The new issue (number 32) of SmokeLong Quarterly is up. I have a story in it called “Elephants.” My story was chosen by guest editor Ben Loory, and to accompany the story he interviewed me here.
Aside from the me part, the issue is stuffed with excellent writing by lots of excellent writers. [...]
Sloe-eyed through the sun-loved streets, winding her hair around one winding finger, walks and walks on sandaled feet a small thin girl. Pastel houses pass in succession, peopled by darkly gazing men with small thin mustaches and almond-shaped eyes. She feels their eyes on her but does not respond. Heat rises in slow layers [...]
Still from Mimesis, a short film I made.
Trivium: from Latin, meaning “the three ways,” or “the three roads.” In medieval universities, the trivium denoted the three subjects of primary study: grammar, logic, and rhetoric.
Wind snapped a branch outside and he woke. Dark of night had swallowed the room. Only [...]
Okay, so here’s the books I’ve read in French so far this year. Or at least the books that I could be bothered to go find on my bookshelves or piled on the floor in my office and on my bed or all over the table in the dining room or on the second shelf [...]
I don’t know what is the what with today, but everybody on the internet decided to be nice to me and it’s not even my birthday (yet).
As promised in this post, here is a list of the non-fiction books I’ve read thus far in 2011, either written in or translated into English. Almost everything on here was read for purposes of research, with the exception maybe of the books on/by Godard and Tarkovsky. Though I would argue that these [...]
I’ve seen a few people compile lists of books they’ve read so far in 2011, and the thought ocurred to me: I like lists!
But I don’t like lists that are too long, so I’m going to parcel these out in manageable portions. This first list confines itself to fiction written or translated into [...]
By writing the first translation into English of the Bible, from original Hebrew and Greek sources, William Tyndale essentially invented the English language in the period 1525-1530 or so. For his efforts, he was strangled and then burned at the stake by the Catholic Church as a heretic. The [...]
It’s not uncommon for admirers of certain dead authors, poets, musicians, actors, and Jim Morrison to leave posthumous epistles on or near their graves. The grave of Charles Baudelaire in the Cimitière Montparnasse is no different. What I found both touching and slightly pathetic about the letters fixed in place by small stones atop [...]
The extraordinarily talented and discerning Andrew Leland let me write a short post, at the site he curates for the Oakland Museum of California, about pretty much the one thing I like about living in Los Angeles. Which is jacarandas. You can read it here. Thanks again to Andrew.
“I become self-conscious about having a funny accent. Unlike Conrad or Nabokov, I didn’t have circumstances which would have coerced me out of my native tongue altogether. But the time may come when my German resources begin to shrink. It is a sore point, because you do have advantages if you have access [...]
This extraordinary item appeared in the New Yorker last week (at least it appeared online last week; I no longer subscribe to the print weekly and also I killed the book industry, just for fun). I only discovered it this morning because I do have other things to do, you know. Get off [...]
1. People who can write with music playing, whether loud or soft or near or far, in whatever style or form.
When I listen to music, I do so with every part of my brain, involuntarily. Whatever kind of music is playing, I find myself listening to the production, the playing, the [...]
[Editor's Note: If you're the type of person that enjoys experimental short film, you might enjoy this. If you're not, I promise to not.]
Here’s another short I wrote and directed. This time out, I used a crew instead of trying to do everything myself. In essence, the film is a re-telling of the story [...]
The Los Angeles based creators of a weekly podcast called Hugs & Disses, which is a name I am informed they made up all by themselves, were kind enough to ask me on their program this week. I traveled to their sumptuous headquarters in Echo Park where they somehow managed to [...]
Thanks to the discerning eye of guest editor (and very fine writer) Ben Loory, I have a very short story up over at SmokeLong, which is a place on the internet that publishes very short strories. My story is about elephants. That’s why there is a picture of a trunk [...]
First, I join the Los Angeles Review of Books as Contributing Editor. Next thing I know, James Franco is a Contributing Editor to the Los Angeles Review of Books. I shake it off. Probably just a coincidence. Following this, I contribute to an anthology called The Speed Chronicles coming out later this year [...]
I was at a dinner party recently at which I met a Famous novelist, who told a story about meeting the Very Famous novelist Thomas Pynchon, who I’m sure you know has a reputation for being, shall we say, a very private person. He doesn’t give interviews. He doesn’t do readings. It’s big [...]
I dug up part of an abandoned novel about a guy who drives from New York to San Francisco with the corpse of his girlfriend (he accidentally kills her in the first chapter) in the front seat. If you’re squeamish, don’t worry. I cut out all the gross necrophilia stuff. If you’re not [...]
Two books I happened to read recently and would like to tell you about:
Frank Hinton I Don’t Respect Female Expression (Safety Third Enterprises, 2011)
Frank Hinton is an enigma wrapped in a mystery on a bed of lettuce. A construct, possibly of/by a real person named Frank Hinton, possibly not. His/her limited [...]
Over at Fictionaut, I posted a new story. It’s about the salt-cellar created by Benvenuto Cellini (1500-1571), pictured above. It’s pretty short. If you want to read it, go here.
Due to a truly impressive volume of spam comments appearing here recently, I’ve had to put all comments into moderation mode, and I’m also going to ask that you register with the site in order to comment. Feel free to register with a fake email and psuedonym, it’s not like I’m going to check. But [...]
Thanks to the wonderful, indispensable, and many other superlatives repository of the avant-garde, UbuWeb, you can hear and or download a four-CD collection of Jean Cocteau reading/speaking from his work, or introducing the work of other people (for instance introducing Edith Piaf, a close friend, before a performance).
I don’t need to explain [...]
The French newspaper L’Express has on the occasion of the 64th Cannes Film Festival put up a collection of all 64 Cannes Film Festival posters on their website, here.
The poster above, for the 1961 festival, is one of my favorites, but almost all of them are pretty great. This one was [...]
Bits and pieces of this have been floating around for a while now, but turns out there’s more, much more, than I had previously thought. If you go here, you can benefit from the hard work of a bunch of people who are not me, who’ve been digging through New York’s Channel 13 archives [...]
Two books and one DVD that you should not hesitate to buy/rent/steal:
These movies don’t need my recommendation, but the collection itself, with its wealth of extras and (as always) immaculate transfers, is worth its weight in a precious metal slightly less expensive than gold but more expensive than silver. I don’t know [...]
This week in Los Angeles there occurred (and as I type this is still occurring, though not for a few hours yet) a book festival called the Los Angeles Time Festival of Books. It’s a compete clusterfuck, but people seem to enjoy it. Last year I went for the first time. [...]
For anyone curious about my next novel, I posted a story on Fictionaut here that was originally published in the brilliant and very worthy of your attention literary magazine trnsfr. A radically altered version of this story will be used for the thing-in-progress. Over the next few mothns, bits [...]
While I would argue that Artificial Light is very much not “GBV-themed,” nor “indie rock-themed,” nor “rock-themed,” — it’s [...]
Dziga Vertov’s 1929 pseudo-doc still retains its power to amaze. Post-modern before the term had even been (unnecessarily) invented, Vertov presents a documentary about a documentary, while at the same time showing us a documentary. The only character is the cinematographer, or to be more accurate, the man [...]
The Stabat Mater is a 13th-century hymn to Mary. There are actually two Stabat Maters: the Stabat Mater Dolorosa (about the Sorrows of Mary) and the Stabat Mater Speciosa (about the Nativity). The title refers to the first line: Stabat mater dolorosa, or “the mother sadly stood,” and: Stabat [...]
The ANS light-sound synthesizer, developed by Russian optical engineer Evgeny Murzin between 1937 and 1957, synthesizes sounds from artificially drawn sound waves. The sine waves generated by the ANS are printed onto five glass discs using a process which Murzin had to develop himself. Each disc has 144 individual tracks printed onto it, producing [...]
Because American Literature will not be able to sleep until I have weighed in on David Foster Wallace’s posthumous unfinished novel, The Pale King, I agreed to provide several words on the subject for the Fanzine here. You’re welcome, American Literature. Get some rest. You look tired.
An item on the iambik tumblr indicates that the audiobook version of The Failure is now available for purchase. You can get a free download of the first chapter here.
The reader, Tadhg Hynes, did an amazing job. His Irish accent makes my writing sound a lot more [...]
You might or might not be interested in a story I wrote and posted at Fictionaut here. I mean, I’m not a mind reader. Yet.
Reminder to Los Angeles residents: I’m reading with a few other SLAKE contributors this evening for GOOD LA’s launch weekend at Atwater [...]
A squib of coincidences nudged a thought to the forefront of my brain yesterday. Spurred by this post on Andrew Sullivan’s site, I began to reflect on the banality of the idea of the “sad genius,” as the term is used by Sullivan or his reader. I [...]
I know many people—deeply serious, scholarly people—have never managed to make it through James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake. Perfectly reasonable. Life is short, art is long, and FW is impenetrable. Howsomever: I recently discovered an online resource that might make it less task-y and more joy-y. It’s the entire [...]
I seem to have made some pretty anodyne recommendations to read/listen/see/read (in that order, please!) for The Rattling Wall‘s tumblr. For those who find the above graphic illegible, it says something like exactly this:
JAMES GREER SAYS:
READ THIS POEM: Paul Valéry, Le Cimitière Marin. One of many sources from which I [...]
Another day, another promising new literary magazine in Los Angeles to which I contributed a story about I forget what. And another launch party or reading and reception or I’m not sure exactly what, to which you (and you) are invited. More information about The [...]
I’ve been meaning to post this forever. And keep forgetting. For the occasion of his 80th birthday, Atelier Carvalho Bernau Design created a Jean-Luc Godard font that more or less recreates the font JLG has generally used for his titles, intertitles, and credits sequences since… forever.
You can download the font for free [...]
If you happen to be in Paris, my good friend Renato Berta, the cinematographer behind such amazing films as Louis Malle’s Au revoir les enfants and Alain Resnais’ Smoking / No smoking, to name only two, is being fêted by the Cinematheque Francaise throughout the month of March. More [...]
If you’re at all a fan of the director Michelangelo Antonioni (and if you’re not, I would like to meet you, because you must be very strange) then you might enjoy this article in the BFI’s Sight & Sound.
Were there time and/or world enough [...]
Presented without comment. More info here. North of Onhava does not endorse situationism, but also does not not endorse situationism, depending on the situation.
The very observant among you may have noted the disappearance of one or two events previously scheduled under the convenient heading “Events” elsewhere on this site. For reasons of logistics I have had to withdraw my participation from certain readings that I would otherwise have been delighted [...]
Saturday evening, January 22, 2011, there occurred a launch party for Slake Issue 2 “Crossing Over.” Slake is a literary magazine but it’s as big as a book if not bigger, certainly bigger than my books tend to be because I am [...]
A small item of business: I’ve mentioned the new-ish and so-far great LA-based lit-mag Slake before. (Q: How many hyphens will fit in an American sentence? A: Too many.) Their second issue is about to appear like worms after a heavy rain, to celebrate which fact they’re having [...]
Some of the better things I read, saw, or listened to last year, many of which were not released in 2010, which I know is not the point of a year-end list. Sorry. This list, moreover, is not the product of a great deal of reflection. These are [...]
As part of a series by and through which Akashic authors review books by other Akashic authors, I was asked to review the reissue of Matthew Stokoe’s 1997 novel. Or, as Akashic puts it: The long-awaited reissue of Stokoe’s brutal debut novel.
Too many (one is too many) cultural giants seem to have gotten a secret message to jump ship this year. I didn’t have the personal connection that this writer had to Markson, but his work affected me greatly. And still does. Therein, I suppose lies the consolation. [...]
People always forget (well, I did, anyway, until a friend reminded me) that Bill Holden’s character in this movie was a promising young writer from… Dayton, Ohio.
Prophecy, cautionary tale, or just an example of a type of movie that never gets made anymore? I’m ready for my close-up, Mr. Cecil B. DeMented.
- It's a long climb up the rock face at the wrong time to the right place
- James Greer's books on GoodreadsGuided by Voices: A Brief History: Twenty-One Years of Hunting Accidents in the Forests of Rock and Rollreviews: 24
ratings: 195 (avg rating 3.70)Artificial Light (Little House on the Bowery)reviews: 6
ratings: 71 (avg rating 3.66)The Failurereviews: 9
ratings: 59 (avg rating 3.65)EXPERIENCED: Rock Music Tales of Fact & Fictionreviews: 4
ratings: 6 (avg rating 4.60)Two Letters Collection, Volume 2ratings: 5 (avg rating 4.60)
Friendly Fire"James Greer, one of the nimblest and most multilayered American fiction writers, has, with his latest novel The Failure, pulled off a sublime and shivery-smooth literary hat-trick-cum-emotional-gotcha. I defy anyone to come up with an equation to explain how this book's first impression as a ridiculously clever, funny crime story can gradually disclose a metanovel built from far more encyclopedic scratch only to reveal upon its conclusion a central, overriding thought so heartfelt literally it trembles your lower lip. This is one stunning piece of work."—Dennis Cooper"James Greer's The Failure is such an unqualified success, both in conception and execution, that I have grave doubts he actually wrote it."—Steven Soderbergh"Greer has done it again: a big-city, techno-jargon-filled thrill-ride with slick medium-brow drop references to our (once-shared) mythological hometown. What could be more poignant?"—Robert Pollard"How do you assess if your life has been a success? For starters, take time and turn it on its head. You'll first need to find its head. Luckily, James Greer's novel The Failure will help--it's a brainy, boisterous, unsettling, and unsettled look at a group of people thrust into the most confounding of existences, complete with petty crime, high science, love, sex, and cars. The narrative winds and darts, gleefully uncooperative. The characters have funny names and sometimes funny existences. Still, you will recognize them. They are us."—Ben Greenman
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