I have about a dozen papers to grade before Phase 1 of Gradeapalooza concludes, but I figured I’d
procrastinate a bit check in here before diving into the day’s work.
Saw the new version of The Jungle Book with the Spawn earlier in the week. It was a good time, with nice work from the kid actor, and lush scenery and CGI effects. There were a few nods to the classic animated version (although I missed the Scouse vultures), and even a couple to the books, which made me want to reread.them. The Spawn had a great time, and as usual, we enjoyed the popcorn.
The Spawn and I will be making another run to Real City later this week, paying a call at Flagship in honor of yesterday’s quatercentenary of Shakespeare’s death. You see, the library at Flagship is hosting a copy of the First Folio, which the good folks at the Folger Shakespeare Library have sent on tour.
In some respects, making a trip to see a very old copy of a book may be sentimentalism, or even fetishism of a sort — it’s Shakespeare’s words and his stories that matter, after all. All the same, one of the thrills of my first trip through grad school was getting to hold a page of a Gutenberg Bible, the connection to history and my culture. In a way, I feel a bit like Belloq in Raiders of the Lost Ark as he addresses Jones: “Indiana, we are simply passing through history. This, this is history.”
I trust I’ll get a better conclusion than Belloq, however.
And now, a pause for some self-promotion. Lawrence Block reports at his place that In Sunlight or in Shadow (the anthology based on paintings by Edward Hopper, and including my story “Office at Night”) is gonna be nifty indeed:
Just scheduled—a deluxe limited edition of In Sunlight or in Shadow: 17 stories inspired by paintings of Edward Hopper. As you’ll recall, late this year Pegasus Books will publish this anthology, with an all-star lineup of authors [Well, “all-star” except for me… I’m more of a dwarf planet — Prof. M] and each painting reproduced in color; how Pegasus can do it at this price is beyond me.
And now Pegasus has arranged for those excellent small-press publishers, Cemetery Dance, to bring out a deluxe limited edition of the anthology. If you’re familiar with the publisher, you know what fine work they do. They’re not taking pre-orders yet—we just made the deal this week—but you might want to bookmark the page and check in from time to time. (Note that copies won’t be signed by all the contributors, just by Your Humble Anthologist.)
So there’s that. LB also has other cool news, including a new Keller novella, so go read his post as well.
While I wasn’t really a fan of the recently departed musician Prince (No fault of his — I just wasn’t into dance music when he was huge), I’ve got a lot of respect for his talent and technical skill on a variety of instruments. Mrs. M saw him play a few years ago, and reports that he was an amazing showman, a statement echoed by pretty much everyone who ever saw him play. As it happens, I’m reading Barry Miles’s biography of Frank Zappa, and it occurs to me that FZ and Prince shared some points in common (besides annoying the PMRC). Both men worked obsessively, recording enough material for several careers. Both men had difficult relationships with the companies that controlled much of the music industry during their lives. And both artists attracted interest that exceeds normal fandom and approaches the sort of devotion one expects of academics and Thuggee cultists.
While the last time I was shattered by a musician’s death was when John Lennon was murdered, I understand the disconcerting feeling in many of my demographic as key pop cultural figures disappear into the past. Goodbye, Mr. Nelson, and thanks for the music.
Goodbye as well to Lonnie Mack, the legendary blues-rocker who passed away the day before Prince’s demise. A significant portion of his early career happened in Cincinnati, and Mack was responsible for the biggest hit on Cincinnati’s Fraternity Records, with his instrumental version of “Memphis.” Rock guitarists everywhere owe him a debt — even if they don’t know it.
There’s also a bit of a tie to crime fiction here — Fire Lake, one of Jonathan Valin’s Harry Stoner novels, features the Cincinnati-based detective’s search for a missing guitarist… named Lonnie Jack. It’s a good book.
Godspeed, Mr. Mack, and thank you as well.
Meanwhile, I’m on a musical quest of my own these days. No — the Berries are fine, with gigs coming up on Mother’s Day and 4 June. It’s just that there’s a song that has crept back into my mind after percolating for years. It’s one of the songs I heard late at night on Cincinnati radio, somewhere in the early-to-mid 1980s. It was something of a hard-rock/AOR track, with a tempo and groove rather like the hook in Blue Oyster Cult’s “Burnin’ for You”, and a similar sort of smooth production. But all I can remember is what I think is a snatch of the chorus (Backing vocals rendered in parentheses):
It’s all right (It’s all right it’s all right)
It’s OK (It’s OK, it’s OK)
[Something something] from the end of the night to the end of the day.
It is not a Kinks tune, nor is it Fine Young Cannibals or Jim Capaldi. At least two people with whom I grew up in Cincinnati claim to recognize the fragment, but they’re as stumped as I am. Maybe the song only exists in the collective unconscious, in which case I should try to write it; I seem to like it.
And since I’ve talked a lot of music in this potpourri, I’ll leave you with a bit. This was the subject of one of my previous mining expeditions, but a former colleague of mine was able to identify it, and now I listen to it fairly often. From Guadalcanal Diary, here’s “Vista.”
OK, back to grading, and see you soon!