1. A pretty good animated and modernized movie version of Dante's Inferno
has been running on the Ovation
cable network. It's based on the excellent comic book version
(set in squalid Los Angeles, California) by Marcus Sanders, Doug Harvey and Sandow Birk.
2. A long forgotten film version of Yukio Mishima's short story Patriotism
has been rereleased
. This is not the Paul Schrader film Mishima
, which depicts this author's death by seppuku
, but rather a Japanese film based on Mishima's intense short story about a young couple's final night on Earth after a failed military coup.
3. This was a surprise: I've never been much interested in Jonathan Safran Foer, but my daughter and I caught Liev Schrieber's film version of Everything is Illuminated
on TV on a rainy weekend afternoon and liked it very much. The director's heavy-handed style and Elijah Wood's highly affected and artificial performance have to be forgiven before you can start to become absorbed in the plot, but the story of the lost Ukrainian village in the field of sunflowers makes up for these cinematic sins. Maybe I'll even read the book
4. I watched HBO's Generation Kill
, based on the book
by Evan Wright. I found it difficult to follow at first -- the filmmakers obviously share Robert Altman's affection for mumbled dialogue -- but in the later episodes a few strong plotlines and a few messages began to emerge. By the mini-series' strong finale, shadows of Paths of Glory
, Stanley Kubrick's great bitter parody of World War I, can be seen. Worth catching on DVD or rerun, if you missed it the first time.
5. Okay, enough of the boob tube! What New York City really needs is a Queens
Book Festival, but the 2008 Brooklyn Book Festival
should be pretty good too. LitKicks faves among the participants include: Arthur Nersesian, Ian MacKaye, Thurston Moore, Johnny Temple, Amy Shearn, George Pelecanos, Jacob Weisberg, Joanna Hershorn, Patricia Smith, Chuck Klosterman, Ed Park, Tao Lin, Warren Adler and (in a fitting tribute) the late Joseph Heller.
6. The Literature to Life Festival
, presenting dramatic versions of controversial classic American fiction, is taking place this month at the American Place Theatre
in New York.
7. Eliot Katz, Mickey Z.
and others will be performing at the Waltz-Astoria Cafe
in Queens, New York this Thursday, September 11.
8. A film is being made
about Allen Ginsberg's "Howl
". Looks like a good idea to me.
9. "Jazz drenched dharma boogie"! Beat poet Michael McClure's new band Big Mix
includes longtime collaborator Ray Manzarek on keyboards and adds a full ensemble, including Lou Reed/Ratdog bassist Rob Wasserman. And they're on MySpace.
10. Kos, as in Daily Kos
, at Bat Segundo
11. Poet Jerome Rothenberg has a new blog, Poems and Poetics
12. Zen and Now
is a book by Mark Richardson about Robert Pirsig's classic philosophical novel Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
(via Books Inq
13. Just heard that Gregory "Fletch" McDonald has died
. I really enjoyed the Fletch books
, the worst thing that ever happened to which was Chevy Chase.