- Sophie Tucker is profiled on the occasion of a new anthology of her early recordings.
- Must Pop Words
- Awhile ago, Mark Leyner laid out what he knows for sure about women. (via @shockozulu)
- 21 Songs About Booze
- Elina Shatkin compiles L.A. restaurants, bars, and chefs on Twitter.
- 10 Cardboard Boxes That Are Worth More Than Your Soul
- Watch the trailer for East of Sunset, a documentary on the Silverlake/Echo Park music scene.
- Watch the film The Gits.
- The New York Times has a slide show of the Annenberg Community Beach House. (I must have those rhinestone sunglasses.)
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Friday, August 28, 2009
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
24. The Masters of Atlantis by Charles Portis
If this book had taken place in California, it would have been perfect for my dissertation on alternative religion. There was something Upton Sinclair-ish about the style, and while I did not find it as uproarious as the blurbs promised, the characters and their intermittent devotion to their sect kept me interested.
25. The Epicure's Lament by Kate Christensen
Why are novels told from the point of view of the misanthropic so damn enjoyable? I could have spent another novel's worth of time with Christensen's narrator. The supporting cast successfully supported, but Hugo Whittier's voice is what kept me from wanting to put the book down. As this was my first Christensen book, I look forward to more.
26. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
I almost didn't read past the first few chapters, which is something I practically never do. Zusak has off-putting writerly tics - especially diction that made me check more than once to see if the book had been poorly translated - but the narrator (Death) and the tale of a young German girl during WWII won out in the end. The novel is long, but despite this, it's a quick read.
27. Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned by Wells Tower
I was certain Tower's debut story collection would not live up to the hype, but it did. Each story opened up an original, singular world that hit just the right notes. Even the one story with a female narrator rang true. Tower's vocal versatility is impressive. More, please.
28. Nobody Move by Denis Johnson
Disappointing. Johnson can be a fantastic writer, and I was often left wondering about his choices in this pulpy thriller. I will say that I was reading it during a particularly nasty bout of insomnia, and the style and action got me through several sleepless nights, so thank you, Mr. Johnson. I'm sorry I didn't like it more.
Posted by escapegrace at 12:03 PM
Monday, August 24, 2009
Posted by escapegrace at 9:06 PM
Sunday, August 23, 2009
- Virginia Woolf speaks.
- Dissertation Haiku
- There, I Fixed It: Epic Kludges + Jury Rigs
- Cecil Castellucci on young adult books that rock
- Paste's Playlist that Proves Metal Isn't as Inaccessible as You Think
- Write to Done offers 176 Tips for Writers.
- The Longest Poem in the World
- Pitchfork decides upon The Top 500 Tracks of the 2000s.
- Watch the trailer for David Lynch-produced, Werner Herzog-directed film My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done.
Posted by escapegrace at 11:38 AM
Saturday, August 22, 2009
I'm finally getting around to reading this profile of the new (Knut) Hamsun Centre in Presteid, Norway.
Børset wants the Hamsun Centre to be a place of reconciliation as well as literary debate, creativity and scholarship, open to everyone. Holl faced up to this debate when he first accepted the commission in 1994. Referring to the current exchange of letters, he says: "I think that all those things, good and bad, can be shown in a museum dedicated to the life of one person. You can include the stains in the exhibitions. Life isn't all clean. It has some messy corners."
Posted by escapegrace at 4:08 PM
Friday, August 21, 2009
Via @maudnewton, Kurt Vonnegut on "How to Write with Style":
7. Pity the readers
They have to identify thousands of little marks on paper, and make sense of them immediately. They have to read, an art so difficult that most people don't really master it even after having studied it all through grade school and high school --- twelve long years.
So this discussion must finally acknowledge that our stylistic options as writers are neither numerous nor glamorous, since our readers are bound to be such imperfect artists. Our audience requires us to be sympathetic and patient readers, ever willing to simplify and clarify --- whereas we would rather soar high above the crowd, singing like nightingales.
That is the bad news. The good news is that we Americans are governed under a unique Constitution, which allows us to write whatever we please without fear of punishment. So the most meaningful aspect of our styles, which is what we choose to write about, is utterly unlimited.
Posted by escapegrace at 2:21 PM
Sunday, August 16, 2009
- A roving LA blogger collects Life Advice from Old People, including Jon Voight and Errol Morris.
- The Different Kinds of People That There Are
- David Mitchell has a new story about a massive rat.
- VQR reprints two Aldous Huxley essays from 1931.
- The 50 Essential Women-In-Music Albums (Part 1)
- Gentlemen Broncos looks great. Surveillance does. Ha.
- Not to be beat, Tom Waits as the devil in The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus.
- The Best of Google Street View
- This graph shows what happens to the population of Manhattan at night.
- Choose Your Own Apocalypse
- A group of Canadian mathematicians have published “When Zombies Attack! Mathematical Modelling of a Zombie Outbreak!”
Posted by escapegrace at 1:34 PM
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Sunday, August 09, 2009
- Adam Yauch is recovering from surgery and sends thanks. Get well (and happy birthday), MCA!
- 50 Best and Worst Twist Endings in Movies
- David Ulin reflects on the lost art of reading.
- These kid coffee shop jams are too frickin' cute. Death Nightmare! (via @xenijardin)
- The 7 Vices of Highly Creative People
- And along the same lines, Favorite Drinks of the Rich and Famous
- Snacks and Shit is a blog about "rap and hip-hop lyrics that are absolutely absurd, ludicrous, nonsensical, ridiculous, basic, basically stupid, basically bad, basically basic, or preposterous."
- 23 Possible "American Idol" Replacements for Paula Abdul (I did not even recognize Sinead O'Connor.)
- RIP John Hughes. You were a good man.
Posted by escapegrace at 1:29 PM
Wednesday, August 05, 2009
In memory of Budd Schulberg, thoughts from my dissertation on his classic Hollywood novel What Makes Sammy Run?
Budd Schulberg, son of former Paramount chief B.P. Schulberg, was almost blacklisted in Hollywood upon the 1941 publication of his novel, What Makes Sammy Run? The novel satirizes the studio system, and while many welcomed the subject matter, many readers were appalled. “They attacked it not only as a slander on Hollywood, but on the human race, and I found myself denounced as a sensationalist, a falsifier, and even…a Fascist!” writes Schulberg in the introduction to the 1952 Modern Library Edition. However, even Schulberg is not impervious to the depiction of studio head as possessing mysterious powers. Sammy Glick may be an unscrupulous bully, but he remains an object of fascination and disagreeable esteem for Al, the narrator, with the question “What makes Sammy run?” reverberating endlessly in his mind. Sammy’s powers are not those of virtue, but darkness, a Lucifer to Monroe Stahr’s Christ in Fitzgerald's The Last Tycoon. Sammy is, in Al’s view, the personification of a diabolical historical force:
Now Sammy’s career meteored through my mind in all its destructive brilliance, his blitzkrieg against his fellow men. My mind skipped from conquest to conquest, like the scrapbook on his exploits I had been keeping ever since that memorable birthday party at the Algonquin. It was a terrifying and wonderful document, the record of where Sammy ran, and if you looked behind the picture and between the lines you might even discover what made him run. And some day I would like to see it published, as a blueprint of a way of life that was paying dividends in America in the first half of the twentieth century (276).In his scrapbook, Al has essentially assembled the gospel according to Sammy Glick, representing the universality of a distinctly American form of exaltation, that of revenue and ambition.
Posted by escapegrace at 6:06 PM
Sunday, August 02, 2009
- Mad Men Yourself
- This Recording counts down The 100 Greatest Writers of All Time (via @vromans)
- 20 Technothriller Tropes io9 hopes to never see again...
- Things My Date Really Said Last Night
- Jay Farrar and Ben Gibbard are collaborating on another Jack Kerouac project.
- Why The Misfits Are The Most Mythic Of All New Jersey Artists
- NPR on The Crow Paradox
- Best Book Cover Ever?
- Watch the trailer for the new Coen Brothers film, A Serious Man.
- Five Great Sources for Aesthetically Delightful Desktop Wallpaper
- Even with the happy ending, this is not for the animal squeamish, but this video is unbelievable: one dog drags another wounded dog to safety after he is hit by a car on a busy freeway.
Posted by escapegrace at 10:55 AM
Saturday, August 01, 2009
Visual blogs that consistently amuse/entertain/horrify/inspire me:
Fuck Yeah! Ryan Gosling
Fuck You, Penguin
"On the Origin of Douchebags"
Sir Alec Guinness
"US States as Countries of Equal Population"
Why the F*** Do You Have a Kid?
"Sumatran Tiger Cubs Frolic in Dublin"
Posted by escapegrace at 2:02 PM