Monday, August 31, 2015

Alain Elkann interviews Fanny Ardant

Fanny Ardant: The Ultimate Diva
A short interview from the archive with the actress and director Fanny Ardant, who speaks fluent French, Italian and Spanish and learned English while filmingCallas Forever (2002). She is a really passionate reader, as was her former companion François Truffaut. They both loved Honoré de Balzac, Marcel Proust, Arthur Miller and Henry James and Fanny likes Julien Gracq, Jane Austen, Elsa Morante and F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Marilyn Monroe / Five best moments

Marilyn Monroe: five best moments

As The Misfits gets a rerelease, we take a look back at the short but unforgettable career of the dazzling star

Benjamin Lee
Friday 12 June 2015 16.29 BST

Given her status, it’s easy to forget that Marilyn Monroe’s career lasted for just 15 years, a brief moment in film history. While her legacy persists, the focus on her looks and much-copied style often overshadows her fine work as an actor.
This week’s rerelease of The Misfits, Monroe’s last finished film, is a tragic reminder of her talent, as she plays a divorcee who strikes up a relationship with an ageing cowboy, played by Clark Gable. It serves as a necessary reminder that she wasn’t always playing a dizzy blonde, something that’s often forgotten. Here’s our pick of her career highlights:

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

Although Monroe had seen her star steadily rise in Hollywood, it was the one-two punch of her roles as a femme fatale in Niagara and a showgirl in this Howard Hawks musical that really turned her into a superstar. She showed off her charm as well as her singing and dancing prowess, especially in this endlessly rewatchable performance of Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend. It’s particularly impressive given that Monroe was apparently a victim of stage fright throughout production.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Kit Harington is returning as Jon Snow in Game of Thrones season 6

Kit Harington is returning as Jon Snow in Game of Thrones season 6

  • Kit Harington plays the role of Jon Snow in Game of Thrones
  • The character was killed off in the season 5 finale
  • It has now been reported that he will return for season 6
PUBLISHED: JULY 22, 2015 11:41

There has been a lot of talk about what to expect from Game of Thrones season 6 next year, with the fate of a number of characters being unknown following the season 5 finale this year. One of the biggest talking points about the season 5 finale was the death of Jon Snow and how that was going to impact the events that take place in season 6.
A lot of fans were devastated by the death of Jon Snow, with most of them struggling to accept that the character was dead, insisting that actor KitHarington will have to return for Game of Thrones season 6. However, wheneverthe subject has been brought up to those in the know, they have all insisted thatKit Harington is moving on to other projects and Jon Snow is staying dead.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Gustave Doré’s Hauntingly Beautiful 1883 Illustrations for Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven”

Edgar Allan Poe

Gustave Doré’s Hauntingly Beautiful 1883 Illustrations for Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven”

“Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing…”
Something uncommonly beautiful takes place when a great artist brings a great writer’s words to life, doubly so when those words transmit the inherent enchantment of poetry — that special cross-pollination of spirits seen in rare masterpieces like William Blake’s paintings for Milton’s “Paradise Lost,” Maurice Sendak’sformative etchings for Blake’s “Songs of Innocence,” and Milton Glaser’s drawings for Lord Byron’s “Don Juan.”
More than a century before Italian artist Lorenzo Mattotti created his beautiful illustrations for Lou Reed’s reimagining of “The Raven,” the great French illustrator, sculptor, printmaker, and engraverGustave Doré (January 6 1832–January 23, 1883) took to the Edgar Allan Poe classic. Having previously illustrated works by such literary titans as Dante, Balzac, Milton, Coleridge, Tennyson, and Lord Byron, Doré created a series of stark, beautifully haunting steel-plate engravings for a special edition of The Raven (public library | free ebook). It became his final legacy — Doré died shortly after completing the illustrations, at the age of fifty-one, and this exquisite edition was posthumously published in 1884.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Five scandalous affairs that changed History

Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton


History is filled with great, enduring love stories, from Napoleon and Josephine to Prince Edward and Wallis Simpson. And then there are those somewhat more unseemly courtships. The ones that began in the shadows as steamy affairs or adulterous liaisons, the consummation of which has produced some of the great love children of literary, political, film and music history. Here are some of history’s most consequential trysts:

1. Mary Godwin & Percy Bysshe Shelley

The Sordid Details: One of the great unions of literary history began in 1814, when the 16-year-old Mary Godwin and the dreamy, but very married, 21-year-old romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley met in secret at the grave of Mary’s famous suffragette mother, Mary Wollstonecraft. There, as Mary later recounted, the two touched each other with the “full ardour of love,” an ardor that would eventually leave the aspiring writer pregnant and Shelley estranged from his wife.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Rachel McAdams / Five best moments

Rachel McAdams: five best moments

Her stock-in-trade may be the generic romcom, but look beyond and you’ll see there’s more to her than just a pretty face

Ruby Lott-Lavigna
Friday 24 July 2015 09.31 BST

Rachel McAdams is so much more than the good-looking love interest that she is often typecast as. While many of her films seem to be generic romcoms, they frequently fulfil – or in the case of Mean Girls, subvert – their genre cleverly, and she continually shows her willingness to take on interesting projects. As this week sees the release of her new film, Southpaw, we’re looking back on her defining moments.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Dance / Nela Sisarić and Nino Bokan

Nela Sisarić and Nino Bokan
Work in Progress
Croatia, 2012
Video: Neven Muretić
Música y producción: Johan Troch

Monday, August 24, 2015

John Steinbeck / The Fireplace Still Burns / Letters

The Fireplace Still Burns
After his divorce from Gwyn, John Steinbeck settled into a bit of a rut. He questioned almost everything about the way he lived his life, and fell into something of a writer's block. In his personal affairs he was clearly a lonely man who was not exactly a pleasure to be around, and his prolific letter-writing took over as his major connection with others. The explosion of energy we find in these letters to his editor Pascal "Pat" Covici, constitutes the journal he felt he had to keep while working through the pain of losing his family.
with his two kids, john and thom
To Pascal Covici
September 1948
Dear Pat —
The thing makes a full circle with 20 years inside of it. Amazing, isn't it? And what wonderful years and sad ending ones. I am back in the little house. It hasn't changed and I wonder how much I have. For two days I have been cutting the lower limbs off the pine trees to let some light into the garden so that I can raise some flowers. Lots of red geraniums and fuchsias. The fireplace still burns. I will be painting the house for a long time I guess. And all of it seems good.
There are moments of panic but those are natural I suppose. And then sometimes it seems to me that nothing whatever has happened. As though it was the time even before Carol. Tonight the damp fog is down and you can feel it on your face. I can hear the bell buoy off the point. The only proof of course will be whether I can work — whether there is any life in me. I think there is but that doesn't mean anything until it gets rolling. Women I will have to have of course, only I wonder if I have learned to keep them in their place. They have a way of sprawling all over and that I can't have any more. I haven't enough time and I couldn't take another sequence like the last two.
Anyway this is just a note to tell you I'm in a new shell or an old one, like a hermit crab and the ink is now out of two of my pens and this is the last one. I have no more ink in the house tonight. I'll keep you posted.
(and write to me)

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Diego El Cigala / Flamenco star gives emotional concert just hours after wife’s death

Diego El Cigala
Poster by T.A.

Flamenco star gives emotional concert 

just hours after wife’s death

Spanish singer El Cigala pays tribute to spouse Amparo Fernández in Los Angeles

El Cigala, un artista viudo (De otros mundos)

“Good evening, Los Angeles. I’m happy to be able to share great music with a great audience. On behalf of my colleagues I’d like to say how glad we are to be here, and so, thank you for coming. Thank you very much.”
That was how El Cigala, one of Spain’s most popular flamenco singers, kicked off his concert at the Hollywood Bowl on Wednesday night.

El Cigala with his wife Amparo Fernández PHOTO: ANYA BARTELS-SUERMONDT

But the truth was very different. On Tuesday evening, the night before the performance, his wife of 25 years, Amparo Fernández, had died.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Molly Lambert / The Fuck Of The Century

The Fuck Of The Century
Basic Instinct (1992)
Wr. Joe Eszterhas
Dir. Paul Verhoeven
"You know I don't wear any underwear, don't you Nick?" - novelist Catherine Tramell
Basic Instinct is a bizarro Vertigo, which is remarkable considering that Vertigo is pretty fucking bizarro to begin with. Joe Eszterhas takes a sledgehammer to Hitchcockian tropes and the result is LURID. And I've learned that I like lurid. Eszterhas's dialogue here is as awesome as it is in Showgirls, with side characters prone to tossing out lines like "there's cum stains all over the sheets" to remind you that this is a SEXY R RATED MOVIE. It's mostly silly and sporadically legitimately hot.

My hero / Beryl Markham by Paula McLain

Beryl Markham

My hero: Beryl Markham by Paula McLain

An aviator, author and racehorse trainer, Markham was too bold, ambitious and unwilling to be curbed by the constraints of her class or gender

Saturday 22 August 2015

ith enough courage,” Margaret Mitchell famously wrote, “you can do without a reputation.” Would it were so for record-breaking British aviator and author Beryl Markham. Brought up in colonial Kenya, Markham was the first woman to fly the Atlantic non-stop and solo, east to west, “the hard way”, in 1936. When she was just 18, she became the first licensed female racehorse trainer in Africa and quite probably the world. As a bush pilot, she pioneered the practice of spotting big game from the air for safari hunters – and wrote about all these adventures compellingly and with great style in the 1942 memoir West With the Night, a book Ernest Hemingway pronounced “bloody wonderful”. And yet if you read Markham’s Wikipedia page, her considerable achievements seem both footnote to and distraction from the cataloguing of famous men she was rumoured to have bedded.

Raised unconventionally, on a horse farm in the Rift Valley, 100 miles upcountry from Nairobi, Markham flung herself fearlessly into the forest and the bush, learned to hunt warthog with a spear, and to love the way physical challenge and risk made her feel more alive. She never quite fitted into her world. She was too bold, too ambitious and too unwilling to be curbed by the constraints of her class or gender. There is an oft-repeated speculation that West With the Night wasn’t written by Markham but by her third husband, Raoul Schumacher. In fact, she had already delivered the bulk of the manuscript before the two met. But a comment Schumacher made in anger to a friend when their relationship was on the skids, that Markham had written “not one damned word” of the book, has outlasted any refutations. West With the Night is a rare reading experience – a kind of magic carpet that bears you away to Africa. The prose is fresh and unrestricted, the adventures exciting, and the point of view original. That Markham would be stripped of authorship because the world didn’t quite know what to make of her seems unconscionable. She had more courage than reputation in the end, but the book deserves its place, and her life demands another look.
 Paula McLain’s novel Circling the Sun is published by Virago this month.





Friday, August 21, 2015

Bukowski on Writing

Bukowski on Writing, True Art, and the Courage to Create Outside Society’s Forms of Approval

“Art is its own excuse, and it’s either Art or it’s something else. It’s either a poem or a piece of cheese.”
“There are contradictory impulses in everything,”Susan Sontag observed in lamenting how our inability to sit with duality makes us fall into perilous polarities. Few creators exorcised those contradictory impulses more intensely than Charles Bukowski (August 16, 1920–March 9, 1994) — a writer of uncommon attentiveness to the rawness of life, to both its pain and its beauty, with an unselfconscious capacity for sincerity, a crazy daily routine, and zero tolerance for creative pretensions. His enormous inner tumult and strong opinions often came off as bitterness, but he was at heart far from embittered, always in self-conscious — and sometimes self-destructive — search for that which nourishes the spirit. Unifying all of his writing — his poetry, his prose, his correspondence — is an electrifying and unapologetic aliveness.
On Writing (public library), edited by Abel DeBritto, collects Bukowski’s thoughts on the craft — sometimes wild, often wise, always impassioned to a point of ferocity — culled from his prolific letters to friends and comrades on the trying yet tremendously rewarding creative path.
The question of what poetry is and isn’t has been addressed by some of humanity’s greatest poets, from Wordsworth to Elizabeth Alexander. But in a 1959 letter to his friend Anthony Linick, 29-year-old Bukowski argues that the only thing of importance when it comes to poetry is not what it is but that it is — a notion that gets at the heart of all great art:

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Vladimir Nabokov’s Passionate Love Letters to Véra and His Affectionate Bestiary of Nicknames for Her

Vladimir Nabokov’s Passionate Love Letters 
to Véra and His Affectionate Bestiary of Nicknames for Her


by Maria Popova
“You are the only person I can talk with about the shade of a cloud, about the song of a thought…”
Long before Vladimir Nabokov became a sage of literature, Russia’s most prominent literary émigré, and a man of widely revered strong opinions, the most important event of his life took place: 24-year-old Vladimir met 21-year-old Véra. She would come to be not only his great love and wife for the remaining half century of his life, but also one of creative history’s greatest sidekicks by acting as Nabokov’s editor, assistant, administrator, agent, archivist, chauffeur, researcher, stenographer in four languages, and even his bodyguard, famously carrying a small pistol in her purse to protect her husband from assassination after he became America’s most famous and most scandalous living author.
So taken was Vladimir with Véra’s fierce intellect, her independence, her sense of humor, and her love of literature — she had been following his work and clipping his poems since she was nineteen and he twenty-two — that he wrote his first poem for her after having spent mere hours in her company. But nowhere did his all-consuming love and ebullient passion unfold with more mesmerism than in his letters to her, which he began writing the day after they met and continued until his final hours. They are now collected in the magnificent tome Letters to Véra (public library) — a lifetime of spectacular contributions to the canon of literary history’s greatest love letters, with intensity and beauty of language rivaled only, perhaps, by the letters of Vita Sackville-West and Violet Trefusis and those of Frida Kahlo to Diego Rivera.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Oscar Wilde’s Stirring Love Letters to Lord Alfred “Bosie” Douglas

Oscar Wilde
Oscar Wilde’s Stirring Love Letters 

to Lord Alfred “Bosie” Douglas
by Maria Popova
“It is a marvel that those red rose-leaf lips of yours should be made no less for the madness of music and song than for the madness of kissing.”
As we make historic progress on the dignity and equality of human love, it’s hard to forget the enormous indignities to which the lovers of yore have been subjected across the 4,000-year history of persecuting desire. Among modernity’s most tragic victims of our shameful past is Oscar Wilde, who was imprisoned multiple times for his “crime” of homosexuality, run into bankruptcy and exile, and fell to an untimely death. But Wilde’s most “sinful” quality — his enormous capacity for passionate, profound love — was also one of the most poetic gifts of his life.
In June of 1891, Wilde met Lord Alfred “Bosie” Douglas, a 21-year-old Oxford undergraduate and talented poet, who would come to be the author’s own Dorian Gray — his literary muse, his evil genius, his restless lover. It was during the course of their affair that Wilde wrote Saloméand the four great plays which to this day endure as the cornerstones of his legacy. Their correspondence, collected Oscar Wilde: A Life in Letters (public library), makes for an infinitely inspired addition to the most beautiful love letters exchanged between history’s greatest creative and intellectual power couples, including Frida Kahlo and Diego RiveraVirginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-WestGeorgia O’Keeffe and Alfred StieglitzCharles and Ray Eames,Henry Miller and Anaïs Nin, and Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir.
In a letter penned on a cold Oxford day in November of 1892, Wilde writes Douglas:
Dearest Bosie … I should awfully like to go away with you somewhere where it is hot and coloured.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Frida Kahlo’s Passionate Hand-Written Love Letters to Diego Rivera

Frida Kahlo’s Passionate Hand-Written Love Letters to Diego Rivera
by Maria Popova
“Only one mountain can know the core of another mountain.”
Mexican painter and reconstructionist Frida Kahlo is among the most remarkable figures of contemporary culture. At a young age, she contracted polio, which left her right leg underdeveloped — an imperfection she’d later come to disguise with her famous colorful skirts. A decade later, as one of only thirty-five female students at Mexico’s prestigious Preparatoria school, she was in a serious traffic accident, which resulted in multiple body fractures and internal lesions inflicted by an iron rod that had pierced her stomach and uterus. It took her three months in full-body cast to recover and though she eventually willed her way to walking again, she spent the rest of her life battling frequent relapses of extreme pain and enduring frequent hospital visits, including more than thirty operations. As a way of occupying herself while bedridden, Kahlo made her first strides in painting — then went on to become one of the most influential painters in modern art.
Two years after the accident, in 1927, she met the painter Diego Rivera, whose work she’d come to admire and who became her mentor. In 1929, despite the vocal protestations of Kahlo’s mother, Frida and Diego were wedded and one of art history’s most notoriously tumultuous marriages commenced. Both had multiple affairs, the most notable of which for bisexual Kahlo were with French singer, dancer, and actress Josephine Baker and Russian Marxist theorist Leon Trotsky. And yet her bond with Diego was one of transcendental passion and immense love.
Kahlo’s love letters to Rivera, found in The Diary of Frida Kahlo: An Intimate Self-Portrait (public library) and stretching across the twenty-seven-year span of their relationship, bespeak the profound and abiding connection the two shared, brimming with the seething cauldron of emotion with which all fully inhabited love is filled: elation, anguish, devotion, desire, longing, joy. In their breathless intensity, they soar in the same stratosphere of love letters as those exchanged between Georgia O’Keeffe and Alfred StieglitzAnaïs Nin and Henry Miller, and Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West.
Truth is, so great, that I wouldn’t like to speak, or sleep, or listen, or love. To feel myself trapped, with no fear of blood, outside time and magic, within your own fear, and your great anguish, and within the very beating of your heart. All this madness, if I asked it of you, I know, in your silence, there would be only confusion. I ask you for violence, in the nonsense, and you, you give me grace, your light and your warmth. I’d like to paint you, but there are no colors, because there are so many, in my confusion, the tangible form of my great love.