Twist Street

Sam Westing, Barney Northrup, Sandy McSouthers, Julian R. Eastman, & Me

Posts tagged culture!

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There are hundreds of characters in motion in AGAINST THE DAY. Even the mighty human swarm action of Wikipedia broke against the task of even tracking their action in chapters. In telling a story about the disconnected 20th Century, Pynchon’s omniscient view conjures the blare of the 21st, a world in which the number of people we can invest in and follow the lives of has been calculated by anthropologists. (It’s called the Dunbar Number. A hundred and fifty people.)

Warren Ellis talking about Thomas Pynchon’s Against the Day is fun times, at least if you’re in the mood to read about Pynchon (here’s Wikipedia on the Dunbar Number). I haven’t read that one, but Pynchon’s work is just kinda fun to read about, or to just hear people try to describe…?  I have Bleeding Edge, his new one, sitting on my desk— I thought Inherent Vice was a fun time (especially if you went through a Raymond Chandler phase at age 10), and Edge sounded like it had a similar vibe (though my gut says 60’s California > early-00’s New York, but… that may just be a function of being old enough to remember the early-00’s).

(c/o)

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It changed my work profoundly when I realized I could talk to a global audience on the Internet, although I was legally limited from doing that by national publishing systems. The lack of any global book market has much reduced my interest in publishing books. National systems don’t “publish” me, but rather conceal me.
Bruce Sterling.

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BLUTARSKI: ZERO POINT ZERO

anthonybourdain:

As our final episode of NO RESERVATIONS approaches, I’ve been asked to write a top ten list of personal favorites. That’s hard to do. It’s been a mixed bag—and deliberately so. Travel and food shows necessarily tell more or less the same story:  somebody goes someplace, eats and drinks a lot of stuff, comes to some kind of conclusion (rightly or wrongly) then goes home. My partners and I—a rotating band of cinematographers, producers, editors and post production people—have worked very hard over the years to mess with, expand, undermine and subvert that basic narrative and the conventions that go with it. Sometimes we succeeded.

(via supervillain)

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Been buying a lot of books lately, more than is reasonable considering how little energy I have for reading more, when I come home.  Thought I could at least write about my compulsive consumption, what I’ve bought lately, maybe shame myself into reading more.  (Also, get myself typing so I could write other stuff tonight).
Let’s see, there’s comics on the ground— those usually get read while I’m trying to sleep.  A few “graphic novels”/collections— Baby’s in Black is a true story about the Beatles; I usually have zero interest in fiction about the Beatles, but that one’s a love story set in Germany about Stu Sutcliffe— the art’s lovely.  There’s the new nonfiction Eddie Campbell book, the Lovely Horrible Stuff— the best of all comic pleasures, a “what is ____ thinking about lately” purchase.  Campbell’s usually a contender for my favorite comic at the end of any year, if he has a comic out.  There’s a Chew in the other corner— the second volume; I’d seen the first volume, oh, 6-7 months ago.  It didn’t blow my socks off but it was cute and I thought what the heck, give it another try.  It’s about a guy who solves crimes by eating things, which I relate to because I also eat things.
There’s Tales from the Goon Squad— that’s a big award winning literary novel.  I’ve heard wildly different things actually— people who’ve hated it, just despised the fuck out of it, people who’ve liked it a great deal. Most everything else is pretty trashy so that was probably a “I read too much trash” guilt buy.  
There’s two crime novels.  The Song is You:  I’ve heard great things about Megan Abbott for a while and that was an impulse buy from Book Soup, a LA period history crime novel; Phillip Kerr, Quiet Flame— that was another impulse buy; post WWII German guy solving mysteries; other than Kerr’s reputation, i don’t remember what triggered the impulse. Plus: Angelmaker— that’s John Le Carre’s son, Nick Harkaway, writing a trashy-sounding pulp fantasy that sounds like it treats London crime mythology as a mythology…?  I read a Paul Di Filippo review of that, that made that sound fun; that sounded like it had the cornball things that I’m into all smooshed together.  
That’s on top of a book of Harlan Ellison screenplays— he’s selling books through Cafe Press now.  That one has the Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea screenplay over which Harlan famously broke another human being’s pelvis.  And then in the top-right, Jonathan Lethem’s recent critical books, the one about Fear of Music and the one about John Carpenter’s They Live.  I’ve read a couple chapters of the They Live book and that is scarily in my wheelhouse— it’s a super-close examination of something a-little-silly that would normally totally elude that kind of writing, so… yeah, I’d say that’s unbelievably attuned to my interests.  
There’s an Elmore Leonard crime novel floating around here unfinished— Tishimongo Blues-- I’ve read so much Leonard that even if I never finish it, I feel like I’ll have read it, you know?  And then, The Passage— which is sort of a serious novelist writing a Stephen King novel—I started reading that ages ago, and was really enjoying it but got really busy and had to put it down right after the psychic vampire monster people showed up.  But I really want to get back to that.  And Margaret Atwood, her book the Blind Assassin— that’s around here too; that gets raved about so much; I’m a decent amount into it— done with the first “Book” of it— I’m a little worried I have the story figured out but I hear it’s got a lot of twists to it.

Been buying a lot of books lately, more than is reasonable considering how little energy I have for reading more, when I come home.  Thought I could at least write about my compulsive consumption, what I’ve bought lately, maybe shame myself into reading more.  (Also, get myself typing so I could write other stuff tonight).

Let’s see, there’s comics on the ground— those usually get read while I’m trying to sleep.  A few “graphic novels”/collections— Baby’s in Black is a true story about the Beatles; I usually have zero interest in fiction about the Beatles, but that one’s a love story set in Germany about Stu Sutcliffe— the art’s lovely.  There’s the new nonfiction Eddie Campbell book, the Lovely Horrible Stuff— the best of all comic pleasures, a “what is ____ thinking about lately” purchase.  Campbell’s usually a contender for my favorite comic at the end of any year, if he has a comic out.  There’s a Chew in the other corner— the second volume; I’d seen the first volume, oh, 6-7 months ago.  It didn’t blow my socks off but it was cute and I thought what the heck, give it another try.  It’s about a guy who solves crimes by eating things, which I relate to because I also eat things.

There’s Tales from the Goon Squad— that’s a big award winning literary novel.  I’ve heard wildly different things actually— people who’ve hated it, just despised the fuck out of it, people who’ve liked it a great deal. Most everything else is pretty trashy so that was probably a “I read too much trash” guilt buy.  

There’s two crime novels.  The Song is You:  I’ve heard great things about Megan Abbott for a while and that was an impulse buy from Book Soup, a LA period history crime novel; Phillip Kerr, Quiet Flame— that was another impulse buy; post WWII German guy solving mysteries; other than Kerr’s reputation, i don’t remember what triggered the impulse. Plus: Angelmaker— that’s John Le Carre’s son, Nick Harkaway, writing a trashy-sounding pulp fantasy that sounds like it treats London crime mythology as a mythology…?  I read a Paul Di Filippo review of that, that made that sound fun; that sounded like it had the cornball things that I’m into all smooshed together.  

That’s on top of a book of Harlan Ellison screenplays— he’s selling books through Cafe Press now.  That one has the Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea screenplay over which Harlan famously broke another human being’s pelvis.  And then in the top-right, Jonathan Lethem’s recent critical books, the one about Fear of Music and the one about John Carpenter’s They Live.  I’ve read a couple chapters of the They Live book and that is scarily in my wheelhouse— it’s a super-close examination of something a-little-silly that would normally totally elude that kind of writing, so… yeah, I’d say that’s unbelievably attuned to my interests.  

There’s an Elmore Leonard crime novel floating around here unfinished— Tishimongo Blues-- I’ve read so much Leonard that even if I never finish it, I feel like I’ll have read it, you know?  And then, The Passage— which is sort of a serious novelist writing a Stephen King novel—I started reading that ages ago, and was really enjoying it but got really busy and had to put it down right after the psychic vampire monster people showed up.  But I really want to get back to that.  And Margaret Atwood, her book the Blind Assassin— that’s around here too; that gets raved about so much; I’m a decent amount into it— done with the first “Book” of it— I’m a little worried I have the story figured out but I hear it’s got a lot of twists to it.

Filed under culture! Doogie Did This Before the Internet.

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“Pan Macmillan’s Don DeLillo book series, published by Picador in 2011, has won a Yellow Pencil for Book Front Covers design at the D&AD Awards held this week. The Don DeLillo series covers were designed by illustrator Noma Bar at Dutch Uncle, London, with art direction by It’s Nice That and INT Works." (via)

Pan Macmillan’s Don DeLillo book series, published by Picador in 2011, has won a Yellow Pencil for Book Front Covers design at the D&AD Awards held this week. The Don DeLillo series covers were designed by illustrator Noma Bar at Dutch Uncle, London, with art direction by It’s Nice That and INT Works." (via)

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Get a day job, make your money from that, and write to please yourself. And don’t be a whore. Don’t be a whore! Everybody works for the dollar. You work for the dollar, I work for the dollar. Everybody works for the Man, whether you work for Verizon or you work for Geico or you work for Bank of America. We all work for evil masters on far glass mountaintops and they will get their teeth into your pocket one way or the other. Spend 90 percent of your day not looking into a screen and spend it on yourself, living life, making friends, actually talking to people, doing things. Ten percent of your day, give to the Man. Ninety for you, ten for the Man. Otherwise, you’re nothing but a whore. You’re nothing but a beanfield hand. And when you get to a certain age you retire. To what? You’ve spent all your energy, you’ve spent all your imagination, you’ve spent all your fire … you’ve spent all your bravery. Do not be afraid to go there. That’s my advice: Do not be afraid to go there. Wherever “there” is, don’t be afraid to go there.
Harlan Ellison.

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Reread Harlan Ellison’s “Prowler in the City on the Edge of the World”, for the first time in what has to be at least 6 or 7 years, think I’m going to actually follow it up and read all of Dangerous Visions again from the beginning instead of dipping in/out for a story every time I get the urge. […] And on reread, “Prowler in the City” is probably my favorite short story, at least my favorite right now because I can barely think of any other short story that hit me that hard, and it’s not dated in any way (except maybe some of the language).

(via supervillain).  Oh man, Harlan Ellison— I took a drive late last year after having lived here for years, and made a pilgrimage and drove by his home (aka the Lost Aztec Temple of Mars). It’s in this pretty part off Mulholland, surrounded by these very pleasant California homes, and from the outside, it’s as ornate as it’d always sounded— gargoyles, snake carvings, multi-armed Aztec gods on the exterior walls.  I took a photo from my car like a tourist, but it doesn’t show how neat  the garage area is.  He doesn’t give tours because of course he fucking doesn’t but… I’d sure go on that tour.  

I remember really, really digging Run for the Stars but I haven’t read Ellison in years, though I’ve had an itch lately to go through that stuff again.  Run for the Stars isn’t super-Ellison-y or probably even very noteworthy— it was part of that war-with-aliens stretch of stories where he was doing his own brand of splashy action spectacles, the most famous of those being Demon with a Glass Hand (the Outer Limits / lawsuit with James Cameron one). I just remember it being very entertaining. I was a member of the Record Club when I was 22 and everything— I had Jeffty is Five on cassette.  

The thing I think most about though, the one that stuck with me and that I think about … pretty damn often actually, come to think of it, is the screenplay for the Harlan Ellison Movie— I think it’s in one of those Essential Ellison volumes.  Some movie producer said, “Write whatever you want” and he turned in this screenplay for a, like, psychedelic-ish hippie “society is what’s wrong” movie. I really want to re-read that, but I don’t have that in arm’s reach… (I’m a little scared to revisit his stuff because I just feel like… his voice is perfect for me, ages 20-23 in a way that I kind of want to leave intact?) The thing I’m surprised I don’t see more of though is Mefisto in Onyx— that limited edition had those Frank Miller drawings

(Wait; that’s a lie; the thing I think of most with Ellison is him on Tom Snyder talking about his run-in with Frank Sinatra, when he was playing pool with Peter Falk or whatever— it all went into that Gay Talese story Frank Sinatra Has a Cold; he told the best joke in that episode; in a nutshell: there’s a massive earthquake, and a hotel collapses into rubble; there’s a telephone call from the rubble, and a guy says “Help, help I’m trapped” and the firemen go “Calm down, where are you” and the guy goes, “I’m in room 324.”  He told it better, but.  I fucking love that joke…)

I don’t know; difficult, messy person, sure, but I’m so grateful to have read that guy when I did… (EDITED: it’s weird sitting here thinking of it how much my idea what a writer’s supposed to be is based on reading that guy at that age…)

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If an art form is marginalized it’s because it’s not speaking to people. One possible reason is that the people it’s speaking to have become too stupid to appreciate it. That seems a little easy to me. If you, the writer, succumb to the idea that the audience is too stupid, then there are two pitfalls. Number one is the avant-garde pitfall, where you have the idea that you’re writing for other writers, so you don’t worry about making yourself accessible or relevant. You worry about making it structurally and technically cutting edge: involuted in the right ways, making the appropriate intertextual references, making it look smart. Not really caring about whether you’re communicating with a reader who cares something about that feeling in the stomach which is why we read. Then, the other end of it is very crass, cynical, commercial pieces of fiction that are done in a formulaic way — essentially television on the page — that manipulate the reader, that set out grotesquely simplified stuff in a childishly riveting way. What’s weird is that I see these two sides fight with each other and really they both come out of the same thing, which is a contempt for the reader, an idea that literature’s current marginalization is the reader’s fault.
David Foster Wallace. (c/o, c/o tumblr).

Filed under Worst Hobby or Worstest Hobby? culture! I want to remember this for later.

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I was looking at Born Again recently, because I’d remembered it having interesting ideas on color, and got curious what happened to Christie “Max” Scheele— one of those names in every other book I read as a kid that I didn’t really know much about, despite her being such a key player for so many of those; looking at her cv, I easily saw more of her work as a kid than any other person!  The Man without Fear site did an interview with her just last year:  

I colored comics for 20 years, way longer than I ever expected to, being primarily a painter. I was working on my fine art career all along, first creating bodies of work that were gallery-ready, and then beginning to build my exhibition resume and sales track. By the time comics had downsized, Marvel had changed drastically, and coloring went to computer (which I did not want to do, my back/neck already suffering from holding the same position while coloring for so long), I was well on my way. Folks mostly shook their heads when I said that my best bet for employment was to work fulltime on building painting as a business, because it is a very hard business to make a living at, but I was already two thirds of the way there. Now I mentor other artists to teach them how to engage (with a good attitude!) in the whole process of career-building, which is very fun, along with all of my exhibitions and of course, work in my studio. […] Life is great, post comics, because I am doing what I always set out to do. 

I thought that was nice. She has a website for her landscape paintings, which google certainly suggests have been well-received. (I have a preference for the oils).

I was looking at Born Again recently, because I’d remembered it having interesting ideas on color, and got curious what happened to Christie “Max” Scheele— one of those names in every other book I read as a kid that I didn’t really know much about, despite her being such a key player for so many of those; looking at her cv, I easily saw more of her work as a kid than any other person!  The Man without Fear site did an interview with her just last year:  

I colored comics for 20 years, way longer than I ever expected to, being primarily a painter. I was working on my fine art career all along, first creating bodies of work that were gallery-ready, and then beginning to build my exhibition resume and sales track. By the time comics had downsized, Marvel had changed drastically, and coloring went to computer (which I did not want to do, my back/neck already suffering from holding the same position while coloring for so long), I was well on my way. Folks mostly shook their heads when I said that my best bet for employment was to work fulltime on building painting as a business, because it is a very hard business to make a living at, but I was already two thirds of the way there. Now I mentor other artists to teach them how to engage (with a good attitude!) in the whole process of career-building, which is very fun, along with all of my exhibitions and of course, work in my studio. […] Life is great, post comics, because I am doing what I always set out to do. 

I thought that was nice. She has a website for her landscape paintings, which google certainly suggests have been well-received. (I have a preference for the oils).

Filed under Worst Hobby or Worstest Hobby? culture! Visual-feed.

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I FOUND ICE CUBES ‘GOOD DAY’

samhumphries:

murkavenue:

CLUE 1:
     “went to short dogs house,
       they was watching Yo MTV
       RAPS”
Yo MTV RAPS first aired:
               Aug 6th 1988
CLUE 2:
Ice Cubes single “today was a good day” released on:
               Feb 23 1993
CLUE 3:
      ”The Lakers beat the Super 
       Sonics”
Dates between Yo MTV Raps air date AUGUST 6 1988 and the release of the single FEBRUARY 23 1993 where the Lakers beat the Super Sonics:
      Nov 11 1988    114-103
      Nov 30 1988    110-106
      Apr    4 1989    115-97
      Apr  23 1989    121-117
      Jan  17 1990    100-90
      Feb  28 1990    112-107
      Mar  25 1990    116-94
      Apr  17  1990    102-101
      Jan  18  1991    105-96
      Mar  24  1991    113-96
      Apr  21  1991    103-100
      Jan  20  1992    116-110
CLUE 4:
Dates of those Laker wins over SuperSonics where it was a clear day with no Smog:
                Nov 30 1988
                Apr   4  1989
                Jan 18  1991
                Jan 20  1992
CLUE 5:
     “Got a beep from Kim, and
         she can fuck all night”
beepers weren’t adopted by mobile phone companies until the 1990s. Dates left where mobile beepers were availible to public:
                 Jan 18 1991
                 Jan 20 1992
CLUE 6:
Ice Cube starred in the film “Boyz in the hood” that released late Summer of 1991, but was being filmed mid-late 1990 early 1991 and Ice Cube was busy on set filming the movie Jan 18 1991 too busy to be lounging around the streets with no plans. Ladies and Gentlemen..

The ONLY day where:
Yo MTV Raps was on air
It was a clear and smogless day
Beepers were commercially sold
Lakers beat the SuperSonics
and Ice Cube had no events to attend was…
         
          JANUARY 20 1992
      National Good Day Day

-Donovan

This man is a fucking scholar for the ages.

Filed under excitement! culture!

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Bruce Sterling Closes the 2011 Art+Environment Conference.

People are going to get over talking about consumerism.  There’s sort of a lot of ritualistic condemnations of consumerism, and here, it’s gone, okay?  There’s no middle class.  There is no mass consumption.  It’s an old-fashioned problem; it’s a luxury problem.  There’s nobody there to do that for you— it’s an older person’s idea of a problem.  The prosperity machine broke years ago— it’s not coming back.

(Source: rockpapershotgun.com)

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