Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Weekend in Review / The Boys' Book Club Continues Their Franzen and Looks Ahead

Readers, when last we met loyal Hawk football fans were bashing Tom Keegan for his 4-8 prediction for the season. And then...Saturday night happened: a soul-crushing 6-3 loss to North Dakota State (suddenly making Keegan seem like an optimist). Pray harder this week, Coach Gill! But the boys are not giving up just yet. And since season-ticket holders will no doubt be giving away tickets right and left, we might even attend the next game.

Elsewhere in Larryville, a wall-to-wall crowd of hippies, families (many of whom now have deaf babies, since the band played unusually loud this week) and NPR-listening local progressives filled the Replay on Sunday evening to enjoy the sounds of Truckstop Honeymoon. Richard heard at least three different mentions of their recent profile on NPR from people who had never seen the band before and never would have thought of doing so if they had not been NPR-approved. We're glad for Truckstop, who will now sell more copies of the new CD, but we really wish those people had remained at Starbucks instead of talking loudly next to us throughout the show. Even hipster-photographer A. Ruscin was spotted at this show. Perhaps we'll be treated to some "party pics" (in about two months or so).

But the hipster center of the universe this weekend was not in Larryville (sadly) but in Monticello, NY, at the All Tomorrow's Parties festival which, in addition to showcase performances from the likes of Iggy and the Stooges and Sonic Youth, also offered:

--"...the revived version of the early-’70s Neu, with the guitarist Michael Roether, playing the flowing-and-halting motorik rhythm" (NY-Times)

--a comedy room featuring "Hannibal Buress rhapsodizing over Mott’s apple juice" (NY-Times)

--"a stream of Japanese and French noir films in an upstairs room, chosen by the filmmaker Jim Jarmusch and presented by the Criterion Collection..." (NY-Times).

Just imagine how hip one must be to hang out in that upstairs room watching Japanese noir instead of checking out the bands. One day, we hope to be that hip.


So how are all of you progressing with your reading of Franzen's Freedom? As for us, we've moved beyond the third-person autobiography of the first 150 or so pages, devoured the rock star section (which contains a dozen or so pages explaining the effects of mountaintop removal), and entered the teenage son's perspective (he's opposed to masturbation...how weird!). Here's a line involving rock-star Richard Katz's dick that we expect will be singled out when the Pulitzer-committee meets this year:

"The angry stirrings of Katz's blood were of a piece with the divinations of his dick" (Franzen 231).

But what's next on our reading list? Perhaps Paul Murray's lengthy comic novel Skippy Dies (Chip: "Shouldn't there be a spoiler alert with that title?").

The NYTimes says:

"One of the great pleasures of this novel is how confidently [Murray] addresses such disparate topics as quantum physics, video games, early-20th-century mysticism, celebrity infatuation, drug dealing, Irish folklore and pornography — as well as the sad story of the all-Irish D Company of the Seventh Royal Dublin Fusiliers, sent to their doom at Gallipoli in 1915. There’s even room for an indecent close reading of Robert Frost’s “Road Not Taken” that’s so weirdly convincing I’ll never again be able to read that poem without sniggering."

Richard: "Sold. I'd read this for the dirty interpretation of Frost on its own."


Explicateur said...

As long as it's a good, close reading, I'm always looking for ways to shake up freshmen who think they know what "TRNT" is all about because they got it in a graduation card from their grandma.

indecent reader said...

We plan to research this Frost reading, and report back ASAP.