Archive for February, 2011
I’ll admit, I never have read The New York Review of Books. But after finding out that last week they got the successful writing team of Diana Ossana and Larry McMurtry to discuss the new True Grit film, I realized maybe I should be visiting the site more often. Here is the opening snippet from the essay.
Diana Ossana: I liked my second viewing of the Coen brothers’ True Grit much more than the first—and I did like the first viewing—and I know why: the sort of stilted, formal language took some getting used to. I was expecting it this time, so it wasn’t at all distracting.
Larry McMurtry: Well, it’s in a certain tradition. I didn’t mind the language too much, but I thought the book and the film were both prolix, the conversations ran on too long and could have been shortened by a few sentences. Example, the conversation between Mattie and the horse trader about the price of Texas ponies. I think the Coen brothers’ True Grit is a wonderful movie, though, and they know their craft, which they practice with a certain elegance.
I’m giving myself a week to recharge the interviewing batteries, but there will still be new content this week. Just no new interview. But the interviews will return next week.
I did not realize it’s been five years (as of February 10) since Arrested Development ended. Pop Candy’s Whitney Matheson observes the occasion.
One benefit of attending a James Taylor concert last year, Taylor’s people are emailing me all the time. Not personally, mind you. I am one of many fans that gets the emails. Apparently the BBC interviewed Taylor recently, and they were able to post the raw footage on YouTube. And part of the interview led Taylor to share his John Lennon recollections.
As a kid I loved Steve Martin’s novelty hit song, King Tut. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve grown to appreciate bluegrass music. So to find out I could download a bluegrass version of King Tut, well it got my weekend off to a nice start.
This single is in advance of the New Steve Martin album, Rare Bird Alert, out March 15, 2011.
“Reading [Blair] Fuller’s piece [in Paris Review Daily], it occurred to me that a general call for first-person anecdotes about Salinger should be issued, and the sooner the better. It has been reported that an authorized biography will probably never be allowed, and as noble an effort as an unauthorized biography may be, I think I’d prefer to hold in my hand a collection of personal remembrances like Fuller’s—each one a pearl, no digging required. Or maybe the Paris Review could be convinced to apply the George Plimpton Oral Biography treatment to Salinger’s life (like this wonderful one of Truman Capote): “J.D. Salinger: In Which Various Goddam Hot-shots and Phonies Recall his Strange and Wonderful Career.”
Read more http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/books/2011/02/a-night-with-jerry.html#ixzz1Dd75NIuE
It’s great that the world supports eclectic books like More Show Me How: Everything We Couldn’t Fit in the First Book Instructions for Life from the Everyday to the Exotic. Described by its publisher (HarperCollins): “A new collection of fun, practical, and outrageous projects from the genius minds of the original Show Me How…Volume two of the Show Me How series contains brand-new instructions that show readers how to amaze, trick, create, style, and love, among other endeavors. Ideas range from the practical (hang a ceiling fixture; hem a pair of pants) to the outrageous (boobytrap a bathroom; forge an antiquity) to the romantic (ace a school crush; send a saucy cell phone pic.) So go ahead and learn some killer pool moves. Or stage your own impromptu gallery show. Style you hair in a fauxhawk. More Show Me How is the indispensable real-life resource that helps readers live life to the fullest and be the star of the party.” To find out more about this book, I recently email interviewed two of the creative forces behind the book, Derek Fagerstrom and Lauren Smith, who also operate “The Curiosity Shoppe in San Francisco‘s Mission District, selling (and falling in love with) everything from a make-it-yourself ukulele to a DIY bird-watching kit.” My thanks to Smith and Fagerstrom for their time.
Tim O’Shea: How was it decided what topics to include in the book? Were there any that were deemed too absurd or obscure for inclusion?
Derek Fagerstrom: We wanted to make sure that the book appealed to a wide range of people, with all sorts of interests and skill levels, which meant that there were very few restrictions as to what we could include. A lot of the topics came initially from the personal passions and expertise of the Show Me Team (it’s always more fun to start with what you know and love). From there we just made sure to have a good balance of topics that we found interesting, fun, and useful (with the occasional absurdity thrown in for good measure, of course!). The only real reason that we ever decided NOT to include something was if it turned out to be dangerous or overtly criminal.
A couple of accepted facts about Richard Coker‘s music. It’s intended to intellectually challenge you. It’s never gonna be included in anyone’s happy meal or designated to be a best-selling ringtone. Nor would Coker want either of those last two possibilities, but he would be happy to know his music can challenge the listener.
When he and I last discussed his music back in 2009, at one point Coker said: “Modern America suffers from the post-modern malaise of pop culture.” That comment was not directed at me or my interests, but I do think it could apply to me.
Coker is a musician always looking to challenge himself as well as his music. It’s interesting to see that some of the cuts in his new 2011 CD, Taiga, are updated versions of songs he cut for 2009′s Loa [Updated: Coker made me aware that Loa was never actually released; Taiga is the only released version of these songs]. I’ve not had a chance to side-by-side comparisons.
But I know of myself, in recent days I got Bob Mould’s old band, Sugar, in my head. This may surprise Coker, but honestly some of the more intense acoustic guitar-based songs remind me of Sugar–and that’s a compliment in my book. In listening to Coker’s lyrics, at least for me, I have to consider the music and lyrics separately. The lyrics are so complex, you can find yourself almost missing out on the music. After about three or four listens, cuts 4 (X) and 5 (Ymir) are two of my favorite cuts so far. But I bet if you ask me in another week, my answer will be likely different.
If you want to hear samples of each song, be sure to visit this Digstation site for Taiga.
Additional update: After further consideration, I realize that in addition to a Mould vibe, there’s also an element of Dead Can Dance introptopesimism (a mixture of introspective contemplation, optimism and pessimism) and just a smidge of Velvet Underground. His music and lyrics cannot be confined by a certain genre or other classification.
So, the nice thing about having my own blog? If an old friend from high school (who happens to be a super genius and successful college professor) happens to start playing bagpipes and then posts some of his work online? Well then you get to post it at your own blog. The fellow playing bagpipes is Mark Valenzuela, the tune is Minstrel Boy and the photos in this video were taken by his brother, Rio. Enjoy.
If you have a new show on IFC and you want to get me to watch: particularly if it’s awkward comedy (one of my least favorite forms of comedy, second only to insult comedy) as is used in Portlandia (with Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein)? Here’s how you get me hooked: create an episode where Aimee Mann guest stars.
Way to win me over, IFC. This episode airs again at 11:30 PM tonight.