Can't wait to have a few minutes to myself to be able to listen to the new Okkervil River album, The Stand Ins, in its entirety. If "Singer Songwriter" is any indication of what its like, I may have found my favorite album of the year.
According to Reuters, there's a Howl film (of sorts) in the works:
Alan Alda, Jeff Daniels, Mary-Louise Parker, David Strathairn and Paul Rudd are attached to join the beatnik biopic "Howl."
The 1950s-era feature focuses on the obscenity trial that sought to censor Allen Ginsberg's groundbreaking book-length poem. "Spider-Man" villain James Franco will play Ginsberg.
Among the real-life characters featured in the film are Judge Clayton Horn (Alda), prosecution witness Professor David Kirk (Daniels), radio personality and prosecution witness Gail Potter (Parker), prosecuting attorney Ralph McIntosh (Strathairn) and literary critic and defense witness Luther Nichols (Rudd).
"Howl" marks the feature directing debut of documentarians Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, who were approached by the Allen Ginsberg Trust to make a film commemorating the 50th anniversary of "Howl."
There's much in this exhibit that rewards close reading, but there's also plenty that's simply fun to look at.
Take the particularly filthy laptop computer that arrived as part of the Norman Mailer archive. Mailer, apparently, dictated his novels onto cassette tapes, had his secretary transcribe them and then he would mark up the printouts. The secretary in question was a heavy smoker, and the computer she used is encased in a layer of grime you'd like to scrape your thumbnail against — an amalgam of bodily oils, miscellaneous detritus and cigarette smoke.
"When it first got here, you could smell it," says Henderson. (The computer is now encased in glass, so you'll have no such luck.)
Then there's an accounts ledger into which the poet Charles Tomlinson stuffed various of his manuscripts (it looks like a book that has made a quick, sloppy meal of another book); a vivid series of obsessive revisions of a poem by Robert Lowell that shows his clinical mania in full splendor; and, perhaps best of all, a pair of stockings, a pair of socks, a pair of razors and a pair of pills from the Isaac Bashevis Singer archive.
You can watch a video preview of the exhibit here.
What is it about trains and little kids? I think you can tell by the look on Marlie's face that trains are bliss. Especially if one gets to ride a real, honest-to-goodness steam engine-powered train from Nowhere, North Carolina, through the woods, turning around just south of Notsureville and returning back to Nowhere an hour or so later. And when you're on a train, even 90 degrees of September with high humidity (thanks to Hanna) can't get you down. Especially when you look into the eyes of your daughter and see what I saw, your daughter who believes that every train is Thomas and Thomas is real. Just make sure to hold the slaw on your BBQ sandwich prior to that hour-long trip.
Robert Giroux, a titan of the publishing world, passed away on Friday. From the NY Times obituary:
How many masterpieces Mr. Giroux discovered will be for the future to decide. As he himself insisted, it can take decades for a book to become a classic. Still, one of the first books he edited is now on any list of the century’s best, Edmund Wilson’s work on 19th-century socialist thinkers, “To the Finland Station” (1940); Mr. Giroux judged the manuscript to be nearly flawless.
He was also T. S. Eliot’s American editor and published the American edition of George Orwell’s “1984,” accepting it at once despite the objection of his immediate superior, whose wife had found some of the novel’s passages distasteful.
Mr. Giroux introduced a long roster of writers who would achieve fame, publishing first books by, among others, Jean Stafford, Robert Lowell, Bernard Malamud, Flannery O’Connor, Randall Jarrell, Peter Taylor, William Gaddis, Jack Kerouac and Susan Sontag. He edited Virginia Woolf, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Carl Sandburg, Elizabeth Bishop, Katherine Anne Porter, Walker Percy, Donald Barthelme, Grace Paley, Derek Walcott, Louise Bogan and William Golding.
In one episode he persuaded William Saroyan to transform “The Human Comedy” (1943) from a film script into a novel by suggesting that he simply remove the camera directions from the manuscript. The novel sold well and became a book-club selection.
But to his lasting chagrin, Mr. Giroux also saw two major works slip from his grasp, J.D. Salinger’s “Catcher in the Rye” and Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road.”