A small secret about the do's and don'ts of book interviews: avoid asking about the cover. OK, perhaps it isn't a rule. Yet just about everyone in public radio has talked to authors over the years who are overjoyed at meeting someone who has actually read the book in preparation for an interview. And then those authors almost inevitably relate a tale of meeting an interviewer who hadn't and then resorted to asking about the cover. So it's almost a matter of honor to avoid asking cover questions.
However, it's impossible to look at the cover of Steve Boman's memoir "Film School" and not have your curiosity piqued.
It's the story of how a Minnesota-born lad faced down a mid-life crisis by taking himself off to film school at USC. He went in with some expectations, but he anticipated few of the curveballs which flew in his direction. They ranged from equipment problems, whacked-out fellow students and bullying instructors to the fact that at age 42 he had a stroke just as he began his second semester.
Then just months later in a twist which Boman says is reminiscent of a Hollywood plotline, he found himself writing a new series for CBS, based on a pitch he'd made in film class. You can get some of the details in our interview.
When Boman came in to chat about the book I couldn't resist asking him to describe the cover, and the thinking behind it, particularly because the towering figure on the cover is clearly him.
"It's an incredibly Conan the Barbarian-like figure wearing a ripped USC shirt," he said, "Ripped just enough so you can't have copyright infringement for USC, holding a perfect representation of an Ariflex 16 millimeter camera. And at this heroic figure's feet there's four women, girls. Three girls and a beautiful woman - a representation of my wife and kids."
"In the background Hollywood is burning and there's sort of a nemesis character in a Che shirt and a beret. And it's over-the-top, and it's a great cover because people either love it or hate it."
This apocalyptic scene is capped by the blood red title "Film School."
Boman admits to having asked the artist to lard on a few extra muscles.
But what is also quite eye catching is the subtitle "A memoir that will change your life." It's quite a claim, and it's one that causes Boman to roll his eyes. Believe it or not the subtitle is a compromise between him and his publishers.
"I wanted to say 'A true story,'" Boman relates. "And they said, 'The sales people don't like that. They need a memoir.' And I said 'I hate the term 'a memoir' - it makes it sound so self-important. And this is not as much a memoir as a story that happens to be true. So I said 'In all memoirs it's implied that this is very important,' so I thought 'this will be a memoir that will change your life.'"
He thought it up as a joke.
"And they put it on the cover," he said.
Actually the over-the-top feeling of the cover neatly captures the tensions and roiling sense of crisis in the book. Boman says he really likes the cover, although his wife isn't so sure. He admits to getting a little queasy however every time he sees the book in the stores.
"I feel squeamish sometimes because it's pretty personal. But I thought if you are going to write something, you've got to have a point of view and tell the story. I also thought if I was a reporter and someone came up and said 'Here's my story,' and I interviewed them and reported on it, I'd certainly tell these stories, and I thought ok I have an obligation to tell it, for good and for bad."(4 Comments)
The end of 2011 marks the end of the Loring Theater, at least under its current management. Managing partner Steve Barberio posted this to the theater's website:
Friends of Loring Theater:
The Directors, LLP has decided not to renew its lease on Loring Theater (a.k.a. The Music Box Theatre) located at 1407 Nicollet Avenue in Minneapolis. The company will cease operating in the building effective December 31, 2011.
In early 2010 we began to transform The Music Box Theatre into a modern day variety house under the building's original name Loring Theater. With the support of a group of investors, the owner of the building, a talented staff of professionals and many others we built an operating infrastructure that added a fantastic 440-seat venue back into the vibrant Twin Cities performing arts scene.
Since we opened, over 15,000 people walked through the doors and hundreds of artists performed on the stage. We are proud of our work, honored to have been stewards of the space, and grateful to all who contributed their time, talent and money to this amazing venture. Loring Theater is an amazing building in a phenomenal location and there are many, many artists who love performing on that stage. Our hope is that someone will pick up where we left off and continue to make Nicollet Avenue and 14th Street in the Loring Park Neighborhood a destination for affordable quality entertainment.
Best wishes to all for a happy and prosperous New Year.
The Directors, LLP
Back in November the Loring Theater canceled shows and cut staff in response to a lack of attendance.(1 Comments)
Posted at 1:40 PM on December 30, 2011
by Marianne Combs
Filed under: Events
Every year, a bevvy of venues make their best effort to get you to join them for New Year's Eve. Most offer a steep cover charge, but with the promise of unlimited alcohol once you get in. To my mind, that seems like a sure bet you'll wake up with a mighty hangover and few memories to go along with it - not much of a start to the new year.
So why not make New Year's eve a memorable event?
Here are three options that offer everything from comedy to rock to fine cuisine. The great entertainment comes with the ticket - you'll have to buy the hangover a la carte.
Laugh in the New Year with critically acclaimed comedians The Scrimshaw Brothers and their special guests Eric Webster, Shanan Custer & Tim Uren! An irreverent mix of smart sketch, stand-up and improv comedy! Plus more broken resolutions than you can shake a Scrimshaw at! The late show goes all the way to 2012! (FYI: Josh Scrimshaw really enjoys being on stage in his underwear - that's a warning, but not a promise)
The hardest working musician in the Twin Cities is back again, with what promises to be a wild evening of piano-driven rock that borders on performance art. (Mallman is the same guy who played for 78 hours non-stop in 2010.)
The Dakota Jazz Club presents the lovely Davina and the Vagabonds, along with a tasty menu that features ahi tuna, duck confit, bay scallops, ribeye and chocolate baked Alaska for dessert. A vegetarian tasting menu is also available.
Whatever you do - have fun, and be safe!
See you in 2012...