Beach Reads #5 (admittedly borrowed...)

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Billed as the British version of Oprah's Book Club, the vastly popular "Richard (Madeley) & Judy (Finnigan)" talk show has its very own RICHARD & JUDY'S SUMMER READ!.

The 2006 list is selected by Amanda Ross who is the joint managing director of Cactus TV, which produces the show, and was recently named the No. 1 most influential person in British publishing.

Instead of the authors or experts, a panel of celebrities is invited to discuss the books (only paperback titles are considered) on air. Richard & Judy are pleased that "The books are there to be read and enjoyed and talked about sensibly, not in the rarefied ways of a wine buff or a food critic, but in the way the rest of the world does".

Don't be surprised to find U.S. titles and some very familiar names, and what a great way to get to know new ones.

WebSpace: The Movies?

An article from Sunday's NY Times, "Hollywood Clicks on the Work of Web Auteurs," discusses the 11-minute online hit, MySpace: The Movie and the type of filmmaking fare the web is likely to spawn in the future. Times contributor Walter Kirn, author of the novel Thumbsucker, which was recently made into a feature film, makes the following comments: "The Net is a self-consciously anti-authoritarian audience. They are spit-ballers, defacers, vandals, skeptics. It's a class without a teacher. The movies that succeed on it will have those properties....The Net is going to unleash a hybrid talent and a hybrid sensibility. What it needs is an Orson Welles, an unclassifiable polymath...."

Into the Wild

Sean Penn is currently filming Jon Krakauer's Into the Wild (1996) about Chris McCandless' ill-fated Alaskan wilderness odyssey of 1992. Although the book is dramatic enough, it's unlikely Penn will spin off, as Krakauer does, into the intriguing stories of other fanatical adventurers--Everett Ruess, John Waterman, Gene Rosellini--who also ventured off into the wild full of ideals and hubris, never to return. Part cautionary tale, Krakauer also does his bit to counter those who would dismiss the bright, Tolstoy-quoting Jack London-loving McCandless as mere crackpot by setting him within the context of other intensely motivated nature lovers (John Muir, Henry David Thoreau) who also retreated from society into the seductive refuge of nature.

Artful Reading

May Ray, Ernst, Duchamp = DADA? Yes, but not quite the whole story.
Daughters of DADA at Francis M. Naumann Fine Art is currently showcasing the works of 6 DADA women artists, and “adds a crucial chapter to the current DADA exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art”, writes Holland Cotter, art reviewer of the New York Times.

Perhaps the most outrageous and original among them is the Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven. With her tin-can bra and shaved head, she treated her body as a living work of art, causing historians today to recognize her preeminence as America’s first performance artist.

Holy Skirts by Rene Steinke is a vivid imagining of Elsa’s story – from her days in Berlin’s seedy burlesques, her many marriages and affairs, to her life among the bohemia of Greenwich Village. Intelligent and sensual, this highy readable novel is a finalist of the 2005 National Book Award.

Pirates or Superheroes?

Who said the library isn’t hip and cool? We change with the times and have the perfect books to go along with the popular movies in the box office. Are you interested in getting clued in on insider information on Jack Sparrow and the Pirates of the Caribbean? Check out the Pirates of the Caribbean Visual Guide. If you are more of a superhero fan and camped outside to see the new superman movie, Superman Returns, you should spend time browsing the Superman graphic novels. So the question is: Who would win, Jack Sparrow or Superman, in a fight to the death?

A Pirate's Life For Me

If a sequel to the blockbuster Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl isn't enough (Pirates 2 opens next Friday), then avast ye, maties!: Pirates 3, currently filming, will include a cameo by Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards as Johnny Depp's father. Depp has acknowledged he based his Oscar-nominated and sequel-spinning role as pirate Captain Jack Sparrow on the legendary rhythm guitarist. And as if to prove his worthiness of the homage, Richards recently fell out of a palm tree and underwent skull surgery. Word is he's doing fine and apparently looking forward to filming in September--just in time for Talk Like a Pirate Day!.

Can your Tuba do this?

Flaming Tuba

David Silverman, director of the Simpsons, has created a sousaphone that spurts flames when you play it. Video

I wonder what Mr. Leach would say...
Via BoingBoing

Zaha Hadid at the Guggenheim

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Zaha Hadid is the first woman to be awarded the distinguished Pritzker Architecture Prize, in 2004. The Iraqi-born, London-based architect is internationally known for projects that have literally "shifted the geometry of buildings."

The current exhibition at the Guggenheim is a 30-year retrospective of her work in a wide range of mediums: paintings, sketches, architectural drawings, urban plans, models, relief models, animations, furniture, and design object. It opens today and runs through October 25th, 2006.
The exhibition catalog will be available soon but you can read up on Zaha Hadid in Zaha Hadid : Testing the Boundaries.

Summer's Most Magical Form of Transport: Books

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Looking for some great summer reading recommendations? You cannot go wrong with NPR’s Alan Cheuse. Here are the excerpts of some of the titles on his 2006 Summer Reading list.

Swell Books for Summer Loafing by Susan Stamberg is another source not to be missed. This morning I heard wonderful suggestions from three independent booksellers. My list is growing and I need to get a bigger beach bag!

And then there is the Talk of the Nation Summer Reading List.

Just to make sure you won’t run out of good reads this summer, we will soon be making some summer reading suggestions too in our Books Blog. Watch for them.

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