Quantcast


Books

Reviews, reflections, conversations.

Mostly Novels
The Flamethrowers

On Her Own Timeline

By Emily Burns Morgan
The Flamethrowers offers an implied critique, then, not only of patriarchy, but of New York and other cities like it, which stand as symbols for capitalism and the myth that the city is the best place for artists. For which artists, Kushner asks, is it beneficial? more

Readings
Saul Bellow

Herzog and Me

By Jonah Hall
"How do we let go of order in a world that demands organization, in a reality that demands reason and logic, in an environment that urges us to compete and to judge?" On finding time to read Saul Bellow. more

Aisles
Nicholson Baker

Eddying Alone

By Evan P. Schneider
"Paul, who is quite lonely throughout 281 of this book's 287 pages, says, 'I want to forgive everyone. I want to do better with my life.'" On Nicholson Baker's Traveling Sprinkler. more

Readings
Clarice Lispector

Failure's Potential

By Sarah Kruse
The self-reflexivity of the novel is one of Lispector's strengths—her mastery lies not in the simplicity of the characters, but in the odd, at times awkward interjections of the narrator... more

Craft
Kevin Sampsell

Ambiguity, Guacamole, and Dirt

"One of the great powers that people who create have is that authority to say when something ends." Kevin Sampsell, author of This is Between Us, answers Doug Cornett's challenging demands. more

Aisles
Aisles

Proud Thug No More?

"As China demonstrates, capitalism can always divorce democracy and give us the worst of all worlds: staggering economic inequality with zero political freedoms or legal protections." Jennifer Ruth reviews Slavoj Zizek's Demanding the Impossible. more

Aisles
Tim Winton

Crossed Paths, Missed Connections

Review by Alan Limnis
"If you have ever wished for a concordance of what European artists, writers, composers, and political figures were doing in the last historical moments before the continent descended into the chaos of the Great War, you have it: it is Florian Illies' 1913: The Year Before the Storm." more

Book Notes
Book Notes

On Titles from Karen Green, Ben Schott

Brief reviews of Karen Green's Bough Down and Ben Schott's Schottenfreude. more

Arts

Crafted, designed, choreographed, performed.

Aisles
Lebbeus Woods

The Importance of Being Lucian

By Sean Warren
"Freud remains perhaps the most supremely tactile portraitist of the last 100 years." On Breakfast with Lucian, Georgie Greig's new biography of Lucian Freud. more

Europe Endless
Riessbeck

Gerhard Riessbeck, Painter of Ice

By Elizabeth Lopeman
"My paintings are like theater props without a story, and people can wonder about what that story can be." Elizabeth Lopeman chats with Gerhard Riessbeck about his paintings of icebergs, what it means to be a ship's 'expedition painter,' and his thoughts on climate change. more

Europe Endless
Fabio Bianco

Fabio Bianco's Imaginative Freedom

By Elizabeth Lopeman
In conjunction with a vertiginous rendering of space, Bianco's use of color—reds, magenta, oranges and their counterparts, the contrasting blues and green—constructs a language of chaos and excess, the fantastical... more

Portfolio

Finding Their Place: A Q&A With Tyler Corbett and Erinn Kathryn

By Sara Sutter
"Looking at the maps and the paintings for so long, staring at them in the analytical sense, we got much closer to the places. And then when we actually go... more

Film

Art form of the twentieth century.

SPECIAL PROJECT: WHAT WAS FILM?

At the close of the nineteenth century, something happened to the world's photographs: they began to move. It was a trick, of course—the photos weren't moving, it was just that when subjected to a barrage of them, the eye became confused and made false reports. What happened next was the explosion of a new medium that, though it hadn't even existed in the nineteenth century, quickly dominated the twentieth. Was it a technology? An industry? An art form? Or just a particular way of framing life? The Propeller Institute of Cultural Speculation has committed its resources to a thorough, ongoing investigating of these questions and more.


WHO WAS BARBARA LODEN?

Wanda and the Life of an Actual Woman
by Kate McCourt

"Wanda must rank as that cinematic rarity, a movie that really does get better—much better—as it goes along," Roger Greenspun stated in his 1971 Times review of Barbara Loden's first feature film as director. The film stands today as Loden's sole produced work of feature-length writing, directing, and lead acting—she died of cancer at the age of forty-eight, nine years after Wanda's release. The film received... more

WHat ever happened to new Hollywood?

Part I: Capital Becomes Confused
by Dan DeWeese

In October of 1967, Pauline Kael contributed an article to The New Yorker (she would become the full-time film critic there in 1968) in defense of a gangster movie she had enjoyed, but which almost nobody else had seen. Released in a small number of theaters in August, the film had received a bad review in the Times, where critic Bosley Crowther called it "a cheap piece of bald-faced slapstick comedy that... more

Linda Lovelace as Herself

The Cultural Symbol Who Wanted to be a Human Being
by Sarah Marshall

Some films haunt you. My mother saw Vertigo for the first time at ten, and the story—of Kim Novak as the icily sensual woman-in-trouble whom Jimmy Stewart fails to save from fate's grasp—has captivated her since. I grew up watching it with her at least once a year, lying on our living room floor in front of the sickly green glow of the screen. My father has a similar obsession with Amadeus (when I was... more

The Influence of Anxiety

Love and Death and Woody Allen (Part 1)
by Benjamin Craig

Woody Allen is regarded alternately as a cinematic genius with a singular vision, and as a deeply flawed jackass who can't make a film without embedding it with his personal neuroses and eccentricities. Both of these are probably fair assessments of the man. When Allen, as Alvy Singer, stares into the camera for the opening monologue of Annie Hall and, for a moment, we are deceived into believing it is... more

Music

Stolen licks and backstage passes.

Q&A

Music Lee Ranaldo

Long Black Road

"Everything stopped. It didn't matter what you were supposed to be doing. All of a sudden you had all this time to yourself. I got a lot of stuff done that week. A lot of thinking done." Lee Ranaldo chats with Propeller's Alex Behr about music, India, and his latest album... more

Music

Man of Many Names

Will Oldham and the Challenge of Keeping It Hyperreal

By Jonathan Cushing
"It is the theater of his songwriting that is the most striking element—his ability to be himself and someone else simultaneously, or to displace or project himself just enough so that we feel that we are at once being sung to and overhearing him sing to someone else." more

Revisited

Revisited Gen X Parody?

Reconsidering the Tracks of Reality Bites

By Jessica Machado
If you were a young person in the '90s, you probably consider Reality Bites the epitome of nostalgia disappointment, the piece of cinema that's most painful to watch as an adult because... more

Inquiry

Investigations and lived experience.

Quiz

quiz Perception vs. Reality

Is Your Universe a Simulation?

A Propeller Quiz
The following quiz is not meant to be passed between universes. I have placed it on this website concerned with art and literature so that few people will find it. Quickly, before it is erased, read the questions, do the math, and discover the true nature of your reality... more

Letter From Oaxaca

Letter from Oaxaca She Who Provides

Muchos Muchas Muxes

By Sara Sutter
A man in the neighboring hammock explains that "Muxe is blood. Muxe is indigenous. It is not gay. Gay is a Western idea projected onto the muxe phenomenon. I am from Juchit√°n and I am not muxe but for me muxe is normal. It is indigenous, a culture..." more

Talking to Ads

Apple Ad as Psychopath

Apple's Delusions of Grandeur

By Pete Tothero
Back in the day, 60 Minutes used to chat with Charles Manson once in a while because they could rely on him to say stuff exactly like this. That girl should get out of the car and run away from you as soon as possible...more

Poetry

Language, pushed.

Poems

Lauren Haldeman Seven Poems

Seven Poems by Lauren Haldeman

Haldeman's first poetry collection, Team Photograph, is forthcoming from Rescue Press in Fall 2014... more

Poems

Letter from Oaxaca Five Poems

Five Poems by Frank Kuenstler

Poet and filmmaker Frank Kuenstler (1928-1996) was the author of nine books of poetry. Today, the only volume of Kuenstler's work in print is The Enormous Chorus (Pressed Wafer, 2011), from which these poems were drawn. more

Reading LInes

Stevie Nicks Lines From Pinsky

"When I Had No Mother, I Embraced Order"

By Wendy Bourgeois

I still believe, against all evidence to the contrary, that if Social Services or cancer were to stop by one day unannounced, they would take one look at the perfect fan of Tin House magazines on my coffee table and know that... more

Fiction

Invented worlds, invented selves.

Fiction

Old Boyfriends Cold in Montreal

Old Boyfriends

By Anca Szilágyi
She switches on the computer and signs on to Instant Messenger. Which of her ex-boyfriends will she chat with today? She doesn't consider them exes, per se. Old boyfriends, one of them offered, charitably. She chats with them simultaneously—two or three at a time... more

Fiction

Fiction by Mary Rechner Alone in Vermont

The A-Frame

By Mary Rechner
She was constantly shopping, searching, choosing, hoping that whatever it was she found would fit, would be satisfying, would reflect well upon her. This was the way she thought about men, too, and if she was always... more

Fiction

A Perfect Waste Story

A Perfect Waste

By Alissa Nielsen
I stare at the car—a smashed Toyota—with insect-like intensity. "Who is the owner of this vehicle?" he asks. "That's Jim's car," I say. "Why was your husband—" the officer flips a page in his notepad, "Jim Richards driving Jim Schumacher's car?" more

Sport

Reports from court and field.

NFL

NFL Picks Scary Accuracy

NFL Week by Week

By Pete Tothero
Tothero outpicks the experts through ineffectual living, personifying teams in false or ridiculous ways, and applying the worst tropes of pop psychology. Week 8. Week 7. Week 6. Week 5. Week 4. Week 3. Week 2. Week 1.

Personal HISTORY

Fear of a Little White Sphere With Dad at Fenway

Fear of a Little White Sphere

By Derek Stackhouse
One strange story involves Richie Ashburn, who in 1957 struck Alice Roth twice with two separate foul liners. As she was being helped to the exit after the first ball, the second hit her in the back...more

Aisles

Phil Jackson Sage of the NBA

Phil Jackson's Eleven Rings

By Pete Tothero
Jackson has convinced the basketball world that he is a practitioner of right-thinking Zen philosophies that unlock latent potentials in players, leading to championships. His real genius is that he has convinced himself of this... more