Ephemera I’m Consuming
One of the most important things an artist does is consume art, in whatever form. My bias leans toward books, film and comics – if only because I can take them in “on demand” in a life that’s often over-leveraged. So, I thought it would be fun from time to time to give an accounting of what I’m into at a given moment – assume everything is a rousing endorsement unless otherwise indicated!
The United States of Amnesia
Caught this on Netflix when I was ill’in and it brought Vidal back into my consciousness for the first time in decades (much to my embarrassment). One thing that struck me quickly was how much better public “thinking” was in the 70’s and to some extent 80’s. Whether you agree or disagree with someone, if their argument is well conceived the normal response is a grudging respect. Not, as has become the custom, anger and flaming. Overall this is an engaging film, with a compelling central figure, seek it out!
Burr by Gore Vidal
After watching “Amnesia” I was chastened to note that I’d never read a single Vidal novel, so I asked the internet what his best book was, and on average this is what came up. I’m about 50 pages in and it’s straight up delightful, takes awhile to catch on to the language rhythm Vidal is laying down, but once you do it’s a treat. If you’ve got any recommendations for a Vidal follow-up for me to read, please let me know!
Gone Girl by David Fincher
This film owns me. I know this isn’t a universal thing (not like, say, “Meet John Doe”, wherein if you don’t like it you’re not a good person), many people I respect consider it “lesser” Fincher. But sometimes I just connect with a work at a visceral level, and this is one of them. I think it’s because of what a perfect cinematic puzzle-box it is, all the parts, writing, cinematography, acting, direction combine to simply delight me. In the theater I just let it wash over me, but now with the blu ray, and Fincher’s commentary, I’ve been able to do some legit analysis and I’ll be stealing some of the techniques for future projects.
Blood and Judgment by Howard Chaykin
Revisiting this for the first time since its original publication (1986), mostly because I couldn’t believe I hated it as much as I did (Chaykin’s “American Flagg” and “Time2” books blew my mind at a time when that was useful) when I first read it. As it turns out, the 29 years between readings really helped, this thing rocks. I may have been too young to appreciate it, but on reflection I think I had a vision in my head of what a Shadow update “should” be, and wasn’t able to shake the prejudice on first reading. Chaykin is absolutely an acquired taste, but for illustrators and visual story tellers his work is essential.