Between the Lines: Finding time for great reads
By Mark Pendleton / For the Sun-News
LAS CRUCES — “Life is short! Read fast!” Every day I despair a little more of reading even a mere fraction of the books that interest me, let alone getting completely caught up on my “to-read” list. That’s one of the reasons I’m glad you’re here. Today I share a few books I think would be great reads, but just don’t have time to find out for myself. I hope that you’ll read them and tell me what you think.
Jimmy Gleacher’s “Paradise Rules” (also in the newly arrived fiction section) was a bit harder to bypass. James Frey, who has written some devastatingly hilarious stuff himself, calls it “wickedly funny,” so you know it’s got to be almost convulsion inducing! Seventeen year old Gates works the local golf club and his girlfriend wants him to lose his virginity to her, but he’s afraid to tell her he already has — to his 40-year-old godmother. Then there’s the high stakes scam at the golf club he’s gotten drawn into and the man he almost killed that are further complicating his life! I’ll not say any more, except to ask for someone to read it and let me know how it was.
The third book I need your help with is another coming-of-age story….
Mark Abrahams: Candid Camera
The Photographer’s Revealing Portraiture Captures an Unseen Side of Iconic Celebrities
Celebrated photographer Mark Abrahams draws out understated honesty from A-list subjects such as Michael Pitt, James Franco, Lindsay Lohan and Michelle Obama. A former truck driver, Abrahams is entirely self-taught, but his textured and compelling style is often seen in the pages of L’Uomo Vogue, Vogue Deutsch and GQ.
His new eponymous monograph from Damiani Editore contains a potent introductory text from writer James Frey, author of A Million Little Pieces and Bright Shiny Morning, poetically relating a story of a young man falling in love with his camera and mastering the photographic arts. “I wanted to write my intuitive version of what I thought his process was. I looked at the pictures and I just wrote the essay, thinking: that must be what he tries to do, because that’s what I see,” explains Frey of Abrahams’ work. “I respect him a lot, I think his photographs are beautiful and haunting, intense and pure.” Here, the California-born Abrahams recounts his earliest images and his love of Ed Ruscha.
Both you and James Frey are self-taught. Is that how you connected?
My story in photography is similar to his story in writing, and also similar to some of the characters in his books. I actually owned a truck in California, and would haul sand and gravel from plants. One I would go to was called Sully Miller; there was a hut in it with all the old time truckers, 70-year-old guys who have been doing it since the 30s. I literally bought a camera to take pictures of these guys to show my friends. I didn’t even know there was a job [as] a professional photographer. It literally had never occurred to me that people do this for a living. My only association with photography really was family pictures. I wasn’t picking up Vogue.
Richard Prince On Bob Dylan’s Paintings: ‘They’re More Acoustic Than Electric’
Whether or not you had the opportunity to see the recent exhibition of paintings by Bob Dylan at Gagosian Gallery in New York and regardless of your opinions of the famed singer-songwriter’s way with acrylics or choice of source material, treat yourself to Richard Prince’s wonderfully Joycean take on the matter. The artist penned an essay for the exhibition catalogue, and it has been published on the New York Review of Books’ blog for all to enjoy. Prince proves that he can wield a simile as deftly as he does an appropriated cowboy: He compares one of Dylan’s canvases to Cézanne’s Bathers, works he admires in part because “The paint is nice and thin, like it’s been applied directly on the wall of a Roman emperor’s home,” and likens getting to Dylan’s Los Angeles studio to “that scene in Goodfellas when Ray Liotta parks his car outside a nightclub… I think it’s Copacabana…and goes in a side entrance, down a hall past a lazy-ass watchman, into the kitchen, through another hallway, and out into the main room and ends up right next to the maître d’, who then ignores the people in line waiting to get in and hugs and kisses Ray and his girlfriend and shows them right down in front of the stage, where a small table, two chairs, and a plug-in lamp suddenly, miraculously, appear.”
And that’s just the opening paragraph.
Sotheby’s Launches ‘Your Art World’
It changes you, the best art.
~ Collector James Frey
Ever wonder what it takes to make, buy, and sell art? Sotheby’s, international art cataloguer and auction house, has created an online series Your Art World that currently comprises four short films intended to demystify or at least offer some insights into the creative process and collecting, buying, and selling art. While undoubtedly serving Sotheby’s own promotional and marketing needs, the series is worth a look (it’s received its fair share of press, too, most recently a write-up in The Washington Post):
✦ The Collector ~ Art collectors Guiseppe and Daniel Eskenazi ofEskenazi Limited, a Chinese art dealer based in London, Kip Forbes of Forbes Publishing, writer James Frey, Adam Lindemann, and Budiardjo Tek, president/director of Sierad, a poultry-based food company in Indonesia, speak about their passion for art, what motivates them to collect, and what they’ve learned in competing with others for the art treasures they want.
You fargin’ sneaky book titles. I’m gonna take your dwork – I’m gonna nail it to the wall. I’m gonna crush your boils in a meat grinder. I’m gonna cut off your arms – I’m gonna shove ’em up your icehole. Dirty sonanumbatches.
Profanity is making a splash in book titles
By Deirdre Donahue
Publishing used to be a gentleman’s profession. But the trend of using profanity in titles — already common in pop songs and even on Broadway — has now spread to books.
•A——- Finish First by Tucker Max. Peaked at No. 14.
•Go the —- to Sleep by Adam Mansbach, illustrated by Ricardo Cortes, a parody of a children’s book directed at adults. Peaked at No. 6.
•Out this week: If You Give a Kid a Cookie, Will He Shut the —- Up? ($14.99) by Marcy Roznick, a parody, aimed at adults, of the 1985 children’s book If You Give a Mouse a Cookie…
A Chat With the Star of ‘The Last Rites of Joe May’
Artist Profile: Dennis Farina
By Masha Savtiz
In a late September interview, I spoke with the down-to-earth Farina about his recent work, the roles that interest him, and the parts he would still like to play.
“I’m interested in people who are a fish out of water… they’re always on the outside looking in,” muses Farina.
Perhaps best known for movie characters Jimmy Serrano, the mob boss fromMidnight Run, Ray Bones Barboni in Get Shorty, or detective Joe Fontana from NBC’s Law and Order, Farina’s career broke through with Michael Mann’s famed 1980s drug-enforcement drama, Miami Vice.
Since that time, Farina has built up quite a résumé working with performers like Bette Midler, Brad Pitt, and Sir Ben Kingsley, as well as directors such as Steven Spielberg, Ed Burns, and Guy Ritchie.
Are there still roles that Farina wants to explore?
“I’d like to play a priest,” he says. There’s also the title from the book by James Frey, My Friend Leonard, who he notes is similar to Joe May in some respects.”
China could own the Moon by 2026, U.S. space entrepreneur warns
OCT 20, 2011 by JohnThomas Didymus
Las Cruces – A U.S. space entrepreneur, Robert Bigelow, has sounded alarm that China could own large portions of the moon by 2026, edging out the United States in the race for ownership of the Moon.
Mr. Bigelow made this warning at the 2011 International Symposium for Personal and Commercial Spaceflight on Wednesday.Robert Bigelow, according to Space.com, said China’s growing technological capability, economic buoyancy, motivation and will to win the space race to “own the moon” places it at advantage to the U.S. which he said is still “basking in the lunar glory from 40 years ago.” Bigelow said that in spite of the U.S. still looking back to its glorious past as the first nation to land a man on the Moon,
“…we don’t own one square foot of the damn place. NASA is a shadow of the space agency it once was in the 1960s and 1970s.”
The American space entrepreneur, whose company Bigelow Aerospace, is building human colony labs and private inflatable space modules for both government and commercial ventures, said under present international laws, any nation could claim ownership of lunar territory it occupies through continuous human presence.
Synopsis for Gossip Girl Season 5, Episode 6: “I Am Number Nine”
Photo Credit: Giovanni Rufino/The CW 2011 The CW Network
While we were excited to discover what happens in the episode after “The Fasting and the Furious,” we were disappointed that “I Am Number Nine” won’t air until November 7. You know what that means: No new episode on Halloween! That’s fine by us, though. We’ll be busy — dressing up like Black Swans and painting the town red.
Why Does God Love Beards?
A discussion of facial hair in world religions.
An Amish splinter group has gone on a crime spree, forcibly cutting the beards off of their rivals. Many religions, including Sikhism, Islam, and sects of Judaism, encourage or require their men to keep beards. Jesus Christ is often depicted with a beard. Why does God like facial hair so much?
Because it’s manly. Although beards appear repeatedly in religious texts, God never explicitly tells us why they’re so holy. In the absence of any divine exposition, many theologians have posited that a hairy face is a symbol of masculinity bestowed upon men by God. St. Clement of Alexandria, who was among the most emphatic proponents of this view, argued: “But for one who is a man to comb himself and shave himself with a razor, for the sake of fine effect, to arrange his hair at the looking-glass, to shave his cheeks, pluck hairs out of them, and smooth them, how womanly! And, in truth, unless you saw them naked, you would suppose them to be women.” St. Augustine seconded Clement’s characterization, noting, “The beard signifies the courageous; the beard distinguishes the grown men, the earnest, the active, the vigorous. So that when we describe such, we say, he is a bearded man.”
“There Is No Truth,” He Said.
By John H. Richardson
Illustrations by Nathan Fox
Published in the November 2011 issue
Things start to get weird when Frey locks the door to his office and pulls down the blinds. That’s James Frey, author of the famously fraudulent memoir A Million Little Pieces, a big lug with a shaved head who could pass for a member of the Russian mob — small forehead, big jaw, small pursed mouth constantly chewing gum. I figured he was going to punch me out.
Rule number one in journalism: Don’t call the person you are interviewing a fucking asshole.
What happened is, I was interviewing Frey at his offices in SoHo. The subject was his unusual new publishing business, Full Fathom Five, which was about to release the world’s first e-book with a soundtrack. The soundtrack actually syncs up with how fast you’re reading — music, gunshots, the ardent moans of young lovers. Amazing. Frey made me a cup of cappuccino, asked about my family. But then I had to ask about the three-part Oprah controversy and he started talking about postmodernism and Andy Warhol with the strong suggestion that A Million Little Pieces wasn’t really a giant fraud but some kind of sophisticated performance art. “Anyway, there is no truth,” he said. “It’s all fiction. In my experience, 80 percent of reporters just tell flat-out lies.”
So I said, “A guy who has an affair and his wife asks him if it’s really true and he says, ‘No, but what is reality anyway’ isn’t a sophisticated postmodernist, he’s a motherfucking asshole.”
Frey asked me to step outside.
I stood in the hall talking to his staff and my smartphone started going nuts. He’s about to pull the plug! What the hell is going on? Are you really swearing at him? Step outside and call me! Calm down!
Which, of course, just pisses me off even more. Micromanaging panties-in-a-bunch editors, bane of my existence.
Some time passes. I find that I like Frey’s bright young crew, doubtless brutally exploited. Then Frey opens the door looking even more nauseous than he did when Oprah was carving him a new outlet for his writing. He barks at the staff to clear out and motions me in, locks the door, and pulls down the blinds.
I say, “Look, maybe we got off on the wrong foot. Or in your case, the wrong cloven hoof.”
He ignores me. “You want the truth? I’ll show you the fucking truth. See that laptop?”
An ordinary MacBook Pro on the desk, a futuristic matte silver shell.
With a client list that included Ali MacGraw, Gene Hackman, and Barbra Streisand, Sue Mengers, the first superagent, ruled 1970s Hollywood with her brash, no-nonsense style. Herewith, the expert deal-maker dishes on insects, Paris Hilton, and sleeping.
Which living person do you most admire?
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
There’s not enough paper …
What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Lack of humor.
What is your greatest extravagance?
What is the quality you most like in a man?
That he breathes.
What is the quality you most like in a woman?
What do you most value in your friends?
Who are your heroes in real life?
How would you like to die?
I think I already have.
What is your motto?
“Tomorrow may not be another day.”
Artifacts indicate a 100,000-year-old art studio
In South Africa, abalone shells covered with pigment and tools for making paints are found in a cave, suggesting humans began thinking symbolically much earlier than previously recognized.
Archeologists found evidence of a prehistoric art studio in Blombos Cave in South Africa. (Magnus Haaland / October 5, 2011)
By Amina Khan, Los Angeles Times / October 14, 2011
In a tiny South African cave, archaeologists have unearthed a 100,000-year-old art studio that contains tools for mixing powder from red and yellow rocks with animal fat and marrow to make vibrant paints as well as abalone shells full of dried-out red pigment, the oldest paint containers ever found.
The discovery, described in Friday’s edition of the journal Science, suggests that humans may have been thinking symbolically — more like modern-day humans think — much earlier than previously recognized, experts said. Symbolic thinking could have been a key evolutionary step in the development of other quintessentially human abilities, such as language, art and complex ritual.
The Grateful Dead’s Great Big Carbon Footprint
By Ben Marks
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, I loved the music of the Grateful Dead. I guess you could say I was a fan, and to this day I still give the guys a listen.
But this year’s release of “Europe ’72: The Complete Recordings” sort of sickened me. For those who don’t know, the Dead’s spring tour of the continent is considered by many to have been their finest.
This music was important, if rock ‘n’ roll can ever be described as such, so it was a natural for the surviving band members and their managers to bundle up the entire tour of 22 performances, some 70 hours of music, into a package that fans could purchase. So far, so good.
But why in this digital age was it necessary to create so much packaging? Instead of making the remastered files available via download, the powers that be decided it would be a better idea to burn 73 compact discs, publish a book, and stuff the whole thing into a replica of a steamer trunk, which was then shipped in even more paper (cardboard). A total of 7,200 numbered copies of this environmental nightmare sold out in less than a week at $450 a pop (bids at eBay routinely range from $600 to $900)….
Detroit Police Impound Suspected Mobile Strip Club
Updated: Wednesday, 12 Oct 2011, 10:18 AM EDT
DETROIT – Detroit police have impounded a party bus they say operated illegally as a strip club for reveling football fans at a popular tailgating spot.
The Detroit News and WDIV-TV report that the “Booty Lounge” bus was parked Monday near Ford Field, where the Lions played the Chicago Bears. Police say it was cited for not having a state safety inspection and because the driver didn’t have a commercial license.
An email seeking comment from a “Booty Lounge” representative was sent Wednesday.
Frank Zappa, his groupies and me
She was a strait-laced English typist. He was a sexually incontinent rock innovator. So why on earth did Pauline Butcher become Frank Zappa’s secretary?
Monday 3 October 2011 14.59 EDT
One single incident serves as a perfect illustration of just what an extraordinarily unusual and charismatic person the US musician Frank Zappa, who died in 1993, must have been. In 1968, a year that saw the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy, a man turned up on the doorstep at the Log Cabin, the ramshackle, open-all-hours-to-all-comers crash pad in Laurel Canyon, Los Angeles, that Zappa and numerous other weird people called home. “My name is Raven. I brought you a present,” this stranger announced, handing to Zappa a transparent bag, apparently filled with blood, before pointing a revolver at his chest.
Calmly, Zappa cajoled and manipulated Raven into walking with him, and numerous spectators, including Zappa’s 24-year-old English secretary, to a nearby lake. He then persuaded everyone present to start throwing things into the water, including Raven, who threw in his gun. The secretary, Pauline Butcher, threw in a twig, which “floated on the algae” causing her to look round “apologetically”. After that, Zappa, shoved the bag of blood back into Raven’s hand, saying: “You must leave now.” Raven did. Immediately exhorted by the many witnesses to call the police, Zappa refused. Why? “Because if I call the police, the police will arrest him and he’ll go to jail and no one deserves to go to jail.”