Quo Vadimus

Saturday, February 14, 2004


Fun Movie News. #063:

The latest issue of Entertainment Weekly has a blurb about this Oscar nomination. That's right, William Zabka, denied a best supporting actor nomination for his work as Johnny Lawrence in The Karate Kid, will finally have a chance to get an Academy Award for the short film Most.

posted by Linus | 1:31 PM

Friday, February 13, 2004


Episode IV.

Rebecca Romaine's biggest concern was how to make her farm-bred catfish taste like nothing. Then came a fateful phone call.

posted by Linus | 7:19 AM

Thursday, February 12, 2004


It's a pleasurable thing.

As promised last month, the new issue of The Believer does indeed contain Ryan Bartelmay's interview with Philip Seymour Hoffman. The basic premise, from Bartelmay's intro:

I asked Hoffman if he would be interested in having a conversation with me about books. However, I added a slight wrinkle: Hoffman and I would use the short story "Sea Oak" by George Saunders as a platform from which to launch our discussion. I've always been a fan of Saunders's work, and I'm that type of reader who enjoys pushing favorite writers on fellow readers. The Believer sent Hoffman a copy of Pastoralia, the short-story collection in which "Sea Oak" appears, and in November I was invited to his New York City office, which is in an apartment building in Chelsea.

More from the intro:

Philip Seymour Hoffman is a damned good actor and last year he became a father. He is also a reader, and he has recently exhausted shelving space in his New York City apartment and has resorted to stacking books in his apartment's hallway. At any one time he is usually reading an absurd amount of books to varying degrees of completion. Like most readers, he has the tendency to stop a book before reaching the last page -- sidetracked by work or, more often another book. When our conversation took place, a week before Thanksgiving, he was in the midst of In Cold Blood and Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote, The O. Henry Prize Stories, The Human Stain by Philip Roth, and Adam Haslett's short story collection You Are Not a Stranger Here.

Nice. The partially- or unread stacks. The towers of books. So daunting. Just when you think you are finally going to tear into that Lethem ("Book of the Moment" in September), there's the DFW math book still taunting you, the two Shepard things, Optic Nerve #9, the new Biskind, etc. And that's just the new(-ish) release pile. Lurking nearby are the likes of Denis Johnson, Judy Budnitz, a Woody Allen bio, Joanna Scott, Donald Antrim, pre-The Corrections Franzen, Gig, Arthur Bradford, Lydia Davis, Amy Hempel, Carolyn Cooke, Atul Gawande, Jonathan Safran Foer, Zadie Smith, Dan Chaon, Jeffrey Eugenides, Colson Whitehead, Stanley Elkin, Paula Fox (C Lo's grandmother, by the way), David Gates, various McSweeney's quarterlies, some stray Vonneguts, Ulysses (too long!), ...

But, you can always save them for later:

PSH: Books... they're kind of a compulsion for me. To find a great bookstore is a great thing.
BLVR: What kind of bookstores do you like?
PSH: There's this one called Three Lives. It's right by where I live in the West Village. I've been venturing into it lately. It's this fantastic bookstore.
BLVR: Is it a used bookstore or a new one?
PSH: It's a new bookstore, but they have a really great selection of stuff. I like the Strand but I get lost in there. It's frustrating for me. I end up walking out with like six books under my arm that I know I'm not going to be able to read anytime soon. It's kind of that fantasy of what life will be like when I get older. All I'll have time for is reading all the books that I've collected through my life. But now it's just making sure I have them at my disposal. What I end up doing is reading a lot of different books at the same time.

The interview is great, so pick up the issue, but here's how the "Sea Oak" discussion starts:

BLVR: Where did you read "Sea Oak"?
PSH: I read it on my couch at home last night, and I read it on this couch here. I end up doing a lot of reading lying down. When I first read the story, I didn't know if it was going to get away from me with its queer, odd depiction of life. I didn't know if it was going to become petty, like Repo Man. You know that movie?
BLVR: [Laughs] Yeah.
PSH: The food's all generic -- it's oxy-generic. You're in the world but you're not really in the world. I liked Repo Man, but you never feel when you're watching that movie.
BLVR: So you thought it was going to be a depiction of a hyper-exaggerated world?
PSH: Yeah. But what I really liked about the story is that George Saunders was able to take his commentary on society -- about the TV shows they were watching and the strip club the narrator is in and the different levels of success and if you're lowered down you get fired in front of everybody.... [laughing] But the whole thing in the end was very moving. Very moving.

Recommended viewing: Stone Reader. Sapolin nails it.

posted by Linus | 7:17 PM


Fun Movie News. #062:

One gorgeous uninterrupted gesture.

posted by Linus | 11:35 AM



Remember this?

Bach responds!:

"Wow! What can I say. I must say that I am very touched. Listening to this interpretation of the song is an extremely cool experience, & I have to say that, Nina, you do a great version! It is incredible to hear another musician put their own unique stamp on your own music & fascinating to hear this 17-year-old (!) track a completely new way! Thank you very much Nina Gordon & all the best to you! (With Ahmet Zappa on backup!)"

posted by Linus | 9:45 AM


Playing music.


Nice Probot review.

Grohl responds to Zakk Wylde.

Grohl to drum on new Trouble record?

Grohl reunion with Vig.


posted by Linus | 9:44 AM


Collapsible, frantic and depressingly repulsive.


posted by Linus | 9:26 AM

Wednesday, February 11, 2004


I'm cooperatin' here.

The latest Michael Moore rant starts with:

Dear Mr. Bush,

Thank you for providing the illegible Xeroxed partial payroll sheets (or whatever they were) yesterday covering a few of your days in the National Guard.

My first thought: The inept desperation of Jerry Lundegaard. Bush re his National Guard record = Jerry Lundegaard's antics re giving VIN #'s to GMAC's Reilly Deifenbach. Perhaps this is the best description of the Bush White House: Lundegaardian. If nothing else, it makes it seem more fun and Coens-y -- a quirky noir mixed with black comedy, Carl Showalters and Gaer Grimsruds prowling around (sure to lead the election campaign "dirty tricks" squadron), taking time out from the malfeasance for a shot and a beer.

posted by Linus | 12:48 PM


#2 pencil provided.

Take the SAT.

posted by Linus | 10:36 AM

Tuesday, February 10, 2004


Totally wretched.

Here's Dero's Chicago Sun-Times review (4 stars compared to the 5 bunnies). I'm glad he likes the album, but his review is terrible and contains writing at least as bad as some of the reviews Christgau discussed in his Village Voice piece (Begrand's Shins review: "... these guys are definitely the genuine article." vs. Dero's cliche rave-up: "... among the best money could buy", "... Love has delivered the goods.", etc.)

Not to mention this funny wordplay: "Like a cockroach after the nuclear holocaust or Keith Richards, ..." A Keith Richards joke! That guy did a lot of drugs and just won't die! He looks like he's dead, but he's not, in fact, dead! His skin is weird and he slurs his words, but he rocks on! Good stuff, Jim.

He also calls Celebrity Skin "fairly wretched". What a jerk. I should leave him a message. And record it. Let the audio blogging begin!

posted by Linus | 1:56 PM


Fun Movie News. #061:

Richard Linklater to direct A Scanner Darkly . Will he use this script?

posted by Linus | 7:46 AM

Sunday, February 08, 2004


Will you accept a collect call from Robert Plant?

Five, long Joycean messages.

[Courtney - next time, please leave these messages on Jim Derogatis's voice-mail so we can all enjoy them online. Thanks.]

posted by Linus | 3:07 PM