Beloit College Magazine

Beloit College Magazine

Fall/Winter 2010 (November 8, 2010)

Lost Lustre: A New York Memoir

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November 8, 2010

By Josh Karlen’87

Tatra Press

Suffern, N.Y., 2010

Karlen recalls growing up in New York City before it became as “civilized” as it is today. The New York he knew in the late 1970s and early ’80s sometimes “seems as lost to time as the Washington Square of Henry James.” But this episodic memoir vividly captures some of it for readers through Karlen’s pre-Beloit youth—when he grew up on New York’s Lower East Side and in Greenwich Village during the burgeoning punk music scene.

Karlen recounts this time through the prism of the Lustres, a band that played in CBGB and other clubs that helped launch the musical careers of The Ramones and The Talking Heads.

While the memoir fades out around the time he left New York for Beloit College, Karlen acknowledges this transition as a turning point in his life. “Twenty-five years ago,” he writes, “on that campus lost deep among the Midwest cornfields and pig farms, I abandoned my anguished pursuit of storybook exploits and swung on a true adventure—the journey of my own life.”

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