Happy Solstice! You've Been Robbed: "Police are on the lookout for a burglar after proceeds of a play were stolen at West of Lenin in Fremont Saturday afternoon," reports KOMO. "Surveillance cameras show a brazen man climbing onto a second-story deck, and entering the building through a window. The man took the money from a locked area as actors performed, and was also seen helping himself to beer." HAVE YOU SEEN THIS ROBBER?
The Drama of a Face: A number of interesting films have been coming out of The Sensory Ethnography Lab (SEL), a program at Harvard University that, among other things, is organized around the concept of uniting cinema with ethnography. One such film is People's Park, which was released in 2013 and is one 78-minute take of life in a Chengdu park (people walking, writing, dancing, playing music in a supremely public space). Another film to come out of SEL, Manakamana, is screening right now at Northwest Film Forum. Directed by Stephanie Spray and Pacho Velez, Manakamana has no plot and lots of faces of people who are inside of cable cars heading up or down a verdant and mountainous region of Nepal. You will not be bored by the film. There is a lot of drama in a human face. A program like SEL gives one hope in Harvard University.
Many Wealthy People Bought Art Today and Yesterday at Auctionzzzzzzz: We don’t much care about the auctions at Sotheby’s and Christie’s, or the new sale—oops, exhibition—of Jeff Koons’s entire song-and-dance-book at the Whitney Museum of American Art. But the 1 percent did do one unpredictable thing today. The piece that sold for, like, triple what anybody thought possible is a relief called Ja-Was?-Bild, or Yes-What?-Picture. It's from a series made between 1919 and 1920 by Kurt Schwitters, the irrepressible assembler of the fragments of a broken Germany. He (and it) is pretty much awesome.
Book Distribution Just Got More Evil: In a weird three-way sale, Hachette just bought publisher Perseus. But Perseus's distribution arm, which includes tons of small presses you probably know and love, has been sold to mega-book-distributor Ingram. This is bad news for those of you who like small-press stuff. There's just no way Ingram will be able or willing to keep that kind of diversity going. After all the goodwill generated by the Amazon controversy, this is a great way to shoot yourself in the foot, publishing industry!
Fiction for a Twitter-Sized Attention Span: The new issue of locally produced micro-fiction literary magazine SmokeLong Quarterly came out this week.
Gary Oldman Is a Prick: Yeah, so Gary Oldman turned out to be an asshole in a Playboy interview. He's still a good actor, so we'll just try to ignore his terrible old-white-man thoughts on political correctness. Also: Why is it that Playboy makes everyone look like an asshole in their interviews?
"I Don’t Understand How Someone Can Be Nostalgic for Star Wars If Star Wars Never Goes Away." On nostalgia and popular culture.
Why Don't More Publishers Do This? In Australia, the new Murakami novel will come with a sheet of stickers so you can design your own book cover.