The articles I enjoyed this week, and the book I’ll be reading this Shabbos.
Best Small Fictions 2020, from The Sonder Press
I’M IN THIS! I’M IN THIS WITH ETGAR KERET (a translation, but still) AND CHUCK KLOSTERMAN AND KATHY FISH! HOW DID THIS HAPPEN I DON’T KNOW BUT THANK YOU JMWW AND SONDER PRESS
The Sandman Vol. 2, by Neil Gaiman
To know me is to have heard my Neil Gaiman diatribe on multiple occasions.
Listen: I love Neil Gaiman’s imagination, imagery and plotlines. He is (was?) in an open marriage with a woman who goes by the middle name of “Fucking”. He lets book reporters refer to him by his first name, on the grounds of friendship.
But the guy can’t engineer a climax to save his life. Over and over again, I get all excited, the energy builds, and then when the big moment comes, he chokes. I MUCH prefer the visual properties based on his work – American Gods, Stardust, Mirrormask, even (shudder) Coraline – because the directors are able to course-correct his structural issues.
My brother seems to think this does NOT apply to the “only graphic novel to ever receive a literary prize.” But not the first volune – oh no, Mr. Gaiman has not hit his stride yet in that scary one I already tried – but the second volume. Here we go.
Reverse-Engineering Zoom with Isadora: Site-Specific Performance for the Internet, Barbara Fuchs interviewing Jared Mezzocchi for HowlRound
I miss theaters – movie theaters and regular theaters. The one balm over the past months has been live Zoom theater, which is frustratingly hard to come by. Everything seems to be either prerecorded or taking place during #BEDTIME. The AJT Theatremacher program arranged for a prerecorded viewing of Russian Troll Farm, which had been performed live. (Also a Q&A with the creators!) They used a technology called Isadora, which lets you video edit in real time.
This interview is a fascinating look behind-the-scenes that just sets your mind on fire with possibilities. (I mean, if, like me, you love video editing. Get on my level.) A few years ago I was writing a play that involved real-time videoing on stage and quick backstage edits. Maybe it’s time to dust off that script …
Saudi Arabia Building 100-Mile-Long “Linear” City, by Dan Avery in Architectural Digest
WHY. IS. THIS. SO. TERRIFYING.
A long strip of mini-neighborhoods, connected by subterranean tunnels.
Is it as simple as me being territorial about Israel’s stature as the most technologically advanced country in the Middle East?
Is it because Saudi Arabia is entering the future with advanced technology but prehistoric values?
Is it because this sounds like all the bad parts of Black Mirror and Dredd rolled into one?
I think I’ll go watch Dredd again.