1. Ken Kesey's Sometimes a Great Notion
, which has already been made into a good Paul Newman movie
, is being performed onstage
before a hometown crowd at Portland Center Stage in Oregon. I wish I could catch it, and if it travels to New York I certainly will catch it.
There's also word that director Gus Van Sant
is making progress on his film version of the Tom Wolfe's The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test
, a classic non-fiction text that describes the mid-1960s cosmic collision between Neal Cassady
, Ken Kesey, Robert Stone, Larry McMurty, the Grateful Dead and a big bus. I think this ought to be an outrageously good movie, but I hope Gus Van Sant will do a better job with it than he did with Tom Robbins' hippie-era classic novel Even Cowgirls Get The Blues
. That movie had it's moments (Uma Thurman dancing with her thumbs), but the ultra-stylized visual treatment and wooden acting made it boring to watch. My two favorite Gus Van Sant films were two of his quietest and most naturalistic: the haunting Elephant
and the bleak, blank Last Days
. I think an overly stylized or stagy treatment (a la Cowgirls
) would hurt Tom Wolfe's classic narrative, a narrative about a moment when truth was truly stranger than fiction. I think this film is in good hands, but I hope Van Sant will let the great story speak for itself.
2. Last week I praised the new HBO series John Adams
, and I still feel that way, though in this week's episode I really wasn't trying to see John Adams getting busy in a Braintree bedroom. I wasn't trying to see Paul Giamatti getting busy in a Braintree bedroom either.
3. Mike Palacek
is another patriot.
4. Happy birthday The Millions
5. Regarding another Penguin project
, what does the technology add?
6. I love a writer who'll speak up for himself. Novelist James Morrow doesn't agree
with New York Times Book Review critic Siddhartha Deb's comments about his the Philosopher's Apprentice
, and invites you to sample the novel on his website
. I urge you to do so.