August 5, 2020

My contribution to the annual summertime "Your Enthusiasm" series at Hilobrow. CARBONA YOUR ENTHUSIASM "is dedicated to punk songs of the Seventies (1974–1983, according to our periodization schema)."

Oh, and that's "Carbona" as in "Carbona Not Glue," by The Ramones.

May 20, 2020

This short musing on a virtually unknown film directed by Peter Fonda in 1973 is my contribution to the current year-long series running at HiLobrow. KLAATU YOU looks at weird, low-budget, prophetic, campy, or otherwise outlying science fiction films in the years befor...

August 7, 2019

The Taking of Pelham One Two Three is a comic thriller, or thrilling comedy, retrieved from the volatile alchemy of "Drop Dead"-era New York. Almost everyone in it is as irritated as a chafing thigh. Yet it is an odd sort of love note to the asphalt Inferno. This is my...

June 20, 2019

I’m a longtime Nabokov nut, and am going through one of my recurrent Vladimanias. In the last month I’ve read, by the man himself, Nabokov’s Quartet, Nabokov’s Dozen, Strong Opinions, and Speak, Memory; Dear Bunny, Dear Volodya, his collected correspondence with Edmund...

March 31, 2019

Dusty in Memphis, one of the all-time greats, was released 50 years ago today.
You know how you have first exposures that you always remember, that never go away, that become part of your entire memory package around a piece of work?
Back in the age before CD, after ye...

March 22, 2019

I Wanna Hold Your Hand (1978), which is coming out from The Criterion Collection, was an altogether not-bad movie, as I recall, whose stock rose retroactively when it became clear that its first-time director, Robert Zemeckis, had become one of the most Zeitgeisty if l...

March 9, 2019

Slaughterhouse-Five, which turns 50 this year, is one of those books that in my reading life has undergone a real evolution, by which I can track my own changes. Reading it as a preteen, I was tickled, perhaps dazzled, but undeniably quite confused. Reading it as a tee...

March 9, 2019

Late to the party as usual, I earlier watched an episode of the acclaimed, now-three-seasons-old IFC comedy series Documentary Now!, with each installment a parody of some familiar (at least to some) doc style or subject. This was the recent episode based on D.A. Penne...

March 1, 2019

Arthur Koestler died this day in 1983, age 77. His great novel Darkness at Noon (1941), concerning the party purges and show trials of Stalin’s Soviet Union, manages to be suspenseful, though its ending is never in doubt; to be specific, though the relevant nations and...

February 8, 2019

Kate Chopin was born today in 1850. The Awakening (1899), a novel, is her essential work, and "The Story of an Hour" (1894) among the briefest, bleakest, most haunting of American stories. They are the best of her studies of women who, more than rebelling against the l...

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