Painting the Town Red: “The Exiles,” A Masterpiece of Lost L.A.

Kent MacKenzie's The Exiles played exactly once, at the 1961 Venice Film Festival, and then vanished for more than forty years. It was rediscovered in 2003, and you can find it now on Netflix--which you should do, for real, here's why.The Exiles follows a group of American Indian men and women over the course of one night at the very end of noir-era Los Angeles. The neighborhood where the film was shot was demolished--excuse me, I mean renewed--shortly afterward. The Native actors were … [Read more...]

17th-Century Wind-Up Drinking Robot Goddess Game

It's like a Mad Libs of awesome: It turns out our modern drinking games are weak sauce compared to how European aristocrats partied in the 17th century. Today it’s often about how many shots you can handle in under an hour or what word will signal a waterfall on the latest Bachelorette. Back then, it was apparently about mechanical, heavy, often pointy, and usually animated objects that carried a ton of booze. more … [Read more...]

Who Are You and What Do You Want?: I watch a play

at the Studio Theater, Cock, playing through June 22. It's by Mike Bartlett, the guy who did Contractions, and like Contractions it's a high-concept play with few characters and a lot of emotional intensity.The high concept is that John, having broken up with his long-term boyfriend for no real reason except his own itchy ambivalence, meets a woman and falls for her hard. But then the boyfriend takes him back, and suddenly he has to choose--and he can't, for almost two hours, he just can't … [Read more...]

“Music of the Trilobites”: Me in AmSpec

not really a book review!I read John Darnielle’s 2011 novel Master of Reality under the unfamiliar constellations of Australia—which was fitting, since the slender book is about being both physically and spiritually far from home. Master of Reality is an entry in Continuum’s “33 1/3” series of books about pop or rock albums. (The other books in the series tend to be straightforward critical studies.) I’ve never listened to Black Sabbath’s Master of Reality, but Darnielle’s diary of a 1980s te … [Read more...]

From Josip Novakovich, “April Fool’s Day”

"If he'd kept drinking slivovitz, he'd still be all right, I am sure. The trouble with vodka is that it doesn't feel like anything, so you can drink a whole bottle without vomiting or your throat burning. Slivovitz won't let you do that--when you drink it, you know you are drinking.""You are right about that. After two glasses, your stomach is on fire, and after three, you are vomiting. That's a good safety check built right into the drink. God's wisdom is in the plums--that's how He takes … [Read more...]

King of Cups: Rereading Tim Powers’s “Last Call”

Fantasist (and mackerel-snapper, if we're counting) Tim Powers does high-concept tales in which hard-bitten characters struggle to learn to love one another and escape complex, unforgiving systems of magical dark forces. Last Call is probably my second-favorite of his fantasies of salvage--the greatest is Declare aka "the one where demons fight the Cold War"--and as I reread it I loved it even more than I did the first time around. The high concept this time is "war for succession among the gods … [Read more...]

Colonialism Isn’t Just a River in Egypt, You Know: “A Fan’s Notes”

on white supremacy as a form of "I like thinking about it" addictive denial. All the racial stuff in this book is really fascinating. IMO this specific passage gains power from the cartoonishness of the black characters--they're fantasy figures dancing through the sickened imaginations of the (also cartoony) white man--although at least one of the black characters in AFN is only as cartoonish as the whites. Anyway there's so much in this passage about the nature of white racial fantasy, … [Read more...]


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X