The Howling Fantods

David Foster Wallace News and Resources Since March 97

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Atlantic Advice - Don't Try to Write Like DFW

Okay, I won't.

Spencer Kornhaber reflects on past experiences for The Atlantic in, Advice: Don't Try to Write Like David Foster Wallace:

[...]
“DFW” is David Foster Wallace, and I feel okay laughing like Ryan Gosling at people who try to write like the Infinite Jest author because it wasn’t long ago that I was one of them. (Sometimes, as when inserting a comically self-scrutinizing and ostentatiously detailed parenthetical, I become one again.)

When I was 17, my aunt got me a subscription to The Atlantic, and the first issue to arrive was the one whose cover featured Wallace’s profile of conservative Los Angeles talk-radio host John Ziegler. The piece exploded my little high-school-newspaper editor brain. Here was journalism’s potential not only as literature, but as form-breaking, highly entertaining art.
[...]

Continue reading the article here.

 

Re: David Foster Wallace's Host I just remembered Marie Mundaca's piece over at Hipster Book Club (now gone?), The Influence of Anxiety: Wading In, about her involvement in the book design of some of Wallace's publications for Little Brown including Consider the Lobster and thus, Host:

[...]

Consider the Lobster was a little different. Most of the book was very typical, but there was one particular essay called "Host" that required some special treatment. Wallace, infamous for his footnotes and endnotes, wanted to try something a little different with "Host." He wanted to stress the immediacy of communication and the speed of thought that occurred in the studio where the talk radio DJ John Ziegler worked. The Atlantic Monthly had already run a version of this essay and did a spectacular design job, using a format with color-coded callouts, as if someone had highlighted a script and made note in the margins. However, there are intrinsic differences between a magazine and a book. The Atlantic Monthly used color; we were not going to do that. Magazines are usually 8-1/2 x 11, and we were 6 x 9. We had to figure out a way to do this essay.

A page from David Foster Wallace's essay "Host" in Consider the Lobster.Wallace's idea was to have leaders and labels, like a diagram. He wanted something that looked like hypertext rollovers that were immediate and at hand. I thought this whole thing might be a bit much for me to design. It seemed like it might be a full-time job. I sent it off to one of my favorite designers, who shot me an email back saying something along the lines of "There is not enough money in the world to make me do this."

So I did it. Had I realized at the time that this job would entail my spending close to an hour every few weeks talking to my favorite author ever on the phone, I would have never considered giving it to anyone else. Mostly we just went over changes that needed to be made, but initially we had some very intense discussions regarding the semiotics of the leaders (the lines going from the text to the boxes) and the tics and the line width of the boxes and the ampersands. He'd leave me voice mail messages at work in the middle of the night, telling me what time I should call him the next day. One time when I called, I got his answering machine, but when I began to leave a message, he picked up. "I heard your mellifluous voice," he said. Sometimes I'd hear the dog barking in the background. He was recently married, and he obviously relished saying "my wife" when he would tell me about upcoming plans and where I could find him if I needed him.

[...]

Continue reading Marie Mundaca's piece here.

 

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Last Updated on Saturday, 07 February 2015 15:36
 

Almost Aloud: David Foster Wallace and the Familiar Sound of Anxiety

Josh Roiland's (@JoshRoiland) 7 minute at the UMaine Humanities PechaKucha Night, Almost Aloud: David Foster Wallace and the Familiar Sound of Anxiety:

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 February 2015 00:14
 

Colours In Infinite Jest

Nice article over at Hyper Allergic about @CorrieBaldauf's spectacular Infinite Jest Project, Reading David Foster Wallace for the Colors:

[...]
The color tabs that began as the mechanism to draw Baldauf away from herself (in her desire not to read the book) and into the world of Infinite Jest have now produced a unique art object that has its own aura of appeal. In the months since Baldauf has gone public with her project, it’s generated conversations with hundreds of people. “It’s the first project I’ve done where the conversation is as creational as the making,” she says.

In her second iteration, Baldauf has also added the dimension of what she calls “digital intimacy.” This is the live-tweeting of her reading of Infinite Jest, using a medium — social media — that has an addictive quality all its own. “Seeing a book in your Twitter feed is nostalgic. It’s a surrogate from a literary time,” she says. This quixotic collision marries Twitter, one of the shortest of short literary forms, with a titan of the long-form.
[...]

Continue reading here.

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Last Updated on Monday, 02 February 2015 23:17
 

Sundance Review Roundup - The End of the Tour

Updated 10:16pm 6/2/15 EST USA

Woke this morning to a flood of positive reviews and comments about James Ponsoldt’s movie adaptation of David Lipsky's interview with David Foster Wallace,The End of the Tour [Previously] shared on twitter and elsewhere. I'll do my best to update the list below throughout the next few days so come back here and refresh for more.

93% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes so far.

Also, you might like to keep an eye on my twitter feed in the sidebar (or here) for more up to date news.

Video:

 

Reviews:

 

Interviews:

 

Miscellaneous:

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Last Updated on Saturday, 07 February 2015 14:22
 

End of the Tour - Positive Buzz from Sundance

UPDATE: List of all online reviews here.

Super positive buzz and early reviews popping up after James Ponsoldt’s adaptation of David Lipsky's interview with David Foster Wallace, The End of the Tour, screened at Sundance [Previously].

-David Rooney's review for The Hollywood Reporter encapsulates this well:

[...]
The same compassionate observation of human imperfections that distinguished Ponsoldt’s films Smashed and The Spectacular Now makes him an ideal interpreter of this material, while playwright Donald Margulies’ thoughtful screenplay brings tremendous insight into the way writers’ minds work. This is no conventional biodrama about the tortured artist, but very much the film that lovers of Wallace’s dazzlingly perspicacious fiction and essays would want.
[...]

Read the rest of the review here.

 

-For Bustle Anna Klassen spoke to Jason Segel on the red carpet about his role in the film, 'The End of the Tour' Star Jason Segel Opens Up About Playing David Foster Wallace At Sundance Film Festival 2015:

[...]
The film, which I can proclaim with great joy, is a tremendous success. Segel’s portrayal of Wallace is so captivating, I kept begging for a rewind button. Every syllable uttered more truthful than the last, Segel regurgitated the icon, and his particularly fluid way of discourse in a believable and completely earnest manner.  
“I tried to make the character as accurate as possible given the information I had available to me,” Segel said. “I tried to play the character with a lot of love. Performing is all about honesty, so it was very exciting for me to do this movie.”

When I asked Segel if tackling this role had any influence on his perception of journalists, he admitted it only created more of a hesitance. “Well my character, as David Foster Wallace was on the other side of the journalist dynamic, so no, it didn’t create sympathy,” he said. “It was a cautionary tale for me. I learned that there is a very universal human moment that happens around your early thirties where you start to realize that the things you are told to put your values in, aren't going to make you happy. That was what the movie really explored for me.”
[...]

Read the rest of the interview here.


Updates:

-Daniel Fienberg's review for HitFix, Review: 'The End of the Tour' sees Jason Segel do right by David Foster Wallace:

[...]
Ponsoldt's restraint is in keeping with the scale of this story, but  I'm going to need a few more days (or weeks or months) to chew on whether the story ends on a note of emotional profundity or reportorial gamesmanship. But thanks to Margulies and Ponsoldt and thanks to Jason Segel and Jesse Eisenberg, "End of the Tour" mostly does right by David Foster Wallace, a not insignificant feat when you're dealing with a figure who generates such passion.
[...]

Read the rest of the review here.

 

-Scott Macaulay's interview for Film Maker, Director James Ponsoldt on his David Foster Wallace Drama, The End of the Tour:

[...]
[The End of the Tour] is also a story about meeting someone you’ve admired from a distance, so in that regard it’s an unrequited love story. It’s about meeting that person who you’ve built up, whether it’s an artist or an estranged family member — someone who has taken on an entire constellation of emotion and meaning to you, and who, at the end of the day, is a total stranger. And who, when you do find yourself in their proximity for some time, [your] relationship [with them] is complicated by their own messy humanity.
[...]

Read the rest of the interview here.


I'm using twitter to share numerous brief thoughts and impressions, so you might want to check out my stream via @nick_maniatis

If you've seen the film consider adding thoughts to the comments below. Anyone out there want to write a review for me if you manage to see it this weekend? Let me know.

 

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Last Updated on Sunday, 25 January 2015 19:52
 

The End of the Tour Sundance Screening

Regardless if you're excited or distraught about the film adaptation of David Lipsky's road trip with David Foster Wallace, James Ponsoldt's, The End of the Tour screens this weekend at Sundance.

Over at the Standard Examiner Nancy Van Valkenburg reports some thoughts from James Ponsoldt in, 'The End of the Tour' tells uneasy tale:

[...]
One of Ponsoldt’s professors was intrigued by the book Lipsky ultimate published.

“Donald Margulies, my professor in college, wrote a stunning screenplay. It moved me deeply,” the director said. “I already admired David Lipsky’s book, but I was in awe of how Donald turned it into a subtle, riveting script.

“I’ve also been a massive David Foster Wallace fan for my entire adult life. His writing has meant so much to me over the years. I couldn’t stop thinking about making this film, which is always a good sign. Lipsky and Wallace’s conversations about their hopes and struggles were incredibly relatable, personal, and very moving to me.”

Ponsoldt hopes the men’s story intrigues audiences as much as it does him.

“I hope that people are still thinking about the film after it’s over,” the director said. “And if it emotionally affects them, well, that’s fantastic. I’m especially looking forward for audiences to see these wonderful performances — Jason Segel and Jesse Eisenberg were both incredible. I was blown away. They both give intense, emotional, nuanced performances.
[...]

Continue reading here.

Anyone going to see it? Hit up the comments below with thoughts or reviews.

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Last Updated on Thursday, 22 January 2015 20:47
 

Public Theatre DFW Production Review

David Haglund attended the Under the Radar Festival performance of Daniel Fish's A (radically condensed and expanded) Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again - after David Foster Wallace, and has reviewed it for Slate, This Isn’t Water, Putting David Foster Wallace onstage at the Public Theater.

It sounds like it was an interesting production:

Soon one young woman is alone reciting a section of “A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again,” Wallace’s existential and occasionally uproarious account of a cruise on what he calls the Nadir. These sections are funny, and the audience laughs at Wallace’s jokes, even delivered, as they are, in stagey monotone with bits of performative reaching and crouching. Then the first ping: Petra, the cleaning lady on the Nadir who makes Wallace’s lodgings immaculate and whose movements Wallace tries and fails to track, is a real-life (maybe) analogue to the bathroom attendant of Brief Interviews. One’s perspective shifts: from Wallace’s to Petra’s; from the crazy-making mystery of her ninja-like appearances and disappearances to the sheer drudgery of the labor she is repeatedly performing; from the unpleasantly antiseptic quality of the cruise to the overwhelming privilege of Wallace’s position (of which, it should be noted, he was fully aware).

Continue reading here.

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Last Updated on Thursday, 22 January 2015 20:13
 



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