It’s All About The N’s

1. Whoa. Enigmatic novelist Don DeLillo has written the screenplay for a movie that’s opening on March 10, Game Six, which apparently involves Michael Keaton, Robert Downey, Jr. and the most exciting baseball game of all time, 1986’s sixth World Series game between the New York Mets and the Boston Red Sox. This is big news in and of itself — DeLillo is always worth paying attention to — but is especially so because of the subject matter. Perhaps Don DeLillo was not aware that a certain Queens-based writer and web developer named Levi Asher has already written a book about this game?

Well, I’m not going to get all uppity about it. The movie seems to have potential, based on a quick look at the website (via Syntax of Things). But my book is probably better.

2. The Beat Museum in North Beach, San Francisco is apparently rocking the house on a regular basis. Check out the party photos at this site, featuring good folks like Wavy Gravy, the whole Cassady gang, Larry Ferlinghetti and many others milling about and sipping wine. I met Beat Museum proprietor Jerry Cimino last summer when he came through New York City. He’s been working hard on this project for many years and it’s great to see it all coming together.

3. Brooklyn-based provocateur-publisher and Friend of LitKicks (FOL) Sander Hicks is running for governor of New York State. It’s about time. We’re ready for this guy to leave, or run for President or whatever he’s going to do. Go Sander …

4. Who knew that classic television humorist Carl Reiner just wrote a postmodern novel? It’s called NNNNN and it’s apparently about a guy named Nat Noland with a strange fixation upon the letter ‘N’. Sounds kind of like Georges Perec meets S. J. Perelman. Check it out and see what the old guy who was straight man to the 2000 Year Old Man, boss to Dick Van Dyke and real-life father to Rob “Meathead” Reiner is cooking up.

8 Responses

  1. breakfast in bed for
    breakfast in bed for 400,000

    When it became clear that the nearly half-million people who attended 1969’s Woodstock festival did not have adequate food provisions, the community and promoters pitched in to deliver the munchables. Thus did Hugh Romney, the great clown activist better known as Wavy Gravy, proclaim famously, “What we have in mind is breakfast in bed for 400,000!”

    I’ve been meaning to read White Noise by Don DeLillo because I’ve heard a lot of good things about it. As for the movie,Game Six, Keaton and Downey rarely fail to deliver, so it’s probably worth seeing. I did not become a baseball fan until my son started playing the game in the late 90’s, but Levi’s description of the 1986 game in Summer of the Mets had me wanting to cheer.

  2. Summer of the MetsLevi,
    Summer of the Mets

    Levi, speaking of “The Summer of the Mets”, did I ever give you feedback on your book? I don’t think I did, even though it’s been a while since I’ve read it for the first time (and I just re-read it after our return from New York, as every book reads so much different once you’ve been to the places its story takes place in), so I am taking this opportunity to do it now:

    I liked it a lot. It was an easy yet intense read, and I read the book in one go both times. Both story and language were at the same time simple and authentic, and absolutely free of pretense.

    Having been a teenager in the 80’s myself, I can relate to the main characters and what’s going on around them very well. They all sound real and alive and very familiar, and reading about things like first love and first concerts, art classes and saving money to buy a new vinyl record every month brings back memories that make me smile.

    What I especially like is how you show the often tragicomic trap of our own perceptions of ourselves. In telling about the kids’ different perceptions of situations and their own and others’ behaviour, about their insecurities and confusions about who they should be and how they should behave, and their struggling about how they come across, while at the same time showing the impressions they really make on others, you very well describe how we often pigeonhole ourselves and get stuck in there and simply can’t believe how others could see us in a different light. Well done! And sensibly humorous at the same time.

    Being totally ignorant of baseball and its history and rules, I admit that I just skimmed through the World Series parts, though (which I nevertheless found to be a perfect frame to the story itself), but I definitely enjoyed everything else a lot, and can just recommend the book to everyone aged 15 and older.

    A good read!

  3. panta rhei, baseball is the
    panta rhei, baseball is the best of all sports.

    one of the most enjoyable continuing expereinces of my life has been watching my son’s baseball team, from game to game, season to season. it’s a combination of geometry, skill, fun; it’s cyclical and familiar yet constantly different and new.

  4. Thanks a lot for the feedback
    Thanks a lot for the feedback — I really appreciate it. I like what you said about pigeonholing by personality — I think that was exactly what I was trying to get at in this book, that this kid feels a strong need to change everything about who he is, and about how others see him. But this is no easy task …

    In retrospect, I wonder if I made a mistake by writing something as cliched as a “coming-of-age” story. How typical! I hate to be typical. But this story needed to come out, and so it did. I am really glad you felt it was a good read, Anemone …

  5. Bill, I’m sure you’re right –
    Bill, I’m sure you’re right – but baseball is just not an option around here. It doesn’t exist.

    Levi, typical or not, I think that your story is more than just a coming-of-age story. The questions of identity and how we perceive, define and present ourselves and overcome the labelling we and others have applied to us, are not only adolescent issues, even though they are especially essential and haunting during that age of course.

    The invention of ourself and living up to it and the traps along the way are life-long challenges that everybody has experienced in one way or another. We’re getting better at it as we grow older, but we all still know these moments of total confusion about how and if we fit in at all.

    Cliched or not, I think you did a pretty good job in bringing all this across in an entertaining and humorous way!

  6. Whoa!Q: Can they get it

    Q: Can they get it right? Who’s directing? And can the financial backers keep their hands off?

    A: Michael Hoffman directs. I don’t know any of his work, but he’s been a director, screenwriter, and executive producer for over 20 years now. The producer is Griffin Dunne, who hasn’t exactly done extraordinary things, but he doesn’t suck either. Looks promising (aside from the curiously short 83 minutes running time).

    Didn’t that Asher guy even get a cameo?

  7. Perec and ReinerI used to
    Perec and Reiner

    I used to restate the old proverb “when hell freezes over” as “when a Reiner gets compared to Georges Perec,” but now all that is over. Also gone is “when Delillo writes a movie script about a baseball game.”

    Though a bit out of character, both sound intriguing.

  8. Summer of the MetsOne day a
    Summer of the Mets

    One day a package arrives in the mail from New York.

    I’m praying it’s not from Gov. Pataki.

    Instead, to my delight, it’s a signed copy of The Summer of the Mets from some guy named Levi Asher.

    I shout with joy and even though I could be doing a thousand other things, I opened the book and turned to page one.

    Six hours later — I am a speed reader — I finished it.

    And what at first appeared to be a teen-age love story about a cipher named Chris actually reels me in.

    Jeezux, I went through the same kind of ordeal. I reread the damned thing three times.

    Each time I did, I found deeper, hidden meanings.

    I, too, have gravitated to the anti-saintly female type, the cold kind of enchantress who changes her mind as fast as her makeup.

    I read DeLillo’s Underworld. I liked the opening. But Asher’s ending I prefer. Would like to read the sequel: Chris moves to Manhattan and becomes a geek on Wall Street but inside his soul he is a poet and love writer of words inserting secrets in all his source code.

    Write on, brother Brooklyn, and thank you for this site.


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