Archive for October, 2009

Hell Yeah, Texas

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

Big big trip this weekend down to Austin for this year’s massive edition of the Texas Book Festival. I’m dumb honored to be included, and excited for a whopping three events on Saturday. First is an 11:30 panel discussion, “Writing in the Shadows” with Dan Chaon, Scott Blackwood, and personal buddy, Amelia Gray. We will drop dimes.

Then at 2:30 I will slay the shit out of Amelia*, Jeff Martin, and Owen Egerton at a TBF version of the world famous Opium Magazine Literary Death Match. The judging panel is Pulitzered there and back again, so it should be a doozy. And it’s in a church. Goodness.

Then finally later that night I’m stoked to close the day with Five Things, famous in Austin and beyond. Great folks there as well (who I won’t link to because I’m becoming tired), including White Person himself, Christian Lander.

Re: a costume, I’ll probably go as a slutty author. Slutty vampire nurse debut author Midwestern slut. Pirate.

*Not a chance. In fact, I will bleed.

Old New Yorker

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

Here is David Denby describing the prevailing domestic setting of the Coen Brothers’ new film, A Serious Man:

It’s the suburban nightmare that keeps showing up in ambitious American movies as the banality of evil itself. The low ceilings, the schlocky décor are meant to be of a piece with the endless family bickering and emotional blackmail—satirically enhanced signs of mediocre, soul-punishing middle-class taste, Jewish division.

In the film, the suburban Home and Neighborhood setting is one of several. We also see the academic workplace, both classroom (with a two-story chalkboard) and office of Larry Gopnik. There is also a synagogue, along with a cheap hotel. There is a Hebrew school, offering a twin to Larry’s classroom and another academic office. There are also two brief lakefront scenes and there’s a swimming pool and perhaps others I can’t remember. All are stylized to a dramatic end and all succeed at highlighting, undermining…always conversing with story and characters. They are, as Denby grudgingly admits, “fascinating”.

But look again at the Denby quote, exemplary of his angry and exhausting piece of criticism, and find proof of a major hole in the eminent critic’s understanding of the Coen Brothers’ art.

This film is not a satire. (more…)

Of Whom

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

Confused who to fear.


There on a summer afternoon research mission, I found myself confused re: of whom to be wary. The gate says one thing, the window another…these bricks and white accents and I think just take a picture and figure it out later.

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Sunday, October 4th, 2009

On the subject of smoke and lazers — if you have a chance to see Fever Ray perform live you should do it, I think. Especially if the tickets come free of charge thanks to someone pretending to be someone else. On stage they’re costumed and there is so much smoke, and the lazers are amazingly programmed. And oh jesus how did I forget, the stage is crowded with these old timey lamps with decorative bell- or pear-shaped lampshades, and they’re all timed, like the lazers, run by some computer. Surely a Mac.