Category Archives: Film

The Story of the Skylark, Robbie the Robot, Uncle George & that Gypsy Smell Foretold

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I’m going to explore why diners fascinate me so much. They’ve inspired me since childhood. Their ambiance elicits a delicious blend of sweet nostalgia, tasty food, classic sci-fi, trains, jukeboxes, checkerboard floors, chrome plated, red-topped, swivel stools, mystery noir, neon, Cokes, malts, coffee, cigarettes, and writing.

Topping my list are the Skylark Diner in Vestal, NY and Mickey’s Diner in St. Paul, MN. The Skylark, founded in 1956, was our entire family’s favorite diner, too. Often, I’d be accompanied by Dad, Mom sometimes, Uncle Bobby, Auntie Sara, and later in life, my wife Thyme when we were in town. I loved the town I grew up in. The Skylark is one of those treasures that has withstood the march of time.

A treasure lost is the old Vestal Theater across the street. The same year the Skylark was established, the first movie I ever remember seeing came out. It was the early sci-fi flick, The Forbidden Planet, featuring Robbie the Robot. I fell asleep in the car on the way home, and was still dreaming about Robbie when Mom and Dad carried me up to my bed and tucked me in.

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You can go to the Skylark website (below) and in their photo album is a picture of the old theater. Here’s a clue. In the photo of the old Skylark logo, the movie theater’s just to the right of the the Star Cleaners. Let me know if you find it or if you have any memories about the Vestal Theater.

Thyme has also been with me every time I’ve visited Mickey’s, made famous by Garrison Keillor in his Prairie Home Companion movie. My most recent visit there was after attending a concert by Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull. More on Mickey’s in a future blog.

My memories of the Skylark food mostly entail eggs over easy, hash browns, triangles of buttered toast and strawberry jelly, ham, OJ, and a bottomless cup of coffee. Served up on the classic blue-striped, white enamel dinnerware with matching cup—diner Nirvana.

We met there during our last visit to Vestal before Mom and Dad moved to Arizona—the next to the last Christmas of the 20th century. Auntie Sara, matron of the local clan, held position at the head of the table. And, you know, that was okay. She was one of my two favorite aunts. I delighted in hiking over the hill from Echo Road, where we lived, to her house on Torrance Avenue.

There were a couple of times I even stayed at the house overnight. Auntie Sara made up a bed for me in the basement. I remember one night reading the entirety of the children’s book Miss Pickerell Goes to Mars. I think that was my first foray into a science fiction chapter book. Quite different from the Flash Gordon comics and TV show I dug so much.

Another time I stayed there, I built a plastic model plane, a Piper Tri-Pacer, and it turned out pretty good—until I painted it. All I had for paints were green and gray—blech! When I took a flying lesson at Tri-Cities Airport as a teen, I flew over her house. Man, the look on her face when I told her about it. She was nearly as excited as I was.

It was at her Torrance Avenue house that we celebrated my great-grandfather, Uncle George’s, 90th birthday. The “9” and “0” stuck into the top of the cake reminded me of a pair of scissors. Some of this will be coming out in a future novel, especially the part about Uncle George lounging in the back seat of his Buick, decreasing the rat population with his .22. It’s nearly done, and shines an historical spotlight on my eccentric Uncle George Larrabee. He was a quirky inventor and Tom Watson’s tool-and-die man in the early days of IBM. I don’t know if Uncle George ever frequented the Skylark. I’ll have to ask someone in the family before anyone who could remember forgets it. If you’re curious why I called my great-grandfather Uncle George, you’ll discover why when you read the book.

Uncle George

The last time I saw Auntie Sara was after Dad’s memorial service in 2003. She was well into her nineties by then, and in the hospital. I’d never seen anyone look so stately in the hospital before, but she pulled it off.

Next time I’m back in Vestal, I am paying a special visit to the Skylark to report on their cheeseburger, curly fries, and chocolate malt.

I think it was in the fall of 1991, about a year before I moved to Minnesota, that I experienced the quintessential diner hamburger. I was riding home with the president of GTE’s New England Division from a visit to the Northeast Division headquarters in Johnstown, New York. It was an excellent fall day, and halfway through Vermont on our way back to Concord, New Hampshire, we spotted a fine diner.

“Hungry?” Chuck chimed.

My drool machine went into overdrive. “Sounds good to me,” I replied, attempting to be cool and nonchalant about the possibility.

The heavenly smell of hamburgers on the grill greeted us as we opened the diner door. I felt set up like I was having my fortune told. “You shall meet the hamburger of your dreams,” the Gypsy smell foretold.

And the prophecy was fulfilled at that diner. But the quest to repeat the experience continues to this very day. More next week.

Please share your own out-of-this-world dining adventures with us!

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More on the Skylark Diner

More about Space Larrabee: I was made manifest in a book called By the Time I Got to Woodstock—or Space Meets Thyme in the Shadow of Atlantis. I am Space Larrabee, and in Lunch on the Moon I share tasty delicacies I’ve found in the experiential arts. Join me every week or so and share your experiences, too!

Steve Tilston, the Real Danny Collins, Being His Own Chosen One–The Surprisingest Twist of All

Steve TilstonIn my most recent blog post I promised not to be a spoiler for the surprise twist in the movie Danny Collins starring Al Pacino. That was then. I’ve given you a little more time to check out the movie, but I just can’t hold out any longer.

The opening frames of Danny Collins proclaim that the production was based on a true story–sort of. As the movie progressed, it was a heartbreak to watch Danny’s creativity suffer for his entire career. The music and persona foisted on him stifled creativity and drove him to drink and substance abuse. On the surface, he led the ideal life of the rock star. Inside, the real Danny was buried until a letter from a sympathetic admirer changed everything.

The letter was written at the onset of his career in 1971 in response to a fear he expressed in an underground rock magazine interview. He feared that wealth and fame would affect his creativity. The author of the letter reassuringly wrote to Danny, “Fame doesn’t need to stifle creativity. Just stay true to yourself.” Then he said, “Give me a call and we can talk about it.”  And he gave him his home phone. The writer knew of what he spoke. The writer of the letter was John Lennon.

Danny did not see the letter until 30 years later. The letter’s impact was life-changing and made for a great screenplay.

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Now comes the surprisingest twist of all, for me in real life (sort of–since I am a fiction). The real-life Danny Collins is an Englishman, a Liverpudlian named Steve Tilston. The truth is that he had followed John Lennon’s advice, even though he wouldn’t see it for 34 years.

Here is what practically made me weep with joy. Steve was a superb songwriter in the folk/folkrock genre who stayed true to his music and never ventured into superficiality or drug abuse. Out of curiosity, I listened to samples of his music online from Amazon and his website. I sampled his whole career from 1971 to present, and found it to be true, clear, pure, and beautiful. His guitar work is outstanding. He has a stirring, Celtic voice reminiscent of Bert Jansch, Eric Bogle, or John Renbourn. Why did we never hear of him on this side of the pond?

Let us remedy that this very moment! This is a video clip from his latest CD, Truth to Tell. Have a listen. Hear the truth.

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More about Space Larrabee: I was made manifest in a book called By the Time I Got to Woodstock—or Space Meets Thyme in the Shadow of Atlantis. I am Space Larrabee, and in Lunch on the Moon I share tasty delicacies I’ve found in the experiential arts. Join me every week or so and share your experiences, too!

I think I Just Experienced My Favorite Al Pacino Flick

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Although it’s a departure from the characters of power Al Pacino portrayed in the Godfather and Devil’s Advocate, Danny Collins had more depth than either of the demons portrayed in those two disparate worlds of absolute power and absolute corruption.

In his latest role, Pacino as Danny had to face his demons arising from a life of wealth and fame. He sang them away, or attempted to, at any rate. If you can imagine Al Pacino singing, you’ve got a better imagination than mine. That was a big reason I was compelled to see this production in the first place.

At the onset of the movie I nearly cried—with desperation. I hadn’t wanted to step into the movie with any preconceptions, so I’d avoided trailers like the plague. The opening scene has Danny approaching the stage bursting with power and charisma. The crowd is on fire. Sporting a complicated pompadour with a hint of poodle and mullet touched up at the makeup table moments before, Danny flings the striped silk scarf around his neck and grabs the mic from the stand.

The ghosts of Tin Pan Alley possess Danny, issuing flamboyant strains of his most popular song, appealing to that superfluous pop mentality that floats on the surface of consciousness.

Mercifully, the next scene grabs us, throwing us into a flashback where a much younger Danny’s being interviewed by a fan mag. The interviewer raves about the lyrical depths of Collins’s debut album, likening him to Dylan and Lennon. The album collected accolades and rave reviews. Danny was getting notice, but not sales. The star-making machinery caught up Collins and molded him into what he would become for the next three decades—a star. In other words, wildly popular and desperately unhappy.

He hated every minute he had to spend onstage exploiting himself, striving for unconsciousness and achieving vapidity. I stopped crying. Even as I bled for him, Danny made me happy. This joy continued to fill my heart as the surprise plot twist took center stage to take Danny back to his depth.

This is not a spoiler. I’m taking pains to ensure this, because I sincerely want you to have the opportunity to experience what I did–or what you need to. — Now, take some time over the next week to see the movie. Ponder what you discover about Danny and yourself and let me know what you think.

My next post will include a surprise twist that happened for me after seeing the movie and digging a little deeper.

If you dare, following is a Danny Collins trailer

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More on Danny Collins and Bleecker Street Films

More on Director Dan Fogelman

More on Space Larrabee

 

Woodstock 46th Anniversary. It Was Spiritual, Man!

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This year marks the 46th anniversary of the famed Woodstock music festival at Yazgur’s farm in Bethel, New York. Nearly half a million bodies were in attendance that weekend. I and millions more were there in spirit. This is apropos, because strange as it sounds, this was a pivotal spiritual event in the lives of people around the world. I’d fully intended to attend since Bethel was just a few hours away, but it just wasn’t in the cards . . . until five years later. In the meantime I met Thyme, and by the time we got to Woodstock we were ready for it.

In honor of our 41st anniversary of Woodstock, here’s a peek at what happened when Thyme and I finally got there. It appears as chapters thirty-five and thirty-six in the novel By the Time I Got to Woodstock: or Space Meets Thyme in the Shadow of Atlantis by D. E. Munson.

Woodstock at Last   The dirt road to the campground was steep, rocky, and rutted. It was in the heart of the Catskill Mountains, which loomed above us. It was pitch black and pouring rain by the time we arrived at the campground. We checked in at the main building, which was also the kitchen. We had no idea how to find or even to see our site.

“Welcome.” A smiling, dark-haired woman in sweater and jeans approached us. “I’m Katherine. I don’t think we should send you out in this tonight. Why don’t you just spend the night in the loft. It’ll be much drier that way. You can find your site and set up tomorrow. Did you have a good trip? I bet you’re exhausted.”

We introduced ourselves and thanked our welcoming host. Following her advice, we dashed out into the rain again and grabbed our gear. We set ourselves up in a corner of the loft and crashed. A woodchuck outside the building mumbled and scratched. Trying to get out of the rain, no doubt. These were the last sounds we heard as we drifted off to sleep.

Thyme and I awoke next morning to clattering in the kitchen. On our return from dreamland, we discovered we were near the original intended location of the famed festival. It was an hour away from Yazgur’s Farm in Bethel.  The air—and everything we touched—was damp. Looking outside, we could see a mist still enshrouding the clearing in the trees. People started setting up tables, folding chairs, and a huge clear plastic dining fly.

We rolled up our bags, stowed our gear in the car, then Thyme found Katherine and asked, “Can we help with breakfast? We’re so grateful to you for letting us sleep in here last night.”

“Oh, sure,” Katherine replied, “there’s plenty to do. We’re still working on the duty roster. According to Sufi doctrine, for want of a better word, there’s a clear delineation between male and female roles in the chores at the camp.” She turned to me. “You can help with the eggs for the time being. But this will be the last time you do kitchen work here. This, as well as watching the children, will be the responsibility of the women.” I wasn’t too heartbroken.

After a tasty camp breakfast of oatmeal with nuts, scrambled eggs, and orange juice, Thyme and I set out to find our site. We met someone along the way who said they had wooden pallets available. We could use them as platforms to keep tents high and dry. I found the stash, got two of them, and set us up nice as can be.

That afternoon they called all the guys together to erect a huge geodesic dome. We bolted two-by-fours together at each end. In teams, we created large pentagons, triangle by triangle, on the 1600-square-foot wooden platform. We erected scaffolding to handle the height. Within a few hours, we had a twenty-foot-high dome to keep us dry as we danced when it rained outside. Two deja vu-like thoughts passed through my mind at the time, too. I’d admired Michael at the UNH commune for his ability to help build a geodesic dome, then, there I was, able to do the same. Also, as I’d walked the trails to the platform that morning, I noticed there were yurts! In fact, I’m quite sure Pir Vilayat Khan stayed in one of them. Cool.

 

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Dancing with the Sufis   We discovered, once we’d assembled the dome, that it was not centered on the platform. Teamwork, again was the answer. We all spaced ourselves out, grabbing hold of the two-by-fours forming the great circular base of the dome.  On cue, we lifted then repositioned it where it belonged. Two things happened during the procedure. First, it blew me away that together we could raise and move that gargantuan structure. Second, while we still held the dome suspended, across from me in the circle, I saw Atlantis . . . and he saw me.   I was so stunned, I didn’t know what to think.

We all cheered once we set it down, then we bolted it to the platform. I shot him the peace sign. He smiled and waved back. Neither of us approached each other. I let it go with a sense of relief. That evening, I finally got to be with Thyme again after she’d finished kitchen duty. We relished our well-earned rice and beans, salad, and watermelon. Vegetables never tasted so good. Pir Vilayat welcomed us that evening, then we broke into dance and song. Music, dance, and body movement are integral to the Sufis in helping to make a connection with divine spirit. It was a beautiful experience.

Next morning, and every morning thereafter for the rest of week, rain or shine, we rose at first light to do yoga. We started the hour with the greeting-the-sun asana. This we followed with a mixture of other asanas and eye exercises. The instructor said he used to wear glasses, but after practicing the eye exercises, he wore them no more.  After breakfast, the men gathered at the dome for work detail. Ahmed, a bearded Sufi who looked a couple years older than me, spoke to the assembled. “I need a volunteer who is not afraid of heights.” My hand shot up without a thought.  We reassembled scaffolding in the center of the dome, from the platform, rising to the apex. Ahmed walked to the scaffold and started climbing.

“Follow me,” he instructed. I followed. I’d noticed a little old man who’d been hanging around, staying in a little old trailer. I could see him far below us as Ahmed and I set to work. “The rain last night rotted the joint in the crown of the dome,” he explained. “We need to replace these six two-by-fours, bolt them back together, and cover them so this doesn’t happen again.”

We each used a wrench and screwdriver to undo the bolts on the ruined lumber. I then held each new replacement board in position for Ahmed to bolt and fasten. As we sat there working, I looked down below, “Who is that old guy who’s been hanging out in the trailer down there?” I asked.  From the look on Ahmed’s face, I knew I’d goofed up.

“That’s my dad,” he said. Through the embarrassment I learned a lesson about judging others that I’d never forget. Ahmed was gracious and didn’t hold it against me. I’m sure my profuse apologies didn’t hurt.  At lunchtime, they’d announced that showers were available. There were specific hours for male-only and female-only showers. And this surprised the heck out of me—there were also coed hours, should anyone so choose.

“Hey,” I said, “If we go during coed hours, we can shower together.” Thyme smiled, seeing right through me.

“Okay, we can go then.” And so we did, and it was fun. There were a couple other pretty girls in the shower, too, but of course I didn’t peek.  Then, while we were toweling off, Thyme said with a wry smile, “I didn’t know you needed to wear your glasses in the shower.”

We left, and as we descended on the trail back to the main encampment, Atlantis approached us. He wore a black T-shirt with an inverted silver pentangle on the chest, black jeans. Black silk cape and hair flowing behind him, he smiled through his signature pointy Vandyke beard. He greeted me like an old friend. I could feel Saturn rising. I didn’t trust it, but I tried to be as gracious as I could. He entranced Thyme. I could tell.

“Hello Space,” he said, giving me a quick, slick New Age man hug. “And who have we here?”

I grimaced and forced a smile. “Atlantis, this is Thyme.”

“Powerful magic, Thyme,” he said. “You look familiar. Haven’t we met somewhere before.” Then he kissed her hand.

Damn! I muttered deep inside, Why did he have to go and do that?


 

What was your Woodstock or Woodstock/Not Experience? 


 

More about Space and Thyme

More about Woodstock 69

Woodstock Blog

New Republic perspective of how Woodstock really was

Taking Woodstock movie (Director Ang Lee)

Woodstock movie (Director Michael Wadleigh)

The many faces of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John H.

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Sherlocks (clockwise from upper left: Cumberbathch, Miller, Rathbone, Downey)
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Watsons (clockwise from upper left: Law, Freeman, Lu, Bruce)

Hands down, my father-in-law’s favorite author was Conan Doyle, as he called him. And his favorite character was tied between Dr. Watson and Mr. Holmes.

Myself, I relied on Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce to give faces to the names. I confessed to Dad that I hadn’t actually read a complete Sherlock Holmes story.

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Dr. John H. Sprague

Dad remedied that the day I met him. We’d just turned into the driveway when I admitted I was nervous. Thyme, my wife-to-be, his lovely daughter, reassured me, “You and my father have a lot in common, you know?”

“For real?”

“Yeah. You both smoke pipes and love history, love to read, love to talk—a lot. And you like Sherlock Holmes, right?”

“Yeah, of course . . .”

“That gives him a captive audience for hours. Besides, he loves All in the Family. And you won him over already by planning to ask him for my hand, and asking if you could call him Dad.”

Suddenly before us, my father-in-law-to-be stood in the doorway.

“Hello, Meathead!” he greeted me with enthusiasm.

Strange as it sounds, that was music to my ears. I dug this guy. He was no Archie. Every room in the house except for the bathrooms, I think, had a bookcase. The upstairs hallway as well as every alcove had a bookcase. This was the beginning of an oddball reunion of two kindred spirits. . . .

“How about a glass of Port?” Dad offered.

Thyme laughed, “We’re here less than an hour, and Dad’s got his captive audience for the grand tour of the house. It starts with the musty old Port, you know. Okay,” she said with a wave of the hand, “See you in an hour then.”

“This way, Meathead,” the good doctor poked as I followed him out of the kitchen and down the short hallway to his office. “Welcome to my lair,” he intoned. Dark-stained oak desks, a tall cabinet, bookcase, and two heavy wooden armchairs lined the walnut-paneled walls.

“Office hours are over, so let us pay homage at the altar of Bacchus,” he said. He stepped out of his office for a moment, then returned with two smallish fluted glasses and a decanter of port. He filled them and offered me one.

“Join me in a smoke?” asked Dad.

“Don’t mind if I do.”

We loaded, tamped, lit, puffed, tamped, swigged, and sat content.

“She’s a bright, talented girl, my little Persephone.”

“I noticed that, too,” I said.

“You know why, don’t you?”

“Why’s that?”

“I fed her stars.”

“I see,” said I. “Got any left?”

Dad laughed. “Get your own.”

“Okay, okay . . . I’ll do that. But she’s my star, now. I’ll bask in her radiance.”

“Ah, that’s right. I’ve heard you’re a poet. Who are your heroes? Shelley? Keats?”

“Yeah. And the Transcendentalists,” I said.

“Aha. Have you read Conan Doyle? He dabbled in the beyond a bit.”

“I like the Sherlock Holmes stories, but I confess, I’ve only read Hound of the Baskervilles. Part of it, anyway. But I’ve seen the entire movie . . .”

“Oh, now. You’ve got to read the stories to get their full worth. Come with me.”

Dad led me back into the house, through the kitchen, and upstairs to a bookcase around the corner from his writing desk. He lifted the wood-framed glass door fronting the top shelf of the case. He pulled out a red volume, opened it, and handed it to me, pointing to the title, Hound of the Baskervilles.

“Read,” he commanded.*

From that day forward, I devoured every story recorded by Dr. John H. Watson. Those memories of adventure and intrigue couched in brandy and pipe tobacco smoke as I churned through the pages in my easy chair.

The reason for Holmes and Watson’s neck-in-neck situation as Dad’s favorite character was that Dad admired Sherlock Holmes, but he identified with Dr. Watson. After all, my father-in-law, too, was a doctor named John with a middle name of H. Dad was Hibbard and Watson was Hamish.

Since Dad’s passing, years ago, I sometimes see his face in Bruce’s place. Much to my delight another face has arrived to fill that space.

In 2010, Dr. Watson appeared once again, but this time as Martin Freeman in latest BBC production. What a great choice. My favorite actor is one of my favorite people.  And a blogger to boot.

The face of Dr Watson has become multi-gender, and diverse. Lucy Lu has joined in on Elementary, CBS. And of course there’s Jude Law in the recent movie version.

Now at last to the face of Sherlock Holmes, whose very nature is elusive, eccentric, and disguised. Who could fill it better than the old Basil? I ask you.

The answers resound from hearts true and pure: Benedict Cumberbatch–No argument there. Robert Downey Junior–fall off your chair. Johnny Lee Miller? I’m asking myself. Then I just heard this morning it’ll be Gandalf!

*Excerpted from By the Time I Got to Woodstock or Space Meets Thyme in the Shadow of Atlantis by D. E. Munson

More on Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce

More on Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman

More on Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law

More on Johnny Lee Miller and Lucy Lu

More on Gandalf AKA Ian McKellan AKA Mr. Holmes

More on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

 

Thomas Pynchon, Inherent Goodness

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I’d love to lure Thomas Pynchon to Lunch on the Moon with some killer chimichangas or burritos, since I understand he likes Mexican, but I respect his space and will just blither about him for a while here.

I finally got to see the cinematic version of the Thomas Pynchon novel Inherent Vice. And it was good. Masterfully directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, the darn thing was nominated for two Oscars (Writing-Adapted Screenplay & Costume).

Not surprisingly, it has a huge cast, with potent leading characters. I can’t begin to comment on all of them, and apologize for anyone I’ve left out, but I do have to mention cameos by Maya Rudolph, Benicio del Toro, Martin Short, and Richard Nixon.

Josh Brolin stole the show, in my mind, portraying Bigfoot Bjornson. He was as big and anomalously conflicted as the originally written Pynchon character. He looks like Ol’ Flat Top, straight-arrow detective, and he’s obsessed with nailing Doc, or at least tromping on him when he can. He’s also a cop movie wannabe. I suspect Josh read the book.

Joaquin Phoenix did as good a job playing the protagonist, Doc Sportello, as he did portraying Johnny Cash in “Walk the Line,” in my estimation. He played a brooding, semispaced, quite intuitive private detective in search of Shasta, elusive mystical hippie goddess in the story.

Shasta was played by Katherine Waterson, Sam Waterson’s progeny, a brunette, said in an interview that it took her ten hours to become the natural blonde, Shasta. It was her first time on the big screen, but she was a joy to watch.

Reese Witherspoon, playing formidable D.A., Penny Kimball, reunites with Phoenix again after their stint together a decade ago in “Walk the Line.” She secretly desires Doc’s free life . . . lightly engaging with him in an affair of sorts. I also just saw her in Wild, which is another story altogether. I’ll likely be talking about it sometime in the future.

Owen Wilson, God love him, is Owen Wilson. His fans, myself included, count on that in the same way we expect John Wayne to be John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart to be Jimmy Stewart and Robin Williams . . . well, you catch my drift. Anyway, Owen plays Coy Herlingen, a Police informant. He tips Doc off about the Golden Fang. Beware the Golden Fang!

I “read” Thomas Pynchon’s most readable novel (Inherent Vice) when it was released on audiobook a couple of years ago. That’s how I know it deserves its Oscar nod. I also read Mason & Dixon, but I think an unfortunate life or two in the South colors my perception.

Pynchon was born in 1937 in Glencove, New York, on the north coast of Long Island. He served two years in the Navy, and was 26 when his first novel V was published in 1963.

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Pynchon moved into prominence with Gravity’s Rainbow in 1973. It was slated for the National Book Award in 1974, but because of its controversial nature, no award was given that year. I’m still reading this too. My son Jake accidentally left it behind on his bookshelf after he moved out. I saw an art exhibit at The Walker in Minneapolis in 2004 or so where Zak Smith, the artist, created a graphic novel of every single page of Gravity’s Rainbow and plastered the entire book to one wall of the museum. Talk about awesome. Jake says that the secret to reading Pynchon is to read the entire book in one sitting.

I really dig the company he kept. Richard Fariña was a good friend and contemporary of his. Fariña wrote the novel Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me. I read this novel during my freshman year at Piper— all the way through. It’s companionate to Kerouac’s On the Road, Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye, and Wolfe’s Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test.

Fariña was married to Joan Baez’s sister, Mimi, and prior to his tragic motorcycle accident in 1966, was expected to be the next Bob Dylan. Ironically, this happened within months of Dylan’s motorcycle accident which put him out of commission for a few years, himself. More on this in a future blog.

My good friend, Tommy Dorsey (not the band leader), gave me an LP Richard and Mimi Fariña recorded together called Reflections in a Crystal Wind because he lost the jacket and needed to buy another copy anyway. More about Richard Fariña in another blog too.

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What’s big and fat and white? Pynchon’s 2006 novel Against the Day. I thoroughly immersed myself in the adventure of the book’s opening scenes aboard a hot air balloon. I’m still reading and enjoying the hardcover version nine years later. I pick it up and put it down. I sent it to my brother for Christmas in 2006 before reading it myself. He says he gave up on it, but he forgives me. I dare you to read it.

I’m entranced by Pynchon’s writing. His worlds are infinitely complex, but inherently great. I find it totally worth the investment in time and mindstretch.

More on Thomas Pynchon and his works:

ThomasPynchon.com

Inherent Vice

Against the Day

Gravity’s Rainbow

 

More on Space Larrabee:

By the Time I Got to Woodstock—or Space Meets Thyme in the Shadow of Atlantis

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