A month of culture

After seeing the movie A Bigger Splash yesterday, I felt the need to discuss some of the cultural events I’ve been to lately. Though reading is a huge part of my writing life, so are opera, theater, museum exhibits, and films. I think authors can gain perspective and insights from watching as well as reading. The events we watch show us life, which may be harder to discern from reading a book.

A Bigger Splash, starring Tilda Swinton and Ralph Fiennes, is a treat for the senses besides being a complicated love story. Fiennes, who barely stops talking, is a bundle of energy and movement throughout, while Swinton captures our attention by hardly uttering a word. The remote Italian island of Pantelleria where it is set is spectacular. Unfortunately, that’s all I’ll tell you except that the food looks so beautiful and delicious, you’ll walk away very hungry. I don’t want to spoil it for you in hopes you’ll see it yourselves.

bigger splash

Disgraced, a Pulitzer Prize and Tony winning play, definitely lives up to its shining reviews. The play centers on a heated discussion of politics and religion among four people with different backgrounds: American, American Muslim, American Jew, and African-American. It takes place in our present time and is very much in keeping with the Islamophobia going on today. Fast-paced and well acted, it is not to be missed.

I loved the film, Genius. I think every author and editor can relate. It is the story of the editor-author relationship between Maxwell Perkins and Thomas Wolfe, author of Look Homeward Angel. Perkins also was Fitzgerald’s and Hemmingway’s editor, among others. The film is based on A. Scott Berg’s National Book Award winning book, Max Perkins: Editor of Genius, and stars Colin Firth as Perkins, Jude Law as Wolfe, Nicole Kidman as Wolfe’s lover and benefactor, and Laura Linney as Perkin’s wife. Wolfe called Perkin’s his only friend. As an aside, I met Berg at a writer’s conference soon after this book was published. I was lucky to get him to sign a copy to me.

A couple of other events I attended in the last month or so include the film Free State of Jones, based on a true story starring Matthew McConaughey, about a rebellious confederate soldier; La Boeme really what can I say about that opera except that it is beautiful and oh so sad; the Robert Mapplethorpe exhibit at the Los Angeles Country Museum of Art, and the collection at the new Broad Museum downtown, Los Angeles. Two more on my list: Cindy Sherman at the Broad and Robert Mapplethorpe at the Getty.

Yes, it’s been a busy month of culture, and so well worth the time spent. And yes, I am reading currently: A Writer’s Life, by Gay Talese. It took him fifteen years to write it. I suspect it will take me that long to read it.



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