Free of Illusions

To properly view these works, Invisible Man & The Invisibles, the first entry in this BookTalk asked an essential question:

The narrator concludes that “Even an invisible man has a socially responsible role to play.” This is an important tenet of Ellison’s philosophy, for he believed that art should serve democracy. In what way is Invisible Man a novel that deals specifically with the problems and challenges of democracy?

Part of the answer, after viewing and re-viewing these works, is the philosophy of empiricism and a self-doubt that propels inquiry; it is hard enough to know one’s self, let alone know or direct the collective identity of groups of people en mass — that is to say that our social identity is amplified and even more precarious, fungible, convoluted, and bewildering or ever-progressing (much like a story unfolding, still yet untold). Potential is in the smell of springtime.

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“The Police Special spoke its lines and the rhyme was completed. Just look around you. Look at what he made, look inside you and feel his awful power. It was perfectly natural. The blood ran like blood in a comic-book killing, on a comic-book street in a comic-book town on a comic-book day in a comic-book world.” (Page 458)

to be honest

the mind

The Invisible Kingdom is free of illusions.

1999 invisible eclipse

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invisible gunman

 

 

our sentence is up

A Climactic Ending

Through the month of March, I managed to write 3 short essays on the major changes in Motion Pictures during the last decade of the twentieth century; it takes less than 10 minutes to read.  First, the over saturation of satire set the stage for post-truth realities in the 21st century.  Second, Web 2.0 brought life to a Truman Show way of life for all, the blueprint for our contemporary echo chambers and the death knell to the theater experience — as it stands now the majority of moviegoers in 2017 are over age 50.  Third, the extension of viewing times exceeded the matinee marathon and binge-watching bloated audience appetite for all-you-can-eat storytelling.  Read all about it on Medium:

You Should (Re)Watch 1990’s Bonfire of the Vanities

YouTube Killed the Movie Star: From Laces Out to Get Out

The Fat Lady Sings: this Completes the Trilogy, Not the Saga

 

Super Fly Films

Like a lit stick of Dolemite thrown down a mine Shaft full of TNT, blaxploitation cinema’s explosive content blew open a spectrum of lenses to film America.  Super Fly is a 1972 crime drama directed by Gordon Parks, Jr., starring Ron O’Neal as Youngblood Priest, an African American cocaine dealer who is trying to quit the underworld drug business.  This film is probably best known for its soundtrack, written and produced by soul musician Curtis Mayfield. Super Fly is one of the few films ever to have been out-grossed by its soundtrack.

Cinematic Realism

Speaking of one of the best Nolan films, Memento‘s very own Teddy, Joe Pantoliano was the guest of honor at this year’s Silver Springs International Film Festival.

Christopher Nolan directed “Memento” from his own script, adapted from a short story by his brother Jonathan Nolan titled  “Memento Mori.” The film, starring Guy Pearce as an amnesiac, was presented in a series of black-and-white scenes shown chronologically, and color sequences shown in reverse order.

2666: Part 6 – The Part about Omission

A 2009 Guardian article claims that a treasure trove of additional writing from Roberto Bolaño exists and could possibly be linked to 2666.  The publication is what it is, and the potential extension of a mysterious Part 6 (or more) simply underscores how prolific Roberto Bolaño was and still is.  For all the research and reading surrounding this one novel, 2666, a reader could just as easily dwell within the world of the author exclusively.  Top on the list of books to read next should be The Savage Detectives, but after gorging on 2666, readers may need a break from Roberto Bolaño.

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Consequently, my literary interests collapsed into local Hispanic history and the myths of La Florida, my home.  The Spanish conquistadors are a great topic to transition to from a novel like 2666.  Just recently, I read Larry Richard Clark’s The Last Conquistadors of Southeast North America and Brutal Journey by Paul Schneider.  All in preparation (really) to read and enjoy Laila Lalami’s critically acclaimed The Moor’s Account; it fictionalizes a true historical journey of conquistadors crossing Latin America and enduring unbelievable transformations.  Truly, at the top of my reading list after all is said and done, The Moor’s Account is the next book to enjoy this summer.

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From Cuba to Guatemala and across the Americas, if you’re looking for other Latino Literature classics, I recommend Héctor Tobar’s The Tattooed Soldier.  Also, having studied under Virgil Suárez at the Florida State University, I strongly suggest readers find the 1999 Arte Público Press copy of The Cutter.

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When you’re ready to dive back into some more Roberto Bolaño, check-out this interview with the English translator behind the scenes.  Natasha Wimmer may have had a hard time grasping Bolaño’s style but neither would the author himself admit to as much. (Novelist Obsessed With Mythmaking Novelists Unexpectedly Accused of Mythmaking)  And readers are encouraged to return to the earlier parts of this review for close examination, some hyper-links were hidden within the text.

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The history of Chile is dramatic enough in reality and surreal to captureMany documentaries and films have tried, and the 2006 docudrama Pinochet in Suburbia barely scratches the surface; nevertheless, perhaps the best cinematic expression of Bolaño’s 2666 could be found in the classic film The Wages of Fear.

The Wages of Fear is a 1953 French-Italian drama film directed by Henri-Georges Clouzot, starring Yves Montand, and based on a novel by Georges Arnaud. When a Mexican oil well owned by an American company catches fire, the company hires four European men, down on their luck, to drive two trucks over mountainous dirt roads, loaded with nitroglycerine needed to extinguish the flames.

The 2012 indie film 7 Cajas serves as a swift South American Slumdog Millionaire, if you’re looking for something a little more peppy and post-modern.  7 Boxes (released in Spanish as 7 Cajas) is a Paraguayan thriller film directed by Juan Carlos Maneglia and Tana Schémbori.

Bolaño is an artist seizing his moment, just flexing in front of his audience and stretching the music.  The rhythm of Roberto Bolaño can be as intense as live jazz and sometimes there is more to life than writing; it’s hard to admit.  Every beat needs a rest.

Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah: NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert
The first two numbers were, in fact, from Scott’s new album Stretch Music. That’s his name for the particular type of jazz fusion he’s up to: something more seamless than a simple collision of genre signifiers; something whose DNA is already hybridized and freely admits sonic elements which potentially “stretch” jazz’s purported boundaries. (You may note that he showed up in a Joy Division sleeveless T-shirt and gold chain.) It’s sleek and clearly modern, awash in guitar riffs, but also bold and emotionally naked. Scott is particularly good at getting you to feel the energy he sends pulsing through his horn, and he never shies away from going all-in on a solo. The least we could offer was to let him explain himself in doing so.

In my third year of teaching, a student of mine told me about the story of Víctor Jara: the Chilean teacher, poet, singer-songwriter, and political activist brutally martyred in 1973.  His gift of song best summarizes 2666 and the Bolaño experience: Vamos por Ancho Camino.