Maybe all one can do is hope to end up with the right regrets
Maybe all one can do is hope to end up with the right regrets
Have you ever read Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury?
Actually supposedly the whole book is not impossible.
But the first chapter which is narrated by a mentally damanged young man is so difficult to follow that Faulkner said it should be printed in 14 different colors of ink to make it clearer.
(14 colors of ink wasn’t possible in Faulkner’s time. But last week a company announced they had recently done it. And the book is only 350 dollars!)
So recently when I was in Faulkner books in New Orleans I skipped the Faulkner section.
The nice woman who ran the store asked me why.
And then before I could answer she smiled and said…”Sound and the Fury”?
Yes, I smiled weakly.
And then she handed me a copy of Faulkner’s short stories.
"You’re buying this."
(There some women in the South that it is impossible to say ‘no’ to)
I had no idea of the power of his writing.
My favorite story is A Rose for Emily.
Sappy title but the writing is thrilling.
And if the last line doesn’t make you gasp you should see a doctor because chances are you are already dead.
Now I am a Faulkner addict.
Who knows I might even attempt Sound and the Fury again.
(But only in 14 colors)
Thank you so much.
You are too kind.
The Michael Jackson estate celebrated the 25th anniversary of his mega popular Bad CD by rereleasing it with finished songs that MJ and Quincy Jones decided to not put on the CD. One of the songs is called “Song Groove (aka Abortion Papers).” MJ wrote this himself. Has there ever been a worst title for a song? (Oh and the song is not much better than the title) Who knows maybe MJ had to get “Abortion Papers” out of his system before he could write “Bad” or “The Way You Make Me Feel”. Seems like we should respect him by leaving his demos in the vault where they belong.
Recently I found myself in Ashville N.C. at the Biltmore House.
The Vanderbilt Family had exquisite taste.
Though Henry James said they were loopy.
Which probably explains why they had very few writers or artists as friends.
Those damn artists always tell the truth.
One of the things that struck me was a print of a Rhino on the wall.
Well not really a Rhino, more like a space age Rhino.
When the guards weren’t looking - they have this control freak rule that you can use a camera inside the Biltmore - I snapped a shot of the beast and did some research when I got home.
It turns out that the print was by Albecht Durer.
He created it in 1515.
And here is rub…in his lifetime Durer never saw a Rhinoceros.
A friend had described it and Durer did the best he could to get it down.
I think you will agree he got very close.
Growing up in Tennessee my experience of seeing experimental theatre was extremely limited. But I read everything I could get my hands on. I would read reviews, articles and books on the directors. Trying to imagine what the productions were like was impossible.
But now I am in Paris. With a backpack and a tent. And the infamous Robert Wilson is only a 20 mile walk away.
Is there any play that can live up to a 20 mile walk there and back?
Long story short, the production was about two hours long. But the script was only half an hour. So the cast repeated the text as they turned ¼ of the way around. In other words we saw the play first from the front, then the left side, then the back and then the right side.
When it was over I couldn’t control myself. I stood on my chair and booed as loud as I could.
Twenty years later I got to work with Robert Wilson and I told him that story. Surprisingly he didn’t think it was very funny.
Trying to be realistic is just a way of avoiding the adventure.
I have this friend Tom LaMere.
I love the guy. Truly.
But he is exhausting.
He reads, watches, listens to more than anyone I have ever met.
And he’s always recommending something for you to watch, listen or read.
A single afternoon with him and he will have given you enough recommendations to take up the next three years.
Then one day he asks me if I have read any Charles Bukowski.
Now the only thing I know about Bukowski is from the film “Barfly”.
That basically he was a drunk, almost homeless, and he wasted away his life sitting in bars.
Not really my kind of guy.
But it is easier to tell Tom that I would check out Bukowski than have to explain to him why I am not interested.
And then have him go in minute detail about why I should be reading Bukowski.
And anyway it’s a poem.
I thought, it doesn’t take that long to read a poem.
Well it has taken me a decade.
Because once I read one poem I haven’t been able to stop.
And like Tupac’s songs, Bukowski’s books keep being printed.
When he died he left thousand of poems.
Each one a moment of his life.
Each one becoming a moment of mine.
When a man gets a certain age he loses his mentors.
Warriors that have gone before him to show him the true path.
Bukowski has seen the dirt, the mud, the shit.
And he has come back to tell me how to see the beauty in it.
While the rest of the world is awaiting the opening of The Avengers movie, true comic fans are waiting for the return of Wanda The Scarlet Witch.
What? You have never heard of her?
The Scarlet Witch is the most powerful comic character ever created. Superman and The Hulk have nothing on her.
The daughter of super villain Magneto, Wanda and her brother Quicksilver left the clutches of their evil father and joined the Avengers.
To me, growing up in the south, Wanda seemed like such a modern woman. She was sexy, smart and looked amazing in my favorite color.
Oh and she is a little bit crazy.
In 2006 everything changed in the Marvel Universe and also in mine.
My wife was pregnant with our first child. When he was born I often took the night shift. I couldn’t turn on the television because it would wake him. So I started doing something I hadn’t done since I was a teenager: reading comics.
I picked up a batch at my local comic store and at first I was confused. It seemed every hero I knew was had quit being a superhero. And worse, most of them were happy. Like really, truly, emotionally happy with their new life. They had left the life of fighting super villains and instead were just sitting on the couch with their wife.
How could this be? My life was exactly like that of a Marvel hero. But not in a good way.
But the more I read, the more I started to see that something was wrong in paradise.
Soon we start to learn that The Scarlet Witch has gone mad and warped reality so that everyone receives their heart’s desire.
When everyone regains their memories and confronts Wanda in an epic battle, she performs a spell where 90 percent of all mutants lose their powers. (Basically everyone except the X-Men)
Oh and then she goes into hiding. Never to be seen again.
Years go by. It takes a long time for the Mutuants to regain their powers. And the emotional toil of having everything you ever wanted and then losing it reverberates through The Avengers.
Then in 2010, one of The Young Avengers decides that Wanda is his mother and goes on a search for her.
The Children’s Crusade, as the book was called, was listed as an 8 issue series.
I, like a lot of comic nuts, bought the book eagerly awaiting the return of The Scartlet Witch.
But then months go by before another issue comes out. And then months again before another issue. (Understand that a new Spiderman comic comes out every 2 weeks)
Well it has been a year and a half…and next Wednesday the series will end and it looks like Wanda will return.
Look out everyone. The party is about to start.
It might not look like much.
But in the early 70’s at one in the afternoon, Gardner Street Elementary was the place to be.
One o’clock was recess. When all the kids came out to the playground. My neighbors tell me that they too used to walk by the school during recess. Because everyone wanted to see the show.
You see, The Jackson Five were enrolled there. And the story goes that every day they would perform a different song on the playground. Michael, Jermaine, Tito, Marlon and Jackie would all sing a song A cappella. The rest of the classes would clap and beat on the monkey bars to give these budding superstars a basic rhythm.
And by the end of the number the whole neighborhood would be shaking. Some people even say that Joe Jackson, the father, would park his car next to the school to make sure his sons did a good job.
Years later Michael came back and dedicated the theatre..”The Michael Jackson Auditorium.”
I walk by the school almost everyday. And sometimes I swear I can hear..”ABC…it’s easy as…1,2,3”
My first story for NPR aired this weekend. If you haven’t listened to Snap Judgement you are really missing out. My story is “Pomegranate”. Enjoy.
Tastes like chicken.
People have said that about everything from Rattlesnake to Alligator.
But the truth is nothing is as good as Roasted Chicken. Have a date coming over?Forget picking up the Rotisserie Chicken in the plastic container. Instead get a raw chicken. Wash it. Rub some butter and whatever herbs you have lying around on the skin, in the cavity, and under the skin.
Lay some potatoes and carrots about the bottom. Pour a little water or chicken stock in the bottom of the pan.
Turn the oven up to 400. And cook until done.
When she arrives, your place will smell fantastic and the night will go the way you want it to.
(If she is not easily impressed. Substitute herbs for black truffles. Pour cognac in the cavity. Wrap in aluminum foil. And cook until done. This is called poulet demi deuil or chicken in half mourning. If she not impressed with this one then take note that she is not good girlfriend material.)
I’m sitting in the Silent Movie Theatre on Fairfax. I had come to see Buster Keaton in Sherlock Jr.
Forced to study silent films in college I found them slow and ridiculous. But then again my professor had never shown me a Buster Keaton film.
In the last month I had seen Our Hospitality, Seven Chances and The General. Each one funnier and more brilliant than the last.
The theatre was packed that night. I was sitting next to a fiery red haired woman. I told her their was rumors that Buster Keaton’s wife was going to be there tonight. At that exact moment they wheeled in an ancient dowager who looked like she was old even when silents were in their hey day.
The MC took the stage and told us that indeed Keaton’s wife had graced us with her presence. The room broke out in applause. Everyone turned to the mummy in the wheelchair. But instead the fiery red head stood up. Eleanor Keaton, playfully pinched me. When she sat down she playfully pinched me. “The old broad looks a lot better than thought?”
The lights went down and Eleanor graciously gave me a play by play of the this masterpiece.
She told me in the water scene Buster Keaton broke his neck during the filming. But he fallen down in vaudeville so much that he didn’t realize it until years later.
Can you even imagine?