Ada Calhoun

A Little Obsessed With Davy Rothbart

Posted in Ada, Freelance, Writing by Ada Calhoun on September 18, 2013

Here’s an essay I wrote for MadeMan about my Davy Rothbart obsession.


After reading Davy Rothbart’s hyper-sincere, haplessly romantic 2012 essay collection My Heart is an Idiot (out this month in paperback), I developed intense, confusing feelings for Davy Rothbart. I became moony, overly invested, and a little like, well, Davy Rothbart himself is in his book. I wanted to talk to people about him, but I also didn’t, because I was afraid someone more sophisticated than me would say, “Oh, not Davy Rothbart.” And then I would wind up feeling weird about Davy Rothbart and hating that person.

Read the rest here: Davy Rothbart, Jack Kerouac 2.0.

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For Al Jazeera: Sagging Pants, I Heart Boobies, and Borgata Babes

Posted in Ada, Freelance, Writing by Ada Calhoun on September 13, 2013

Yoon S. Byun/The Boston Globe/Getty via

Here’s a feature I wrote for Al Jazeera America: “Fashion Police are No Joke in Some Cities, Schools.”

“What other people wear makes people nervous,” said Ruthann Robson, author of the new book Dressing Constitutionally: Hierarchy, Sexuality, and Democracy from Our Hairstyles to Our Shoes. “They try to legislate it or make arrests based on it, and then — BLAM! — lots of work for constitutional lawyers.”

Read the whole story here.

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Tim Gunn’s Fashion Bible Now Out In Paperback!

Posted in Ada, Writing by Ada Calhoun on September 7, 2013
Out now in paperback!

Out now in paperback!

Look what I found in my Project Runway Finale Fashion Show gift bag: the hot-off-the-presses paperback of our sweeping fashion history!

In case you missed that part of NY Fashion Week, here’s the book on Amazon for just $12!

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NYTM Lives: City Kid in the Suburbs

Posted in Ada, Freelance, Writing by Ada Calhoun on August 23, 2013

mag-25Lives-t_CA0-articleInlineI have an essay in this Sunday’s New York Times Magazine Lives column: “Falling for Sprawl“:

One preteen summer, I was sent by my parents to Kent, Ohio, to spend a few days with my cousins, Jessica and Anna. They were close to my age and looked like me: Norwegian, with blond hair and blue eyes. They, and their parents, a dental hygienist and geographer, were warm and easygoing. And yet, when I arrived at their cozy two-story house, it felt like touching down on an alien planet.

Read the whole thing here.

The NYTM’s 6th Floor Blog also asked me to blog about the best writing advice I ever got. I confess that my entire career is a revenge fantasy.

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Glamour Interview with James Deen

Posted in Ada, Freelance, Writing by Ada Calhoun on August 8, 2013

This is totally him talking to me on the phone. Read the interview here.

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The View Out My Window Growing Up

Posted in Ada by Ada Calhoun on August 8, 2013
The View Out My Window Growing Up


Have any stories about St. Marks Place for my history of the street? Please email me at

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NYT Op-Ed: Why Isn’t Mother Teresa a Saint?

Posted in Ada, Writing by Ada Calhoun on July 13, 2013
Arianna Vairo/New York Times

Arianna Vairo/New York Times


My vow to do nothing but work on my book while on this residency lasted exactly 48 hours, at which point I woke up in the middle of the night and wrote an op-ed on Mother Teresa.

I’m left to wonder if it’s something about Mother Teresa herself that has caused her bid for sainthood to stall. In a book of letters published posthumously, “Come Be My Light,” she wrote: “Jesus has a very special love for you. As for me, the silence and the emptiness is so great that I look and do not see, listen and do not hear.” Some atheists gleefully latched onto those remarks as a confession of doubt. But that book endeared her even more to others, including me. The fact that she felt doubt but continued to do so much (even if it wasn’t everything imaginable by Western standards) was inspiring to those of us who struggle to muster basic human kindness when we haven’t had enough coffee.

Read the whole thing here.

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MacDowell Colony, July 2013

Posted in Ada by Ada Calhoun on July 9, 2013

outline-bookHere’s what I’m doing for the next two weeks: outlining my book in index cards, in a cabin in the woods of New Hampshire. Index cards make my editor happy.

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2013 Oasis Grant for Research at St. Mark’s Church

Posted in Ada by Ada Calhoun on June 8, 2013

2013 Oasis Grant

Thank you, Oasis Commission, for the 2013 Oasis Grant! I’m so grateful for another excuse to hang out in the St. Mark’s Church archive, one of the most interesting places in New York.

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New York Times Book Review: The Village

Posted in Ada, Freelance, Writing by Ada Calhoun on May 31, 2013

Christine Walker/NYTBR

When I was in high school and interning at SPIN circa 1993, I dated musician guys who would read The New York Press while eating borscht at Veselka and ignoring their younger non-girlfriends. Now I get to review a book by the guy who wrote (if memory serves) that entire paper. 

Here’s a little of the review (in the New York Times Book Review‘s Summer Reading issue, of  John Strausbaugh’s The Village): Hail, hail, the gang’s all here: a galaxy of scoundrels, artists and geniuses commingle in John Strausbaugh’s ambitious 600-plus-page history of Greenwich Village. Strausbaugh …turns a collection of stories and profiles into something less like a textbook than a party spinning happily out of control.

Read the rest here. And note how I can’t help shilling for Dawn Powell, there or here: Quick, everyone buy Turn, Magic Wheel!

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