November 10, 2016 § Leave a comment
The new novella.
Last seen in 2013’s Lewis and Loeb, Arthur James Lewis returns for another comic misadventure!
In the winter of 2014, Lewis yearns for nothing more than Cicero’s ideal—a garden and a library. Desperate for a peaceful place to complete Carthage: The Sound of Distant Drums, the latest (and longest) of his “magisterial novels of the ancient world”, he finds himself instead harassed and disrespected.
Where to begin? His wife refuses to type up his manuscript. His live-in niece has installed a noisy satellite television to addle the brain of her toddler. The gas company has switched off the heat in an act of shameless revenge. And at a ghastly pop culture convention in blizzard-battered Ohio, Lewis is collectively mistaken for a hack writer of Westerns.
An unexpected windfall of cash allows Lewis to escape to Mendoza, Argentina, where he hopes for a fruitful discussion with the beautiful Camila Weitensteiner, eminent scholar of Ancient Rome, who also happens to manage a small family winery with a guest cottage overlooking the vineyard. For a moment the garden and library seem within reach, but Lewis has arrived during a standoff between the Weitensteiners and the corrupt and monopolistic Quesada family that threatens to become all-out war. Yet again he will learn that a writer’s peace is elusive.
November 8, 2016 § Leave a comment
Amy Corbin’s review of At the End of the Street in the Shadow: Orson Welles and the City appeared in the fourth issue of Mediapolis: A Journal of Cities and Culture.
Corbin calls the book “an impressive work of archival research and film analysis, documenting the director’s use of locations in both his finished work and a vast array of unfinished projects, from scripts to unedited footage.”
Read the entire review HERE.
November 8, 2016 § Leave a comment
Matthew Asprey Gear and Noel King’s introduction to the 2013 special Noir Issue of Contrappasso now appears online for the first time: “Organising What We See”
February 19, 2016 § Leave a comment
The films of Orson Welles inhabit the spaces of cities – from America’s industrializing midland to its noirish borderlands, from Europe’s medieval fortresses to its Kafkaesque labyrinths and postwar rubblescapes. His movies take us through dark streets to confront nightmarish struggles for power, the carnivalesque and bizarre, and the shadows and light of human character.
This ambitious new study explores Welles’s vision of cities by following recurring themes across his work including urban transformation, race relations and fascism, the utopian promise of cosmopolitanism, and romantic nostalgia for archaic forms of urban culture. It focuses on the personal and political foundation of Welles’s cinematic cities – the way he invented urban spaces on film to serve his dramatic, thematic, and ideological purposes.
The critical scope goes beyond Welles’ thirteen commercially-released feature films by drawing on extensive research in international archives and building on the work of previous scholars. Viewing Welles as a radical filmmaker whose innovative methods were only occasionally compatible with the commercial film industry, this volume examines Welles’s original visions for butchered films such as The Magnificent Ambersons (1942) and Mr. Arkadin (1955), and also considers many projects the filmmaker never completed – an immense ‘shadow oeuvre’ ranging from unfinished and unreleased films to unrealized treatments and screenplays.
“A timely book that pushes past many debates dotting the beaten path of Welles criticism to consider the representation of the city, both as a physical location and an imaginary social space, in his film oeuvre. It considers incomplete and overlooked as well as unproduced works that have survived in script form; the result is a historically grounded, globally conscious study that urges us to consider the importance of the built environment in Welles’s mises-en-scène, as well as his abiding concern with the politics of modernization.”– Catherine L. Benamou, University of California-Irvine, author of It’s All True: Orson Welles’s Pan-American Odyssey
“A valuable contribution to Welles studies – well researched, highly readable, and full of fresh insights.” – Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader film critic, author of Discovering Orson Welles
“Well researched, informative, and enjoyable to read – an original, thoughtful commentary on Welles and modernity.” – James Naremore, Indiana University, author of The Magic World of Orson Welles
‘Lost Script Reveals What Orson Welles Really Thought About Ernest Hemingway’ at The Observer (UK)
‘Welles contra la España de Hemingway’ at Clarín (Argentina)
May 6, 2015 § Leave a comment
On the 100th anniversary of the birth of Orson Welles, here is a round-up of my pieces about the filmmaker.
Orson’s Charmed Circle of Fragments: A conversation with Josh Karp on his new book Orson Welles’s Last Movie: The Making of The Other Side of the Wind (Bright Lights Film Journal, April 30, 2015).
Too Much Johnson: Interview with Scott Simmon at Wellesnet: The Orson Welles Web Resource (January 26, 2015)
Mr. Arkadin: A look at the film locations at Wellesnet: The Orson Welles Web Resource (October 11, 2013)
T For True: review-essay on three Orson Welles books (Senses of Cinema, issue 68, September 2013)
May 2, 2015 § Leave a comment
Josh Karp’s new book Orson Welles’s Last Movie: The Making of The Other Side of the Wind has just been published by St. Martin’s Press. It is the first detailed account of the production of this most unorthodox of film projects. Based on interviews with surviving participants and in-depth research of primary documents, Karp tells an often amusing tale of 1970s Hollywood. It’s a story of creative genius, irresistible chicanery, devastating betrayal, and wild times with some of the era’s most interesting personalities.
I first met Karp in Chicago during the winter of early 2014. To coincide with the publication of his new book, we continued our conversation on Welles by long distance email for a new piece at Bright Lights Film Journal called Orson’s Charmed Circle of Fragments
April 30, 2015 § Leave a comment
Writers at the Movies, the new special issue of Contrappasso Magazine I edited with Noel King, contains essays by Luc Sante, Sarah Berry, Richard Lowenstein, Richard Hugo, Clive Sinclair, Michael Eaton, Jon Lewis, and Anthony May; fiction by Barry Gifford; poetry by Michael Atkinson, R. Zamora Linmark, and James Franco; and my interviews with Jonathan Rosenbaum, Emmanuel Mouret, Scott Simmon, and Richard Misek. Some pieces are republished, some appear for the first time. In this instance, the common theme is ‘literary cinéphilia.’
Some of the pieces focus on a single film: Alfred Hitchcock’s Murder! (1930), Orson Welles’s rediscovered Too Much Johnson (1938), Elia Kazan’s Man On A Tight Rope (1952), Douglas Sirk’s Written on the Wind (1955), and Robert Siodmak’s Custer of the West (1968). The approaches vary. Other pieces zoom in on an individual: Eric Rohmer, Jean Negulesco, Claire Danes, the Black Dahlia, Sal Mineo, Montgomery Clift, Elmore Leonard, and Emmanuel Mouret. We also explore the kind of cinéphilia that escapes the page and becomes filmmaking itself.