A Thanksgiving Team: Burroughs & Mustill, Redux

mustill-from-FLYPAPER

A Straight Up tradition continues. William S. Burroughs's words of gratitude on Thanksgiving Day paired with a couple of collages by Norman O. Mustill. Look and listen. It's delish . . . Thanks for the wild turkey and the passenger pigeons, destined to be shit out through wholesome American guts — thanks for a Continent to despoil and poison — thanks for Indians to provide a modicum of challenge and danger — thanks for vast herds of bison to kill and skin leaving the carcasses to rot — thanks for bounties on … [Read more...]

Chris Burden Saved From the ‘Clutches of History’

“America” featuring 625 painted-cardboard submarines [1987]

Roberta Smith really digs the Chris Burden show at the New Museum. "Extreme Measures" is not only "a superb survey, but also a kind of transfiguration," she writes in her NY Times review. "It liberates the Los Angeles-based Mr. Burden from the clutches of history." I'm uncertain of what she means by the "clutches of history." Perhaps it's nothing more than a grandiose way of saying that this is, as she also points out, "the first American solo museum exhibition of Mr. Burden’s work since 1988, and his first in New York." Smith's review … [Read more...]

19th-Century Balzac Meets 20th-Century Bellaart

Honoré de Balzac [by Gerard Bellaart, 1.XII,00]

Gerard Bellaart's masterly washed-pen drawing of Honoré de Balzac testifies to his great admiration for one of France's most prodigious writers. He is particularly fond of the 19th-century Balzac novel Illusions perdues, about a young poet living in Angoulême, a provincial town in "France profonde," who is desperate to make a name for himself in Paris. Gerard Bellaart in his studio. [JH, 2013] … [Read more...]

Seamus Heaney, R.I.P.

gerard-bellaart-anatomical-study

Seamus Heaney died today Fred just told me. that leaves very few of his caliber. attached an anatomical study as a sign of respect. the drawing was on the desktop when Fred brought me the sad news. I have mailed you the 'stone from delphi' which really sums up the poet and man. small precious stone from Heaney's 'station island' a day of mourning for eire -- Gerard Bellaart +++ Obituary in the Irish Times. … [Read more...]

Back-to-Back Writings From Underground Dos-à-Dos

Table of Contents for EAL's 'Stories That Will Buckle Your Knees ...'

+++ Incidental Intelligence: Anyone who cherishes raw truth, and especially those of us who were warmed by Carl Weissner's friendship, will appreciate EINE ANDERE LIGA as a mammoth achievement. But Milena Verlag ought to correct two claims on its Web site: 1) that this posthumous collection of his underground writings has a foreword written by Sean Penn -- it doesn't -- and 2) that Death in Paris (which comprises half of EAL in a German translation by Walter Hartmann) is Carl's "only novel in English." For the record, Death in Paris was the … [Read more...]

Brecht Never Taught at Podunk College

Bertolt Brecht

Two staff messages the other day led me to compare them. One went like this: I have a colleague who reads manuscripts for a literary magazine. Recently, I spent two hours looking at the contributions she has to vet. God, the bulk of them are awful. Actually, what makes them awful is their mediocrity. None of them are spectacularly bad, illiterate, crazy, or demented. That would be ok. Instead they're all submitted by these guys with MFAs. They all teach at some podunk college someplace. They all straddle a line between conventional novels … [Read more...]

Connecting Kim Dotcom and Edward Snowden

Image projected in protest on the U.S. Embassy in Berlin

To have a staff of thousands that keeps me informed is one of the privileges of this blog. Had I not been tipped about the projection of Kim Dotcom's face with the words "United Stasi of America" on a wall of the U.S. embassy in Berlin, I would not have made a connection between N.S.A. whistle-blower Edward Snowden and Kim Dotcom, the German-born Internet entrepreneur formerly known as Kim Schmitz. The "Stasi" reference will be obvious to anyone, especially Germans, familiar with the secret police of the former German Democratic Republic, aka … [Read more...]

This ‘Auteur’ Made Some of Hollywood’s Best Films

William Wyler

I just caught a screening of "Dodsworth" at the New York Historical Society, where Catherine Wyler mentioned in a pre-screening interview with AMERICAN MASTERS creator Susan Lacy that there are two new Wyler books due out soon: one by Gabriel Miller, the other by Neil Sinyard. She hoped it signals renewed interest in her father's work. I hope she's right. It might even give a boost to sales of my Wyler biography A Talent for Trouble, which was published back in 1996. (Miraculously, the paperback is still in print. Here's the NY Times … [Read more...]

Wrapping Up the ‘Dutch Mordant’ Series

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Cold Turkey Press publisher Gerard Bellaart writes that he "got rather carried away." There are now about 40 cards in the series. Consequently the 36 portfolios of 12 cards each "will differ slightly in composition." The "sacred nose" comes from the Bellaart family album, dated 1755.+++ A photo by Frederick Sommer illustrates the "kleine Welten" card. Sommer was born in Italy in 1905, grew up in Brazil, and immigrated to the U.S. in 1925. He lived in Arizona most of his life and died in 1999. The Getty Museum paid tribute to him with a … [Read more...]