1. Bob Dylan’s poetry in the New Yorker? Bud Parr says the poems aren’t particularly good, but I like the way Dylan’s going back to that old enigmatic folksinger/hick voice he once used on his liner note poems for early albums like The Times They Are A-Changin’. Stuff like this:
i ran out t the phone booth
made a call t my wife. she wasnt home.
i panicked. i called up my best friend
but the line was busy
then i went t a party but couldnt find a chair
somebody wiped their feet on me
2. Hootenanny time! Somebody wants to make a Broadway musical version of Bret Easton Ellis’s American Psycho. I like Ellis (sometimes) but consider American Psycho his least inspired and most sensationalist work. With those credentials … it’ll probably be the next friggin’ Rent. Great.
3. Ed Harris is very good as Ludwig Van Beethoven in Copying Beethoven, a movie making the rounds on cable TV. Ed Harris was also recently great as Jackson Pollock, and while he doesn’t quite equal that accomplishment here, he does transform himself into another creature as Ludwig Van. Copying Beethoven‘s plotline about a young copyist working for the master is sometimes dull, but the big scene depicting the debut of the Ninth Symphony at the end is worth the wait. This scene even captures a moment from Beethoven’s life once described by Schroeder in a Peanuts strip, when the deaf composer is led to the edge of the stage so he can discover that the audience is clapping. Well done.
5. Also from Books Inq, a new Nick Cave novel will be called The Death of Bunny Monroe.
6. I am going to check out the new Chuck Klosterman novel. If Klosterman writes fiction as well as he writes about rock music, I guess I’ll be happy.
7. Bill Ectric interviews Pete Brown, a poet from the British Beat scene.
8. Everybody’s calling for a time-out now.
9. The importance of The Dot and other things ASCII.
10. You know, every autumn I get some crazy idea here on LitKicks (like last year’s book pricing inquiry, which certainly took on a life all its own). This year, I think many of us have the upcoming USA presidential election on our minds, but we’re tired of hearing the same superficial angles explored on TV and in newspapers and online. I’d like to dig deeper, using literary points of view and original source texts as much as possible, and hopefully find more insight into some of the difficult issues that Americans are currently debating (especially issues of society, war, violence, international politics). I’m not exactly sure what I have in mind, but I’ve got a few more days before October starts, so at this point I’m just letting you know that this is coming up. I also hope each day’s discussion will be highly interactive, so I’ll welcome your input once this gets off the ground.
11. Ten years ago I directed a digital movie called Notes From Underground, based on the Dostoevsky novel and starring Phil Zampino as the Underground Man. This project was probably the hardest and most obsessive thing I’ve ever done, and it was also probably the most acclaimed (it got rave write-ups in WIRED magazine, Entertainment Weekly, New York Press, Time Digital). The other thing I was really hoping to do this September (but I think time is running out) is celebrate the 10th anniversary of Notes From Underground with a fresh new You-Tube version of the whole 64-minute film (in ten segments). However, I am a perfectionist and I’m not happy with the way the digitizing has turned out, so, unfortunately, I’m not going to be able to do this 10th anniversary thing in September. I am going back to my original video masters, and it’ll probably take another few weeks before I can show anything. Hell, I’m the only one who remembered the anniversary anyway.
12. Well, anyway, now, to lighten up … and because I have no shame and love making myself a damn fool in public, here’s a video I just dug up and digitized while I was working on Notes From Underground, featuring me four years ago performing at the Back Fence nightclub in Greenwich Village, New York City. I’m singing a Bob Dylan tune from “Nashville Skyline”, “To Be Alone With You”. As you’ll be able to see, my guitar playing is highly influenced by Johnny Ramone and I sing like Peter Brady. But I think the song is saved by slide guitarist Will Hodgson, of the Pennsylvania jam band the Manatees, and we really start to cook during the second guitar break.
There was also a good bass guitarist whose name I don’t remember. I was singing “To Be Alone With You” to Caryn, who I like being alone with.