Category Archives: Steve Martin

The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“Acting is a nice childish profession — pretending you’re someone else and, at the same time, selling yourself.” — Katharine Hepburn

IMMORTAL

Quickie rec: David “Sonny” Lacks, son of Henrietta Lacks speaks at the Whittenberger Auditorium in the Indiana Memorial Union at 7pm.

He’s the son of Henrietta Lacks, who was the subject of Rebecca Skloot’s bestseller, “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.” The story of Lacks mere brings to life issues of cancer, medical malpractice, stem cells, race, scientific research, individual dignity — you name it, the book has it.

Sonny Lacks will discuss his mother’s story and how it affected the Lacks family — as well as the rest of humanity — for generations to come. He’ll also sign copies of the book.

ACTORS AND THEIR SCALES

Just a thought: Why do Hollywood actors feel it imperative to lose or gain massive amounts of weight for the roles they play?

I understand it all has to do with what seems to be the illogical evolution of method acting. You know, the discipline that made Marlon Brando (or vice versa) some 60 years ago — live the role and be the part. I get it.

Brando, Getting Into A Part

That’s why pretty boys who are slated to star in cops and robbers dramas ride along with real police officers before shooting begins so that they can pretend they know what it’s like to to carry a badge.

The latest two stars who’ve turned themselves into broomsticks for their roles are Anne Hathaway and Matthew McConaughey, who are appearing in “Les Miserables” and “The Dallas Buyers Club,” respectively.

Hathaway & McConaughey, Sans Flesh

This trend goes at least as far back as 1979 when Robert De Niro was working on “Raging Bull.” He packed on approximately three-quarters of a ton of lard, the better to portray Jake LaMotta as a bloated 50-year-old.

A Meaty Role

De Niro won the Oscar for his portrayal but it wasn’t because he jammed cream puffs into his face for several months before production began. De Niro arguably was the best actor of his generation. He’d have won the Academy Award if he’d never even touched a bag of Cheetos®.

Now, Hathaway and McConaughey are capable actors, although neither breathes De Niro’s rarified air. I’m willing to bet they’d be convincing in their parts no matter what size their waistlines are.

A lot of this has to do with what we like to think of as reality. In a nation where significant portions of the population believe in angels, UFOs, ghosts, and three-year-old kids going to heaven and coming back to tell about it, yet don’t believe in man-made climate change, the movie-going public demands “realism” in its entertainment. We’re all mixed up.

So, I suppose Hollywood actors are giving us what we want. Which is heaping piles of bullshit.

It reminds me of a famous, if apocryphal, bit of acting advice offered by Laurence Olivier to Dustin Hoffman, his costar in “The Marathon Man.” Hoffman, the story goes, stayed awake and ran himself ragged for several days before shooting a key scene. Olivier asked him why he was putting himself through hell. Hoffman replied that he wanted to be convincing.

“Try acting, dear boy,” Olivier said. “It’s much easier.”

To Which Hoffman Replied….

SPEAKING OF BRATS GOING TO HEAVEN

How many times do I have to harp on this, people?

The latest New York Times Non-Fiction Trade Paperback Bestseller list is topped by “Proof of Heaven,” and “Heaven Is for Real.” Again.

The Burpos, On Earth

It’s the second week in a row the two fever dream retellings have ranked one and two on the list. (And let’s leave aside the obvious problem: These books are not nonfiction.)

What’s going on? Are the fundamentalist Christians who voted against Barack Obama trying to console themselves by fantasizing about a fab afterlife?

And another thing. What’s with the debate team topic titles? Are these people trying to convince us?

Or themselves?

HEAVENLY CRASH

Here’s a trivia bit that’ll make you a hit at the next holiday party.

The following bands and acts have recorded songs entitled, simply, “Heaven”:

  • All Saints (natch)
  • Better Than Ezra
  • Bryan Adams
  • Carly Simon
  • Hanson
  • Ice Cube
  • Jamie Foxx
  • Joan Armatrading
  • John Legend
  • Psychedelic Furs
  • Simply Red
  • Suicidal Tendencies
  • Talking Heads
  • The Rascals
  • The Rolling Stones

Heaven?

  • Uncle Kracker
  • Warrant

Want more? Okay. Here’s a list of selected movies with the word heaven in the title:

  • “Kingdom of Heaven”
  • “Just Like Heaven”
  • “Between Heaven and Earth”
  • “Pennies from Heaven”
  • “Days of Heaven”
  • “Heaven and Earth”

  • “All Dogs Go to Heaven”
  • “Far from Heaven”
  • “Heaven Can Wait”
  • “Heaven Only Knows”
  • “Heaven with a Gun”
  • “Heaven”
  • “My Blue Heaven”
  • “Back Door to Heaven”
  • “7th Heaven”
  • “Gates of Heaven”
  • “Chance at Heaven”
  • “All This and Heaven, Too”
  • “East Side of Heaven”
  • “Heaven Is a Playground”
  • “Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison”

What Could Steve Martin Have Been Thinking?

Believe it or not, some of these films are good. Many of them, though, are dogs. Perhaps the bow-wow-iest is “My Blue Heaven” in which Steve Martin tries to play a “Goodfellas”-type mobster for laughs. I love Steve Martin but he made his biggest mistake by simply opening up this script.

The only events listings you need in Bloomington.

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

MUSIC ◗ IU Auer HallGuest Recital: Jonathan Biggers on organ; 12:15pm

LECTURE ◗ IU Art MuseumNoon Talk Series: “The Light Fantastic,” Presented by Rob Shakespeare; 12:15-1:15pm

MUSIC ◗ IU Auer HallArtist Diploma Recital: Nathan Giem on violin; 5pm

LECTURE ◗ IU Mathers Museum of World Cultures — “Posters from the Revolution: The Anthropology of Graphic Arts in Cuba,” Gerrie Casey talks about her collection; 5pm

WORKSHOP ◗ Monroe County Public Library, Auditorium — “Serve IT: Get Engaged!” Program to help non-profits use social media; 5:30pm

LECTURE ◗ IU Ford-Crawford HallSchool of Music Lecture Series: Steven Zohn on “Norality, German Cultural Identity, and Telemann’s Faithful Music Master“; 5:30pm

ASTRONOMY ◗ IU Kirkwood ObservatoryOpen house, Public viewing through the main telescope; 6:30pm

DISCUSSION ◗ IU Memorial Union, Whittenberger AuditoriumDavid Lacks, son of Henrietta Lacks (subject of the bestseller “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks”), speaks about his family’s experiences; 7pm

MUSIC ◗ Bloomington High School NorthFall Concert, Performed by the BHSN Concert Bands; 7-8:30pm

FILM ◗ IU Cinema — SOLD OUT: “On the Road“; 7pm

MUSIC ◗ IU Musical Arts Center Recital HallSenior Recital: Anastasia Falasca on violin; 7pm

PERFORMANCE ◗ Unity of Bloomington ChurchAuditions & rehearsal for Bloomington Peace Choir; 7-8:30pm

ROUNDTABLE ◗ IU Ballantine Hall — “Elections 2012: What Went Right, What Went Wrong, and Where To From Here?“; 7:15pm

STAGE ◗ Ivy Tech Waldron Center, in the Rose FirebayDrama, “The Rimers of Eldritch“; 7:30pm

MUSIC ◗ The Player’s PubAfro Hoosier International; 7:30pm

FILM ◗ IU Woodburn HallMedieval Studies Movie Series: “Ostrov (The Island)“; 7:30pm

MUSIC ◗ Max’s PlaceOpen mic; 7:30pm

MUSIC ◗ IU Musical Arts CenterSymphony Orchestra, David Effron, conductor, Gulrukh Shakirova, piano; 8pm

MUSIC ◗ IU Auer HallContemporary Vocal Ensemble, Dominick DiOria, conductor, Mason Copeland, organ; 8pm

DANCING ◗ Harmony SchoolContra dancing; 8-10:30pm

MUSIC ◗ IU Ford-Crawford HallDoctoral Recital: Daniel Bubeck, countertenor; 8:30pm

MUSIC ◗ The BluebirdThe Personnel; 9pm

MUSIC ◗ The BishopMaserati, The Young, Majeure; 9:30pm

ONGOING:

ART ◗ IU Art MuseumExhibits:

  • “Paragons of Filial Piety,” by Utagawa Kuniyoshi; through December 31st
  • “Intimate Models: Photographs of Husbands, Wives, and Lovers,” by Julia Margaret, Cameron, Edward Weston, & Harry Callahan; through December 31st
  • French Printmaking in the Seventeenth Century;” through December 31st
  • Celebration of Cuban Art & Film: Pop-art by Joe Tilson; through December 31st
  • Threads of Love: Baby Carriers from China’s Minority Nationalities“; through December 23rd
  • Workers of the World, Unite!” through December 31st
  • Embracing Nature,” by Barry Gealt; through December 23rd
  • Pioneers & Exiles: German Expressionism,” through December 23rd

ART ◗ Ivy Tech Waldron CenterExhibits through December 1st:

  • “Essentially Human,” By William Fillmore
  • “Two Sides to Every Story,” By Barry Barnes
  • “Horizons in Pencil and Wax,” By Carol Myers

ART ◗ IU SoFA Grunwald GalleryExhibits through November 16th:

  • Buzz Spector: Off the Shelf
  • Small Is Big

ART ◗ IU Kinsey Institute GalleryExhibits through December 20th:

  • A Place Aside: Artists and Their Partners
  • Gender Expressions

ART ◗ IU Mathers Museum of World CulturesExhibits:

  • “¡Cuba Si! Posters from the Revolution: 1960s and 1970s”
  • “From the Big Bang to the World Wide Web: The Origins of Everything”
  • “Thoughts, Things, and Theories… What Is Culture?”
  • “Picturing Archaeology”
  • “Personal Accents: Accessories from Around the World”
  • “Blended Harmonies: Music and Religion in Nepal”
  • “The Day in Its Color: A Hoosier Photographer’s Journey through Mid-century America”
  • “TOYing with Ideas”
  • “Living Heritage: Performing Arts of Southeast Asia”
  • “On a Wing and a Prayer”

BOOKS ◗ IU Lilly LibraryExhibits:

  • The War of 1812 in the Collections of the Lilly Library“; through December 15th
  • A World of Puzzles,” selections from the Slocum Puzzle Collection

ARTIFACTS ◗ Monroe County History CenterExhibits:

  • Doctors & Dentists: A Look into the Monroe County Medical Professions
  • What Is Your Quilting Story?
  • Garden Glamour: Floral Fashion Frenzy
  • Bloomington Then & Now
  • World War II Uniforms
  • Limestone Industry in Monroe County

The Ryder & The Electron Pencil. All Bloomington. All the time.

The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“”Many people consider the things government does for them to be social progress but they regard the things government does for others as socialism.” — Earl Warren

BOOK IT — WE’VE GOT BOOKER

How cool is it that Booker T. Jones received an honorary doctorate during commencement ceremonies at IU this weekend?

Booker T.

You know, growing up in Chicago and living within the city limits every day of my adult life until March 20th, 2007, I’d come to the conclusion — like most of my city-mates — that Indiana University was the place where Bobby Knight threw tantrums, won a few NCAA championships, got himself fired for being a jackass, and then the school went out of business.

That’s not much of an exaggeration. Of all the Big Ten schools, IU is probably the most anonymous. Perhaps Minnesota and Iowa might give IU a run for the title, but, nah, Indiana wins it.

If you can find three people in Chicago who know what town IU is in, I’ll give you a prize. I wonder if even a hundred people in Indianapolis know what town IU is in.

Northwestern is where all the future wealthy businessmen and doctors go. A few journalists, too. Illinois is known for Chief Illiniwek and the controversy of using the symbol of a wiped-out race to drum up support for its sports teams — at least it’s known for something. Purdue puts out engineers. Ohio State, Michigan, and Michigan State are sports factories. Penn State tolerates child sodomizers. Nebraska has a funny team name, Cornhuskers.

This Man Has A PhD In Cornhusking

And Minnesota, Iowa, and Indiana may as well be in Bulgaria, especially Indiana.

Chicagoans no more know that Booker T. Jones, among many, many, many other great and fabulous musicians, studied at the Jacobs School of Music than they know that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was born in Kuwait City. (In fact, many Americans assume KSM was born in the same nebulous African/Asian tribal town that Barack Obama hailed from — and for all the average American knows, all three men went to a madrahsah there.)

Booker T. gave the commencement address at one of the two undergraduate ceremonies Saturday. According to the IDS, he told the grads that he used to walk to class at the Jake every morning at 7:15.

I recall listening to an interview with him on Terry Gross’s Fresh Air show on NPR when his “Potato Hole” disc came out. He told Gross that he still practices his scales every single morning and he works on his music eight hours every day. Booker T., it should be noted, is 67 years old.

Booker T. Jones — he’s someone Indiana University ought to be known for.

TIME IS TIGHT

This is my absolute fave Booker T. and the MGs hit, from back in 1969.

THE PRESIDENT IS A SOCIALIST!

Looks like Obama-haters will finally get to see what an honest-to-gosh Socialist looks like now.

François Hollande beat darling of the Right, Nicolas Sarkozy in the French national election for president this past weekend. Hollande is a card-carrying member of the French Socialist Party (or Parti Socialiste, in French — the French are so bizarre, Steve Martin once observed, they have a different word for everything.)

Hollande — Ayn Rand Is Spinning In Her Grave

Not only that, Hollande lived in sin with a woman, fellow Socialist pol Sègoléne Royal, for more than 30 years, and then the two split up in 2007 when Hollande found himself a younger tomato named Valérie Trierweiler. Oh, and Hollande is a Jew.

Trierweiler — So, What Is It With French Presidents And Gorgeous Women?

A guy like Hollande would be as electable in these Great United States, Inc. as, well, Khalid Sheikh Mohhamed.

Now get this — the French Socialists are considered a Center-Left party in that country. Center-Left! There are, apparently, des gauches even more, um, gauche than the Socialists in France. Either that or we have lost all perspective on the political spectrum in this holy land, considering that the very word Liberal is dirty here.

Electron Pencil event listings: Music, art, movies, lectures, parties, receptions, benefits, plays, meetings, fairs, conspiracies, rituals, etc.

Monday, May 7, 2012

IU Mathers Museum of World CulturesExhibits, “Blended Harmonies: Music and Religion in Nepal”; through July 1st — “Esse Quam Videri (To Be, Rather than To Be Seen): Muslim Self Portraits; through June 17th — “From the Big Bang to the World Wide Web: The Origins of Everything”; through July 1st

IU Kinsey Institute GalleryExhibit, “Man as Object: Reversing the Gaze”; through June 29th

◗ Ivy Tech Waldron Arts Center Exhibits at various galleries: Angela Hendrix-Petry, Benjamin Pines, Nate Johnson, and Yang Chen; all through May 29th

Trinity Episcopal ChurchArt exhibit, “Creation,” collaborative mosaic tile project; through May 31st

Monroe County Public LibraryArt exhibit, “Muse Whisperings,” water color paintings by residents of Sterling House; through May 31st

Monroe County History CenterPhoto exhibit, “Bloomington: Then and Now” by Bloomington Fading; through October 27th

The Venue Fine Arts & GiftsExhibit, Daniel Lager; through May 17th

Cafe DjangoThe Bloomington Short List variety show, featuring comedians, musicians, dancers, etc.; 7pm

The BishopDJ Betsy Shepherd; 8pm — Arrah and the Ferns, Chandelier Ballroom; 9pm

Arrah And One Of Her Many Ferns

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