28 May 2005
25 May 2005
23 May 2005
22 May 2005
Artist Zak Smith has posted his page-for-page illustrations of "Gravity's Rainbow": "So I illustrated 'Gravity's Rainbow'—nobody asked me to, but I did it anyway. Most of the pictures are drawings—ink on whatever paper was lying around, but there are also paintings (acrylic), photos I took and experimental photographic processes. I tried to illustrate the passages as literally as possible-- if the book says there was a green Spitfire, I drew a green Spitfire. Mostly, I tried to make a series of pictures as dense, intricate, and rich as the prose in the book. The entire project was shown in the Whitney Museum's 2004 Biennial Exhibition of Contemporary Art and is now in the permanent collection of the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis."
20 May 2005
In LA Weekly, Scott Foundas talks to writer James Salter at 80, on the occasion of his new book of short stories, "Last Night," and about how the carnal carborundum of "A Sport and a Pastime" came to be: "With 'The Hunters,' Salter resigned his Air Force commission and headed for Europe. He was just 30, but had already lived a life so full and varied that it seemed the stuff of fiction. And there would be more such lives to come, as an American expatriate living abroad, as a screenwriter crossing the Hollywood minefield and as an elder statesman of American letters. It was in France that he encountered the people and places that would inspire 'A Sport and a Pastime,' the writing of which Salter likens to the creative breakthrough that led Saul Bellow to write 'The Adventures of Augie March.' “The book was there,” Salter says. “I knew what it was. I knew what it should be. Bellow had his memory; I don’t know if he had notes. I had a lot of notes that reminded me of what things were like. But it was all there. And it was in my own language — not as distinctive, of course, as the marvelous language of Bellow. But for me, it was my own language.” Foundas selects this swatch as an example: Sometimes at night he stands in the crowd. He sees her smile and his heart falls out of him. Among the dancers turning in the orange light, he can find her in an instant. He knows her calves, the shape of her body better than her lover, and those high-heeled shoes with their thin straps, as they move around the floor they are ripping his dreams.
13 May 2005
In the Guardian, a suprisingly sturdy thinkpiece by Gareth McLean on... the hoodie? "Prejudice or not, our uneasiness towards hoods doesn't come from nowhere. Hooded figures are everywhere in art, literature, religion, cinema, cartoons—and most of them don't appear offering ice cream. The big daddy of them all, the Grim Reaper, comes cloaked and hooded, as do the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, various minions of Satan, and harbingers of evil from all creeds, religions, mythologies, science-fiction universes and fantastical worlds of dungeons and dragons. "Hooded figures" appear in crime reports, horror films, nightmares. The imminent Star Wars movie Revenge of the Sith shows Anakin Skywalker, in preparation for his crossing to the Dark Side, donning a cloak and hood in imitation of the trendsetting but evil Emperor. It's the Hooded Claw who imperils Penelope Pitstop. It's the Reaper-esque Ringwraiths who pursue Frodo in Lord of the Rings. It was a hood that led Donald Sutherland's John Baxter to unfortunately confuse a murderous dwarf with his drowned daughter in Nicolas Roeg's Don't Look Now. And if baddies don't have actual hoods, they have hooded eyes: peer into their darkness at your peril. For thousands of years, we have been bombarded with images of menacing hooded figures. Crabby youths wrapped in cotton/polyester-mix tops are just the latest entry in the catalogue of devils; they can't hold a candle to the Ku Klux Klan." [A whole bunch more at the link.]
12 May 2005
The Guardian visits with 75-year-old Harry Frankfurt, philosopher emeritus at Princeton University to talk about his bestseller, a recycling of a 20-year-old lecture called "On Bullshit." "So it was re-released.... as a piece of work in itself: a pocket-sized, hardback book of 67 pages with big print and wide margins. "I was surprised when they said they wanted to publish it as a book because I didn't think there was enough there for a book. But my editor said: "You can do a lot with page sizes and margins." "On Bullshit is in its 10th US printing, having sold 175,000 copies. "Ask Frankfurt why he thinks the book is doing so well and you will get no bullshit. "I really don't know," he says. "People are starved of a more straightforward approach to reality. They are sick of bullshit. They are people who don't try to avoid a straight confrontation with the truth ... But then this would be true 20 years ago."
01 May 2005
In the FT, Mike Steinberger reacts to unsavory innovations by much-written-of chefs like El Bulli's Ferran Adria and The French Laundry and Per Se's Thomas Keller. At a dinner last spring at Alain Ducasse's 3-star Monte Carlo restaurant, Louis XV, he tasted the light: "Naturally, the meal began with an amuse, but one slightly more substantial than usual: It was a crudite, consisting of several stalks of celery, a few baby carrots, a few radishes, several other raw vegetables and a balsamic dipping sauce... It was disarming. But then I bit into a crisp infant carrot bursting with flavour and, as I did, I grasped the ingenious message. [The amuse] signaled that the dinner to come would be defined by flawless ingredients and simple preparations meant to draw the maximum flavor... It was just a quiet, brilliant dish that foretold a quietly brilliant meal, a meal that represented the apotheosis of haute cuisine."