Doc Savage v. Ayn Rand

There’s nothing like a weird and semi-readable piece of pulp to sprain the cortex. Now, take 1957′s Atlas Shrugged, which fairly recently spawned this kind of tribute in the Wall Street Journal. Here is the reprise of the old story–Greenspan used to tell it repeatedly–of how a person who hadn’t been coldcocked by Rand’s envious [...]

Harvey Pekar Dies, Age 70

Harvey Pekar was found dead this morning at his home by his wife of 27 years, cartoonist Joyce Brabner. The autobiographical comics written by this Cleveland resident put his city on the map; in some of his best work, including Our Cancer Year (co-written by Brabner) and The Quitter, Pekar expanded the boundaries of what [...]

The Pregnant Widow by Martin Amis

The Pregnant Widow by Martin Amis (Knopf, $26.95, 370 pp.)

By Richard von Busack

Some wiseacre (maybe it was the now-forgotten proto-McSweeneyite Jack Douglas?) once summed up the plot of Of Human Bondage as “a story about a guy with a clubfoot getting kicked around by a girl, when it seems like it would have made more [...]



From Ain’t it Cool: a special Cinco de Mayo message from Machete! Spread it around, make it viral–

Red Kangaroo: Wake in Fright tonight at SFIFF

by Richard von Busack

An intelligent if lofty schoolteacher (Gary Bond) arrives in a desert town that’s drunk 24 hours a day; eagerly, even hysterically befriended by the locals, including a doctor, played by Donald Pleasance, who has given up and embraced barbarism. Matters get worse right away; the funny games of the locals spiral out [...]

Know your post mumblecore movements!

Know your movements:

Stumblecore: director, cast drunk during entirety of shoot.

Numblecore: cast novicaned by oral surgeon to prevent artificial show-offy acting.

Dumblecore: At least 75% of the cast–this is audited–must be mute from birth. Up and coming indie-film movement in the Winston-Salem area, with at least two directors involved.
A third, Mike Duplotz, was manifestoed out of the [...]

Wrathful Grapes

Corked by Kathryn Borel (Grand Central, $23.79. 272pp)

The grape never falls far from the vine. To her surprise, the memoirist Kathryn Borel learns that she has more in common with her exasperating father Phillipe than she thought. The 26 year old Quebec journalist accepts her dad’s invitation to go on a wine-tasting safari from Alsace [...]

Super Toy, Comic and Collectible Show, SJ 3/20/09

“There’s more people here then there are at the gun show,” a passerby complained seeing the crowd coming out of the Super Toy, Comic and Collectible show at the San Jose County Fairgrounds Sunday. It could be a prob for Quakers, deciding whether it’s less morally compromising to buy a vintage GI Joe Cobra rifle [...]

Like You Know It All --Camera Cinemas tonight (Mar 20, 7:45)


There was one feature that’s a real standout at today’s two-day seance by the 28th Annual SF International Asian American Film Festival at the Camera Cinemas in San Jose. And what a subject: The angst of someone surviving a film festival, cast away on the Island of Misfit Movies…it’s about time someone addressed this all-important [...]

Charmed, I'm sure

Obscure Jack Kirby villainness Granny Goodness…

…meet attack-ad fomenting gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman.