Drawing on the spiritual and intellectual habits of the Taliban, some American political and ministerial leaders have claimed it’s scientifically impossible to get pregnant if you’ve been legitimately raped. Since anyone who does get pregnant wasn’t raped but was actually just a slut, will these leaders soon be calling for the stoning of these women, but only after the innocent child is born?
The Oregon Cultural Trust supports more than 1,300 arts, heritage, and humanities organizations around the state. Thirty-one of those nonprofits are featured in Willamette Week’s 2011 Give Guide. Between now and year-end, we’ll feature many of them right here.
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Susan Orlean at home with her dog, Ivy. May 2, 2011.
He believed the dog was immortal. “There will always be a Rin Tin Tin,” Lee Duncan said, time and time again, to reporters, to visitors, to fan magazines, to neighbors, to family, to friends. At first this must have sounded absurd — just wishful thinking about the creature that had eased his loneliness and made him famous around the world. And yet, just as Lee promised, there has always been a Rin Tin Tin. The second Rin Tin Tin was not the talent his father was, but still, he was Rin Tin Tin, carrying on what the first dog had begun. After Run Tin Tin Jr. there was Rin Tin Tin III, and then another Rin Tin Tin after him, and then another, and then another: there has always been another. And Rin Tin Tin has always been more than a dog. He was also an idea and an ideal — a hero who was also a friend, a fighter who was also a caretaker, a mute genius, a companionable loner. He was one dog and many dogs, a real animal and an invented character, a pet as well as an international celebrity. He was born in 1918, and he never died.
— Susan Orlean, Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend (to be published in October)
Bob Dylan may have done the impossible: broken creative new ground in selling out.
The idea that the raspy troubadour of ’60s freedom anthems would go to a dictatorship and not sing those anthems is a whole new kind of sellout — even worse than Beyoncé, Mariah and Usher collecting millions to croon to Qaddafi’s family, or Elton John raking in a fortune to serenade gay-bashers at Rush Limbaugh’s fourth wedding.
Before Dylan was allowed to have his first concert in China on Wednesday at the Worker’s Gymnasium in Beijing, he ignored his own warning in “Subterranean Homesick Blues” — “Better stay away from those that carry around a fire hose” — and let the government pre-approve his set.
— Maureen Dowd, the New York Times (April 9, 2011)
I have no idea what Bob Dylan thinks about playing in China.
But China’s not likely to change in Dylan’s lifetime, certainly not before he’s too old to travel across the planet and ably perform there. The man is one month shy of seventy. If I’m him, I might want to put on a concert for my fans before I die.
I might want to thank them in that way for listening though some or all of these years, for seeking my music out, despite the wishes of their government. And if I can’t play “Blowin’ in the Wind” because that same Chinese government forbids it, well maybe my catalog, after a half-century, can withstand their superficial culling.
That wouldn’t be giving up, and it wouldn’t be selling out. It would be further evidence of a dynamic, compassionate mind. Let go your fire hose, Maureen.
I have no idea what Bob Dylan thinks, but I’m inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt.
"This is the part I want you to know: That moment lives in my head, a thing with breath and blood. A present tense. An always—that sudden blossoming of grace and beauty and competence, all of it so unexpected, all of it so undeserved, and the feeling or knowledge or faith that somehow, someday, everything was going to be all right."
—Aryn Kyle, “Boys and Girls Like You and Me”
David Goodwillie and Aryn Kyle, in studio just now.
No time for much of a recap before I run off to their event at Powell’s. Let’s see, quickly:
The town of Peoria, Illinois, once celebrated Aryn Kyle Days. How many days, you are wondering? And why, exactly? Two. And it’s a long story.
David does this cool thing with a deck of cards when he’s shuffling. Aryn sucks at blackjack.
David did not grow up a woman from a military family in the rural South.
A big reason that Aryn kept her bookstore job for four years through college was her reluctance to work elsewhere and have to learn some new cash register system.
David drank coffee, Aryn white wine.
Camilla Lackberg, first guest at our new studio.
We loved Camilla and our new digs, both: win-win. SHE IS VERY KIND TO DOGS AND CATS, ReadRollShow’s resident pets want you to know.
By way of introduction: By age eleven, Camilla had read every Agatha Christie novel. She later went and earned an economics degree, got a job…and then, bored and uninspired, enrolled in a creative writing class.
Fast forward to 2011, she’s sold 7.5 million books in 45 countries.
Camilla is Swedish, but SHE CLAIMS (AND APPEARS) NOT TO HAVE BLONDE HAIR. Portland marks the 8th city on her first American book tour. Eight years after The Ice Princess introduced her to European readers, Free Press and Pegasus are bringing her books to the U.S.
"Did you get the memo that I only want the red M&M’s?" she asked this afternoon, via Twitter, before we’d met.
All of Camilla’s books are set in the seaside town where she grew up, Fjallbacka, population 1,000. Look at this picture and tell me you don’t want to visit (in summer).
I spent an inordinate portion of our interview soliciting travel tips.
Why had they allowed the facts of her pregnancy to become so thickly veiled in secret? Fathers died all the time.
Here’s a film still from a shoot that we staged yesterday for Sheepscot Creative’s latest book trailer. Annie Bardonski, the model, drove down from Longview, Washington, to stand in for Eliza, the female lead of Eleanor Henderson’s highly anticipated debut novel, Ten Thousand Saints.
Annie met us in a rundown building in Portland’s Eastside Industrial District, where we hoped to evoke an Alphabet City (NYC) apartment circa the late ’80s. The first sign that luck was on our side: On a cart piled high with empty packaging and broken drywall, we stumbled upon a dump-bound, vintage boombox that wound up tying our modest set together perfectly.
Ecco will publish Ten Thousand Saints on June 14th. The finished trailer will be online in early April.
“The nurse had wrapped my brother in a blue flannel blanket and was just about to hand him to his mother when she whispered, ‘Oh, God, there’s another one,’ and out I slid, half dead.”
— opening line to “The Years of My Birth” by Louise Erdrich, published in January 10th's New Yorker
“Out I slid.” I love that.
Sentence structure harmonics. Major and minor elements working in tandem. How the sentence begins with a wide shot of the room’s inhabitants before ultimately fixing on the narrator, its subject. The final clause like a minor variation, leading with “out” instead of “I,” withholding identification as long as possible. (Out I slid vs. I slid out.)
Simple and effective. We assume the speaker is an older sibling. The nurse says, “Oh, God,” and we think we’re ready for what’s coming. But we’re not. By the time the narrator comes forward, we’ve already empathized with the mother and boy, and somehow in doing so, in protecting ourselves against pain, we’ve made an outsider of this half-dead baby.
Heck of a productive sentence.
Spent the day driving back roads, shooting B-roll for the trailer to THE TERROR OF LIVING by Urban Waite.
There’s no waterfall in the book. I got distracted.
Stephen King calls Waite’s debut “a hell of a good novel, relentlessly paced and beautifully narrated.” I’ve read it twice and thought it kicked ass both times. Came home Sunday from vacation to see that Michael Koryta recommends it in the new Entertainment Weekly. (Sorry, couldn’t find the link.) It pubs in early February from Little, Brown — a strong start to a lasting career, methinks.
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Three great new books, by three great authors at the top of their game:
The Round House by Louise Erdrich.
A story about the book industry I would actually like to read
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“You will become way less concerned with what other people think of you when you realize how seldom they do.”— David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest
Here is my space. It’s also a closet, though it does have a window. I look out of the window often, and have relationships with...