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The Miraculous

The Miraculous: Music

31. The 1980s, various locations

Upon being told by his manager that under no circumstances can he continue to go onstage wearing spandex pants without underwear, a young musician begins performing in nothing more than a trench coat, black high-heeled boots and black bikini underwear.

The Miraculous: Music

32. 1940 to the present, Łódž, Poland; New York; the U.K.; Saugerties, NY 

What happened in Łódź two months before her birth: the Germans forced 160,000 Jewish and Roma inhabitants into an area of the city—a new ghetto—far too small for that many people.

The Miraculous: Music

33. 1841, Dijon; 1908, Paris, 1908

While waiting for his first book to appear, an impoverished 34-year-old poet succumbs to tuberculosis. When, a year and a half later, the volume is finally published it sells only 20 copies. To make matters worse the text is bristling with errors, most of which will not be corrected for nearly a century.

The Miraculous: Music

34. 1974, Manila

After studies in Paris with the leading French pianist of the time (who, alas, is soon to begin collaborating with the Vichy regime, a decision that will forever shadow him), a young Filipino pianist returns to his home country to begin a successful career as a soloist.

The Miraculous: Music

35. February 11, 1963, 23 Fitzroy Road and 3 Abbey Road, London

It’s the nation’s coldest winter in more than 200 years. Much of the country is covered in snow from December until March. Everything freezes, from water pipes to monumental fountains to streams and rivers. Travel is disrupted, food stocks begin to run low, a regional newspaper reports with dismay that two swans have been found frozen to death on a nearby river.


The Brooklyn Rail

DEC 22–JAN 23

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