The writer-director Noah Baumbach, 35, based the film on his own experience of his parents' divorce. He said that he had struggled for years to find his voice as a filmmaker after making Kicking and Screaming in 1995 but had an epiphany at a screening of the Louis Malle classic Murmur of the Heart, organized by his friend Wes Anderson (a Squid producer).

"I thought I should deal with this moment in my life," he said after an early morning screening on Wednesday. "But it's why it took me a long time to get it done. There was a censor in me, not in a literal way, more in general, wondering what people might think and who would care - it's only my story. Letting go of that censor was really important; personally, it was a breakthrough."

Mr. Baumbach's mother, Georgia Brown, was a film critic for The Village Voice, and his father, Jonathan, is a film critic and novelist who teaches at Brooklyn College. Neither parent, as portrayed in the film, is particularly sympathetic. Mr. Baumbach said it was all right with his real-life parents "because they're writers."

The director had [Jeff] Daniels borrow some of Jonathan Baumbach's clothes for his wardrobe. "I liked to use things that connected me to that time, in a Proustian way," he said. [nice. -g.o]

Discussion of an actual film, buried in Tony Scott's nerdy "Sundance is all about scamming free stuff" article.

While the entire New York film world was focused on my Reel Roundtable screening of January 10th, the Museum of Modern Art, in a moment of magnanimosity, hosted a discussion with the obscure director Quentin Tarantino and one of his muses, the equally unknown Uma Thurman. It was the inauguration of their new series, "Great Collaborations." Here's hoping them all the best success, and that they'll eventually be able to rope in some recognizable names.

Any-who, since I'm pretty sure nobody was there, WPS1 is offering the first chance to hear Uma and Quentin talk about their work together.

Great Collaborations: Quentin Tarantino and Uma Thurman [

I have removed the identifying information from this email, after assuring myself of the writer's veracity. If I can give the entertainment journalism world just one gift this Christmas, it'd be a sharp thunk on the melon of anyone who asserts that Spike Jonze is "the heir to the Spiegel Catalogue fortune":

From: [name withheld]
Subject: Spike Jonze is not a Spiegel heir at all
Body:My name is [snip] and I live in [a Midwestern city... I am the great-[grandchild] of Modie Spiegel Sr, the man who made the Spiegel company a nationally known enterprise.

I have become interested in my family's geneaology, and Googled Edward Spiegel. Your post about Spike not being a Spiegel heir was one of the first listed. [Umm, yeah. Hope you're not too upset about that "scion of my butt" comment. -g.]

You make a very good point in your post, and nearly everything you say is true, but I felt I should correct you on your errors and provide you with a few facts.

Spike's great-grandfather Arthur was considered the "boy genius" of the family. It was actually he who came up with the idea for buying on credit, and the catalogue was basically his idea. He left Spiegel to form his own movie business.

Now here is where you make your most egregious mistake. Arthur died in 1912, and although his company fell apart soon afterwards, he had made it quite successful. Also, after his death, (of pneumonia by the way) his widow remained close to the family for many years, but it is true that none of her children were ever involved in the company.

You are correct that Spike is not an "heir" is terms of money. [Hmm. but if a 'scion' is also a 'descendant,' not just an 'heir,' does that mean he IS a scion?] Sidney left the company after a fight with Modie's son Modie Jr., and Modie eventually gave the shares of the company to his four children: Modie Jr, Freddie, Polly and John [one of these is the writer's grandparent. -g.]

Modie Jr. ran Spiegel Inc. for nearly thirty years after his father retired, and after it was sold to the Otto family, the money from the sale was split amongst him and his siblings.

I have no idea how the idea got started that Spike was an heir. I believe that he has denied it on occasion, but it still seems to get mentioned in every article about him. [no kidding. -g.]

Sincerely, [snip]

Thanks for filling in the gaps that resulted from my not rummaging through Spike's quarterly statements.

Related: Spike Jonze: Scion of my BUTT

So after playing softball with his own corporate overlords the Weinsteins at a MoMA Q&A last Thursday, Quentin Tarantino chased some skirt on his flight back to LA. Read the dovetailing eyewitness accounts below.

[ making wiggling-thumb-and-pinky-as-phone gesture and mouthing 'I'll call you' to a fast-receding blackout Navigator.]

Shill Bill [artforum diary]
Tarantino's Airport Pick-Up Service [defamer]

[update via GreenCine: Sheldrake publishes a complete transcript--or maybe you should call it a fanscript--at AICN. Yow.]

December 14, 2004

The Junket Aquatic

Cinecultist Karen is at it again, this time working the crowd of above-the-line talent at the The Life Aquatic junket. No word on the buffet, which I would expect to contain smoked salmon, shrimp cocktail, or some other agua-themed items.

Gothamist on the [The] Life Aquatic Junket [gothamist]
Cinecultist: Crazy For Movies

[update: a-ha. the catering details are on Cinecultist. Fresh fruit and lukewarm coffee.]

December 7, 2004

Living The Life Aquatic

The Gothamist Life Aquatic contest is over, and Congratulations! Everyone's a winner. A few people won more than the rest, obviously. And G-mist and Cinecultist's Karen--whose brainchild this publicity coup was--got the big prize, a phone interview with director Wes Anderson himself.

Eerily enough, it sounds like he's right there with her at Lucky Strike.

Karen came to last night's Reel Roundtable screening of After Life [thanks, Elizabeth!], by the way; and on Jan. 17, she's starring in a Reel Roundtable screening of Kieron Walsh's When Brendan Met Trudy, so clear your calendars.

Today is Wes Anderson Day! [cinecultist]
Wes Anderson: he knows where you are [Gothamist]
Reel Roundtable's Film & Blogs Series []

Gothamist has an excellent interview with Errol Morris about his Switch ads featuring former Bush voters who are now voting for Kerry. Morris talks at length about The Fog of War and its relevance today, his interviewing techniques, and how we're doomed to repeat the past--the only difference is whether we do it with irony or not.

Errol Morris: The Gothamist Interview, as time closes in
Errol Morris: see his ever-expanding Ex-Bush Voters For Kerry Ad Campaign
Errol Morris: The Interview, just before the Oscar.

October 22, 2004

I [Heart] Huckstering

My boy David O. Russell may be shooting negative karma beams at the back of Sharon Waxman's head, but that's not stopping him from spelling "P&A" with a capital "N-Y-T."

It feels like those multimedia interstitials for I [Heart] Huckabee's have been running for weeks now (Seriously, what's the buy on those things? If it's entirely clickthrough-based, they'll have to start pushing the DVD before too much longer.) And if People Who Don't Skip This Ad wasn't niche enough, Fox Searchlight is pitching the film at the even smaller People Who Actually Opt In For Ad Mail market.

Here's the kicker: This morning's I[H]H spam was a plaintive 1,000-word Story of My Life And My Movie by the director himself. And I mean himself. No copy editors were harmed or even inconvenienced in the making of this email, which Gawker helpfully published this afternoon.

And which I've happily pasted in its spamalicious entirety after the jump. Now if you copy it and forward it to all your friends, not only will you help save the life of a little girl with cancer--who's been kidnapped--but Bill Gates will take you on a trip to Disneyland. Which has to be good for your karma.

October 18, 2004, heck yeah!

Wingnuts on both ends of the political spectrum, it's not about you. So take a chill pill, throw another fat Costco steak on the grill, and read Matt Stone & Trey Parker's interview with Heather Havrilesky in Salon. I so called it.

Embittered filmmakers, meanwhile, should read it to find out how the script went from South Park 2 comedy to Dr. Strangelove play-it-straight satire, before becoming the scintillating assfest you see before you.

"it's not just us, and the fact that we live in this L.A. bubble" [salon]

Ousmane Sembene on WNYC, of course, which I already posted
John Waters on WPS1 [although for my money, no Waters interview is better than this Oct 1998 dicussion of Pecker on Fresh Air, which makes me cry laughing to this day.]
Melvin Van Peebles from 1971, speaking at MoMA about his just-released Sweet, Sweetback's Badassss Song.

WPS1's been getting its groove on lately, in case you haven't noticed. The talk shows are tightening up a bit, and the music is rocking. Now if they can only figure out podcasting...

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Since 2001 here at, I've been blogging about the creative process—my own and those of people who interest me. That mostly involves filmmaking, art, writing, research, and the making thereof.

Many thanks to the Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Program for supporting that time.

comments? questions? tips? pitches? email
greg [at] greg [dot ] org

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about this archive

Category: interviews

recent projects, &c.

Our Guernica Cycle, 2017 –
about/kickstarter | exhibit, 2017

Social Medium:
artists writing, 2000-2015
Paper Monument, Oct. 2016
ed. by Jennifer Liese
buy, $28

Madoff Provenance Project in
'Tell Me What I Mean' at
To__Bridges__, The Bronx
11 Sept - Oct 23 2016
show | beginnings

Chop Shop
curated by Magda Sawon
1-7 March 2016

eBay Test Listings
Armory – ABMB 2015
about | proposte monocrome, rose

It Narratives, incl.
Shanzhai Gursky & Destroyed Richter
Franklin Street Works, Stamford
Sept 5 - Nov 9, 2014
about | link

TheRealHennessy Tweets Paintings, 2014 -

Standard Operating Procedure
about | buy now, 284pp, $15.99

CZRPYR2: The Illustrated Appendix
Canal Zone Richard Prince
YES RASTA 2:The Appeals Court
Decision, plus the Court's
Complete Illustrated Appendix (2013)
about | buy now, 142pp, $12.99

"Exhibition Space" @ apexart, NYC
Mar 20 - May 8, 2013
about, brochure | installation shots

HELP/LESS Curated by Chris Habib
Printed Matter, NYC
Summer 2012
panel &c.

Destroyed Richter Paintings, 2012-
background | making of
"Richteriana," Postmasters Gallery, NYC

Canal Zone Richard
Selected Court Documents
from Cariou v. Prince (2011)
about | buy now, 376pp, $17.99