Robert McCrum’s got a question for you, and I’m interested to know the answer, too. Who are the naked writers? My first thought was perhaps Truman Capote, because he wrote so often from bed, but that’s not exactly strong evidence. Anyway, here are some writers in their underpants.
Looking for something to watch this weekend? Got Hulu Plus? Well, start working your way through the veritable treasure trove that is the Criterion Collection. And don’t worry. If you’re as overwhelmed by the selection as I am, this top ten list by filmmaker Dean Peterson can serve as a great guide. Also, for what it’s worth, I’m partial to Andrei Tarkovsky’s Andrei Rublev.
The New York Public Library has bought psychedelic guru Timothy Leary’s papers. The 335 boxes contain journals, videotapes, photographs and thousands of letters from avid trippers, including Allen Ginsberg, Aldous Huxley, William S. Burroughs, Jack Kerouac, Ken Kesey and, yes, Cary Grant.
Rodney King, possibly the nation’s best-known victim of police brutality, will fight former Pennsylvania police officer Simon Aouad in a celebrity boxing match in Philadelphia on September 12. “I know some people will see the irony here,” King said. I’m not sure irony’s the word, but it’s something alright.
A new library has been designed for the small village of Huairou on the outskirts of Beijing. Instead of adding a new building inside the village center, the architects chose a site in the nearby mountains, a pleasant five minute walk from the village center. “In doing so we could provide a setting of clear thoughts when one consciously takes the effort to head for the reading room.”
Inua Ellams wrote a poem entitled “Portrait of Prometheus as a Basketball Player” in which he imagined “the fire stolen from the gods to be shaped as a basketball, and Prometheus dunking light into the world.” [Note: Ctrl + F for “Portrait of Prometheus” at this link to read the poem.] Over at Magma, Ellams discusses “the process of composing a poem, as a coach might stitch a [basketball] team together.” Perhaps all of this explains Patricia Lockwood’s interest in Shaquille O’Neal?
Tonight at the Pacific Standard Fiction Series in Brooklyn, Victor LaValle, author of Big Machine (which, according to Edan boasts “one of the best voices to come out of literature in the last…oh, ever, probably”), will be reading with Robert Lopez, author of Kamby Bolongo Mean River. As usual, I’ll be hosting; it would be great to see you there. For more information, see Time Out New York.
Writing for the Wall Street Journal, David Shapiro remarks on the current popularity of the marathon reading, or “a format of communal public performance that has more in common with the filibuster than the conventional literary reading.” Previously, Jeff Price wrote a piece on our site concerning the particular camaraderie that arises among participants and audience members during marathon readings. (As a bonus: I share a David Foster Wallace anecdote in the comments for that piece.)