From Harold Pinter to Wes Anderson: This Morning’s Glance at Arts & Culture

Before you dive into your workday, here’s a healthy serving of what’s been floating around the world of arts & culture. Dig it.  

Reviving Beyond the Valley of the Dolls Revealed

In a press release yesterday, Christopher Cluess will bring Beyond the Valley of the Dolls back to life with a new film about director Russ Meyer and beginning of his relationship with Ebert.

See You Next Tuesday, Rex Reed

In another concert outburst, Fiona Apple gets something off her chest—calling out Observer film critic Rex Reed for once giving her father a bad review.

Rachel Weisz Betrays Daniel Craig for Mike Nichols and It’s a Smash

With less than 10 previews thus far, Nichols’ revival of Pinter’s Betrayal on Broadway has broken box office records. Why? Because it’s perfect.

Get Your Hands on The Wonderful World of Wes Anderson

Matt Zoller Seitz’s The Wes Anderson Collection hits Amazon’s Top 50 and you’re going to need to see this beautiful book for yourself.

Well, at least Carrie is trying this time

In anticipation for the remake of Carrie, MGM has orchestrated a telekinesis stunt in a coffee shop, naturally, freaking out human patrons.

The Painful Love of Kokoschka, Klimt and Schiele

Before the new National Gallery exhibit, explore the brilliant Viennese artists’ obsession with love, death, psychological tension.

Stupid humans, you ruin everything

Examine the worst way humans have ruined their own heritage throughout time and archeology.

Britney Spears and Oliver Stone finally agree on something

They weren’t into the Breaking Bad finale. Woof, national crisis solved! 

Personal Faves: Lindsay Lohan’s Wild Ride

Instead of ending the year with a slew of Best Of lists, BlackBook asked our contributors to share the most important moments in art, music, film, television, and fashion that took place in 2012. Here, Jennifer Wright details her love for this year’s brightest burning star: Lindsay Lohan.

It’s hard to write about Lindsay Lohan.

Not because she’s not interesting. She’s interesting in the way only a true star can be interesting.

The thing that makes writing anything about Lindsay Lohan nearly impossible is that, by press time, she will have at least three more things no one could possibly have predicted. She seems to live in a wonderland where she can do six impossible things before breakfast. Just a few weeks ago, Lindsay supposedly punched a psychic in the face over a weird dispute involving a member of a boy band. I cannot imagine what she’ll do this week. But I know it will be bizarre, and I know I will turn my attention to her for at least a moment, because Lindsay Lohan was honestly the only truly fascinating star to watch in 2012.

Do you know what happens when you Google “Reese Witherspoon last week?” Or “Kirsten Dunst last week?” Nothing. Just like us! Oh, well, a bit. They were working on some projects. They had relationships. Maybe if it’s a crazy week they were dieting, probably for a project.

Most people’s lives, even if they are famous people, at their apex of oddity, are about as interesting as a very slowly paced sitcom. Not Lindsay Lohan’s. Lindsay Lohan seems to have found her way to make her life mirror a soap opera that would almost certainly be canceled for being too outrageous.

That much decried, comically melodramatic scene in Lohan’s recent Lifetime Elizabeth Taylor Biopic Liz & Dick wherein Lindsay screams “I can’t live without you!” and then runs down the hallway, grabs a bottle of pills, gobbles them down like M&Ms, and then flings herself onto the bed? I do not think that scene seemed like melodrama to Lindsay Lohan. I think that seemed like “Tuesday.”

And that—not because she gave a decent performance in Mean Girls, though I know we cling to that as an explanation—is why Lindsay Lohan is an object of national obsession. She could very well have given that Mean Girls performance, and, if her private life had not been insane, she would likely be just another semi-remembered teen idol. You can turn to anyone in a room and say, “How about Lindsay Lohan?” They will probably have something to say. She will make them sad. She will make them angry. She will make them jealous. Try doing that with Rachel McAdams. People will say she has nice hair and wonder why you’re asking.

Lindsay is fascinating for negative reasons, of course, but the definition of a fascinating person may be one going through experiences most of us can barely imagine. Those experiences—outrageous bar fights! Theft! Fiery brawls with lovers!—might not be ones we’d want to experience. But surely someone is supposed to experience them, the way someone is supposed to walk on the moon, or explore the depths of the ocean.  

While every other star seems to be getting photographers from US to take “candid” shots of them helping out at soup kitchens and loudly proclaiming that they are “just like us,” and, really, generally behaving just like us… Well, Lindsay Lohan has no apparent interest at all in being just like us. Or perhaps circumstances conspire against her being like us. Either way, if you put her picture next to the vast morass of humanity, you could play “one of these things is not like the other.” 

Just look at her 2012.

A brief rundown: in 2012, Lindsay Lohan posed for Playboy. She hit someone with her car. She found out she had a secret half-sister. She punched that psychic. She sold her own clothes for cash. She was given $100,000 by Charlie Sheen. She was on Saturday Night Live. She slept with Terry Richardson. She was on Glee. She got into a fight in a limo with her mother, who she claimed was on a lot of cocaine, and her father told her the limo driver was kidnapping her. She was almost strangled by a congressional aide.

These are the things I remember off the top of my head.

Other things almost certainly happened at the rate of about one a week. And isn’t any one of them more interesting than the stories we read about nearly anyone else?  

Because, if we’re honest, there’s almost nothing less interesting than the endless articles about how stars are keeping their marriages spicy and raising great kids while watching their weight. Honestly, I don’t care I don’t care about how they’re doing that, unless their secret is living on kale and human blood, and even then, I don’t care about the kale.

Meanwhile, I would buy a whole magazine entitled What Lindsay Lohan Did This Week.

Like Addison Dewitt of All About Eve, I have absolutely no interest in stars being just like us, given that, as he points out, “their greatest attraction to the publicis their complete lack ofresemblance to normal human beings.” Stars aren’t stars because they’re just like us. They’re stars because they are vastly removed from us, burning brightly and briefly somewhere out in the ether, not at all subject to the rules that govern mortal man.  

And for most of, well, the history of movie stars, this was understood. Gloria Swanson had her toilet made out gold. Charlie Chaplin ran off with a 16-year-old girl. Loretta Young supposedly had a secret baby that she covered up and then “adopted.” Montgomery Clift was so into drugs and alcohol that in The Judgement At Nuremberg he had to ad lib all his lines. Elizabeth Taylor, who Lindsay Lohan played with around three different kind of accents, had so many personal scandals that it is too difficult to pick just one.

It seems impossible to say whether those scandalous, unusual elements of their lives occur because they’re famous (Marlon Brando claimed that, at the height of his fame, he couldn’t open a door if he wanted to—they were all opened for him, which says something), but they do occur.

All of this madness provides the rest of us out in the dark watching with a sense of envy, but also a sense of pride in our own decisions. We envy Lindsay Lohan, and all the really brightly burning stars with lives unlike our own, because we wish we could get away with things the way they do. I wish I could crash cars and emerge unscathed and suffer no real consequences (time after time after time). A great part of the interest in Lindsay Lohan—at least my interest in her—is that in addition to seeming reckless she seems somehow, well, wreck-less.

A few weeks ago, the Twitter account “God” tweeted that “the human race is so busy reading about Lindsay Lohan it doesn’t realize it IS Lindsay Lohan.” A great sentiment, but entirely untrue. Most of us wouldn’t survive acting like Lindsay Lohan for a month, let alone a lifetime. At the very least, we’d be in jail. But really, we’d probably be dead.

Yet, Lindsay continues to make films, and recently, during an interview detailed in The New Inquiry, she told a reporter that her goal is “to work with Oliver Stone. And I’m gonna do whatever I have to do to get it.”

I read it and thought, “Well, she might.”

Lindsay Lohan was arrested because she ran someone down in her car this year. And yet, the idea of her working with Oliver Stone still doesn’t seem entirely outside the realm of possibility.

That is not what it is to be human. To be human is to be bound by rules. That is what it is to be some kind of Greek God.

While the idea of a life without rules might fascinate us, we also know that none of this is very good for Lindsay Lohan. We know that we will probably live longer and have happier relationships. We know that, because we know that living without rules and repercussions, and burning at such a dazzling rate is synonymous with self-immolation. 

No one actually wants Lindsay Lohan to die.

At best, probably, she will fade into a minor sort of obscurity, periodically popping up for roles in made for TV dramas and otherwise living somewhat quietly. That would be good for Lindsay Lohan, but, God, we’d miss her exploits. Because know that, like Edna Saint Vincent Millay, if she continues burning away at her current pace Lindsay may not last the night. Still, while she burns, she gives a hell of a light.

Follow Jennifer Wright on Twitter

How to Play a Rock Star in a Movie

The casting of the upcoming CBGB’a movie has been a drawn-out process scored by endless commentary from fans who think they know better than filmmakers. Even the classic bar’s regulars got in the game. Not too long ago, Cheetah Chrome of the Dead Boys told us, “Hell, get Johnny Depp to play me!” Now it’s been announced that there is a new round of cast members, including former Roseanne star (and current The Big Bang Theory player) Johnny Galecki as manager Terry Ork and actress Mickey Sumner as Patti Smith. Perhaps the most controversial casting, though, is Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins, who, The Hollywood Reporter found out, will be playing Iggy Pop. 

The musician has plenty of experience behind the camera, having composed music for video games, TV, and movies, and he’s also appeared in plenty of rockumentaries in his capacity as a band member. But can he actually play the role of a musician?

He can start by checking out these clips below, showcasing what we consider fine examples of actors playing rockers.

The Velvet Goldmine 

With Jonathan Rys Meyers as Brian Slade and Ewan McGregor as Curt Wild—clearly Pop influenced—this should be Hawkins’ go-to movie for Iggy inspiration.

 

La Bamba

Lou Diamond Phillips played Ritchie Valens in this 1987 movie about the rocker who died at 18 in a plane crash that also killed Buddy Holly and The Big Bopper.

 

The Rose

Bette Midler made her screen debut in this movie, based loosely on the life of Janis Joplin. Pop never had Janice’s pipes, so singing like this won’t be a worry for Hawkins, but still a good role to study.

 

Sid and Nancy

For a taste of 1970s rock, what’s better than the Gary Oldman and Chloe Webb in this 1986 classic?

 

The Doors

To capture some of pop’s slithering sex appeal, checking out Val Kilmer’s performance in Oliver Stone’s The Doors would be a smart idea. Kilmer’s magnetic, insane, and overwhelmingly alluring Jim Morrison raised the bar for playing rockers.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains

The 1982 punk cult classic featuring a young Diane Lane and Laura Dern is required viewing for anyone who should be allowed to be punk, let alone play one on the screen. Absolutely essential viewing.

Industry Insiders: Russel Manly, Lock and Load

Russell Manly, owner of Tommy Guns Salon, started out in the early ’90s with a small shop in Brighton, England, which he filled with five repurposed dentist chairs. “Straight away,” he says, “our salon looked different from any other.” By 1994, he had moved his business to London’s Soho neighborhood, opening the first TommyGuns there with an authentic, old fashioned aesthetic – leather upholstery, marble floors, and vintage lighting – and a team of talented stylists with a gift for creating unique looks for both men and women.

In 2008, Manly entered the U.S. market with a salon on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, which, with its cinematic appeal, quickly became the favorite of such luminaries as Martin Scorsese and Oliver Stone. “Back then, we were the only salon to offer wine and beer to clients, but now it’s the norm,” he says. “Eclectic music, good wine, and – most importantly – great haircuts have been our trademark ever since.” With a collective of stylists from other the world, and Russell at the helm, Tommy Guns continues to expand, with a new location opening soon in LA’s Ace Hotel.

Links: E. John Has E. Coli, Roman Polanski Posting Bail

● Brad Pitt (dressed as Lance Rock of Yo Gabba Gabba) and Angelina Jolie (zombie) took Maddox, Zahara, and Shiloh for some Halloween fun in L.A on Saturday. [Radar] ● Edward Norton was one of many that participated in the New York City Marathon yesterday, finishing in 3 hours, 48 minutes, and 1 second; he was running to raise awareness for the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust. [E!] ● Elton John’s tour with Billy Joel is being put off after John contracted a case of E. coli and has been ordered by doctors not to perform. [CBC]

● Scott Foley will be Courtney Cox’s latest prey on ABC’s Cougar Town. [EW] ● Thandie Newton thought Oliver Stone was crazy when he cast her as Condoleezza Rice in his film W, and now the former Secretary of State is signed to the same talent agency (William Morris) as Newton. [DailyMail] ● Roman Polanski is still trying to get out of jail, this time offering to post a serious amount of cash for bail. Well, it’s not like he’s a flight risk or anything. [TMZ]

The President Gets Stoned

That crazy sumbitch Oliver Stone is really going through with it, isn’t it? Stone’s George W. Bush biopic W is officially underway and we’ve got the pictures to prove it. Well, Entertainment Weekly’s got ‘em, along with an in-depth article on the controversy swirling around the first ever movie about a sitting president. Have a look at Josh Brolin, (nearly unrecognizable is he) and have a look at Elizabeth Banks, the handsomest faux first couple we ever did see.

In the piece, Brolin discusses his reasons for taking the role, and you’d be surprised to learn it’s because of his similarities to the commander-in-chief. After most actors around town turned down the role, Stone—salesman that he is—pitched Brolin on their similarities. “We both have well-known fathers. We both grew up in the country. We both have strong mothers,” says Brolin. Don’t those reasons seem a little arbitrary? How about this (and I hate to be so cynical), but “I’ll get more career attention than ever before, I’ll end up on the cover of Entertainment Weekly before shooting a single scene, and then BlackBookmag.com will write about it, with minimal style and wit.”

Is ‘Dubya’ Gonna Bomb?

imageAs the president of the United States, you have the privilege of making a lot of decisions, even the executive ones. Unfortunately for George W. Bush, one decision that won’t be his is who gets to direct the story of his life. That man is going to be Oliver Stone, and although the left-leaning filmmaker claims he has “empathy for Bush as a human being,” we’re not entirely sold that his film W will be the straightforward biopic he’s insisting.

Apparently Dubya doesn’t get to choose who plays him either, because while current star Josh Brolin is no slouch, you can bet Bush would have chosen Matthew McConaughey, with a maximum shirtlessness clause embedded in the contract. Laura Bush, on the other hand, lucked out. Perky up-and-comer Elizabeth Banks (c’mon Liz, that A-list is just a few good choices away!) is in final negotiations to play the fifty-first First Lady. Banks just finished shooting Kevin Smith’s Zack & Miri Make a Porno opposite Seth Rogen and has the Eddie Murphy comedy Meet Dave out this summer. The film will follow the hedonistic days of young George, his relationship with his father, and his eventual conversion to Christianity. No word on who will play the Bush’s twin daughters, but seeing how the Olsens may not be available, we vote for Abigail Breslin to play both of them.