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Monday, June 20, 2005

Not a chance in hell that Henry Hills' "Emma's Dilemma," recently praised by Gary Sullivan, Nada Gordon, and Nick Piombino, (should link, am lazy) will play in L.A.. It does sound like coterie art of a high order (which I have no problem with, if I'm interested in the coterie). Chicago, conceivably? Won't hold my breath.

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Coffeehouse full of people who look like people in an ad for a coffeehouse (or more likely, some product or service, say wi-fi, that one would use there). Nirvana's Meat Puppets cover comes on, takes me forever to recognize it. One youth unwrapping The Fall's Peel Session box -- maybe on the strength of Douglas' Believer review?

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Purple Noon, by the way, was just ok. That glossy "international production" look, almost as if the New Wave had never happened; hard to accept that several of these French and Italian-speaking characters are supposed to be Americans. Can't say much about the psychology (and haven't seen the other adaptaion of "The Talented Mr. Ripley" to compare them), but one of the attractions of the book, as I remember it, is precisely that Ripley has no interest in stealing the girlfriend of the friend he murders; what he wants is his life in some fuller sense. Alain Delon is the reason to see it, sexiest performance this side of Terence Stamp in Quartet. (Maybe it's the white pants.) And yes, White Town fans, he has hair like himself.

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Keep meaning to mention Roberto Galvadon's 1960 Macario, which I happened to catch one of the last times I stayed w/ my parents during the semester. Esp. a remarkable dream sequence populated entirely by Day of the Dead figures, plus the (hungry peasant dreamer) as marionettist. Rich/bourgie dolls eat turkeys on a table; poor/worker dolls are behind bars. The dreamer releases the latter, who attack the former at table and make off with the birds (some really detailed puppet work in all this), but they don't save one for the dreamer, who wakes up screaming and soon resolves to fast until he can acquire a turkey all to himself that he doesn't have to share, even with his children. (There's something poignant to me, by the way, in the fact that the roasted turkeys one actually sees in the movie are quite small, what we'd think of as the size of chickens rather than the Pam Anderson's bred here for Thanksgiving.) There's quite a bit more to the movie (the TCM's synopsis is quite good), based, like Treasure of the Sierra Madre, on something of B. Traven's, the intial of whose pseudonym, I've recently learned, was understood to stand for "Bruno"!

Cf. K. Lyons, "A Poem for Posada" (the title poem of the section of Saline I liked best), Mekons, So Good It Hurts.

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Hear that my grandmother's cataract surgery last week was wildly successful; she's already reading better than she has in several years, and insisted on going to her bridge club today to show off. My mother says that within hours of the procedure, she had 3 nurses around her bed for sauce- and cookie-making advice. She's 95 on Saturday.

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Interesting tension between the section of an interview with Elizabeth Robinson quoted here (I'll be ordering Xanthippe today) and Ange's own comment on her averse-to-difficulty high school English teacher (to whom she's nonetheless grateful). Seems that the worry about perscriptiveness cuts both ways, as it ought -- I wish I could remember this precisely, but I seem to recall an interview with (I think) Lynne Dreyer in (I think) an early Aerial where she recounts the open hostility-border-on-rage of previously supportive teachers when she began to lean toward "experimentation." Isn't the dispiriting part just being told how one must not write? Cf. all the Silliman-boxers with their insistence that all will fall apart if this or than it given any credence whatever. There is no "other side," Jordan says today, and my jury's still out on that except to say that there are (a) certainly people who speak as though they're on it, and (b) there are, no doubt, extremes.

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3/4 though Gilbert Sorrentino's Lunar Follies. "Representative action figures from a myriad of lead-based nauridium renderings show Picass and Matisse gazing at the only known photograph -- a sepia masterpiece! -- of the two canny masters at a baseball game at Chicago's Wrigley Field. (Photo on loan from the family of Al Capone.) The artists' Continental mouths are stuffed with a Chicago delicacy, rutabaga sausage, and their eyes filled with the sadness known only to those who follow the Cubs." A great one for clashing registers -- this time, nasty art-world satire similar to his Pack of Lies trilogy against East Coast Italian-American speech patterns. Who else does this? Pleased to note that the book has (like, I think, Splendide-Hotel and Under The Shadow) a lightly-handled alphabetical superstructure, 53 short sections named for "geographical features of the moon," per jacket copy.

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Up early, polished off two half-done reviews, feeling like I already didn't fail today. Expect an afternoon of copying/mailing/faxing, could maybe try to work, for once, on a song or a poem in the evening?

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