Ryan Gajewski reports: The heroes of Avengers: Age of Ultron won’t be assembling at a number of German theaters.
“We are worried, particularly about eastern Germany. When prices go up, then we have a serious problem that could force movie theaters to close.”
— Karl-Heinz Meier, spokesman for advocacy group I.G. Nord
Theaters in 193 small towns in Germany are refusing to screen the Marvel blockbuster, citing Disney‘s raised rental fee for the film, according to German publication Deutsche Welle. In total, the film is being kept from 686 screens.
Cinema owners told DW that they were taken aback when Disney announced it was upping the fee from 47.7 to 53 percent of ticket sales. Additionally, Disney is cutting its advertising spend and will not provide advances for 3D glasses. Read the rest of this entry »
Hillary Kelly writes: In 1847, an English cleaning woman was extremely excited to learn that the boy lodging in her employer’s house was “the son of the man that put together Dombey” — that is, the son of Charles Dickens. The woman could neither read nor write, but she lived above a snuff shop where, on the first Monday of every month, a community of friends would gather to read aloud the latest installment of “Dombey and Son,” which had begun serialization on Oct. 1, 1846. By that time, the monthly installments of Dickens’s novels — which started with “The Pickwick Papers” in 1836 — were such a staple of British culture that an illiterate woman with no access to the actual book knew the author’s work intimately.
“…the publishing industry is in the doldrums, yet the novel shows few signs of digging into its past and resurrecting the techniques that drove fans wild and juiced sales figures. The novel is now decidedly a single object, a mass entity packaged and moved as a whole.”
More than 150 years later, the publishing industry is in the doldrums, yet the novel shows few signs of digging into its past and resurrecting the techniques that drove fans wild and juiced sales figures. The novel is now decidedly a single object, a mass entity packaged and moved as a whole. That’s not, of course, a bad thing, but it does create a barrier to entry that the publishing world can’t seem to overcome. Meanwhile, consumers gladly gobble up other media in segments — whether it’s a “Walking Dead” episode, a series of Karl Ove Knausgaard ’s travelogues or a public-radio show (it’s called “Serial” for a reason, people) — so there’s reason to believe they would do the same with fiction. What the novel needs again is tension. And the best source for that tension is serialization.
“Since the loss of compelling plot is one of the things that readers most often complain of in the modern novel. it might be a salutary discipline for novelists to have to go back to Dickens, or even James, to learn how it’s done.”
— Critic Adam Kirsch
“The Pickwick Papers” wasn’t the original serialized novel — the format had existed for at least a century prior — but it was the work that truly popularized the form. The first installment had a print order of 1,000 copies; by the time the final entry was published, circulation had reached 40,000. Buoyed by the success of “Pickwick,” Dickens serialized his work for the rest of his career, and scores of other notable Victorian novelists joined the publishing craze. William Makepeace Thackeray’s “Vanity Fair,” Wilkie Collins’s “The Woman in White” and Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories all emerged as serials.
Old and new magazines, such as Blackwood’s and Household Words, competed for established and emerging voices. The constant influx of unresolved plots and elliptical section breaks stoked a fervor for fiction in Victorian England. It wasn’t until book production became cheap and easy, and new mediums such as radio arose to fill leisure time, that serialization slowly shriveled away.
“In many ways, the novel is already designed to be delivered in serial form: Chapters and section breaks bring full stops to the narrative, while flashbacks and shifts in perspective and narration create time and space for momentum to build.”
Why can’t the same techniques that once galvanized readers be revived? Today, when a novel is released, it relies on a series of tried (but not always true) advertising methods. The book is accompanied by a simplified synopsis targeting a specific audience, inflated with blurbs from “influencers” and dropped onto reviewers’ desks with the hope that enough serious critics will praise it that it will wriggle onto a prize list. Even greatness doesn’t always guarantee success. As the Telegraph noted in its look at “Why great novels don’t get noticed now ,” Samantha Harvey’s “Dear Thief” received universally glowing reviews — and sold only 1,000 copies in six months. Publishing houses have a brief window to push a work into the public’s consciousness. If the pilot doesn’t light, the novel doesn’t move. But with a constant stream of exposure over a period of six or 12 or 18 months, a novel would stand a far better chance of piquing the public’s interest. Read the rest of this entry »
Disney’s Tomorrowland comes to theaters May 22, 2015
Miles Davis autographed pic. Photo by Anton Corbijn
Harry Barton: The Squeeze, paperback cover, 1955
TOYOTA PRESENTS: Baseball Party!
[VIDEO] ‘Are we Promoting a Movie?’ Robert Downey Jr. Walks Out of ‘Avengers’ Interview After Being Asked about Politics, Drug AbusePosted: April 23, 2015
Kipp Jones writes: A routine interview conducted by Krishnan Guru-Murthy of Britain’s Channel 4 News turned anything but, after questions regarding the latest action thriller gravitated toward aspects of Downey Jr.’s personal life, including jail time for past drug convictions, the actor’s relationship with his father, and whether or not he is a “liberal.”
“I couldn’t even really tell you what a liberal is… Are we promoting a movie?”
Video of the encounter was posted on Twitter by Guru-Murthy, who describes the end of the interview as “a steely moment from Ironman.”
“I’m sorry, I, I really don’t — what are we doing? …It’s just getting a little Diane Sawyer in here.”
Things became uncomfortable after the reporter connected the actor’s real-life persona with that of his Iron Man character, Tony Stark. Guru-Murthy then quizzed Downey about a quote from an old New York Times interview. Read the rest of this entry »
Elahe Izadi writes: You know Mary Doyle Keefe, but maybe not by that name. In 1943, the then-19-year-old telephone operator had been called upon to provide a unique kind of service during the war effort: Become the face of dedicated patriotism from the home front.
“I didn’t think much about it, and I didn’t really see myself as some epitome of the modern woman. There was a war on, and you did what you could. And in a small town like Arlington, it was simply a matter of we knew he was a painter and asked a lot of people to come down to pose for his pictures.”
Norman Rockwell painted Keefe as “Rosie the Riveter,” an image that graced an iconic Saturday Evening Post cover and “became a symbol for millions of American women who went to work during World War II,” according to the Norman Rockwell Museum.
“I didn’t really make anything of it and didn’t really see it or realize what would happen to that picture until it came out.”
Keefe, 92, died in Connecticut this week after a brief illness, her family told the Associated Press on Wednesday.
How Keefe’s likeness came to be immortalized — and turned into a symbol of female independence — happened rather serendipitously. Rockwell and Keefe were neighbors in Arlington, Vt., and he often asked folks in the community to pose for his work.
“He liked to paint from photos, so his photographer took pictures of me, just posing me different ways and telling me to look this way or that.”
During a 2012 interview with the Hartford Courant, Keefe recalled how she returned for a second photo session because Rockwell asked her to model in a blue shirt and loafers. She was paid a total of $10.
“I don’t remember the photographer telling me to have any kind of attitude on my face, but I’m 90 and don’t remember.”
“He liked to paint from photos, so his photographer took pictures of me, just posing me different ways and telling me to look this way or that,” Keefe said. “I don’t remember the photographer telling me to have any kind of attitude on my face, but I’m 90 and don’t remember.”
The resulting image — of “Rosie” with a rivet gun on her lap, sandwich in hand and “Mein Kempf” beneath her feet — didn’t quite resemble the 19-year-old. Keefe, who told the Courant she had never even seen a rivet gun before, was petite, contrasting with Rosie’s large biceps, broad shoulders and large hands.
“Other than the red hair and my face, Norman Rockwell embellished Rosie’s body,” Keefe told the Courtant. “I was much smaller than that and did not know how he was going to make me look like that until I saw the finished painting.”
Rockwell sent Keefe a letter 24 years after completing the painting, apologizing for bulking her in size “and calling her the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen,” the AP reported. “I did have to make you into a sort of a giant,” he wrote. Read the rest of this entry »
Stories to Hold You Spellbound #4 (1952) cover detail by Russ Heath
Judith with the Head of Holofernes and Her Maidservant
Date painted: 1500/1559
Oil on panel, 33.5 x 27 cm
Collection: National Trust
Votive mask of the god of stoves (Kamadomen), Japan, Tohoku region, wood, 60 x 39 x 19 cm, Edo period, 18th to early 19th century, Japan