Wow, so its 2:30 am and I’m exhausetd again. I’ll tell you why exactly this is, tomorrow. For now all I can note quikly is that I spent the better half of the day organizing my bookcase. This was a truly healing expierience and I recommend it highly. There is something quasi-spiritual about communing with books. I’m thinking of starting a lending library, so holler if your looking for something to read. Goodnight and speak soon!
Archive for Books
Well Folks, I have been busy (!) riding the subway from Beautiful Brooklyn to Hot Mess Midtown, and during all of that time, I have been reading. My latest conquest is The Same Man: George Orwell and Evelyn Waugh by David Lebedoff. Again, despite the fact that the premise is damn near preposterous, (hello? What do these two writers really have in common?), it’s a pretty decent read.
Yes Lebedoff, they were born in the same year, of the upper middle class, Orwell went to Eton and Waugh went to Oxford, but come on! Orwell was an ingenious political visionary and fab writer, who lived barely above the poverty line for most of his adult life. He volunteered as a foreign soldier among the Anarchist-Syndicalists during the Spanish Civil War. Waugh was a self-made aristocrat, Catholic, heavy drinking womanizer, who once dined with Mussolini- a talented writer nonetheless.
Anyway, this brings me to the GIVEAWAY!! I have stated these opinions boldly and will no doubt reiterate some in my review of this book for Bookslut (be on the lookout), yet to be really fair, I have read almost every book that Orwell ever published and can not say the same for Waugh. In order to judge him fairly, I invite you my reader to read his classic novel Brideshead Revisited alongside of me and then to comment widely about your impressions. In fact I have 2 copies to give away to the 2 readers who correctly answer my trivia question. Then after you read it, I will happily post your reactions on the BS!
The question is: What is Goeorge Orwell’s real name? What did he do for 5 years after finishing high School and what incident involving a cane, did he learn something important from?
Tip: a key to finding the answer is included in this post!
Email answers and your mailing address to: firstname.lastname@example.org
So I’m famous, according to one of my friends, who was standing with me on the cold street corner when I pulled a copy of New York Press out of the dispenser and found my article on Tegan and Sara in it. I almost started to believe him this morning when i bought a copy of The Progressive and my article on Sgt. Marshall Thompson was in there too. Fame! The illusion started to disentegrate fairly quickly when I remembered that I still don’t know how I am going to pay my already late rent, this month.
Oh well, as we Brooklyn Socialite’s do, at least I was able to spend the rest of the afternoon schmoozing among people who are gainfully employed in the business of being writers and filmmakers. That’s right, the pass wearing journalati who frequent the New York Film Festival. I was on a guest pass at it were, but was let in long enough to see Matteo Garrone’s new Cannes darling, Gomorrah. This is a mafia film, set in Naples, which is made to look almost like a documentary. In fact, the scenes are meticulously constructed and brought to life by local Napoletano theater actors, many of whom are teenagers. In the Q & A Garrone explained that Roberto Saviano, the author of the book on the Camorra, which Gomorrah is based on, had to go under protection, after threats were made on his life. Yet, Garrone has not had to do so becuase, ” People there love the cinema so much, that having a film made about them is something they are happy about, which allows them to forget about everything else.”
I also saw Caroline Suh’s Frontrunners it was fun and simple, very much in the spelling bee, and child dance competition genre. Sort of like the crossword puzzle movie too. It made being an overachiever look cool, in a weird kind of reverse way, and it reminded me that we have our Eton, and the class system in America is certainly not dead.
I finally broke down and saw Bladerunner and I have to say, in light of my love for dystopias, it was a really great dvd. Based on the Philip K Dick book, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, it imagined the future in a beautiful post-apocalyptic china town for the senses. I loved it, loved younger Harrison ford, the male on male kiss of death, and most of all the following quote.
“It’s hard to live your whole life in fear, isn’t it? This is what it means to be a slave.” Go Philip! Go Ridley Scott, applause all around.
Which brings me to Bad Tenants (bad list BL) all I can say is avoid them at all costs, they will suck your blood to the very core!
Then Blue Man Group, I don’t know what its about, other than a mild dig against Internet obsession and modern life, something of a plea for a reconnection with the primal, interactive theater loving self. It is mostly just fun and slapstick, and grotesque-dirty. Thoughtful at best, I remember being really inspired by it at 18, this time it felt more like a colorful circus, sadly lacking the bearded lady.
This was my today, now see you tomorrow!
The General of the Dead Army rightfully earned Ismail Kadare the Booker Prize. It is a stark investigation into loss and lingering sanity, which takes the form of an anti-hero’s quest, while borrowing heavily from the dystopia genre. The protagonist is an Italian General who wanders the emotionally barren landscape of Albania in search of the bodies of fallen Italian soldiers from World War II. His journey into darkness, whether intentionally or coincidentally, references such magnificently tragic journey’s as those that comprised 1884, the Time Machine, C.S. Lewis’s Space Trilogy and naturally, Heart of Darkness.
After a significant amount of procrastination, I managed to write my review of A General of the Dead Army for Bookslut. That is the first paragraph and the rest will soon be available on their sight. As a B S exclusive though, I wanted to talk about this book and the film Ballast together. I interviewed the film’s director, Lance Hammer, last week and that will soon see the light of print, I promise. Meanwhile- let’s talk Tragedy.
Hammer used non actors, who were local to the two towns in the Mississippi Delta where he shot the film. After 10 years of research, he decided to make a film that as he told me, “wasn’t so much about race, but about universal human suffering.” He chose African Americans to play the main roles, and encouraged them to use their own distinct vernacular. Rather than hand them a script, he gave them a situation and encouraged them to improvise language around that particular scenario. What remains of this method, in the edited movie is a steely, classical, cinematic gem. Like The General of the Dead Army, Ballast is a tragic play of emotions, which seems to take place in real time. It is similarly stark, subtle and quietly passionate.
Surprisingly, in my food coma, I managed to stumble over to The Angelika, a cinema which is definitely on the Good List. They consistently show great films, offer insightful Q&As and even have a cafe, yay! Last night Charlize Theron, of Monster fame, joined filmmaker Stuart Townsend (also her boyfriend, she is straight), and Kiwi Actor, Martin Henderson, who played the lead male role. Many of my friends were in Seattle at the WTO protests back in 1999. I remember them coming back to New York all pumped and ready to change the face of organizing. It was the dawn of the Internet, birth of The Indy Media Network. A hugely diverse coalition had been formed and would be maintained thereafter. A social movement had descended upon once secret meetings. For those who haven’t seen it, I strongly suggest finding a copy of This is What Democracy Looks Like and viewing it alongside Battle in Seatle. The former is a doco and the latter a dramatization of the events. Also try to wrap your head around Joseph Stiglitz’s Globalization and its Discontents. Or if you can’t hang with economist-speak, Stuart Townsend recommends Take it Personally by Anita Roddick.
The Angelika was packed, and it was an engaging film. Lots of Hollywood style drama- and a little too much sap courtesy of Woody Harrelson et al. Still it was easy to look past the pedestrian romances and focus on the momentum that the film simulates aided by an excellent musical score. The researched and nearly balanced approach it takes towards telling the story of N30 is commendable.