JD Salinger Portrait Session

In “Just Before the War with the Eskimos,” a story in J. D. Salinger’s second book, Nine Stories (1953)—his first was his novel The Catcher in the Rye (1951)—all four characters, two girls in their teens and two men in their early twenties, are so vividly drawn and speak in such perfectly rendered idiomatic American English that the reader might be watching them in a movie.  These days the story also has the quality of a faultless antique: a Manhattan taxi fare, for example, comes to 65 cents.

Start your New Year off with a little Bad Writing, Vernon Lott’s documentary featuring Margaret Atwood, David Sedaris, Nick Flynn and more, streaming for free all month:

 

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These interviews were conducted for the feature documentary, An Escort’s Journal, by Jeff Ragsdale.

An interview from An Escort’s Journal, a documentary film, produced and directed by Jeff Ragsdale.

Ahead of a longer Killers concert documentary that legendary filmmaker Werner Herzog is directing, Rolling Stone premiered this exclusive Herzog mini-doc with the band on the magazine’s website today:

Last Days Here, directed by Don Argott and Demian Fenton, opens with a frazzled, fifty-four-year-old Bobby Liebling on the sofa, living in his parent’s sub-basement, tugging on bandages that wrap open sores, and reflecting on the only things he knows how to do: rock-n-roll and drugs.  Liebling’s band, Pentagram, had been in the early seventies an even grittier, American answer to the likes of Black Sabbath, but botched auditions, ever-evolving line-ups, and Liebling’s drug-abuse had derailed Pentagram’s career.  Enter fan Sean “Pellet” Pelletier to nudge Liebling toward sobriety and back onto stage for a Pentagram revival.  There are moves, a girlfriend, prison, Fig Newtons, deals, paisley shirts, and marvels beyond the fact that Liebling has made it to fifty-four.  But mostly there’s the music.  I recently asked Pelletier about Last Days Here, Liebling, and life after the documentary’s release.

Please explain what just happened.

Our documentary, A People Uncounted, just had its international premiere at the Hawaii International Film Festival, as well as playing concurrently at the Heartland Film Festival and the Mumbai Film Festival. It’s very exciting that people are starting to see the film.

 

What is your earliest memory?

The day before my 4th birthday, in a store called Young Canada, where my mother bought me a stuffed animal. I put it away in a bag and I didn’t play with it until it was presented to me ‘officially’ the following day. The bag had a Toronto Blue Jays logo on it. Marc Swenker (Producer) will appreciate this since he’s a big Blue Jays fan!

(Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington, during the shooting of Restrepo. )

By Terry Keefe

 

 

I’ll just come out and say this – Restrepo is one of the best films about war ever made. My statement includes fiction and non, although Restrepo’s power is inseparable from the fact that it is a documentary. Filmmakers Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington embedded themselves for a year with the Second Platoon of Battle Company of the U.S. 173rd Airborne Brigade in the Korengal Valley in eastern Afghanistan to shoot the bulk of Restrepo and have created a non-fiction film which approximates the experience of a lengthy military deployment in the country as much as would be possible without actually going there oneself.  The film is nominated in the Best Documentary Feature category of the upcoming Academy Awards, where it will compete for the gold man with fellow nominees Waste Land, Inside Job, Exit Through the Gift Shop, and Gasland.




From August 16 – 20, Erika Rae, Megan DiLullo, and Slade Ham joined me in Tulsa, Oklahoma to film a documentary about the evolving state of literature and the arts. We also spent a lot of time goofing around like children.

In this short clip, we try to recall TNB authors from memory and struggle to pronounce their names properly. We hope you won’t be too offended if we missed yours. We were very tired. Plus, I was driving, so you can’t blame me.

ANYWHERE, U.S.A.-

The drive is an endless repetition of fun and unfathomable boredom.

We are human curiosities in the small towns where we stop to refresh, revitalize, refuel and retire. People eye our cameras and booms with delight, apprehension, disgust and desire.

Other people are unfazed.

I like those people the most.

ANYWHERE, USA-

The night is still and the purple scent of wisteria fills my nostrils.

I feel heady, dizzy, drunk on smell.

I’m also drunk on sake and celebratory champagne, but it’s the drooping clusters of flowers that make me nauseous.

I feel sick.