Saturday, March 08, 2008

Who's that next to Mark Harris? And Natalie, Scarlett...such shenanigans!

So I've been reading Mark Harris' Pictures at a Revolution: Five Movies and the Birth of the New Hollywood. It's an unusually well-written film history that focuses on five films nominated for a Best Picture Oscar in 1967 to paint a portrait of a key moment in Hollywood history, when the old studio system was breaking up, when the Cold War era was giving way to the Civil Rights era. I was worried the focus might be too narrow (1 year? 5 movies? 400 pages?) but of course it covers several years from the moment the projects were conceived, and it's quite a range of films. Harris is a tasteful judge of which tangents to pursue, and it's truly surprising how many connections there are among the major players of these 5 films. I'm halfway through the book, and it's already given me a ridiculous supply of conversation fodder.

So when I was reading The Observer the other day, I was curious when I recognized Harris from an author photo and noticed...hey, wait, is that Tony Kushner he's hugging? (third in this series of slides) Turns out they're more than acquaintances, according to the photo caption:
"Isn't it great? I love it," Mr. Harris's husband, playwright Tony Kushner, said of the book, standing nearby and beaming proudly....
Talk about a dream couple. That put a smile on my face for hours.

And, though on one level it's a cheap stunt, "the kiss" between Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson on the red carpet actually amused me. Staged as hell, but this pair is more interesting than Madonna/Britney.

The Ten Cent Plague is the American Booksellers Foundation For Free Expression's book of the month. Wait, they have a book of the month? Who is this group? Anyway, I've been quite eager to check this book out, as I've read about the insanely heated comic book panic of the 50s.

An odd little story about Daniel Handler - the perfect little blog-sized nugget.

Good for you, Melville House bookstore - a mention in a gossip page. I definitely want to check it out next time I'm in the Big Apple.

Have you seen James Patterson’s crazy spring publishing schedule? But of course, regarding his kids series, he's just very concerned with getting kids to read. What a hero! This has nothing to do with hooking future readers of his adult series.

La Vie En Rose did fairly well here, but La graine et le mulet (The Secret of the Grain) took home the big Cesar awards. Wonder how long until we get a chance to see that?

From Computerworld: "Digital crisis: Motion pictures may fade to black"

Don Weise profiles John Rechy on the occasion of his memoir. And David Leavitt takes him down in his Times review:
At its best, his prose is serviceable. At its worst, it is trashy. Of his first sexual experience, he writes: “No, no! I thought as I squeezed harder. I don’t want to do this. But I did! No, I didn’t! Yes, I did!”....In a sense, though, literary ineptitude is as much a part of Rechy’s persona as the oiled chest and the jeans unbuttoned at the top.

Tech writer David Pogue's column is pretty funny this week - some crazy calls tech support people have gotten. If you've ever felt clueless about computers, you're about to feel a whole lot better.

[Photo: James Hamilton, from Observer web site]


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