Friday, March 13, 2009

Facts and Fictions: Distractions from Depression?

Sad news: the writer James Purdy has died at age 94. I love his strange, poetic and very funny books: Eustace Chisholm and the Works, In A Shallow Grave, Mourners Below, On Glory's Course, etc.

On a much lighter note: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has a new movie opening today, Race to Witch Mountain, a family film about well-intentioned space aliens who come in the form of children. The film has gotten some mixed reviews. I have seen some of Dwayne Johnson’s work and enjoyed it, and I liked him in the interviews I saw this week.

“The world’s best dealers bring their finest pieces to this most influential of art and antiques fairs and this attracts collectors and museum curators from around the globe who cannot risk staying away,” declares, of the Maastricht art fair, March 13 through 22nd, 2009, in the Netherlands (Limburg province)

The Bronx Council of the Arts is providing a tour, Saturday Culture Trolleys, to take interested persons to seventeen free cultural events, including artist studio visits, on March 14th, 12 noon to 5pm, beginning from Hostos College’s Longwood Art Gallery, at 450 Grand Concourse and 149th Street. (Riders will get Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird and be able to participate in a trivia contest with literary prizes.) Sounds great!

Unfortunately, the Metropolitan Museum in New York, a favorite of mine, is eliminating some of its staff, due to the current economic crisis which has diminished its large financial endowment, which pays some salaries.

The Conference on Southern Literature will be held April 2nd through 4th, 2009, in Chattanooga. Tennessee. Participants include poets Wendell Berry and Rita Dove and fiction writers Edward Jones and Barry Hannah (about one thousand writers and readers attend in all). Most of the events will be held at the Tivoli Theatre on Broad Street.

In Seattle, April 16th through 19th is the Experience Music Project’s conference, focused on dance music, and featuring Nona Hendryx and Diane Warren with a range of critics, scholars, and writers. It’s great that Hendryx, who made and released a new album with Patti Labelle and Sarah Dash, her long-ago partners, is getting some of the attention she deserves.

I have been enjoying Andrew Bird’s album Noble Beast. It seems a musician’s attempt to make the best music he can.

The American Religious Identification Survey says that more Americans are claiming to be disbelievers, about 15%, according to the Council for Secular Humanism's March 2009 online newsletter. Only 15%?

Rasmussen reports that only 34% of Americans believe the U.S. will be the most powerful nation in the world by the end of the twenty-first century. Is that pessimism or realism; and how will it affect the way Americans think of, and respond to, the rest of the world?