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Archive for July, 2013

Olivia Wilde & Beer are the new Mumblecore

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It’s the Just Do It age. Every person in this NY Times article started out making a small movie that they wanted to see. Winging it and improvising. Well, every person in that article except Olivia Wilde, and she’s just in my post title because of the inexplicable pleasure I get from typing her name. Olivia Wilde’s name, that is.

And her new movie has Olivia Wilde in a brewery. So, I surrender: someone else has come up with the ultimate concept for a film, and I hate them. Even if I’m going to see the movie 3 times.

Written by Alan

July 13th, 2013 at 4:26 pm

Posted in Film

What’s Wrong Here?

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Where ‘here’ is the publishing industry.

Anis Shivani, writing for The Daily Beast has a great description of the problem:

This model of literary production is doomed. The idea that there should be centralized, massively consolidated, bureaucratic organizations known as the major trade houses, with multiple layers of editors, vast publicity departments, and books fed to them by an entity known as literary agents, only to take repeated losses and rely on a few stars to help them break even, is bound for extinction.

Read the whole article here: 5 Ways to Fix Book Publishing”.

But his solution is to make the big publishers smaller and get the stodgy agents and other middlemen out of the way, and I’m not sure that’s meaningful – those stodgy agents and middlemen are some of our most literate and widely-read book lovers, and if they occasionally overlook a gem, mostly what they do is curate our literary tradition and prevent from being published all the books that really do belong at the bottom of America’s sock drawers. It’s not like these people are hell bent on preventing good books from being published. But with the cost of ebooks so low, the evolution of the industry is going to happen organically: nobody will want to be an agent when book sale commissions won’t put a pizza on your table every week. Agents and middlemen won’t be overthrown, they’ll walk away from the business on their own as the business goes the way of the well-off session bass player – i.e. with commissions on songs running at 79 cents on the iTunes store, there’s not a lot of room to make your backup band rich; the music industry is a precursor to what’s going to happen with books. The reader-led revolution is already beginning to happen at places like Smashwords and Goodreads, where eBook readers cruise for cheap, solid reads based on peer reviews and a bit of advertising.

Still, I’m having trouble picturing a future that runs entirely this way – the commercial parts of the world lack the necessary plasticity. It would be as if the rooms at The Met morphed and changed size and shape depending on how many people lingered in them. Over time you’d see the Impressionist galleries blossom to the size of a small city, while rooms of German Realist etchings shrunk to the size of shoeboxes and eventually disappeared.

But we have to try. Of course the right way to try is to buy some self-published books, enjoy them and let it be known. The revolution might not be televised, but it will be heavily ‘Liked’.

Written by Alan

July 13th, 2013 at 12:41 pm

Posted in Writing

Bodies of Subversion

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Great new book by Margo Mifflin on the history of women and tattoos.

Written by Alan

July 3rd, 2013 at 10:55 pm

Posted in Writing