Norman Mailer Society/News/2014

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  • 2014-12-16: “Happy F**kin’ Birthday (with Apologies to Norman Mailer)” wherein Monica Lewinsky reflects on her relationship with writer Norman Mailer: “I had come to understand that the enduring power of Norman Mailer went far beyond his writings. It encompassed everything about him. It seemed so fitting that he was a pugilist: he was always fighting in every aspect of his life and with every fiber of his being. He fought—no, he raged—against pretense, against small minds and small thinking, against the status quo.”
  • 2014-12-12: “Taschen Revisits A Classic of New Journalism”: This week, Taschen has reissued Mailer’s iconic essay “Superman Comes to the Supermarket” — one of the early masterpieces of so-called “New Journalism” — in a beautifully illustrated new edition ($150).
  • 2014-12-10: “The Great American Novel Buried in Norman Mailer’s Letters”: Mailer may well be best remembered as an author of essays, but the novel was his touchstone. The letters show how he got sidetracked.
  • 2014-11-15: “An Interview with Author Richard Stratton”: The world-renowned novelist Norman Mailer was at the top of the government’s list of targets they wanted me to help them convict and send to prison. Mailer was a dear friend and mentor. He was not involved in my pot trafficking enterprise. But we were very close, we owned property together, he had what the government has termed “guilty knowledge” of how I made my living. Had I wanted to make a deal and implicate Mailer, I could have walked free or done very little time in prison. I chose not to cooperate against Mailer or anyone else. As a result, I was given a lengthy prison sentence: 25 years and six months with no possibility of parole.
  • 2014-11-14: “Wanted: Home for a Prized Trove”: D. A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus’s Counterculture Archive
  • 2014-11-13: Smuggler’s Blues: A True Story of the Hippie Mafia: An award winning writer and filmmaker, former Editor-in-Chief at High Times, former drug kingpin, outlaw and ex-con, Richard Stratton continues to lead a very colorful life. Norman Mailer is a key figure in the memoir.
  • 2014-11-12: Jerry Tallmer, Critic Who Created the Obies, Dies at 93: Jerry Tallmer, who brought professionalism and a personalized approach to arts coverage to The Village Voice in its earliest days, and who dreamed up its award for Off Broadway theater, the Obie, died on Sunday in Manhattan. He was 93. Mailer is mentioned several times in his obituary.
  • 2014-11-09: Anthony Bourdain writes “Provincetown -- 8 ways for visitors to love this Cape Cod oasis”: “Some of the world’s best writers, playwrights and poets have come to the Outer Cape. Writers Norman Mailer and Jack Kerouac, poet e.e. cummings and playwright Eugene O’Neill were drawn to the beach shacks near Provincetown to write. You can write there, too: The National Park Service, which oversees the shacks now, and local non-profits help pick artists and writers for residencies at the shacks.”
  • 2014-10-20: Fighting Words: Norman Mailer explains the hipster in this archival video — Author Norman Mailer explains the philosophy of the hipster in 1960.
  • 2014-10-19: The Literary United States: A Map of the Best Book for Every State. All are literary in voice and spirit; all will let you understand a place in a profound way. And none of them are Gone with the Wind. Check out Utah: it’s Mailer’s The Executioner’s Song, of course.
  • 2014-08-27: Today, the Norman Mailer Center and Writers Colony announced that Don DeLillo, Billy Collins, and Katrina vanden Heuvel, will be the 2014 recipients of the prestigious Norman Mailer Prize. The awards will be presented at the sixth annual benefit gala on Monday, October 27, 2014, at the historical New York Public Library in New York City. The Norman Mailer Prize has been awarded to some of the world’s most esteemed writers, including, Joyce Carol Oates, Dr. Eli Wiesel, and Dr. Maya Angelou, among others. The evening’s Master of Ceremonies and additional honorees will be announced in the early fall.
  • 2014-08-11: Story Behind the Book: Mike Lennon and Norman Mailer: A Double LifeThe Boston Globe — J. Michael Lennon will read from his biography at 5 p.m. Friday at the Provincetown Public Library, 356 Commercial St.
  • 2014-07-23: How Did Cool Become Such a Big Deal? — The personification of cool, however, continued to be the hipster. Norman Mailer, a close reader of Anatole Broyard, was clearly influenced by Broyard’s essays on the subject, but made the connection to black culture even more explicit in “The White Negro.” ¶ Mailer’s essay is a manifesto of sorts, against conformity, against large organizations, modern society, squares, and anyone else helping to uphold the big lie of American life. He spoke for those who, having lived through World War II, now understood that all could die at any second. Humanity had proven itself a great collective murderer, and the modern state was its greatest weapon. White people, Mailer tried to show, were thus forced into the condition of black people who had lived “on the margin between totalitarianism and democracy for two centuries.”
  • 2014-07-21: Mailer Biographer Mike Lennon to Speak in Provincetown. 356 Commercial St. | Provincetown Public Library | Provincetown | $15 Aug 15th, 2014 at 5PM. Author J. Michael Lennon will visit the Provincetown Public Library on Friday, August 15 to present his New York Times Editor’s Choice book, Norman Mailer: A Double Life.
  • 2014-07-20: Pre-order the The Selected Letters of Norman Mailer at Amazon. Keep up with Mike’s announcements and public appearances on his web site.
  • 2014-07-15: The Utah-filmed truth behind the gritty story of murderer Gary Gilmore: Revisiting the true-crime TV movie “The Executioner’s Song,” a gritty period piece about the angry love story of convicted murderer Gary Gilmore, opens up a time capsule to the seedy small-town Utah life that served as a backdrop to two 1976 murders. Gilmore’s death by firing squad at the Utah State Prison on Jan. 17, 1977, captured international headlines as the first execution in a decade after the death penalty …
  • 2014-07-13: Down With Factoid! Up With Factlet! — I wish you, and a whole lot of others, would cleave to Norman Mailer’s original coinage of the word factoid. The suffix -oid usually means resembling, but not really a member of some category. Examples: humanoid, planetoid. So a factoid should properly be (and as Mailer used it) something that resembles a fact, but is not a fact. You, and the whole lot of others, ought instead to use another word for a small probably unimportant but interesting fact. I suggest the coinage, factlet. In all other respects, I enjoy your writing and wish you well.
  • 2014-05-29: David Thomson writes: “There is a new shot in the movies and it deserves attention. In truth, it has been around for some time, but meaning can take a while to sink in. The first time I felt its possibility was in the late ’50s, reading Norman Mailer’s The Deer Park. The narrator of that novel is Sergius O’Shaughnessy, who has been a first lieutenant in the Air Force. Stationed in Tokyo, he performed over Korea. “Sometimes on tactical missions we would lay fire bombs into Oriental villages. I did not like that particularly, but I would be busy with technique, and I would dive my plane and drop the jellied gasoline into my part of the pattern. I hardly thought of it any other way. From the air, a city in flames is not a bad sight.”
  • Patricia Ahearn
    2014-05-28: The Society’s Board was saddened to hear of the passing of Patricia Ahearn, former Board member.
  • 2014-05-26: At the Mailer grave on Memorial Day, by Stephen Borkowski. He writes: Memento Mori ¶ A long standing tradition in Provincetown is to place a flag on the graves of Veterans for Memorial Day.The large marker commemorating the fallen during the Civil War features the most prominent display with the square plot circled with flags about nine inches apart. ¶ I volunteered to do a portion of the cemetery historically known as the “Protestant Section” to distinguish it from the largely Portuguese Catholic section across the road.There are the graves of many artists of many denominations. The grave of Norman Mailer is among them, with his wife Norris Church Mailer interred by his side. The still gleaming white marble festooned with mementos unintentionally stands out among the stark terrain. ¶ I felt a certain pride as my gloved hands pushed the stake end about 6 inches into the soft earth to acknowledge his service during wartime. Broadly, their contributions to my life and to the local cultural landscape, over many decades, will not be easily forgotten.
  • 2014-05-22: Via Harvard Review Online, Okla Elliott reviews Mind of an Outlaw: “Phillip Sipiora has usefully organized Mind of an Outlaw by decade, starting with the 1940s, which are represented by a lone essay on Mailer’s choice to support the Progressive Party over the Communist Party. The following decades are more fully represented, with perhaps the 1950s and 1960s being the most interesting, since those were Mailer’s most prolific years in terms of the essay form. This was also when he was helping to invent New Journalism and what we today call creative nonfiction.”



  • 2014-05-07: The new memoir from Board member Bob Begiebing has just been published. Congrats, Bob. Neither celebrity-gawk, “misery memoir,” nor confessional melodrama, A Berkshire Boyhood is more reminiscent of such memoirs as Tobias Wolff’s This Boy’s Life and Emily Fox Gordon’s Are You Happy? In fact, A Berkshire Boyhood will strike readers as a parallel universe to Gordon’s book, her own story of growing up in Williamstown, Massachusetts, as a privileged faculty brat and young girl in the 1950s. Berkshire Boyhood is a boy’s story of growing up from working class roots in that same place and time. Although A Berkshire Boyhood explores family troubles arising out of the wounds and separations of World War II, ethnic religiosity, and adolescent sexuality (1950s variety), its deeper appeal comes from our curiosity about the 1950s and the Boomer generation, from the fraught relations between that generation and their parents who fought World War II, from our renewed interest in the influence of landscape on human development, and from a vision of the early post-war years as a decade seething with the anger and dissent of an incipient counterculture that would explode the sixties.”
  • 2014-04-27: Deborah Martinson, our good friend, NMS Board Member, scholar: “Because I am a doer, I will manage this with as much gentleness and appreciation as I can — and make it work. Because I am a thinker, I resolve to think things through — so many of you I love deserve the best from me, and you give the best to me.” Sadly, Deb passed away at home last night. She requested that if anyone wished, they could make a contribution in her name to any organization doing research on breast cancer, to an animal rights organization, or to help writers.
  • 2014-04-25: Limited edition of Marilyn by Taschen now available.
  • 2014-04-24: Westport author, Dawn Tripp, and Partners Village Store present the Writer’s Series. The event will be a dynamic, open and interactive discussion with the author about the writing process, the work of creating a story, and Norman Mailer: A Double Life by J. Michael Lennon, Mailer archivist and authorized biographer will appear on Sunday, April 27, 3:00 – 5:00 pm. Call Partners to reserve a seat for this FREE writers series: 508-636-2572.



  • 2014-04-18: Barry Leeds has penned a new memoir, A Movable Beast, containing chapters on Norman Mailer and Norris Church Mailer. From the cover: “Poignant, funny, tragic, steamy, Barry Leeds’ A MOVEABLE BEAST is his most personal book to date, and shows that he himself, shaped by literature and life experiences, is a work in progress.” Congratulations, Barry. Get your copy now by following the link above. Prefer an ebook, try Kobo.
  • 2014-04-11: From Larry Schiller: “I wanted to share a video from last summer’s fellowship and workshop program in Brooklyn Heights, New York. As we prepare and make arrangements for this summer’s program, just imagine all the fun you will have in Salt Lake City. Click the link to view the video from last year, then be sure to follow the links to the fellowship or workshop applications so you can join us in July of this year.”
  • 2014-03-09: Theatre in LA announces a production of Ronald K. Fried’s Two Mailers at Edgemar Center for the Arts. Michael Aushenker has more: “The Big Empty Comes Full Circle in Two Mailers.”
  • 2014-03-01: Speaking of Tough Guys, Music Box Records has just released on CD the soundtrack of TGDD, composed by Angelo Badalamenti. From their web site: “Music Box Records presents the remastered and expanded release of renowned composer Angelo Badalamenti’s (Blue Velvet, TV series Twin Peaks, The City of Lost Children) original score to the Cannon Films 1987 crime mystery comedy-drama feature film Tough Guys Don’t Dance, starring Ryan O’Neal, Isabella Rossellini, Debra Sandlund, Wings Hauser and Lawrence Tierney, and directed by Pulitzer Prize winning-author Norman Mailer, based on his best-selling 1984 novel.”
  • 2014-02-28: James Parker and Rivka Galchen on the New York Times ask “What’s Become of the So-Called Literary Bad Boy?” William S. Burroughs was born 100 years ago this month. James Parker and Rivka Galchen discuss where literary bad boys live today.
  • 2014-02-15: Via Eric Bryant on ArtSpace: “Decoding "River of Fundament": 8 Keys to Unlocking Matthew Barney’s Egyptian Epic.” The multiple narratives about jealous gods, reincarnated pharaohs, and Norman Mailer are confounding, but limpid storytelling is not the point. So what is Barney’s point?
  • 2014-02-07: Via Art Matters: “Sexy Beast”—Summoning Norman Mailer, Egyptian mythology, an oboe-playing porn star and one dead cow, Matthew Barney creates “River of Fundament,” a baroque and no less baffling art-world spectacle.
  • 2014-01-31: Today, Mailer would have turned 91. His last novel, The Castle in the Forest, was as complicated as its author. Few things say “dangerous writing territory” like a story about Hitler’s childhood. And yet Castle received the best critical reviews of Mailer’s career since Executioner. Publishers Weekly gave it a starred review, concluding that, “Mailer arrives at a somber, compelling portrait of a monstrous soul,” while Booklist commented that “In his first novel in more than a decade, Mailer continues to provoke. Only a writer with his temerity would attempt a novel interpreting perhaps the most notorious figure in modern history, Adolf Hitler.” (Via BookTrib.)
  • 2014-01-17: Via Gothamist: BAM To Premiere Matthew Barney's New Film, River Of Fundament.

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