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.

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.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Albert Einstein’s Love Letters

Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein’s Love Letters
“How was I able to live alone before, my little everything? Without you I lack self-confidence, passion for work, and enjoyment of life — in short, without you, my life is no life.”
Under the tyranny of our present productivity-fetishism, we measure the value of everything by the final product rather than by the richness of the process — its rewards, its stimulating challenges, the aliveness of presence with which we fill every moment of it. In contemporary culture, if a marriage ends in divorce — however many happy years it may have granted the couple, however many wonderful children it may have produced — we deem it a failed marriage. What is true on the scale of personal history is triply true on the scale of cultural history, and few public marriages have been subjected to a more unnuanced verdict than that of Albert Einstein and Mileva Marić. The twenty years between the time they met as first-year university students and the time of their final legal separation get compressed into one blunt word itself emptied of dimension: divorce. And yet those were the years in which Einstein did his most groundbreaking work, forever changing the course of modern science; years which produced the only progeny of the quintessential modern genius; years filled with enormous, all-consuming love, which comes to life in Albert Einstein / Mileva Marić: The Love Letters (public library) — a collection of fifty-four missives exchanged between the beginning of their romance in 1897 and their marriage in 1903.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Augusto Monterroso / Prince of Asturias Award for Literature 2000 / Speech

Augusto Monterroso


First and foremost, I wish to most courteously thank the honourable Jury who conferred the Prince of Asturias Award for Letters for the year 2000 on me. Without their kindness, not to say bravery, I would not be in a position that I am so proud to be in; nor would I be alongside such outstanding artists, men of science, dignitaries and academics from so many different countries who have also been conferred awards and whom I greet with admiration and respect.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Kafka’s Beautiful and Heartbreaking Love Letters

Franz Kafka
Poster by T.A.

Kafka’s Beautiful and Heartbreaking Love Letters
by Maria Popova
“I belong to you… But for this very reason I don’t want to know what you are wearing; it confuses me so much that I cannot deal with life.”
“Relationships are probably our greatest learning experiences,” a wise woman once said, echoing Rilke’s memorable proclamation that love is“perhaps the most difficult of all our tasks… the work for which all other work is but preparation.”When we fall in love, we are asked to rise to this task — a polarizing pull that stretches the psyche in opposite directions as we crave surrender and safety in equal measure.
The discomfort of this wildly disorienting bidirectional pull is what 29-year-old Franz Kafka articulated in a beautiful and heartbreaking letter to Felice Bauer, a marketing rep for a dictation machine company whom the young author had met at the home of his friend and future biographer Max Brod in August of 1912. Young Franz and Felice immediately began a correspondence of escalating intensity, with Kafka frequently exasperated — as was Vladimir Nabokov at the start of his lifelong romance with Véra — over his beloved’s infrequent and insufficiently romantic response. Over the five-year course of their turbulent, mostly epistolary relationship, they were engaged twice, even though they met in person only a few times. During that period, Kafka produced his most significant work, including The Metamorphosis. Five hundred of his letters survive and were posthumously published in the intensely rewarding and revelatory Letters to Felice (public library).

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The cult of Audrey Hepburn / How can anyone live up to that level of chic?

Audrey Hepburn age nine, taken by an unknown photographer in 1938.

The cult of Audrey Hepburn: how can anyone live up to that level of chic?

An exhibition of rare photographs of Audrey Hepburn reveals that even at the age of nine she knew how to work the camera. Bee Wilson celebrates the woman who set a new standard for style

Bee Wilson
Friday 19 June 2015 14.30 BST

Audrey Hepburn by Philippe Halsman for the cover of Life magazine, 18 July 1955.
Photograph: Philippe Halsman

The greatest film stars inspire certain labels that stick to them as surely and superficially as school nicknames. Marlon Brando is always a “screen legend”. Lauren Bacall is a “siren” and Montgomery Clift, a “heart-throb”. As for Audrey Hepburn, she was, and is, “iconic”: occasionally, an “icon of elegance”, sometimes a “style icon”, but mostly, just plain “icon”.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Dutch teenager dies bungee jumping in Cantabria

The bridge in Granada province where a Briton died bungee jumping in June.

Dutch teenager dies bungee jumping 

in Cantabria

The 17-year-old is the second tourist to die taking part in the activity in Spain this year

Audrey Hepburn / Portraits of an Icon at the National Portrait Gallery

Audrey Hepburn by Anthony Beauchamp.


Audrey Hepburn: 

Portraits of an Icon 

at the National Portrait Gallery

From the personal collections of Audrey Hepburn’s sons Sean Hepburn Ferrer and Luca Dotti comes Audrey Hepburn: Portraits of an Icon, an exhibition of 35 photographs of the actress. Including pictures taken when Hepburn was nine years old, to portraits by giants of the medium such as Cecil Beaton, Angus McBean and Terry O’Neill, the exhibition documents the star’s life. Some of these pieces are well-known vintage magazine covers and famous fashion shoots; others have never been seen in the UK. 

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Audrey Hepburn / Portraits of an Icon

audrey by douglas kirkland

Audrey Hepburn: Portraits of an Icon review – beautiful, but unrevealing

By the age of nine, Hepburn had perfected her pose. But after gazing at her timeless beauty countless times, you are left wanting to see beneath the stylish facade

Paula Cocozza
Wednesday 1 July 2015 18.58 BST

Here is Audrey Hepburn as you might imagine her: shot in black and white, eyes full of secret dreams. Her features are a checklist of familiar Hepburn iconography. The edges of her smile taper to a dark smudge. She acknowledges the camera without facing it, and her cropped fringe gives a wide margin to a pair of fine brows. She is entirely recognisable from the images amassed at the peak of her career – and yet this Hepburn is only nine years old.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Martin Amis / Over-60 and under-appreciated

In the days when he was the hip young gun­slinger of British fiction, the Martin Amis interview tended to follow a certain form. This would involve tyro journalists – Amis wannabes for the most part – joining their subject at the snooker table or on the tennis court, where the author would go through his famously competitive paces, presenting the journalist with the tricky dilemma of whether to throw the game and curry his favour, or beat him and risk his resentment.
But at 62, time and Amis’s recent relocation to New York have put something of a damper on his sporting enthusiasms. The pub and snooker evenings were long ago sacrificed to family life. And he no longer plays tennis.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Man of Steel / Alien, Yet Familiar

Alien, Yet Familiar

‘Man of Steel,’ Directed by Zack Snyder

Clay Enos/Warner Brothers Pictures

Henry Cavill stars as Superman in the new Warner Brothers movie, which will be released on June 14. 

By Dave Utzkoff
May 22, 2013

BURBANK, Calif. — In a dimly lighted editing suite here on the Warner Brothers lot, blinds drawn for maximum secrecy and walls decorated with signs and posters celebrating “Star Wars,” Indiana Jones and “Game of Thrones,” Zack Snyder was discussing his philosophy on the totemic character who arguably gave rise to every fantasy series of the last 75 years: Superman.