The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, written by acclaimed author Michael Chabon, earned the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2001 and garnered praise from critics and readers.

Set during World War II, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay follows the lives of cousins Joe Kavalier and Sam Clay, whose lives in New York City are directly and indirectly affected by the stirrings of the war. After 19-year-old Kavalier’s arrival in Manhattan from his increasingly unstable home country of Prague, he and 17-year-old Clay begin writing and illustrating adventure stories that rapidly become popular and garner the attention of a publishing company. Kavalier and Clay become prominent figures in the burgeoning comic world of New York and help usher the industry into its golden age, even as the publishers attempt to exploit their artistic talents for profit.

Meanwhile, several tangential plots follow Kavalier’s attempts to help his family escape to America from a Nazi-occupied Prague, as well as his infatuation with the artistic and unconventional Rosa, while Clay attempts to overcome polio and come to terms with his sexual orientation. After learning that his family has gone missing in Prague, Kavalier enlists in the United States Navy, leaving behind his cousin and pregnant girlfriend. After years in exile, Kavalier returns home, only to find that everything has changed.

Michael Chabon explores themes of escapism, discrimination, and Judaism in America throughout The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay. During the early and mid-20th century, Jewish visual artists were often denied entrance into reputable fields of illustration, thus creating a prominent presence of Jewish artists in the comics industry; in this way, Chabon theorizes that the common “outsider” theme that many comic book heroes share also represents the perspective of their creators. Kavalier and Clay experience oppression similar to what their pulp fiction characters endure. Their most beloved hero, The Escapist, also symbolizes Kavalier’s flee from Prague, as well as Clay’s attempts to battle polio and accept his true self.

In addition the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay received the 2000 National Book Critics Circle Award and the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction.

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The Pros and Cons of Section 363 Asset Sales as Part of Chapter 11 Bankruptcies

By Nancy L. Kourland

As a Senior Associate at Rosen & Associates, P.C. I have experience in numerous aspects of Chapter 11 reorganizations, including adversary proceedings prosecution and defense, reorganization plans disclosure statements, appeals, and asset sales. The two major events in any Chapter 11 case are confirmation of a reorganization plan and sale of major assets. Selling assets occurs under Section 363 of the Federal Bankruptcy Code and has evolved since the Code’s formulation in 1979 to constitute a viable way of restructuring, rather than reorganizing. A sale expedites a bankruptcy court’s separation of past fiscal issues from future prospects, avoiding an often complex and drawn-out process of reorganization plan confirmation.

While the 363 asset sale route may at first glance appeal to debtors and creditors alike, deciding whether to pursue this route is not always easy. Certain fundamentals must be in place to make a 363 sale desirable, including the possibility of consensual restructuring, an asset purchaser on the horizon, and the distressed business maintaining a minimum threshold of resources to move forward post-bankruptcy. In some cases, existing liabilities may be significant, making a 363 sale a poor choice, and corporate governance issues may restrict the ability to sell the business at all. Shareholders may need to approve a sale, and attorneys and affected parties should weigh this, as well. Finally, a strategic assessment should be taken of the businesses’ value as a relatively intact and ongoing concern in comparison with its immediate value as a liquidated asset.

The key advantages of a 363 sale for a purchaser involve acquiring assets free of outstanding liens or other hindrances. In addition, a buyer of assets under Chapter 11 bankruptcy does not incur the liabilities that he or she would otherwise inherit. Other benefits involve avoiding shareholder approvals for asset sale and the ability of a purchaser to include favorable contracts and leases in the sale. The negative aspects of a 363 sale include potential unfavorable publicity about the company, issues of cost and time to complete the process, and possibility of competing bids. In addition, reorganization plans may offer greater flexibility in certain cases than would 363 sale restructuring. This reflects purchasers’ enhanced ability to draw up favorable plan terms under reorganization.

About the Author: A New York City Attorney with nearly a decade of bankruptcy law experience, Nancy L. Kourland earned her Juris Doctor from the New York University School of Law.

Central Park Conservancy: Restoring and Encouraging Use of Central Park by Nancy L. Kourland, Member

by Nancy L. Kourland

The New York City-based Central Park Conservancy consists of civic-minded citizens and local leaders dedicated to restoring, maintaining, and improving Central Park. Currently, the Conservancy employs 80 percent of the Park’s maintenance staff and provides more than $31 million toward the city landmark’s annual operating costs.

Mission and History

Organized in 1980, the Central Park Conservancy initially dedicated itself to restoring Central Park to its pre-1970s splendor, when the landmark served as the nation’s premier urban public space. Some 18 years later, the Conservancy and New York City officially entered into a public-private partnership for the management of the Park. In 2006, both entities agreed to renew the partnership for another eight years. Since the founding of the Central Park Conservancy, the nonprofit group has contributed $550 million to the Park’s operational and restoration costs, funds that were donated by individuals, companies, foundations, and New York City government.

Restoration Projects

The Central Park Conservancy launched its first fund-raising campaign in 1986, an effort that led to the restoration of iconic locations, such as the Grand Army Plaza, Shakespeare Garden, and Bethesda Terrace. During the 1990s, the organization focused on capital projects in Central Park’s northern portions, including the rejuvenation of the Harlem Meer area, the Great Lawn, and North Meadow. Organizing a third campaign in 2005, the Conservancy has focused on repairing the area of the Park that runs from the Metropolitan Museum of Art to the northeast end near Harlem Meer.

Current Efforts

The Central Park Conservancy’s volunteers and employees currently maintain more than 250 acres of Central Park’s lawns, 130 acres of forestland, 150 acres of waterways, and approximately 24,000 trees. The Conservancy’s responsibilities also include caring for 9,000 benches, nearly 50 sports fields and playgrounds, and 55 sculptures and monuments. In addition to gathering and disposal of more than 5 million pounds of trash each year from the Park, the nonprofit group organizes annual public outreach and volunteer programs for children and adults and manages 5 visitor centers. Read more about the Central Park Conservancy online at www.centralparknyc.org.