From Performance Art to Conflict Journalism

In the new issue of Smithsonian magazine: a great profile of Molly Crabapple.

MollyCrabappleTwitterPicJennifer Caban covers the Middle East with the same sort of ingenuity and spirit that animated Nellie Bly, Djuna Barnes and Martha Gelhorn. Although her byline displays a different name.

In the April issue of Smithsonian magazine, there is a wonderful profile of Molly Crabapple, who contributes to a variety of outlets and has also been celebrated for her drawings. So how did she get that name? Article author Ron Rosenbaum found that out and more when he paid a visit to her New York abode:

Most people don’t think of Wall Street as a residential neighborhood, but there are still a few small, scattered centuries-old apartment buildings bravely weathering the floods that battered financial district skyscrapers. The location of Crabapple’s apartment, on a narrow street chastely named Maiden Lane, not far from the famous bronze bull, turned out to be the catalyst for a turning point in her life…

She reincarnated herself more than once, evolving from art student to artist’s model to performer and impresario of a kind of underground bohemian performance-art burlesque/circus scene in downtown New York. An ex-boyfriend chose the name “Molly Crabapple” for her. “He said it fit my personality,” she says, laughing.

The name is a long way from Far Rockaway and Long Island, where Caban grew up. In the article, she also revisits the turning point she dubbed “Week in Hell” and how it led to a new assignment in the neighborhood, Occupy Wall Street.

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