May 23, 2017

The Write Stuff and Dark Arts

Interesting article in the New York Times by movie director William Friedkin who was married to Jeanne Moreau when he first began retracing Proust's early steps. I intend on secluding myself for a couple months and reading all 7 installments of In Search of Lost Time. I've tried doing the audiobooks but it's far too subtle and complex to pull you in while driving.
*this pic was poached from Slim Paley who identifies the model (or is it designer?) as Karlie Kloss

Long absence so much to catch up on. First off a few books. John le Carre's wonderful memoir The Pigeon Tunnel is narrated (audiobook) by the master himself. Like P. G. Wodehouse and Patrick O'Brian, le Carre' has elevated his genre into the very highest rank of Literature.  I made the mistake of reading his magnum opus A Perfect Spy and beginning To Kill a Mockingbird the next day. Atticus Finch & Scout never had a chance so soon after inhabiting the fascinating interior life of Magnus Pym.

85 year old John le Carre' at his home in Penzance, Cornwall. GSL has been summoned to St. Ives, Cornwall this August (but might be delayed til next summer) so may have to arrange for a meet. He's still going strong and has a new novel out in September: A Legacy of Spies

Read Norman Mailer's The Spooky Art: Some Thoughts on Writing and came away slightly less impressed with Mailer although it was an interesting read. Mailer's magnum opus was Harlot's Ghost about the CIA that unfortunately didn't find the wide audience and critical acclaim it deserved.

Interesting to compare le Carre' and Mailer as both had massive international fame at an early age.  Mailer set out to become a prominent Public Intellectual while le Carre' kept a low profile and eschewed literary awards which Mailer craved.  It's become something of a joke that le Carre' freely acknowledges in the Introduction that he always resolutely proclaims, during an interview how he's a private man and this is the absolute last interview he'll ever do and blasts writers that always make spectacles of themselves like trying to dazzle while dining at High Table (was he thinking of Mailer?) when they should be secluded in their writing cabin.  A few of us noticed how le Carre' began these tantrums before doing about 5 extensive telly interviews, offering his biographer (the brilliant Adam Sisman) 40+ hours of recorded interviews, and then of course the memoir....and let's not forget that A Perfect Spy was hugely autobiographical. While hearing le Carre's reluctant admission, I couldn't help but think of a very talented writer I know who has shared more personal details than I know about my own mother or virtually anybody else while simultaneously proclaiming how private she is and then has reminded me how private she is...across 4 different social media platforms.  Like my talented friend, le Carre isn't really private but goes thru periods of craving solitude and has a few things he'd rather keep hidden or offer a more interesting account as biographer Sisman noted of a few Pigeon Tunnel anecdotes that had suddenly acquired a fresh polish....always a telltale sign of a first-rate creative mind.

Any thoughts on John le Carre', Norman Mailer, Proust, or any recent reads?

January 21, 2017

Recent Developments...and Zsa Zsa

This movie deserves to be seen. GSL has never been a fan of Meryl Streep or Hugh Grant but both were superb in this little gem. We were introduced to the real FFJ about 15 years ago by Terry Drama as he owns an original recording of her Carnegie Hall Massacre of Queen of the Night. Yes, I saw Meryl Streep's Golden Globes speech with her sudden concern for press freedoms. Where was Meryl and her Hollywood 'Activists', so concerned about Women's Empowerment, when the first female editor of the New York Times, Jill Abramson, got sacked for expressing outrage over the Obama Administration's criminalization of press freedoms?

With his strong, subdued performance in FFJ, The Den has considered elevating HG to Den Whipping Boy Emeritus.

We lost George Michael. His superb album, Older, came out in 1996 barely making a ripple in America. GSL had Fastlove and Move On in heavy rotation during the late '90s.

We lost Zsa Zsa. This is how I remember her, in a similar OTT outfit going on the Johnny Carson show dripping in jewels. Johnny adored Zsa Zsa and was perfect straight man as she tried to remember, in that thick Hungrarian accent, which husband she was on while proudly replying to Johnny she was indeed a marvelous housekeeper:  "dahling...every time I leave a man, I keep his house....."

Zsa Zsa has always been a huge inspiration to The Den's Sausage Pinch Workshop attendees. In her honor, we are re-naming our workshop the Zsa Zsa Gabor Institute For Advanced Sausage Pinch Studies. Oh sure, everybody belittled her meager acting talents, but nobody has ever emerged from a Rolls Royce to bitch-slap a cop (6 foot 4 and thickset) on Rodeo Drive with greater panache.

We lost Debbie Reynolds and her daughter, Carrie Fisher. Whenever Debbie Reynolds is mentioned, I remember this sweet little man I called on in the mid 1980s just out of Uni. Since I was only 22ish, and looked 12, I was pleasantly surprised to receive a return call from the Purchasing Director of a fairly large stationary company (now long gone) after  leaving a message with an underling. A few days later he greeted me in lobby and once back in his office,  shared a detailed recollection of meeting my mother at a convention in Miami Beach in the early 1960s when she got dolled-up for a night out with my father.  He closed his anecdote with: "your mother was the spitting image of Debbie Reynolds..."
***Debbie Reynolds was also quite a collector of Hollywood Memorabilia which our friend Jill posted on here.

November 27, 2016

Sophie's Choice

Canada's First Lady: Sophie Gregoire Trudeau is a stunner who first caught GSL's keen eye during Kate Middleton's recent triumphant Canadian tour the Den featured here. With the extensive International scrutiny always put on American leaders, we thought we'd get in on the act and train our sights on a few Foreign leaders...especially those All The Big Names fawn over....

We think Georgie-Porgie may have been on to something.

Prince George knew something was amiss the moment he deplaned in British Columbia.

This is when he smelled the rat...
"Oh hell no Prime!" is exactly what that Royal body language is saying.  Prince George knows a schmuck when he sees one and knows as long as he's in knee pants he needn't put on a false front.

...and then we saw this. Is it a Canadian tradition for the PM's wife to spontaneously break out in song during Martin Luther King Day Celebrations?

...then this. These two have a terminal case of Media Hollow. You can see how their love of spotlight triggers a smarmy persona deluded with a mistaken sense they are charming.

...but nothing could have prepared us for this...

Now a few personality quirks are natural but we sense a tone deaf quality that is already manifesting itself in Affairs of State.  The PM's ridiculously effusive eulogy for the murderous dictator Fidel Castro may be a telling indicator as his honeymoon ends and difficult controversial decisions lie ahead. It doesn't appear Mrs Gregoire Trudeau will provide a helpful sounding board at home.

You know if that PM gig doesn't work out, The Den thinks they'd make a fab lounge act like Steve & Eydie back in the day...GSL just knows they'd knock 'em dead at the Winnipeg Holiday Inn-Airport.

Treat youself to a deep dish of  Steve & Eydie Retro Schmaltz below:

***Oh we are well aware of our future POTUS's many shortcomings and they are rightly given saturation coverage (though oftentimes without The Den's illuminating context and precision) worldwide but also keep your eye on these telegenic media darlings.