Friday, November 13, 2009


Dear all,

I'm so pleased (and relieved) to finally launch the debut issue of my literary magazine, CANDOR.

It's been a while in the making, but on our website you will find:

- An interview with Sarah Manguso and Rachel Zucker about Writing and Motherhood
- A conversation between Emily Gould and Marisa Meltzer
- Fiction by Lisa Locascio
- Nonfiction by Atossa Abrahamian
- Fiction by Shashi Bhat
- Fiction by Kate Axelrod
- An Essay by Adrian Quinlan
- A book review by Mina Kimes

Many thanks to all my contributors. The call for submissions is back on, and will close at the end of February. Happy Reading!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

To Brighten Your Day

Here in New York it's a cold, blustery day. It's been a really difficult year for me, and the past month has been especially hard. Every day I get up hoping for good news, and all I can do is keep going. My boyfriend sent me this link from the Mental Floss Blog - for Veterans Day they complied videos of dogs celebrating their soldier parent's return from the Middle East. It's pretty much the best thing I've ever seen.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

New Gaga Video, "Bad Romance"

This new Lady Gaga video is so outrageous, I just had to share.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Bright Star

Bright Star is the new film by director Jane Campion, one of only three female directors to ever have been nominated for an Academy Award. Campion, a Kiwi, is best known for her 1993 Oscar-nominated film The Piano. Both Bright Star and The Piano are required viewing. Bright Star tells the story of the ill-fated romance between John Keats and Fanny Brawne. They were engaged but never had the chance to marry, as Keats died of tuberculosis at the young age of twenty-six.

Although Australian actress Abbie Cornish, who plays Fanny Brawne, has been in the press for her personal life, and appeared in a few American films (Elizabeth: The Golden Age, Stop Loss), Bright Star is really her film, and her entree into stardom. Apparently Brawne was quite the talented seamstress and fashionista, notorious in Hampstead for her outfits and accessories. Campion does a fantastic job illuminating the similarities between Brawne's needlework and the business of writing poetry, but, brilliantly gives us the most insight into Fanny's character when in response to being made-fun of for her vestments, Fanny responds "my needlework is better than your poems - and I can make money at it!"

But it's inevitable that Fanny and Keats will fall in love - they live right next door to each other, and are drawn together through their extraordinary interests and temperaments. Bright Star has nothing of the sugary sentiment that period films like Becoming Jane and the disgusting remake of Pride & Prejudice stand on. Bright Star is all about impressions, feeling, and the transitory nature of love. Fanny and Keats can never really be together: he has no means to support her, his friends despise her for taking up his time to write when really she is the only reason he finds the inspiration to write again after the death of his younger brother.

This film will not receive the attention it deserves, so if you have the chance to see it I highly recommend you take it. There is something infinitely intimidating about the fact that Keats accomplished so much when he barely made it into adulthood. This film emphasizes the beauty of the moment and of love, which when it pronounces itself, must be embarked on wholeheartedly. One never knows when these moments will end. John and Fanny's union is perhaps finally given the acknowledgment it deserves in this film, forever reflected in Keats' poems, including the one which Campion draws her title, which Keats wrote shortly after becoming engaged to Brawne in 1819.

Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night
And watching, with eternal lids apart,
Like nature's patient, sleepless Eremite,
The moving waters at their priestlike task
Of pure ablution round earth's human shores,
Or gazing on the new soft-fallen mask
Of snow upon the mountains and the moors--
No--yet still stedfast, still unchangeable,
Pillow'd upon my fair love's ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever--or else swoon to death.

Thursday, November 05, 2009


Again, I have to apologize to my readers for the delay in posting - the monster bug which struck me down about a month ago has returned, and I'm just doing my best to stay indoors and rest. I did however, brave the impending winter during my one week of health to see Lars von Trier's Antichrist, perhaps the most talked about and least viewed film of the year.

You've probably read by now that Antichrist received pretty much terrible reviews from nearly every film critic on God's Green Earth, and there's good cause for that. You've also probably heard about the fact that film features, in graphic detail, not one but two instances of genital mutilation. And judging from the photo I've shared above, you know that when it comes to von Trier, trix are not for kids.

Antichrist is by no means von Trier's strongest film, and I don't think he intends it to be. In interviews he's spoken about conjuring the film while he was dealing with the death of his mother. They had a contentious relationship - she was the chairwoman of the Danish women's movement, an ardent Feminist, and led a fairly unconventional life. But obviously, as her child, von Trier's got some skeletons in his closet. These are released in Antichrist.

Charlotte Gainsbourg and Willem DaFoe play the parents of a child, who, as they are having sex and not paying attention, falls out an open window to his death. Consumed by grief and guilt, DaFoe (who, of course, is a psychotherapist) comes up with the idea that Gainsbourg must confront her greatest fear in order to move past her grief. (I call these characters by the actors' names because von Trier has given them no names besides "he" and "she"). He asks her where she is most scared. She answers, "the woods."

So they decamp to the woods where she spent her last summer with the baby as she worked on her thesis, which (as von Trier tells us from the books left around the cabin) appears to be about genocide. DaFoe forces Gainsbourg into exercises to deal with her fear and grief - and practically all of them backfire. There's one day where she feels better, but all progress is forgotten when DaFoe shares their son's autopsy report with her.

I don't want to go much father in terms of plot summary, but I want to emphasize that this film is not nearly as horrible as the critics have labeled it. Compared to von Trier's other films, it's certainly not at the top of his list, but Antichrist raises relevant questions about the difference in the sexes, and the critical, controversial struggle between emotion and reason. DaFoe approaches Gainsbourg time and time again as if she were a child, someone beneath him. While her reaction is overblown (understatement!) von Trier wants to warn us on just how dangerous women can be. Feminist or Misogynist? I'm tempted to lean towards the former.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Fashion Inspiration

As if I couldn't love Michelle Williams any more, then she goes and wears this outfit. I mean, those boots are both chic and functional. Floral skirt (or dress?) bringing the 90s back, amazing toggle coat, great glasses and hat, (i need some coffee) and a lovely Matilda, complete with yellow rainjacket and pink(!) rainboots to match.