Around the Joint

*Hooray for Memorial Day weekend! I traveled to my parents’ home yesterday to meet ‘n greet and shake hands and have dinner with relatives. Hopefully I’ll be able to convince them that I really am heading places with my life, since they will all be wondering. In the meantime, I’ll be meeting with lots of old friends from high school and college to have fun and evaluate how far some of them have fallen into narcotics abuse. Yay! At least they set up stands with free coffee at rest stops along the highway; of course, the cup for donations is always staring you in the face. I managed to cup my hand in such a way that they hopefully only heard the jingling of coins and didn’t notice that the First United Bible Church of the Virgin Birth was only four cents richer for my visit.

*Some comics stuff showed up in the new “Entertainment Weekly” (#823); they actually had a formal comics sidebar set up in the ‘Books’ section. An ‘A’ for “Elk’s Run” from Hoarse and Buggy, which has totally passed under my radar until now, ‘B+’ for the new “Little Lulu” collection and “Desolation Jones”, and a ‘B’ for the Image anthology “Four Letter Worlds” (writer Tom Russo cheerily refers to Image as “The House That Spawn Built”). The usual teeny-tiny word counts, as expected.

*In other, tangentially-related news, fired DC blogger Jessica Cutler gets a ‘D’ for her book, "The Washingtonienne", based on her salacious experiences. Her prose is dubbed “shamelessly bad”. Meanwhile, at Cannes, Lisa Schwarzbaum really liked David Cronenberg’s “A History of Violence”, based on the Paradox Press comic of the same name by John Wagner and Vince Locke (also, judging from the included photos, Cronenberg and Jim Jarmusch appear to be sporting exactly the same haircut). But the most interesting bit in the issue had to be an interview of “Swingers” and “Go” director Doug Liman, who speaks frankly about the many rigors of shooting a summer star extravaganza with media stars like Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. Paparazzi had to be erased from crane shots via CGI, helicopters pursued Pitt to the set, Jolie discovered that one of Liman’s ex-girlfriends used to call him ‘Bunny’ and proceeded to disregard his direction during a sex scene because she thought him emasculated, both stars vetoed entire scenes because they thought the humor was dumb, and so on and so on. I’ve liked some of Liman’s prior films, he’s a funny guy, and it’s sort of piece that makes you wonder how Big movies with Big stars ever get made at all.

*Have to go be with folks now. More tomorrow.