Blog Posts by Holly Bailey

  • Problem-plagued New Jersey Senate campaign mars Booker's political ascent

    CLIFFSIDE PARK, N.J. — Cory Booker’s bid for New Jersey’s U.S. Senate seat had been considered an easy steppingstone to the national political stage, another ambitious step in what has been his stratospheric rise into the upper echelon of the Democratic Party.

    But a race that was supposed to be a cakewalk for the 44-year-old Newark mayor has been anything but — hijacked by strange tales including Booker’s Twitter messaging with a vegan stripper and his possible invention of a drug dealer friend named T-Bone often cited in his stump speech. Also damaging were stories about how he’d personally profited off being one of the most famous mayors in America — including more than $1 million in speaking fees that he had not previously disclosed.

    Republican opponent Steve Lonegan has seized on Booker's missteps to portray him as a political opportunist who is more concerned with his own ambition than in New Jersey residents. He argues that Newark has not improved under Booker's tenure — pointing

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  • Photographs capture the lost art of film projection

    New York photographer Joseph O. Holmes has always been fascinated by people and the space they inhabit.

    While at a movie theater with his wife two years ago, Holmes glanced back and saw a face peek through the tiny window of the projectionist booth. He was suddenly curious about who worked there and what the room might look like, especially since it was off-limits to the public.

    A few days later, he called up a theater in Brooklyn and got permission to photograph its projection booth. The dark room was cluttered with film reels, an editing table with tools used to splice film together and movie memorabilia.

    “I fell in love with the space. It’s sort of this grungy, cluttered place, a fascinating space,” Holmes recalled. “What I didn’t know is that it was going to be gone.”

    Holmes had unknowingly been documenting what is increasingly a lost art form as movie theaters around the country convert from film to digital projectors. The staples of the movie theater booth — including the

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  • For a cancer patient, the government shutdown may be a matter of life or death

    Leo Finn was diagnosed with a rare form of bile duct cancer in February. He tried chemotherapy, but the cancer quickly spread to his liver and into his bones. 

    Finn’s doctor at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston suggested he try cabozantinib, a drug that had successfully treated thyroid cancer but had not yet been tested on other forms of cancer. The Buzzards Bay, Mass., resident and father of three had been scheduled to undergo tests this week to get the drug, as a part of a new clinical trial overseen by the National Institutes of Health. But the trial was put on hold Tuesday because of the government shutdown.

    A website operated by NIH and the Food and Drug Administration where new patients must first enroll before receiving the drug had ceased operations because of the shutdown.

    Finn is just one of potentially hundreds of patients around the country who have been turned away by NIH this week because of the shutdown. A spokeswoman for the agency estimated that about 200

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  • Federal shutdown closes Statue of Liberty and other top tourist sites

    NEW YORK — JoAnn Wilson had been planning her trip to the Statue of Liberty since March, when she and a friend booked plane tickets to travel from Seattle to the East Coast. But when they traveled to lower Manhattan Tuesday morning to board a ferry to Liberty Island, the women were met with two major disappointments.

    First they were scammed by a man who was selling what they later learned from police were counterfeit tickets to the Liberty Island ferry. Then they saw the signs that the Statue of Liberty was closed until further notice, along with thousands of other national attractions, because of the federal government shutdown. Visitors could still take a $24 cruise to circle the island, but the statue was off limits.

    “It’s incredibly disappointing,” Wilson said, adding that she had been vaguely familiar with the looming threat of a government shutdown but didn’t realize it would directly affect a vacation she had planned for months.

    Wilson’s frustration was echoed across the

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  • Documentary tells the real story of the man who inspired 'Dog Day Afternoon'

    Of all the crazy crime stories in New York, it remains one of the craziest.

    On Aug. 22, 1972, John Wojtowicz, a 27-year-old Vietnam vet, along with a friend, an 18-year-old ex-con named Salvatore Naturale, tried to rob a Chase Manhattan bank in Brooklyn when their getaway driver fled and the cops showed up.

    The robbery, which later inspired Sidney Lumet’s 1975 film “Dog Day Afternoon,” had been Wojtowicz’s idea. He wanted the money to help the man he called his wife pay for a $3,000 sex change operation. The botched holdup resulted in a 14-hour hostage standoff with police and was an instant news sensation, thanks in part to the mix of crime and sexuality as well as Wojtowicz’s larger-than-life personality.

    The robbery ended violently, with Naturale shot dead during a getaway attempt and Wojtowicz sent to prison. Four years later, Al Pacino was nominated for an Academy Award for “Dog Day Afternoon,” a role that was based on Wojtowicz.

    After a viewing of “Dog Day Afternoon” several

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  • CNN, NBC scrap Hillary Clinton films

    Two planned films about Hillary Clinton were scrapped within hours of each other Monday, amid claims from one director that interview subjects had been intimidated by Clinton aides who didn't want to see the project move forward.

    CNN Films canceled a planned documentary about Clinton Monday morning after Charles Ferguson, the project’s director, abruptly dropped out of the project and said the Clinton camp had pressured people not to talk to him.

    Hours later, NBC followed suit, announcing it would scrap a planned fictional miniseries about the former first lady and secretary of state that had been set to star actress Diane Lane. In a statement to Deadline, NBC said it had nixed its Clinton miniseries "after reviewing and prioritizing our slate of movie/mini-series development" — but offered no further explanation.

    Ferguson, who had been tapped earlier this year to direct the CNN film, wrote in a piece published on The Huffington Post that he had decided to cancel the documentary

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  • Hillary Clinton isn't talking about 2016, but hints of a presidential run are there

    NEW YORK — It was one of the most anticipated events of the Clinton Global Initiative’s annual meeting in New York: a panel on “women decision-makers” headlined by Hillary Clinton.

    But 45 minutes into the event Wednesday, the former secretary of state still hadn’t appeared on stage — and reporters who had descended in droves on the meeting to look for clues about her political future were starting to wonder if they had wasted their time.

    Clinton finally arrived 10 minutes before the session was set to end. And once there, she offered no guidance on her political plans — announcing instead she would lead an effort to evaluate women’s progress around the world to coincide with the 20th anniversary of a United Nations conference on women’s rights held in Beijing in 1995.

    That conference marked a pivotal moment in Clinton’s rise as a recognized champion of women’s rights around the world — a moment when, as first lady, she spoke out more forcefully against the abuse of women and girls in

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  • At the Clinton Global Initiative, a day of policy, celebrities and political intrigue

    NEW YORK — The man lingered for minutes, whispering to a colleague and motioning toward a woman with a slight nod of his head. He moved closer and slyly held up his iPhone, squinting at the screen. He snapped a photo when he thought no one was looking.

    The man made a more assertive move moments later, tentatively tapping the woman on the shoulder.

    “Goldie,” the man stammered in a heavily French accent. “Goldie, I really admire the philanthropic work you do.”

    The actress Goldie Hawn whirled around. She was dressed in tight gray jeans and a black tank top — Southern California chic on a cool New York day. “Oh,” she cheerfully told the man, “thank you.”

    “I really do,” the man said. “Um ... would you take a picture with me?”

    Hawn obliged and posed for several.

    It was a scene that played out several times on Tuesday on the opening day of the Clinton Global Initiative’s annual meeting in New York — former President Bill Clinton’s annual confab focused on the do-gooder projects his

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  • Grieving families of marathon bombing victims face question of life or death for Tsarnaev

    There are moments when Lillian Campbell still believes her granddaughter, Krystle, might walk through her front door, with her bright blue eyes, radiant smile and easy laugh.

    But that feeling is inevitably followed by the dark realization that Campbell will never see her granddaughter again. Krystle Campbell, 29, was one of the three people killed when two bombs ripped through the crowds packed near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on April 15 — causing her family a level of grief they are still struggling to deal with five months later.

    “You just feel pain,” Lillian Campbell said. “Her mother and father aren’t coping too well. None of us are. We’ll never forget her, and we’ll never forget what happened, but the steady reminder of it, in the news and people talking about it, it’s almost too much for us sometimes.”

    Compounding that grief for the Campbell family and others affected by the bombing is the question of whether suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev should face the death penalty if

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  • Art inspired by how the brain sees

    New York artist Devorah Sperber had been carving sculptures out of substances like volcanic rock, limestone and alabaster when a digital photo of one of her past works suddenly provided new inspiration.

    It was the mid-1990s — the early days of digital photography — and Sperber was captivated by how her three-dimensional sculpture had been transformed into what she once described as pixels of “digital nothingness.”

    The photo prompted Sperber to consider how the brain makes sense of what it sees and motivated her to pursue a different kind of sculpture-making, one that explores the relationship between art, technology and how the human mind processes information.

    Since then, Sperber has deconstructed famous images of art and pop culture like Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” by using thousands of pieces of ordinary objects, including spools of thread, pen caps, tacks, beads and Swarovski crystals.

    The result is manually pixelated art, abstractions that look familiar but only become clear when

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