First off, we have a new link (here and to the right below the Johnny Porno cover to a new site where we’re going to list the reviews of Charlie Stella’s novels/short stories, etc. The first (more than kind and incredibly well written) post is the full review by Len Wanner. We will update the page with reviews of all the Stella novels and short stories as we find the time.
The Titan Guy ... part of a scene from Johnny Porno between one of our favorite characters in the book, Nathan Ackerman and his stepson, Jack (John Albano Jr.). Nathan plays bass for the Philharmonic and is the third husband to a nasty, selfish woman (unfortunately, Jack’s mom):
Nathan handed over the tickets. “Third-base field boxes,” he said. “You can razz the Oriole players up close. Give a yell when Brooks Robinson gets a hot one and maybe it goes through his legs.”
“That guy never makes an error,” the boy said. He examined the tickets wide-eyed. “This is so neat. Thank you, Nathan.”
“It’s my pleasure, sir.”
“Why can’t you go?”
“Gustav Mahler. Any other composer and I’d cancel, but I love Mahler.”
“That the Titan guy?”
Nathan was a Mahler aficionado and had been schooling the boy on classical music between baseball discussions and episodes of the Partridge Family.
“Yes,” he said, “the Titan guy. We’re doing Mahler’s First the night of the game in fact.”
Jack was reading the small print on the back of the ticket. “This is great,” he said. “I can’t wait to tell my dad.”
So, speaking of that Titan guy ... some of yous might recognize some of the opening from the movie, Patton (a scene when the camera is panning across a battlefield). Titan is my very favorite symphony. Here’s the first movement.
The build up to Titan’s finale continues to leave me with Chris Matthews’ like “tingles up and down my leg” (and is worth an extra 10 pounds on my bench-press--if only they’d let me wear my Ipod in meets). Listen to the end, amici, yous won’t be disappointed.
And here’s some info on Mahler & his first symphony, Titan (from Marin Alsop, the Music Director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra). The Principessa Ann Marie and I were supposed to attend one of the Baltimore Orchestra’s performances of Titan a couple of years ago right before my sister became very ill.
Pre-view of an upcoming book by one of our very favorite authors, Lynn Kostoff. Lynn and Charlie go back to Carroll and Graf publishers. Charlie first read Lynn's work in the form of The Long Fall, which remains one of his favorite novels (crime or otherwise) ever. Lynn is a special author with talents way beyond any specific genre; a literary artist most other writers admire for the depth of his craft and ability to tell a story.
Lynn has two books coming out soon. A Choice of Nightmares (above) reviewed here back in September of 2009 when my son (Charles, not Charlie) called me to let me know he'd broken his neck riding a boogy board on a Delaware beach (Oy vey!) A Choice of Nightmares is being pub lished by New Pulp Press ...
and Late Rain (Tyrus Books).
Charlie Stella's full review of Late Rain will come closer to the publication date (July 2010) but he read it last week and was overwhelmed once again by the author’s writing skill and storytelling. Here’s the blurb for Late Rain.
“Masterful writing, spot on dialogue and insight to the human condition more often associated with literary works than crime fiction, Lynn Kostoff’s Late Rain is one of those rare novels that transcend genre fiction; it is writing at its very best, brilliant from start to finish.” —Charlie Stella
Lynn Kostoff and Charlie Stella will be doing a dual interview of each other for Crimeculture in the upcoming months. Crimeculture was created in Summer 2002 by Lee Horsley and Kate Horsley. The site now gets something like five million hits a year from all over the world, and has published several dozen essays on crime fiction, crime films and representations of criminality.
Kate can also be found here.
On a much darker note, the following has to do with the atrocities committed in a ravine outside the city of Kiev in the Ukraine during World War II. Consider it a reminder of just how horribly people can treat one another (and not to forget that it continues to go on today in places like Darfur). There are plenty of Youtube clips of the monstrous acts committed against Jews at Babi Yar. We’re choosing not to show them, but recommend seeing the film by Jeff Kanew. Be forewarned. It is brutal. TIME featured this piece in 2003.
Babi Yar ... I'm just finishing the documentary novel about Babi Yar, where the slaughter of 33,000+ Jews in the Soviet Union (Kiev, Ukraine) in 1941 took place in just two days. Author, Anatoly Kuznetsov wrote the book that was originally censored by the Soviet regime in 1966, but then republished uncensored after his escape to the United Kingdom. Kuznetsov began jotting down the story of what he had witnessed first-hand and from other first-hand accounts at age 14. It is as harrowing a tale as ever told and a sound reminder of what can happen when the state (any state--which makes it tough on my socialist leanings) takes absolute control over the people it governs. The people of Kiev were so fed up with Soviet rule that when the Nazi army first invaded, they believed it was a good thing and that they would be liberated by Hitler’s henchmen. Little did they know ... and Kuznetsov spares no details in his account of the atrocities committed by both the Soviets and the Nazis.
It wasn’t until I listened to the symphony by Dmitri Shostakovich that I even knew about this horrific event. It was a dark piece of music (rightfully so) the composer wrote at the risk of being further castigated by the Soviet regime.
Babi Yar is a horrible blot on human history little can be done about today, except to never forget what happened there. There is still something all of us can do about Darfur.
Shostakovich's Symphony #13, Babi Yar.:
That loveable curmudgeon, the DOC, says ...
Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. I was down in Trenton at the award ceremony for the Sidekicks Honor Institute of Trenton. Their SHITTY award, as it’s called, is the most prestigious in the International Society of Second Bananas. All the great sidekicks of history were there:
Robin (of Batman and…)
Hutch (of Starsky and…)
Goofy (yes, Joe and Goofy are actually 2 different people)
Sean Penn (of Hugo Chavez and…)
and yours truly, that loveable old Docster. I received my SHITTY for “Best Supporting Work in a Blog Exclusively Devoted to Opera and Weightlifting”.
Granted there was not a lot of competition in my category, but it was a proud moment to be handed the award by that legendary sidekick…Tonto.
So, Obamacare has passed and as Joe Biden so eloquently stated, “It’s a big fucking deal.” As a side note, in the above award ceremony Biden was the recipient of “Best Supporting Work in Making His Principal Look Smart by Comparison Award”.
Now, the Bamster isn’t exactly sure how Obamacare is going to work, but he knows he will need 16,500 additional IRS agents to enforce this humanitarian charity. What strikes me as troubling is that the first group to opt out of this healthplan are the asswipes who wrote it.
For some strange reason, the Dems think that passing this fiasco will make them heroes. Here is a quick summary: We pay for this for the next 4 years and get diddly-squat, nada, zippo, nothing. What’s not to like about that plan?
Stupak was a veritable rock during the whole voting process.
Stupak: I will not sign this bill because I am selflessly protecting the lives of innocent, unborn children.
Obama: I’ll give you a ride on Air Force One.
Stupak: Can I toot the horn?
Obama: Sure! I’ll even get you a pilot’s hat.
Stupak: Where do I sign?
Plan ahead, Chaz. If you’re gonna get sick… get sick now.