Jonathan Lethem seems the ultimate New Yorker: Born and
raised in Brooklyn, the 45-year-old writer first earned literary cachet with
his 1999 crime fiction novel, Motherless
Brooklyn. His 2003 The Fortress of
Solitude is a semi-autobiographic work, also set in Brooklyn. Now, Lethem's
touring to promote his newest New York novel, Chronic City, in which narrator Chase
Insteadman (a former child actor) befriends an eccentric, marijuana-pumped culture writer named
It was hard not to feel cheerleaderish during Saturday's inaugural BOSTON BOOK FESTIVAL, which crammed 90 authors into 40 or so hour-long programs in and around Copley Square, and drew lines-around-the-block crowds for . . . well, people talking about and reading from books.
metal worshipers will be descending on the House of Blues for two
nights of "mind-throttling chasm-fording riff salad" (as Daniel Brockman so elegantly put it in last week's show preview) with High on Fire, Mastodon, and hometown-pride-instilling acts Converge, legendary hardcore heavies from Salem, MA, and Dethklok (the essentially fictional but wholly brutal cartoon band fronted by Berklee/Comedy Studio alum and Metalocalypse creator Brendon Small).
Another Thriller Day's Eve is upon us once again -- and while you're feverishly boning up on how to dance like one of the zombies in Michael Jackson's "Thriller" video so that you may join the throngs descending on Davis Square tomorrow, here's an extra fiendish stocking stuffer for you. Listen to original "Thriller" director John Landis
talk about his now-classic undead-shuffle creation (and how they don't
make music videos like they used to anymore), plus weird tales from Beverly Hills Cop III, an explanation of Landis's signature "See You Next Wednesday," and a little good-natured dissing of upcoming apocalypse epic 2012
If you ever happen to find yourself in England and you run into a
neurotic middle-aged Londoner, a kid who asks strings of naive
questions, and a music nerd who defines himself by his favorite band,
then you’ve probably stumbled into a Nick Hornby novel.
Anyone who’s cracked the spine of High Fidelity or About a Boy won’t be surprised that Hornby’s new book Juliet, Naked
contains his signature set of lovable, music-obsessed neurotics, as
well as liberal dollops of his wry humor.
James Ellroy, the self-described demon dog of American crime fiction, has been pulling the same literary-Crazy-Eddie schtick for years -- he was doing it, for instance, way before Jim Cramer borrowed the act for Mad Money. The schtick is at once a useful mask and, at base, exactly what it appears to be: a meticulously cultivated, nakedly needy, vastly narcissistic self-promotional vehicle whose sole purpose is the further economic enrichment of James Ellroy.
If you track 26 year-old writer Tao Lin’s
literary trajectory via his Internet presence and self-promotional
stunts, it’s easy to get the sense that he’s on the brink of something
really big. The Brooklyn-based author’s follower-to-followees ratio on
Twitter is steadily climbing, his MySpace account was recently
purchased for a ludicrous sum of $8,100 by an investment banker, and
the buzz surrounding his latest work, a novella called Shoplifting From American Apparel, appears to trump that of his prior writings (two poetry collections, a book of short stories and a novel called Eeeee Eee Eee) in both sheer volume and praise.
Whenever Chuck Palahniuk comes to town, you know you're in for something weird. After all, the man is a card-carrying member of the Cacophony Society (the jolly culture jammers who gave us the Santa Rampage) and claims to have caused some 40 public faintings with his gruesome reading of "Guts," the grim saga of a boy who turns his own colon inside out with a pool filter.
Last week, two young women were arguing about the color of zombies in a waiting room at Mass General. When a doctor appeared, they asked her for an opinion on whether zombies should, by rights, be green or gray. The doctor thought for a second and said, "I don't know, but I'll ask my friend Dr. Schlozman -- he's been driving us nuts all week trying to get us to watch zombie movies."
Former Phoenix contributor Kelefa Sanneh's profile of the legendary KATT WILLIAMS is behind the New Yorker's subscribers-only firewall -- an indication that it's likely as good as you think it's gonna be, or better -- but the multimedia teasers are live and free. The video (above) is a NSFW highlight reel of Katt in his element.
World renowned journalist and staff writer for the New Yorker Adam Gopnik spoke yesterday on his new book Angels and Ages: A Short Book about Darwin, Lincoln and Modern Life at the Brookline Booksmith.Full mp3 audio of his reading after the jump . . .
Last night eight brave souls (myself included) bared their teenage angst as part of the (now monthly) Boston chapter of Mortified, the "comic excavation of the strange and extraordinary things we created as kids." The Phoenix was there - at Mottley's Comedy Club - to catch Mortified in all its excruciatingly awkward glory.
This would have been Abraham Lincoln's 200th birthday, if he had not gotten himself shot and if humans had, in the intervening years, discovered how to keep from dying so much. Regardless, the bicentennial seems to be worth celebrating -- that is, if having another young Illinois ex-congressman in the White House were not celebration enough.
Greil Marcus, the legendary music writer and cultural thinker (with whom Chris Gray had an interesting e-mail correspondence) showed up in Portland Monday to give the Bernard A. Osher annual lecture for the Portland Museum of Art. He based his talk on the museum's show "Backstage Pass: Rock & Roll Photography," which is up through March 22. The 250+ images in the show are selected from a private collection of more than 500 photos of rock stars - most of which were taken behind the scenes, rather than on stage.
But from his jumping-off point of the images in the show, Marcus quickly broadened his scope to images that were not included in the show, as evidence partly of what the collector himself choosing to leave out, but also to demonstrate a larger point about the cultural position of photography of musicians. What Marcus himself left out of his talk was the explicit statement that a great deal of today's photography of musicians is about stolen moments - or bizarre documentation of largely meaningless moments (like Britney's flash or Katie Holmes's various hairstyles).
Rather, by showing and discussing images whose photographers and subjects imbued the moment with lasting power, Marcus's talk was both a celebration of the cultivated permanence of the rock-and-roll era and a lament for its passing.
In keeping with my trend of doing crazy shit for the sake of entertaining Phoenix readers/WFNX listeners, I hopped onstage at Mottley's Comedy Club last week to host and participate in Mortified, a storytelling show that features people reading from their teenage journals, school assignments, poems, lyrics, letters, etc.
We couldn't have been more surprised, or delighted, when this ultra-exclusive two-fer landed in our email a couple of days ago: a matched pair in which the respective frontmen of Hallelujah the Hills and Faces on Film, longtime friends, perform solo covers of each others’ songs, perfectly timed to coincide their show together (on a bill with Dear Leader) at the Paradise this Friday.
For just the second time since change came to America, the respective leaders of the Obama and McCain campaigns sat down at the same table -- last week, at the Harvard University Institute for Politics -- to set the record straight about what went wrong, what went right, and what happened behind the scenes during Campaign 2008.