*The Berlin Film Festival is set to kick off on February 12. Roman Polanski, who will not be attending, will nonetheless submit The Ghost Writer for consideration. The Telegraph reports that Polanski was “delighted” with a recent screening at his chalet in Gstaad, where he is currently enjoying house arrest. Personally, I prefer the Independent‘s headline.
*In the Guardian, Mark Lawson writes that with the death of J.D. Salinger, “an era in American literature is coming to a close.” Two things: 1) Tough argument to make, given that Salinger was a literary (and literal) nonentity for the past 40 years; and 2) Salinger died exactly one year after John Updike. Whoa.
*Not a big Sinatra guy, but this strikes even me as overkill: In the Philippines, you can get assassinated for delivering a karaoke rendition “My Way.” Seriously: People are calling them the “‘My Way’ Killings”; teenagers at family gatherings shy away from the song (and not for the usual reasons); bars have removed the selection from their karaoke books. Karaoke bloodshed, though, is not confined to the Philippines:
In the past two years alone, a Malaysian man was fatally stabbed for hogging the microphone at a bar and a Thai man killed eight of his neighbors in a rage after they sang John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads.” Karaoke-related assaults have also occurred in the United States, including at a Seattle bar where a woman punched a man for singing Coldplay’s “Yellow” after criticizing his version.
*Have you heard of Huma Bhabha, the noted Pakistani sculptor? The NYT‘s Moment blog picks her as one of the Nifty Fifty. Bonus: Write-up by J.L. Fischer! He calls Bhabha “the art world’s most exciting Dumpster diver.” Which is just a hell of a tagline.
*Roger Ebert tends to wear his politics on his Indie/SAG hat. Yesterday, he posted “To vote, you must get a passing score on this survey.” Not quite a literacy test, and not so much condescending as baffling: Does Joe Six-Pack really need to know how many first ladies graduated from Harvard Law? In any case, Tea-baggers take note.
*I haven’t seen An Education. This person has and claims it is anti-Semitic.