Thursday, February 11, 2010

February 11

Here's an incredible literary find: "A diary from the mid-1800s...appears to be...the source for myriad names, incidents and details that populate [William Faulkner's] fictionalized Yoknapatawpha County":

Department of Cognitive Dissonance: Naked baseball players on a ceiling at the Library of Congress?

The new political play Wilson Wants It All, by Michael Rohd and Phillip C. Klapperich, sounds fascinating. My Chicago readers -- you know who you are! -- can take it in at the Chopin Theater. If you do, be sure to report back!

The wonderfully interesting Estonian blog Itching for Eestimaa introduces me to a nook of recent history I knew nothing about, the story of the "metsavennad, the Estonian republican 'forest brother' guerrilla groups that fought the Soviets in this country deep into the 1950s....Estonia is a country with strong folk traditions, and I personally feel that the drama that went down in the woods more than 60 years ago is being woven into these traditions. There is something deeply Estonian about going it alone, preferring to live off your wits in a hole in the ground for seven years....rather than be captured and sent to a prison camp."

The soundtrack for Martin Scorsese's upcoming Shutter Island, supervised by Robbie Robertson, seems reminiscent of Stanley Kubrick's use of modern music in The Shining, with Giacinto Scelsi, John Cage, Lou Harrison, György Ligeti, Morton Feldman, Krzysztof Penderecki, Alfred Schnittke, Nam June Paik, Ingram Marshall, and John Adams all represented:

The Chicago Tribune addresses some intriguing questions raised by the recent Academy Award nominations:,0,6525960.story

Among notables born on this date are inventor Thomas Edison, film director and screenwriter Joseph L. Mankiewicz, poets Roy Fuller and Else Lasker-Schuler (Germany), German philosopher Hans-Georg Gadamer, pioneer photographer William Fox Talbot, travel writer Patrick Leigh Fermor, scholar and Japanese translator Edward Seidensticker, singer/songwriter Sheryl Crow, Brazilian musician Sergio Mendes, actors Damian Lewis, Kim Stanley, Jennifer Aniston, and Burt Reynolds, and Norwegian metal musician Varg Vikernes. Vikernes is easily the most seriously disturbed person yet memorialized in these birthday entries: "a racist, a Nazi, an unrepentant anti-Christian and Jew-hater, a thief, a slanderer, a liar, a career criminal, a literal iconoclast, a multiple arsonist — and, to top it all off, he’s an honest-to-goodness murderer." And yet, his musical reputation is considerable, as spelled out in this fascinating piece by Leonard Pierce on "Men You Hate to Love" (who also includes Cerberus cartoonist Dave Sim and actor/director Vincent Gallo):

Pierce concludes that:

...once you hear his music, it isn’t easily forgotten — dark, sinister, powerful and inventive, it’s fascinating stuff that, if you were somehow able to hear it in a vacuum, might well convince you that it was the work of a musician who might someday become a force to be reckoned with. It’s only because you cannot escape the knowledge of the man who made it that listening to it goes beyond being an exercise in aesthetic judgment and turns into an ethical dilemma.