“Russian humor is to ordinary humor what backwoods fundamentalist poisonous snake handling is to a petting zoo. Russian humor is slapstick, only you actually die.” Ian Frazier writes about the strange humor of Daniil Kharms for the New York Review of Books.
For San Francisco readers: There’s a new show of huge, surreal paper mache animal sculptures up at The Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts (December 4-17th). These paper beasts, featured in the San Francisco Symphony’s performance of Camille Saint-Saens “Carnival of the Animals” and created by local artist Colette Crutcher and her students, will be auctioned off to benefit the MCCLA at a party open to the public on December 17th.
Recommended Reading: These fifteen short texts in search of Hilla Becher, photographer and life/artistic partner of Bernd Becher: “One of the creations of her and Bernd’s artistic partnership was the seemingly perfect fusion of their visions. ‘No, there is no division of labor,’ they told an interviewer in 1989, in a conversation that pointedly doesn’t designate which of them is speaking. ‘Outsiders cannot tell who has taken a particular photo and we also often forget ourselves. It simply is not important.'”
Make of this what you will, but when Lorde first read Year in Reading alum Wells Tower’s Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned, it struck her as “the best collection [she’d] ever read.” Her interview with Tavi Gevinson in Rookie reveals that she also loves Raymond Carver and Claire Vaye Watkins.
Kenneth Branagh and David Tennant star in an eight-hour dramatization of Life and Fate by Vasily Grossman. Completed in 1960, and centered around the bloody battle of Stalingrad, the novel was deemed so dangerous by the KGB that the book itself was arrested. BBC’s excited, and all the episodes are available to download.