Arts & Culture


Call Me From the Grave
Music and lyrics by Charlie Romano ’19; book by Harold Hodge Jr (soundtrack,  
This 20-song soundtrack for a musical-in-progress, inspired by legendary soul-selling bluesman Robert Johnson, is unexpectedly buoyant and big-hearted for such a Faustian affair. It mixes traditional musical theater styles with blues and gospel: songs of hope and sacrifice (“Soul Ain’t Free”), songs for the Devil (“Some Deals Can’t Be Undone”), and a “Gossip Chorus.” The recordings provide a smooth, confident blues theater experience that makes you want to see Call Me go further. Are there angels for this show that costars the Devil?

Max Jacob: A Life in Art and Letters 
Rosanna Warren ’76
(W. W. Norton, $45)
When aspiring painter and writer Warren first discovered the early-twentieth-century French poet Max Jacob, during a research stint in Paris, she had never heard of him. But she learned that this friend of Picasso and other Modernist luminaries “helped to reinvent poetry.” The find led to “une biographie involontaire,” a project that took some three decades of scholarship. “It was a case of possession,” says Warren, who brings to vibrant life an overlooked contributor to “the creation of modern French literature” and culture.

Diving Deep: The Life and Times of Mike deGruy
Produced by Mimi Armstrong deGruy ’79
(82-minute documentary,
Deep-sea cinematographer Mike deGruy had an ocean-sized enthusiasm for underwater exploration. He rubbed shoulders with the likes of James Cameron and David Attenborough, who testify to his talent here. He’s a natural for docu-mentary treatment—but this one, a years-long labor of love by his wife and producing partner Mimi Armstrong deGruy, is a posthumous tribute. Diving Deep has played at film festivals and been released on video-on-demand platforms (Apple TV, Amazon, Vimeo). Hear deGruy explain his strategy for filming killer whales in their killing zones, and watch as sea lions swim warily behind him, clearly fearing for the intrepid human’s safety.
Dbury@50: The Complete Digital Doonesbury
G. B. Trudeau ’70, ’73MFA
(Andrews McMeel, $125)
Over 50 years, Garry Trudeau transformed a shaggy comic strip satirizing college life into a Dickensian, millennium-spanning saga with dozens of complex characters who have grown up and grown old. Not that he ever forgot Walden College: President King (an exception to the growing-old part) was still on the job in 2019, and Mike Doonesbury chaired a class reunion on Zoom last year. This anniversary package offers a 224-page book surveying the decades of strips, plus nearly all of the 15,500 or so post-Yale Doonesbury cartoons—on a flash drive attached to a lanyard. (OK boomer.)

The Love Proof: A Novel 
Madeleine Henry ’14
(Atria/Simon and Schuster, $17) 
When a brilliant physics prodigy named Sophie Jones begins her Yale undergrad career, she is granted something unprecedented: a one-on-one tutorial with physics professor Peter Malchik. Together, they might find “the keys to the universe” and a way to know, through a controversial notion called block theory, the “answers to everything,” even the nature of time itself. But in this smart exploration of head and heart, a first-year named Jake derails Sophie’s plans—until their love and loss finds a new, unexpected expression in world-moving equations and beyond.

Amarica’s Constitution
Akhil Reed Amar ’80, ’84JD, Sterling Professor of Law and Political Science, and Andrew Lipka ’78
(podcast at, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, others) 
January 20, 2021, was notable not only for an inauguration, but also for the start of this weekly podcast: an in-depth, entertaining exploration of constitutional issues of our time, including succession, sedition, and impeachment. Guests include Bob Woodward ’65, Nina Totenberg, and many scholars. The glue that holds it all together is the banter between Amar—a leading constitu-tional expert—and Lipka, a retired ophthal-mologist and constitutional sleuth.

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