Here is your weekly dose of “Friday’s Four,” a list of what I’m enjoying or pondering.
What I’m reading and bookmarking —
Francis Ford Coppola re-cut his maligned film THE COTTON CLUB (1984) with $500,000 of his own money, christening his director’s cut, THE COTTON CLUB ENCORE. It premiered at the 2017 Telluride Film Festival to much fanfare, but the rights holders – MGM (as they own Orion Pictures) – refuses to give the film a re-release, theatrical or home video. There are some curio articles online about the tumultuous original production, Francis’s decision to re-cut the film, and some back ‘n forth about the uncertain status of the new version. Coppola’s career is one of the great questions marks of Hollywood – in any era. A supremely talented artist, he made five films in the 1970s (I’m throwing in PATTON for which he won the screenwriting Oscar) that gave him an unprecedented impact on cinema, popular culture, filmmaking, and Hollywood – yet his clashes with the studios/producers, maverick nature, and desire to make personal films, irrespective of the risk (which took its toll on his reputation) left him adrift in the 80s and beyond, only producing a handful of gems, several so-close-to-brilliant works, and eccentric misfires that were no doubt born out of his personal financial maelstrom and the associated reputational triage. I hope we get to see THE COTTON CLUB ENCORE one day soon.
Person I’m learning more about —
Jamal Khashoggi. It’s a tragedy that this OpEd columnist and journalist was assassinated by the Saudi Arabian crown. It reminds me of Salman Rushdie and the fatwa issued against him by Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini because of Rushdie’s book THE SATANIC VERSES. In an age where deluges of information and ubiquitousness of the printed words seem to reduce the power of journalism and journalistic critique, for a single journalist to provoke the ire of the Saudi crown is a remarkable feat.
Tiny purchasing I’m Enjoying —
Pilot FriXion Clicker 0.7mm, Erasable Gel Pens. I’m a writing instrument freak. I always have been since I was first introduced to a mechanical pencil in the 3rd grade. My favorite was a fountain pen that I coveted and used as much as I could from 10th grade to 12th grade (it was stolen from my room my first month at college) and I’ve wanted to a get real heavy one ever since, but never have. I have thin fingers and use a tight, tight grip, so a writing instrument begins to hurt my hand/fingers during long writing sessions (you know that indentation in the side of my finger just off the nail). So smooth flowing ink is critical for me. However, flowing ink tends to lead to sloppy penmanship (mine was never that good to begin with, and has increasingly become TERRIBLE over the years). When I discovered this Pilot pen, it was too good to be true — a refillable gel pen that erases! Yes, actually erases like a pencil… even weeks later. It’s perfect for quick scribbles and precise writing. If you need to go back and clean up the letter shapes, it’s a snap (if you can read your handwriting again weeks later).
Quote I’m pondering —
A simple way to get to know about a town is to see how the people work, how they love and how they die. – Albert Camus