Ed here: Over on Salon Laura Miller reviews Marion's Meade's "Lonelyhearts: The Screwball World of Nathanael West and Eileen McKinney" which documents the lives of two extremely different people who got together for a year, exchanged vows and then got killed in a car crash. Miller's review told me a lot about West I didn't know. My favorite bit here is the picture of James Joyce reading Anita Loos'. Here are some excerpts:
"Born Nathan Weinstein, the only son of a prosperous Manhattan real estate developer, West was an outrageously spoiled child who spent much of his youth getting over the idea that he shouldn't be expected to work or show up on time or in any other way trouble himself to get by in the world. (The Depression did a lot to revise this attitude.) His domineering philistine of a mother instilled in him a streak of bumptious misogyny and a contempt for his parents' generation of Russian-Jewish strivers, abundantly evident in his fiction. Meade sees a lot of homoeroticism in West's work and some signs of same-sex activity in his medical history, but most of his carnal encounters seem to have been with female prostitutes -- and he had multiple cases of the clap to prove it. He was dreamy, physically clumsy, a natty dresser and (fatally, alas) a lousy driver.
"Infatuated with Russian novels as a boy, West started out as the sort of an aspiring author who thought he had to relocate to Europe to produce anything great. (One of Meade's more inspired uses of biographical research explains that the week West spent hanging out in Parisian cafes hoping to rub shoulders with serious writers like James Joyce was the same week Joyce spent sprawled on his sofa, reading Anita Loos' proto-chicklit classic, "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.") I
When West finally befriended some literary luminaries (Dorothy Parker, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Edmund Wilson), it seldom did him any good. As a hotel manager in New York, he'd let Dashiell Hammett stay in one of the rooms free of charge, but once Hammett had made it in the film industry, he not only reneged on a promise to help West get screenwriting work but publicly humiliated him as well.
-------------------Phil Spector update
Though he officially denies it, apparently Phil Spector was hurt in a prison altercation. Here's from the New York Daily News:
"Phil has quite a mouth on him," says longtime pal and defender Steven Escobar. "Not everyone understands his humor. He said the wrong thing to the wrong inmate in the yard."
Lacking any of his trusty firearms, Spector wound up with a bruised nose, black eye and the loss of a couple of caps, according to Escobar.
"He mouthed off to a big guy, who punched him," concurs another source close to Spector, who's serving 19-to-life for fatally shooting actress Lana Clarkson in the mouth in 2003.
But Spector himself complained about his fellow prisoners in a letter to Escobar last August: "These lowlife scumbag gangsters kill you here for a 39-cent bag of soup!"
Spector also said he was alarmed when a guard delivered a note from fellow Corcoran convict Charles Manson, proposing that he and Spector collaborate on some music. (A prison spokesman said the letter was a fake.)
Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/gossip/2010/03/21/2010-03-21_music_legend_phil_spector_roughed_up_for_mouthing_off_to_fellow_inmate_says_pal_.html#ixzz0ivxkJape
-------------------------No Store-Boughts For Disney
Disney Bans Fake Boobs From Pirates
If this catches on, half of Hollywood's females will fall into poverty. Casting for their fourth Pirates of the Caribbean, Disney specifies that fake breasts are not permitted, and actresses will be subjected to pre-shoot jiggle tests to check.
This, from the New York Post, sounds like the beginning of a porno:
The filmmakers sent out a casting call last week seeking "beautiful female fit models. Must be 5ft7in-5ft8in, size 4 or 6, no bigger or smaller. Age 18-25. Must have a lean dancer body. Must have real breasts. Do not submit if you have implants."