Fact: Most artists have posses. Salvador Dalí had Man Ray and Brassaï, among others. Andy Warhol had Edie Sedgwick and Freddie Herko, among others. Pr...moreFact: Most artists have posses. Salvador Dalí had Man Ray and Brassaï, among others. Andy Warhol had Edie Sedgwick and Freddie Herko, among others. Presently, Scott MacLeod has Peter Ganick, Andrew Topel, Jukka-Pekka Kervinen, Sheila E. Murphy, and Jim Leftwich, among others... So no one would suspect a man who now associates himself with such syntax-butchers and visual poets of the literary world to ever have hit the streets with his primarily abstract, experimental mindset of creation, right? Well, it just so happens that theater and performance art greatly compose MacLeod's past(, present, and future) as a creative entity, and "Text As Entertainment" is the proof.
Cataloging numerous selected scripts and outlines from 1982 to 2008, this book serves partly as the personal history behind one of America's most underrated playwrights and performers, and partly as a rich archive of the person's body of work. Traces of influence from Beckett and the Theater of the Absurd are easily recognizable throughout, each individual play or performance piece expressing a similar fusion of tragedy and hilarity in its own unique scattering of light and essence, and always with little to no explanation. My own observation is that several of these scripts contain tales of deterioration and denouement: "The Drunken Jungle" follows three people as they detach from sanity in a devouring setting fit for Joseph Conrad. "Necromancy" may be the only fictional take on patriarchy that I haven't found somehow tired, but dangerously fresh instead. A personal favorite without any doubt would be "Road Kill," a powerfully nihilistic, transgressive crusade against the death of sexuality that had come with the AIDS crisis. Also contained within this anthology is one of the most perfect lines I may ever read: "Without Scheherazade, James Joyce and Stephen King would be clerks in the livestock department."
Strangely enough, "Text As Entertainment" is a self-published collection, though it certainly carries enough merit to be more officially distributed. Nonetheless, there are the occasional typos that inevitably result from self-editing, so if you are unlike myself and you cannot handle even the most mild spelling error, I...encourage you to read MacLeod's scripts and commentaries anyway. I strongly hope that a second anthology will be published in the future, for MacLeod still in fact has plenty of pieces eligible for archiving, such as the immensely sad "A Violin in this Dark Shed."(less)
When it comes to most types of flash fiction, there is no completely solid, concrete word-limit. General microfiction is usually coined at approximate...moreWhen it comes to most types of flash fiction, there is no completely solid, concrete word-limit. General microfiction is usually coined at approximately 300-1000 words, whereas nanofiction tends to be at most 50 words. However, this book contains nanodrama, not nanofiction, just as the title bluntly suggests. Much like nanofiction, nanodrama is "characterized by its extreme brevity," and the concept seems like yet another illustrious, promising literary experiment from Nigel Tomm, but...these dramas are not without flaw.
Since there is no precise limitation, Tomm has set the length of his own nanodramas to be between 0 and 19 words. Nothing is necessarily wrong with such a decision to define "extreme brevity" to the fullest extent (after all, the author has indeed been known to defy basic normalities and constricting constructs of literature), but it is this drastic limit that strips these nanodramas of significant, if not vital, dramatic elements. Of these 119 presented works, a mere four of them at all expand beyond breakneck dialogue between two (sometimes three) characters. I have always admired Nigel Tomm for his relentless bending and breaking of the rules, but with this publication, I couldn't help but wonder where the setting or the description or the action or the development was. There is a reason why most nanofiction falls between 50 and 55 words long...
At the opposite end of the spectrum, however, the brevity of these dramas could be more enhancing than one would think. "Despite their briefness, they nonetheless manage to fully convey themes, ideas and conflict." Many pieces of the puzzle may indeed be missing with each nanodrama, but the drama is still there--in disjointed fragments and broken shards. A nanosecond is one component of a second, so perhaps these nanodramas are merely selected specks from much more vast unwritten dramas. On every page is a couple of characters and sentences that could begin a play, end a play, or even bring a play to intermission, and in this sense, the collection is dramatic.
It is essential to weigh the positive and the negative when reading "Nanodrama Not Nanofiction" because so much is improper and absent and simultaneously so much is provocative and affecting. A bit too much may be left for inferring or implying or assuming, but these nanodramas (even the two that are zero words long) do still tell tales of heartache, love, confusion, identity, existentialism, carelessness, tragedy, friendship, and more.(less)
I have spent months upon end pondering how I would ever be able to pay this novel fair tribute with my Goodreads review of it. Still, I wonder, "Is th...moreI have spent months upon end pondering how I would ever be able to pay this novel fair tribute with my Goodreads review of it. Still, I wonder, "Is there any possible way to truly convey this literary (anti)masterpiece and its offer of an unparalleled trek which not only defines what it means to be termed as 'magical realism' but also depicts everyday people within everyday life in order to mystically, ordinarily, challengingly, simply, cheerfully, gloomily, intellectually, densely, deeply, lightly, darkly, brightly, brilliantly, foolishly, dramatically, comically, slowly, speedily, artistically, politically, abstractly, commonly, increasingly, decreasingly, inevitably, and illegibly present the 'odyssey' of phonetics and society as a whole?' Probably not, but I am willing to at least display a few of my thoughts and opinions.
"Ulysses" is not merely a great novel; it is the novel. Though its primary language is English (usually of some form or another), each episode contains a bit of Joyce's take on all tongues, celebrating the majesty of language in general. Certain misadventures of Leopold Bloom and/or Stephen Dedalus cycle through various evolutions of grammatical and composite structures, showing even before "Finnegans Wake" just how hooked on phonics Joyce had been. "Ulysses" presents the necessity of communication within this everyday life, and how, without it, we would be socially hopeless.
The novel is also simultaneously the greatest character study ever written. These modern-day Greek heroes and demigods of life are exposed at both their barest minimums (defecating, masturbating, copulating, longing, regretting, sobbing, drinking, stumbling, mumbling, urinating) and their deepest interiors (philosophizing, declaring, dreaming, wishing, shattering, escaping, writing, reciting, climbing, falling). Their actions and reactions, whether real or imaginary, remarkably parallel the reader's own experience due to Joyce's delightfully precise writing style. Whenever a character is tired, the narrative is intended to weigh down the reader's eyelids. Whenever a character is horny, the narrative is intended to arouse the reader's sense of eroticism. Whenever a character is drunken, the narrative is intended to stupefy the reader's natural perception. In comparison to "Ulysses," no other novel is more personal, all the while also remaining wisely distant with its profound mythological, illogical, otherworldly exclamations.
I could go on for years, but in short, and contrary to popular opinion, life is too short not to read, taste, touch, feel, witness, and experience James Joyce's "Ulysses."(less)
"The book is called, 'A Crackup at the Race Riots.' Harmony Korine wrote it, although he can't really recommend it." -- David Letterman
To me, there is...more"The book is called, 'A Crackup at the Race Riots.' Harmony Korine wrote it, although he can't really recommend it." -- David Letterman
To me, there is something majestically and inarguably captivating about this first novel from the so-called "enfant terrible" of dramatic independent film. Its synopsis states clearly that no plot, linear narrative, character development, or scene setting exists. Everything is somehow connected though, as each and every page investigates and/or muses upon the fractured leftovers of everywhere and everyone on this planet. Korine perfectly presents "a novel setting about the bastard wisher" with a pure, refined combination of pulchritude and putridity. Throughout his entire career, Harmony Korine has managed to turn the beautiful and the ugly into each other simultaneously, thus, allowing those who willingly acknowledge his work to possibly find some sort of new meaning within life. I personally believe that pages 6 and 175 serve as bookends that connect and complete all that lies between them. T.S. Eliot's words accidentally anthropologically endorse Korine both as a novelist and as a person. The paragraph of text that ends the book serves a very similar purpose. Most people have deemed "A Crackup at the Race Riots" as a literary companion piece to "Gummo," but moreover, this novel is actually a companion piece to everything that Harmony Korine has created (or destroyed).
My only possible complaint would be that the book may end up being read with lightning-speed by any diehard fan of the author. Otherwise, "A Crackup at the Race Riots" is an essential collection for those who either appreciate or despise how Korine has developed an ultimate portrait of omnipresence.(less)
Everybody knows that J.D. Salinger has banned anyone from adapting "The Catcher in the Rye" into a movie. Nigel Tomm has ignored this proclamation tho...moreEverybody knows that J.D. Salinger has banned anyone from adapting "The Catcher in the Rye" into a movie. Nigel Tomm has ignored this proclamation though. His film adaptation of the novel is tagged with the brief description, "This is 75 minutes and 6 seconds of pure blue screen. Nothing less and nothing more." After learning about similar film adaptations, I discovered that this Nigel Tomm is an author as well as a filmmaker. Having enough interest, I purchased this book, pursuing it to be the best starter collection to his literature. Luckily, I made the right decision after all.
First is "Shakespeare's Sonnets Remixed," a vast series of free-verse poems that presents an e.e. cummings approach to the otherwise trite and boring sonnets from the trite and boring William Shakespeare. Oftentimes these remixed sonnets will require a few repeated readings in order for the most clear of possible meanings to shine. I believe that they work for that reason though. Poetry ought to be a free yet complex expression of ideology or emotion, and its readers should not always need to dissect prosody if they want to find the most meaning. The introduction to this book (with the longest title ever) presents that Nigel Tomm is truly a legit poet. Apparently, he did not want these sonnets to be published and sold at first. I can't imagine what his reasoning had been, since "Shakespeare's Sonnets Remixed" is an absolute literary treasure.
Next is "Shakespeare's Hamlet Remixed," a much more inventive and challenging prose selection. This is not traditional prose or drama at all. It is more accurately a puzzle of fragmented thoughts that string together in order to form loose yet comprehensible images and ideas. There is no precise grammar nor punctuation, but otherwise the novel would not work to its full potential. As someone who has read the original Shakespearean "Hamlet," I was delighted by certain grainy scenes such as Hamlet placing an electronic head onto a table. Also, the death of Polonius will never be written more vividly than how it is written in "Shakespeare's Hamlet Remixed."
The third selected work is "Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet Remixed," which I personally believe is the highlight of the collection. This novel tests the reader instantly with a period after every one to five words. For those of you like me who need to place a mental pause with each period, the flow will seem a bit too abrupt at first. Further into the novel, the pace should quicken though. Unlike "Shakespeare's Hamlet Remixed," this selection actually has a less figurative plot. It is not solely philosophical, though it does maintain an avantgarde/absurdist style. "Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet Remixed" paints the story of a play within a play within a play. The outside narrator is an inside character, and the reader is involved into the actual plot as well. Each character has an ability to transcend and distort reality, forcing him or her to be an actor at one moment and a role at the next. (clown may be one of my favorite characters from any book I've ever read.) Everything that happens is supposed to be a symbol of love somehow, which may be a satirical insult to how flowery Shakespeare was. I would believe it.
Overall, "Selected Works of Nigel Tomm..." is absolutely fantastic and unique. His works are not for everyone, of course. I love Nigel Tomm because whatever he does is deemed as either "brilliant" or "retarded," and there can be no other adjectives to use. I myself am choosing the former.(less)
There is a somehow hypnotic and projective quality about all of Harmony Korine's works. What is presented never ceases to be both stunningly beautiful...moreThere is a somehow hypnotic and projective quality about all of Harmony Korine's works. What is presented never ceases to be both stunningly beautiful and unbearably ugly simultaneously. "Gummo" is currently my overall favorite film for a nearly infinite number of reasons. One of these reasons is that every scene has the potential to be picked apart and/or pieced together literally and symbolically. Another reason is that the film succeeds radiantly at inventing and presenting a world that is both 100% realistic and entirely dreamlike. I had originally purchased this book mainly to read the original screenplay for "Gummo." I have found that the other two screenplays, "Jokes" and "julien donkey-boy" are nearly just as riveting. The transcript of "julien donkey-boy" that concludes the collection does not serve much justice to the film. (It is widely believed that the transcript was not even written by Korine.) Otherwise, this is a marvelous treasure for any fan or enemy of Korine's films. I do recommend watching the actual movies beforehand (sans "Jokes," which was never completed), but this is a must-read collection that helps to explore Harmony Korine's works further for all of his fans.(less)