Tag Archives: writer

MacArthur Foundation hands out genius grants to 23 ultra-talented people

“A phone call out of the blue; $500,000 – no strings attached”

Reads the front page for the MacArthur Foundation. Sometimes called the genius grants, they are awarded to the ultra-talented in nearly any field – writers, scientists, photographers. Young and old, this year’s recipients range from 31 to 66 years old. And like the quote says, $500,000 over five years is provided and never talked about again, “in the spirit of fostering intellectual freedom.”

Officially called the MacArthur Fellows, 23 were awarded this year with a focus on “works to defend human rights, advance global conservation and security, make cities better places, and understand how technology is affecting children and society.”

The foundation is one of the largest in the world worth $5.7 billion in 2011 – and awarding $230 million in that same year.

A selection of the winners:

Natalie Almada – documentary filmmaker capturing complex views of Mexican history, politics, and culture as both an art form and a tool for social change.

Claire Chase – arts entrepreneur forging a new model for the commissioning, recording, and live performance of classical music.

Dylan C. Penningroth – historian studying property ownership among former slaves and their children in the United States.

Terry Plank – geochemist probing the invisible but remarkably powerful thermal and chemical forces deep below the Earth’s crust that drive the motion of tectonic plate collisions.

Read about all 23 ultra-talented winners.

 

Source: L.A. Times

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Happy 10th Birthday to Daring Fireball – a role model for this blog

Happy 10th birthday, John Gruber, of the curation blog, Daring Fireball. A role model of mine in both style and eccentricity. I hope to one day achieve your level of excellence and also prove to the world that being a blogger can provide a happy life for me and my family.

A fellow writer, Robinson Meyer of The Atlantic, also pays tribute to Daring Fireball:

This, from a 2008 interview, is still a better articulation of the joy of reading great sequential writing than you’ll regularly find:

Gruber: I’ve always enjoyed the way that with good columnists, it’s not just that their individual articles stand on their own, but that there’s something greater than the sum of the parts when you follow them as a regular reader.

And he can still better articulate what’s fun and compelling about link-sharing (which he’s been doing since before we deemed it curation) than anyone. From the same interview:

Gruber: There’s a certain pace and rhythm to what I’m going for [when I share links], a mix of the technical, the artful, the thoughtful, and the absurd. In the same way that I strive to achieve a certain voice in my prose, as a writer, I strive for a certain voice with regard to what I link to. No single item I post to the Linked List is all that important. It’s the mix, the gestalt of an entire day’s worth taken together, that matters to me.

 

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John Hughes Never Stopped Writing Until His Heart Stopped Beating

John Hughes, one of my favorite, most beloved screenwriters and filmmakers, passed away three years ago, on August 6, 2009.

That his work has managed to stand the test of time, a feat so many writers fail to achieve, is a remarkable phenomenon in itself.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is now over twenty-five years old. But the line, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it,” is as relevant today, if not more so, as it was in the 80s.

Even more impressive than his writing, however, is how Hughes did it. Constantly. Fervently. With passion and vigor.  He was never without his moleskin (of which he left behind over 300) and he never ceased to observe, edit, and synthesize everything around him. For him, writing was not so much a profession as a condition of life. It was his ethos.

On the day of his death:

[His wife], Nancy awoke in her Manhattan hotel room to find her husband’s side of the bed empty, which was not unusual. It was Hughes’s custom to get up early and enjoy a morning constitutional when staying in New York. The routine provided him with an opportunity to get a head start on his relentless observing, sketching, and note-taking.

Hughes had collapsed on a sidewalk a few blocks from the hotel. He was rushed to Roosevelt Hospital, near Lincoln Center, and pronounced dead of a heart attack. (from Vanity Fair)

What’s truly inspiring is that when Hughes passed away, “…he was doing something he loved. He was out note-taking and observing.” This, I believe, was the key to his talent and his genius. He wrote, and wrote, every day, until his heart stopped beating.

I can’t imagine Hughes penning a more fitting ending to the story that was his life.

And so, to appreciate his death is to celebrate his life. Thanks for the movie memories, John.

 

 

 

San Diego’s Comic-Con is becoming the Sundance/Cannes for television

Think of it as TV’s Comic-Cannes.

Since its inception 42 years ago, Comic-Con International has been a celebration of fanboy culture. When geek became the new cool, it also worked as a marketing platform for Hollywood and video game makers. Now, it’s the place where the television industry comes to build buzz for new shows and reward the audiences of established ones.

More than 80 television series courted the crowds at Comic-Con last year with premieres, panels and promotional events. This year in San Diego, the numbers are just as high – and the visibility even greater.

“It’s become a tentpole for us,” says Richard Licata, executive vice president, communications, for NBC Entertainment and Universal Television, echoing the sentiments of many network and studio marketing and publicity heads. “It’s the Super Bowl of response.”

Timing has something to do with it; the dates of Comic-Con make it a perfect place to preview fall shows. Corralling the talent is also a breeze - television has no Sundance or Cannes, making Comic-Con one of the few places on the planet where a television writer is treated like a rock star by screaming thousands.

 

Source: Hero Complex - Comic-Con: Television is a conquering hero

 

 

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Goodbye, Nora Ephron – Thank you for everything

What a shock to learn of Nora Ephron’s death, at 71 years old. What a loss to laughter–among the many other gifts Nora gave us.

I met Nora when I was a secretary at Esquire magazine, not even a year out of college. My then boss, Binky Urban, (now my agent) became one of her closest friends. The two of them, careering around with such enormous élan, knowing they had as much right to be there as any of the guys surrounding them. (More in many cases.) Wow, I thought daily, this is what liberated New Women are like: brilliant, fearless, funny, tough, free with Kleenex for their sobbing younger sisters (and there was a great deal to sob about at the magazine in those days, but that’s another story)

Every time I looked at Nora I couldn’t help it: I imagined the adolescent Nora in a dressing room,  bending down hopefully over a bra, waiting for her breasts to tumble out of her chest to fill in the cups…Her life was just ahead of mine, of my generation, and she was there proving that it was just fine to be outraged and noisy and hysterical so long as you carried it off with well-written finesse.

Nora was a devoted reader of House & Garden, incredibly enough to those who didn’t know her, but to her friends, she was a true hausfrau: she took great pleasure in making a beautiful home, she loved cooking and dinner parties and everything about kitchens. (Come to think of it, she was one of Frances Palmer’s earliest and most devoted customers, she loved her pottery and bought many pieces for her table over the years.) Another way in which she led the way: there is nothing diminishing about a love for home-making. When I think of having it all, I think: kids. jobs. china. Those daily banal pleasures do strengthen and heal–you see it in so many of her movies. True to form, Nora’s favorite pieces were the ones we ran about cooking equipment and utensils. I remember an email right after we ran a piece about pre-mixed cake recipes (all of which we had tested over the weeks)–”Those cake mixes! Running right out to the store. In my bathrobe. Thanks!”

 

ViaGoodbye, Nora Ephron, thank you for everything you gave us

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Kickstarter project: Womanthology – massive all-female comic anthology

I read a lot of comics and it is always upsetting that there are no women creating them. There are female characters everywhere in the stories, many super heroines, and yet, nearly all the top female characters have all-male teams working on them.

It is pretty sad, and unfair.

The good news is that a few projects rumbling around are experiencing awesome success. The following Kickstarter project, one of the most successful on the site, covers this exact topic:

 

Womanthology; Massive All Female Comic Anthology!

Womanthology is a large scale anthology comic showcasing the works of women in comics. It is created entirely by over 140 women of all experience levels, including top industry professionals.

The purpose of the book is to show support for female creators in comics and media. There will be multiple short stories, “how to” & interviews with professionals, and features showcasing iconic female comic creators that have passed, such as Nell Brinkley and Tarpe Mills. A Kids & Teens section will also be included, showcasing their work, and offering tips & tricks to help them prepare themselves for their future careers in comics.

Overall, this is pretty much a huge book showcasing what women in comics have accomplished, and what we are capable of :) We are also hoping that by doing this book, it will encourage a new generation of women to pick up the pencil and create!

A determined writer – overcomes Rheumatoid Arthritis – creates first full biography of Dennis Hopper

Readers of Peter Winkler’s new biography of the late actor and artist Dennis Hopper may not realize what a labor of love it represents. Winkler suffers from rheumatoid arthritis and cannot reach his fingers to the keyboard of his computer. Yet he was determined to write Dennis Hopper: The Wild Ride of a Hollywood Rebel, so he tapped it out one letter at a time, using a red plastic chopstick to press the keys.

The result is the first biography to cover Hopper’s entire life and career. The meticulously researched account follows him from a lonely childhood in Kansas through his days as a Hollywood bad boy, later reformed, to his rise as a notable visual artist.

Winkler’s sister helped him conduct research, driving him to the library of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to copy clippings collected throughout Hopper’s career. Then at home, in bed, the author, who has been described as “a genuine Hollywood historian and that rarity, a James Dean fan with a triple-digit IQ,” painstakingly pecked out the story he was so eager to tell.

via UCLA Magazine

 

More about Peter at the LA Times – A disabled writer’s book unfolds a tap at a time