Sunday, May 23, 2010

Dan Clowes event in Chicago June 13

Dan Clowes is on the road promoting his latest novel, "Wilson." He'll be in Chicago June 13 at the Printers Row book Fair; I'll be moderating. Some recent Clowes interviews are here.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Far. And Near. two photo shows

Two shows begin October 1 and October 2. Details at Far. And Near. [Click for LARGER images.]

Thursday, July 2, 2009

You want to travel blind: portraits

Kitano considers
Ondaatje before reading
An exhibition of portraits of film figures and friends is running in Chicago through July 26 at the Rainbo Club. The address, more information and other pictures are here. [Takeshi Kitano; Azita Youssefi; Michael Ondaatje]

this is 606: a photo exhibition of "chicagoesque" images

Bridge fog

Ten large photographic landscapes of Chicago, or "606," open Friday, July 3 at The Architrouve in Chicago, 6-9-m. [Location and daily hours through August 2 here.] The set is drawn from the ongoing daily photographic project, "this is 606," which is here.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Please, go ahead, craft a better lede

In a day where journalists are regaling the world with Michael Jackson encounters, Lucian K. Truscott IV trumps them all on another topic: "I was perhaps the unlikeliest person in the world to cover the Stonewall riots for The Village Voice. It was June 27, 1969. I had graduated from West Point only three weeks earlier and was spending my summer leave in New York before reporting for duty at Fort Benning, in Georgia. After a late dinner in Chinatown, I was about to enter the Lion’s Head, a writers’ hangout on Christopher Street near the Voice’s offices, when I blundered straight into the first moments of the police raid on the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar a couple of doors down the street. Even a newly minted second lieutenant of infantry could see that it was a story." Truscott is also blogging his new novel, which he introduces, in part: "Being under contract is a nasty business in the writing game and should be avoided if at all possible. What used to happen was, you signed this lengthy document of many paragraphs… referred to quaintly as “clauses”—by which you surrendered pretty much everything deriving from the fruit of your labors other than your byline, which the employer reserved the right to fuck up in every way up to and including misspelling it, and then you went into a room and you closed the door, and you were allowed out when you are able to carry, depending on the nature of the contract, 30, or 120, or 800 pages of manuscript, which you would then deliver by hand or dispatch by mail to the employer in question. Today you are instructed to send the same numbers of pages with clicks of a mouse, but otherwise, the task expected and the toil extracted and the rights surrendered by the resident of the writing room–whomever he or she may be—remain the same. Then at the leisure of the employer, some weeks or even months in the future, they send you a check for an amount which will buy you significantly less beans and rice than the same amount would have when you first entered the writing room and began the work which earned the paycheck. And then they send you back into the writing room so that days or weeks or months from now you will come out with even more fucking pages, and they send you another fucking check at their fucking leisure that will buy even less beans and rice than before, and so you go back into the writing room in order to maintain some fractional modicum of hope that you will be able to keep yourself and your family in beans and rice until… well, until when exactly? Until you reach retirement age? What fucking retirement age? In his 80s, Gore Vidal is still lashed to a chair in his writing room and they had to pry Norman Mailer’s fingers from his pencil the day he was found dead at age 84 and when Philip Roth finally goes into the ground his publisher will send out a crew of interns to dig up his corpse and tie 14-gauge wire to his big toes and put a zillion watts into him hoping that he’ll rise from the dead and crank out another masterpiece and get maybe one more chance at the Nobel and thus double or triple or maybe even quadruple profits from his final masterpiece and then there’s the explosion of earnings to be gleaned from reprinting his backlist with the fucking Nobel emblazoned on the cover bigger than his name…"

Monday, June 1, 2009

Friday, May 29, 2009

The blue Bic pen glides along the page, and surprising things always spill out of it

In BOOKFORUM, novelist Richard Ford talks about creating his "everyman", or at least how he writes. "I [wrote] with the certainty that even if I were working straight from life, and was trying to deliver perfect facsimiles of people directly to the page, the truth is that the instant one puts pen to paper, fidelity to fact—or to one’s original intention or even to sensation itself—almost always goes flying out the window. This is because language is an independent agent different from sensation, and tends to find its own loyalties in whimsy, context, the time of day, the author’s mood, sometimes even maybe the old original intention—but many times not. Martin Amis once wrote that literature “is a disinterested use of words. You need to have nothing riding on the outcome.” Another way of saying that is: The blue Bic pen glides along the page, and surprising things always spill out of it."