- The Daily Mirror reviews the papers of Raymond Chandler and the letters of Dashiell Hammett.
- Is it on your iPod?
- Margaret Drabble sheds light on the "feud" with her sister, fellow writer A.S. Byatt. Short version: I stole her teapot. (via @maudnewton)
- White NBA Players Who Look Like Abusive Husbands
- The Ten Best Vampire Movies of the Modern Era. (via @largeheartedboy)
- Jacket Copy has the trailer for Where the Wild Things Are.
- 22 Short Films about Grammar (via @spikenlilli)
- Bonnie 'Prince' Billy guest DJs at NPR.
- 10 Literary One-Hit Wonders
- Tom Cruise is Tom Cruise crazy. (via @mackreed)
- Paste's Top 10 Buzziest Acts of SXSW 2009
- The 86 Rules of Boozing (via @johnmjones)
- Philebrity hooks us up this week with instructions on how to hack electronic road signs and warn of zombies. (via @mkgold)
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Today is Ada Lovelace Day, "an international day of blogging to draw attention to women excelling in technology." While there are many women who inspire me in this realm (...taking a brief pause to appreciate the twenty-first century...), I'm going to focus today on video artist/choreographer/theorist Susan Kozel. Kozel writes about "the physical experience of digital technologies to create new philosophical paradigms...Through her work, [she] researches the physical and philosophical vocabularies emerging from the convergence of dance and media technologies."
I have to give Kozel some credit for jumpstarting my personal explorations of technology about four years ago at the UC Riverside (Dis)junctions Conference. The highlight of the conference for me was the talk given by Kozel. She discussed her projects Trajets (involving video projected on screens that are choreographed to respond to participants walking on a sensored floor), Whisper, and Between Bodies ("wearables" that monitor participants' heartbeats, breath rates, and muscle contraction and transmit them through video or garments to other participants), among others.
Her latest book is Closer: Performance, Technologies, Phenomenology, out last year from MIT Press.
Posted by escapegrace at 9:16 AM
Monday, March 23, 2009
7. Sleepless Nights by Elizabeth Hardwick
My trusted dissertation advisor recommended Sleepless Nights to me years ago, and now I know why. Hardwick refuses to conform to genre, offering what reads like a lyrical blend of fiction, memoir, poetry, journalism, and whatever else she fancies. The prose sparkles at the sentence level to the point I was unable to resist sharing excerpts with all who would listen.
8. U.S.! by Chris Bachelder
Bachelder deserves props for versatility and bravery in this strange and entertaining collection of "songs and stories" all centering around a repeatedly resurrected (post-assassination) Upton Sinclair. While the book is experimental in form, it's also heartfelt and wise. I look forward to whatever Bachelder gets up to next. (And who knew Sinclair was such a babe? See left.)
9. The Keep by Jennifer Egan
While not as deep or well-written as Egan's Look at Me, this gothic thriller/prison novel was a blast. It's a testament to the author's power of description that I can't remember the last time I could picture a setting quite as clearly.
10. Paradise by A.L. Kennedy
I read this novel about a young Scottish woman who also happens to be a raging drunk over the course of a day and a half, and I felt like I was on a bender with her. Considering little happens and the narration is filtered through a constantly replenished glass, the fact I couldn't put the book down says something. Unfortunately, I found the ending very unsatisfying.
10 down, 42 to go.
Posted by escapegrace at 7:32 AM
Sunday, March 22, 2009
- Iggy Pop is releasing a "Jelly Roll Morton-influenced jazz album inspired by French novelist Michel Houellebecq."
- Walt Whitman speaks!
- Tips on How to Enjoy the Upcoming Depression (via @mikhailg)
- Vice has an astounding set of photos of abandoned schools in Detroit.
- NPR thinks you must read Delirious New York, and I agree (via @sarahw).
- Brews and Books suggests a few great books about sexytime.
- LP Cover Lover is a blog devoted to "the world's greatest LP album covers, 45s too." (via @mackreed)
- Toys That Shouldn't Exist, But Do (via @hodgman)
- Read Jonathan Lethem's introduction to the recently re-released A Meaningful Life by L.J. Davis.
Posted by escapegrace at 9:27 AM
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Sunday, March 15, 2009
- "Is Aristotle on Twitter?"
- Ron Charles laments the replacement of radicals with vampires on the college campus (via Readerville).
- Simplify Media lets you share your music library over the web.
- TinyChat lets you create your own chatroom.
- Click Bored is just cool.
- The LA Weekly's cover story this week is the Grim Sleeper's sole surviving victim.
- SoulPancake asks life's big questions.
- You can rescue abandoned language over at Save the Words (via vsl).
- Then you can Daft Punk your console.
- 35 Inspirational Website Designs from the Music Industry
- Gary Dexter's blog explains how books got their titles (via Maud Newton).
- What came over the New York Times to do this awesome profile of Death?
- Let's see how long we can keep this zombie linking going on. This week, Jim Groom comes through with Zombie Labor.
Posted by escapegrace at 11:01 AM
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Katha Pollitt's Slate review of Elaine Showalter's new book A Jury of Her Peers has convinced me of my next book purchase.
Showalter sees women's writing as a story of progress toward self-definition: from feminine (imitation of prevailing modes) to feminist (protest) to female (self-discovery), and, finally, free. "American women writers in the twenty-first century can take on any subject they want, in any form they choose." We have indeed come a long way, but I'm not so sure we've reached nirvana yet. The marketplace, with its many gendered strictures and codes, has not disappeared. Thus, it matters that girls and women will buy fiction by and about both sexes, but boys and men—the relative few who buy fiction at all—stick to their own gender. (There was a reason that J.K. Rowling used her initials instead of her name, and that her student magician hero was not Harriet Potter.) It matters that the Great American Novel for which critics are always hunting is imagined as a modern Moby-Dick, not The House of Mirth. It means there's a certain kind of critical receptivity, a hope of greatness for certain kinds of books by men that hardly ever comes into play with books by women, no matter how wonderful they are. Moreover, in literature as in life, men have much more license to display their whole unlovely selves and be admired for it, as the career of Norman Mailer shows.
Pollitt wonders whether critical reception is necessarily influenced by the author's gender. I'm reminded of a conversation earlier this month where we tried to imagine Jane Austen and Emily Dickinson as modern sexually active liberated women in 2009. It's fun - try it.
Posted by escapegrace at 8:49 AM
On Rate Your Students today, Beatrice from Boca describes a version of the academic life that I fear is much too common.
Is it worth going to MLA for just one interview? I decided in the end it must be, and in a way it was: I booked my last-minute travel plans, bought interview clothes, went, did great, got called for a flyback, and, after dancing the dance of Snoopy happiness, checked my finances. I’m used to being broke, but I’d never been maxed out before. Maxed out. All my credit cards (4 of them) maxed out at about what I earn in a year. Actually a little more than what I earn in a year.
Suddenly I realize I’ve bet the house: if I get the job, I’ll be fine. But if I don’t get the job, I’m bankrupt. I can’t afford to pay my bills. And if I’m back on the job market next year, I have no more credit for plane tickets and hotels – I’ll have to start saving for that now. Suddenly all this “investing” I’ve been doing looks like nothing more than an increasingly deep hole I’ve been digging for myself. Again, I’m doing great work: I’m publishing admirably and teaching great classes, well – I even got invited to sit on a MFA student’s thesis committee, which is unprecedented for a mere instructor! But none of that seems to matter right now, as I find my eyes lingering on the roadside billboards of local bankruptcy attorneys.
Posted by escapegrace at 8:41 AM
Friday, March 13, 2009
I feel (appropriately) like I'm getting a message from the universe to get back to my dissertation on Los Angeles literature and alternative religion. This week, the Los Angeles Conservancy - along with the Philosophical Research Society, Synchronicity Gallery, and the Silent Movie Theatre - is exploring "LA's Unique Spiritual Legacy." I don't think I'll be making it to the driving tour, but Erik Davis will probably think I'm stalking him by Wednesday. You can read excerpts of my project Urban Fervor if you scroll down the right side of this page.
Posted by escapegrace at 8:45 AM
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
The Morning News Tournament of Books got under way earlier this week. On opening day, 2666 easily defeated Fae Myenne Ng's Steer Toward Rock, but since then, it's been anyone's game. Louis de Berniere's A Partisan's Daughter took down Netherland, and then today in a frankly shocking turn, Harry, Revised thwarted The White Tiger. Up tomorrow, Unaccustomed Earth vs. City of Refuge. I'm rooting for The Lazarus Project to take it all in an upset. Stay tuned...
Posted by escapegrace at 8:13 AM
Monday, March 09, 2009
Sunday, March 08, 2009
- Love, love, love Nerd Boyfriend.
- Win Butler vs. Wayne Coyne
- I think I may not be able to watch a film adaptation of Cloud Atlas.
- A new version of The Birds, however, may not be so bad.
- The Library of Cheese
- Anonymous sets its sights on Stephen Colbert for his attempt to discredit bears, among other offenses.
- Twitter: The 1935 Version
- MIT students have turned the internet into a sixth sense...
- ...and a robot programmed to love has gone too far (via @sarahw).
- Jim Groom, D'Angelo Barksdale, and The Great Gatsby
- The Wall Street Journal asks, "Will this crisis produce a Gatsby?"
- A peek at Zadie Smith's Columbia fiction seminar syllabus
- The 100 Greatest Singer-Songwriter Albums of All Time (via @largeheartedboy)
- And this week's zombie link takes a lighter look at the undead with The Zombie Love Making Kit.
Posted by escapegrace at 9:21 AM
Friday, March 06, 2009
But even for those too young to have revelled in the first days of the movement, Riot Grrrl's influence has lingered, instrumental in establishing girls' rock camps such as Willie Mae Rock Camp in New York (where Kathleen Hanna mentors) and Portland's Rock'n'Roll Camp for Girls, which aim to encourage young girls and women to make music. "I went to see Babes in Toyland and Hole in the early 90s," says Allison Phillips, who is currently setting up a London-based girls' rock camp, "to really empower girls in the way I felt empowered by the Riot Grrl movement".
There have been other effects. Nadine Monem, editor of the book Riot Grrrl: Revolution Girl Style Now! puts it succinctly. "This is the real product of Riot Grrrl: women making things for themselves and for each other. It turned smart girls bold."
Posted by escapegrace at 8:47 AM
Thursday, March 05, 2009
Wednesday, March 04, 2009
Tuesday, March 03, 2009
Sunday, March 01, 2009
- Aquarium Drunkard has mp3s of an episode of KPFK's Folkscene featuring Tom Waits (1974).
- The oldest English words have been identified.
- BookTour is a website covering...wait for it...book tours (via @condalmo).
- The longlist for the Foreign Fiction Prize has been announced.
- "The Unemployment Line: It's Not Just for Philosophy Majors Anymore"
- The New Yorker this week has previously unpublished David Foster Wallace, "Wiggle Room." It's an excerpt from his unfinished novel The Pale King.
- SAT Scores vs. Music You Listen To (via @WFMU)
- In honor of the upcoming release of Cecil Castellucci's Beige, Carolyn Kellogg lists 10 essential punk songs.
- This site is going to be my ruin.
- Norman Mailer vs. Everyone
- And for this week's requisite zombie link: Zombie Combat Club
Posted by escapegrace at 9:00 AM