Archive for September, 2008

Barney Rossett and Joan Mitchell -Part II

Friday, September 26th, 2008

Barney posing in front of a portrait of Joan Mitchell in Maya by Goya pose.

Mitchell’s confrontational defenses made it almost impossible for her to maintain an intimate relationship, and she and Rosset probably got along better as friends, after their divorce in 1952. Rosset would unsuccessfully try to win her back, and poignantly describes their relationship as that of “brother and sister.” He remembers Mitchell being “great” in the same way he found Samuel Beckett to be. The combativeness that made it so difficult for Mitchell to sustain a partnership would, however, help protect her in the almost exclusively male world in which she wanted to become a serious contender. She could be as drunken and belligerent – and as sensitive – as any of the males who dominated the world that she now joined with surprising speed. (Remembering Barney and Joan )

Barney Rossett has a blog.
The founder of Grove Press, Rossett is to be celebrated soon this November.
Publisher Who Fought Puritanism, and Won – Charles MaGrath

On Nov. 19 Mr. Rosset will receive a lifetime achievement award from the National Book Foundation in honor of his many contributions to American publishing, especially his groundbreaking legal battles to print uncensored versions of “Lady Chatterley’s Lover” and Henry Miller’s “Tropic of Cancer.” He is also the subject of “Obscene,” a documentary by Neil Ortenberg and Daniel O’Connor, which opens on Friday at Cinema Village.

Here is a good article about Barney’s attempt to write his autobiography and his enduring friendship with Samuel Beckett, also happend to be his business partner – You Can’t Paint That!

Read previous post on Joan and Barney their early years here.

Painting by Joan Mitchell. (See more Joan Mitchell paintings here)

More juicy trivia for Joan Mitchell….

  • Joan Michell was a figure skater when she was a teenager in Chicago, according to John Perreault.
  • Joan Mitchell’s love letter to Michael Goldberg is here.
  • Joan and Mike joanmiketwo abstract painters
    Michael Goldberg paintings here


    Monday, September 22nd, 2008

    Aparatec tvwood[now known as rival consoles] seventeen
    (via ROBJN-home)

    In his fiction and his essays alike, Wallace incorporated the world around him in streams of consciousness that were like some hitherto unimaginable hybrid of Dostoevsky’s Notes from the Underground, Deleuze and Guattari’s A Thousand Plateaus, and the rock criticism of Lester Bangs, but that also seemed to register the inner tics of personality common among people who had grown up inundated by mass media. DFW R.I.P – Scott McLemee

    Asset, a fiction by David Foster Wallace (New Yorker)
    Wallace’s four works published in The New Yorker are also available:here.
    “Several Birds,” June 27, 1994
    “An Interval,” January 30, 1995
    “Good People,” February 5, 2007

    From Overlooked – Five direly underappreciated U.S. novels 1960.
    On “Wittgenstein’s Mistress” by David Markson (1988) DFW wrote,

    “W’s M” is a dramatic rendering of what it would be like to live in the sort of universe described by logical atomism. A monologue, formally very odd, mostly one-sentences. Tied with “Omensetter’s Luck” for the all-time best U.S. book about human loneliness. These wouldn’t constitute ringing endorsements if they didn’t happen all to be simultaneously true — i.e., that a novel this abstract and erudite and avant-garde that could also be so moving makes “Wittgenstein’s Mistress” pretty much the high point of experimental fiction in this country.

    (of the five novels DFW picked the only one I read was “Wittgenstein’s Mistress”. Not sure Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy is overlooked. The other three unheard of novels by William Gass, Kosinski and Dennis Johnson, are definitely overlooked.)

    Found this link from Matt Christie – pasaudela

    The Rain in Spain

    Friday, September 19th, 2008

    Kermit sings it’s not easy being green. Posing for this portrait of Kermit Higgins is easy, his friends have done it before.

    Scene from Dolittle McCain instructing Eliza Palin.

    Audrey Hepburn wanted to sing in her own voice but the Studio got Marni Nixon to sing for her.
    If Rex Harrison could use his voice, why not let Audrey sing in her voice?

    Extra McCain cartoon: He put it on Ebay

    The Pain in Spain falls mainly on McCain – Time magazine

    R.I.P. Jun Ichikawa 1948 – 2008

    Friday, September 19th, 2008
  • Jun Ichikawa who directed “Tony Takitani” an adaptation of Haruki Murakami’s short story, passed away. (Read more here)

    Ichikawa: In Tony Takitani I was thinking about flipping a page from left to right as if I was reading the novel. (via Master class)

    Tony Takitani

    From Master class by Jun Ichikawa,
    Jun Ichikawa loved Ozu films, wanted to make his “Wild Strawberries” (Ingmar Bergman).
    Like Akira Kurosawa who started out with painting, Jun Ichikawa was doing oil painting as a student.

    Q: Did you always know you wanted to go into film?
    Ichikawa: I was doing oil painting as I wanted to stufy in the National Art University. I drew a lot and tried to enrol but failed each time. A friend discovered that I can draw good storyboards for commercials, and I joined a commercial production company, which started to employ me to make commercials. The commercials I made were well accepted by the public, and one day someone came and approach me to make movies. So in a sense I was fortunate.

    Loneliness is a condition to have a good movie. I watched a lot of 70s American movies like Taxi Driver, and I was influenced by those movies made after the Vietnam War, which has a lot to do on loneliness inside.

  • Yoko Ogawa

    Wednesday, September 17th, 2008

    You can read a short story by her today in English. (I did yesterday).
    Click here, Pregnancy Diary – New Yorker, her short story published in 2005.

    She has won every major awards in Japan. Here is high praise from Kenzaburo Oe:

    ‘Yoko Ogawa is able to give expression to the most subtle workings of human psychology in prose that is gentle yet penetrating.’ The subtlety in part lies in the fact that Ogawa’s characters often seem not to know why they are doing what they are doing. She works by accumulation of detail, a technique that is perhaps more successful in her shorter works; the slow pace of development in the longer works requires something of a deus ex machina to end them. (Wiki)

    The Diving Pool, her first book translated to English, is not a novel but a collection of three novellas from early in her career, of about fifty pages, loosely connected by their content. All three are told by young women with a skewed outlook on reality relating stories about family members. In each, Ogawa deploys an precise style that maintains an eerie distance between the narrator and event, her words clinical and charged with meaning, always leading with a slow build that concludes with a twist – although backstroke is probably more apt. – Diving Pool

    This sounds intriguing,

    Her novel “The Professor and his Beloved Equation” has been made into a movie. In 2006 she co-authored “An Introduction to the World’s Most Elegant Mathematics” with Masahiko Fujiwara, a mathematician, as a dialogue on the extraordinary beauty of numbers.(Wiki)

    I hope to be able to see this film.

    List of Books by Yoko Ogawa

    American Psycho

    Monday, September 15th, 2008

    American Psycho – The Greed took hold under Reagan

    Pyramid cpyramid

    Enrique cpyramid2 Chagoya

    Fair and Fair alike 2009 – Art Pretenders (Joanne Mattera)

    The crowd pleaser: Enrique Chagoya, Pyramid Scheme, at Lisa Sette, Scottsdale; at Art Miami

    American Psycho – Business card exchanges

    More scenes from American Psycho

    Consider the Lobster + DFW in Italy

    Sunday, September 14th, 2008

    Consider the Lobster

    “Failure” in Italy


    R.I.P David Foster Wallace

    R.I.P David Foster Wallace

    Saturday, September 13th, 2008

    David Foster Wallace david_foster_wallace
    He was only 46 years old. (February 21, 1962 – September 12, 2008) How very sad.

    David Foster Wallace Disease (Hazlitt)

    His short story “Good People” from New Yorker magazine [1]

    Salon interview of D.F.W by Laura Miller

    Federer as religious experience

    Consider the Lobster – Gourmet 2004
    (Is it all right to boil a sentient creature alive just for our gustatory pleasure?” )

    In person, he had a great purity. I had a sense of shame in his presence, though he was meticulous about putting people at their ease. It was the exact same purity one finds in the books: If we must say something, let’s at least only say true things.1 The principle of his fiction, as I understand it. It’s what made his books so beautiful to me, and so essential. The only exception was the math one, which I was too stupid to understand. One day, soon after it was published, David phoned up, sincerely apologetic, and said: “No, look … you don’t need anything more than high school math, that’s all I really have.” He was very funny. He was an actual genius, which is as rare in literature as being kind—and he was that, too. He was my favourite, my literary hero, I loved him and I’ll always miss him.

    1 And let’s say them grammatically.
    Zadie Smith (via McSweeny )

    Along with his first piece, he also sent a check, for $250. That was the craziest thing: he sent a donation with his contribution. Thus he was the first donor to the journal, though he insisted that his donation remain anonymous in that first issue. I had such a problem cashing that check; I wanted to keep it, frame it, stare at it. – Dave Eggers via McSweeny)

    Obit with great links from Matt (pasaudela)

    Obits from his colleague John Seery, and from Greencinedaily

    Remembering DFW (Lit. Community/Edward Champion)

    Remembering DFW by Ben Casnocha

    Reviewing the David Foster Wallace Obituaries by Levi Asher

    When a famous artist commits suicide, this suicide is their final statement. Kurt Cobain, Richard Brautigan, Ernest Hemingway, Sylvia Plath, Yukio Mishima, Anne Sexton, Hunter S. Thompson and David Foster Wallace all must have understood — and may or may not have regretted — the way they were inevitably punctuating their careers. It’s changed the way we thought of the earlier artists named above, but how will it change the way we think of David Foster Wallace?

    Update: Who’ll take care of his dogs? (Obit from No Trivia, via Richard Crary the Existence Machine)

    [1] While going over proofs of his last published story, “Good People,” which appeared in this magazine in 2007, he wrote, “I have ended up taking more of your changes . . . than I thought at first I would. But in some cases I’ve ‘taken’ them in a sort of oblique way that’s entailed further small changes around the recommended change—most often, this has taken the form of clarifying or declumsifying a phrase or passage you’d suggested, but then finding other, more innocuous ways to clumsify or ‘voice up’ that part.” (Postcript of DFW by Deborah Treisman -New Yorker)

    Esther Freud

    Saturday, September 13th, 2008
  • Hideous Kinky

  • Esther Freud is the daughter of painter Lucian Freud and Bernadine Coverley and is the great-granddaughter of Sigmund Freud. Her semi-autobiographical novel was adapted to film, Hideous Kinky starring Kate Winslet. In the film the identity of the father of two girls is obscure. The film is best known as a post Titanic Kate Winslet vehicle where she established herself as a serious and daring actress, choosing an independent small project. I don’t remember how I found out that this is a story of Freud’s great grand daughters or daughters of Lucien Freud.

    Esther esther1 by Lucian Freud


    Esther Freud’s novels have long reflected her family – but not her artist dad, Lucian. Jasper Rees hears why that has changed (Read more here)

    Kore-eda – Still Walking

    Wednesday, September 10th, 2008

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    Engraved onscreen with the intense luminosity of a bright summer day, Hirokazu Kore-eda’s latest meditation on family drama is a quiet masterpiece that seems to originate from a deeply personal yet universal experience of regret. (Toronto Int’l Festival)

    Still Walking conjugates the languages of poetry and documentary into a compelling account of modest joys and gentle resentments. Draped in the colours of memories that will not fade, the film keeps a slightly off-centre focus on echoes of the past, and concentrates on recording, with genuine simplicity, the mundane events of a family reunion.

    <> <> stillwalking
    Aruitemo Aruitemo (Still Walking) website here

    I lost track of the number of times I smiled or laughed in recognition during Hirokazu Kore-eda’s latest film entitled “Still Walking”. (A review by Bob Turnbull )

    Kore-eda directs documentary for Japanese singer Cocco
    Cocco is a singer from Okinawa – see her on youtube

    An opera was created by a Dutch composer, Michel van der Aa based on Kore-eda’s “After Life”. (Read more here)
    The youtube trailer for After Life – Opera

    Nobody Knows trailer (YOU – the actress who portrayed an irresponsible child mother in Nobody Knows also appears in this new film Still Walking).

    Previous post on Kore-eda and Haruki Murakami

    Update: Hirokazu Kore-Eda’s “Still Walking,” from Japan, was selected as the best film at the Toronto International Film Festival in a poll of film critics and bloggers conducted this weekend by indieWIRE.

    Two Armchairs

    Sunday, September 7th, 2008

    Click to enlarge! Things I got from garage sale.

    redchairco1Cow redchairgorilla Gorilla

    Click to see a pair of Antonio Gaudi Arm Chairs – Palacio Guell

    UPDATE: “You got both BOTH chairs at a garage sale?” – Alan Sondheim asked.
    MY reply: The big chair I bought many years ago. It was sold hastily by a roommate. The owner of the chair was very sad when he found out that I paid only $5.00. Too late.
    The small one I found last weekend.
    Should have titled this both BOTH.
    <> <> <> redchairsm

    Words from William Saroyan

    Thursday, September 4th, 2008

    San Francisco celebrates William Saroyan

    W. Saroyan

    Born in Fresno, CA on Aug. 31, 1908, the son of Armenian immigrants. Saroyan gained fame as a writer of short stories and plays such as “The Time of Your Life.” He was also a visual artist of drawings and watercolors which he never sold nor exhibited. His abstract work was influenced by Chinese brush drawing, Jackson Pollock, and the calligraphic work of Mark Tobey. Saroyan died in Fresno of cancer on May 18, 1981.(via)

    William Saroyan Centennial

    “—the hot sun and the heavy rain, the new green of spring and the fire-golden of fall: the farmer’s weather of Fresno, in which I lived and became a part of the human race.”
    Saroyan, The Time of Your Life, (Preface) 1939

    Saroyan wrote “The most solid advice for a writer is this, I think: Try to learn to breathe deeply, really to taste food when you eat, and when you sleep really to sleep. Try as much as possible to be wholly alive with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell. And when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough.”
    I’m Richard Rodriguez. (Richard Rodriguez, editor at the Pacific News Service, discusses the work of author William Saroyan. )

    The song was a major hit for Rosemary Clooney (George Clooney’s aunt) in 1951. Did you know that William Saroyan wrote this song? What a surprise!

    Samples of his quotes

    Indians are born with an instinct for riding, rowing, hunting, fishing, and swimming.
    Americans are born with an instinct for fooling around with machines.
    Locomotive 38, the Ojibway, 1940

    Neither love nor hate, nor any order of intense adherence to personal involvement in human experience, may be so apt to serve the soul as this freedom and this necessity to be kind.
    The Bicycle Rider In Beverly Hills 1952

    I sometimes think that rich men belong to another nationality entirely,
    no matter what their actual nationality happens to be. The nationality of the rich.
    The Armenian Writers

    What is a street? It is where the living weep, where the dead go off in silence to their peace.
    The Bicycle Rider In Beverly Hills 1952