1. “David Chase on the Legacy of Twin Peaks.” Matt Zoller Seitz spoke to Chase about the program’s impact on his own work, and on TV as a whole.
“I would describe them both as surrealists, although they’re different artists. I wouldn’t say we labored under their influence on The Sopranos, because the function of the dreams on our show was a little bit different. Tony Soprano was seeing a psychologist. The dreams were supposed to be interpretable. I don’t think David Lynch’s dreams were like that at all. You have to remember, our main character is in therapy, and a big part of that is him talking about his dreams and fantasies with Dr. Melfi. The idea was to take what is mysterious and make it revelatory and pertinent. The dreams on our show were meant to be interpreted. But sometimes dreams were carrying the plot for us.”
2. “Through a Glass, Darkly.” For Grantland, Brian Phillips on The Lady from Shanghai and the legend of Orson Welles.
“Go back to the work, though, and you’ll see it — what a wild improvisation it was, what a dark carnival. This was an artist, after all, who was the voice of the Shadow in the late 1930s (’Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?’) and the voice of Unicron, the devouring planet from the animated Transformers movie, released in 1986. His course wasn’t set by some pre-worked narrative; it was set by contingency, by his attempt to live out the myth of himself through catastrophe and chance. (In American history, maybe no artist has been more devoted to his own myth or more diligent in generating events that would undermine it.) It was a performance that produced gorgeous, disturbing visions: faces lit from strange angles; shadowed backgrounds falling away into deep-focus, lushly saturated black and white. It also broke the border between life and art in a way that the official Welles legend tends to miss. Welles’s legacy isn’t a series of hermetically sealed masterpieces lost to studio meddling. It’s everything, all of it, the transfigured bedlam of his whole unsealed existence.”
3. “The Price of Nice Nails.” Manicurists are routinely underpaid and exploited, and endure ethnic bias and other abuse, The New York Times has found out.
“The juxtapositions in nail salon workers’ lives can be jarring. Many spend their days holding hands with women of unimaginable affluence, at salons on Madison Avenue and in Greenwich, Conn. Away from the manicure tables they crash in flophouses packed with bunk beds, or in fetid apartments shared by as many as a dozen strangers. Ms. Ren worked at Bee Nails, a chandelier-spangled salon in Hicksville, N.Y., where leather pedicure chairs are equipped with iPads on articulated arms so patrons can scroll the screens without smudging their manicures. They rarely spoke more than a few words to Ms. Ren, who, like most manicurists, wore a fake name chosen by a supervisor on a tag pinned to her chest. She was ’Sherry.’ She worked in silence, sloughing off calluses from customers’ feet or clipping dead skin from around their fingernail beds. At night she returned to sleep jammed in a one-bedroom apartment in Flushing with her cousin, her cousin’s father and three strangers. Beds crowded the living room, each cordoned off by shower curtains hung from the ceiling. When lights flicked on in the kitchen, cockroaches skittered across the countertops.”
4. “Night and Day.” For Reverse Shot, Farihah Zaman on Bertrand Bonello’s Saint Laurent.
“Bonello also makes some inspired choices that remove the distancing effect that can result from focusing on such a passive character. There is the tiniest gem of a gesture when Saint Laurent is passing through a crowd, takes off his glasses, and immediately the world blurs so the audience can see it the way that he does. Both his own sleek figure and those of the impossibly beautiful people around him become hazy, and the moment of subjectivity brings us emotionally closer to the character. Perhaps he has taken them off because, being such an anxious and fragile man, willing himself to stay calm, to wait, to watch, to manage the jittery intensity of his artistic and romantic passion, he needs to literally soften the hard edges that surround him. Saint Laurent’s time out in the world and his time cloistered away at work are equally integral to his identity as a man and as a designer, but also draining, and Bonello’s aesthetic choices, shifting between motion and stasis, between the direct and the subjective, help draw out this constant tension.”
5. “William Faulkner’s Tragic Air Circus.” Alicensed pilot himself, Faulkner tackled the bizarre subculture of daredevil fliers in Pylon, a novel permeated with the Depression’s desperate neuroticism.
“These events became the basis for a short story that Faulkner wrote in the next two months, ’This Kind of Courage,’ about barnstorming pilots, which he failed to publish. Later in the year, while working in Hollywood on a western named Sutter’s Gold with Howard Hawks, he bellyached about his struggles with Absalom! Absalom! ’I got mad at him,’ Hawks later said, and told him I got so sick and tired of the goddam inbred people he was writing about. I said, ’Why don’t you write about some decent people, for goodness’ sake?’ ’Like who?’ I said, ’Well, you fly around, don’t you know some pilots or something that you can write about?’ And he thought a while, and he said, ’Oh, I know a good story. Three people—a girl and a man were wingwalkers, and the other man was a pilot. The girl was gonna have a baby, and she didn’t know which one was the father.’ I said, ’That sounds good,’ and he wrote Pylon from it.”
Video of the Day: The trailer for
Nancy Myers Jonathan Demme’s Ricki and the Flash, starring Meryl Streep:
Links for the Day: A collection of links to items that we hope will spark discussion. We encourage our readers to submit candidates for consideration to firstname.lastname@example.org and to converse in the comments section.