info 12.14.12

William H. Seward
the skint

THE MORNING LINE Easily our favorite holiday album this year (and maybe any year): Tracey Thorn's Tinsel and Lights. Half of Everything But the Girl, Thorn has one of the great voices in pop music and does melancholy like nobody's business. Here she sings standards (Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas), Joni Mitchell, Sufjan Stevens, and two songs she wrote for the album, including the title song, an ode to a New York Christmas of her youth.

Among the interesting aspects of Spielberg's Lincoln is the reminder of William Seward's critical role in that administration and, indeed, in the history of the country.

He was a New York Governor and Senator, Lincoln and Johnson's Secretary of State, and a staunch abolitionist. He used his home as a safe haven for runaway slaves as part of the Underground Railroad. And he was a good friend to Harriet Tubman, providing a house for her to settle in his hometown of Auburn, NY.

It was Seward, too, who advocated the purchase of Alaska from Russia. As you recall from your history classes, it was dubbed 'Seward's Folly' since it seemed like such a loopy idea at the time.

Though he was a one-time rival of Lincoln's and, at first, no fan, Seward eventually became Lincoln's close friend and trusted adviser.

In Madison Square Park, there's a statue of Seward by Randolph Rogers. It is said to be the first monument in the city honoring a public figure. The work is very similar to Rogers' earlier Lincoln sculpture in Philly's Fairmount Park—some say Madison Square Park has Lincoln's body with Seward's head. Seward Park is in the Lower East Side.

You can visit his home in Auburn, now a museum. Details are here. And to learn more about Seward, you can't do better than Walter Stahr's biography, published in September, Seward – Lincoln's Indispensable Man.

skint - adj. british slang (1930-35)
lacking funds, broke, bust, stone-broke, impecunious

Around town this weekend, courtesy of the skint: a daily listing of free and cheap things to buy, see, do and eat in New York.

fri 6pm: the trinity youth chorus performs its annual concert of benjamin britten's a ceremony of carols, followed by audience caroling. free.

sat 11am-5:35pm: free cookies! the momofuku milk bar truck hands out thousands of cookies at four stops in manhattan + two in brooklyn.

sat 1pm: dozens of writers and performers read at the what the dickens? third annual a christmas carol marathon at housing works: scott adsit, lev grossman, john hodgman, emma straub, justin taylor, baratunde thurston, more. free.

sat 5:30pm: alan cumming appears in person for a q+a following a screening of his new film any day now. fslc, $13.

sat 8pm-midnight: things are going to get hot at the skint's winterland romp holiday party with sweaty old jazz from the hot sardines, seasonal serenades from maya solovey, burlesque from the ivory fox and miss coney island 2011 lefty lucy, a visit from the chanukah elf, a free photo booth with props, and $5 'rosy cheeks' punch all night. littlefield, $10 adv.


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