Thursday, June 30, 2005

this week's netflix

What the #$*! Do We Know: I actually watched this film? documentary? game of charades? awhile back, but I had forgotten to review it until I happened to meet one of the actors last week. The general premise is that quantum physics can improve your life, and we are shown this in two ways: through talking heads and animated science (somewhat interesting) and through Marlee Matlin acting out a plot that demonstrates the general premise (somewhat disastrous). According to the actor I met, some people prefer the straight-up documentary style and some people prefer the wedding scene where cartoon cells try to get it on with each other while the guests at the reception dance around with unexplained medical equipment. Go figure.

Angels in America, Part 2: I was still in New York when I watched the first half of this miniseries, and I'm surprised how long it took me to get back to it. The acting and writing are fantastic, but I'm afraid my reluctance to return had to do with two of my own issues: discomfort with scenes of disease and death and a lack of interest in magical realism. However, the film is so much more than that, and it is definitely worth watching.

Remember Me, My Love: This Italian film reminded me of American Beauty at one point in its portrayal of the way a family can be living together in the same house and yet still have completely separate, secret lives. The characters are engaging - at times amusing, at times cringeworthy - and the plot hinges around what happens to a man who loses his chance with Monica Bellucci.

The Aviator: I wasn't initially interested in this film because it featured Leonardo DiCaprio, but he pulled it off. His Howard Hughes was sympathetically neurotic (when he wasn't hiring women to be his "employees"), even if I can't imagine any actress with whom Leo could conjure some chemistry. I was pleased to see Scorcese toning it down a little, and when he did unleash the violence, it was in the form of the most amazing plane crash scene I have ever seen. I realized halfway through that the majority of my knowledge of Howard Hughes had been gleaned from The Simpsons, so I was thankful for the history lesson.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

no ice water in hell! fire hot!

  • Richard Hell has a new CD and a new book. I saw him in New York not long before I left, and I was able to wrangle him into a conversation about my dissertation. That's what he gets for lecturing on Nathanael West.
  • I came across this bizarre ad on Craigslist for an image control expert. Military intelligentsia welcome.
  • Donna Tartt has a new story in The Guardian's original fiction issue. If you haven't read The Little Friend, I highly recommend it. (Later: The Tartt story has mysteriously disappeared, but there are many other reasons to check out the issue.)
  • Doubting Hall offers a guided tour around the works of Evelyn Waugh.

suicidal tendencies circa 1947

1947 Project is a fascinating blog that documents the lurid and newsworthy around Los Angeles in 1947 (with some architectural sidelines). One thing I've learned through my visits to the site is that the preferred method of suicide back then has gone drastically out of fashion: drinking poison.

For example, on June 27th:

Distraught over her pending separation from fiance Billy Allen, 19-year-old Marine stationed at Camp Pendleton, Pearl L. Reid, 16, drank poison today at her home at 2653 Loosmore Street. She died. When Billy saw what she had done he too quaffed the deadly draught, and lies in serious condition in Long Beach's Naval Hospital. His doctors are optimistic for his survival, at least from the immediate threat.

From May 31st:

The 70-year-old jewelry store worker, despondent over poor health and fading eyesight, entered the mortuary, tapped on the office glass to get Mrs. Dell's attention, then drank from a bottle of poison and collapsed. A note on his body explained Rawles' reasons.

From April 25th:

Police are still trying to make sense of a last night's mysterious car chase in Echo Park. It all started when Motorcycle Office Carl Ericson spotted a taxicab that has been suspiciously repainted blue. He gave chase, and the vehicle turned onto Echo Park Avenue, racing past the lake and south towards Beverly. In front of 512 Echo Park Ave.,
the cab collided with a car driven by Walter Cliburne, 35, of 1947 Preston Ave. Cliburne's car ended up atop both the cab and a parked car. An ambulence was called, and the attendants directed their attention to the injured, still-unidentified cab driver. Suddenly he brought a vial of poison up to his mouth and made as to swallow. Attempts to wrest it away were fruitless, and the mystery man said, "I am going to die, so let me die."

I assume poison can only be even more effective than it was in 1947, so I wonder why it has fallen so far out of favor.

Monday, June 27, 2005

who believes in love galore?

This song by The Sunshine - "Love" (Love! Love! Love! Love! Give it up for the sunny weather. Love! Love! Love! Love! Things can only get better...) - can really turn that frown upside down. (Forgive me. I'm infected by the euphoria.) If that doesn't work, this will.
(Thanks to swedesplease for the sunshine.)

Later: If you absolutely refuse to give it up for the sunny weather, you can sulk under the clouds with a sad, sad favorite, Dayna Kurtz's "Love, Where Did You Go?" I loved this song so much when I first heard it in March that I rushed out to buy the CD, and it holds the dubious honor of being the only thing (well, inanimate object) that I lost in the move to L.A.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

ask itka

Among the many members of my advisory board, there's always been one whom I thought should go pro. Now, you too can benefit from the wisdom of Ask Itka.

fearless freaks al fresco

Thanks to a free screening sponsored by the Los Angeles Film Festival, I saw The Fearless Freaks Friday night under the stars. (Sure, it was in the courtyard of a glorified mall, but hey! there was free popcorn, ice cream, and seat cushions.) I've been on a bit of a music documentary kick lately, so it was interesting to compare this portrait of The Flaming Lips, a band I much admire, to other recent offerings: DIG!, Some Kind of Monster, and Malfunkshun. Sadly, The Fearless Freaks suffered in comparison. Even if you have a compelling subject like The Flaming Lips, it does not let you off the hook from having a narrative arc. Even the most dramatic scene of Steven Drozd prepping his heroin rig on-camera came practically out of nowhere. Band members came and went with barely a mention of reasons for their departure, and while Wayne Coyne is lovely to listen to, a documentary for the ages needs more gravitas.

Other reviews: The New York Times, The Village Voice, Seattle PI, PopMatters

Friday, June 24, 2005

it's the kung fu littéraire!

I had some posts earlier about Michel Houellebecq's recent trip to the Hammer, but for various reasons, I was not able to follow him for the rest of his sojourn around Los Angeles. Luckily for us, the LA Weekly was.

Outside the restaurant, Houellebecq took a break to smoke a small cigar and talk about his literary rivals in France. “People claim to attack each other for ideological reasons, but it’s much more animalistic than that — it’s because they inhabit the same space.” Then he dropped into a martial-arts crouch and looked quickly from side to side. “They come from the left, they come from the right — it’s the kung fu littéraire!” he said, launching himself into a series of surprisingly deft swivels and kicks, dispatching his enemies one after another. But when it came to Bernard-Henri Lévy, the celebrated French philosopher known by his initials, “BHL,” Houellebecq transformed himself into a raptor out of a cheap Japanese horror movie and bit Lévy’s head off. “That was BHL, folks!”

In other follow-up news, I was not able to attend the Los Angeles Conservatory event, "Looking at Los Angeles" (mentioned here), and apparently I missed Julius Shulman telling Ben Stiller his work was crap.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

is this a comment on literary ego?

Giancarlo Neri's sculpture "The Writer" is on display in England. (Notice the little tourist.)

Later: Loneliness. Not ego.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

popsicle meltdown

I so wish I had been there for this: a gigantic Snapple-manufactured popsicle couldn't take the heat and flooded Union Square with its gloppy goodness...

The 25-foot-tall, 17½-ton treat of frozen Snapple juice melted faster than expected Tuesday, flooding Union Square in downtown Manhattan with kiwi-strawberry-flavored fluid that sent pedestrians scurrying for higher ground.

Firefighters closed off several streets and used hoses to wash away the sugary goo.

“What was unsettling was that the fluid just kept coming,” Stuart Claxton of the Guinness Book of World Records told the Daily News. “It was quite a lot of fluid. On a hot day like this, you have to move fast.

five, seven, five

largehearted boy calls attention to this Q&A between John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats and Kevin Sampsell, entirely in the form of haikus reflecting on songs from The Sunset Tree. You can also see John Darnielle's Amazon recommendations here and his CD-R Go! here.

chaos and capri sun

Things Not Overheard at a Conceptual Art Gallery Opening...

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

the world could use some good news

A common virus kills cancer.
Missing boy scout found after four days in wilderness.
Ex-KKK member convicted in 1964 murder of civil rights activists.
Fear and anxiety shut off during female orgasms.
Lions rescue, guard beaten Ethiopian girl.

Now that's more like it. World, take note.

children are whores

I couldn't resist repeating Umberto Eco's rationalization of his win as a ten-year-old of an essay competition arguing for mortal sacrifice in service to Mussolini. (Via Rake's Progress)

"Children are whores," he says bluntly. "They are ready to repeat what they see on the TV screen, and it was the same with us." So did he believe it when he was writing it? "I don't know. I don't remember. I remember having been completely confused the morning when I woke up and I said to myself, do I really love the Duce?... So it means that we had doubts."

if kafka had a blog

It's hard not to make the comparison when you see the way The Kafka Project has designed the web publication of Paul Kerschen's translations of Franz's diaries from 1910-1923. Each day, a new entry arrives, sharing Kafka's thoughts on the mundane and the profound. (Via Maud Newton)

Today, for instance, I was rude three times, once to a conductor, once to someone introduced to me—so there were only 2, but they pain me like a stomachache. Coming from anyone else it would have been rude; how much more so coming from me...Though now I say to myself: look, the world lets you strike it, the conductor and the man you were introduced to kept calm, the latter even said goodbye as you went off. But that means nothing. You can achieve nothing when you fail yourself, but what else do you miss in your own circle? To this speech I answer only: even I would rather suffer blows inside the circle than strike blows myself outside of it, but where the hell is this circle—for a while, yes, I saw it lying on the earth, as if squirted out with chalk, but now it just hangs like this around me, it doesn’t even hang at all.

heaven or hell?

Mauritius, an island off the coast of Africa, aims to become the first nation with coast-to-coast wireless access.

From his office window in Mauritius' new Cybertower--a sleek blue glass and gray stone tower that is the heart of the country's first high-tech park--Rahim can point out one of five new radio transmission antennas his company has installed in the last month perched beside a Hindu temple on a nearby green mountainside.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

mix post: the loquacity edition

Occasionally, artists like to pull the trick demonstrated by Fiona Apple on her last (officially released) album, the title of which, in full, is: When the pawn hits the conflict he thinks like a king/What he knows throws the blows when he goes to the fight/And he'll win the whole thing fore he enters the ring/There's no body to batter when your mind is your might/So when you go solo, you hold your own hand/And remember that depth is the greatest of heights/And if you know where you stand then you know where to land/And if you fall it won't matter, cuz you'll know that you're right. There's something I admire about musicians who like to play with language and don't particularly care whether they come off sounding foolish or pretentious. This edition of the mix post is dedicated to songs and bands that spill their linguistic seed for our enjoyment.

And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead - Mistakes and Regrets

Andrew Bird - A Nervous Tic Motion of the Head to the Left

Beulah - If We Can Land a Man on the Moon, Surely I Can Win Your Heart

The Carter Family - John Hardy Was a Desperate Little Man

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - Upon This Tidal Wave of Young Blood

Kelly Jean Caldwell - Reinventing Our First Kiss (And All the Parties That You Missed)

The Most Serene Republic - Content Was Always My Favorite Color

The Nanobot Auxiliary Ballet and Insect Art with the Office of Woodland Security, and the Evil House of Handshakes, Present: Tylenolandadida - the Deadly Ballerina - Featuring: Thechillbotslider, Thepushbuttonmaster, and the Whitehotfunkbot - and Introducing: The Doodads of Doom and the Recipe Box of Spells - More

Of Montreal - Wraith Pinned to the Mist (And Other Games)

Say Hi to Your Mom - The Forest Scares the Hell Out of Me

The Prayers and Tears of Arthur Digby Sellers - Concerning Lessons Learned from the Aliens

"Words ought to be a little wild for they are the assaults of thought on the unthinking" (John Maynard Keynes). Feel free to add more loquacious inspiration in the comments...

(Former editions: Impatience. Intergalactic.)

Friday, June 17, 2005

a little bit of what you fancy does you good

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

sunday @ skylight: john dicker

If you're in the neighborhood (or even if you're not), come on by and see John Dicker read from his hot-off-the-presses new book, The United States of Wal-Mart, at Skylight Books this Sunday at 5:00 PM. If you don't trust me - and I've known this guy since he was just a piece of sand in Wal-Mart's eye - you can see what Penguin, Publishers Weekly, Creative Loafing, and have to say. You can also read John's Salon piece, "Wal-Mart Needs a Date." Hope to see you there...

There are also a number of other great literary events going on this weekend, such as:
Nick Hornby @ Vroman's, Pasadena (Friday, 7:00 PM)
Joy Nicholson @ Dutton's (Friday, 7:00 PM)
The Cocaine Chronicles @ Skylight (Friday, 7:30 PM)
Looking at Los Angeles w/David Ulin @ Arclight (Saturday, 10:30 AM)
Nick Hornby (again) @ Book Soup (Saturday, 2:00 PM)
Umberto Eco @ Central Library (Saturday, 3:00 PM)
Umberto Eco (again) @ Dutton's (Saturday, 7:00 PM)
Salvador Plascencia @ Skylight (Saturday, 7:30 PM)

(But don't get booked-out before Sunday!)
Later: Here's something of a preview...

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

cleaning out the bookmark file

I've been saving all of these links (for a rainy day? for posterity?), so I figured I'd just post them all at once.

Monday, June 13, 2005

experience the experience

Ever wanted to be buried alive? Win an illegal space race? Attend a magnetism party? Monochrom, "an art-technology-philosophy group of basket weaving enthusiasts and theory do-it-yourselfers having its seat in Vienna and Zeta Draconis," is offering Angelenos the opportunity to do all of the above. If you live in San Francisco, you can grow money or catapult wireless devices.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

mix post: the intergalactic edition

"And where are the scientists, Southern California's most precious crop, who have shaped its rocket-propelled postwar economy? In fact, the fate of science in Los Angeles exemplifies the role reversal between practical reason and what the Disneyites call 'imagineering.' Where one might have expected the presence of the world's largest scientific and engineering community to cultivate a regional enlightenment, science has consorted instead with pulp fiction, vulgar psychology, and even satanism to create yet another layer of California cultdom."
- Mike Davis, City of Quartz

Friday, June 10, 2005

culture war shrapnel

You know your friends have their fingers on the pulse (of something) when they start posting Huffington-style:

While culture warriors will continue to fight for the right not to party, the PTC has too much whipped cream on its hands to let this slide...If you’re going to prance about on your moral high horse, know that it’s bad form to grind yourself off in the saddle.

- John Dicker, "Sex and the City: Secular Filth and Hot! Hot! Hot!"

Thursday, June 09, 2005

grapes or jello cubes? the eternal question

More from the Freakonomics folks (with video clips and everything):

Keith Chen is a 29-year-old Yale economist who is teaching capuchin monkeys to use money. Why? Well, to see what they spend it on, and how their spending might relate to human spending... A capuchin monkey must decide how to spend his budget of twelve coins...Two human research assistants are present (one wearing blue and one wearing red), and both hold a piece of food in an orange dish for the monkey to see. The red research assistant "sells" grapes and the blue research assistant "sells" Jell-o cubes, with each piece of food costing a coin from the monkey's budget. The capuchin must make a decision analogous to a grocery store shopper's: how much of their budget to spend on grapes and how much to spend on Jell-o.

Anyone who knows me knows that if I were a capuchin monkey, it would be all grapes all the time.

maybe the capuchin monkeys will buy it

After I kick it in the belly, I'm going to try guerilla marketing for my dissertation.

but if you tell, it won't be a secret anymore

Late comedian and former pentecostal preacher Sam Kinison used to say, "Don't drive drunk. But if you do, take Fountain." In that spirit, provides a list of favorite traffic shortcuts and secret passageways to get you from one side of town to another.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

praying for a publicity stunt - part 2

Sunday, June 12: The crew has been found.

Last night on the news, I saw this story of a team of filmmakers who have disappeared in Namibia. They were working on a documentary about witchcraft, when they were cursed by a witch, began to experience various mechanical problems, and eventually were abandoned in the desert due to a miscommunication. When I tried to look into the story further, I couldn't find any more information, and Google kept posting link after link to the Blair Witch Project.

Los Angeles publicist Sherri Spillane identified the missing as Los Angeles pilot Christopher Banninger; British-born businessman Mike Edson; Russian actor Oleg Taktarov; South African athlete K.J. Lodge; and a sex therapist and radio host who goes by the name of Natasha Terry. The five were brought by helicopter to a camping area on Friday and were supposed to be picked up the following day, said Spillane, ex-wife of crime writer Mickey Spillane.

Due to a "mis-communication," the helicopter pilot did not arrive until Sunday, she said.

When the pilot did show up, he "found a note in a bag saying (the campers) were headed west toward the coast," presumably on foot, Spillane said.

The pilot described the region as "the hottest area they could possibly go to," she said.

Later: See also (where a Namibian police representative claims to have not heard of the case) and Interfax, but for the most part, there is still very little web coverage of this case a week later.

better late than never: the follow-up

Lionel Shriver won the Orange Prize yesterday for her novel We Need to Talk About Kevin, discussed earlier here and here. From an interview with the author:

Q: What sparked 'We Need To Talk About Kevin'?

A: An intersection of the public and the private. I was in my early forties, and contending with the fact that my tentative decision to forgo children was soon to be writ in stone. What was I so afraid of? Meanwhile, stories kept pouring in from the U.S. about kids shooting up their high schools. I thought: that (among a host of other things) is what I’m afraid of.

this week's netflix

I do leave the house, I swear. This is actually a couple weeks' worth of Netflix. (Warning: spoilers ahead...)

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou: I'm a fan of Wes Anderson and, I think like most of his fans, I was disappointed by this film. It seemed to go in too many directions at once without going in any one direction far enough. Is it a comedy? Is it surrealism? Is it a family tragedy? What is it? When Owen Wilson's character met his end, I didn't know if I was supposed to laugh, cry, smoke a cigarette, slap Willem Dafoe...

Finding Neverland: A few of my female friends had called and said, "OMG, you have to see this movie," so I figured Johnny Depp was looking scrubbed and yummy. Johnny, unlike Wes, did not disappoint. The film itself was perfectly charming, but that perfection made it slightly dull. I also found it a bit hard to believe JM Barrie and Sylvia Davies never kissed once. Not once. Not even on her deathbed. Not once.

Kinsey: I had been looking forward to this film since its release. Liam Neeson, Laura Linney, and Peter Sarsgaard all gave powerful performances, and the story itself is titillating and historically significant. I did wish we had learned more about the actual surveys, their results, and their impact on society, but I guess that's what the book is for. Or maybe I'll just read TC Boyle...The very next day after seeing this film, I caught about five minutes of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? and the contestant's question was what species Kinsey was studying before humans (wasps, if you haven't seen it). The contestant called his phone-a-friend, and the phone-a-friend said he was pretty sure it was rats. Isn't your phone-a-friend supposed to be sitting there with his finger on the Internet trigger? Rats.

Tarnation: The hype around this documentary was pretty outrageous, and for once, I'd say the hype was completely deserved. This film comes as close to a cinematic representation of madness as anything I've ever seen. It's painful, not pretty, and very moving.

Reconstruction: This movie was silly. It didn't come close to reaching the impressive metaphysical heights to which it aspired, but it did present a thoroughly enjoyable tour of beautiful downtown Copenhagen. I think I know where I want to go on my next oversøisk rejse.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

let me know, bubele

Correspondence Between Jonathan Safran Foer and Nicole Krauss That Explains How They Wrote the Same Book...

(via Large Vibrating Egg)

Later: If you go over to LVE's posts for Tuesday, you can find a painstaking (emphasis on pain) dissection of another Jonathan's New Yorker essay this week.

dennis cooper's list fetish

"Literary outlaw" Dennis Cooper now has his own blog, which is not half as sensationalist as I would have expected. He even succumbs to the temptation of top ten lists, just like all bloggers eventually must. (Via chemistry class)

Tempting me to make lists is dangerous. I have a lifelong top ten list fetish -- making them and reading them. I don't know why. I think maybe it's because, as an anarchist, hierarchies are wrong, scary things to me, and I'm drawn to making them in the same way that I'm drawn as a writer to scary subjects that are almost impossible to write about objectively.

William Gibson's blog seems only to have one entry: a dead link to MIA's "Galang" on March 11th.

Later: The 92nd Street Y also launches a blog. (Via Maud Newton)

Monday, June 06, 2005

avoid any reference to "the little man"

When I'm not scouring musty, old novels for references to cults, I can be called upon to give advice to the lovelorn. I think this is a very helpful article, but I hate being called Christine and I hate being 35. (Don't miss Caroline Tiger's advice in book form.)

Sunday, June 05, 2005

I made this half-pony, half-monkey monster to please you

I first came across Jonathan Coulton's "Skullcrusher Mountain" on Fluxblog a few weeks back, and it has grown on me like a bad habit. Fluxblog wrote, "If you have a high tolerance for smirky humor and mainstream country pop, this will probably seem like some kind of gift from above. Coulton nails the contemporary glossy American singer-songwriter aesthetic while subverting the genre with bizarro lyrics written from the perspective of a reclusive mad scientist/supervillain in love with his dim-witted but beautiful hostage."

Well, it just so happens, I am all of the above. (It also turns out that Jonathan Coulton is the musical director for the Little Gray Book Lecture Series, another one of the things I miss about New York.) You can link to the full lyrics above, but this has got to be my favorite verse ever:

I made this half-pony, half-monkey monster to please you

But I get the feeling that you don't like it
What's with all the screaming?
You like monkeys
You like ponies
Maybe you don't like monsters so much
Maybe I used too many monkeys
Isn't it enough to know that I ruined a pony
Making a gift for you?

Prepare to be taken hostage.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

literary cartography

The New York Times Book Review has created a literary map of Manhattan.

Some mysteries remain -- the apartment of J. D. Salinger's nomadic Glass family, who seem to move from East to West Side; the address of the Xenophon, where William Dean Howells's March family found a sublet in ''A Hazard of New Fortunes.'' Nor could we confidently pin down the office of Bartleby the Scrivener, despite many good suggestions from readers, including Ann Sullivan-Cross's. Having had a job at 14 Wall Street -- ''like working in a dead letter office, at the depths of a dark world governed by dark laws'' -- she felt sure she recognized the spot; she pointed out, moreover, that Melville's brother Allan had a law office at that address.

resistance is futile

I try to not concern myself with the goings-on of the celebrati (for the most part), but sometimes it's just so darn fun. See for yourself:

What the hell. It's the weekend.

lunar park

Bret Easton Ellis's latest, Lunar Park, gets a Kirkus starred review.

For his fifth and most enjoyable novel, Ellis has found the perfect anti-hero: himself..."Every word is true," declares Bret—but then again, a writer's life is "a maelstrom of lying."

you are the queen of rock

I have had a soft spot in my heart for Chuck Klosterman ever since he inscribed my copy of Fargo Rock City: "Chris - you are the queen of rock." Flattery will get you everywhere. I won the essay collection/ memoir in a Little Gray Book competition at Galapagos that involved Klosterman, Darin Strauss, and some kind of birthday mystery. Here, he gives away the keys to the kingdom. If you don't see your favorite rock critic for the next couple of weeks, s/he is off making up a new lexicon.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

praying for a publicity stunt...

Jack White weds.

Later: OK, I've sufficiently recovered to say 1) he married the woman seen here and 2) you can stream the album in full again here.

Even later: The stream is muddy.

Even later than that: Welcome back, Scenestars.

what will happen to my coney island baby?

If this is true, I am crushed. The New York Press reports that Coney Island will soon be the latest object of gentrification run amok.

At the end of the summer, thanks to some shortsighted city planners and no-sighted developers, everything you love about gritty old Coney Island is going to be swept away. A few token landmarks may be spared for the sake of postcard sales—the Cyclone, the Wonder Wheel—but you can say goodbye to the souvenir shops that rent beach chairs, the fried clam stands, the Boardwalk Nathan's and—god help us all—Ruby's Bar. And with them the characters who made Coney what it is—namely, one of the last bastions of rabid individuality left in New York.

According to the city, those decaying eyesores need to go in order to make room for the spa, the indoor swimming pool, the hotel, the shopping mall and the fancy cafes.

Nauseating. I can only imagine Shoot the Freak won't make the cut. For a compelling history of Coney Island, don't miss Rem Koolhaas's Delirious New York: A Retroactive Manifesto for Manhattan.

Later: More on Coney Island's Future: Flashy, Pink, Anodyne!

but do the child brides look like superheroes?

One of my favorite books of last year was Jon Krakauer's Under the Banner of Heaven, but if you want a more condensed, institutionally approved read, you can now get the Book of Mormon in comic book form.

Or if you prefer a more secular subject, you can also now get your Harlequin romance in manga form.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

friends and lovers

I am an easy mark for compilations like Friends and Lovers: Songs of Bread. I still listen to 1994's If I Were a Carpenter a few times a year. For some reason, they bring me back to driving to arcades, bowling alleys, miniature golf courses, movie theaters, and other arenas of childhood delight on Saturday visitations with my father. Here's a taste from the Bread tribute:

Baby I'ma Want You - Call & Response

It Don't Matter to Me - Josh Rouse

Guitar Man - Cake (just a crumb really)

it's work to confess

The New York Times weighs in on a website I mentioned earlier, PostSecret. Reviewer Sarah Boxer is intrigued by the secret sharers, but casts a somewhat harsh glare on what she perceives as their main motive.

The secret sharers here aren't mindless flashers but practiced strippers. They don't want to get rid of their secrets. They love them. They arrange them. They tend them. They turn them into fetishes. And that's the secret of PostSecret. It isn't really a true confessional after all. It is a piece of collaborative art.

She never goes so far as to say the card-senders are lying, but that seems to be what she is implying. Call me a sucker, but some of the secrets are just too painful to not be true.

better late than never

Even though Lionel Shriver's gripping novel We Need to Talk About Kevin came out two years ago in the U.S., it is only just now starting to receive the recognition it deserves, thanks to its publication in the U.K. Boldtype has a review in its current issue as well as linking to more coverage in The Guardian, Identity Theory, and The Independent.

mix post: the impatience edition

I am in one of those ruts where nothing seems to be happening quickly enough, so I've gathered some songs to battle my mood (or cushion it in a soft cloud of desperation).

All Right Already - Kathy Cashel

Hesitating - Dao Strom

Hope and Wait - Bella

I Can't Wait - Shearwater

I'll Wait - Ruth Gerson

I'm New Here - Smog

Miracle Wait - A Taste of Ra

On and On - Missy Elliott

Slowly Slowly - Magnapop

The Wait - Shelby