Kris Saknussemm’s new novel of the road and redemption, Reverend America, is centered on the travels and travails of a retired child evangelist albino orphan named Casper (known in his healing days as Reverend America) and his wanderings as guardian angel and inadvertent and occasional avenger. I’d become aware of Kris’ work via his first novel, Zanesville, his subsequent bizarre-noir novel Private Midnight, and his exuberant alt-historical Enigmatic Pilot. We’d become Facebook friends where I found him to be equally knowledgeable and perhaps even more impassioned about things musical more than literary. So when he asked if I would contribute some original work to fill out a CD to accompany the release of Reverend America (I’d not written anything original since high school, being presently and for decades consumed either by interpretations classical or reimaginings on the non-classical side), and with his own keen idea of how music might intersect his prose, I told him I’d have to be an idiot to NOT know how to write something for him.
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POPMATTERS SPONSOR—Open Road Media announces the publication of Celebrity, Inc.: How Famous People Make Money by e-original author Jo Piazza available in both print and digital editions.
What does a celebrity baby picture have in common with a drug deal? Why is Kim Kardashian ten times richer than Paris Hilton? What’s an Oscar really worth? And why does Charlie Sheen keep “winning”? Jo Piazza, a former gossip columnist for the New York Daily News and a seasoned journalist currently writing for the Wall Street Journal, The Huffington Post and Fox News, not only brings her unique expertise and personal economics background to Celebrity, Inc.: How Famous People Make Money, but she has obtained access to the men and women who ensure famous people will make 40 times the average American’s salary in a single year. Piazza not only brings the gossip, but the business expertise in her 12 unique chapters, each based on the format of a business school case study (peppered with hilarity and wit, obviously) that examine how celebrity functions as a business model.
Marilyn Manson gave a poetry reading in L.A., in support of The J. Paul Getty Trust. On 10 September, Manson read William Blake’s celebrated poem The Proverbs of Hell. The poem’s most popular line: “The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom.” But the best part is Manson’s decision to have a drink of some strange orange liquid at the poem’s conclusion. Fitting.
Radical’s forthcoming illustrated novel, Jake the Dreaming will be available for the iPad (and iPhone) around December 2011. I do know that it’s the story of boyhood, forever tilting at the world, reimagining the world as it adventures its way through. Jake discovers the power to walk into others’ dreams and save them from Nocturnus, the demon that would poison sleep forever. It’s also the story of technological shifts inscribing a new cultural story. And, speculating on 40 years down the line, it seems to be a story that will not need a second act.
Julie Taymor’s experimental film adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Tempest was quite unfortunate and problematic. Helen Mirren as the female Prospera (not the male Prospero, as in the original play) was brilliant but too underused. The comic bits, which could have been well-performed, basically ruined the film. But “Prospera’s Coda”, a song that immediately followed the film, was most touching, dark, and brooding. Shakespeare wrote the lyrics, and Beth Gibbons of Portishead fame took over on vocals. Beth Gibbons did an excellent job at illustrating loss, despair, and, finally, retirement, via her singing.