Monday, September 26, 2005

Passion Drove Me to Kill!

"Fifteen cents. That was the price of admission to a garish world of purple prose and smoking guns. Of square-jawed cowboys, relentless Mounties and world-weary police detectives. Of time travel, eldritch horrors and far-flung planets. Of bawdy cartoons, tragic love, romantic lumberjacks and women both virtuous and vengeful.

It was the world of the pulp magazines."

From the very cool new exhibit Tales from the Vault!: Canadian Pulp Fiction, 1940-1952.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

It's Evolution Baby

Today I am hungover, deaf, and have lost my voice.
Thank you Pearl Jam!

Last night was my fourth Pearl Jam show in the last nine years and was easily the best one. The crowd was loud and respectful, the band was tight and energized, and the setlist was awesome. Highlights were Blood, Black and You've Got to Hide Your Love Away....and then guess who shows up for a ceiling-lifting rendition of Rockin' in the Free World:

When I was fourteen, I borrowed Pearl Jam's Ten from a friend and copied it onto a cheap blank tape. It was the only tape I ever owned that I wore out and there's something magical about singing along to the songs that were the soundtrack of my adolescence so many years later. Just with a few vodka and sodas this time.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Harsh Times

Last night I saw Harsh Times at the Toronto International Film Festival. It was one of those films I probably would never have seen if it wasn't at the festival - too violent for my taste, not the kind of subject matter I find particularly interesting, and would something like this be worth forking out $12 for a ticket?

If this film comes to a theatre near you (though this may be doubtful - I can't imagine what it's rated) - it's well worth whatever they're charging for tickets. It is the brutally intense story of two lifelong friends, Jim (played by Christian Bale) and Mike (played by Freddy Rodriguez), who blow off looking for employment in favour of getting driving around the worst parts of Los Angeles with beer and dope and finding a whole lot of trouble. The screenplay is written by David Ayers of Training Day fame, and Harsh Times is his directorial debut.

I'm not giving anything away here when I say that I spent the entire film gripping the armrests while waiting for the characters to self-destruct - the audience is meant to feel that way and I could actually feel the stress of a couple hundred people rising in the theatre. The film is gritty and real and all consuming and Christian Bale's performance is brilliant. If you can stomach a lot of violence, a lot of stress, and an essentially sad story - see it.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Roger and Kim Take It

If only I had bet on my winners predicton. Full story here. At the end of the match today, Agassi said, "Thank you New York, it's been a great 20 years." Is he signing off?

Friday, September 09, 2005

The Death of Literary Correspondence

I read this interesting article in last Sunday's New York Times about how the use of email will be affecting literary biography. The problem, as the article indicates, is not that editors and writers are corresponding less, but that they are corresponding more - by email. And as Jonathan Galassi, the president and publisher of Farrar, Straus & Giroux points out, when email regarding the editorial process is saved, the delicious parts are often omitted. He says, "I try to save substantive correspondence about issues concerning books we're working on, or about our relations with authors, but I'm sure I don't always keep the good stuff -- particularly the personal interchanges, which is probably what biographers would relish."

On a personal note, while I was aware of the importance of saving email correspondence when I was working as a book editor, it almost always related to things that could come back and bite me later: deadlines, important decisions about the content of the book, and such. All of the interesting back-and-forth email about writerly influences, jokes, and personal details are out there floating around cyberspace.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Game Set Match

I took this photo from my front row seat at the US Open on Saturday - it was an amazing day of tennis. If you had been watching the Open on television on Saturday afternoon, you would also have seen me hit by a ball that was hit by Rafael Nadal. But that's okay, because he's cute....and he lost the game to James Blake. Many are calling this match I viewed the match of the Open.

While I love Wimbledon and its traditions, I enjoy attending the US Open more - the energy is amazing. From the music they pump out of the speakers surrounding the court while the players are warming up (Eminem, Snoop Dogg, JT) to the screaming fans to the huge amount of people packed into Arthur Ashe Stadium - it creates an atmosphere I've only ever felt at a select number of Stanley Cup final games. My winner prediction is: Roger Federer and Kim Clijsters.