My good friend Joe Lasala is a contributor to the new book The Founding of Thomas Jefferson’s University.
With the Labor Day weekend gone by it’s that time of the year where the arts rev up their motors and the Fall Season of films, theater, music, and books begin. This means it’s time again for my take on some of the books I look forward to reading during these final months of the year. These are just a few. I’m sure there are more to follow.
After moving from the east coast to San Francisco, Dorothea Lange opened a photography studio where she photographs the city’s elite. She met the West Coast top art photographers of the day including Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, and Imogen Cunningham, the last became a close friend. Though Lange knew these titans of photography she was not one of them. They were artists, Lange was a commercial photographer catering to San Francisco’s upper class. During this period, Lange met Maynard Dixon, a well-known artist of western art. They married and had two kids. Lange continued to be successful with her portrait studio work photographing the city’s most successful in society. Her income was steady and there were many times she was the one supporting the family.
Then came the Great Depression.
Lange’s studio work started to dry up. She took her camera outside the studio and found herself emotionally moved by the poverty and homelessness that was more prevalent with each passing day. She met Paul Taylor, an agricultural economist. Taylor was working on a Gov’t project studying Mexican employment patterns in the U.S. He published thirteen monographs on Mexicans immigrants and Mexican-Americans. Taylor was impressed with Lange’s street photography. He felt it expressed what he wrote. They began working together documenting the rural poverty and exploitation of migrants and sharecroppers.
As Lange began the most important part of her career working for the Federal Farm Security Administration photographing the effects of the Dust Bowl: the poverty, the exploitation of migrant workers and sharecroppers, her marriage to Dixon collapsed.
Lange marries Paul Taylor, and while her work reached its most important period documenting social injustices, her private life became more difficult particularly with her son Dan Dixon.
This is a good book, though too much time is spent on Lange’s early years and development before reaching the most important period in her artistic growth. The book ends as Dorothea with her now-adult son Dan prepares for an exhibit of her work at the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA).
As the author states in the Afterward, the book is a fictional version of Lange’s life based on the author’s research and the need to make artistic decisions combing and or altering some events but keeping the spirit and soul of her subject intact. She does it well.
If you are a fan of The Twilight Zone you may want to check out my new short story, MAKE IT WRITE. It’s a slight departure from my usual tales tossing in a bit of Rod Serling fantasy along with the usual darker deadly deeds. I hope you’ll like it.
“Another great story by John Greco. This one reads like a Twilight Zone episode. Every author can relate to this creepy story. And what a twisty ending.” Joseph Souza – Author of Pray for the Girl and The Neighbor.
MAKE IT WRITE is available as an ebook on Amazon for only .99 cents.
My latest short story Make it Write has been published and is now available on Amazon for only .99 cents. It’s a slight departure from my usual tales tossing in a bit of fantasy along with the usual darker deadly deeds. I hope you’ll like it.
Extra, Extra! If you haven’t read my short story, The Bombay Hook Incident in A Million and One magazine just click on the link here. Enjoy!
George Jensen made it to the top of the best seller’s list with his novel, The Final Ending. He should be on top of the world, instead his world is spiraling out of control. He’s needs to Make it Write.
Make it Write is a bit different from my usual crime tales. My attempt here was to write something more along the lines of Rod Serling than James. M Cain. You can be the judge.
Coming soon as an ebook on Amazon.
Back in 2007, my wife and I were on one of our trips to Maine. One of our stops was a day trip to Eastport which we learned is the most eastern point of the United States. It’s a neat little town and upon our arrival came upon an unexpected surprise.
Strolling down Water Street, the seaside town’s main street, you get a beautiful view of the Atlantic, and New Brunswick, Canada across the waters. As we walked along we came across S. L. Wadsworth and Son, a local hardware store. There’s nothing special about it except that along with the usual hardware items you’d expect to find in a hardware store window there was a collection of paperback books for sale. The books are all by one author… Sarah Graves. Neither my wife nor I could claim familiarity with Sarah Graves or her work. Avid readers, we went inside and checked out the books. It turns out Sarah Graves is a mystery writer! Perfect!
Both of us are always willing to check out an author new to us so we purchased two paperbacks. The woman behind the counter asked if we would like to meet the author and have her autograph the two books. Seriously? In a hardware store? We willingly agreed and followed her to the back and up a circular staircase (being a reader of mysteries and suspense my mind quickly began to churn wondering, for a moment, if would be the last time anyone will see us alive!) At the top of the stairs, sitting at a desk we were introduced to Sarah Graves. She greeted us and thanked us for buying her books. We chatted for a few minutes; she signed the books and posed for the photo above.
We left with our new books, happy with the chance encounter, a pleasant surprise and an unexpected treat to our trip.
Sarah Graves is Eastport’s local celebrity and like her fictional home repair sleuth, Jacobia (Jake) Tiptree is a home fixer upper. Both are ex-New Yorker’s and both Sarah and the fictional Jake frequent the hardware store. As one would expect Sarah’s books do well in town with the locals and bring plenty of tourist to the area.
Arguably, Out of Sight is the best film adaption of the many Elmore Leonard crime novels to hit the screen. Some would argue for Jackie Brown, based on Leonard’s Rum Punch, and that’s a worthy debate to have. The Tarantino film has some fabulous performances particularly by Samuel L. Jackson as gun runner Ordell Robbie. But for me, Out of Sight is off beat, dark, smart and funny. It’s a film I could watch multiple times and never get tired of watching.
Below is a clip of the famous truck scene. After Jack Foley (George Clooney) escapes from Glades State Prison in Florida, with the help of his partner Buddy (Ving Rhames), U.S. Marshal Karen Sisco (Jennifer Lopez) happens along at the wrong time and ends up held hostage, forced to ride in the trunk of the getaway car with Jack.
The electricity between the two stars, the humorous dialogue, and the tight quarters of the trunk all quickly heat up the atmosphere. It’s one of my favorite scenes.
Horror/Suspense writer, Reviewer. Grower!
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