Wednesday, October 10, 2007

October 10, 2007 Bonus Bonus Blog
We just got the office copies for the November/December issue of True West. Really strong issue with Brad Pitt as Jesse on the cover. Excellent coverage of the movie inside, and also strong stuff on the actual Jesse, with info from Ted Yeatman and other Jesse experts. Paul Hutton's extravaganza on Western History In Comics is also quite strong and a visual goldmine. Subscribers will start getting theirs tomorrow.

Jason Strykowski attended the Telluride Film Fesitval last June and one of the films playing there was "Into The Wild," directed by Sean Penn, and based on the book of the same title by John Krakauer. When Jason and I came back from Ridgeway and the True Grit Days, we came back via Telluride and I bought the book. The story is about a young, college graduate from a well-to-do family who gave $25,000 in savings to charity, abandoned his car and most of his possessions, burned all the cash in his wallet, and invented a new life for himself. Four months later, his decomposed body was found by a moose hunter in Alaska. In between those two events he crisscrossed the West and spent some quality time in Arizona. Here is an excerpt about my home range:

"Bullhead City is a community in the oxymoronic, late-twentieth-century idiom. Lacking a discernable center, the town exists as a haphazard sprawl of subdivisions and stirp malls stretching for eight or nine miles along the banks fo the Colorado, directly across the river from the high-rise hotels and casinos of Laughlin, Nevada. Bullhead's distinguishing civic feature is the Mohave Valley Highway, four lanes of asphalt lined with gas stations and fast-food franchises, chiropractors and video shops, auto-parts outlets and tourist traps."

"On the face of it, Bullhead City doesn't seem like the kind of place that would appeal to an adherent of Thoreau and Tolstoy, an idealogue who expressed nothing but contempt for the bourgeois trappings of mainstream America. [Chris] McCandless, nevertheless, took a strong liking to Bullhead. Maybe it was his affinity for the lumpen, who were well represented in the community's trailer parks and campgrounds and laundromats; perhaps he simply fell in love with the stark desert landscape that encircles the town."
—John Krakauer

McCandless abandoned his car near Temple Bar, which is north of Kingman, near Lake Mead. All of these locations are quite familiar to me and so I have a morbid curiosity about McCandless and the book. As the blurbs convey: "Compelling and tragic. . .hard to put down."

How a Western Made ‘Yuma’ Cuban for ‘U.S.A.’
Russell Crowe in the new Yuma The movie “3:10 to Yuma,” a 1957 western that has gained new life in a remake starring Russell Crowe, has played an unusual role in defining Cubans’ relationship with America, says Brett Sokol in Slate. Before the 1959 revolution, some high-profile U.S. companies operating in Cuba had the word United in their name, which in Spanish morphed into “yunay.” Some Cubans began referring to the United States as Yunay Estey rather than the formal Estados Unidos. When the original “3:10 to Yuma” starring Glenn Ford hit theaters in Cuba, the similarly sounding “La Yuma” became the slang term for the U.S. Mr. Sokol, a Miami-based journalist, speculates the protagonist’s choice between personal honor and community resonated with Cubans wondering whether to flee their country. The expression fell into disuse during the early Castro years, but a cultural thaw that allowed westerns back onto Cuba’s screens in the late 1970s returned the term to the Cuban lexicon, where it has remained since. Legend has it that when a Havana bus driver crashed into the Peruvian embassy in 1980 in a bid for asylum he cried “I want to go to La Yuma!"
— Robin Moroney

—Proposed BBB slogan for Yuma

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