Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Apropos of Nothing

This is the only book dedication to have ever made me laugh out loud. It is from "The Ignored," a horror novel by Bentley Little:

Special thanks to the employees of the City of Costa Mesa with whom I worked from 1987 to 1995: both the friendly intelligent competent professionals I liked, and the small-minded backbiting bureaucratic assholes I hated.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Stoppard to Adapt "Lear" for Hopkins?

This item, about Anthony Hopkins' proposed cinematic swan song as King Lear, is truly curious. Is Stoppard really working on an adaptation, or is Sir Anthony just talking out his, uh, hat? Or are the Welsh playing some sort of practical joke on us? They will, you know.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Ew, Cooties!

My most recent San Francisco Chronicle column explores the theme of contamination in new books by David Marusek, Charlie Huston and Charles Burns.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

A More Complete Bibliography Than Mine

Michael Hutchins maintains a very useful Stoppard bibliography. Beware, though, of the ugly and annoying Geocities tab.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Family Business

Tom Stoppard's son Ed is performing the title role in the English Touring Theatre’s production of "Hamlet."

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

By Which I Mean He Contributed to the Screenplay

Conventional wisdom seems to be that Tom Stoppard had an uncredited hand in Lasse Halstrom's new "Casanova," starring Heath Ledger.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Stuff to Which I'm Looking Forward in 2006

Well, 2005 is gone, and good riddance. Let us instead keep in mind the pleasures that the new year might bring.

Two new Stephen King novels, "Cell" and "Lisey's Story" are slated for publication this year. The first sounds like it could be either really lame or a rip-snorting guilty pleasure. The second is being played up for its literary value, which always makes me suspicious. Glad ol' Steve is enjoying his "retirement."

It looks like "Arrested Development" may be picked up by Showtime or ABC. I don't subscribe to Showtime, but at least there's now the possibility of more episodes on DVD eventually. I don't get HBO, either (I'm one cheap son of a gun, aren't I?), but "The Sopranos" is slated to return this spring. And I continue to enjoy "Lost," somewhat against my better judgement.

The culmination of Grant Morrison's "Seven Soldiers of Victory" super-dooper comic book maxi-series thing arrives in April. It's been a long, weird ride so far, but Morrison is known for rarely bobbling his endings. I may even read his "All-Star Superman" limited series, although I'll probably wait for the inevitable trade.

The WonderCon comics fest happens at San Francisco's Moscone Center in early February and then the World Horror Convention hits town in May. I am enough of a geek to be waiting eagerly for them.

I always enjoy our family vacation in Ashland, Oregon. This season, I'm looking forward to new Oregon Shakespeare productions of "The Winter's Tale," the rarely produced "King John" and David Edgar's adaptation of "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde." Meanwhile closer to home, Berkeley Rep will stage "The Glass Menagerie" with Rita Moreno.

I know of two major Stoppard productions coming up -- the world premiere of "Rock 'n Roll" in London and the New York premiere of "The Coast of Utopia." I won't be seeing either, but it will be interesting to read what the critics have to say.

Steely Dan frontman Donald Fagen will release his new solo disc, "Morph the Cat," in March. If my excited anticipation marks me as a sad remnant of the Seventies, so be it.

The movie version of "V for Vendetta," starring Natalie Portman, looks promising, even if cranky Alan Moore has removed his name from it.

Then there are the usual personal aspirations for being more productive and more successful and thinner. We'll just have to see whether the odds for those are any better than the probability that "V for Vendetta" won't suck.