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We all know I’m stalking Alec Baldwin, but what we don’t all know (or didn’t know) is that I’ve been stalking novelist Peter Matthiessen, too, in The Hamptons. My eyes lit up when I first saw him about six years ago at the Elaine Benson Gallery in Bridgehampton, NY at one of those pay-$25-and-meet-the-author get togethers. It was a really crowded event with the authors sitting behind long tables with tidy stacks of books and the public lined up three deep to get autographed copies of books written by the best selling authors.
When someone pointed out Peter Matthiessen among the authors, I was beside myself, desperate to tell him how much I liked his trilogy, how I couldn’t put down Killing Mr. Watson (1990) and how I had been breathless to get hold of Lost Man’s River (1997) and Bone by Bone (1999) to find out what had happened to Watson’s children. But I couldn’t get close to Matthiessen because he was completely swamped by people jockeying for position in front of his table. A lot of chitchat was going on, but no one was mentioning his fabulous trilogy. I began to elbow people out of the way until I was standing directly in front of him. When I got my opportunity I smiled and said, “I see a freshly painted, stark white house in the middle of the Florida Everglades.” Matthiessen stood up (he’s very tall), smiled charmingly and said, “Killing Mr. Watson.”
His original manuscript of 1500 pages was divided into the three volumes that have now been recombined and condensed into Shadow Country. Is Shadow Country a better read than the original separate volumes? You’ll have to be the judge because I’m happy with the three separate volumes.
Holiday Panic on Wall Street! There’s no Better Corporate Holiday Gift than the #1 Best Selling Book, The Cure for Jet Lag, to Prevent the Corporate Jetsetter’s #1 ComplaintFriday, October 31st, 2008
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2008 Hamptons International Film Festival Blows into East Hampton, NY. ATM Machines Run Dry. Alec Baldwin Sighted!Sunday, October 26th, 2008
They poured down RT 27 East in cars, tumbled off the Hampton Jitney and Hampton Luxury Liner buses and disgorged from MTA Long Island Rail Road double-decker trains that ripped past crawling commuter traffic exiting New York City on the Long Island Expressway. Directors, actors, screenwriters, film critics, film lovers, all gaining momentum and numbers as the weekend approached. By Saturday they were everywhere, overrunning the luxury-store-studded sidewalks, cramming into the local Starbuck’s, and queuing up for the lip smackin’ good, international smorgasbord of films.
Luckily, I was able to be in East Hampton for opening night, Wednesday, October 15th, when the Hamptons International Film Festival actually began. My ticket in hand and press pass dangling from around my neck, I stood gamely in the suddenly bone chilling cold in the ticket holders’ line at 7 PM waiting to see the festival’s opening “Spotlight” film and grousing with other ticket holders about the low-slung, nearly-impossible-to-get-out-of Porsche sporting a handicapped sign and parked right in front of the movie theater.
Gentlemen, Start Your Movies!
Oh, no. Not again. Another aging author uses writing a book as an excuse to enter the world of the sex-trade and pornography. Gay Talese did at age 49 in 1981 when he wrote the nonfiction book Honor Thy Neighbor’s Wife, and proceeded to spend nine, count ‘em, years researching massage parlors, strip clubs, and sex shows, sometimes with his clothes on. I remember reading the book and wondering what his wife was thinking at the time.
John Irving did it at age 56 in 1998 when he had to research Amsterdam’s Red Light District, with its tattoo parlors, window parlors, brothels and sex shops, all of course in support of the main character in Widow for a Year, Ruth Cole, who is doing research on prostitutes in Amsterdam’s Red Light District. She finds herself hiding in a closet and witnessing the murder of a prostitute by the prostitute’s client.
Harold Pinter’s The Homecoming is the kind of play for which you would do well to prepare yourself. This is no fluff ball diversion for the brain-dead like David Mamet’s November, nor a multi-generational tragicomedy with a pill-popping Mama stumbling down the staircase like playwright Tracy Letts’ August: Osage Country. You shouldn’t just ride in from out of town on the Long Island Railroad or Metro North thinking you are going have an evening of light entertainment on Broadway that will make for charming, intelligent, cocktail party-speak in the “burbs.” No, not with this play. Know what you are getting yourself into: The Homecoming is a lethal, haunting drama about familial one-upmanship, seduction, lust and betrayal.
“Let me outta here!”
That’s what Rose, played by long-legged Eve Best, should be screaming at the top of her lungs in this revival of Pinter’s 1965 play at The Cort Theater. Rose is the wife of one of three grown brothers played by James Frain, Raul Esparza, and Gareth Saxe. As the play begins, she’s just being introduced for the first time, after eight years of marriage, to her in-laws—a creepy bunch that would make the hairs on the back of the neck of any woman stand up. The father, played by Ian McShane, should have put at least two of his miserable whelps in a burlap bag, dropped them into the nearest river, and then, if there were any justice in this life at all, fallen in after them.
I have seen the future and it is the end of “Used & New” purchases on amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com.
I feel it. I sense it. I know it.
All it took was for me to activate my new Kindle and download Jeannette Wall’s The Glass Castle for $7.99 and have it delivered digitally in 60 seconds, count ‘em, from Amazon for me to hear the death knell for all those subterranean, bottom feeder, entrepreneurial booksellers online who have been making money by reselling advanced reader copies, tag sale finds, and entire inventories passed to them out the back door of warehouses. And I say this as a book purchaser who always prefers to pluck books from the “Used & New” option online.
So if you visualize me now, aprčs Christmas and my Capricorn birthday, see me in your mind’s eye as sitting in front of the computer, cute new wool socks on (thank you!); wearing a new red beret and red leather gloves (thank you!); resting a coffee cup on a stack of “wish list” new books that includes Thomas McGuane’s Gallatin Canyon, Marisha Pessl’s Special Topics in Calamity Physics, William Trevor’s Cheating at Canasta (thank you, thank you, thank you), about to switch on my birthday Kindle and place another order (THANK YOU!).
Nathan Lane Goes Straight. Laurie Metcalf Goes Crooked. Dylan Baker Comes Down From the Mountain. David Mamet’s play “November” Might be a Turkey!Friday, December 21st, 2007
What a comedy! Nathan Lane as the President of the United States cum extortionist. Laugh a minute.
November, written by David Mamet, author, essayist, screenwriter, film director and, for the past few years, cartoonist, opened last night in previews at the Ethel Barrymoore Theatre in New York City. There I was, hunkered down in a $98.00 aisle seat (for a “f”ing preview, as Mamet might put it) in the second-to-last row, orchestra, next to someone whom I didn’t know and who, thank goodness, displayed exceptional taste by joining me in never laughing. “Maybe all these hyenas are ringers and/or friends of the playwright,” mused I, under my breath.
I think I “get” that the play was very tongue-in-cheek. After all, Playbill, which listed all the major players in November and their credentials, described Mamet as being “better known as a cartoonist.” Frankly, I found it painful and embarrassing as, yes, an American, to watch my president, Charles H.B Smith, being portrayed as such an ignoramus and so…venal.
Yet, people laughed. Hahahahahaha. Guffaw. Guffaw. Guffaw. Slap that knee!
Judith Regan, Editor, & Bernard Kerik, Author, and the Case of the Missing Red Garter Belt. It’s All About the Thread Count.Sunday, November 25th, 2007
I’m all for illicit affairs in the office. To my mind, the more, the better. Sub rosa relationships just make going to work so much more fun. Not only do people take more pains with their appearance, but you can count on them to have upgraded their underwear. (Oh, my God, I can’t let him see me in the floral cotton panties up to my armpits! Oh, my God, I can’t let her see me in these sagged out, skid-marked skivvies.)
What gives me pause about the revelation that the notorious Judith Regan and macho-man Bernard Kerik had a smoochfest in an apartment overlooking Ground Zero for three months in the winter of 2001 is NOT that he was her oft- and currently-married lovebird (hey, that’s the third wife’s problem, n’est-ce pas?), but when his autobiography, The Lost Son: A Life in Pursuit of Justice, was published, she had him under contract AND at the same time between the 200-thread-count sheets.
So You Think You’ve Got a Film-Worthy Book or Script. Wicked Witch of Publishing Sees 10 Films and 20+ Shorts at the Hamptons International Film Festival and Begs to Differ.Wednesday, October 24th, 2007
I know that every book and every screenplay exists because of an heroic and obsessive act of creativity. However, after spending four days last week turnstiling into and out of and back into the United Artists 6-Plex in East Hampton for the 15th Hamptons International Film Festival, I was scratching my head, wondering if a few of the filmmakers hadn’t wasted their time and everyone else’s.
Who in the world pulled Starting Out in the Evening from the bookshelf and deemed it worthy of a film? Did anyone take the time to get past the hype in Customer Reviews on Amazon and read some of the less than laudatory comments about Starting Out? “Not much happens.” “Brian Morton does not really tie up anything with his endings.” “…some of the individuals in the book seem put together in a piecemeal way.” “This book sat on my bookshelf for nearly five years….” (And perhaps, I might add, should have stayed there!)
And what depths of originality did the screenwriters plumb to come up with Rails & Ties, Four Minutes and AmericanEast?