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  • Posted 10/20/14 at 12:52 AM
  • Books

Mark Frost Is Writing a Twin Peaks Book

As you may have heard, that gum you like is going to come back in style (read: Twin Peaks is returning to TV). And to prepare fans for the return of the cult hit 25 years after it first debuted, David Lynch's co-creator, Mark Frost, plans to release a novel titled The Secret Lives of Twin Peaks to catch us up on what has happened to the characters since we last saw them. "This has long been a dream project of mine that will bring a whole other aspect of the world of Twin Peaks to life, for old fans and new,” Frost said. “I couldn’t be more thrilled.”

  • Posted 10/17/14 at 5:10 PM

Theater Review: Puppets à la Russe, in Basil Twist’s The Rite of Spring

Basil Twist has been famous for stretching the boundaries of puppetry at least since his 1998 water-tank ballet of Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique. For Twist, the aim of the boundary-stretching seems at first to be abstraction; Symphonie’s leading roles were played by feathers, glitter, dyes, and bubbles. Likewise, in The Rite of Spring, a stunning three-part program set to Stravinsky, there are no goofy-faced sock people or mouthy marionettes. In the curtain-raiser, the four-minute Feu d’artifice (Fireworks), a large Futurist painting comes to life, with twirling disks and pyramidal prisms that unfold and shut like mouths or books. No characters, no tale.

"The audience responds as if to an animated narrative." »

  • Posted 10/17/14 at 4:15 PM
  • Tv

Given How the Story Plays Out, This News of a Marley & Me TV Pilot Is Odd

Undeterred by the failure of Animal Practice, NBC is banking once more on the American public's obvious love for adorable animals, giving a put pilot commitment to a TV adaptation of Marley & Me. Or, seeing as the network also ordered another IT Crowd remake, maybe it's just getting in on the ground floor of the sure-to-be forthcoming wave of mid-2000s nostalgia. Both versions of Marley & Me have ended with the death of the eponymous dog, and it's unclear what the story's move to a serialized medium like television means for the beloved pet's longevity. Will Marley die in May sweeps every year, only to return each September as if nothing had changed — or, as in Lost, will the show postpone Marley's fatal case of gastric dilatation volvulus until the show receives a concrete end date? Either way, John Grogan keeps getting those checks.

There’s Slim Hope for Michael Chabon’s Hobgoblin to Make It to TV

Michael Chabon says there is still a chance his Hobgoblin project may come to fruition as a television show. “Not by FX, but I hope so,” he told Vulture at the New Yorker Festival party on Saturday. “It’s not entirely a dead parrot,” the author said of the story set in the Nazi era. “We’ll see. It’s almost dead,” he added. There is no action at all on the long-rumored television adaptation of his novel Kavalier & Clay. “I would like to report there was, but no, that one’s still very much dead, as far as I know,” Chabon said. “TV seemed like it was going to be this wonderful new opportunity,” he mused. “So far, it hasn’t been that yet.”

  • Posted 10/16/14 at 10:00 PM

Theater Review: On the Town Can Still Cook, Too

On the Town is a heartbreakingly youthful work: both about youth and by youth. Watching its three sailors pursue a lifetime of adventure while on 24-hour shore leave in New York, New York, you can’t help sensing the shadows of the three giddy pals who knocked the show together in 1944. The whole project took just six months from idea to opening. How, in that time, did Betty Comden and Adolph Green manage to fashion a feasible Broadway libretto from the ballet Fancy Free, which had premiered (with music by Leonard Bernstein and choreography by Jerome Robbins) just that spring? How did Bernstein manage, between conducting gigs, to provide the entirely new score he insisted upon? These are the kinds of challenges only fledglings take on; at opening night that December, Green was barely 30, Comden and Bernstein (and Robbins) not even. Who could imagine that their freshman lark would prove so enduring? And yet here it is, 70 years later, in its third Broadway revival, as big and breakneck and beautiful as ever.

An orchestra of 28 works wonders. »

Gamergate’s Silver Lining

Gamergate has not been a happy episode for anyone. The controversy encapsulated in the #Gamergate hashtag, which some of its proponents are claiming is about corruption in gaming journalism but that is really primarily about misogyny and harassment (Gawker’s rundown helps explain, as does Jennifer Vineyard’s piece in Vulture), has featured vile rhetoric, frequent doxxing of women involved in the gaming world, and death threats that have led to some of those same women being driven from their home and canceling speaking engagements.

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Five Stars: A Journey Through 185 Amazon Reviews Written by Anne Rice

Like so many once-goth teens who grew up in the 1990s, I am a huge Anne Rice fan. Although the last Rice novel that I read was 1998’s The Vampire Armand, I read and reread, often several times, everything she had written before that. Almost all of those books I would heartily give five stars. Since then, though I’ve lost contact with her novels, I have kept up with a lot of her other work, checking in every so often on her website, AnneRice.com.

Nothing beats her Amazon.com reviews. »

John Grisham Sticks Up for 60-Year-Old Guys Who Download Child Porn

You can put away your fake third boob, because John Grisham just found an even better way to guarantee that your name will appear in headlines around the world for all the wrong reasons. The best-selling author, who has a new novel coming out next week, told The Telegraph that the U.S. justice system treats people who look at child pornography too harshly. "We have prisons now filled with guys my age. Sixty-year-old white men in prison who've never harmed anybody, would never touch a child," he said. "But they got online one night and started surfing around, probably had too much to drink or whatever, and pushed the wrong buttons, went too far and got into child porn."

His friend got locked up with a "bunch of perverts" just for downloading images of underage girls. »

  • Posted 10/15/14 at 11:00 AM

Theater Review: Found Is ‘a Delight’

Slackers don’t usually get very far in musicals. From Oklahoma! to Gypsy and beyond, American-style can-do-ism is built into the form; it’s hard to mumble a showstopper. And yet here is Found, the touching and clever new musical at the Atlantic, about a bunch of 20-somethings with nearly flatline ambitions. You would think that its authors — Eli Bolin (music and lyrics) and Hunter Bell and Lee Overtree (book) — would have found it nearly impossible to scale theatrical songs to such characters. But when Davy, their protagonist, gets fired first thing from his barely-a-job writing listings for a Chicago alt-weekly and the scope of his world shrinks to the diameter of a joint, they find the perfect expression of his downsize dreams in an "I Want" song called “Weird Day.” “I want do something that I love,” he sings, “and do it with people that I love.” Found is the American musical’s first emotionally satisfying case for thinking small — and perhaps therefore the first emotionally satisfying musical for the post-bust generation.

"A wild notion for a musical to pursue." »

  • Posted 10/15/14 at 9:24 AM
  • Books

Here Are the Finalists for the National Book Award

The 20 books on the short list for the 2014 National Book Awards were just announced. Just as in the other NBA, they can't all be champions: The winners in each category will be announced November 19.

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  • Posted 10/14/14 at 2:00 PM
  • Reading

10 Things You Learn From Reading Neil Patrick Harris’s Autobiography

Neil Patrick Harris — or, NPH as I’ll be calling him — has had an enviable life. The 41-year-old actor has starred on two hit TV shows, first as a child star on Doogie Howser, then as lothario Barney Stinson on How I Met Your Mother. He is a Tony Award–winning actor, an Emmy Award–winning host of the Tonys, president of the Magic Castle, and arguably the biggest out gay male celebrity. You ostensibly get to live all of this amazing life through his new autobiography, Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography, which is written like an adventure book with multiple options. You can hop from page to page or just read it straight through; either way, you will find amusing anecdotes, from the first time he had gay sex to the time Scott Caan tried to get into a “fight” with him.

Dustin Diamond is one of the “more unpleasant people." »

Why Queen of the Tearling Will Tide You Over If You Can’t Wait for the Next Game of Thrones Book

The Queen of the Tearling — the first installment in a trilogy of novels by Erika Johansen that has already been optioned for a Warner Bros. franchise to star Emma Watson, reuniting her with Harry Potter producer David Heyman — has been called “the female Game of Thrones” and “the lady Game of Thrones.” This is funny, of course, because the female version of Game of Thrones is ... Game of Thrones, which has its own dominating female characters, like Daenerys Targaryen, Cersei Lannister, Brienne of Tarth, Arya Stark, Asha/Yara Greyjoy, Melisandre, and on and on. So while the phrasing in the hype surrounding The Queen of the Tearling (which HarperCollins published in July) is a bit off, some undeniable parallels can be found between the Johansen novel and the George R.R. Martin book series that spawned HBO’s Thrones, and you’ll find references to other fantasy titles as well. Here are a few similarities we found when we finally got around to reading it:

A heroine not unlike Khaleesi, only without dragons. »

See the Hilarious Author Photo From Amy Poehler’s New Book

Amy Poehler's book, Yes Please, will be out on October 28, and by the looks of the author photo alone, it's going to be really good. Dream big, Amy!

  • Posted 10/9/14 at 10:00 PM

Terrence McNally's It’s Only a Play Is Only Okay

The playwright Terrence McNally, who turns 76 next month, is not only prolific but prolific in many genres. His catalogue, spanning 51 years, includes Broadway comedies like The Ritz and dramas like Master Class, the books for five Broadway musicals, and dozens of uncategorizable works, like Corpus Christi and A Perfect Ganesh, that began their lives off Broadway and beyond. Some have been sublime, some duds, most in between; their reception, too, has run the gamut. (He’s received four Tony awards but also this hideous Time review of And Things That Go Bump in the Night in 1965: “One of those off-bleat stupefactions that make the modern stage look like the queerest wing of a nuthouse.”) So when he writes about the theater, as he does in It’s Only a Play — an Off Broadway comedy from 1986 that has just made it to Broadway in a revised edition — he knows what he’s writing about. That’s the great pleasure of it, and perhaps the great problem.

"Jokes so inside they seem positively colonoscopic." »

13 Things to Know About Emma Cline and Her $2 Million Manson-Family Novel

Random House took first prize this week in the annual competition for Hypiest Debut Acquisition, sealing a three-book deal — beginning with The Girls, a novel based loosely on the Manson murders — with Emma Cline, 25, for a rumored $2 million and change. 

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  • Posted 10/9/14 at 12:00 PM
  • Books

Everything You Need to Know About Patrick Modiano, the Newest Nobel Laureate

If your first reaction to novelist Patrick Modiano winning this year's Nobel Prize in Literature was to ask, "Who?," then congratulations, you're not French. Almost every announcement of the news has included the note that Modiano is quite obscure outside his home country, so you should feel no guilt for reading this explainer about who Modiano is and what his deal is.

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11 Freaky Pop-Culture Sideshows

American Horror Story: Freak Show debuted last night, heir to a long legacy of stories built around the weird world of sideshows and human oddities. If AHS has whet your appetite for more of the same, step right up and peer behind the curtain for 11 strange and splendid displays of fiction at its freakiest.

Tod Browning’s 1932 pre-code horror flick stands alone as a subgenre of one. »

  • Posted 10/9/14 at 9:02 AM
  • Books

Patrick Modiano Wins Nobel Prize for Literature

Your newest winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature is French novelist Patrick Modiano. He's not especially well-known outside of France, but in the words of the Nobel committee, Modiano earned the prize "for the art of memory with which he has evoked the most ungraspable human destinies and uncovered the life-world of the occupation." Last year's winner was Alice Munro, whom you probably like more.

  • Posted 10/8/14 at 3:44 PM

Theater Review: Shakespeare’s Sonnets Turns Sourest

Funny thing about the avant-garde: Each new wave looks a lot like the last one. So it will come as no surprise to those who have seen a previous Robert Wilson work that his latest New York offering is crammed with his clichés: whiteface, slow-motion gliding, silhouettes, stylized hand gestures, video screens, fluorescent light, floating objects, rude noises, gibberish, wacky wigs, and impenetrable symbolism. What is a bit unexpected is that these familiar and often-amusing techniques are here applied to existing material that resists them so utterly. Resists and succumbs — for Shakespeare’s Sonnets, in which 25 of the 154 sonnets Shakespeare first published in 1609 are set to a musical score by Rufus Wainwright and deconstructed by Wilson’s staging for the Berliner Ensemble, finally overwhelms its source. And to what end? The strongest argument this BAM Next Wave Festival offering makes is for extending copyright protections to at least 405 years. 

Nothing like the sun. »

Do Not Miss MoMA’s Overwhelming Henri Matisse Exhibition

Nothing readied me for the visual thunder, physical profundity, and oceanic joy of Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs at MoMA. In The Cut-Outs, Matisse found the artistic estuary he'd always been looking for, a way to concretize and make physical the painted flat space of his own early 20th-century invention, Fauvism — color used to describe form, its fatness, fullness, and where it's located in space, while being almost abstract, voluptuously colored, radically simplified, or elaborated. With The Cut-Outs, Matisse crosses a mystical bridge. One of the true inventors of Modernism, he stands at the precipice and points to a way beyond it, to a pre-digitalized space, where pixels and separate segments of color and line form images, where painting seems to exist even where there is no paint and no canvas. With The Cut-Outs, Matisse goes beyond the romantic notion of the self-mythologizing agonized male genius. With The Cut-Outs, all we see is the work; only process is present; process and something as close to pure beauty in all of Western art.

Matisse made these works in a prolonged fever-dream. »

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