Nice Guys Finish First

By Alex Belth The Stacks Reader June 18, 2020 The spotlight never seemed to find Bill Gildea, but he was one of the best whether it was in sports or Style at the Washington Post. He was quiet, slyly funny and as good a guy as  you could hope to meet. On a staff full...

The Stacks Chat: Derek Cianfrance

By Alex Belth The Stacks Reader May 20, 2020 When you watch a movie by Derek Cianfrance you know you are witnessing something deeply personal. No mistaking that. There is nothing light or frivolous in his work. Best known for his features Blue Valentine, A Place...

Remembering Gil Schwartz (and Stanley Bing)

By Alex Belth The Stacks Reader May 4, 2020 Let’s take a moment to celebrate the one and only Gil Schwartz who passed away a couple of days ago. Some of his grief-stricken pals were kind enough to offer some of their memories and we are the richer for it. Take it...

Don’t Sweat the Technique

By Alex Belth The Stacks Reader April 23, 2020 John Huston was thirty-five when he made his directorial debut with The Maltese Falcon. He was 81 when he directed his last movie, The Dead. Which begs the question—has any director had a better start and finish? When...

Attention Must Be Paid

By Alex Belth The Stacks Reader April 22, 2020 Most of us by now know someone who has died from COVID-19. I want to pay tribute to a victim of the virus. He lived in my building. Meyer was a short man with lively eyes. He was very old and irresistible. As a child,...

The Essential Ron Rosenbaum: Part One

By Alex Belth The Stacks Reader April 20, 2020 Ron Rosenbaum is in the pantheon of great non-fiction writers alongside Wolfe, Didion, Trillin, Talese, and Thompson. He’s been a newspaper columnist, a virtuoso magazine feature and profile writer, and author of...

The Stacks Illustrated

By Alex Belth The Stacks Reader April 16, 2020 You can add Jeffrey Smith to the list of illustrators we admire—a group that includes Robert Weaver, Jim McMullan, Robert Giusti, and Julian Allen. Smith is prolific and terrific as you can see for yourself at his...

The Man Who Wrote the “Citizen Kane” of Celebrity Profiles

By Alex Belth The Stacks Reader April 13, 2020 O’Connell Driscoll is a great name for a writer, the kind of byline that sticks. Trouble is bylines are easily forgotten and the history of magazine writing is littered with terrific writers who are neglected and Driscoll...

Robert Giusti: An Illustrator’s Life

By Alex Belth The Stacks Reader April 11, 2020 Last summer, I spent a few hours with the illustrator Robert Giusti at his beautiful home. Just a terrific, unpretentious guy—and great company—Giusti did a lot of magazine work in the ’70s and ’80s, but his most famous...

Forever John Prine

By John Schulian The Stacks Reader April 8, 2020 When I heard that John Prine lay dying in a Nashville hospital, I couldn’t help wondering if he had found time beforehand to fill out his 2020 census questionnaire. It was hardly the kind of reverent thought the moment...

The Only Thing We Know For Sure is The Present Tense

By Alex Belth The Stacks Reader March 22, 2020 In the early nineties, I went to the Museum of Broadcasting (now the Paley Center For Media) with my friend Mary Lou to watch Dennis Potter’s final TV interview with Melyn Bragg. Potter was dying and during the interview...

R.I.P. The Best American Sports Writing

By Kevin Koczwara The Stacks Reader February 2, 2020 The calm and quiet of upstate Vermont—past Burlington and Winooski, almost to the border of sleepy Canada, but before Montreal—is where Glenn Stout calls home. The world stops there. Or so it seems. The pace of life...