A few links to get you started reading this Saturday morning. (I know it’s nice out, but I took my coffee out to my little backyard and am ignoring my cat’s mournful stares from the window, and encourage you to do so as well.)
At the Guardian, Tom Shone takes on the auteur theory — and its distinctly “male gaze.” “The carving up of the movies, a collaborative medium, into a series of solo acts, each bearing the unmistakeable imprint of an all-controlling “master”, most often male, is basically the great man theory of history transplanted into movie theatres – the swinging dick of film theories.” I hate balls metaphors but I hereby grant myself an exception to say that I respect the brass ones it takes to point this out. The way we talk about movies does have a self-reinforcing qualities. If the highest accolade we accord directors is that they have a “distinct worldview” and their “ambition,” then the James Camerons of this world are going to follow that garden path straight down into palm fronds and blue cat-people. No one, I think, wants more of that.
There’s a new musical at The Public about a literary roommates arrangement from (what else) Brooklyn. Called February House, the musical is set at 7 Middagh Street, which in the early 1940s was the home address of W.H. Auden, Carson McCullers, Benjamin Britten, Richard Wright, and others. Gypsy Rose Lee dropped by for awhile too. The name “February House” came, allegedly, from Anaïs Nin. I haven’t seen the musical — it’s still in previews — but maybe I will, and report back. For now, read this lovely little bit at the London Review of Books blog about all the other 7 addresses Auden occupied, which may not have been an accident of chance, Jim Holt speculates.
This is an old one but a friend tweeted this Believer interview with Rebecca Solnit this week and I want it to be one of those things everyone reads and clasps to their chest and sighs with pleasure — a bit harder to do in the age of the laptop but you know, improvise. One good quote, and there are so many, is, “Public life enlarges you, gives you purpose and context, saves you from drowning in the purely personal, as so many Americans seem to. I still think that walking down the middle of the street with several thousand people who share your deepest beliefs is one of the best ways to take a walk.” Also: “That term public intellectual: all I know is that I stayed home alone for almost two decades, writing, before it became oddly visible and audible.”