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Jonathan Ames (b. March 23): “I don’t know what’s more difficult, life or the English language.”

23 Mar

Jonathan Ames, born 23 March 1964, is an American author of novels and comic memoirs, which include Wake Up, Sir! And The Extra Man. He was also a columnist for the New York Press. He created the HBO television series Bored to Death.

Quotes on writing:

  1. I don’t know what’s more difficult, life or the English language.
  2. A lot of writing is a form of seeing – putting down what you see in terms of action and landscape.
  3. People don’t expect too much from literature. They just want to know they’re not alone with being confused.
  4. A lot of writers, probably because they’re sensitive and that makes them want to be writers, have fears about their masculinity, so they overcompensate by having an interest in boxing and tough-guy things.
  5. When I was in college, I had the good fortune to have Joyce Carol Oates as my writing teacher. She told me that I could take an aspect of myself, and from that one bit of personality, I can create a character. This is what I have done, particularly in my novels.

Novels by Alan Annand: free to borrow on Amazon

12 Mar

AMAZON: Kindle Unlimited & Kindle Online Lending Library

All of my novels are now available. Subscribers to Kindle Unlimited can borrow 10 ebooks at a time with no due dates. Amazon Prime members can borrow one ebook a month, no due date. KU/KOLL titles can be read on any Amazon device or Kindle app.

Along with four other mysteries, my NEW AGE NOIR trilogy is available as single novels, or in a box set. Steven Forrest says, “The coolest thing is that the detective is an astrologer, and the normal clue-following is aided by various divinatory arts. There’s just enough technical astrology to make it plausible without ever lapsing into a tutorial. That’s a hard balancing act to get right and Alan nails it.”

Neil Postman (b. March 8th): “In Russia, writers with grievances are arrested; in America they go on TV talk shows where only their development is arrested.”

8 Mar

Neil Postman (born 8 March 1931, died 5 October 2003), was an American author, media theorist and cultural critic, who is best known by the general public for his 1985 book about television, Amusing Ourselves to Death. For more than forty years, he was associated with New York University.

Quotes on writing:

  1. In Russia, writers with serious grievances are arrested, while in America they are merely featured on television talk shows, where all that is arrested is their development.
  2. The reader must come armed, in a serious state of intellectual readiness. This is not easy because he comes to the text alone. In reading, one’s responses are isolated, one’s intellect thrown back on its own resources. To be confronted by the cold abstractions of printed sentences is to look upon language bare, without the assistance of either beauty or community. Thus, reading is by its nature a serious business. It is also, of course, an essentially rational activity.
  3. What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy. As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny ‘failed to take into account man’s almost infinite appetite for distractions’. In 1984, Huxley added, people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that what we hate will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we love will ruin us.

Kat von D (b. March 8th): “I was born naked, waiting for life to write itself on my skin.”

8 Mar


“Like everyone else, I was born naked and screaming, waiting for my life to write itself on my skin.”

~ Kat von D, b. 8 March 1982


A Small Glimpse into Bowie’s Legacy

8 Jan

major tomLike an asteroid crashing to Earth, David Bowie’s impact was immense. He was an inimitable artist and a true spaceman from the future, whose powerful lust for life set fire to the music, film and fashion industries. His eccentric lifestyle and his creative output served as inspiration for millions.

With his death a month ago, it’s an appropriate time to acknowledge all the ways his genius remains reflected in the work of artists living and working now. Where can we see traces of Bowie today?


It was Bowie’s music which first catapulted him to fame. He dipped his stylish toes in almost every genre, experimenting at an early age with the saxophone before moving on to pop and ‘glam’ sounds. As his career progressed, he would move to work with artists as diverse as John Lennon, Klaus Nomi, Trent Reznor and Giorgio Moroder, all the while pushing himself towards continual reinvention.

ziggyToday’s artists who live to provoke – Marilyn Manson, Lady Gaga, even Kanye West – have credited him as one of their most important inspirations. As an avant-garde musical artist who managed to break through to the mainstream, his influence is unparalleled. Who else could ever rival his theatricality onstage, or repeat the impact of his look, his costumes?

Madonna, another impactful performer, was personally devastated and noted that a David Bowie concert was the first show she ever went to. The singer took to Twitter to say, “This great artist changed my life!” She wasn’t alone, as Bowie tributes from musicians will likely continue throughout the year in all manner of incarnations.


In contemporary cinema Bowie’s performances still stand strong. During his life, both the music videos and films he worked on were natural extensions of his other artistic ventures. Whether playing a vampire cellist or prisoner of war, a Goblin King or Pontius Pilate, Bowie’s own eccentricities brought a certain cult quality to mainstream movies.

Tilda Swinton, androgynously sexy in her own way, has been called Bowie’s ‘doppelganger’ over the years (the two did star in a music video together), and embodies similar shape-shifting personae in her work.

crucifixBowie’s tastes for out-there trends and contemporary art, as well as cultural elements and characteristics that would help define him as “alien” or otherworldly, enabled his transcendence of creative boundaries. Today his films are typically defined as cult classics – click here for local listings – but this does little to reflect the variance and intelligence found in his film work. In roles where he plays himself, such as Christiane F. – Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo Bowie’s presence serves to bring a certain atmosphere to the picture. He is art intellectualized, but not coldly so, since as the artifice of himself, he opens up a world of new possibilities.

This year’s Berlin Film Festival will be paying tribute to Bowie’s creativity across disciplines, showing Nicolas Roeg’s The Man Who Fell to Earth to commemorate both his legacy and time spent in the city.


David Bowie was confident in anything he did, but especially so in his fashion and costume choices. Despite being thin and white himself, he was larger-than-life in the way he presented the characters he chose to inhabit. He pioneered the look of “glam rock” with his flamboyant, Japanese-inspired ensembles and makeup, pushing gender-bending boundaries. His fearlessness and androgyny were extremely inspiring, especially in a time where being overtly feminine, for a male, was not a good thing. His “out-there”, “be yourself” vibes connected with men and women of the era who looked to him for ideas as to how to transform their own appearances to better fit who they were on the inside.

red shirtUpon his passing, hundreds of “fashion world” elites took to social media to comment on the influence Bowie had personally on their lives and art. Nowadays, looking at runway trends, his gender fluidity has clearly led to a sea change not only in clothing and style but in the way everyday people are allowed to express themselves.

In the end, David Bowie’s bold and eclectic style paved the way for artists and fans, inspiring them to be themselves and look beyond the norm to the stars. As the saying goes: shoot for the moon and even if you miss, you’ll still land among the stars, perhaps next to Mr. David Bowie himself.


Beth_KellyBeth Michelle is a Chicago-based blogger with a nasty film addiction. Her primary interests include pulp cinema, fashion photography and vintage Japanese film cameras.



André Gide (b. November 22): “The most beautiful things are those that madness prompts and reason writes.”

23 Nov

gide67André Gide, born 22 November 1869, died 19 February 1951, was a French author and winner of the 1947 Nobel Prize in literature.

Quotes on art and writing:

  1. The colour of truth is grey.
  2. Believe those who are seeking the truth; doubt those who find it.
  3. It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you are not.
  4. The most beautiful things are those that madness prompts and reason writes.
  5. Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.
  6. Everything’s already been said, but since nobody was listening, we have to start again.
  7. To know how to free oneself is nothing; the arduous thing is to know what to do with one’s freedom.
  8. The artist who is after success lets himself be influenced by the public. Generally such an artist contributes nothing new, for the public acclaims only what it already knows, what it recognizes.
  9. Know thyself – a maxim as pernicious as it is ugly. Whoever studies himself arrests his own development. A caterpillar who seeks to know himself would never become a butterfly.

Georgia O’Keeffe (b. November 15): “I’ve been terrified every moment of my life…”

15 Nov


“I’ve been absolutely terrified every moment of my life – and I’ve never let it keep me from doing a single thing I wanted to do.”

~ Georgia O’Keeffe, b. 15 November 1887


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