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Kati Marton´s Paris Love Story

Paris: A Love Story is a contest between a city and a state (of mind) over which one will become the main subject. Kati Marton’s new book doubles as a valentine to the French capital and a réquiem for Paris a Love Storyheartbreak and loss. 

The author and newswoman first lived in Paris as a student during the turbulent 60s. She would subsequently return during marriages to the late anchorman Peter Jennings and diplomat Richard Holbrooke.

It was her grief over Holbrooke’s death in 2010 that moved her to write this memoir, as a catharsis. Anyone who has lost so much as a cat will recognize the slow-motion of mourning and rewind of surrender as her memories flicker and glow.  

By no means are these all home movies. Some of the most poignant passages replay Marton’s career as a foreign correspondent for ABC News. Though her rocky relationship with Jennings culminated in divorce in 1994, it also scaled ecstatic highs. For all of his insecurities – and attempts to clip her wings – per Marton, her ABC boss and father of her two children also joined her in romantic quests for headline news.

The daughter of two Hungarian reporters has journalism in her blood. katimartonBorn in Budapest in 1949, she and her family fled to America following the 1956 uprising. Marton recalls the childhood trauma of returning home to find her parents gone; she later learned that they were jailed on false charges of espionage.

Later still, she would discover that her parents were Holocaust survivors. Having been raised Roman Catholic, Marton was stunned to discover her own Jewish roots. Several of her books reflect a deep curiosity about her heritage, including Enemies of the People, about Marton's parents, and The Great Escape, about nine Hungarian Jews who escaped Hitler to become influential world figures.

At 63, she still cops to having a “Hungarian temper,” which calm, sturdy Holbrooke apparently knew how to handle. The then Ambassador to Germany plied his diplomatic skills from their earliest courtship. Swanning into Paris at Christmastime of 1993 as she was leaving Jennings, he swanned out -- with her -- to Chartres and the Loire Valley castles. Five days and many history chats later, the two were clutching hands. She writes of their developing bond, "He said that he had waited a long time for me, and I was for him, and that was that."

Over 17 years of marriage, they would gallivant across continents, nestle in Paris and entertain world luminaries in New York, where Holbrooke was U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. As a special envoy for Bill Clinton, he even brought Marton to the Dayton talks concluding the Bosnian War -- and seated her at dinner between antagonists Milosevic and Alija Izetbegovic.

Time and physical separation would take a toll on the perfect couple. Kati admitted to having a brief Holbrookeaffair while researching The Great Escape in Hungary. Ever cool in crisis, Holbrooke stayed the course and they forged a new bond. When not in the same airspace, the two would regularly reconnoitre by phone, including during his stint as U.S. special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan.

It was one of these long-distance calls that would thrust her into the saddest chapter of her Parisian love story. The seemingly invincible Holbrooke reached Marton from an ambulance hurtling toward a hospital in Washington, D.C., where he had just collapsed. “I feel a pain I have never felt,” he told her in fear. “I am on my way!” she assured him. “Those were my last words to Richard.”

The book opens with a near blow-by-blow account of this calamity and the events leading up to it. While few readers will have garnered sympathy from the likes of Hillary Clinton or Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, Marton relays their caring in a way that invites all to share in the shock.

Whether writing Paris helped its bereaved author to heal is unclear. What's certain is her message: "We'll always have Paris." 

Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art Re-Opens with New Partner

society of illustratorsIn July The Museum of Cartoon and Comic Art (MoCCA) shut down their SoHo location at 594 Broadway that they had occupied since 2001, leaving people to speculate what would be the future for the prestigious organization and the MoCCA Fest.

It has been recently been announced by Society of Illustrators Executive Director Anelle Miller that MoCCA’s assets have been transferred to the Society of Illustrators and that MoCCA will now share a space with the Society at 128 E. 63 Street. MoCCA will continue the programming it is known for, including master classes MoCCA Thursday Events and MoCCA Fest.

The Society will curate a special exhibition of works from MoCCA’s permanent collection in their Hall of Fame Gallery (on display March 5 - May 4, 2013), which will run in conjunction with a major exhibit, The Comic Art of Harvey Kurtzman.

The Society of Illustrators was formed in 1901 and has honored illustrators such as

Will Eisner
Milton Caniff
Al Capp
Mort Walker
Winsor McCay
Rube Goldberg
Al Jaffee

MoCCA President Ellen Abramowitz stated, “The Society of Illustrators is the perfect fit for MoCCA and its members. MoCCA’s fundamental principles will continue to be guided by the steady hand of the Society and its terrific staff. The two organizations are a wonderful match, where attendees, members, and fans will have it all under one roof in New York City. To be welcomed into the home of celebrated artists and publishers by a first-rate organization will serve to ensure that the foundation upon which MoCCA was built will continue to have a bright future.”

Here’s hoping that MoCCA can continue to be one of the foremost organizations exhibiting and fostering the work of animators and comic artists with their new partner.

To learn more, go to

The Society of Illustrators
128 E. 63 Street
New York, NY 10065

"Hatufim" and the Journey to "Homeland"

Not since Steve McQueen rode his motorcycle out of Stalag Luft III in the 1963 wartime epic The Great Escape has the fate of POWs so intoxicated the senses.Prisoners of War

Now that Hulu is streaming the hit Israeli TV drama Hatufim -- about soldiers who return to their native Israel after being held hostage in Lebanon and Syria for 17 years -- American viewers are discovering the addictive properties of the series on which Showtime's Golden Globes winner Homeland is drawn.

Read more: "Hatufim" and the Journey to...

Film Review: Armadillo

Directed by Janus Metz and Lars Skree
Written by Kasper Torsting

In February 2009 a group of Danish soldiers, accompanied by documentary filmmaker Janus Metz with cinematographer Lars Skree, arrived at Armadillo, a Forward Operating Base (FOB) army camp in the south Afghan province of Helmand.

The result is this tense, brilliantly edited, and visually sophisticated mirror of the psychology of young men in the midst of a vaguely defined war whose victims seem to be primarily local villagers and farmers. The gritty war drama justly won the Grand Prix de la Semaine de la Critique at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival.

The handsome, tattooed and unblemished soldiers each try to come to terms with waking every day to the realities of being in a terrain of rubble, faced with lethal enemies they rarely see except via overhead drone transmission, green screen computer paradigms and the hasty exits of women and children fleeing their villages in advance of what they know to be gunfights ahead.

Read more: Film Review: Armadillo

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