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7 Days To Vice!
07.28.2009
01:20 pm
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One of my more interesting vacations involved a weekend in Palm Desert with Thomas Pynchon‘s just-released Mason & Dixon.  Fueled by coffee, date shakes and excitement, I plowed through that book’s 773 pages in 3 days, and emerged from it shaken…dazzled…moved.  Yep, moved.  What seems to get lost in the shuffle when those of us who still talk about Pynchon talk about Pynchon is how gracefully he can knit together a moment of Maximum Emotional Devastation.  I’m thinking now of Mason receiving comfort from his estranged son in the wake of Dixon’s death, or Zoyd Wheeler’s understanding that after so many wrong turns in life, in coming to Vineland, he was finally, FINALLY, guiding his family somewhere right—and good.  I could go on and on, and probably will, when next Tuesday sees the release of Pynchon’s seventh book, Inherent Vice.  The early reviews are in, and they do look promising—especially if you’ve been waiting for a Pynchonian take on Raymond Chandler set in the very beach towns where he presumably composed Gravity’s Rainbow.

And if you’re interested in that book’s construction, you might want to check out
A Journey Into The Mind Of [p].  The more interesting parts of Fosco Dubini’s (!) documentary trace Pynchon’s footsteps all the way to the apartment he was living and writing in.  The least interesting parts revolve around the chase for the man himself.
I mean, we (old fans) all know what he looks like by now, don’t we?!

Louis Menand on Inherent Vice in The New Yorker

Tim Martin on Inherent Vice in The Telegraph

Oh, and big FYI: the Inherent Vice wiki goes live next Tuesday morning!

Posted by Bradley Novicoff
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07.28.2009
01:20 pm
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Alan Moore: 25,000 Years of Erotic Freedom
07.24.2009
12:51 am
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Spotted at Nerd Prom today: an advance edition of 25,000 Years of Erotic Freedom, a hardcover non-fiction book by comic author Alan Moore, copiously laid out with photos and illustrations. As it was announced (just now, apparently):

With each new technological advance, pornography has proliferated and degraded in quality. Today, porn is everywhere, but where is it art? 25,000 Years of Erotic Freedom surveys the history of pornography and argues that the success and vibrancy of a society relates to its permissiveness in sexual matters.

This history of erotic art brings together some of the most provocative illustrations ever published, showcasing the evolution of pornography over diverse cultures from prehistoric to modern times. Beginning with the Venus of Willendorf, created between 24,000-22,000 bce, and book-ended by contemporary photography, it also contains a timeline covering major erotic works in several cultures. 25,000 Years of Erotic Freedom ably captures the ancient and insuppressible creative drive of the sexual spirit, making this book a treatise on erotic art.

Moore says:

Sexually progressive cultures gave us literature, philosophy, civilization and the rest, while sexually restrictive cultures gave us the Dark Ages and the Holocaust.

The book is out in October.

Posted by Jason Louv
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07.24.2009
12:51 am
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Bryan Talbot: Secret Chief of Comics
07.17.2009
02:48 pm
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Bryan Talbot is the man who invented modern comics. But you’d never know, because he’s one of the most unsung artists in the field.

Talbot’s Luther Arkwright comic started off in the mid-seventies as a pastiche of Michael Moorcock’s Jerry Cornelius character, but by the time Talbot had completed the series in the eighties, he’d ended up laying down the template from which Alan Moore, Grant Morrison, Neil Gaiman, Garth Ennis and the entire Vertigo line of comics sprang from. Talbot borrowed not only from Moorcock and the British New Wave (of science fiction) but also film techniques like Nic Roeg’s use of cross-cutting, ending up with a particularly potent mix of subject matter, characterization and technique that would inspire practically the entire next twenty years of “mature readers” comics.

(Warren Ellis on Luther Arkwright: “[It’s] probably the single most influential graphic novel to have come out of Britain to date… probably Anglophone comics’ single most important experimental work.”)

Arkwright is an albino assassin who drops out in the sixties, gets stoned, activates his psychic powers, ends up in a parallel England where Oliver Cromwell’s rule never ended, attains enlightenment in a tantric sex ritual, and is charged with leading a revolution against the brutal Puritan regime. Somehow it’s a lot more complicated and cosmic than that?

Posted by Jason Louv
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07.17.2009
02:48 pm
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“Where the Wild Things Are” Vinyl Toys
07.17.2009
10:33 am
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First glimpse at the wonderful toys from Spike Jonze’s film adaptation of “Where the Wild Things Are.” These look great. So does the trailer. I can’t wait to see it! (via We Love You So)

Posted by Richard Metzger
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07.17.2009
10:33 am
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Luke Haines: Bad Vibes
07.14.2009
03:00 pm
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I may be the last person to find out about this, but since I’m American, it’s OK: Luke Haines, the greatest British songwriter of the 1990s, has released a book detailing his bitter memories of the Britpop years and being completely ignored by the public at large. Entitled “Bad Vibes: Britpop and My Part in Its Downfall,” the book was released in the UK in February. So far no release in the US, nor is there likely to be, ever, so suck it up and pay the postage.

Haines, who laid down the template that Blur and Pulp would later capitalize on with his band The Auteurs, went on to record such gems of human potential as concept albums about the Baader-Meinhof gang and Oliver Twist, recording under his own name and also with “supergroup” Black Box Recorder.

For those who have never been exposed to the man, try any of his albums, ever: they’re all essential. While Blur were writing about middle-class boredom, Haines was writing one-man nostalgia trips through the lost, forgotten and seamy sides of English history, like a snarling pop version of Peter Ackroyd. Try it, you’ll like it.

The Auteurs: Rubettes music video

Posted by Jason Louv
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07.14.2009
03:00 pm
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