At the moment I’m somewhere en route from Washington, D.C., to here. Yes, you’ll be hearing all about it in due course, but for now, content yourselves with this capsule version of my recent explorations in the blogosphere:
– By way of Conversational Reading, a fondly remembered excerpt from an interview with Vladimir Nabokov:
INTERVIEWER: And the function of the editor? Has one ever had literary advice to offer?
NABOKOV: By “editor” I suppose you mean proofreader. Among these I have known limpid creatures of limitless tact and tenderness who would discuss with me a semicolon as if it were a point of honor–which, indeed, a point of art often is. But I have also come across a few pompous avuncular brutes who would attempt to “make suggestions” which I countered with a thunderous “stet”!
(Hee hee hee.)
– Words to the wise from Jeff Jarvis:
There is no need to define “blog.” I doubt there ever was such a call to define “newspaper” or “television” or “radio” or “book”–or, for that matter, “telephone” or “instant messenger.” A blog is merely a tool that lets you do anything from change the world to share your shopping list. People will use it however they wish. And it is way too soon in the invention of uses for this tool to limit it with a set definition. That’s why I resist even calling it a medium; it is a means of sharing information and also of interacting: It’s more about conversation than content so far. I think it is equally tiresome and useless to argue about whether blogs are journalism, for journalism is not limited by the tool or medium or person used in the act. Blogs are whatever they want to be. Blogs are whatever we make them. Defining “blog” is a fool’s errand.
I don’t entirely agree, but I agree a lot more now than I did a year and a half ago.
– Good news from Playbill:
A new film written and directed by playwright/screenwriter Kenneth Lonergan will likely begin filming in September.
Variety reports that Lonergan’s “Margaret” will be filmed in New York with Scott Rudin, Gary Gilbert and Sydney Pollack serving as producers. Anna Paquin has signed on to the project, and negotiations are currently underway with Matt Damon, Mark Ruffalo, J. Smith-Cameron and Jeannie Berlin.
“Margaret,” according to the industry paper, concerns “a Gotham teen, her actress mother and the girl who tries to make amends for her complicity in a terrible traffic accident.”
Lonergan’s stage plays include The Waverly Gallery, Lobby Hero and This Is Our Youth. He also wrote the screenplays for “Analyze This,” “You Can Count On Me,” “The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle” and “Gangs of New York.”
I can’t wait.
– Speaking of good playwrights, Mr. Superfluities is smart about why Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? still makes Broadway audiences squirm:
Virginia Woolf, in its unforgiving portrait of the illusions that support a long-term relationship and the hostility and envy that give the American, educated, professional upper-middle-class its fuel, is a glance into a mirror. If you’re going to take your wife or girlfriend out for dinner and a show, you may be better off with something other than Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Now that Broadway is an amusement park rather than the locus of an art form, it provides escape (even excellent, thoughtful, well-crafted examples of escape like Doubt), not inward-turning dissection….
– Mr. Alicublog (who really ought to meet Mr. Superfluities) goes to Wedding Crashers and The 40-Year-Old Virgin and draws a similarly sharp-witted distinction about one of my favorite actresses:
In Being John Malkovitch Catherine Keener’s character is a delightful surprise; in Virgin the woman Keener plays is earthy, quirky, and sweet–that is, a compilation of descriptive terms for the Catherine Keener persona, all of which I adore, but which add up to considerably less than a character….
(The last movie I watched before the levees broke, by the way, was Living in Oblivion. Ooooh, is she ever good in that.)
– Speaking of movies, Lileks has fun with a film noir…
– …while Mr. Rifftides shows what George Balanchine and John Coltrane had in common.
– Finally, Mr. Outer Life rhapsodizes as only he can on his Favorite Restaurant:
And that’s all it was to me, that place with the best pastrami sandwich, until a few years ago when it became so much more: My Favorite Restaurant. I remember the day well, it was lunch, on a Saturday, the crowd waiting for a table spilling out into the parking lot, as usual, and while waiting I read a newspaper review posted on the window. This deli, sandwiched between a tile store and a dive bar in a non-descript strip mall across from some tenements in the middle of the sort of dystopic suburban sprawl that causes your average New Urbanist to wail and gnash his teeth in despair, was, according to the critic, not only the best deli in the city, it was one of the best restaurants.
Now I know what you’re thinking, because it’s exactly what my wife thought, namely, that seeing it so highly-rated is what elevated my esteem for it, but that’s not quite the way it happened. No, I resolved, on reading that review, to branch out, to try something other than the Number One pastrami sandwich, for what struck me more than the review’s conclusion was the review’s long list of do-not-miss items, items I’d somehow managed to miss.
So I tried the matzo ball soup…
Where? Where? WHERE?