So the good folks at Portland’s Attic Institute have invited me to teach a class this fall, and as I have some time on my hands and have always enjoyed teaching, I’ve agreed to dip a toe back into the world of pedagogy.
The class is called “Reading Film, Writing Film,” and it’s intended as both an introduction to watching movies critically and a writing workshop. We will look at scenes from a variety of movies, discuss what we see and how we see it, and then we will write about it in a variety of genres of students’ choosing: reviews, narrative, journals/diaries, and so on. And then we will discuss what we’ve written and work on editing and refining it. It’s not a screenwriting class, though I imagine that screenwriters will find some worth in it. Rather, it’s a class in seeing critically and honing the ability to write about the experience.
Questions? Ask in the comments and I’ll get back to you.
I’m in Montevideo, Uruguay, today, June 11, for the start of the World Cup. Uruguay take on France in the second match of the day, and I’ve passed through Peru and Argentina to get here.
I’ve posted a couple of reports about the football-related aspects of my journey on my OregonLive soccer blog, “The World Is Round,” and because the format of the blog has changed while I’m traveling and I’m working on computers that can make it hard to post photos there, I thought I’d use this blog as a sort of gathering spot for materials.
Here’s my first TWIR post about the World Cup, describing the Peruvian and Argentine experience of the lead-up to the tournament. Here’s my take from late last night about Uruguay’s World Cup fever (more like a headcold) and history.
And here are some photos of Montevideo’s football present and past:
A street vendor finally emerges to hawk bootleg shirts:
The ball from the very first World Cup final, contested in Montevideo’s Estadio Centenario:
Inside the stadium, with a bit of home I’ve brought on my journey:
I mean, I blog constantly here.
But this page and my soccer blog have suffered.
The good news is that I feel guilty about it.
And I’m hitting up some friends this week for ideas about how to keep this page more current.
So, in short, give me a bit of time but expect that I’ll do better.
Indeed, bet on it.
Paul Newman died a year ago today, which is as notable an occasion as I can think of for updating this woefully dormant page.
First, catching up on some old-ish business.
Here’s the podcast of my July appearance on Live Wire!, which was enormous fun.
I’ve got two reviews to share as well, both kind and flattering:
And here’s a TV-watching tip. If you’re in the Portland area and an early riser, catch me tomorrow morning (Sunday, September 27) at 6:30 am on NW 32’s “Outlook Portland,” when I will sit with Rick Emerson for what turned out to be one of the best interviewing experiences I’ve ever had.
Finally, the UK edition of the book is on sale in a week or so. That’s the jacket above. I, naturally, prefer the sexy, sexy American edition, but I preferred the American edition of “Rat Pack Confidential” and the Brits did bang-up business with their version, so….
A few new (or at least newish) reviews to throw on the bonfire:
“The Unknowable Paul Newman” — Toronto Globe and Mail, June 2 (the only negative review so far, and from a guy who, though I admire and respect him, wrote a Nicole Kidman bio that was an incomprehensible, embarrassing mess, so….)
And this note: On Monday I’ll be talking to the folks from the Oregon Writers Colony at a free, open-to-the-public event at Looking Glass Books in Portland’s groovy Sellwood neighborhood. Kickoff at 7pm.
Friday night I was the guest on the twin installments of Strange Love Live, the popular Portland-based webcast that deals with tech issues and other aspects of popular culture each week on the interwebs. The hosts, Cami Kaos and Dr. Normal, have an inordinately cool setup in their Sellwood home — a real professional class studio that even includes a small (but deeply committed!) live audience.
This weekend’s notices:
And a couple others that I’d missed:
And my interview on KPCC’s “Air Talk” with Larry Mantle from June 5 plus an appearance on WCPN — in Cleveland, Newman’s home town — with “Around Noon” host Jim Goldurs.
No reviews this weekend, but I did a long interview with Chris Gondek, proprietor of the Biography Podcast, and you can sample it here.
Nell Minow and I worked together in the Stone Age of the web (on the much lamented MovieMatch web site). And, if I may be permitted to speak for her, we both enjoyed the experience.
I know I was lucky to have found her. Nell is a real-life corporate watchdog who makes shady Chairmen of the Board quake, and her dad, Newton Minow, was a famed FCC comissioner. But movies are her passion and she developed the Movie Mom persona in the web’s early days, spinning out into all sorts of media.
So obviously the benefit of this relationship has been entirely mine. And it continues to be: Here’s an interview that Nell and I conducted via e-mail and which she’s posted on her blog on Belief.Net.
Thanks again, Nell!
New York Post, May 24 (This one is especially amusing/irritating as the writer laments the tabloid publicity surrounding the book in the early days of its release without acknowledging that it was instigated by the Post.)
And a few words about the audio book edition in this round up from the News Chief of Winter Haven, Florida.
Thus say the Milanese, some of the world’s great opera fanatics, when they’re off to see a new production.
In the same spirit, I invite all my readers in the Portland area to the readings and signings I’ll be doing in support of “Paul Newman: A Life” this week and next.
At 6 p.m. on Wednesday, May 20, I’ll be at the Portland Art Museum at an event sponsored by the Oregonian, the Northwest Film Center and Powell’s books, who’ll be selling copies.
On Wednesday, May 27, at 7:30 I’ll be at Annie Bloom’s Books in Multnomah Village (my manor, as it happens) doing the same.
Would be delighted to see you all at either one.
The gavels are still ringing down around the country:
“‘Paul Newman: A Life'” — The Christian Science Monitor, May 16 (The same writer, Stephen Humphries, has more to say about the book in this entry on his blog.)
And here’s a mini-featurette from the New York Times Book Review in honor of the daffiest news of all: the book appeared as #13 on the nonfiction hardback bestseller list. (Note that the printed Times runs these things a week later, so that, apparently, this won’t appear in the paper until May 24.)
The post below was starting to get a bit long and unwieldy, so I thought I’d break out this second batch on its own. As before, most complimentary on top, and downward from there.
Oregonian Film Critic Traces Paul Newman’s Artistic Journey — The Oregonian, May 8 (This one is in a category of its own, not only because it is particularly kind, but because — and this is a mite embarassing — I work there. If it’s any consolation, I’ve had a bad review in The Oregonian in my time.)
Because nothing in art really happens until critics weigh in on it, I share with you this canonical list of reviews of “Paul Newman: A Life,” ranked, as one would rank them, from kindest to least kind.
As someone who plies the critical trade, I shan’t comment further. But I can tell you this: I see what my brothers and sisters in critique have done here, all of ’em.
ALSO: The Daily Mail of London has run four heavily edited (and, frankly, salaciously packaged and clumsily headlined) excerpts from the book. They are here: May 2, May 4, May 5, May 6. (I can’t really recommend these as good reads — if I’d wanted to rearrange my sentences the way these folks have, I’d’ve done so in the book — but they do offer fascinatingly strange examples of the way the tabloids and the English journalistic sensibility operate.)
“Paul Newman: A Life” drops, as the cool kidz say, on Tuesday, May 5, and I’m going to gather up little bits of this and that from around the web. Up until now it’s been gossip leaks and little previews like my appearance at Cinema 21 to introduce “Hud” last weekend. But this first week of proper publication is going to be fairly busy.
First, here’s a pirated video of my appearance on “Inside Edition” which I’d neglected to post previously.
On Tuesday morning, publication day, I’ll be appearing on “AM Northwest” on Portland’s KATU (I can’t tivo because DISH Network and KATU are involved in some sort of financial blinking contest). That evening, I’ll appear on KGW’s nifty “Live @ 7.”
On Wednesday during the day, I’ll be on WMJI’s “Lanigan & Malone” program in Cleveland (NOTE: This one actually happened Tuesday), then on KPOJ’s morning show here in Portland, and then on WDWS’s “Gary O’Brien & Friends” in Champaign, IL.
On Wednesday night, I’ll be presenting the book at Powell’s City of Books in downtown Portland and then repairing to the nearby Blitz Bar to enjoy a malted beverage and the company of friends. If you’re reading this, you’re invited.
Finally, for this week, on Thursday I’ll be on the radio with Maurice Boland, who broadcasts throughout Europe from Mallora, the lucky so-and-so.
I’ll post reviews — even the unflattering ones — as they appear.
Nearly four years after I first had the idea to write it, my latest book, “Paul Newman: A Life,” is entering the publishing phase. In this case, this means watching tabloid media grab the tiniest bits of scandal in the book and declare my sober, nerdy, reverential book an “explosive,” “edgy” “tell-all.” (To be called a sensationalist by Page Six and Inside Edition is an astounding experience, let me tell you.)
Anyway, here’s a blog entry from Mad About Movies discussing the bizarre tabloidization of the book, and here’s a Publisher’s Weekly review by someone who actually read it and isn’t trying to sell papers or commercial time by distorting its content (it’s about halfway down the page), and, finally, a story from Aaron Mesh at Willamette Week, who also read the book and chatted with me about this madness the other night.
More insanity to come, I’m sure.
LATE ADD: Phil Nugent, a flim critic and blogger whom I don’t know from Adam, has written about the tabloidization of the book — for which I thank him.