Sunday, April 22, 2018

Mario Vargas Llosa / “Political correctness is the enemy of freedom”

Mario Vargas Llosa
by David Levine





Besides writing prize-winning fiction, the Nobel Laureate has fought tirelessly for civil liberties. With his new book, ‘The Call of the Tribe,’ he promotes liberal thought and pays tribute to seven authors who embrace it. We talk to him about liberalism, intellectual blindness nd the dangers facing democracy today

mario vargas llosa
2 MAR 2018 - 10:48 COT
Mario Vargas Llosa is in good form. The Peruvian Nobel Laureate laughs easily as he expounds on his theories of freedom and the individual and talks about his new book, La llamada de la tribu, or, The Call of the Tribe, which argues in favor of liberal thought in reference to seven influential authors: Adam Smith, José Ortega y Gasset, Friedrich von Hayek, Karl Popper, Raymond Aron, Isaiah Berlin and Jean-François Revel.

Yoani Sánchez / Cuba survives Fidel Castro

Cuba survives Fidel Castro

The island has been through too much mourning to wear the colors of widowhood

Yoani Sánchez
28 November 2016

Few people were watching the official television channel at that time. News of Fidel Castro’s deathbegan spreading on Friday night by telephone, like a vague piece of information. “Again?” asked my own mother when I told her about it. Born in 1957, this Havana native is going on 60 and does not recall life before the Commander-in-Chief took power in Cuba.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Alice Keys / It can`t be held back anymore



MAY 11, 2016

Name: Alicia Augello Cook
DOB: 25 January 1981
Place of birth: Manhattan, New York, USA
Occupation: Musician

Ms. Keys, why do you write?
Since I was young I’d always write things down just to get it out of my head, almost to make space, because I haven’t always been so good at communicating one on one. So I’d always have to write it down first and kind of understand it and then be able to talk about it. You need to get it out of yourself, out of your mind, out of your heart, out of your way, to understand it. I have a lot of diaries and I love paper, I’m a paper fanatic, I love books that have empty pages.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Alice Sebold won't repeat herself

Alice Sebold

Alice Sebold won't repeat herself

Sunday, October 14, 2007, 4:00 AM

You can tell from the outset how different Alice Sebold's second novel, "The Almost Moon," is from her first, "The Lovely Bones," which almost everyone was reading in 2002.
"My name was Salmon, like the fish; first name Susie. I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973," begins "The Lovely Bones."

Thursday, April 19, 2018

“Lucky” By Alice Sebold / The Dark Tunnel From Where “The Lovely Bones” Comes

Alice Sebold

“Lucky” By Alice Sebold: The Dark Tunnel From Where “The Lovely Bones” Comes

In the tunnel where I was raped, a tunnel that was once an underground entry to an amphitheater, a place where actors burst forth from underneath the seats of a crowd, a girl had been murdered and dismembered**. I was told this story by the police. In comparison, they said, I was lucky.

Alice Sebold / Rape and redemption

Alice Sebold: Rape and redemption

Her first novel was a brutal tale of murder, and sold a record two-and-a-half million copies in hardback. But the story of Alice Sebold's own teenage years makes for far more shocking reading. Christina Patterson hears how she survived

Thursday 5 June 2003 23:00 BST
Alice Sebold knows all about arresting first lines. "My name was Salmon, like the fish; first name, Susie", begins her first novel, The Lovely Bones. "I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973." Her other book, Lucky, also goes straight for the jugular: "In the tunnel where I was raped, a tunnel that was once an underground entry to an amphitheatre, a place where actors burst forth from underneath the seats of a crowd, a girl had been murdered and dismembered." These are textbook fiction openings, their unadorned prose designed to maximise the visceral punch. Another American creative writing graduate takes the well-travelled, hard-boiled route to literary success.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Alice Sebold / The Lovely Bones / Reviews

Alice Sebold
Photo by Neville Elder


I don't think I've ever read a book as moving and beautiful as Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones. It's not my usual choice of book to read but I am so happy I gave it a go as I was pleasantly surprised by what I found inside (Spoiler: You will be left heartbroken chapter after chapter).

Alice Sebold / I'm not hammering at it like a nail



NOVEMBER 18, 2015

Name: Alice Sebold
DOB: 6 September 1963
Place of birth: Madison, Wisconsin, USA
Occupation: Author

Ms. Sebold, were you a misfit growing up?
Oh yeah, sure. But I think almost all writers feel like they were misfits growing up!

Alfie Allen / It`s a form of torture every night



JULY 19, 2017

Name: Alfie Evan James Allen
DOB: 12 September 1986
Place of birth: Hammersmith, London, United Kingdom
Occupation: Actor

Mr. Allen, what is it like getting naked for an audience?
(Laughs) Getting naked in theater, I think, is different than doing so on film. I know a lot of people say the other way around — but I’m actually more comfortable undressing in the theater, on the stage.
How come? 
I don’t know. I guess because — although in a theater like the Trafalgar Studios it would be a bit different because the audience is right there, but on most stages I performed on when I was in Equus, you just couldn’t see anyone in the audience. I think it was totally relevant to the play; it was needed in order to show how vulnerable my character was at that point in the play… So overall, it was actually kind of liberating.
Plus it probably won’t turn up on the Internet. 
Oh no, it did! No, no, it definitely did. You know, I don’t really care if it does turn up on the Internet either… I have a tough exterior. The stuff I did for Equus definitely turned up on the Internet, the stuff on Game of Thronesobviously turns up on the Internet but I always knew that was going to happen because it had a massive audience even just from the books. So with those kinds of things, I don’t really care, it’s more about me feeling comfortable in the moment I’m doing it. If people want to troll the Internet and look at pictures of my nob so be it — that’s what people like to do, I guess.

“I like when you get hit with this nervous energy… It sort of pours into your veins and you can really use it.”
Is that what you did after Equus?
No! (Laughs) I fucking didn’t! I definitely have Googled myself, I’m not going to lie about that but I haven’t gone and searched for that type of stuff. No way. But yeah, I love being on stage because I like things to be spontaneous, without a doubt. Last year I played a character in a play who was just oblivious to some of the more silly things that he did, and it got me thinking that that’s kind of bliss, in a way, isn’t it? You can just be that way the whole time and not care what anybody else thinks. I like it when I’m acting and people just throw things at me that are completely unexpected. I like when you get hit with this nervous energy… It sort of pours into your veins and you can really use it.
I read that the moment you realized you wanted to be an actor actually occurred in theater, right? 
Yeah, it was when I saw Doubt in New York. When I saw that it was definitely the first piece of theater that had me like, “Wow.” I was amazed by it! It was at a really small theater, so it felt quite intimate and I think that’s probably why the performance had that impact on me, because it was just so…
Up close and personal?
Yeah, I felt like it was right there, you know? And I’ll be honest with you I kind of got dragged along to it and I didn’t really want to go, so I guess that’s what had an impact on me as well. I kind of went begrudgingly to this thing and actually was amazed by the performances. I just thought they were incredible. The only other things I’d seen before that was stuff that my dad [Keith Allen] was in; I’d seen something at The Almeida, I saw him do Celebration and The Room I think, then he did The Homecoming, which was amazing. But when I saw Doubt, that was definitely a big push for me. It didn’t make my mind up — it’s something that I wanted to do. It was either a footballer or an actor, you know what I mean?
Footballer? Really?
I’m kidding, I would never have been a footballer! No, I mean, my family was an inspiration to me as well, and even before I went to see Doubt, I always wanted to be an actor. I love being on stage; I did Jesse Eisenberg’s play called The Spoils and that was great. I’ll sound like a soundbite but it’s inspiring to see somebody like Jesse who just never ever goes half-arsed with anything. He would get off the plane from Cannes and come straight to rehearsals. He never seemed jet-lagged, he was just going head first into everything and I really admire that. Being on stage every night can be quite tiresome, it’s kind of like a form of torture every night — but it was great.
You like to torture yourself? 
I just mean that taking the easy way out is something I try not to do! For example, playing characters like Theon Greyjoy in Game of Thrones… I don’t know, I’d like to say they’re more fun, but they’re not fun exactly, it’s more like you can immerse yourself in something like that, so it feels harder. It’s been a joy to play Theon.
“Taking the easy way out is something I try not to do.”
Even though he has seen some pretty dark times on the show?
There’s obviously been dark moments, yeah, and as an actor, if they were going to make it any darker I’d like to see how. But as a person, I think I’d like to see some light at the end of the tunnel for Theon Greyjoy. I’m sure we’ll find out soon enough. I don’t know though, I actually don’t have a clue! The thing with Theon is he’s not really a dark character, he is just kind of tragic. He’s done dark things but inevitably he’s just trying to prove himself to the world and to his family. And then once he loses that piece of his anatomy he’s of no use to his family anymore. The arc that he goes through is pretty special… During the second season, I trended on Twitter, that’s when I realized that things were going to be quite big for Theon.
Why did you trend on Twitter?
Because I cut off some guy’s head! (Laughs) They liked that, Twitter! And then after the third season, I think that’s when it really got mental. Game of Thrones is an American take on English history, even though it’s loosely based on the War of the Roses and that’s what inspired the story, so I always had an inkling it would be big in America. But it wasn’t until the Red Wedding that it kind of it hit home just how huge it would get. That scene is what David [Benioff] and Dan [Weiss] were gearing up to, you know? I think they have an endgame. They’ve always had a blueprint from the beginning of what they’re going to do. But now I think George RR Martin is probably frantically trying to finish the books!

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Alexander Payne / I was far from the most talented

Alexander Payne



MAY 30, 2012

Name: Constantine Alexander Payne

DOB: 10 February 1961
Place of Birth: Omaha, Nebraska, USA
Occupation: Director

Mr. Payne, do you get upset when you see a bad movie in the theater?
Well, I don’t go to see bad movies. (Laughs) I remember being upset when I saw the movie Con Air years ago. That was a completely amoral film.
Film has an unparalleled power to influence culture. Does it bother you to see that power abused?
Yes. Film has such an enormous power to set an example and to influence people that it just appalls me how that power is abused to make money, to show irresponsible violent acts and essentially give the people the Roman circus for 10 dollars in a movie theater.
So do you see it as a responsibility?
No, I mean anybody can do anything they want. But its power, as we saw from Leni Riefenstahl, is great – its power to move, its power to serve as a mirror for our society, its power to spread a sense of humanity and make people laugh. Chaplin made the whole world laugh for the very first time at the same things and with no words. It’s truly the universal language. Like so many things, I wish it were used more as a weapon of beauty rather than a weapon of ugliness and self-aggrandizement, monetary self-aggrandizement.
“One does not know the dedication it requires and how fucking time consuming it is to make a movie until you do it.”
Have you always wanted to be a director?
I’ve been a film buff genuinely about as long as I can remember. From the age of four or five I’ve been a film buff and just crazy about movies. And then I was at Stanford and was considering what graduate school to apply to and I wasn’t even thinking, “Oh, I want to be a film director,” I was thinking, “I want to go to film school.” I just wanted to see what that was and see if my love of watching films would translate into loving making them.
Which it clearly did…
It did. And I had the patience for it. One does not know the dedication it requires and how fucking time consuming it is to make a movie until you do it. And I liked it and I found I had – while being far from the most talented of my comrades – just enough talent to be able to build on.
Scene from Sideways (2004), directed by Alexander Payne, featuring Paul Giamatti.
You were 35 when you made your first feature film. Does it necessarily take a long time to become a director?
Not for everybody, but for me it did. I was 35, but that’s a fairly standard average age at which to make a first feature. Kurosawa was 32 or 33 when he made his first feature. Yeah. I mean the old guys in the teens and ’20s would often start in their 20s.
But back then everybody started working earlier, too.
Yeah, motherfuckers. Buñuel did not direct his first feature until he was 48…
Asked another way: can a 25 year old handle a 20 million dollar budget?
But you also don’t need 20 million dollars nowadays. We live in an age where there are no more excuses. The means of production are readily accessible. You can make a feature with your fucking telephone (picks up his iPhone 4). It’s amazing the age we live in. You have a movie camera in your pocket. With sync-sound! It’s unbelievable. If something amazing is happening, you just point your phone at it. We have all this shit that’s far beyond anything you would have believed in a James Bond movie 20 years ago. I don’t know… Soderbergh started early. Fassbinder was dead by 38 after making 600 films.
Well, he was exceptional.
Fueled on cocaine.
What prepared you best for being a director?
I think a lifetime of watching movies is the best preparation. Going to film school helped, being around other people who are like me, people who are living, breathing, eating, drinking, sleeping film for five years straight.
You also studied history and literature as an undergraduate. Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, the director of The Lives of Others, is another director that studied something quite academic before getting into filmmaking…
You mean the guy who did The Tourist(Laughs)
Yeah, exactly. (Laughs) But my question is, do you think that your academic education is beneficial to you now as a director?
I do have to credit my education in literature and history, the human story. What people do and trying to get at why they do those things, a sense of narrative. History is narrative; literature is obviously narrative. Presenting characters, selecting events from their lives, and getting at motivations. The best historians write with the same urgency and flourish as great novelists. The great historians have as fluid and compelling a prose style as novelists.
Do you prefer adaptation or writing original material?
Original is good if you have the right idea and the right characters in mind. An adaptation is lovely because it suggests a world and a story that I myself could never have thought of in a million years – like with The Descendants. I never could have thought of any of that shit.
The trailer to Election (1999), directed by Alexander Payne.
How do you decide when an idea is worth making into an entire film?
Did you ever see my film Election? It’s set in a high school with Matthew Broderick. I basically made that whole film for two reasons. One was that I liked the formal challenge of having multiple voiceovers – it has four people telling you the plot of the film in voiceover. But secondly, it has this one shot, and that shot so cracked me up that I wanted to have a whole film just for it.
And the shot was?
Spoiler alert. There’s a guy who’s preparing to have an illicit affair in a cheap motel and he goes to that motel to make everything just right. He puts some champagne in the sink with ice from the ice machine and he puts out Russell Stover chocolates. And then there’s the shot where he gets into the bathtub and he washes his ass and his balls and his dick. He’s squatted over in the bathtub washing himself. The whole film was pretty much just for that shot.
I don’t know if that’s exactly what I was asking, but I’m happy that you told me that.
I rarely recommend my own films, but that’s still the film I get the most compliments on. You should see it.

Alexander Ebert / I was constantly in trouble

Alexander Michael Tahquitz Ebert
Photo by Alex de Brabant



AUGUST 14, 2013

Name: Alexander Michael Tahquitz Ebert
DOB: 12 May 1978
Place of Birth: Los Angeles, California, USA
Occupation: Musician

Alexander, is it true that you started Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros once you got over your drug addiction?
It’s the opposite actually. I told the correct story to a newspaper writer but he did not want to hear that. I guess he thought it was a better story that when I got sober that I started writing these songs. Ima Robot, my previous band, was the obnoxious, sober me, when I had my intellectual phase. With Edward Sharpe I was trying to get out of that.
I think the story is better this way.
I was just done being sober. (Laughs) It’s a bit of an intentionally provocative statement, but the fact is not only that I actually started doing drugs again, but that I had to leave the institutions that coddled me. One of those institutions was a relationship, so I had to break up with my girlfriend, but the biggest one for me at the time was AA. I had to leave AA.
Because it is kind of like an addiction in itself?
Yeah a bit… It’s very fear-based. “If you do this one thing, it’s over. You’re done.” It’s actually so fear-based that I couldn’t live like that anymore, or I didn’t want to. And there were other things that I was trying to leave, too.
Like what?
I was trying to separate myself from property… but that’s very difficult. (Laughs) I at least got rid of my cell phone for 9 months – or I lost it and decided not to get a new one I should say. And that was already very difficult.
You managed to start a band without a cell phone?
If you locate yourself in the right spot, it is possible. Berlin would be a great place to have no cell phone, I think. Especially if you were able to live in a central location.
But you did it in L.A. – a city where that seems like it would be pretty tough.
In L.A. it’s very difficult, but I found a good place. It was literally on the corner of Hollywood and Sunset, where the two biggest streets in Hollywood meet. I had a little apartment right there, right next to a movie theater and I put a notepad and a pen out so people could come by and write me notes, but that’s all.
So you told your friends about the notepad if they wanted to get in touch with you…
Yeah and if they wanted to see me they could always come by as well.
Do you feel like the music you make in Edward Sharpe is more true to yourself than before?
This is much less reactive, so I think that means that this is necessarily much more me. Ima Robot was me reacting to things; this is me trying to be productive. To sort of sound a bit hokey and put it into sort of new age terms, this is me trying to be involved in some sort of solution where the other was involved in some sort of destruction. So that’s sort of the big change.
Alex Ebert - Truth (live)
Where does your solo project under your real name Alexander Ebert come into the picture?
It came more or less out of the same headspace. But pure Alexander Ebert stuff might have a bit more of the hip hop influence in it. Hip hop was definitely, far and away the primary influence for at least 10 years of my life. From about 7 or 8 on till about 15 or 16 that’s all I listened to.
How does a 7-year-old get into hip hop?
I saw a poster of Run–D.M.C. and you know what’s funny is that I didn’t even hear their music, I just knew that that was the shit. “Whatever that is, I know that that’s somehow rebellious.” And for me, I was a very, very rebellious person as a very little kid. I was constantly in trouble. Tagging and doing various wannabe sort of gangster activity, you know. It was my punk rock.
Hanging out with you now makes it hard to imagine that you used to be a wannabe gangster…
Yeah it is, man. For the better part of my life I was always trying to manufacture somehow what I would consider “living.” Because I grew up sort of upper-middle class and I didn’t relate so much to that as a life and I wanted to really find “living.” And when I ran track and field outside of school when I was about 10 or 11, I made friends with these inner-city kids – or at least they were tough to me – and I was just fascinated with them. They showed me N.W.A and Ice-T and the parties. It is hard for me to even imagine really, except that I know how much that I wanted to be older and be rugged and have hardship and have that look on my face like James Dean smoking a cigarette. Rough, sunburnt. (Laughs)
“I expected a lot of myself, so when I got caught up very heavily in drugs and wasted a lot of my time it was a big bummer for me.”
I guess that’s what people call puberty.
I thought very highly of myself, even though my school and my dad didn’t, regarding my mental abilities. I thought that I was pretty much a genius and I expected a lot of myself and so when I got caught up very heavily in drugs and wasted a lot of my time it was a big bummer and total let down for me. It was very sad, but at the same time I wanted to feel this sort of manufactured hardship. But then again I should go a little easier on myself… I had a sort of very hard time with the so-called human condition.
What do you mean?
I’ve always had a major issue with death, from a pretty young age. From about 5 years old on I was very contemplative and started to become constantly filled with nostalgia for the present moment and the feeling that it’s always fleeting. And until I handled that I really didn’t have a healthy mind and it took a long, long time.
You seem to talk about that quite a bit in your lyrics.
Yes, in “Man On Fire” I might sing that I want the whole world to dance with me, but it’s over murder and pain and heartache and shame. All those qualities are in there. When I wrote that song I was really fucking pissed off. I was very upset with myself for not being more of a superhero.
Why a superhero?
Because I think human potential is so much farther beyond what we expose of ourselves, you know? And I feel like I was just coming up short constantly because of social anxiety, which is such bullshit. So I wrote that song as a “fuck you” to myself, to convince myself to really act and try to be free.