Propeller No. 13, Fall 2012: What Was Film?
A special section on film features Kate McCourt on Barbara Loden, Benjamin Craig on Woody Allen, Sarah Marshall on Linda Lovelace, and Dan DeWeese on New Hollywood. Patrick McGinty discusses dreams in fiction; Elizabeth Lopeman looks at Mucha. Patrick Somerville talks about This Bright River, Holly Laycock talks to Beth Robinson, and Elizabeth Lopeman chats with Dieter Amick. Marie Martin on robot puppets and chemotherapy, Paul Martone on his first vote, and Randon Billings Noble on the D.C. snipers. Reviews of Anna Keesey, Sheila Heti, and Gregory Martin. Poems from Emily Pettit, and a science-fiction letter from Benjamin Craig. Plus further reviews, columns, NFL picks, etc.
Earthly Saints in God's Country: Ignoring Easy Metaphors.
"What we often read isn't death but instead a character's reaction to it. This is, after all, how we experience death as living breathing human beings. If you've ever lost someone close to you, someone you've shared your life's moments with, what keeps you up at night is the not-knowing." By Patrick McGinty.
New note: The Planets by Sergio Chejfec
Notes on items from the world of books. Current contents: Sergio Chejfec's The Planets; Therese Bohman's Drowned.
Design is a Conversation: An Interview with Dieter Amick
"In talking about design, the answer is not going to come from yourself. You have to talk about it and reflect on it as a team to get the best answers." By Elizabeth Lopeman.
You Can't Solve Life: Patrick Somerville on This Bright River
"I decided...that I would embrace something formally unusual and push back hard against the notion that drama could only be dramatic action, or that people doing things constituted the most crystalline, intense kind of energy a story could deliver." A Q&A with the author.
What Was Film?
Who was Barbara Loden?
The achievement Loden made under these circumstances, and the few interviews with Loden surrounding her film, stand as testaments to her insight and artistic capabilities. Wanda did not have the budget, polish, or presence of future stars seen in other New Hollywood films, but it did have similar thematic interests--and it was informed by a woman's actual life experience. Words by Kate McCourt, illustration by Matt Kish.
What Was Film?
What Ever Happened to New Hollywood?
It appeared there was a generation of Americans who wanted something entirely different, but the studios had no idea what that was. What happened next was that American theaters were witness to the most extended and radical European-inflected or New York-based attack on the glitzy Southern California Hollywood aesthetic ever seen, and it was funded by Hollywood. Words by Dan DeWeese, illustration by Matt Kish.
What Was Film?
Linda Lovelace as Herself
Can we look at the woman we see in Deep Throat and see any of the real fears and desires of a woman whose fame was based almost entirely on the public's belief that they could see both of those things--Linda's fears, Linda's desires--at a glance? The more troubling question may be this: Can someone who has been transformed into a cultural symbol ever regain her status as a human being? Words by Sarah Marshall, illustration by Matt Kish.
What Was Film?
The Influence of Anxiety:
Love and Death
Woody Allen is regarded alternately as a cinematic genius with a singular vision and as a deeply flawed jackass who can't make a film without embedding it with his personal neuroses and eccentricities. Both of these are probably fair assessments of the man. Words by Benjamin Craig, illustrations by Matt Kish.
Fiction Goes to Bed With Autobiography
"The question in the back of my mind was always: Is this part true? Followed quickly by: Does it matter?" How Should a Person Be? by Sheila Heti. Review by Genevieve Hudson.
The Father He Thought He Knew
"Martin examines the past, piecing together his father's stories and his own stories in order to bravely confront the unspoken." Stories for Boys by Gregory Martin. Review by Sarah Seybold.
Here I Am: Where Robot Puppets and Chemotherapy Intersect
Photos of and by kids from the Doernbecher Children's Hospital Cancer and Blood Disorders Program, with contributions from patients and siblings. Article and project by Marie Martin.
My First Vote
On social responsibility, vampirism, and voting at age eight. By Paul Martone.
"There must be a way to remember the feeling I had those twenty-one autumn days: that I was a better woman for having those killers in and around my city, ready to shoot me every day of my life." By Randon Billings Noble.
Emily Pettit: Four Poems
"Living off of luck or bad luck depending on how you look at it. You look at it and look at it."
We Just Want to Do the Work
Beth Robinson on grief, synesthesia, and transcendence. A Q&A with the artist, by Holly Laycock.
Danger in the High Desert
"Esther Chambers finds herself settling into life among cattle ranchers, sheepherders, and a quickly escalating war over the scarcest resource: water." Little Century by Anna Keesey. Review by Benjamin Craig.
NFL Picks, Week 8: League Says Oakland at KC to Be Played!
"I thought, Hey, an NFL game! But then I picked it up and looked at it and realized no, this isn't right--this is not good." By Pete Tothero.
NFL Picks, Week 7: Cracking the Code with Advanced Metrics
"There are a lot of games this week that will be tough to pick, so I'm going to do what the pros do: signal my prognosticatory flailing by employing 'advanced metrics.'" By Pete Tothero.
NFL Picks, Week 6: This is the AFC West! Dance, Mistah!
"After the game everyone pees in the dirt and then complains about how someone untied and stole their horses." By Pete Tothero.
NFL Picks, Week 5: Indoor Football, Full Disclosures
"These constructions in which I describe what I said and suggest a team's performance was somehow a response to that? They make me feel alive. They make me feel alive in a way that actual life does not." By Pete Tothero.
On the Placement of Dreams in Fiction
"But what if the order is different? What if the dream comes first? What if that rolling red ball starts downhill in a dream?" By Patrick McGinty.
The Fat Front Man
"Under the glow of their fan's adulation, by merit of music's curious transcendental qualities, their fat disappears.'" By Chloe Woida.
In Cold Blood: A Novel?
"...we know they literally are true. The advantage that gives the writer makes all the difference." By Emily Burns Morgan.
"...not only the send off for Mucha's career, but also for the Art Nouveau style, originally known as Style Mucha." By Elizabeth Lopeman.
Small Agreements: Maidenhair
"Life and death and God and fate and war are all spoken of with the bluntness a Western writer might bestow upon..." By Patrick McGinty.
Boyz N the Hood: John Singleton's Furious Styles
"If Furious was such a good role model, then why wasn't he a larger part of Tre's childhood?" By Jessica Machado.
A Start is All We Ever Get: Diaz's Heartbreak Manifesto
"...who is incredibly flawed but beautifully human, and I thought, Yes, this is what fiction can do—what it should do." By Chelsea Bieker.
Love, Keifer, and the Empress Elisabeth
Q: Why was German artist Anselm Keifer hanging out with a naked Courtney Love in New York in 2010? A:... By Elizabeth Lopeman.
On Listening to Music that Isn't Good
"I'm not talking about 'bad' music. I'm talking about music that trips up the whole established, accepted..." By Chloe Woida.
The Good vs. Evil Narrative: Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle
"The question is not which story you are going to believe but, if texts are drugs, which one doesn't..." By Emily Burns Morgan.
Tennis Narratives: DFW, Venus, Serena, and Timing
"If this seems hyperbolic in the extreme—if it seems dramatic to declare the 'death' of a genre based on two..." By Patrick McGinty.
Father Figure: A Little Less Creepy Than Anticipated
"Unlike the reason for painting 'monogamy' on a woman's thigh in 'I Want Your Sex,' I knew what a father was. I had one!" By Jessica Machado.
We're Flying by Peter Stamm
"I felt like I was spying on these ordinary lives, and finished the stories knowing of some deep flaw, paralyzing..." By Chelsea Bieker.
Letters to Earth, 2270
Dad to Seth, on His Tenth Birthday
"You can rotate the holoplay viewing stage so you can catch any angle from really any position on the bed. Make sure..." By Benjamin Craig.
Albers in America
"When asked about Rauschenberg, Albers said he couldn't be expected to remember all the names of former pupils." By Elizabeth Lopeman.
Robert Lowell's Privileged Suffering
Thinking over the Robert Lowell line "Tamed by Miltown, we lie on Mother's bed." By Wendy Bourgeois.
Piller the Thriller on the Embarcadero
"By now he had my attention, and I wondered if I was perhaps sitting next to Someone Famous, or at least..." By Chloe Woida.
Marriage, Repetition, and Márquez: One Hundred Years of Solitude
"...like the Buendias, we are all hell bent on wallowing alone in our self-made cities of mirrors." By Emily Burns Morgan.
St. Elmo's Fire: Promises You Know You Can't Keep
"Demi Moore's character may be a coke whore, but she looks like fun." By Jessica Machado.
Battleborn by Claire Vaye Watkins
"This is the sort of book that makes me want to go home early because I'm 'tired,' then stay up reading until 3 a.m." By Chelsea Bieker.