Literary Life

Some real talk from Larry McMurtry

One of these days I’m going to rank all of McMurtry’s non-fiction books.  They’re all chatty and great.  This is the single best one.

Either Film Flam or Hollywood tells what it’s like to be friends with Diane Keaton and her mom.

McMurtry has really meant a lot to me.  Here are some other posts about him:

his book Roads

about the time I heard him talk about Brokeback

Oh What A Slaughter and Sacagawea’s Nickname

Sarah Palin and glamour

The Field Of Blackbirds


Joshua Tree from the air

from Google Earth.  A little closer to the ground:


Bob Marley’s lawyer

Diane Jobson, as seen in the Marley doc.  (contender for best doc ever?)

250 points if you can guess the pun headline for this article about sorting out the Bob Marley estate.

Marley had eleven kids with seven women and left no will.  Good luck, Diane!


More on Chikamatsu

Donald Keene isn’t having any of this Japan’s Shakespeare business:

A poem:


Railroading was a talent

 

Reading about Casey Jones:

Railroading was a talent, and Jones was recognized by his peers as one of the best engineers in the business.


Campfire cooking

Something Biblical about roasting lamb chops right on the fire.  A true al pastor.  Plus it seemed to honor(?) the local fauna:

Of course you need a charcuterie plate.

Working on taking campfire cooking to the next level.  HT various campmates for the photos and ideas.

Some notes:

  • Foil packeted onions and peppers came out pretty well.  More elaborate foil pack meals have been a bust for me.  I tried some stew meat / potatoes sitch once, pointless.  Keep it simple.
  • Wrapping a potato in foil and putting it in the ashes is such a crapshoot.  You have to leave it in there for a good hour I believe.
  • You always want the cheapest hot dog buns you can find.
  • Enjoyed reading these camping experts’ recipes from kayakcritic.net and would like to try Cristina Lash’s cast iron apple cinnamon oatmeal.

Man vs. nature. A tie, in this case.

 


You’re the puppet

Bunraku is Japanese puppet theater.  It’s been around since the beginning of the 17th century.  The puppets are maybe three feet tall and are operated by people all in black.

Must credit young adult book The Master Puppeteer by Katherine Paterson for giving me some background in this bizarre art when I was a boy.

When I was in college the Awaji Island Puppet Troupe of Awaji Island came and did a performance in Boston.  I went to see it and only left with more questions.  Awaji puppets are similar to but not exactly bunraku.

Here we see Chikamatsu Monzaemon, who wrote at least 130 plays and is sometimes compared to Shakespeare.  Until 1705, he wrote kabuki plays, for human actors.  Then he abruptly switched to puppets.

WHY?

Why did Japan’s greatest dramatist switch to writing plays for puppets?

Wikipedia wagers some guesses:

The exact reason is unknown, although speculation is rife: perhaps the puppets were more biddable and controllable than the ambitious kabuki actors, or perhaps Chikamatsu did not feel kabuki worth writing for since Tōjūrō was about to retire, or perhaps the growing popularity of the puppet theater was economically irresistible.

Perhaps in Chikamatsu’s day the puppets weren’t really point, the point was the lyrics and the music, so you may as well have puppets instead of actors.

How cool would it be if Aaron Sorkin switched tomorrow to puppets?  Or better yet Shonda Rhimes?

“I only do puppets now!”

After the switch, Chikamatsu’s career followed an all too familiar path:

Chikamatsu’s popularity peaked with his domestic plays of love-suicides, and with the blockbuster success of The Battles of Coxinga in 1715, but thereafter the tastes of patrons turned to more sensational gore fests and otherwise more crude antics

I feel I’ve reached the end of what I can learn about this art form unless I actually go to the National Bunraku Theater in Osaka to see a performance of The Love Suicides at Sonezaki.

The National Bunraku Theater – Mc681 on Wikipedia.

“Art is something that lies in the slender margin between the real and the unreal.” — Chikamatsu Monzaemon, Naniwa Miyage