have read it before, and not after having visited Lisbon
  • The Passenger, PortogalloTakes some time but it is worth the read: go look for the articles on surfing in Nazaré, on African-Portuguese music, on the exodus from Angola and Mozambique to Portugal, on the illegal search for clams in the Tago
  • Autori vari, Poeti di Lisbona. Short selection of poems with the text in Italian and Portuguese.

Il mercato del rastro

Il primo profumo che mi accoglie è quello dei fiori: tante bancarelle coloratissime con donnine vivaci che si sbracciano urlando e ridendo.

Poi l’inconfondibile odore acre di abiti vintage: mucchi di giacche in pelle e jeans sgualciti e accatastati. La pazienza che è necessario avere mentre si rovista tra le montagne di tessuto è a volte snervante. Sotto il solleone le gocce di sudore si attaccano agli occhiali da sole. Mi si rivolge un volto sorridente a cui sembra non importare se non capisco la lingua. Mi parla mettendomi tra le mani robaccia improbabile che mai comprerò. Ricambio ridendo di gusto.

Le vie brulicano di vita come un formicaio. L’odore degli abiti usati si mescola col legno dei mobili di antiquariato e del fritto che esce dai chioschi ai lati della via. Vengo avvolta dalla calca di persone – famiglie con bambini e anziani – che mangiano pollo fritto con le mani. Visi unti, parlano e ridono a bocca piena.

Ai lati del mercato un gruppo di artisti di strada con capelli lunghi e sandali di cuoio snocciola musiche popolari spagnole. Una donna balla con espressione soddisfatta: pare che faccia fatica, concentrata solo sul piacere che sta vivendo. Tra il pubblico c’è chi ha le mani occupate perché le batte tenendo il ritmo e chi invece è alle prese con la videocamera del proprio telefono. Allungo la testa come una tartaruga e mi avvicino agli artisti strisciando sotto le ascelle del pubblico. L’odore che prevale potrebbe essere quello del sudore o del tabacco, ma io sento profumo di sole: hai presente quello che ti si imprime sulla pelle dopo una giornata d’estate all’aria aperta?

Proseguo tra le vie e mi perdo nel gusto dell’incenso, nei saponi, nell’erba. Altre musiche e altre danze, questa volta africane, mi vengono incontro al ritmo di energici tamburi.

Lentamente mi avvio verso casa. Sento spensieratezza intorno a me e mi ci lascio avvolgere.

Arianna

 

The outsider steps inside

In my mind, the colour of  Paris between November and March is grey. Then in April it suddenly changes. Spring is a phenomenal season and I love the combination of ivory and cobalt blue.

Looking for the Jasper

Eighth edition of our NYE ( UtrechtInnsbruckFirenzeDen Haag, Berlin, Turin, Stockholm) with the false Canadians in the 18th arr. of Paris. Notable participants: Iris, Stephanie, Noa, Arianna, Lorenzo, Jasper. Special invitees to be included in our tenth edition: Jack, Justine, Sylvan, Gianmarco.

Some take aways. Jasper made a last minute appearance on December 28 and then badly injured his leg surfing down the Sacre Coeur a couple of hours into 2019. Crutches are cheap, though. We tried to eat more vegan food than usual but it was not easy: we will keep trying. Museums are good. Some of us snore really loud. We still enjoy spending time together: cooking, playing board games like nerds, eating, walking, and chatting our worries away.

Exhibitions and museums, 2018

Fotografiska: Inside Out and Hygiene: A Circle of Life (Iris, Erik, Jasper, Jasmine, Suuz, Giallu – Stockholm). Musée de l’Elysée: La beauté des lignes (Arianna – Lausanne). Centre Pompidou: David Goldblatt (Arianna – Paris). Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes de La Habana (Thomoose – La Habana). Museu d’Història de Catalunya  (alone – Barcelona). Images Vevey: Les catacombes de Mr. Skeleton (Arianna – Vevey). Maison de la photographie Robert Doisneau: Pentti Sammallahti (Arianna – Gentilly). Jeu de Paume: Susan Meiselas (Arianna – Paris). Borsa Valori: World Press Photo Award Exhibition 2018 (Arianna – Torino). Fondation Louis Vuitton: Jean-Michel Basquiat – Egon Schiele (Arianna – Paris). Monnaie de Paris: Grayson Perry (Iris – Paris).

Settembre/Ottobre

Carrera Bikes, Arvier, Aosta, Lucio Dalla, Konstanz, Flaked, sophrologie, gruyer, Neuchatel Xamax, qualche posizione yoga qua e là, Giovanni Allevi, Radio France Culture, NIP Radio, Saint Ouen, soldatini di piombo dipinti a mano, Gore Vidal and William Buckley Junior.