The New York Review of Books recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of its founding (previously
), growing out of an alliance between Harpers editor Robert Silvers and writer Elizabeth Hardwick to find a place for what she called "the unusual, the difficult, the lengthy, the intransigent, and above all, the interesting."
Known as the New York Review or the NYRB, it is also known to fans as the best magazine in the world. Next Monday, HBO will air The 50-Year Argument
, a documentary by Martin Scorsese about the history of the magazine and what makes it special. [more inside]
Big list of Games
– "An unfiltered list of games featuring a leading lady, because such a list should exist."
Have a suggestion for a game?
Leading Ladies in Media
– "Highlighting female protagonists in Film, TV, Comics, and Books."
Bonus link: hardcore gaming
– Fuck Yeah 1990s
Things That Don't Suck
, Some Notes on The Stand
I recently reread The Stand for no particular reason other than I felt like it. I'm honestly not sure how many time[s] I've read it at this point, more than three, less than a half dozen (though I can clearly remember my first visit to that horrifyingly stripped bare world as I can remember the first reading of all the truly great King stories). It's not my favorite of King's work, but it is arguably his most richly and completely imagined. It truly is the American Lord of The Rings, with the concerns of England (Pastorialism vs. Industrialism, Germany's tendency to try and blow it up every thirty years or so) replaced by those of America (Religion, the omnipresent struggle between our liberal and libertarian ideals, our fear of and dependence on the military, racial and gender tension) and given harrowing size.
I'm happy to say that The Stand holds up well past the bounds of nostalgia and revisiting the world and these characters was as pleasurable as ever. But you can't step in the same river twice, even when you're revisiting a favorite book. Even if the river hasn't changed you have. This isn't meant as any kind of comprehensive essay on The Stand. Just a couple of things I noticed upon dipping my toes in the river this time.
[Spoiler alert: assume everything, from the link above to those below, contains SPOILERS.] [more inside]
If the sheer number of Leonard adaptations is remarkable, what is more remarkable still is how few of them are any good.
No one was more aware of, or blunt about, this disappointing onscreen record than Leonard himself. His first crime novel, The Big Bounce
, was twice adapted for film, in 1969 and 2004. Leonard memorably described the earlier effort as the “second-worst movie ever made”; it was not until he saw the 2004 version, he later said, that he knew what movie was the worst.
Suffice it to say, Persepolis is quite a work. It’s a testament to the power of the graphic novel. The art’s simple linework helps the story feel unpretentious and direct. Persepolis was adapted as a 2007 French animated film, written and directed by Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud. Among other honors, it was nominated for an Academy Award. Why would someone want to ban such a book?
Sol Yurick, author of the book that was the basis for Metafilter favorite
film The Warriors
, has died at 87
Happy Thomas Pynchon rumor day! [LAtimes.com]
"What's that, you say? America's most reclusive author, Thomas Pynchon, appeared in the news Friday -- not once but twice? Why, yes, yes, he has, surfacing in two unconnected rumours. Conspiracy? Pynchonian? Maybe we should henceforth designate Jan. 4 as Thomas Pynchon Rumor Day." [more inside]
Alan Moore and David Lloyd designed it 30 years ago. The V for Vendetta mask appropriated
by Occupy protesters the world over. The Guardian recently
asked Alan what he thought about the masks. Now Channel 4 news takes him into Occupy territory
to face that face. But who is
the true anarchist?
The book covers at Paris's famed Shakespeare and Company bookstore come to life in this stop-motion collaboration between director Spike Jonze and designer Olympia Le-Tan, Mourir Auprès De Toi
(To Die By Your Side). [more inside]
The Motif of Harmful Sensation
(or as TV Tropes calls it, the Brown Note
) is a recurring idea in literature: physical or mental damage that a person suffers merely by experiencing what should normally be a benign sensation. The phenomenon appears in both traditional
stories. [more inside]
In 1963, French novelist (and former secret agent!) Pierre Boulle
, released a smashing new Sci-Fi novel called La planète des singes (Monkey Planet in the UK)
. Like his previous 1952 bestseller, Le Pont de la rivière Kwaï
(Bridge Over the River Kwai
), the book was adapted into a classic film - and eventually a franchise of some note
. Interested in how Boulle's sociopolitical satire became one of the iconic films of our time? You can read some of the backstory about Serling's involvement with the project
, then have a look at the various drafts themselves and final shooting script.
Chris Foss concept art for Dune
, with bonus Nostromo. The images were produced for Alejandro Jodorowsky's 1974 attempt at filming the story
, with other artists involved including Moebius
and HR Giger
. Though the project failed Jodorowsky collaborated further with Moebius to lay the groundwork for his own Dune-like comicbook universe
(and a trailer for an animated version of it
was even created). More visions of Arrakis can be seen on this page of Dune cover artwork through the ages
, with bonus midi Toto.
Matt Helm is a fictional character created by author Donald Hamilton. He is a U.S. government counter-agent—a man whose primary job is to kill or nullify enemy agents—not a spy or secret agent in the ordinary sense of the term as used in spy thrillers. ... The character appeared in 27 books over a 33-year period beginning in 1960... A movie series was made in the mid-to-late 1960s starring Dean Martin... the series bore no resemblance at all to the character, atmosphere, or themes of Hamilton's original books, nor to the hard-edged action of Bond. One reason was the attitude of the filmmakers that the only way to compete with the Bond films was to parody them.
- Wikipedia (links may be mildly NSFW) [more inside]
Dreams With Sharp Teeth
– clips from a Sundance Channel documentary on science fiction writer (and somewhat litigious colourful character) Harlan Ellison
. Harlan says pay the writer
is a collection of original, vintage, and limited edition posters and prints.
The Visual Telling of StoriesA lyrical encyclopedia of visual propositions;
a visually orientated taxonomy of the ways in which pictures are used to tell stories. [more inside]
"There's something very shabby about a noble grave... Political power and the power of wealth result in splendid graves. Really impressive graves, you know. Such creatures never had any imagination while they lived, and quite naturally their graves don't leave any room for imagination either. But noble people live only on the imaginations of themselves and others, and so they leave graves like this one which inevitably stir one's imagination. And this I find even more wretched. Such people, you see, are obliged even after they are dead to continue begging people to use their power of imagination." - Yukio Mishima
via Kashiwagi in The Temple of the Golden Pavilion
. On this, the anniversary of Mishima's transformation into a headless god, a collection of video links. [more inside]
If you've never heard of Adam Cadre
, then Adam Cadre is the best internet writer you've never heard of. He's a novelist
and interactive fiction (a.k.a. "text adventure") author
, but his site is packed with some of the clearest, most entertaining (and most personal) cultural writing around. It's a blog-esque sort of deal with posts prompted by films
. Choicest articles include a to-the-point takedown
of Stranger in a Strange Land
, thoughts on Lanark and trolls who have never known love
, an exegesis of the virtues of The Sweet Hereafter
and the story
of his near-lifelong relationship with Cosmos
Edward Samuel's Illustrated History of Copyright
A fascinating illustrated historical tour, looking at how different technologies have shaped how we think about copyright and intellectual property.
TM without the ™
. When he's not directing one of the best movies of the year
or sitting on intersections with cows
, David Lynch
is a vocal advocate
of Transcendental Meditation
. In his new book Catching the Big Fish
, he talks about the Box and the Key
, meeting Fellini, the Suffocating Rubber Clown Suit, why he doesn't do DVD commentaries--and TM, which he calls "the experience that does everything." If you're intrigued by TM but sketched out by the organization
and the $2,500 fee
, perhaps you'd like to know that there is a cheap, downloadable alternative
Gender differences in literary taste -
The Guardian (inter alia) has been reporting two English professors' studies of reading habits and feelings about books by gender. Others (newest to oldest): most revelatory books by reader gender (for men)
, (for women)
, author gender by reader gender
. The methodology may not be unassailable but the findings are interesting and plausible. [viaduct vianochicken]
Sidenote: I did a little research following a comment on MR and reached a non-obvious conclusion: women hate Akira Kurosawa
(check out those charts; for comparison
). Theories welcome.
I first read "Ask the Dust" in 1971 when I was doing research for "Chinatown". I was concerned about the way people really sounded when they talked, and I was dissatisfied with everything else I had read that was written during the '30s. I wanted the real thing, as Henry James would say. When I picked up Fante's "Ask the Dust," I just knew that was the way those kids talked to each other—the rhythms, cadences, racism.
on adapting John Fante
's novel for the big screen
. More inside.
Hamlet on the Ramparts
is a public website designed and maintained by the MIT Shakespeare Project
in collaboration with the Folger Shakespeare Library
and other institutions. It aims to provide free access to an evolving collection of texts, images, and film relevant to Hamlet’s first encounter with the Ghost. More inside.
"It has always been as if I carry chaos with me the way others carry typhoid. My purpose in writing is to transcend my existence by illuminating it."
Crime novelist Edward Bunker
, who died last Tuesday at age 71 (LATimes obit)
, became at 17 the youngest inmate at San Quentin
after he stabbed a prison guard at a youth detention facility. It was during his 18 years of incarceration
for robbery, check forgery and other crimes that Bunker learned to write. In 1973, while still in prison, he made his literary debut
with "No Beast So Fierce
", a novel about a paroled thief James Ellroy called "quite simply one of the great crime novels of the past 30 years" and that was made into the movie "Straight Time
" starring Dustin Hoffman. Also a screenwriter ("Runaway Train"), Bunker appeared as an actor in nearly two dozen roles
, most notably as Mr. Blue in "Reservoir Dogs
." (more inside)
The Mathematical Fiction Homepage
is a collaborative attempt to "collect information about all significant references to mathematics in fiction
." Feel free to add classic
works in any medium
to the collection, or rate existing entries on their mathematical content and literary quality.
The Cheerful Transgressive
Ever since 1971, when Larry Clark
, an austere series chronicling his meth-shooting pals in sixties Oklahoma, Clark has made it his mission to document teenagers at their most deviant, their most vulnerable, their most sexually unhinged (possibly NSFW)
. And now “Larry Clark
” the first American retrospective of Clark’s work, currently on display at the International Center of Photography
, demonstrates the richness with which he’s mined this single subject (NSFW)
. More inside.
at the core, neither good or bad. It simply is. [+]
For lovers of the hard-boiled crime story, life began with the black bird.
It's a tale of greed and a wisecracking gumshoe. The femme fatale is a liar. The object of the hero's search is a statuette of a falcon. Published exactly 75 years ago
on Valentine's Day, Dashiell Hammett
's private-eye novel "The Maltese Falcon
"' immediately won critical acclaim. And when it was made into a 1941 movie
starring Humphrey Bogart
, Mary Astor, Sydney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre (and directed by a rookie
), Hammett's story found a worldwide
audience and his hero, Sam Spade
, became a household name. Now
, three-quarters of a century later, that's still the case
. More inside.
Don't believe the hype
Debunking the so-called genius of Prince, The Sopranos and 'Blade Runner'. Amusingly harsh yet convincing cases all round. Can I add 'Goodfellas' to the list? Never has so much been written about a film so lacking. I prefered 'Casino'.
As a perennial outsider
at loose in Japan, writer Donald Richie
captures the joyous freedom
of being foreign. The foreign observer is likely to be happy only if he sees his foreignness as an adventure, and recognizes that he has given up a sense of belonging for a sense of freedom
, traded the luxury of being understood for that of being permanently interested.
Richie, the philosopher-king of expats in Asia for the past half-century, arrived in Tokyo in 1947 as a typist with the U.S. government and never really left, writing dozens of books
, on Japanese movies
, history and fashion
, while enjoying himself as an actor, musician, filmmaker and painter. The Japan Journals: 1947-2004
is a monument to the pleasures of displacement
. Richie watchers can observe, more intimately than ever, a man who is generally happiest observing. More inside.
"First, look up the most popular and critically-acclaimed books, movies, and music on Amazon. Click on 'Customer Reviews,' and sort them by 'Lowest Rating First'..." The Amazon.com Knee-Jerk Contrarian Game
These are the first words Charles Bukowski
speaks in John Dullaghan'
about the poet
, famous for his writing
and infamous for his drinking
. The audience member might respond, "To hear your story, Hank
, that's what I want."
The movie opens
with friends (Sean Penn, Harry Dean Stanton, Bono) and colleagues and lovers and fans recounting the myth
; theirs are stories of blades pulled on the maitre d' of the swanky Polo Lounge
in Beverly Hills, of dangling dicks revealed in public, of a drunk
who'd just as soon crack his bottle over your head than share its contents. (more inside)
Alexandre Dumas on film
This AP/CNN article says Dumas’ books make good movies, but aren’t being read as much as they used to be. Do the changes the movies make improve the books, or would more faithful adaptations be better?
When The Lord of the Rings
series rolls around to Xmas 2002, will they have to change the name of the second episode from The Two Towers?
Will Hollywood have settled down by then? Maybe it won't be a sensitive problem anymore. But what would be a good alternate title?
You've seen the movie
, maybe even read the book
. But have you experienced the website
? When the flash intro comes up, click on "You're a dead rat" for a good chuckle.
Don't make Hunter mad.
Hunter S. Thompson doesn't think the production company that optioned The Rum Diaries
is doing a very good job. And he tells them. Man, does he tell them.
You've seen the movie
, you've read the book
. Now, watch Dead Man Walking, the Opera
. (more inside...)