“But amid all of that, very little has been said or written about what happens when people go off Prozac. Even the medical literature on the subject is scant: there’s some discussion of plateaus and rebound effects, a smattering of articles about how people who return to drugs like Prozac after a prolonged period without it don’t always get the same effect from it. But there’s not much more. So along with feeling irritable and sad, I feel at sea. What’s life without Prozac supposed to be like? What happens? And what can people who’ve given it up tell us about how this stuff really works?”
Character study | 15 years ago | March 1, 1991 | Carolyn Clay considered Wendy Wasserstein.
“... Wasserstein sketched the appearance of Janie Blumberg, her alter ego in the 1981 play Isn’t It Romantic, thus: ‘a little kooky, a little sweet, a little unconfident — all of which some might call creative, or even witty.’ Janie herself, taking in the power-dressed-for-success appearance of a friend, puts it more bluntly: ‘You look like a Vermeer and I look like an extra in Potemkin.’ Sure enough, no one will mistake Pulitzer Prize–winning playwright Wasserstein for a Vermeer. With her wide grin, frazzled curls, and tailored-but-by-whom look, she’s closer to Potemkin.
“Moreover, with the much-remarked-upon girlish giggle that could break glass, the playwright recalls another alter ego, Uncommon Women and Others’ Holly Kaplan, who ‘alternates between being a spectator and a spectacle.’ Somewhere in Wasserstein, though, there lurks the ‘serious good person’ who is Heidi Holland, feminist-art-historian heroine of The Heidi Chronicles, who finds herself beached on the ’80s after riding the wave of the ’60s and ’70s.
“Not that she’ll admit it. ‘I actually tried to write a play that wasn’t autobiographical,’ says Wasserstein in the demure, thoughtful voice that seems to tiptoe across a question, stumbling, oh, every few sentences, into that minefield of a giggle. ‘That’s why Heidi is this nice girl from the Midwest and an academic.’ Wasserstein, on the other hand, is a nice girl from the Upper East Side, who, prior to the rather remarkable success of The Heidi Chronicles, was best known as the scribe who threw the party (Uncommon Women) that brought together the then-little-known Glenn Close, Swoosie Kurtz, Jill Eikenberry, and (in the play’s 1978 PBS incarnation) Meryl Streep.”
Long live the king | 20 years ago | March 4, 1986 | Joyce Millman chronicled Elvis Costello’s success in the US.
“Nine years ago, when Declan MacManus took ‘Elvis Costello’ as his nom de disque and proclaimed elvis is king all over the cover of his gloriously nervy debut, My Aim is True, it seemed like a brash and scrappy dance on Elvis Presley’s still warm grave, an unceremonious burial of the lumbering elephant rock and roll had become, the pop-cultural reascendency of a feral Britain over a complacent America. And yet it wasn’t long before Costello was rampaging through the USA heartily partaking of the all-Americanisms that surly, ahistorical punks were supposed to find so boring. He sang with George Jones and offered to write Frank Sinatra a few tunes; he showed up on Saturday Night Live, TheTonight Show, and Letterman; he recorded tributes to Stax and Nashville and Rodgers and Hart; he had a fling at his own Viva Las Vegas! — a cameo in the stinker Americathon — and a fling with America’s girl-next-door groupie, Bebe Buell.