Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Your fashionable women

At Tin House, Stephen Elliott tells the story of his homeless year, at age thirteen and then fourteen. Only part of it's available online--I've got to get the rest. Was tipped off to it by a good post at Weekend Stubble, whose proprietor Paul Collins also has a piece in the same issue of the magazine. It's not up on the website, but he gives an alluring taste:

In Italy [knapsack traveler Lee Meriwether] has a glass-eye maker blow white orbs in front of him and then explain why discerning customers demand two sets of glass eyes. ("The pupil is much smaller in daytime than at night, and your fashionable woman would not think of entering a ballroom with the pupils of her eyes of different sizes.")

On the topic of fashionable women, I saw a most enchanting movie last night, breaking a year-and-a-half-long non-movie-watching streak. (I think the last movie I saw in the theatre was Syriana, over Thanksgiving 2005. In the calendar year 2006, unless I am much misremembering, the sole movie I saw was The Woodsman on DVD at my brother's house--he worked on it, and we were particularly checking out the Philadelphia locations, though I thought Kevin Bacon was very good & the movie only marred by over-artsiness. That little girl in the red riding hood should have been banned. Resolution: to see more movies in 2007!) It was The Earrings of Madame de ..., and I loved it (here's a bit of Anthony Lane's New Yorker piece a few weeks ago); among other reasons, it's a great movie about lying, a perennial favorite topic of mine (that Danielle Darrieux is an extraordinary beauty with a face like you would not believe--also I am confirmed in my longstanding impression that arguments about lying are often interwoven with the theme of master-servant relations), but it's also got the most lovely and delightful details. My favorites: the lovely pack of hounds (I want one of those dogs!); the conversation about the Waterloo painting. Very good stuff, genuinely transporting.


  1. Lying: master/slave. How fascinating. Please expand.

    (And if I ever should need a glass eye...terrific detail. You're slowly converting me to 'facts'!)

  2. I hadn't heard of that movie, so thanks for the heads up .. it sounds too good to play first-run in my little corner of the world, but I'll definitely queue it up when it hits DVD

  3. L., I will see if I can dig out a copy of my chapter on this! Too lazy to resummarize I'm afraid!

    Reel fanatic, you should be able to get it on DVD, it's from 1953--it's a new print, I think, that's being shown at Film Forum.

    More details:


  4. I just finished reading it Jenny - I'll put it in the mail to you this week.

    There's also a very good interview with Rick Bass.