Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The "weed them out" poetry community mentality in a nutshell.

Was on Amazon a few minutes ago and noticed this comment on an anthology of Southern California poets:
I like the idea of providing an alternative medium to recognize poetic talent. The different levels of accomplishment, though, really dilute the truly talented .

Monday, October 27, 2014

Two AV Club commenters sum up BOARDWALK EMPIRE.

Commenter "CCRN": Nucky's character just wasn't compelling enough compared to the other giants in the room.

Commenter Jehoshaphat-ass bass: Yeah, but that was the point.  Luciano/Capone stories have been done a million times. It became a straight gangster story by the end, but it was really about the sea change from local political machines controlling everything to the awesome profits of bootlegging upsetting the whole equation and necessitating the strong arm of the federal government to develop a terrifying national police force. The central story was not a Sopranos-esque narrative of an uber-powerful Alpha Male raging against the cosmos, it was a Wire-esque narrative of sweeping changes in political and economic power throwing everything into chaos..  Granted, it didn't always work, but I'm glad they didn't go the Sopranos well for the millionth time.

Suzanne Lummis, THE NEW YORKER and the likely impact in Los Angeles literary circles.

Let's look at this--a win for Suzanne Lummis and her vision of "craft-conscious poetry" and a win for West Coast literary poets who thought they'd never be accepted in the august pages of THE NEW YORKER--on several levels a la INCEPTION:
1. Suzanne will have a boost in the number of potential future students.
2. She'll also have several peers (or those who imagine themselves as peers) who will likely show adoring faces to her while harboring secret "why did SHE get in and I didn't" thoughts.
3. Unfortunately, it's a victory for those in Los Angeles who prefer all poetry emerging from the city to be rather homogenized in terms of notions of quality (the only exception being the welcome election of Luis Rodriguez as the city's Poet Laureate).
4. It's the final, fatal stake through the heart for the more unruly, DIY, coffeehouse non-slam community which used to exist side-by-side with the more Aspirational folks.  And the arrogant, destructive behavior of some of our community's "greatest" poets towards perceived inferiors will increase--along with the timid, for-career's-sake silence that enables it.
5. With THE NEW YORKER achievement and the new book, let's see if Suzanne can use her upsurge to leverage the revival of both the Newer Poets series and the long-dormant Los Angeles Poetry Festival.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Time for women in Hollywood to age naturally without plastic surgery.

As most of the world is now aware, Renee Zellweger had the kind of "work" (aka facial surgery) done which erased much of the face she exhibited during her years of Movie Stardom in the 1990s and 2000s.

And, of course, it's difficult to make a nuanced complaint about it in a quick-to-polarize, fueled-by-social-media world.

The last time a major actress appeared as a victim of bad plastic surgery was Kim Novak at the 2014 Academy Awards.  She was greeted with a lot of sexist mockery countered with "it's her choice" pushback.

I watch the still-running ABC daytime soap opera GENERAL HOSPITAL and wince (but not from sexism) when I see Jackie Zeman and Donna Mills appear.

They've had the kind of plastic surgery/facial injections that either immobilize the facial muscles (which appears to have happened to Donna Mills) or puff up the cheeks so much that they're immobile when the actress smiles or exhibits emotions (Jackie Zeman).

True, there are women of a certain age in the business who opt for relatively minimal Botox treatments--some who look a bit blurry as a result (Kelly Ripa) and others who still resemble their younger selves (Rene Russo).

Like it or not, people get older and age visibly on their own.

And it's time for women (and men)--and studio/network executives--to accustom themselves to this without ludicrous or hideous attempts to halt time and force a mask-wearing vision of unwrinkled "youth" onto consumers of "product" and "content."

My modest proposal: plastic surgery should be avoided unless it's intended to undo the results of automobile accidents and/or face-slashing by mentally disturbed criminals.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Abby Norman on Ebola in America.

The truth is, in terms of virology, Ebola should not be a threat to American citizens. We have clean water. We have information. We have the means to educate ourselves, practice proper hand-washing procedures, protect ourselves with hazmat suits. The CDC Disease Detectives were dispatched to Dallas almost immediately to work on the front lines to identify those who might be at risk, who could have been exposed. We have the technology, and we certainly have the money to keep Ebola at bay. What we don't have is communication. What we don't have is a health care system that values preventative care. What we don't have is an equal playing field between nurses and physicians and allied health professionals and patients. What we don't have is a culture of health where we work symbiotically with one another and with the technology that was created specifically to bridge communication gaps, but has in so many ways failed. What we don't have is the social culture of transparency, what we don't have is a stopgap against mounting hysteria and hypochondria, what we don't have is nation of health literate individuals. We don't even have health-literate professionals. Most doctors are specialists and are well versed only in their field. Ask your orthopedist a general question about your health -- see if they can comfortably answer it.

From the article "I'm a Hazmat-Trained Hospital Worker: Here's What No One Is Telling You About Ebola" on

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

RIP Los Angeles' New Beverly Cinema.

I'm happy to say I was one of the donors who made now-former New Beverly Cinema employee Julia Marchese's documentary OUT OF PRINT (about the 35mm vs digital controversy) a reality.

Was saddened to read today about Julia being ousted by Quentin Tarantino's personal assistant Julie McLean.  Before Julia, Tarantino relieved then-manager Michael Torgan (son of original manager Sherman Torgan) of his duties

Here's Jen Yamato's take on the story from DEADLINE:

And here's the entire blog post from Julia, with a link to see OUT OF PRINT for free:

Monday, October 13, 2014

Bono explains the righteousness of corporations paying lower taxes in other countries for you.

In the midst of rock writer Dorian Lynskey's mostly-wet-kiss profile of U2 and SONGS OF INNOCENCE, there's this passage of Bono the Plutocrat formerly known as Paul Hewson waxing eloquent:
Of course, the biggest blow to Bono’s activist reputation has been U2’s collective decision in 2006 to transfer U2 Ltd, which handles their publishing royalties (not the bulk of their income but a significant chunk), from Ireland to the Netherlands to reduce their tax bill. Their Glastonbury set attracted a small lobby of banner-waving protesters. Edge is painstakingly even-handed about it. “Was it totally fair? Probably not. The perception is a gross distortion. We do pay a lot of tax. But if I was them I probably would have done the same, so it goes with the territory.”
Like the protesters, I think the arrangement sits badly with Bono’s development [charitable] work and we go back and forth for a while. It isn’t a clandestine offshore tax haven, Bono insists. “All of our stuff is out in the open. How did people find out about it? Because it’s published. The sneakiness is when you don’t even know what’s going on.” Eventually, we agree to disagree, and the conversation moves on to Ireland’s corporation-friendly tax laws, currently the subject of an EU investigation.
“Look, Ireland is not going to back down on this,” he says. “We are a tiny little country, we don’t have scale, and our version of scale is to be innovative and to be clever, and tax competitiveness has brought our country the only prosperity we’ve known. That’s how we got these [tech] companies here. Little countries, we don’t have natural resources, we have to be able to attract people. We’ve been through the 50s and the 60s, and mass haemorrhaging of our population all over the world. There are more hospitals and firemen and teachers because of [Ireland’s tax] policy.”

The complete Lynskey profile of U2 can be found here: