Is it over for the blockbuster movie in Hollywood?

Back in June, director Steven Spielberg — who helped launch the mega blockbuster in Hollywood –surprised insiders by predicting that the era of the franchise/merchandizing movie was drawing to a close.  As recounted by the acerbic Timothy Egan, in the NY Times: Steven Spielberg, who nearly invented the summer blockbuster with “Jaws,” was ruminating about theContinue reading “Is it over for the blockbuster movie in Hollywood?”

John Luther Adams at Ojai Music Fest (outdoors)

Thanks to a video maven from Bart's Books, here's what the final movement of composer John Luther Adams' Strange and Silent Music looked like this morning at Besant Hill in Upper Ojai. During the entrancing performance, which began on the drums, moved to the east for a soft thudding playing of the gongs, to theContinue reading “John Luther Adams at Ojai Music Fest (outdoors)”

Climate Myths: The Campaign against Climate Science

Energy analyst Dr. John Berger's Climate Myths: The Campaign against Climate Science expertly separates climate fact from misinformation, and is especially good at reminding us of past deceptions put out by fossil fuel companies. Who can forget, for instance, The Greening Earth Society? "A creation of the Western Fuels Association," writes Berger, "…this benevolent-sounding "green organization"Continue reading “Climate Myths: The Campaign against Climate Science”

The Driven American: Unable to wander freely

From Edmund White's gloriously thoughtful The Flâneur:: The flâneur [city walker/wanderer] is by definition endowed with enormous leisure, someone who can take off a morning or afternoon for undirected ambling, since a specific goal or a close rationing of tme is antithetical to the true spirit of the flâneur. An excess of the work ethicContinue reading “The Driven American: Unable to wander freely”

The global warming novel from l962: The Drowned World

In 1962, in his second novel, The Drowned World, J.G. Ballard told a story of steadily rising global temperatures, of ice caps melting and rising seas, of humidity and rains and lizards moving into skyscrapers. It's an extraordinary book, for its imagination and artistry and language, but also for its vison of global warming. MightContinue reading “The global warming novel from l962: The Drowned World”

The Wind from Nowhere: the first natural disaster novel?

J.G. Ballard, although slotted as a science-fiction writer, is in some senses a writer who has lost all faith, in God or man. Perhaps it's natural, then, that he was one of the first (perhaps the first) to write a novel about a natural disaster that overtakes the world: The Wind from Nowhere.  What's fascinatingContinue reading “The Wind from Nowhere: the first natural disaster novel?”

Why gay men like Marilyn Monroe: Caitlin Flanagan

Caitlin Flanagan, the writer, has a lot of nerve, and the arrogance can grate on a reader. (And maybe grated on her editors at The New Yorker too, which might explain why she's not there anymore.) A writer who reviewed her most recent book went on air with her and Tom Ashbrook a year ago andContinue reading “Why gay men like Marilyn Monroe: Caitlin Flanagan”

Orwell on the rules of story-telling in non-fiction

A review of Zero Dark Thirty includes this gem of a quote, one writer in effect overhearing arguably the first great modern non-fiction writer, George Orwell, talking about what we today call literary non-fiction, and what fictionalization he allows in a non-fiction story. . There were few more minute observers of fact than George Orwell.Continue reading “Orwell on the rules of story-telling in non-fiction”

Researcher clicks w/reporter: true stories become movies

For decades the Los Angeles Times has had a Column One feature on the front page, at the top left of the front page, usually, in the A1 position. It's a story-telling opportunity for good reporters. Yesterday Chris Lee hit the ball out of the park with his profile of the unusual reader/Hollywood producer StuartContinue reading “Researcher clicks w/reporter: true stories become movies”

A to Z in the environment in 2012

A is for ARCTIC, once ice-bound year round, but no longer, as ice and snow coverage this summer in the Arctic this year plunged to an all-time low. This will amplify warming over time, but in the short-term, forecasters say warming summers in the far north tends to bring cold winters to Europe and theContinue reading “A to Z in the environment in 2012”