Thursday, March 29, 2012

Vote Ann Patchett for Time's 100 Most Influential People List

Posted by on Thu, Mar 29, 2012 at 4:03 PM

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Hey, we sure talk about Ann Patchett a lot around here! (It's kind of like Ann Patchett : Country Life :: JEFF the Brotherhood : Nashville Cream.) But she just has this way of being awesome all the time — seems like just yesterday she was stopping a pro-Amazon Colbert dead in his tracks — and we can hardly hold that against her.

The latest: She's up for inclusion in Time magazine's list of most influential people in the world. In the world. The folks at Time praise her "singular ability to write smart literary novels that are also big best sellers."

Check out the whole list of nominees here. (Does anyone else think it's weird/kind of offensive that Elisabeth Moss, Christina Hendricks and January Jones are one entry?) You can vouch for Patchett here — voting ends April 6 — and do so knowing that it's entirely possible Ryan Seacrest and Rick Santorum could end up on this list if decent people don't rise up and click on "definitely" for someone who writes books and is not hateful and insane. Do it!

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Don't Go to The Real World Casting Call April 7

Posted by on Thu, Mar 29, 2012 at 1:50 PM

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Are you a fan of humiliating your family? Do you dream of a future where any legitimate achievements will be an afterthought to your youthful indiscretion? Have your friends ever been concered about your alcoholism/exhibitionism? Are you ever in luck! Open casting for the 28th iteration of MTV stalwart The Real World will take place April 7 at Buffalo Billiards. It’s from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and would not at all be a waste of a spring Saturday to pay for parking and then stand around downtown surrounded by the people you hate the most, people who are exactly like you.

Applicants are asked to bring a recent picture of themselves (which will not be returned) and photo ID. You must be 21 years or older by March 1st, 2013, and appear to be between the ages of 20 and 24.

By the way, someone who is 20 years old right now would have been born in 1992, which was the same year The Real World debuted.

But wait, there’s more!

This season casting directors will be on the lookout for applicants who have challenges living an everyday life that most take for granted, struggling with weight issues, affected by a natural disaster, products of home or alternative schooling, followers of unrecognized or non-mainstream belief systems, elite athletes, recent graduates affected by the economic downturn, those involved with goth, emo, or punk subculture, members of a pro-abstinence organization, those who are recently single due to a tragedy, someone who has recently gotten out of the foster care system, and individuals who want to bring the spotlight of “The Real World” to a cause, condition, or social issue they care deeply about or are personally affected by.

While I’m an anorexic Scientologist foster child who was home-schooled and recently lost my partner in a tornado (we met at a “Lacrosse Players for Abstinence” fundraiser) and am active in the goth club scene in spite of being unable to find steady work as a recent college graduate and am anxious to raise awareness for my Foundation for Raising Awareness, I’ll probably have to sit this one out. At 27, I’m three years too old to audition. Even though my youthful visage and totally in your face attitude could trick casting people into thinking I'm three years younger until they ask for ID, you literally could not pay me to go to Buffalo Billiards on a Saturday, let alone for a Real World casting call. Q: Why?

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Insight? Outta Site! Lecture at Zeitgeist With Sharon Butler of Two Coats of Paint

Posted by on Thu, Mar 29, 2012 at 10:45 AM

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  • Manuel Zeitlin

Last night was the first of the spring 2012 Insight? Outta Site! lecture series at Zeitgeist, and a pretty sizeable turnout showed up to hear what artist and blogger Sharon Butler (Two Coats of Paint) had to say. It's a potluck, which is kind of fun — whoever brought the roasted pecans with rosemary was a genius. It was also meant to be interactive, but when organizer Adrienne Outlaw began by saying that she's a firm believer that there are no stupid questions, I was worried. Like everybody, I've been to plenty of talks where I've noticed that people who like to talk over everyone else are often kind of intolerable. But this was a painters' discussion, and it seemed like people where there with real concerns looking for practical advice, not just to hear themselves talk.

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Last Call: Silent House Ending Tonight in Nashville Theaters

Posted by on Thu, Mar 29, 2012 at 10:10 AM

The setup for Silent House is a promising one taken from Uruguay's entry for foreign language film at the Oscars, La Casa Muda. A young woman (Martha/Marcy May/Marlene herself, Elizabeth Olsen, who is stunning in as thankless a lead role as you'll see all year) in an isolated multilevel house starts out trying to pack away old things and clean up a decaying family property, and she ends up running for her life from a mysterious intruder that yearns to shed some blood.

The trailers build directly off the ad campaign for The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (both original and sacrilege, er, remake). “Real terror presented in real time,” they promise, which sets the film up for a landing it can't possibly stick. The hidden edits aren't that well hidden, but more damaging are the listings for the "additional photography" that litter the end credits.

So if it isn't real time, can it possibly be real terror? The Uruguayan original was based on an actual case from the '40s, so there's certainly some basis in calling that real terror. But that's not the case with the current incarnation taking up residence in multiplexes across the country. Most of Silent House is looking and hiding, with some intermittent running.

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Read These Stories For Free, Via Flavorwire

Posted by on Thu, Mar 29, 2012 at 8:00 AM

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  • Flannery O'Connor
Over the weekend, Flavorwire posted this list with links to lots of great stories that are available to read online for free. The post was meant to commemorate the would-be 87th birthday of Flannery O'Connor, which was March 25, but we think the stories are worthy of attention — even if we're a few days late.

Read O'Connor's "A Good Man Is Hard To Find," plus a bunch of others that are less familiar, like "The School," by Donald Barthelme (love him!), and "The Sea Oak," by the hilarious George Saunders. Classic writers such as Kafka, Nabokov and Chekhov are included, plus nerdier fare by Ursula LeGuin and Ray Bradbury. Read up!

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Opening Today: The Laramie Project at USN

Posted by on Thu, Mar 29, 2012 at 7:00 AM

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The Laramie Project
When: March 29-31
Where: University School of Nashville, 2000 Edgehill Ave.

Middle Tennessee has had some serious mountings of this groundbreaking documentary-style play based on the story of Matthew Shepard. Originally developed by Moises Kaufman’s Tectonic Theatre Project, The Laramie Project profiles Shepard, a young gay man who was beaten to death in Wyoming in 1998, a shocking event that awakened the nation to the reality of hate crimes.

Given this work’s subject matter and potentially complex staging, it’s of special note when adolescents — in this case, University School of Nashville’s Student Theatre Guild — take on the challenge. USN theater faculty member Catherine Coke says Guild members expressed an interest in producing The Laramie Project in light of pertinent events in Tennessee, including the recent suicides of young gay people and anti-gay legislation issues. Senior Hannah Baker directs, and her precocious cast includes Jackie Carter, Preston Crowder, Sam Douglas, Abby Horrell, Christy Slobogin, David Zeitlin, Adam Hudnut-Beumler, Dylan Pitt, Margaret Rose, Cyrus Shick, Sammie Chomsky, Tess Deegan, Jack Rayson, Izzy Creavin and Aidan Watt. 

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Pete's Pick of the Week: Heywood

Posted by on Thu, Mar 29, 2012 at 6:00 AM

“You ain’t nothing but A HOUND DOG.” Yep, Heywood is a pure Basset. He is the complete package minus top-hat and cane! Found down yonder, vetted, healthy, housebroken, loves other dogs and cats and kids. He’s just 2 years old and desperate to play house with you. Heywood was rescued by the Proverbs 12:10 angels. Lavonne Redferrin started this group, which houses and loves Heywood and many others until they find their forever homes. If Heywood doesn’t rock your world, they are keeping another 100 or so that might. Meet Heywood this Saturday at the Bellevue Petco between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Or visit proverbs1210rescue.org.

Portrait by PeterNashDogs.com.

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Traveling World War I Exhibit Downtown Today

Posted by on Thu, Mar 29, 2012 at 3:20 AM

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To celebrate its 75th anniversary, asset management/financial planning company Waddell & Reed has developed an 18-wheel traveling World War I museum that stops in Nashville today as part of its 75-city tour.

The "Honoring Our History Tour" big rig will be parked on Seventh Avenue North between Charlotte and Union from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today.

According to the press release, "Visitors will experience the tight conditions of trench warfare, see the relatively primitive tools, weapons, equipment and uniforms of a war from nearly 100 years ago."

"Visitors will experience the tight conditions of trench warfare" — now there's an ingenious spin on the space limitations of a museum in an 18-wheeler.

Admission is free, but donations are appreciated, and funds raised at this stop will be divided between the Tennessee State Museum-Military Branch and the National World War I Museum based in Kansas City, Mo., the first and only WWI museum designated by U.S. Congress.

More photos after the jump ...

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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Hunger Games, Roger Corman Style: Death Race 2000

Posted by on Wed, Mar 28, 2012 at 4:21 PM

Tonight and tomorrow night only, The Belcourt is showing Alex Stapleton's documentary Corman's World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel, a tribute to indefatigable exploitation pioneer Roger Corman — the brainy schlockmeister whose fast-and-cheap mandate and willingness to gamble on new talent gave invaluable early boosts to the likes of Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, Jonathan Demme, Joe Dante, Ron Howard, Jack Nicholson and Peter Bogdanovich (many of whom turn up in the film).

One Corman classic due for a second look these days is 1975's Death Race 2000, directed by Paul Bartel from a script by Robert Thom and Charles B. Griffith, three of the funniest and most subversive talents in Corman's stable. The movie's getting renewed attention right now as an ancestor of The Hunger Games, thanks to its plot about a government-sponsored televised tontine in which costumed race-car drivers slaughter pedestrians (and each other) for points.

But the similarities may extend beyond the plot. Back in the day, Bartel and company delivered so successfully on Corman's edict to produce fast, violent junk entertainment that the movie's satirical elements whizzed past pundits and consumers alike without so much as a skidmark. In the year of Jaws and Mandingo, it was the barbed nihilism of Bartel's black comedy that drew denunciations of a new low in movie mayhem.

As the meme of the moment shows, Suzanne Collins' novel worked so well as a ripping adventure that some of its sharper edges (specifically about the powers that be keeping races among the underclass at each other's throats) glided below many readers' notice. As Margaret Renkl was saying recently, it's to Collins' credit that her most scathing ideas — think about Katniss' "presentation" in terms of what it says about her choices and status as a woman — are never stated bluntly. And it's to Death Race 2000's credit that it manages to be both the trashy thrill ride Corman demanded and the souped-up satire Bartel delivered.

Below: a trailer offering a glimpse of Corman's WorldDeath Race 2000 included.

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Seeing Double: Ka-Pow! Exhibit at Lipscomb, and Roy Lichtenstein's Paintings vs. Their Sources

Posted by on Wed, Mar 28, 2012 at 11:00 AM

As I Opened Fire, Roy Lichtenstein
  • "As I Opened Fire," Roy Lichtenstein

Along with Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns and James Rosenquist, Roy Lichtenstein helped to usher in a Pop Art revolution in the 1960s. The artist famously borrowed from comic imagery, exaggerating the characteristics of low-resolution industrial printing even as his often single-frame melodramas turned the form's sequential narration on its head.

Ka-Pow! Comics and Cartoons in Contemporary Culture is a new exhibit at Lipscomb University that explores the cultural ubiquity of comic imagery. (Full disclosure: I wrote the introduction for the Ka-Pow! exhibition catalog.) Lichtenstein is represented in the show by a trio of works including two untitled prints borrowed from the collection of the Cheekwood Museum of Art. One is a red-white-and-blue still life of an all-American diner-style meal, including what looks like a BLT and a sweaty glass of Coca-Cola. The other print features a suit-jacket-sleeved arm jutting from the side of the piece to point a finger directly at the viewer. This image includes the exaggerated Ben-Day dots that are the hallmark of the artist's best known work.

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