Allow me to introduce my friend Walter Newkirk. Fascinating character, our Walter. He is an author and producer somewhere way down deep in New Jersey, and he is most famous, at least for our purposes, for his associations with staunch eccentric Little Edie Beale and that whole fascinatingly wretched and peculiar Grey Gardens thing.
Now, the story of Grey Gardens and Little Edie Beale is creeping up on 40 years old (the original documentary was released in 1975)—but it has been kept fresh in the national brain due to a handful of factors. These include a feature HBO Film starring bad witch Jessica Lange and the former Firestarter Drew Barrymore, a musical version of the story that blew (ahem) through town last March, and, most importantly for Seattle in general and gay Seattle in particular, because Jerrick Hoffer as Jinkx Monsoon reintroduced Little Edie to the world via her spot-on imitation of Miss Beale on RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 5.
Mr. Newkirk became close friends with Edie after the death of her batty old cat-hoarding mum (“Big” Edie). He wrote two books about her: Letters of Little Edie Beale: Grey Gardens and Beyond and MemoraBEALEia, not to mention a CD he produced called Little Edie Live: A Visit to Grey Gardens.
As you might suspect, and most crucially here, Walter is an avid hoarder of Grey Gardens memorabilia—postcards, pictures, recordings, personal effects and more. And sadly, due to some unforeseen and crushing medical expenses (THANKS OBAMA!), he is liquidating select jewels from his Little Edie treasure trove, a thrilling prospect for Grey Gardens fans new and ancient. I spoke with him this week to get more information.
Hi, Walter! First, please tell us about the circumstance of your meeting Lady Beale. How did it come about?
Another one of Edie and Walter.
I first met Edie Beale on April 22, 1976. I was a graduating senior from Rutgers University in New Brunswick. I had just seen Grey Gardens at the Paris Theatre in NYC with Pat Loud, who is probably best known to TV audiences as "the mother of all housewives" for the millions who watch any of the Real Housewives franchises on Bravo TV.
Afterwards, Edie invited me to Grey Gardens to interview her for my college newspaper, The Rutgers Daily Targum. We kept in touch and a friendship developed —especially when Edie sold Grey Gardens and moved to NYC in 1980. I would take her to parties and luncheons.
In March 1981, Montclair State University had a showing of Grey Gardens. I introduced Edie at the end of the film. It was standing room only. The audience went crazy…hoots and hollers and cat whistles...it went on for almost 5 minutes. I then hosted a reception for Edie at my apartment in Upper Montclair. That evening was a fond memory, indeed.
Playbill broke the news of a Rowling-produced Harry Potter stage play. It's like Harry Potter's Smallville, only in play form:
J.K Rowling has announced that she is collaborating with theatre producers Sonia Friedman and Colin Callender on a new stage play to be based on her "Harry Potter" stories. She will be a co-producer on the project, but not write it herself...According to press materials, the brand-new play will explore the previously untold story of Harry's early years as an orphan and outcast. Featuring some of our favourite characters from the Harry Potter books, this new work will offer a unique insight into the heart and mind of the now legendary young wizard. A seemingly ordinary boy, but one for whom Destiny has plans.
It would be great if this was just a very depressing story about a kid, and not a whole lot of winking wait-till-the-books-start jokes aimed at the cheap seats.
Dickens visited Lowell in 1842, touring the mills and taking notes for a travelogue he planned to write on American institutions. The next year, he published “A Christmas Carol.”... After reading an obscure literary journal published by Lowell textile workers and comparing it to Dickens’s novella, a Boston University professor and student are arguing that some of the most memorable elements of Dickens’s story—the ghosts, the tour through the past, Scrooge’s sudden reconsideration of his life—closely resemble plot points in stories by the city’s “mill girls” that Dickens read after his visit.
I find this news very to be very depressing. If they find out that A Charlie Brown Christmas was copied from an obscure Czech cartoon, I'm going to have to go ahead and cancel Christmas.
by Jen Graves
on Thu, Dec 19, 2013 at 12:36 PM
NOT SELF-PUBLISHING. NOT CHARITY. Minor Matters is a new publishing company established by Seattle's Michelle Dunn Marsh.
"I’m not so open to the idea that everybody deserves a book," Michelle Dunn Marsh told PDN, a photo industry news source, in an interview in August.
Dunn Marsh is also not so open to artists and photographers having to pay publishers just to get books made, and made well.
So she invented a third way: Books that are curated, selected, and subjected to the standards of a publisher, but crowdfunded.
Each book has to pre-sell 500 copies at a flat rate of $50 each in order to go into production. That covers the costs of making the book. Then, Minor Matters hopes to sell a few more books on top of that.
If they don't pre-sell, then no matter how much Dunn Marsh believes in the projects she's selected, the books don't get made. As Dunn Marsh, who also happens to be the new executive director of the Photo Center NW, told PDN,
This is not about charity. This is not a nonprofit organization. This is saying to people that if you value this product, you should buy it. And I think that is a small distinction, but it’s an important one. Many of the pitches that I receive from Kickstarter start with: “Help me do X.” And while I have a charitable nature, I am an American, I was raised in a capitalist society and I believe that we really operate by putting our money where our mouth is—and I want art to be valuable.
Dunn Marsh calls her company Minor Matters. She launched it quietly and softly earlier this year, giving it, you might say, a "minor" launch. By using that name, Dunn Marsh is drawing a lineage back to Minor White, the photographer who co-founded Aperture magazine in 1952 and edited it until 1975, applying exacting standards to the leading publication of what was still an art form fighting for recognition and respect. Dunn Marsh worked at Aperture in New York after having grown up in small-town Puyallup in a Burmese/Irish family; she also got her book experience at Chronicle Books.
The name also refers to scale. About making a place for smaller things to still count and be counted. From the PDN interview:
Aperture is the right fit for some, Taschen or Chronicle are the right fits for others. I’m not looking to do books that are going to sell 10,000 copies, frankly. We’ve developed a more boutique model. It’s not about taking away from what those institutions are doing, it’s about adding to it.
The first artists with books on Minor Matters—envisioned books, fully conceptualized but not yet physically produced—are David Hilliard, Eli Hansen, Joseph Park, Larry Fink, and Anna Mia Davidson. Fink and Hilliard have shown at museums and had major publications of their works before (their Minor Matters books are specific projects: Kindred Spirits and What Could Be); for Davidson, this is her first. Hansen is a hard-edged conceptual sculptor; Park is a painting virtuoso whose book is on his style of "prizmism." You can look at images and descriptions of all four available to buy (Davidson's is coming).
Then Zakarin published an update to this story that sends this whole thing into a whole new level of navel-gaziness:
LaBeouf took to Twitter to attempt another apology on Wednesday morning, and the apologies he sent out also seem lifted from very famous statements, as first pointed out by blog The Film Stage.
He wrote, “I have let my family down, and I regret those transgressions with all of my heart,” which was taken word-for-word from Tiger Woods’ 2009 apology for infidelity.
Then, LaBeouf tweeted, “I was wrong, terribly wrong. I owe it to future generations to explain why,” which former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara wrote in his memoir about the execution of the Vietnam War.
LaBeouf also plagiarized another apology tweet from Kanye West. It seems as though LaBeouf is fully aware of what he's doing now, and he's just trolling the world. Either this is a performance art piece or LaBeouf is dropping the clues for an elaborate Da Vinci Code-like hunt that will end with the discovery of a hidden cache of art that was presumed destroyed by the Nazis.
The report hedges some of its bets, suggesting Joseph Gordon-Levitt may both star in and direct an adaptation, but on Twitter the actor said he’s signed only as a producer and “the rest remains to be seen.” David S. Goyer (Blade, Man Of Steel) is the screenwriter. Gordon-Levitt also tweeted that Gaiman is involved with the project in some capacity.
David Goyer makes me nervous. The best superhero movies he's ever done have all had exceptional directors. When he's left to his own devices, he tends to make generic movie product. Gordon-Levitt could probably pull the acting part off, but while I liked his directing debut in Don Jon a great deal, he's not done anything to convince me he could control what will inevitably be a monster of a CGI-heavy movie. Gaiman's inclusion in the project is obviously welcome, but it isn't a guarantee that the thing will get made; Gaiman's been involved with lots of Hollywood projects that get buried by their own spinning wheels.
But this isn't even a question of "can." It's more a question of "should." Is adapting Sandman a good idea? Faraci believes Sandman would be better-suited as a TV series, admitting that "I just don't get the property as a movie, as the best Sandman stories are rarely the ones that feature Morpheus in the lead." And there's also the problem of the time that's passed since Sandman came out. I haven't re-read Sandman for quite a long time. I'm kind of afraid of re-approaching the book and finding out that it's not as good as I remembered it back in my teens and early twenties. The goth aesthetic that ruled over the book's early days is now entirely played-out. And Gaiman books seem to be difficult to adapt. Stardust didn't get it quite right, the Neverwhere TV series was awful, and people have been trying and failing to adapt American Gods for years now, although the stop-motion adaptation of Coraline was magnificent. I just have a hard time seeing how a two-hour Sandman movie could be anything but disappointing. But what about you?
What Do You Think of the Sandman Movie Adaptation?
The Swedish publisher of the best-selling The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo trilogy says it has hired an author to write a sequel to the series by Stieg Larsson, who died in 2004.
Norstedts said Tuesday it has signed a contract with I am Zlatan author David Lagercrantz for a new book about journalist Mikael Blomqvist and hacker Lisbeth Salander that is scheduled to be published in August 2015.
Has any of these zombie-fied sequels, in which a new author tries to write stories about recurring characters after an author dies, succeeded on an artistic level? Some of the James Bond sequel novels are not embarrassing, I guess, but they're not up to Fleming's standards, either. I just wish publishers would have the dignity to let these series go when the money starts to run out, rather than squeeze the intellectual properties to a pulp. It's disrespectful, it's short-sighted, and it's never artistically satisfying.
Alison Hallett down at the Merc broke the news this morning that the popular Portland small-press comics celebration Stumptown Comics Fest will no longer exist as a standalone convention:
It's not particularly surprising, then, to learn that Stumptown Comics, Inc—the festival's organizing body, which attained nonprofit status last year—has cancelled the Stumptown Comics Festival, and is folding its activities under the umbrella of Rose City Comic Con, a big new pop culture show with ties to Seattle's Emerald City Comic Con. (Got that? After only two years, Rose City has both successfully partnered with Seattle's beloved show, and gobbled up a local rival. Impressive.) According to a press release, Stumptown will be "moving its panel programming and the annual Stumptown Comic Arts awards to Rose City Comic Con in September while the group's board of directors works on a new schedule of Stumptown community events to debut in 2015."
So Stumptown will continue to exist as a series of "community events" that will begin the year after next, but there's no more big show. This seems like a shame to me; just about every Seattle-area cartoonist I know considered Stumptown to be an important holiday in the comic book calendar. They'd head down there, sell some books, and network with their Portland counterparts. I've got no problem with big pop culture comic conventions, but the small-press conventions are important, too.
Giant conventions like Emerald City Comicon provide a platform for minicomics and small press cartoonists to expand their audience, but Stumptown was a place where they could strengthen their ties to the community. Even with the requisite panels and afterparties, you can't really get that kind of togetherness out of a mammoth convention. I'm glad that Seattle still has the Short Run small press festival and Emerald City Comicon. It's possible that Short Run could experience a bump in size next year as people look for a dedicated small press fest to call their own.
And the plot thickens: BuzzFeed says that Clowes is looking at legal action, according to Fantagraphics associate publisher Eric Reynolds.
Shia LaBeouf may need to prepare for a legal battle over his short film that plagiarized the work of artist Daniel Clowes. According to Eric Reynolds, the artist’s long-time editor and the associate publisher at Fantagraphics, Clowes is pursuing his legal options. ... “His apology is a non-apology, absolving himself of the fact that he actively misled, at best, and lied, at worst, about the genesis of the film,” Reynolds wrote to BuzzFeed in an email on Tuesday. “No one ‘assumes’ authorship for no reason. He implied authorship in the film credits itself, and has gone even further in interviews. He clearly doesn’t get it, and that’s disturbing. I’m not sure if it’s more disturbing that he plagiarized, or that he could rationalize it enough to think it was OK and that he might actually get away with it. Fame clearly breeds a false sense of security.”
Reynolds is a Seattle treasure, and this Fantagraphics-vs.-LaBeouf fight is hands down my favorite literary feud of the year.