Last Night, I Saw “The Interview”

I wasn’t planning to, but an opportunity arose, and I am so disgusted by Sony’s craven announcement (not even an on-demand release, in which people could watch at home), that I decided to watch the thing. And guess what? It’s meandering and uneven and hardly the kind of offensive story that required censoring. There are a few great laughs, but the scariest things in the movie are Eminem saying he’s gay and Seth Rogen getting naked. Of all the celebrity responses to the news of Sony’s cave-in, my favorite is Arsenio Hall‘s: ‘”Madea goes to North Korea” will never get a green light from Sony now!’

Wild Beasts Perform “Wanderlust”

Noisey and the technology corporation Philips approached the English indie-rock band Wild Beasts recently to film a performance of their “Present Tense” standout “Wanderlust” in London. The catch? Instead of a standard keyboard or synth, Tom Fleming would be playing on a 7,866-pipe organ. Out of use for nearly a decade, the Royal Festival Hall’s massive, 60-year-old-instrument provides the main focus for the quartet’s performance.

Best Books On Cuba — Including Mine!

The Daily Beast says: ‘It’s only 90 miles from the U.S., but to most Americans, Cuba could be on the moon. Here are five books that make the terra slightly less incognita.’ Of these five, my favorite it Tom Miller’s “Trading with the Enemy,” which I consulted when I wrote my 2002 novel, “Last Night.” I wrote my book without ever having been to Cuba. It won’t be much easier for me to go there now, even with the restoration of diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba. Travel restrictions are still in place: how long before the island becomes the new South Beach?

Here’s Another Comedy About N. Korea

Bummed that you can’t see “The Interview“? Here’s another comedy about North Korea: “The Red Chapel.” It’s a 2009 mock-doc about the repressions of North Korea, chronicling the visit of Brügger and Danish comedians Jacob Nossell and Simon Jul to the country under the pretense of a small theatre troupe on a cultural exchange. The entire trip is a ruse: the trio are actually trying to get a chance to portray the absurdity of the pantomime life they are forced to lead in the DPRK — that’s North Korea to us. Learn more here.

“Pocatello”: My FT Review

The Financial Times has posted my review: ‘Give credit to Playwrights Horizons: in the midst of the holiday season, with joy blaring relentlessly from every shop and doorway, this invaluable off-Broadway theatre presents a play in which the sound system is cracked, the music is bland rock and country, and the message is almost unrelieved despair. Welcome to “Pocatello,” Samuel D. Hunter’s well-constructed yet dispiriting study of 10 people struggling with life’s basics. Their anxieties are not small ones. Eddie, given a sensitive portrayal by T.R. Knight, manages an Italian-themed restaurant in Pocatello, Idaho, where this 100-minute evening, directed by Davis McCallum, takes Read more »

“Bay Lights” To Become Permanent

“Bay Lights,” a shimmery artwork of programmed LED lights strung temporarily across the Bay Bridge in San Francisco in 2013, appears to be on its way to becoming a permanent nighttime sight in the city. Illuminate the Arts, the nonprofit that conceived the work, created by the artist Leo Villareal, announced Wednesday that it had raised the $4 million in private funds needed to pay for new equipment and for a re-installation of the work after it is taken down next year to allow for maintenance work on the bridge cables. In an agreement with Caltrans, the state agency that owns the bridge, the light sculpture would be reinstalled by January 2016, in time, the arts group said, “to shine for Super Bowl 50” in February of that year. The work would then become the property of the State of California, which would be responsible for its maintenance.

The New A-List Of 2015

The Daily Beast claims that these are the stars-in-the-making for the new year. I’m skeptical. A lot of them — James Corden, Jamie Dornan — were tipped as stars-in-the-making last year. Pictured is Cara Delevingne, the supermodel who’s about to pop up in five movies. I’m not expecting an Oscar noms for her, but she is pretty, in a too-tall, too-skinny kind of way.