- NPR has the Dark Was the Night concert from Radio City Music Hall.
- 20 Brilliant Bookcases (via Neatorama)
- Elizabeth Wurtzel whines about losing her looks.
- The Best Beer Map of America (via @elinashatkin)
- Elbo.ws has a preview of the new Cracker album. (via @booksquare)
- "When there's no underbrush, the tree looks taller."
- The Atlantic asks: What makes us happy?
- Maud Newton asks: What would Jesus buy?
- I always have problems wrapping my brain around the ins 'n outs of time travel. Maybe if I watched all of these great time travel movies, I'd get it once and for all.
Sunday, May 31, 2009
Saturday, May 30, 2009
Friday, May 29, 2009
Mark Sarvas writes on literary losers for Book Forum.
Home Land by Sam Lipsyte
It’s hard to think of a more complete reprobate than Lewis “Teabag” Miner, whose days consist of devouring drugs, scouring the Internet for leg-warmer porn, and churning out embittered, unprintable dispatches for his high school newsletter. And still, strangely, we ache for him.
That reminds me that Sam Lipsyte has a new book coming out early next year. See him read from The Ask here.
Update: ...and a follow-up from Vroman's.
Posted by escapegrace at 11:59 AM
Thursday, May 28, 2009
The Guardian asks writers to pinpoint a book that changed their lives: Lolita, Dr. No, and How to Talk Dirty and Influence People, among others.
Alain de Botton: Norman Mailer's Of a Fire on the Moon opened up a whole new way of writing for me. It's a piece of reportage about the 1969 Nasa moon landings, in which Mailer adopts a freewheeling tone that enables him to discuss himself, his recent divorce, fascism in America, race and technology - all with huge intelligence, humour and a crazed energy. The book showed that the barrier between being a novelist and a reporter are in the end rather flexible and that you can take the stuff of ordinary newspaper stories and turn them into something resembling art and philosophy. I couldn't have written my most recent book without this great book as inspiration.
Posted by escapegrace at 9:09 PM
Sunday, May 24, 2009
- Hey Oscar Wilde! It's Clobberin' Time!!! collects various
artists' interpretations of their favorite literary figure/
- 69 Modern Classics Condensed via Amazon SIPs
- I'm seriously considering an Infinite Summer.
- This is the best wedding video ever.
- Thirteen Books That Will Change the Way You Look at Robots
- Sign up for Vroman's best new books newsletter The Essential.
- The Best Cities for Street Art
- Weezer covers MGMT.
- 30 Awesomely Bad Unicorn Tattoos (via @danchaon)
- Mary Roach's TED Talk: 10 Things You Didn't Know about Orgasm
- Fifth-Grade Science Paper Doesn't Stand Up To Peer Review
Posted by escapegrace at 10:49 AM
Saturday, May 23, 2009
The New Yorker has an excerpt from Jonathan Lethem's forthcoming novel.
Ava let him know they were to sleep in the bed together that first night, joining him there and, then, when he tried to cede it to her, clambering atop him on the narrow sofa to which he’d retreated, spilling her sixty or seventy writhing pounds across his body and flipping her head up under his jaw in a crass seduction. That wasn’t going to be very restful for either of them, so it was back to the twin-size mattress, where she could fit herself against his length and curl her snout around his hip bone. By the end of the second night, he had grown accustomed to her presence.
Posted by escapegrace at 2:25 PM
Friday, May 22, 2009
I reviewed Will You Take Me as I Am: Joni Mitchell's Blue Period
for this Sunday's LA Times.
"Will You Take Me" is also a work of literary criticism. Mercer references Plato's allegory of the cave and Sylvia Plath, James Joyce and Annie Dillard. She does not shy away from tangents, some successful, as when she links the dogma of folk tradition to T.S. Eliot's criticism; and some not so, such as dips into associative logic and Foucault. As she explores the distinctions among confessional, autobiographical and personal writing, Mercer uses her subject's own words (she conducted a trove of interviews with Mitchell) to illustrate her thesis that Mitchell helped make the personal songwriters of the late '60s and early '70s the literary successors to the Beats.
Posted by escapegrace at 12:45 PM
Sunday, May 17, 2009
- 100 Things to Try in L.A. Before You Die
- I'm looking forward to David Lynch's Interview Project.
- 15 Insanely Titled Books, Another 10, and Yet Another 10
- Awkward Family Photos (via Thrillist)
- In 1998, David Foster Wallace reflected on Terminator 2 as "special effects porn." (via @drmabuse)
- Eight Musicians Who Sold Out, Made Us Laugh
- I turned to the half-elf and asked the one question that needed immediate answer: "Is there any beer left?"
- The Road trailer is out and not immediately disappointing.
- Long Lost Celebrity Twins
- The editors have chosen the next eleven albums for the 33 1/3 series.
- All trains will be crowded, G train will be too short and never on time. (via @sarahw)
- De-classified: Mark Andrew's portraits of the authors of personal ads (via VSL)
- Never be confused by a word again.
- The 50 Greatest Movie Monologues (and happy to see escapegrace friend Sacha Howells's Five Things I Learned from Wolverine is one of the most popular stories).
- Listen to the Sparklehorse/Danger Mouse collaboration at NPR. It may be your only chance.
Posted by escapegrace at 11:19 AM
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Eric Bogosian joined Jerry Stahl last night at the Central Library as part of the ALOUD series. (I'm averaging about a bimonthly Stahl event these days.) The two writers revealed they were old friends, joking that they may have "shared some hobbies" in the less drug-free past. They took turns reading from their latest releases - Bogosian's Perforated Heart and Stahl's Pain Killers.
Other topics discussed include Bogosian's previous novels Mall and Wasted Beauty, The Caine Mutiny Court Martial, Liev Schreiber in a revival of Talk Radio, Stahl's work on a new film about Hemingway, finding journals of the younger you, being invisible vs. being a creepy old guy, anger, revenge, Frank Zappa, committing to domesticity, Bret Easton Ellis, Joseph Mengele, born-again prostitutes, syringe collections, the detective genre, books as developmentally challenged children, the Mayfair Apartments, the Hellfire Club, ice cubes, blonde on bagel sex, acting, and Warhol's From A to B and Back Again.
Posted by escapegrace at 9:16 AM
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Morgan Mies on the wonders abound in Strunk & White:
If there is an underlying metaphysical principal guiding The Elements of Style (the one with White's additional chapter) it is something like the following: language is simple, direct, and expressive… except that it's magical, dynamic, and unfettered. White looks at Thomas Paine's famous sentence, "These are the times that try men's souls." He tries switching it around to, "Times like these try men's souls." It crashes to the ground. Why? We simply do not know. No explanation seems adequate. Try it yourself. Try to actually explain, with reasons and causes, why the one sentence sets the aforementioned soul stirring while the other practically extinguishes it. As White says, we usually end up explaining the difference with such words as "rhythm" and "cadence." But what are we really explaining with those words? We're still just saying that one sentence simply sounds better than the other. That's not explanation — it’s obfuscation. The first sentence is better and we damn well know it. We don't know why. But we know it, as certain as the hand in front of one's face, the rain falling on the plain.
Posted by escapegrace at 11:07 AM
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Jeanette Winterson on Italo Calvino and his Cosmicomics:
Calvino was a writer who preferred to disappear. He did not enjoy talking about himself, finding that the facts of life were a kind of Medusa's stare, as he puts it in his essay Lightness, published in 1985. He used his fiction to escape himself, and the weight of the world. This was not by any means escapism; it was his answer to the eternal question: What is reality?
Posted by escapegrace at 9:55 AM
Monday, May 11, 2009
Sunday, May 10, 2009
- Employment Maps from the Economic Apocalypse
- And more from io9: physicists prove that vampires could not exist.
- The Road will finally be released in October.
- Poets Ranked by Beard Weight
- Twelve top female writers celebrate the many faces of Michelle Obama.
- SoulPancake asks, "What's your confidence theory?"
- 100+ of the Best Authors on Twitter
- LA folks may want to check out Jerry Stahl and Eric Bogosian this Wednesday at the Central Library.
- I have excellent editing and poof-reading skills.
- Classics Rock! features popular songs based on, inspired by, or alluding to books, authors, or literary characters.
- The Best NASA Satellite Photos from the Last 50 Years
- Why the F*** Do You Have a Kid?
Posted by escapegrace at 9:35 AM
Saturday, May 09, 2009
Aleksander Hemon's The Lazarus Project was one of my favorite reads last year. His new story collection Love and Obstacles is narrated by a man who, like Hemon, moved from Sarajevo to Chicago in 1992. Hemon writes of the places in Chicago that inspired him for The Wall Street Journal.
6. Metropolis Coffee Shop 1039 W. Granville Ave.
I wrote substantial parts of "The Noble Truths of Suffering" at Metropolis. I can write anywhere as long as there is good coffee available, for I am a militant caffeine addict and a terrible coffee snob. Whether by the Turkish coffee I make at home, or by what the good people of Metropolis provide, my fantasies are fueled by what ought to be, according to a Turkish proverb, black as hell, strong as death and sweet as love. I take no love in my coffee.
Posted by escapegrace at 1:33 PM
Friday, May 08, 2009
From the 1999 Mojo interview:
Tell me about the "perverted doctor" you play in the forthcoming film Mystery Men.
Perverted? I don't know. There's a scene with a woman in her nineties at a rest home where we watch television and I make advances, but I wouldn't necessarily call that perverted. Dr. Hiller likes older women, and I guess it's just so radically different from the Hollywood cycle of older men with younger women. What's really perverted is these old-timers going and picking up these young gals. I respect maturity and longevity.
Posted by escapegrace at 2:06 PM
Sunday, May 03, 2009
- Some LA Times Festival of Books follow up from Patrick Brown and Cecil Castellucci.
- Paste has a survey of songs by musicians about other musicians.
- Browse pages from Philippe Halsman's Jump Book.
- 99 Things You Should Have Already Experienced on the Internet Unless You're a Loser or Old or Something
- L Magazine's 2009 list of 8 NYC Bands You Need to Hear
- Eight books make Richard and Judy's Summer Read campaign. For something more eclectic, check the Wales Book of the Year longlist.
- UC Riverside's new literary journal The Coachella Review is looking for submissions.
- White People in Rap: A History
- Some responses to claims this week about the "true identity" of the Zodiac killer: Sarah Weinman on an earlier suspect and True Crime Report's debunking of Deborah Perez's story.
- Andy Warhol paints Debbie Harry on an Amiga.
- You little bastard. You've killed us all.
Posted by escapegrace at 8:05 AM
Friday, May 01, 2009
11. On the Yard by Malcolm Braley
I could not stop talking about how much I was enjoying this book. I'm sure people tired of my "It's Oz in a book!" refrain, but it is. The characters in this 1967 prison novel are intriguingly complex, and I seriously cannot remember a more gripping climax to a fiction narrative. I was bent on writing a film adaptation, but I see it's already been done. Remake perhaps?
12. Everyone's Pretty by Lydia Millet
Wanting to add another LA text to my research, I picked up this novel - a farcical tale of a porn producer, his Christian martyr sister, and sundry other characters, somehow inevitably including a horny dwarf. The plot is pretty over the top, but then again, it is LA. The quick jumps between character perspective keep the story moving at a compelling pace.
13. Lowboy by John Wray
A 16-year-old paranoid schizophrenic escapes from an institution and rides the New York City subway system on a mission to save the world from global warming by getting laid. I will not mention the obvious comparison everyone else is making. It's a pretty brilliant premise that is executed without needless exposition. One of the blurbs on the back of my copy referred to the novel having the pace of a thriller, and it does, while still respecting the reader's intellect.
14. The Curse of the Appropriate Man by Lynn Freed
I read this collection of stories in one sitting. Freed writes of the lives of women - in the U.S. and South Africa, primarily - who struggle to reconcile their scrabbling toward desire and happiness with the fact they have to live in the world. It seems to be an older world, although most of the stories were initially published in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Posted by escapegrace at 9:00 AM