A D Jameson is the author of three books: the story collection Amazing Adult Fantasy (Mutable Sound, 2011), the novel Giant Slugs (Lawrence and Gibson, 2011), and the inspirational volume 99 Things to Do When You Have the Time (Compendium, 2013). His fiction's appeared in Conjunctions, Denver Quarterly, Unstuck, Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, Birkensnake, PANK, and elsewhere. Since 2011, he's been a PhD student at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Besides HTMLGiant, he also contributes to Big Other and PressPlay. He's currently writing a book on geek cinema.
This Friday and Saturday, Yuriy Tarnawsky will be reading in Chicago to celebrate the completion of his recent trilogy, The Placebo Effect.
On Friday, he will be reading at Quimby’s Bookstore (1854 W. North Ave.) with Eckhard Gerdes.
On Saturday, he will be reading at 567 Studio & Gallery (1800 N. Milwaukee Ave.) with Eckhard, Jane L. Carman, and myself.
Both readings start at 7pm, and are free and open to the public. A reception will follow the Saturday reading.
Here’s a recent interview with Yuriy regarding The Placebo Effect Trilogy, conducted by Tantra Bensko. And here’s an older interview that I conducted with Yuriy, about his life and work in general.
Since the 1950s, Yuriy Tarnawsky has published more than twenty books of fiction, poetry, drama, and criticism in English and Ukrainian. His most recent work has appeared via FC2, Jaded Ibis Press, and JEF Books. His Three Blondes and Death (FC2, 1993) remains, IMHO, one of the best English-language novels of the past thirty years—indeed, I think it the best book that FC2 has published. (You can read some of it here.)
And then a few days after that, while I was out strolling the boulevard, I passed another friend who was en route to see the thing, on a lazy, chilly Sunday afternoon. But instead of joining him, I went home and took a bath.
So you can see how excited I was to watch this movie. Please keep that in mind as you read this.
Then the film left theaters, and I realized I’d missed my one and only chance for all time. I rushed to my local multiplex and pleaded with its employees to give me a private screening, but they refused, and threatened to call the police. Again.
I despaired, and spent a week wondering what had happened to Bilbo, and Gandalf, and Thorin, and Whorin, and Hewy, and Dewy, and Chewy, and Killy, and Thrilly, and Culty, and the ninety-seven other little dwarves, and everyone else in Middle-earth.
Suddenly, just when I could no longer bear the suspense, a CGI moth flew through my window, gripping an AVI copy of the film in its fuzzy mandible. It landed on my shoulder and mumbled something about how Gandalf was in trouble and “needed me.”
Well, I need you, too, Gandalf! So I decided to watch the movie, after all, and take a lot of notes.
These are my notes.
It’s been fifteen long months since I watched An Unexpected Journey, and I barely remember anything that happened in it.
It occupied a tremendous number of minutes? And presented a great many wolves and goblins that were born in a super-computer’s digital bowels?
I do recall that the movie featured at least one terrific scene: the riddle game between Bilbo and the creature known as Gollum.
Gollum won’t be in this new film, I have heard, which is a minus going in.
Even still, I have no doubt that this movie will do its best to amuse and delight us, because that is how capitalism works. So let’s get right to it! READ MORE >
Inspired by the riveting journeys already undertaken by Adam R., Melissa, and Brooks, I thought I’d take you on a tour of my own humble shower …
OK so obviously I’ve got a lot of hygiene products; I’ll admit I’m a little obsessive. There’s a special story behind each and every one of them (à la Daniel Spoerri’s classic conceptual text An Anecdoted Topography of Chance), but I don’t know if you want to hear all of them. So I’ll stick to just the highlights …
I first learned about Robert Ashley through Peter Greenaway, thanks to his Four American Composers series. I rented all four videos because I was interested in John Cage and Philip Glass. I didn’t know who Meredith Monk was, or Robert Ashley.
As it turns out, the episode on Ashley interested me the most. I didn’t understand the opera being discussed, Perfect Lives, but I knew I had to hear and watch the whole thing. I took to the internet and discovered that I could order it directly from Lovely Music, on VHS. I did so. It cost me $100—but I had to hear it.
Few people I knew at the time had ever heard of Robert Ashley. When I moved to Illinois and met Mark Tardi and Jeremy M. Davies, we bonded in part over our shared love for Perfect Lives, “an opera for television” made in the late 1970s and early 1980s. It’s still not widely known. It’s still never been broadcast in its entirety in the US. But I’m not alone alone in regarding it one of the greatest operas and long poems in the English language. (John Cage wrote of it: “What about the Bible? And the Koran? It doesn’t matter. We have Perfect Lives.”)
Short notice, but for those of you in Chicago, tomorrow night will see a plum event as the Danny’s Reading Series convenes, 7:30pm sharp at Danny’s in Bucktown (1951 W. Dickens, just off Damen). Reading will be Barry Schwabsky, Mark Yakitch, and the incomparable Virginia Konchan. As always, a DJ and dancing will follow.
A Field in England is finally getting a US release, starting today. It was probably my favorite new film of 2013, and it certainly contained my favorite scene of 2013 (the tent scene—watch at your own risk!).
Drafthouse Films is releasing it in select cities (but not Chicago, boo, hiss). It’s also available for digital download.
I’ve seen this movie maybe four times already, and you better believe I’ll be watching it again. And somewhere I have a mess of notes on it that I keep meaning to type up into something semi-coherent…
The great Hungarian filmmaker Miklós Jancsó passed away on 31 Jan; he was 92 years old. (The New York Times obit is here.) I first learned about Jancsó from David Bordwell, who wrote a detailed analysis of the man’s 1969 film The Confrontation in Narration in the Fiction Film (some of which you can read here). That film has been difficult to find (though there’s an unsubbed copy at YouTube), but I was able to track down The Round-Up (1966); The Red and the White (1967); Elektra, My Love (1974); and what would quickly become one of my favorite films, Red Psalm (1972):
(Here‘s a detailed essay by Raymond Durgnat of that film.)
Jancsó is perhaps best known for his work in the late 60s and early 70s, which saw him systematically exploring the question of how few takes he could use to make a film, while simultaneously exploring how complex those takes could be in terms of staging. The 87-minute-long Red Psalm consists of 27 elaborately designed shots (see the above clip for an example); in this way, the film was a forerunner of Aleksandr Sokurov’s 2002 single-take feature Russian Ark, as well as Alfonso Cuarón’s recent Gravity. (Cuarón named Jancsó as his primary influence in this Empire interview). Fellow Hungarian Béla Tarr was also much influenced by the man’s work, and has called him “the greatest Hungarian director of all time.”
Despite Jancsó’s significant artistic achievements, he’s been unfairly overlooked by most US film distributors. But some of his work can be found both online and on disc. It’s well worth tracking down.