Thursday, January 22, 2015

Revisiting: Little Gems of Focus

I recently revisted David Foster Wallace's book of essays A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again: Essays and Arguments to re-read the essay he wrote called David Lynch Keeps His Head, about hanging out on the set of David Lynch's Lost Highway. It was such a pleasure to revisit it after having watched Twin Peaks. DFW, was a self-admitted Lynch freak, and this article is thoughtful, funny and pithy. He talks about more than just Lost Highway though -- pretty much his thoughts on Lynch's work in general. This essay was originally in an issue of Premiere in 1996. I also noticed it gets quoted a lot in other articles I stumble on, usually in reference to helping define what "Lynchian" actually means as an adjective (and I'm paraphrasing DFW here): macabre but mundane irony, a deconstruction of a weird 'irony of the banal.' One example he gives is in reference to serial killers: Dahmer storing body parts in the fridge next to chocolate milk, that's pretty Lynchian, but Ted Bundy, well, not so much.

Things I loved in the essay: 
-Lynch's work is not quite art film (as a viewer, DFW explains, with art films you pay to get in and have to do then do some intellectual work, essentially paying to have to work). But Lynch's films aren't quite commercial films either (as a viewer for commericall films, you pay once to get in but have an unspoken assumed contract with the filmmaker that the fee you paid to get in is the only "price" you pay; you don't have to do any work.) DFW speculates that Lynch belongs to a third class of filmmaking that is more about just getting "inside your head," (p. 171) or as British critic Paul Taylor says, Lynch's movies are "to be experienced rather than explained" (p. 170).  I agree with this. I think about many of the dream sequences in Twin Peaks and the argument I have heard many people make, that what is really being communicated is a mood. Or something. Something that comes to mind in regard to this point is that I saw the Chicago premier of the documentary film about Lynch's 16 city speaking tour entitled Meditation, Creativity, Peace. In it, a student told him that while watching Inland Empire that once they dimmed down their conscious mind always trying to make sense of the movie, that they felt like they intuitively understood it more, and Lynch agreed that that is the best way to understand his films. I have a hunch that other people who work with him would agree. In fact, off the top of my head I'm like 77% sure I read a quote from Twin Peaks co-creator Mark Frost (from Reflections: An Oral History of Twin Peaks by Brad Dukes), where Mark Frost said something to the effect that Lynch is the master of communicating a mood. However, I should point out that DFW does say on page 161 of this essay "Lynch seems to run into trouble only when his movies seem to the viewer to want to have a point -- i.e. when they set the viewer up to expect some kind of coherent connection between plot elements and then fail to deliver any such point." I have a hunch that that may have been a criticism of both Lost Highway and Mulholland Drive, but it probably depends on the person.

-this quote, which appropriately (and you will see why this is appropriate once you read this quote) can be used about art in general: "Art, after all, is supposed to be a kind of communication, and "personal expression" is cinematically interesting only to the extent that what's expressed finds and strikes chords within the viewer. The difference between experiencing art that succeeds as communication and art that doesn't is rather like the difference between being sexually intimate with a person and watching that person masturbate. In terms of literature, richly communicative Expressionism is epitomized by Kafka, bad and onanistic Expressionism by the average Graduate Writing Program avant-garde story." (p. 199) YESSSSSSSSSS. Like good art says something universal. Bad art is so specific to that person that it's uninterestingly embarrassing. Quirky is OK, but there has to be something universal being communicated in spite of it.

-the fact that Balthazar Getty is sort of a douche, illustrated with examples

I loved all the little crystalized gems of insight David Foster Wallace had about how to perceive Lynch's oeuvre, things that I realized I kind of had been chewing on in the back of my head too, and it was nice to see it honed into well-articulated crystals of logic and wit.

And the snarky stuff was good too, because being snarky can sometimes really just be a slightly higher IQ version of gossiping. Which, I, um, well, looooooooved.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Working Through Low-Rent Schizophrenic Narrative Trauma With Fellow Fans

So I read Blake Crouch's first book in the Wayward Pines series entitled Pines. I read it because people I know who were into Twin Peaks talked about the series in that tone of "If you're into TP, you'd be into this." So I thought I'd give it a try.

At first notice, yeah, it's pretty Twin Peaks-y. Initially anyway. Once I got passed the "secret service agent who loves coffee traveling to a town in the Pacific Northwest to investigate a case," the plotline pretty much departs from similarities to Twin Peaks, and becomes more The Prisoner meets Cabin In the Woods. There's a lot of bits to the effect of And then he crawled slowly through the heating duct and the angry mob chased him and he fought gravity and sluggishly moved his bloody foot forward business that made me wish I was watching it on something I could fast forward through, what with all the tense descriptive moments, like if Dickens wrote a full fledged horror novel, with a an excess of it to where I felt my eyelids drooping.

Enough  "trying to escape" action already! I wanted something that was more interesting, that would develop the story more then just "guy trying to outrun some crazy people." I know the big thing is "show don't tell" but the Hitchcockian tension bored me. How about we change the "Show don't tell" writing policy to "show but then also sometimes tell more stuff, hopefully a little more frequently"?

In fact, when I was done reading the book, my husband asked me what I thought, and I started complaining that there were too many of those then he wedged himself between the wall and the dumpster to hide type of scenes. I tried to act out what I meant to help illustrate my point and my husband said I sounded like a drooling caveman. I think that's a pretty good indication of the mood of some of the bigger chunks of the book. It moves slow, sort of like a drooling caveman at times, communicating very little other then "ME STRUGGLE." The big explanatory ending could have come a lot sooner. Yeah, yeah, I know you have to "earn" the big reveal but the journey at times kind of made me feel like I was pulling a bag of wet rocks uphill. This would have been more enjoyable to me as a novella instead of a 300 page book, but then apparently, I am a cave woman with a short attention span.

All of that being said, complaints aside, there are some really interesting developments in it that unfold and make it interesting that, I imagine, will be more interesting in later books in the series that I will get to eventually. I just well, SPOILERS, people.

I'm curious how it will translate to a TV experience. That is, because FOX is making a Wayward Pines TV show with Matt Dillon, and it seems like there seems to be some public cynicism about it being a Twin Peaks rip-off.
TOTALLY INTENTIONAL, right? Right? Please say it is intentional. Is this the part that's homage?

I don't want to be one of those people who's all WELL I READ THE BOOK THE SHOW IS BASED ON and but well, I did, and the second book is on deck. It wasn't until I got to the author's Afterward that I got some confirmation for his Twin Peaks love, which warmed my heart (and confirmed my suspician). He wrote about how Pines was inspired by his love for Twin Peaks, and it occurred to me that he probably intentionally put that at the end of the book instead of in a preface in the beginning. I assumed that he didn't want people cynically thinking he was ripping off Twin Peaks when they first cracked open the book, and somehow if they'd already read the book, the Afterward would illuminate the reading they already did instead of inform what experience they were supposed to have while reading it. He writes, regarding Twin Peaks:

"Shortly after the show was cancelled, I was so heartbroken I even tried to write its mythical third season, not for anyone but myself, just so I could continue the experience."

This is adorable to me, that Mr. Crouch was basically writing fan fiction to continue the series that aired when he was twelve. I loved that he did this. He did also say in the Afterward that it has taken twenty years to create something (this book) that makes him feel the way TP made him feel, and that though he doesn't want to suggest it's as good as TP, he did want to express how much the show inspired him and that it wouldn't exist if it weren't for TP. So I'd like to think Wayward Pines isn't a rip off of Twin Peaks, but neither is it a tribute to. I think it's enough just to say it's "inspired by." Nothing wrong with that. But I guess I'll have to read more books in the series and see how they make the show to really judge that. I reserve the right to change my mind but I want to give the benefit of the doubt, especially from one TP fan to another. Mr. Crouch also wrote, "They say all art-whether books, music, or visual-is a reaction to other art, and I believe that to be true." I also agree. This thought makes me feel better about the kind of creative stuff I do, which is essentially reacting to other people's work by sort of mentally chewing on it, which is a valid form of, well, art. The art of criticism.

There seem to be a lot of posts on the internet that imply that in making a Wayward Pines series, FOX is trying to capitalize on the success of shows like True Detective (which is actually on HBO). Sure, money moves a lot of the decisions made for television, but in terms of the artistic angle, it is really Twin Peaks that is the bigger influence. That is to say, Twin Peaks is the real historical influence on shows like True Detective here, just like the many of the obvious descendants of Twin Peaks that many people seem to agree that might never have existed if it weren't for TP (X-FilesLostNorthern Exposure, etc.).* Maybe FOX wants to "cash in" but I wonder how that matches up with the folks who actually write/direct/produce the show? Blake Crouch writer of the novels? M. Night Shyamalan who adapted it for TV? Creator Chad Hodge? Honestly, I ask these questions but truthfully, I don't really care. If I enjoy Wayward Pines as a TV show then I enjoy Wayward Pines as a TV show. All of that being said, I know how people are. They'll say "Oh, it's just a rip off of Twin Peaks" but then also watch it and secretly like it, the way you would if you like a certain band you probably like other bands that sound like it. So there's THAT.

More importantly, I totally understand Mr. Crouch's angle from his Afterward of wanting to relive the Twin Peaks experience so much that he created an addendum to it in order to continue capturing the magic of it. Trying to prolong the ending of that world one is immersed in is what fan fiction, Harry Potter amusement parks, comic cons and cosplay are all about, which is pretty awesome. Even though I came to Twin Peaks much later then Blake Crouch did, who watched it in its original run, I can understand what he means when he talks about the devastation he felt when the series ended. When I read that he felt devastated when Twin Peaks ended, it was like he read my mind. I too, was deeply shattered by the end of the show.

When I run into people who have seen Twin Peaks, I want to talk with them about it,** because I feel like I'm on an island with my thoughts about things that happened on the show as if they were real life events; I have a little bit of a PTSD thing going on, and I'm looking for someone to talk to about it, in a sort of therapy kind of a way. It's kind of a low-rent schizophrenia, a form of not being able to distinguish between fantasy and reality, but only on a purely emotional level. I feel a little bit like a victim of some kind of trauma, and then I'm relieved to meet someone else who went through what I went through. I just know they'll understand me! And that's what I feel like fan fiction or fan communities are -- (besides a way to continue on the narrative of a departed show) -- a support group for having gone through the trauma that is the internalization of the show's narrative. Not only was I traumatized by the events of the show, but then I was equally as traumatized just by the fact that the show ended, as we always are when a show you love ends, especially if you've been binging on it at once as I did on Netflix. It feels a little bit like being dumped. I think that's part of the appeal of conventions for things that have been cancelled, like Twin PeaksFirefly*** and so on. Sure, conventions are a place where you meet people who are into what you're into, but it's also a place where you meet people who have gone through the same sort of "narrative trauma" that you've gone through. You cannot imagine the exhilaration I felt when they made the big "we're making more Twin Peaks" announcement last year. Like many other fans, I felt "Maybe I'll get some closure!" I just hope nothing happens to me before they release it in 2016!

Some them footnotes from above:
*Would TP have existed if it weren't for The Prisoner?
**I've written a variation of this point in Xerography Debt before.
***Fans wrote letters about both TP and Firefly such that TP had a second season and Firefly made a movie! Right? I have my info on that right, internet? Correct me if I'm wrong (oh, I'm sure you will).

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Freudianily Surreal Small Screen Oddity

Watching the biopic Liz: The Elizabeth Taylor Story I couldn't help but freak my shit out a little bit watching Sherilyn Fenn (as Elizabeth Taylor) and Ray Wise (as Mike Todd) get lovey dovey alternating with going to fisticuffs, which until Mark Todd was killed in a plane crash they (Liz Taylor and Mark Todd) had a passionate marriage. The biopic was a Twin Peaks reunion, only MORE surreal. In Twin Peaks, Ray Wise played Sherilyn Fenn's father's attorney. And considering that there's all this weirdo daddy daughter stuff in Twin Peaks for multiple lady characters and their fathers, this seemed Freudianily creepy and poetic. It's possible that the significance of how surreal this is can maybe less impressive if you're less of a Peaks fan, but if you are, these images are super surreal. Although Fenn and Wise don't share an immense amount of screen time together in Twin Peaks, the fact that they're both is it makes these moments in the Liz Taylor biopic weird and awesome and kind of pop culture-y-mashy-uppy in a way that is always interesting to me.

Fenn (Taylor) & Wise (Todd) being lovey.

Fenn (Taylor) Wise (Todd) fisticuffs!
Peeled off by Debbie Reynolds (Judith Jones)!

...and back to lovey...

What I really wanted to find was Liz Taylor's reaction to Fenn playing her because she was still alive when the movie was made. I have seen the Lindsey Lohan Liz & Dick movie and was surprisingly touched by it. Yeah, yeah, kitsch kitsch rotten tomato and all that but whatever! I liked it. So sue me. I did see that there was another Liz Taylor biopic with Helena Bonham Carter on BBC4 from what looks like about a year-ish ago. I guess I will have to go watch that one too. It's not even like I'm a huge Liz Taylor fan though I do have an appreciation for her. I did read her book Liz Takes Off about weight loss, and let me tell you...the recipes are super gross! I only got it because I like a preposterous celeb autobio. But I liked all the memoir-y stuff in it. I have seen a number of her movies so I guess, well, I'm noticing that as I lay all this out, I'm realizing that I guess I kind of know a lot about her now. How did that happen? Oh I know! My sister-in-law did some video installation art performance thing where she appropriated pieces from a variety of Cleopatra performances from different movie versions of Cleopatra, including Taylor's. This got me on a Cleopatra roll, where I added a ton of Cleopatra movies to my Netflix queue (this was before Netflix was prominantly streaming) but since my queue is so long, by the time the movies got there it was like three million years later, and I was all, "Oh, I see I was going through that Cleopatra phase when I put these in my queue." Putting stuff in my Netflix queue was like this reverse gestating period, where I'd put something in the queue and then by the time I "had the baby" (ie: the DVDs arrived) it was like forgetting about a baby I "conceived" (as in, getting interested in the movie).

But really that is all neither here nor there. The most important thing, what I REALLY found awesome from the Sherilyn Fenn-Liz Taylor biopic was how amazing Fenn was. She played such a wide range of ages in the film, convincing as all of them and so compelling to watch.

Well, OK, actually, the most, most, most important thing about this particular biopic was that I could capture this particular screenshot of Ray Wise as Mark Todd looking suitably creepy with two dogs:

One chants out between two pooches, dogs walk with me!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

On Not Wanting to Wake the House Up Singing WHAM into My Computer And Then Run of the Risk of Everyone Thinking I Am Insane

I just spent an hour researching which christmas song to record for one of my friends who is collecting recordings of friends doing ridiculous holiday things, and I've decided to get a bad Google voice mail transcript of WHAM's Last Christmas, and then perform the bad transcript, karaoke style, with the instrumental of the song. So I had to not only find a good instrumental version of the song, but also listen to the original song over and over, because I don't know the song all that well other than the chorus. This also means more than just listening to the song over and over, but then also, watching the video over and over.

It was one of those videos that had a plotline (of sorts); it's about the band vacationing in the mountains with a bunch of friends, frolicking in the snow, and then George Michael occasionally looking moody at some woman in the group who clearly he has a history with (and she looks a little like Lara Flynn Boyle circa 1990).

Everybody else looks like they're having a grand old time with throwing snowballs and laughing, but he intermittently looks sad, where it wouldn't be such a stretch to see him kicking at a pebble and going, "Aw shucks." I think maybe Andrew Ridgeley is supposed to be dating George Michael's ex, or maybe it's just a case of George and the lady broke up but Andrew is still friends with her. I kind of got the impression George Michael is supposed to be dating the blond woman in the video that apparently has his same haircut. It wasn't until I watched the video 17,000 times that I realized that there's supposed to be flashbacks happening. In one flashback they're happily traipsing in the snow and falling on each other laughing.
In another clip he gives her a bedazzled brooch. (And then in the present, the next year, post-breakup, even though the two of them have an icy sexual tension and they're surrounded by other people, she's still wearing the bedazzled brooch!)
In another flashback, he jovially enters the dining room carrying a cake adorned with sparklers while everyone claps. But oh! Such happiness is long past! Surrounded by all these people, if only they truly understood how unhappy George Michael is! He puts up such a good front until those moments when none are watching and the facade must fall! Quelle malaise! A graveyard of memories! Fragments shored against his ruins!

Also, there's a gondola ride.

Anyway, the problem with this recording project, is that I need to speak the lyrics so that I can get the transcript fed back to me so I can use those lyrics as the ones to sing. But at this late hour, I don't want to wake the people I live with, especially by creepily whispering WHAM lyrics into a phone, which is essentially serenading a robot over a phone. At 1:15 in the morning. And then on top of that, then singing WHAM at my computer. At then 1:20 in the morning.

I guess this project is going to have to wait until sunrise.

What's extra hilarious is that one of my friends went to Cambodia and sent me a whole mess of Cambodian karaoke discs, and I think this song might be on it, so it's sort of ridiculous that I would have to go find an instrumental on-line. It's just that I couldn't figure out how to rip the audio off of that disc -- for some reason since there's some region code issue thing where it doesn't work on my computer, even though it does on our DVD player, but then, not on our actual karaoke player. OH THE HUMANITY. Yeah, so, you know, life is tough all round.

All of this is to say, I will probably record this sometime this week and I'll post it when I'm done.

In other news! I finished zine about hair a split zine I did with one of my friends, which I'm bringing to Quimby's tomorrow. It's called Be Hair Now. So that's where to get it! I'm toying with the idea of making an Etsy site for my zines, but the thing is also, that you can get most of zines from, so I don't know if it's worth it. Thoughts, people? E-mail me at CabooseZine(at)gmail(dot)com if you have thoughts about this. Or thoughts about Last Christmas. Specifically these lines from it that are sort of preposterous:

A face on a lover with a fire in his heart/A man under cover but you tore him apart

I expect a 375 word essay on these lyrics on my desk tomorrow morning.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Tapping In, Setting Up, Petting Small Animals

Reading David Lynch's Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity, a few quotes really stand out for me:

"Little fish swim on the surface, but the big ones swim down below. If you can expand the container you're fishing in-your consciousness-you can catch bigger fish." (p. 27)

The fish of course, being the creative ideas. I like this idea very much. The book, among other things, is his testament to the awesomeness of transcendental meditation, one of the things he cites as being a major help in expanding his own consciousness, tapping into the unified field, etc etc etc, which I am such a sucker for. Anytime somebody starts talking about "tapping into" something, I'm immediately on board. "I want to be tapped in! How do I get tapped in? Who can tap me in here? How do I get a tap? Is there a deposit I need to put down on this tap?" I've done pretty much everything I can think of for tapping in to some sort of consciousness expansion, including but not limited to: yoga, biofeedback, books, music, a variety of substances, lights, sensory deprivation, dance, visualization, occulty-seance-oujia-boardy stuff, petting small soft animals, lucid dreaming, stuff with candles…the time has come to try meditation Maharishi Mahesh Yogi style, which is different than the kind of meditation I always did with yoga. Because I am always DOWN FOR TAPPING INTO SHIT. That SHIT be tappin'. So I'm attending a TM lecture on Sunday if you want to tap in with me, for my Chicago friends. Hilariously, I keep fusing TM in my head with TMJ.

"There's a safety in thinking in a diner. You can have your coffee or your milk shake, and you can go off into strange dark areas, and always come back to the safety of the diner." (p. 39)

That makes pretty much everything that happened in the RR Diner in Twin Peaks make sense. The woods = scary. The diner = safe. Plans are discussed, delicious coffee and pie is eaten, characters have respite from abusive people in their lives...I've always loved diners. Not so much for the food, although I do enjoy an egg white omlette from time to time. Mostly I like them because many are open deep into the night and I find this very comforting. If I can't sleep, I know there is always a diner open where there are people there too, awake in the middle of the night, a little refuge in the night. I love sitting in them with friends for hours, talking, and getting jacked up on coffee, or just being there alone working on something, where they don't mind if I hang out there for a while.

"Life is filled with abstractions, and the only way we make heads or tails of it is through intuition. Intuition is seeing the solution--seeing it, knowing it. It's emotion and intellect going together." (p. 45)

I've never before been able to come up with a satisfactory explanation of what intuition is. Appropriately, I've only ever been able to explain what it is, well, intuitively. That is to say, I've always described it the way that everybody describes it, which is "the feeling in your gut about a situation." And ironically (or maybe well, appropriately ironically [what?]) this never seemed like a very good explanation, although it is the best that I feel like I or anyone else could come with. Full disclosure though: it's not like I've ever actually sat down and did research on the actual definition of intuition. But emotion and intellect going together = intuition. Yup, that's it. Right there.

"And the idea just sits there and festers. Over time, it will go away. You didn't fulfill it--and that's just a heartache." (p. 125)

This quote was actually referring to the importance of having a place (a "setup") to go work on whatever the idea is, when you get the idea for the thing (whatever the thing is). This place should facilitate actually being able to get to working on the idea that you had. But what is more intriguing about this quote on a higher level, is that over time, an unworked on idea just sits and if it doesn't get tended to, it goes away. Like anything that's not tended to, it goes away or dies: plants, pets, gardens, relationships. This resonates with me; there was a semester I was in school that I made my schedule unreasonably packed with classes, because I was concerned with finishing by a certain date. Early on that term, I had a dream about wilting and dying plants. It wasn't until many weeks into the semester that I realized that the reason I had the dream was because I was not tending to the human and creative parts of my self and my life. Those were parts that needed tending, caring, relaxing, enjoying and nurturing. And then after many years of this habit of ignoring that vital life-force type of stuff in myself, I suffered from some crazy health issues. Untended to ideas, life force, creative endeavors, relationships -- when you suffocate that stuff, that good stuff that doesn't come to fruition, it festers and then goes away. And then what you're left with is health issues, remorse, heartache and whatever else happens to you when you make those decisions.

I invite you to join me in tapping in, setting up, tuning in or out and dropping by.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

This Charming Discussion About Fame

My interest in fame is such that on one hand, it clearly comes from that same voyeuristic mentality that is what powers Yahoo News. I'm not going to lie. Some of my Google updates include "Britney Spears" and "Celebrity Memoir." On the other hand, my interest in fame is that actually, what I'm really interested in beyond the gossip is the psychology behind the gossip. Or at least that's what I tell myself; I love good commentary about that voyeurism.

I LOVE when celebrities talk about their experiences with fame. It's so outside what most of us experience in the day to day. So I guess there's some redeeming quality to the "No, you unload the food out of the shopping cart for the grocery store cashier to ring up, I'm reading Star Magazine"-impulse. I mean, it's OK to read US Weekly if you say smart things about it, right?



I loved in Morrissey's book Autobiography, he had so much to say about his experiences with it. He's so thoughtful and wonderfully complain-y about it, as exactly I wanted him to be. I think the pithiest one was this one, on page 436:

"Fame can demand upon you a sudden wish to get along unseen, after those riddled years of wanting nothing at all but to be heard. It is important not to make matters of business the final word, and although eccentricity is now permissible--since your art has paid its dues in the swamp of self-torment and the scars of failures, even your mis-steps can suddenly seem honorable. You are, in any case, disqualified from what is known as 'normal' society (that is the society in which none qualify as being 'normal' since 'normal' doesn't actually exist) because you don't fit into anyone's drab philosophy. You have cast yourself in the starring role of an unfilmed despised-while-living-acclaimed-when-dead standard melodrama, and you are only inclined to discuss the rumors about yourself that you most like to have circulated. This is considered egotistical to anyone of famous platform, yet not to window cleaners and anonymous citizens to whom it also applies in precisely the same measure."

We have such high standards for our celebrities don't we? It's OK for the common person to worry what people think of us, but as non-celebrities, we have this image that when it's cleat that a celebrity worries about what people think of them they're considered egotistical. Like it's OK for a window washer to be concerned about their image but not for Morrissey? He's got a point there.

Also! I love, love, love the bit about how after years of wanting everyone to know who you you then get famous and then all you want is some privacy. That makes so much sense to me. It's also clear to me that that's why there are all those songs that pop stars record many albums or years into their career where they're all like, "Paparazzi! Leave me alone!" It's like Oh god, the novelty of this has worn off. I just want to like, go get my groceries now. Fame then becomes a handicap. I can't remember where I read this, but some writer was talking about how most people think it would be awesome for everybody to focus on them in the crowd in the way we do celebrities, but it's actually the exact opposite fantasy for folks who have some kind of disability. They're used to being the focus in the crowd but they don't want to be, and their fantasy is to actually be in a crowd and have no one notice them. Being conspicuous in a crowd when you have some sort of disability is like the shitty side of celebrityness. It's kind of crazy. It's like that scene in Little Man Tate where the genius kid who has all this focus on him is having a hard time with all the focus on him, and he has this dream where he sits down next to himself, and the self of him that's sitting on the bench, who is in leg braces and is disabled. It's a poetic and freaky scene.

I also love the bit about permissible eccentricity when you're famous, after you've proverbially paid your dues, but then you've also cast yourself as the despised-while-living-acclaimed-when-dead role, that somehow both of those things co-exist in the world of an arty public figure, I like this very much.

P.S. Some of my favorite parts of the book are when he's catty about other celebs that have done him wrong. Because that is some hilarious shit. And THAT DEFINITELY appeals to the Yahoo News part of my psyche. Read the stuff about Siouxsie. Then get back to me.