Maura Magazine | Maura Johnston

Tag - Maura Johnston


The pieces in this issue all have longing at their core, whether it’s the desire to figure out one’s place in the world or a deep-seated need to be closer to one’s idols through membership in a fan club.

Into The Light

When Enlightened premiered at the end of 2011, its parent network, HBO, promoted it under slightly false pretenses: There was Laura Dern—her mascara smeared, her mouth contorted into an expression somewhere between a heaving sob and a rageful shriek—as “the new face of tranquility.” It played the cognitive dissonance for laughs, setting up a slapstick show that would play off Dern’s endlessly pliable face in order to heighten its inner tension.

Feed Me

This issue’s four pieces look at the processes that occur in conjunction with consumption, from education to intoxication, in an effort to make some sense of the seemingly endless array of things available to take in.

Left Behind

Why is looking back so popular in 2013, when we’re supposedly living in the future?

Left Off The Dial

One of my favorite musical developments of 2012 involved the return of alt-rock radio to New York City—after an abortive year as an all-news station, 101.9 FM flipped back to music, with the call letters WEMP and a playlist that, while not perfect (all those campfire-ready singalongs from Mumford & Sons wannabes!), provided the occasional surprise both new and old. While I’m awash in music “discovery” all day, from the promos I recieve in my physical and electronic mail to the songs tweeted at me by hopefuls to recommendations from friends, there’s something about hearing a fresh-to-my-ears track sandwiched in between some old reliables that still makes me more excited to drink in the new. Of course, the romance didn’t last long.

Dusty Binders

The workplace comedy 9 To 5 was an HBO staple when I was a kid, and I remember its more screwball scenes vividly—Lily Tomlin’s Violet Newstead, decked out like Snow White and surrounded by animated fauna, cheerfully sweetening her boss’s coffee with poison; Dolly Parton’s Doralee Rhodes, decked out like a cowgirl, whipping her lasso; Franklin Hart Jr., played by Dabney Coleman, swinging from the ceiling after an attempt to escape from the prison in which he’d been placed by three of his employees. The 45 of Parton’s peppy theme song, with the percussive typewriters and lyrics about (male) bosses serving as underminers who had the added bonus of being unpleasant, was one of the first singles I owned, and a bit of a rallying cry when things at my most recent gig got particularly unbearable thanks to politicking from self-interested, just-competent-enough colleagues. But when I watched it on a recent Saturday night, I was taken aback by how downright radical it seemed even now.

What’s In A Name

As a kid I was not the biggest fan of my name. When you’re 8 and prematurely in your awkward phase you want nothing more than to fit in, and one of the keys to “fitting in” back in 1980s Long Island was, perversely enough, items that came pre-personalized—stickers, T-shirts, magnets, key chains. I would scour every novelty shop I came across looking for something that had MAURA emblazoned on it, and every time I would come away empty-handed. It became a point of frustration and, eventually, embarrassment; my mom even tried to make me “designer jeans” by stitching my name on the rear end, but that didn’t help.