brothercyst: April 2007

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Briefly had dinner last night with Valzhyna Mort, a Belarusian poet (author of "Ya tonenkaya yak tvaye vyeiki"--perhaps you are familiar with it?) now living in the U.S. I intend to use one of her English poems as an epigraph for Midnight Picnic. Finished writing an article that I had hanging over my head. Got paid for the nerve story. Went to EJ's birthday dinner. Went with her and friends to the release event of this movie. Went to very late dinner afterward. The best early morning hours meal is macaroni and cheese with these.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Last night a friend comped me tickets to the PEN festival opening reading. Salman Rushdie read from DeLillo's White Noise, which convinced me I finally have to read this book.

I look at my phone calendar and feel a chill of horror. I have made too many commitments.

Email.

I'm considering a sensory deprivation chamber: you pay $70 an hour to float in complete darkness in water that is exactly body temperature in absolute silence. Something like ten pounds of salt has been dissolved in the water, so you float very easily.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Long, engrossing Cho Seung-hui essay by Tao Lin. (no permalink)

"A few times I thought about killing myself but during those times my self-pity was so powerful that it was almost exciting, and I didn't want to kill myself."

Friday, April 20, 2007

Shrimp: only $2.99 at Long John Silver's

An amazing, informative sexual education video courtesy of internationally adored literary novelist Helen Oyeyemi. Thank you, Helen, so much for sending this.

Best moment comes 3:30 in.

Do not watch at work.


Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Oldboy & Virginia Tech


Oh man--that's unfortunate.

And despite what this guy thinks, I suspect the similarity is deliberate.

Gun enthusiasts must be relieved.

Someone'll soon point out fairly obvious similarities in other Cho photos to signature images from The Replacement Killers, Taxi Driver, and The Killer. It's the hammer that makes Oldboy unmistakable, though. I just sighed when I saw that yesterday, and then two hours later it was on the front of the New York Times website.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

"Richard McBeef"

An infantile one-act play by the Virginia Tech murderer.

I'm ambivalent about referring creative writing students to counseling when they turn in disturbing material. Still, it can't be denied that people who harbor a certain kind of potentially explosive resentment sometimes produce these weird little blasts of fiction that are at once aggrieved, pathological, and utterly incompetent.

"Richard McBeef" reminds me of a staggeringly terrible story that was emailed to me a long time ago by a person who had somehow found me on the internet. His story depicted a future society where evil, sexy superwomen ground up the testicles of captive males (bred and used pre-castration for "service and pleasure," if I recall) and fed them to dogs, or something. Also he claimed to have slept with many women and once killed someone in a bar.

UPDATE: And Mr. Brownstone, another of Cho Seung-Hui's embarassing stabs at writing for the stage. This one's more creepily insane, actually.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

towelhead & house of meetings

They made a film version of Towelhead? How did I not hear about this before? I'm there.

But wait...it stars Summer Bishil, an (18-year-old) actress who is definitely disorientingly gorgeous, but doesn't look all that ethnically Arab/Persian. Is Bishil an Indian name? If her performance is good enough, though, I guess that largely obviates these concerns.

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Also, last night I finished Martin Amis's House of Meetings. It's arguably the best novel he's ever written. The narrator, a gloomy and regretful Russian rapist ("little sleep has been lost over the consequences of rape for the rapist")--half-brute, half-intellectual--who spends a decade in the gulag with his pacifist brother Lev, is my favorite character of Amis's novels, I think. He narrates while in his eighties, in "a state of permanent lost temper," trying to synchronize the reading of an unread letter in his pocket with his impending death so that it'll be the last thing he does. I'm going to go back and read this book again with a pen at my side for underlining purposes--it has that many good sentences and terrific moments. Amis remains a fucking Beethoven of language--and finally he learned to write powerful characters and tell a killer story, too.

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Caitlin, thanks for sending me purple horse pills after reading that I was sick. I will eat them all. I'm thrilled that your honeymoon went well. I will call you.

Friday, April 06, 2007

still sick, but happy

Grindhouse was pure pleasure. So long and packed with delights. And so much better and more fun than real grindhouse movies, which are almost always shitty and tedious. Grindhouse is like watching TV all night on the best channel ever.

Both movies were fucking great. I expected to love Death Proof, but Planet Terror was a surprise. I've never enjoyed a Robert Rodriguez movie, really. But this one is so, so good.

Highlights:
  • Rose McGowan's opening montage, which perfectly captured the leering angles and sleazy glamour of trash '70s sexploitation flicks.
  • Rose McGowan
  • Michael Biehn and Tom Savini (the legendary makeup artist) as cops in Planet Terror
  • the crazy babysitter twins
  • Marley Shelton breaking her hand in the car door while escaping zombies, then picking up her kid who insists on bringing his turtle, his tarantula, and his scorpion, which "can all live in the same cage"
  • the amazing fake trailers for Machete and Thanksgiving
  • the opening foot fetish shot in Death Proof
  • Stuntman Mike's "book"...and Kurt Russell in general
  • Rosario Dawson
  • Zoe Bell playing herself and doing ridiculous stuntwoman work
  • Death Proof's applause-worthy ending (which, indeed, got a Times Square audience ovation)
One serious complaint (maybe don't read without seeing):
  • the missing reel in Death Proof...fuck that. An awesome, ingenious way to do that would have been to insert the missing reel later on in the film, right in the middle of the car chase, as if the reels got mixed up in the projection booth. A mid-car-chase lapdance? That would have gotten a standing ovation. (After all, seems like the footage was shot, because it looks like some of it's in the trailer.)

Also, we saw it with a really perfect audience. Beside us were four or five guys with gold jewelry and huge baggy jackets loudly calling each other "bitch-ass nigga" this and "motherfucker" that and asking the screen for "more titties." Any other movie and I'd have been enraged. But this was exactly the right audience for Grindhouse. And shockingly, they knew their shit! They recognized Eli Roth when he came onscreen...when Tom Savini appeared I heard them talking about "old Dawn of the Dead"...they knew what Vanishing Point was...by the end, I really liked these guys.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

hot, sexy, cancer-free porn story

Look, a porn story.

I wrote this story in about an afternoon after an earlier story I wrote for Nerve (which I am much more fond of but which they thought had not enough sex and too much cancer; they had asked me to contribute and I foolishly neglected to read any of the recent fiction they'd published first) was rejected.

In the second story, I made sure to use more phrases like "exquisite parting" and "minimal lubrication." I'm pleased with the results. You could definitely have a prurient interest in this story.

The original, and nearly perfect, title for this story was "Fuck Right Now," but because of their advertisers, they can't put "Fuck" on the main page. So then I wanted it to be "Many Things are Displeasing," but they didn't like that and changed it to "New Year's Eve," but I didn't like that and at the last minute (like, last night) sent them a list of other titles to pick from:
  • "Come at Midnight"
  • "Revelry and Forgetting"
  • "Midnight on New Year's Eve"
  • "Thinly Disguised Nonfiction"
  • "Looking Down Naked on Terrifying Multitudes"

*******

Here's a picture Jami Attenberg took the other weekend on her roof & posted. W/ "the Chicago boys."