The Howling Fantods

David Foster Wallace News and Resources Since March 97

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A Supposedly Fun Show - Tickets on Sale Today

Update: Additional shows, reviews and radio appearance.

Five additional shows added! Tickets here. September 13, 16, 18, 20, 22. Congratulation, Christopher.

Christopher (@theduvaverse) also appeared on the recent radio show, Connections: Legacy and Impact of David Foster Wallace, discussing the development of his show and DFW. (Alternate link)

(Photo - Suzanne Weber)




Tickets for Christopher Duva's NYC International Fringe Festival (August 2015) stage adaptation of DFW's essay, A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again, go on sale today!

5 Shows only!

Everything you need to know about the show can be found via the links at the end, but I wanted to know more so I asked Chris to tell me a little more about the show and how it came to be.

Over to Chris:

My parents dragged me on cruise ships when I was a child. They now continually ask to drag my daughter on cruise ships. In fact, as I write this, my parents are on a cruise ship. Since they retired, this is seldom not the case.

A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again is the first DFW piece I ever read. It was January 1996 and I was newly dating my now wife and the mother of my aforementioned daughter, Suzanne Weber (who is directing the show). She knew DFW socially through Amherst Alumni events and knowing my tortured cruise-ship past, suggested I read DFW’s Harpers piece, “Shipping Out”. I felt like someone had mined my brain and turned every random thought I’d ever had about the experience into gold. The next month, Infinite Jest came out. I’ve been devouring DFW’s writing ever since.

Later, I corresponded with DFW about possibly adapting his collection Brief Interviews with Hideous Men for the stage. He gave me his blessing but wasn’t aware at the time that the rights were already tied up with a film option. DFW referred me to Bonnie Nadell who handled these things for him, and she let me down easy. Then, about two years ago I came across DFW’s letter and it felt like unfinished business. Suddenly it hit me that the piece I should really be adapting for the stage was A Supposedly Fun Thing… because I have always felt so personally connected to it. I wrote to Bonnie to see if the rights were available. They were and so I drew up a proposal. After some months of back-and-forth, she and DFW’s widow, Karen Green, generously gave me permission through the David Foster Wallace Literary Trust to adapt the essay.

It’s been tremendous working so closely on this piece, as well as horrifying realizing the amount of great material I’d have to cut. I’m hoping that the FringeNYC run will lead to future productions. But, at this point it’s only these 5 shows in New York!


Thanks, Chris. I hope some of you can make it and support the show. I know I'd be going if I didn't live on the other side of the world. - Nick

Twitter: @asupposedlyfun -
Last Updated on Thursday, 10 September 2015 08:12


Big shout out to any Gungahlin College students or staff I'll be seeing later this afternoon. Duncan Driver (The Natural Noise of Good) kindly asked me to present a short DFW seminar as part of the pomo lit unit he's teaching out there. So excited!

Last Updated on Thursday, 10 September 2015 08:12

Essay Flashback - The First Draft Version of Infinite Jest

So with all the discussion today about the 20th Anniversary Deluxe Edition of Infinite Jest coming out next year, it's probably a good time to repost Steven Moore's great 2003 essay, The First Draft Version of Infinite Jest:


David Foster Wallace began working on his second novel in the fall of 1991—the outgrowth of an essay he wrote that season called “Derivative Sport in Tornado Alley”—and by the fall of 1993 had completed a working draft. He made two photocopies of the manuscript, sent one to Michael Pietsch, his editor at Little, Brown, and loaned the second to a young woman whom he was trying to impress at the time (he later told me). Pietsch was enthusiastic about the manuscript but asked Wallace to consider shortening it, so Dave asked me if I’d be willing to read it and suggest cuts. (At that time we were both working in the same town, Normal, Illinois: Dave taught at Illinois State University, and I was managing editor of the Review of Contemporary Fiction/Dalkey Archive Press, located on ISU’s campus.) Dave’s plan was to compare Pietsch’s suggested cuts with mine, and accept the ones on which we both agreed. (He also explained he was planning to add more material, though.) I instantly agreed, jokingly adding the condition that I could keep the manuscript afterward. (I would have read it anyway.) Dave agreed, and on 3 December 1993 he gave me the huge manuscript. I needed both hands to support it.


Continue reading Steven Moore's essay, The First Draft Version of Infinite Jest.


The End of the Tour - Tonight - Melbourne Australia

I tweeted this morning, but it now looks like there are only standby tickets left for tonight's Melbourne, Australia, screening of The End of the Tour at the MIFF.

More info here: Melbourne International Film Festival 2015

Australian Reviews:

James Ley for The Sydney Review of Books, How Does it Feel to be Famous?:


The End of the Tour is, despite all of this, pretty good – better, perhaps, than it has any right to be. It is set over the course of several days in early 1996, shortly after the publication of Wallace’s astonishing novel Infinite Jest, which generated what he described as a ‘miasma of hype’. Lipsky (Jesse Eisenberg) is a Rolling Stone reporter who is assigned to follow Wallace (Jason Segel) on the final leg of the promotional tour. He stays at Wallace’s house in Bloomington, Illinois, and travels with him to public appearances and interviews. Along the way, the pair engage in long and occasionally intense discussions, which range from the personal to the philosophical. From this emerges a character portrait and a reflection on the pressures and paradoxes of Wallace’s position.


Continue reading, How Does it Feel to be Famous?


Philippa Hawker for The Sydney Morning HeraldMIFF - The End of the Tour review: Two lives and an uneasy proximity:


What emerges most strongly is a to-and-fro between two men in uneasy proximity, engaged in a transaction whose terms are unclear, with certain things in common and a vast distance between them.


Continue reading, MIFF - The End of the Tour review: Two lives and an uneasy proximity.

Last Updated on Thursday, 10 September 2015 08:12

Lipsky Conversations about The End of the Tour

There's an incredible amount of publicity, review and opinion swirling around The End of the Tour. I'm finding it difficult to keep up. Regardless, I've spent the past week or so watching twitter re-tweeting and saving links for a few special collections.

Thus, trying to pull together some thematic threads I'll start with a couple of articles where we hear directly from David Lipsky (author of Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip with David Foster Wallace).


From the Awl we get to join David Lipsky and Maria Bustillos at a screening ofThe End of the Tour where they discuss differences between the book and the film, memories of Wallace and so much more, Although of Course You End Up at the End of the Tour:


MB: So, satisfy my curiosity about this:  These two guys, in what we’re seeing, in a minute’s conversation, they’re speaking maybe two percent of the actual word count that took place, I’m guessing.

DL: That’s right. That conversation over pizza, we’re talking about Tolstoy, and it was one thing I really wished had been in the movie. The challenge, he says, is: “I have received five hundred thousand discrete bits of information today, and I have to decide on the twenty-five that mean something to me.” And he’s saying that before the Internet. That was one of the things we talked about the first night that I would have loved, but I guess there wasn’t room for it.

Ponsoldt is a great director who is perfect about how people talk to each other. I could tell that he would be great for this in the same way I knew that Margulies would be great writing the script. He is able to make whole plays out of just people talking. He won the Pulitzer for Dinner With Friends, but he did this great play about artists called Sight Unseen, just two artists talking over a weekend.


Continue reading here...


And for Time, Jeff Giles interviews David Lipsky, David Lipsky on David Foster Wallace and The End of the Tour:


Time: Why did you decide to turn the tapes into a book and did you have any contact with the family?

DL: I did. When Wallace died, Rolling Stone called and asked me to write about him. At first, it was too sad to think about. Then NPR called, and said that when people die by suicide, there’s always the risk of it shading how they’re remembered. One of David’s great gifts is how alive his writing feels, and it seemed that could all go gray. So I talked about him on NPR, and I wrote about how it felt to be around him for Rolling Stone. David’s family read the piece and emailed about my maybe writing something longer. They are wonderful people—as brilliant and alive as David was. I think what they hoped was that he be remembered as a real, living person. And I wanted to write a book that helped. I asked my publisher if I could pause on the other book I was writing, and because they knew it was important to me they were very nice about giving me time. I sent David’s family the manuscript before it went out to my publisher. I said I wouldn’t do it unless they liked it.


Continue with the Time interview here...


And if you'll indulge me... let's jump back in time to when I posted this little Q&A with David Lipsky here on The Howling Fantods back in March 2010:


NM: There are way more of those “singing along to REM” moments than I expected. You and I had previously spoken about how candid and open he was during your time. But I hadn’t anticipated how much it ends up being like a totally enjoyable road trip / buddy flick. Did it feel that way to you?

DL: It did, and I’m happy that’s how it felt to you, too. The main thing I wanted for the book was to give readers the experience of going on a trip with Wallace, being with him minute by minute. He was astoundingly good company. There’s a friend of his—the editor who brought him to Harper’s—who’s talking about hiking with David through Manhattan.

“Sort of gee-whizzing everything, amazed by everything. He was so much smarter than anyone, including you, and yet his attitude was, he was genuinely pleased to be wherever he was, most of the time. If he was with a congenial companion. Amazed and interested in everything. How could he write what he wrote if he wasn’t looking at everything all the time? And you got to be in his senses, so you got to see more. He’s using all six and a half senses at once, which can drive you crazy. But he shared it with us, which was nice of him to do. Talking to him was a delightful social experience, and also a literary experience.”

That’s what the trip was like. You felt charmed, lucky, and alive to be in his company—even when we were just smoking cigarettes in a doorway, making traffic complaints or joking about the safety guide on the airplane, or he was threatening that if I did a bad job with the writing, “I have twenty years to get you back.” And then he was actually very helpful about how I’d do it. He keeps switching the tape off and on, as he drafts the way he wants to describe his life. We walked into a Denny’s, I’m describing it into the recorder, and he’ll add, “High proportion of people wearing caps, too.” I was surprised Denny’s had a smoking section, and he Wallacized it: “There’s even a chain-smoking section at Denny’s.”

(One thing I hope is in the book is how funny he is. He’s talking about movies: “Tarantino is such a schmuck 90 percent of the time. But ten percent of the time, I’ve seen genius shining off the guy.” “Cameron would be making so much better movies if they gave him a seven, eight-million-dollar budget on each one. And said, you know, ‘Do your best.’”)
So I’m really happy that’s the feeling you got. The book really is supposed to be you going on one trip, from start to finish. It seemed like the best way to let him tell his own story—how and why he became a writer, how he started, how everything felt. But there’s this other, softer thing, which is just getting to be around him.

And then there was the funny stuff of the trip being so hard: our airport getting snowed in; having to dash up to Chicago; having the escort in Minneapolis be so, in her way, comically weird; having to rush to the reading, driving home late, walking his two dogs. (“You get instantaneous production from the Jeevester,” he says. “Drone’s a much tougher nut.”) It wasn’t like any other experience I’d ever had, so compressed and so wide.


Continue reading here...

Last Updated on Saturday, 08 August 2015 15:04

A Tribute to David Foster Wallace

Ward Sanders' art tribute to David Foster Wallace, Howling Fantods: A Tribute to David Foster Wallace:

One cannot read David Foster Wallace without being obsessed by images that are absurd, insane, brilliant and starkly original. While themes of boredom and mindless entertainment might seem unlikely candidates for inspiration, Wallace provides a goldmine for the visual artist.  I am especially entranced by his ability to find beauty in obscure information, pointless lists, fragmented description, mundane detail and odd footnotes. His nightmarish (but often darkly hilarious) images from American culture are panoramas of a contemporary dystopia.  Howling Fantods attempts to pay tribute to this alarming vision. [...]

Howling Fantods: A Tribute to David Foster Wallace

Last Updated on Saturday, 08 August 2015 14:26

The End of the Tour July Updates

Updates 30/7/2015 - more below: Official Site. Press release here. NYC and CA release on July 31st - other venues to follow.

With the recent L.A premiere of The End of the Tour at the WGA Theatre this week earlier this month and slightly wider release on July 31 there's quite a bit of news floating around. I'll keep this page updated with links for the remainder of the month.

Just Words - A celebration of writer David Foster Wallace in anticipation of the film The End Of The Tour - Updated regularly in the lead up to the July 31 release

Links below added from 30/7/15


Keen for more about The End of the Tour?

Last Updated on Friday, 31 July 2015 00:08

The Howling Fantods