Last weekend, we took a look at famous literary characters that were inspired by real-life people, but we admit, we held back. Not wanting to flood the field, we discounted any character based on his or her author, and chose only those based on outside sources. To assuage our interest and close the circle, we decided to follow up with a list of a few of our favorite semi-autobiographical novels — that is, novels wherein at least one character is based on the author, and usually containing a plot that revolves around the author’s true-life experiences. Click through to check out ten of our favorite semi-autobiographical novels, from the barely-veiled straight autobiographies to the masterful collages of life and fiction. We know there are hundreds and hundreds of these, so please chime in and let us know your own favorite semi-autobiographies in the comments! … Read More
Hunter S. Thompson
It’s hard to imagine that the definitive icons of literature could have been subject to the same iciness of the high-gated publishing-house “no” machines that we know all too well. Of course, even down-to-earth publishers can miss a great work sitting on their desks; with thousands of titles of varying merit clogging editors’ mailboxes, it’s impossible to skim every page of every slush-pile manuscript, let alone give it its proper consideration. Furthermore, some of our most adored geniuses churned out well-spotted crap before maturing into the artists we remember.
Prescience is no hard science, but hindsight can be a kick in the shins nonetheless, especially for the editors who sent these rejection letters to writers who would later become the bestselling, influential giants of their day — and ours. … Read More
There are the famous portrayals of Hunter S. Thompson, the random Internet impressions, and everything in between (hi there, John Cusack). Our friends at BuzzFeed have collected all three in a new, Rum Diary-apropos supercut that features quite a few men in Hawaiian shirts with sunglasses and cigarette holders talking in decidedly staccato rhythms. While it’s interesting — okay, no, it’s mostly alarming — to see how many dudes are hanging out in their basement pretending to be Thompson (perhaps under the influence of drugs), the real question the video raises is: Who’s your Gozno journalist of choice, Bill Murray or Johnny Depp? Watch the supercut after the jump and tell us who you think makes a better Hunter in the comments. … Read More
Today marks Sylvia Plath’s birthday, and though it may seem strange to celebrate the birth of a famous author by considering her death, we think it appropriate. Plath’s lifelong depression and suicidal tendencies inarguably informed her work, and as such were part of what makes her writing so compelling, and morbid as it may be, part of what has made her an essential part of the American canon. With that in mind, we have collected some of the most famous author suicides in history, from the mundane to the strange, for your contemplation. Unfortunately, there are all too many authors who have taken this route, a trend that many have remarked upon over the years. Though we by no means mean to romanticize suicide, which is often the product of a long term struggle with depression, it can’t be denied that the deaths of these figures are part of their legacy and have worked their way into our understanding of their work and their lives. Click through to see our list of the most famous author suicides, and raise a glass tonight to Sylvia Plath. … Read More
This week Bruce Robinson’s adaptation of Hunter S. Thompson’s novel The Rum Diary opens across the country. Based on an early novel by the good doctor of gonzo journalism, the role of Thompson’s stand-in, journalist “Paul Kemp,” is being played by Johnny Depp — who has, with this film, pretty much planted is flag for good on the island of “cinematic portrayals of Hunter S. Thompson.” After the jump, we’ll take a closer look at Depp’s ongoing onscreen personification of the late Thompson, and nine more actors who became the cinematic avatars for distinctive writers and filmmakers. … Read More
Welcome to “Trailer Park,” our regular Friday feature where we collect the week’s new trailers all in one place and do a little “judging a book by its cover,” ranking them from worst to best and taking our best guess at what they may be hiding. This week, we’ve got an even dozen trailers for you, and most are for the kind of prestige pictures that the end of the summer movie season usually has us salivating for. Not to worry, though, fans of things that are awful: there’s also a new Ghost Rider. Check ‘em all out after the jump. … Read More
Just about everyone who’s worked as a writer knows what your standard rejection letter (or e-mail) looks like: The editor is so thankful for your pitch or story or whatever but regrets to inform you that she just doesn’t have space to include all the excellent submissions she receives. Of course, Hunter S. Thompson never does anything the standard way, so it’s not surprising that he responded so much more colorfully to a potential Rolling Stone piece by Mike Peterson that was forwarded to him in 1971. It begins, “You worthless, acid-sucking piece of illiterate shit!” and just gets better from there. See the original, typewritten note — on Rolling Stone stationery! — after the jump. … Read More
British artist Ralph Steadman’s iconic and extensive collaborative works with Gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson kindled armies of fanboys/girls across the globe and across decades. If there are any dog lovers among them, they’ll want to peek at Steadman’s newest Book of Dogs, featuring lovable, slobbering, rough-housing canines rendered in the artist’s signature style, that is, expressively unlatching their jaws amidst wildly spewed inkblots and such.
Steadman’s illustration compliment ranting pet ownership tips on feeding, fetching, and emergency resuscitation and offer some satirically anthropomorphic perspectives on religion and politics. Preview a few pups in our gallery, and, as a bonus, enjoy Ralph Steadman’s latest Gonzo-fied beer bottle label art with the Flying Dog Brewery, dubbed Raging Bitch and banned by the Michigan Liquor Commission. … Read More
About a year ago, local comedy troupe Serious Lunch had a problem on their hands. Working on a TV pilot, they needed to approximate a room covered in movie posters, so they grabbed some magic markers and got to work recreating some of their favorites. They liked the result and kept on going. Eventually, they decided to turn it into a project, the result of which is the playful, nostalgia-inducing show Poster Party! which opened last night at Habitat in Greenpoint. “Markers make things look childish and goofy,” Tim Bierbaum, the lead artist in the show, told FreeWilliamsburg, “which is a cool lens to see these things through. Translating the movie posters from photo to magic marker is sort of like recognizing how well designed they are.” Each poster is also for sale, at $35 a pop. Just goes to show that you too can turn your nostalgia into an art show, and maybe even some cash. Click through to check out some of our favorite pieces from the show, and see even more at the Poster Party! Tumblr. … Read More
There is no such thing as a boring Keith Richards interview. He tells rambling, inappropriate stories, indiscriminately insults other famous people (often including Mick Jagger), and just generally impresses all of us by the sheer feat of having remained alive all these years, after all those drugs. And while he often seems to terrify his interviewer, Richards met his match in 1993 when — after what appear to have been numerous, drawn-out, and hilarious negotiations — he sat down with Hunter S. Thompson.
The conversation is just as incomprehensible and free-associative as you might imagine. In his preface, Thompson exhorts us that he and Keef have a sense of history and we, the viewers, do not. The pair discuss the afterlife and reincarnation; Thompson asks what J. Edgar Hoover might be reborn as, and Richards suggests “a fart.” About The Rolling Stones’ origins, Richards admits, “There would have been no Stones without The Beatles,” explaining that “they already looked bizarre.” Watch the entire interview, which also includes Richards’ recollections of the Stones’ tragic 1969 Altamont performance, after the jump. … Read More