Shaolin Rescue

Shaolin Rescue from gerard donaghy on Vimeo.

The newest from Glitterbeast has nothing to do with books or authors.

Instead, it features Dan Halsted, a film programmer in Portland, Oregon who rescued almost 200 rare 35mm old-school kung-fu flicks from certain destruction.

It’s also a mediation on the importance of celluloid as we move towards an all-digital age.

Dan was a gracious subject, giving us tons of his time and access to film his wonderful collection of films.

A special shout out to Glitterbeast’s partner-in-crime Kris Kerr. It wouldn’t have turned out nearly as well if it wasn’t for his help.

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Pow! by Mo Yan

The newest production from Glitterbeast is pretty fabulous, in that it is our first feature to promote a book by a Nobel Laureate.

Mo Yan was announced as the 2012 recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature in October, and will be awarded the prize in Stockholm early next month.

His English-language publications in the US are divided between Arcade Publishing and Seagull Books, and it is the latter publisher who will be releasing his most recently translated novel Pow! very soon (shipments to bookstores are expectedto begin by the end of November).

Pow! is the story of a young man recalling his childhood in what is called Slaughterhouse Village, and his obsession with meat. It certainly lives up to the Nobel Committee’s declaration that Mo’s work “with hallucinatory realism merges folk tales, history and the contemporary.” It has elements both fantastic and phantasmagoric, and it was an honor to be able to read Pow! as it was being translated (by Howard Goldblatt).

I am also honored that Seagull’s US sales team asked me to create the short.

The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving by Jonathan Evison

The newest short from Glitterbeast features Jonathan Evison as he prepares for a promotional tour for his newest novel, The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving, which will be published on August 28th by Algonquin Books.

Johnny is an awesome writer and a good friend, and I had a great time working with him on this project. I’m also glad that he didn’t bat an eye when I asked him to poke fun at his image by doing this faux training montage video..to be honest, the funniest gags here are ones he came up with on the spot.

I’m also really digging the music-Bionic Commando (Tune 5) by Romeo Knight, and you can find out more about them here.

If you get a chance to see Johnny on the road, go for it…and have a beer while your at it.

Upcoming Video: Zazen Is (Not) Portland-With Vanessa Veselka

One of my favorite books from last year was Vanessa Veselka’s Zazen, published by Richard Nash’s (at the time) new imprint, Red Lemonade.

Zazen is set in an unnamed city in a country engulfed in war; a war that is taking place abroad, but is slowly making its presence felt at home.  Reading the book, I was reminded of Guy Debord, the Situationist International, and the idea of psychogeography. Because, while the city in the novel reminded me distinctly of Portland, it was not explicitly set there. There were no direct references to any landmarks, people or places, but the psychological underpinnings of the city were unmistakably Portland.

When Vanessa was giving readings for Zazen, she took great pains to point out that the novel was not set in Portland, while reminding readers that there actually was a lot of Portland in the novel. Within the context of psychogeography, such paradoxes reside comfortably.

After nearly a year of “one of these days” conversations, Vanessa and I were finally able to shoot a video of her explaining how Zazen couldn’t possibly be set in Portland.

In the spirit of the SI, I felt the need to go Jean-Luc Godard with this, inspired by both the jump-cutting of À bout de souffle (aka Breathless) and the meta-referencing titles of Week End.

Movie title from Week End: “A Film Lost In The Cosmos”

I am hopeful that more readers will discover Zazen. At the very least, I hope more Portland residents will see what Vanessa sees in this city, because, as the Situationists say “reality is superseding utopia”.