The coolest thing about living close to the NYC contemporary art scene is that you just never know what kind of unique event will pop up on your agenda. Last evening, literary journal The American Reader and the Robert Miller Gallery hosted a presentation of Robert Coover’s short story The Goldilocks Variations, which was read between musical selections from Johann Sebastian Bach’s Goldberg Variations. It was as interesting as you can imagine.
Coover’s reimagined narrative expands on the most potentially menacing aspect of the Goldilocks and The Three Bears legend. While in most versions of the story, Goldilocks escapes to freedom once discovered by The Three Bears, Coover’s narrative focuses keenly on the creative ways in which The Bears delight in physically torturing their delicate prey prior to devouring her – perhaps a bit grim(m), but highly engaging nevertheless! Bach’s gorgeous music (originally intended for the harpsichord) was performed on Yayoi Kusama’s 1971 Painted Player Piano and Piano Bench, painted bright red and emblazoned with hearts and Kusama’s ubiquitous polka-dotted motif. Art!
Iconic Film Critic and author Roger Ebert passed away today, April 4th, 2013, after a lengthy battle with cancer. He was 70 years old. The Chicago Tribune, has a loving obit at This Link. RIP Roger, I miss you already.
Julian Cope, Musician, author, musicologist and recognized authority on Neolithic culture was born on this day, October 21st, in 1957. I first became a huge fan of Julian as the lead vocalist for Liverpool-based post-punk band, The Teardrop Explodes and had the opportunity to see him perform as a solo artist many times back in the ’80s. His first autobiography — because there are a couple — Head On is also one of the most amazing rock biographies I’ve ever read. Learn more about what Julian is up to these days at This Link! Happy Birthday, Julian!
Genre defining Science Fiction/Horror writer, Ray Bradbury, has passed away on Tuesday, June 5th, 2012 at the age of 91. I read so many of Bradbury’s novels and short stories as a kid I can’t even name them all. But one of his short stories, “All Summer in a Day” was just so simply devastating in its impact, I doubt I could ever forget it. Now I want to re-read everything again. His work is amazing. There’s a very sweet remembrance/obit on Bradbury over at Indiewire.com that’s my favorite of those I’ve read so far today, if you want to check it out. RIP Ray, you changed modern literature so much and influenced generations.
Beloved children’s book author Theodor Seuss Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss, was born on this day, March 2nd, in 1904! I loved Dr. Seuss’ books as a kid, my favorite being McElligot’s Pool, which I owned. Of the several animated features made from Seuss’ books, one of the best and most enduring is The Lorax, a thinly veiled cautionary tale of environmental exploitation, which is even more timely today than it was when it was written in 1971.
Kurt Vonnegut, Great American Novelist: 1922 – 2007
Author Kurt Vonnegut has passed away at the age of 84. He was my favorite author of all time and my single greatest writing influence. His book Slapstick literally changed my life. He is the reason I started writing. I am so sad right now.
Here is a passage from another favorite Vonnegut novel, Slaughterhouse Five, which was based in part on his own experiences as a WWII Prisoner of War.
“A guard would go to the head of the stairs every so often to see what it was like outside, then he would come down and whisper to the other guards. There was a fire-storm out there. Dresden was one big flame. The one flame ate everything organic, everything that would burn.
It wasn’t safe to come out of the shelter until noon the next day. When the Americans and their guards did come out, the sky was black with smoke. The sun was an angry little pinhead. Dresden was like the moon now, nothing but minerals. The stones were hot. Everybody else in the neighborhood was dead.