Chelsea Redux

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1. This looks to be pretty special:

The Tenant’s Association of the Chelsea Hotel presents a rare screening of Andy Warhol’s 1966 masterpiece, Chelsea Girls, introduced by poet and Warhol superstar Rene Ricard.

Rene Ricard is one of the few surviving members of the cast, and was a close friend and associate of Warhol from 1965 until the artist’s death in 1987. In a rare public appearance, Rene Ricard will discuss the making of the film and offer reflections on Warhol’s larger career as painter, author, publisher and wit.

Chelsea Girls was shot in various rooms in the Hotel Chelsea (and the Warhol Factory) over three weeks in the summer of 1966. Rene Ricard lived in the hotel at the time, and he remains a current resident.

Appearing in the film, amongst others, are Nico, Ondine, Brigid Berlin, International Velvet, Mario Montez, Ingrid Superstar, and Marie Menken, with music by the Velvet Underground.  Filmed at a cost of $3,000.00 The film grossed $130,000.00 in its first five months of its release, making it perhaps the most successful underground film of all time It has since earned cult status as one of the most stunning and provocative cultural documents of the 1960s, and is considered by many to be Warhol’s filmic masterpiece.

Filmed in black and white and color and shown on two screens simultaneously, the film runs three hours and fifteen minutes.

At the premiere of the film at Jonas Mekas' Cinematheque, the film sequences were listed on the program accompanied by fake room numbers at the Chelsea Hotel. These had to be removed, however, when the Chelsea Hotel threatened legal action.

Today the residents of the Chelsea Hotel are fighting to retain and preserve one of the great cultural landmarks of New York City. The Chelsea Hotel is not only a historic landmarked building, but also a living national treasure, and a vital part of the intellectual and artistic heritage of New York. Residents have incurred great expense fighting evictions and what they consider to be the illegal demolition of over a hundred rooms in the historic hotel.

2. The first of May is also International Workers Day, and should be a big day for the Occupy movement around the world.

3. The PEN World Voices Festival is about to begin, and has a fantastic lineup.

4. New York City's Center for Fiction presents Mothers on the Verge including Leora Skolkin-Smith (Hystera) and Jessica Keener, whose sensitive 1970s memory novel Night Swim I've recently enjoyed.

5. I had a very negative initial reaction to the news that a team of transcendentalist video game designers from the University of Southern California has created an electronic interactive version of Thoreau's Walden (still and always my favorite book in the world). But the preview visible at the link above really doesn't look so bad. And while it's true that playing a video game is nothing like living in a cabin in the woods for two years -- well, come to think of it, reading a book is nothing like living in a cabin in the woods for two years either. So I guess I won't judge this project until I get to see it for myself.

5. Nice cover art concept for four novels by Clarice Lispector.

6. Check out the trailer for Hemingway and Gellhorn, HBO's new spin on Ernest Hemingway's early marriage, starring Clive Owen and Nicole Kidman. I don't think John Irving will be watching it.

7. You can watch the entire 1962 Orson Welles movie version of Franz Kafka's The Trial on YouTube. Anthony Perkins stars as Joseph K.

9. Inspiring! Here's the story of how a single glowing review of Sergio De La Pava's self-published novel A Naked Singularity in The Quarterly Conversation led the University of Chicago Press to publish the novel, so far to much acclaim.

10. Poignant as all hell. "I like that guy! I wish I knew him." Years ago, when I was in college, I attended a poetry reading by Robert Bly that knocked my socks off, and definitely helped to set me on the crazy creative writing/philosophy/poetry/blogging path that I have continued to follow through my life. Here's daughter Mary Bly's report on how the spirited poet is coping with Alzheimer's disease.

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