Archives: July 2007

This is the archive page for [July 2007]; below you should see headlines and summaries of all entries posted here that month. Click the appropriate link at each to read the entire entry.

Why yes, I DID illegally download the new Harry Potter book this morning. | July 31, 2007
Did you hear? There's already an illegal electronic copy of the final Harry Potter book out there...and it's ridiculously easy to find and download, too. Today, lots more details concerning the subject. | Read entire entry

The Guardian has amazing coverage of Ingmar Bergman's death | July 31, 2007
For those who don't know, famed Swedish filmmaker Ingmar Bergman died over the weekend. Today, a look at the amazing portal of information British newspaper "The Guardian" has assembled to mark the occasion. | Read entire entry

Book review: "Radiant Days," by Michael FitzGerald | July 30, 2007
Today's book: The terrific "Radiant Days" by Michael FitzGerald, an unflinching look at the last days of the American Empire, told through the tale of a San Francisco Dot Commer stuck in the Balkans during its 1990s civil war. | Read entire entry

Movies for Grown-Ups: The Squid and the Whale | July 27, 2007
Today's movie: The amazingly good and astoundingly uncomfortable 2005 divorce dramedy "The Squid and the Whale," by master screenwriter Noah Baumbach (Kicking and Screaming, Mr. Jealousy, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou). | Read entire entry

Book review: "Infoquake," by David Louis Edelman | July 26, 2007
Today's book: The trippy science-fiction novel "Infoquake," the first novel and surprise sleeper hit by Washington-DC web developer David Louis Edelman. | Read entire entry

Movies for Grown-Ups: The Passion of Ayn Rand | July 25, 2007
Today's movie: the cable-television biopic "The Passion of Ayn Rand," detailing the sexual affair between the founder of Objectivism and one of her students, back in the 1950s at the height of her career. | Read entire entry

The CCLaP Podiophonic Laboratory? | July 25, 2007
Today, a question for the dear readers of this website: that if I were to start a new podcast here at CCLaP dedicated to experimental work from a variety of audio and video artists, would you audio and video artists participate? Click through for the details! | Read entire entry

Obsession of the moment: "The Glamorous Life of Sachiko Hanai" | July 25, 2007
Today's obsession: The 2005 Japanese postmodern porn film "The Glamorous Life of Sachiko Hanai," one of a growing amount of smart modern "pink films" to come out of that country these days. | Read entire entry

Photo of the day: "Day 155" by Sean Tierney | July 25, 2007
Today's photo: The self-portrait "Day 155," by Scotland-based Sean Tierney. | Read entire entry

Book review: "Rant," by Chuck Palahniuk | July 24, 2007
Today's book: The trippy rabies authoritarianism science-fiction cautionary tale "Rant: An Oral Biography of Buster Casey," by "Fight Club" author Chuck Palahniuk. | Read entire entry

CCLaP reviews -- now in convenient spreadsheet form | July 24, 2007
More in-house news about the CCLaP website today: namely, that I now offer the center's database of movie and book reviews as a downloadable spreadsheet, for those who wish to sort the information by any criteria they wish. Click through for the details and links. | Read entire entry

Photo of the day: Untitled, by "saraaar!" | July 24, 2007
Today's photo: Untitled, by the mysterious woman known online only as "saraaar!" | Read entire entry

Obsession of the moment: Vermin on the Mount | July 24, 2007
Today's obsession: The Los Angeles literary showcase "Vermin on the Mount," organized by award-winning writer Jim Ruland in the heart of LA's Chinatown. | Read entire entry

CCLaP Podcast 05: Greater Wealth Productions | July 23, 2007
Today: A five and a half minute interview with GW Welsh of the multimedia production company Greater Wealth, shot at a recent fundraiser at Lakeview's Spot6 nightclub. Also includes footage of Chicago writer Kate Cullen, Indiana cartoonist Andrew Dimitt, and Georgia band The North And South, plus the visual artwork of "Corey." | Read entire entry

CCLaP: Cosmetic changes have occurred. | July 23, 2007
Just a small update about some cosmetic changes to the CCLaP website: to be specific, comments are now being displayed on the site's front page, and the site also finally has its own favicon as well. And aren't you excited about THAT? | Read entire entry

Photo of the day: "Dystopian Paradise," by Matt Sabo | July 23, 2007
Today's photo: "Dystopian Paradise," by Chicago-based photographer and biological engineer Matt Sabo. | Read entire entry

When Chicago was Hollywood, before Hollywood existed | July 23, 2007
Just wanted to point out a great article the Chicago Tribune has online right now, detailing the history behind Essanay Studios and other film production companies in Chicago at the beginning of the 20th century. Click through for the link. | Read entire entry

Movies for Grown-Ups: Sideways | July 20, 2007
Today's movie: The 2004 overhyped character study "Sideways," which is actually much better than original hype and backlash would have you believe. | Read entire entry

Photo of the day: "Ascension," by "ClaraL13" | July 20, 2007
Today's photo: "Ascension," by the mysterious Flickr member "ClaraL13." | Read entire entry

Ladies and gentlemen, meet Amazon's #1 reviewer | July 20, 2007
Simon Owens of Bloggasm has a great entry up right now, on the number-one most prolific book reviewer at Amazon; a woman named Harriet Klauser, who has published a whopping 12,000 book reviews in the last seven years. Click through for the details. | Read entire entry

Tales From the Completist: "Drop City," by TC Boyle | July 18, 2007
Today's book: The 2003 hippie commune parody "Drop City," by popular and award-winning novelist TC Boyle. | Read entire entry

Too awful to finish: "You Don't Love Me Yet," by Jonathan Lethem | July 18, 2007
Today's guilty party: The snotty indie-rock nightmare "You Don't Love Me Yet," by the normally much-better Jonathan Lethem. Ooh, what a stinker this was! | Read entire entry

Photo of the day: "alone into alone 0001," by "Eugenia" | July 18, 2007
Today's photo: "alone into alone 0001," by a Moscow-based photographer known online only as "Eugenia." | Read entire entry

CCLaP Podcast 04: The Harold Washington Library Center | July 16, 2007
Today's episode: A four-minute video tour of the Harold Washington Library Center -- not only the central branch of the entire Chicago Public Library system, but also the largest public library on the planet according to the Guinness Book of World Records. | Read entire entry

Obsession of the moment: Ken Levine | July 16, 2007
Today's obsession: Veteran television screenwriter Ken Levine (M*A*S*H, Cheers, Frasier), who maintains a great daily blog about the "Hollywood machine." | Read entire entry

Photo of the day: "The stillness of thought," by Fadil Elmansour | July 16, 2007
Today's photo: "The stillness of thought," by Chicago-based musician and architect Fadil Elmansour. | Read entire entry

Movies for Grown-Ups: Storytelling | July 13, 2007
Today's movie: The classically uncomfortable 2001 black comedy "Storytelling," by master of the uncomfortable Todd Solondz. | Read entire entry

Book review: "Jamestown," by Matthew Sharpe | July 12, 2007
Today: The insanely great post-apocalyptic black comedy "Jamestown," by Matthew Sharpe, which by the way is the best novel I've read yet this year. | Read entire entry

Movies for Grown-Ups: Mimic | July 11, 2007
Today's movie: The 1997 low-budget horror film "Mimic," which happens to also be the American debut of Guillermo del Toro ("Hellboy," "Pan's Labyrinth"). | Read entire entry

CCLaP files its 50th book review | July 10, 2007
Interesting news to report today: that I recently filed my 50th book review online, in my newish role as executive director of CCLaP. Click through for more, and to learn where the majority of these reviews can be found; it's not actually this website, believe it or not. | Read entire entry

Rocchi: "No, seriously, movies ARE getting worse in general" | July 10, 2007
James Rocchi, former lead movie critic of Netflix, has posted an interesting article at Cinematical today, arguing that it's not just your imagination -- that Hollywood movies, especially summer ones, really ARE getting worse and worse with each passing year. Click through for more. | Read entire entry

CCLaP Podcast 03: The Dollar Store Show's Jonathan Messinger | July 9, 2007
Today's episode: A four-minute video interview with Jonathan Messinger -- host of the monthly literary event "The Dollar Store Show," co-founder of small press Featherproof, and Books Editor of "Time Out: Chicago." | Read entire entry

Photo of the day: "Untitled," by 'palmea' | July 9, 2007
Today's photo: "Untitled," by a woman known online only as 'palmea.' | Read entire entry

Obsession of the moment: The Elm Creek Quilts saga | July 9, 2007
Today's obsession: The author-led media empire "Elm Creek Quilts," by Madison-based Jennifer Chiaverini. Click through to see all the ways this quilting lover has turned an accidental success into a full-time living. | Read entire entry

Announcing the CCLaP Movie Club | July 9, 2007
It's official; I've set up a Google Group as a complement to CCLaP's "Movies for Grown-Ups" series of film essays! Click through for more on how it works, how to sign up, and what you can expect as a member. | Read entire entry

Personal essay: The good, the bad, and the ugly of self-publishing. | July 6, 2007
Today, another in my occasional series of personal essays, looking at a subject in the underground arts that may interest you as well. In this case: how to enjoy self-published material without driving yourself crazy in the process. | Read entire entry

Photo of the day: "30-June-2007," by James P. Berry | July 6, 2007
Today's photo: "30-June-2007," by North London-based James P. Berry. | Read entire entry

Obsession of the moment: Small Dogs Press | July 6, 2007
Today's obsession: Self-publisher Susan Sabo of Small Dogs Press, who has sadly decided to pack things in; but not before offering to send off the remainder of her inventory for free to anyone who wants a copy. Click through for all the details. | Read entire entry

Book review: "God is a Woman," by Ian Coburn | July 5, 2007
Today's book: The tragically comic faux dating guide "God is a Woman," by Chicago stand-up comedian Ian Coburn. | Read entire entry

Obsession of the moment: Tim Goodman | July 5, 2007
Today's obsession: Tim Goodman, television critic for the San Francisco Chronicle. | Read entire entry

Photo of the day: "- < -," by Sergio Recabarren | July 5, 2007
Today's photo: "- < -," by Santiago (Chile) based professional photographer Sergio Recabarren. | Read entire entry

Litblogger? Penguin would like to send you a free book, please. | July 5, 2007
Today, some very exciting news from British imprint Penguin Classics: that they're not only starting a new website featuring reviews of all 1,200 titles in their catalog, but that they're sending out free books to any litblogger who'd like to participate. Click through for all the details. | Read entire entry

Movies for Grown-Ups: Altered States | July 4, 2007
Today, a special essay: not just a traditional review of trippy 1980 sci-fi thriller "Altered States," but also a look at how my understanding of the film has changed over the decades, as my own education about the world has expanded as well. | Read entire entry

Photo of the day: "Deep Blue," by Michiel Schipper | July 4, 2007
Today's photo: "Deep Blue," by Amsterdam-based Michiel Schipper. | Read entire entry

Obsession of the moment: Brenda Staudenmaier | July 4, 2007
Today's obsession: Erotic postmodern photographer (and new Flickr friend) Brenda Staudenmaier. | Read entire entry

Book review: "The End As I Know It," by Kevin Shay | July 3, 2007
Today's book: The hilarious Y2K nostalgia novel "The End As I Know It," by former McSweeney's editor Kevin Shay. | Read entire entry

Obsession of the moment: The Chicago Library adult summer reading program | July 3, 2007
Today's obsession: the Chicago Public Library system's new summer reading program for adults, the first year in the library's history it's tried such a thing. | Read entire entry

Photo of the day: "Holocaust Memorial," by Adam M.B. | July 3, 2007
Today's photo of the day is entitled "Holocaust Memorial" and is by Adam M.B. Adam is from Madison, Wisconsin, and refers to himself as an amateur photographer and more serious woodworker; the particular memorial we're seeing here is located... | Read entire entry

CCLaP Podcast 02: GapersBlock.com's Andrew Huff | July 2, 2007
Today, episode 2 of the CCLaP Podcast: a four-minute video interview with Andrew Huff, editor-in-chief of Chicago arts-and-entertainment website GapersBlock.com. | Read entire entry

Photo of the day: "Washington DC 142," by Dan Hancock | July 2, 2007
Today's photo: "Washington DC 142" by Lexington (KY) based Dan Hancock, which is officially THE CUTEST DAMN IMAGE I HAVE EVER RUN HERE. | Read entire entry

Obsession of the moment: KarmaCritic | July 2, 2007
Today's obsession: "KarmaCritic," a new online video-sharing site and ongoing contest, started by a whole bunch of angry former contestants and fans of the Fox reality show "On The Lot." | Read entire entry