Where the Wilde Things Are
(Photos: Laura Yeffeth)
(Photos: Laura Yeffeth)
“True Colors: The Real Life of the Art World,” Anthony Haden-Guest wrote that the painter James Rosenquist possessed, most of the time, a “preternaturally healthy glow, like a hand-colored photograph.” You could say something similar about Mr. Rosenquist’s new memoir, which is an unexpected treat — it’s a ruddy and humble book, lighted from within by the author’s plainspoken, blue-collar charm.
Mr. Rosenquist came of age as a Pop artist in Manhattan during the 1960s, alongside Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein. He knew everyone, and seemed to be everywhere. He shared a studio building by the Lower Manhattan waterfront with Ellsworth Kelly and Agnes Martin; Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg painted nearby. He drank in the Cedar Tavern with Willem de Kooning and LeRoi Jones.
Mr. Rosenquist describes strange nights in Hollywood accompanying the actor Dennis Hopper, who “prowled through the unlocked houses of aspiring actors and actresses.” Mr. Rosenquist gave a party for Abbie Hoffman’s future girlfriend during which people danced indoors between lighted road flares. The Warhol star Ultra Violet cavorted topless on Mr. Rosenquist’s front lawn in East Hampton one Sunday morning just as church was letting out. He was not all work and no play.
Steve McQueen, King of Cool: Tales of a Lurid Life by Darwin Porter (Blood Moon Productions, $26.95, 9781936003051/1936003058, December 25, 2009)
Darwin Porter approaches Steve McQueen through his cinematic image: “A man’s man and a woman’s dream” to his admirers or a star saddled with a face that “looked like a Botticelli angel who had been crossed with a chimp” to those less enchanted with his Bad Boy appeal. Exhibiting a tabloid reporter’s enthusiasm for dirt, Porter investigates how McQueen developed the unique persona that captivated audiences in such movies as The Magnificent Seven and Bullitt.
McQueen’s early years were a nightmare of abandonment, neglect, abuse and exploitation. His mother was an alcoholic; purportedly one of his “step-fathers” put him on the street as a child prostitute; he spent time in reform school and ran away to kick around brothels as a towel-boy. All that was a nasty prelude to a direction-changing three-year stint with the Marines (he enlisted at 17) and acting classes in Greenwich Village.
If McQueen was secure in anything, Porter assures us, it was his physical appeal and sexual allure. Notorious for having the morals of an alley cat (according to many sources), he admitted to one of his girlfriends that he would do anything with anybody–men, women, acting coaches, co-stars, competitors, idols–if it landed him a part. He told Rod Steiger, “I became a slut in New York looking for sluts.” There are no complaints on record.
Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest
Folks say that if you listen real close at the height of the full moon, when the wind is blowin‘ off Nantucket Sound from the nor’ east and the dogs are howlin‘ for no earthly reason, you can hear the awful screams of the crew of the “Ellie May,” a sturdy whaler Captained by John McTavish; for it was on just such a night when the rum was flowin‘ and, Davey Jones be damned, big John brought his men on deck for the first of several screaming contests.
Federal Way, WA
The winner of 2009 Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest is David McKenzie, a 55-year-old Quality Systems consultant and writer from . A contest recidivist, he has formerly won the Western and Children’s Literature categories. David McKenzie is the 27th grand prize winner of the contest that began at San Jose State University in 1982.
An international literary parody contest, the competition honors the memory (if not the reputation) of Victorian novelist Edward George Earl Bulwer-Lytton (1803-1873). The goal of the contest is childishly simple: entrants are challenged to submit bad opening sentences to imaginary novels. Although best known for “The Last Days of Pompeii” (1834), which has been made into a movie three times, originating the expression “the pen is mightier than the sword,” and phrases like “the great unwashed” and “the almighty dollar,” Bulwer-Lytton opened his novel Paul Clifford (1830) with the immortal words that the “Peanuts” beagle Snoopy plagiarized for years, “It was a dark and stormy night.”
Most entries are submitted electronically through the Contest’s Web site: http://www.bulwer-lytton.com/
Host a Jewish Book Author
Need a Jewish book author for your event? Look here!
Welcome to Host-a-Jewish-Book-Author.com, an independent site created by literary agent Anna Olswanger, where you can contact Jewish book authors by name, location, or genre. Host-a-Jewish-Book-Author.com lists only authors who have agreed to participate, with authors themselves providing their contact information, book titles, lecture topics, and areas of travel.
Host a Jewish book author today!
Your friends at Skynet bring you the Rovio! Rovio is a robotic webcam with microphone and speaker for 2-way audio. This wi-fi connected bad little bot will stream video and audio to your favorite web-enabled browser anywhere in the world! Use your PC, your MAC, your iPhone, even your PS3 to control Rovio.In this way meatbags will have the illusion of control over the machine. Drive the bot around the house, take pictures of the family and e-mail them to friends. All this can be done from thousands of miles away.
By Steven Kurutz
The Council of Literary Magazines and Presses [CLMP] was holding its annual spelling bee at the Diane von Furstenberg Studio. Since 1967, the CLMP has offered assistance to literary publications, ranging from the well-known (N+1; Virginia Quarterly) to the obscure (Les Figues Press). To simultaneously raise money and humiliate writers, each year the organization holds a charity auction and spelling bee. Last year’s winner was Harper publisher Jonathan Burnham, who edged out Sara Nelson, former editor of Publishers Weekly and current books editor for “O: The Oprah Magazine.”
Nelson was determined to avenge the defeat, but said her desire hadn’t translated to hours spent reading the dictionary. “I studied one year and got knocked out in the first or second round,” she said. “Now I don’t study.” Other spellers included novelists James Frey and Francine Prose, Vogue editor Sally Singer, Village Voice mainstay Michael Musto, former New York Times reporter Alex Kuczynski and New Yorker staffers Nancy Franklin and Ben Greenman. The event was emceed by literary agent Ira Silverberg, and judged by Oxford English Dictionary editor-at-large Jesse Sheidlower, who took visible delight in tripping up accomplished writers with deceptively simple-to-spell words like sacrilegious (which knocked several contestants out).
In the British press he is often called the country’s most violent prisoner and — thanks to his knack for setting off riots and engineering hostage situations — its most expensive inmate.
But in “Bronson,” a stylized film biography by the Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn, this tabloid legend is above all a kind of performance artist, a savage showman for whom, Mr. Refn said, “violence is the brush and life is the canvas.”
This may seem like an overly romantic way to portray the life of a man who has been held in solitary confinement for a total of some three decades. But when Mr. Refn, 39, identifies Bronson’s aggression as a perverse means of creative expression, he is, in a sense, speaking from experience.
“I used to think art had to be a destructive medium,” Mr. Refn said over lunch in Manhattan recently. “When I began making films I was 24. It was like punk rock. Everything had to be destroyed.”
The first major international exhibition of surrealist art by women in more than 60 years opens in Manchester. It was worth the wait
Above: Dora Maar, Sans Titre, 1934, photomontage–a woman famous as Picasso’s muse, but not as an artist in her own right
Angels of Anarchy: Women Artists and Surrealism26th September to 10th January 2010, Manchester Art Gallery
Women are often the subjects of surrealist art: dismembered, deliquescent, with doors in their stomachs, breasts for eyes and so forth. More elusive, however, are women as proponents of surrealist art. Lee Miller and Frida Kahlo are the star names; general surveys of the movement also tend to include a few individual works by women–Meret Oppenheim’s Object (a teacup, saucer and spoon covered in fur, 1936), Leonora Carrington’s shock-haired Self-Portrait (1938) with rocking horse and Eileen Agar’s sculpture of a scarf-shrouded head, Angel of Anarchy (1936-40). But, as a new exhibition in Manchester shows, there are many more heroines of surrealism who have been sidelined from the canon.
The alpha males of surrealism are among the best-known names in 20th-century art: André Breton, Salvador Dalí, Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst, Man Ray, Joan Miró. So why haven’t we heard of Emmy Bridgewater, whose influence on the British movement was—according to the French critic Michel Remy—as powerful as Dalí’s in France? Search for her name in the British Library and there is only one return, a flimsy exhibition catalogue. And why haven’t we heard of the devoted lesbian stepsisters of Jersey, Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore? They fought the Nazi occupation of the island with a campaign of subversive propaganda, some of it in rhyme. Yet instead of getting the Hollywood biopic they clearly deserve, they tend to be discussed only in journals of gender studies.
In New York this week, James Frey and Maira Kalman at the CLMP Spelling Bee, members of The National collaborate with visual artist Matthew Ritchie in The Long Count at BAM, Sherman Alexie and Chuck Klosterman read, Guernica Magazine turns 5, Literary Death Match returns to New York, and Lawrence Weschler presents Halloween Wonder Cabinet.
MONDAY 10/26 – Let it Bee – James Frey, Maira Kalman, Victor Lavalle and Francine Prose, among many other savvy writer-spellers duke it out at the spelling bee hosted by the Diane von Furstenberg studio to benefit the Council of Literary Magazines & Presses. Silent Auction 7:00pm. Bee 8:00pm.
Ever get the feeling you’re being watched?
Check out the Los Angeles Police Department’s creepy new public service announcement for its city-wide anti-terrorism iWatch program. The civilian program was launched earlier this month and is endorsed by 63 police chiefs around the country.
The ad features wide-eyed, blink-free residents reciting Orwellian mantras and looking as if they’re about to crawl out of your television like that girl in “The Ring.”
Greek Mother: Hello?
Daughter: Hi Mom. Can I leave the kids with you tonight?
Greek Mother: You’re going out?
Greek Mother: With whom?
Daughter: With a friend.
Greek Mother: I don’t know why you left your husband. He is such a good man.
Daughter: I didn’t leave him. He left me!
Greek Mother: You let him leave you, and now you go out with anybodies and nobodies.
Daughter: I do not go out with anybody. Can I bring over the kids?
Greek Mother: I never left you to go out with anybody except your father.
Daughter: There are lots of things that you did and I don’t.
Greek Mother: What are you hinting at?
Daughter: Nothing. I just want to know if I can bring the kids over tonight.
Greek Mother: You’re going to stay the night with him? What will your husband say if he finds out?
Daughter: My EX husband. I don’t think he would be bothered. From the day he left me, he probably never slept alone!
Greek Mother: So you’re going to sleep over at this loser’s place?
Daughter: He’s not a loser.
Greek Mother: A man who goes out with a divorced woman with children is a loser and a parasite.
Daughter: I don’t want to argue. Should I bring over the kids or not?
Greek Mother: Poor children with such a mother.
Daughter: Such a what?
Greek Mother: With no stability. No wonder your husband left you.
Daughter: ENOUGH !!!
Greek Mother: Don’t scream at me. You probably scream at this loser too!
Daughter: Now you’re worried about the loser?
Greek Mother: Ah, so you see he’s a loser. I spotted him immediately.
Daughter: Goodbye mother.
Greek Mother: Wait! Don’t hang up! When are you bringing them over?
Daughter: I’m not bringing them over! I’m not going out!
Greek Mother: If you never go out, how do you expect to meet anyone?
from Peter H.
Minjae Lee is a young South Korean artist whose work expresses a semi-disturbing inner tension that is tough to ignore, even if you feel that you’d like to. It draws you in with its powerful colors, halting imagery and clever juxtaposition of beauty, innocence and fragility with brash, loud and aggressive.
School of Visual Arts alum Rodrigo Corral is responsible for some of the most memorable book covers of the past few years. The red-splashed silhouette for the cover of Junot Diaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. That beautiful sprinkled-covered hand on the cover of James Frey’s A Million Little Pieces. Those fuchsia lips on the cover of Chuck Palahniuk’s Snuff. His visuals stick with you as much as the story.
You can check out more of Corral’s work as part of SVA’s The Wilde Years: Four Decades of Shaping Visual Culturethrough November 7th, and view a slideshow of select pieces featured in the show here>>
1. Do you believe that less is more in graphic design?
No, at least not conceptually. I don’t like overly decorated work, but can appreciate design that is layered with multiple ideas, especially in books.
2. Have you ever designed a cover you loved for a book you hated? If so, did it make you feel deceitful?
Hated? Have I designed covers for books that felt less than completely new and fresh? Sure; but it’s my job to give every book the best possible chance out there on the shelves — strictly visually speaking, and I shouldn’t judge their literary merits. It does feel pretty good to work on books I love reading though.
3. Have you formed any friendships with authors because of your work — particularly with someone like Palahniuk, who you’ve worked with more than once?
Not many friendships because I don’t generally work directly with the authors, but there have been many instances of mutual respect, and I’ve received some very generous letters. I have watched some fights (professional boxing, of course) with James Frey, which has been fun.
By By Ashley M. Heher, Associated Press, Saturday, October 17, 2009
CHICAGO — Taking a page from its original playbook, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. launched a full-fledged price war with Amazon.com Inc. and a nation of book retailers, lowering online prices on certain highly anticipated hardback titles to $9.
The volley of discounts, which began Thursday when the retailer listed prices for some upcoming hardcover releases such as Dean Koontz’ “Breathless” and Stephen King’s “Under the Dome” at $10, was answered with a similar price cut by Amazon, the largest online bookseller. Then the two competitors lowered the prices even further to $9.
The book discounts, the latest in a series of aggressive online maneuvers by the world’s largest retailer, could position the company to do to the online marketplace what Walmart stores did to local merchants decades ago.