...For South Williamsburg’s Hasids, Traif Bike Gesheft functions as a semi-secret window onto the larger world and a clubhouse of mild transgressions. Herzfeld rents bikes to Hasids at no cost, just to get them to venture beyond the neighborhood. (Among Satmars, bicycles are not specifically disallowed but are considered taboo nonetheless.) Inside the shop, otherwise righteous men let down their guard. Tongues loosen. "The men, they don’t know how to have a conversation with a woman," Herzfeld explains, talking a mile a minute. "Whenever they come to the bike shop, the first thing they ask me to find them a prostitute. I tell them, look, you’re searching for answers. You’re not going to find them in the vagina of a woman you’re paying $200 an hour. If you want to meet somebody, you need to step outside of the community, you need to get a hobby. Come over, and I’ll teach you how to fix a bike. So the bike shop is a kind of outreach program." A friend of Herzfeld’s also uses the shop to slip Hasids traif books like The Catcher in the Rye and The Great Gatsby....And bad reviews for a book and movie. You have to publish an occasional bad review... but perverse? Yann Martel's new "disappointing and often perverse novel" about the Holocaust reviewed in Books of The Times, From ‘Life of Pi’ Author, Stuffed-Animal Allegory About Holocaust, by MICHIKO KAKUTANI
(Which brings us to mention parenthetically a blog post on, Π and Other Precise Measurements in Halachah.)
And finally a detailed pan in New Yorker for Ed Norton in a movie "Leaves of Grass":
...To adopt the movie’s classical terminology, the Apollonian and the Dionysian temperaments are digitally joined in an agon. Tim Blake Nelson, who wrote and directed “Leaves of Grass,” combines the two Nortons in ways that look natural enough. They argue, talking over each other’s words, horse around, and fight. The movie is a showcase for digital technology and for Norton’s virtuosity, but I wish it weren’t such a weightless shambles. Nelson can’t seem to find the right tone; he veers from backwoods comedy to nervously unhinged violence to earnest talk of poetry and the meaning of life. Born Jewish in Tulsa (his maternal grandparents escaped the Nazis), Nelson has some heavy fun with his community. He makes Dreyfuss’s drug lord (who fronts as a businessman) a fierce Jewish supporter of Israel—his office walls are lined with pictures of Menachem Begin and other Israeli leaders. And Nelson throws in a foolish Jewish orthodontist (Josh Pais), who tries to blackmail both brothers, and accidentally kills someone. There’s no reason that Jews shouldn’t be treated as comically as anyone else in the movies, but the scenes are so crudely directed that they’re more embarrassing than funny. Recitations of Walt Whitman and a few encounters with a lovely teacher and poet (Keri Russell) begin to quicken the professor, but the movie, for all its high-culture flourishes, feels stale. The mix of cornpone shenanigans and intellectualism lands Nelson in Coen Brothers territory, and I never thought that I’d miss their brutally mocking tone so much. Edward Norton needs to put himself not only in the hands of a good writer but of a good director, too...