Monday, April 30, 2007

An Exercise in Procrastination

I'm reading Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem right now, and it's a clever riff on the detective novel, with the notable twist being that the main character suffers from Tourette's, which makes him bark, touch strangers, and say things like, "Eat me Bailey!" without intending to. As you can probably guess, this makes investigating the death of his mentor/boss relatively difficult. It kind of reminds me of Brick, since it's done with so much love for the genre and its conventions, but there's something completely unique about the way it's approached. My favorite part of the whole thing so far was a scene in which the book's protagonist nervously leads a homicide detective into a corner store, where he begins to tic...only he's trying to pronounce the unpronouncable glyph that stood in while Prince was "The Artist Formerly Known As."

I finally got around to reading Black Hole, by Charles Burns (who illustrates the covers of The Believer) which took a grand total of two days and creeped me out like nothing else. I hope the film adaptation keeps the same atmosphere of weird mutations (there's a girl who sheds her skin, and a boy with a mouth in his chest) mixed with the horror of high school. The graphic novel was done in a 1970's horror movie style, lots of extreme shading, people have sex and things start to go wrong, etc. The director slated to work on the movie is responsible for Haute Tension, which was your standard homicidal-escaped-mental-patient-attacks-resourceful-lesbian-but-there's-a-twist-ending film, and Neil Gaiman is slated to write the screenplay, so I have high hopes.

Finally, everyone should buy the new Wilco album. It's different, and much quieter, and it may take a few times through to grow on you, but then you'll love it. It's called Sky Blue Sky and comes out on May 15.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

You'll Always Be My Hero, Even if I Never See You Again

Saturday night, everything came full circle and I found myself, two weeks before finishing college, watching the band whose farewell show I attended the night before I started freshman year. It's only appropriate that I should start and end my DC school career with The Dismemberment Plan, one of the best bands to ever hail from Washington. The crowd at the show was fantastic, and there was this sense of community; there were a few people there who were at the last show and who I have known all through college, and I loved the feeling of everyone being together for the event. It seems almost more important than graduation. There was a girl there who I used to be friends with, who I actually went to that last show with. We had a falling out and don't really speak anymore, but I saw her outside and felt really glad that she was there: I kind of forgot we don't talk, so I said, "Hey! How are you?" It just seemed trivial to not say hello, because damn it, isn't it great that everyone was there? I got up onstage during The Ice of Boston, just like in 2003, and when I hopped down, I said, "College is done."

I'm not the kind of person who takes down setlists, and this is not a review as much as it's some thoughts, but I will say that it was one of my favorite shows I've ever been to, and they played everything I wanted them to.

This weekend, Pitwinkle Productions put up "Antony and Cleopatra," and it was everything I've come to expect from Michael Finnerty and Annie Gilsdorf: full of wildly anachronistic but completely appropriate music, bloody as hell, and impeccably presented. I'm glad it turned out as great as it did, and also glad that Finn and Annie might finally get some sleep. Also, they decided to keep the snake. Congratulations to the cast and crew, you guys did a hell of a job and you're all wonderful.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Good News!

I have some writing-related news to share today!
I was working at DCSnacks on Thursday night (well, Friday morning) and I checked my e-mail. There was a message from my thesis advisor, Pati Griffith, telling me that "Static," a play I wrote a few semesters ago, has been chosen to be presented in a fall festival! I don't know if that means it's just going to get a staged reading or if it's actually going to be performed (oh man I hope it means it's going to be performed), but whichever one it is, I am really excited.
In further news, keep an eye out for a story I will be posting on this blog in the next few days. I'm rapidly approaching the time when I hand in my thesis stories, so I figure I might as well post them on here. This is supposed to be a writing blog, after all.
Finally: does anyone know of any companies that are looking to hire a guy with a beard and an odd sense of humor? If so, I'm their man.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Everything was Beautiful and Nothing Hurt

Kurt Vonnegut died Wednesday at age 84. The bright side is, nothing having to do with his lungs ended up killing him, and I feel like he might have considered this a personal victory. The New York Times ran a really long, very well-written obituary, and the poem it ends with reminds me of something Vonnegut said about how we should carve something into the wall of the Grand Canyon about how we could have really made things better, but we were too cheap. I can't remember the exact quote, but he was going to leave it for the aliens to see after humanity is extinct. I still think it's a solid idea.

Vonnegut was a writer who made me really want to write, and I remember reading Slaughterhouse-Five when I was in high school and thinking, "I'd really love to write books," so I've been in kind of a funk all day.

In an interesting (read: morbid) side-note, Kurt Vonnegut's frequent character/alter-ego, Kilgore Trout (whose death Vonnegut recently published an article about) died, in Timequake, at the age of 84.