Beautiful Losers chronicles a loosely knit group of “street” artists who conquered the commercial and fine art worlds. Featured artists include Ed Templeton, Geoff McFetridge, Shepard Fairey, Margaret Kilgallen, Harmony Korine and others, all of which embody a punk-DIY spirit. Most interesting is the connection between contemporary art and skateboarding. If you are snickering you’ll swallow it when you immediately recognize the work. These artists (some of them anyway) are paid large sums to sell you diet cola. As a teen, Templeton was my favorite skater. I never liked the lines of his paintings but thrilled over the lines he cut with his skate. In the interim, his work has grown by light years. N-ville’s favorite cringe monger H. Korine is mostly on good behavior, filming his talking head shots in Fannie Mae Dees Park. He laments the lowered crime rate. Tricky implications of outsiders becoming insiders are glossed over, but Beautiful Losers is an inspiring film that can enlighten people as to where the art and design that surrounds them originated.
I assume the title of the film, and the group show it accompanied, is borrowed from Leonard Cohen’s great novel of the same name. Do it… yourself.
Nashville: The Occupied City, 1862-1863
By Walter T. Durham
I am not originally from Nashville, so I didn’t grow up learning about the history of this place I’ve chosen to call home. What I am, however, is a Civil War buff. (I’m also a Yankee, but you won’t hold that against me, right?)
I came across Durham’s book one day in the stacks and thought it would be interesting. Most of the Civil War knowledge I’ve acquired has been about the Deep South, or places like Savannah or Richmond. I don’t know much about the Western Theater. Or should I say, I didn’t know much until I read Durham’s book. For instance, I did not realize that Nashville was considered the second most important Confederate city (after New Orleans) in terms of shipping and supplies, and yet the Confederates did nothing to protect it. No breastworks, no new fortifications, no ditches, nothing. It was also the closest capital city to the North, which made the lack of protection a little more puzzling.
I also found it interesting that the term “Old Glory” originated here. A retired sea captain gave the Union officers the old American flag that he’d flown from his ship so they’d have one to raise above the capital building.
Make sure you read the author’s introduction, because there is a nice shout out to our very own Nashville Room and the great staff that works there.
Now I’m caught up to 1863, but even I knew that most of the fun happened after that. It looks like I’ll have to read Durham’s sequel, Reluctant Partners, so I can see how things turn out…
This Is Not a Love Song
by Sarahbeth Purcell, 2006
When I read reality-based fiction, I want the characters to be people with whom I’d like to go to my local coffee shop and share a deep caffeinated conversation. Sarahbeth Purcell’s new novel definitely includes my kind of people!
The stories of Julia and her best friend Delia are revealed through letters, diary entries, telephone conversations, and a few direct encounters. Purcell, being a local girl, has made Nashville the setting. Each chapter begins with a song title. Some are indeed real songs from the 80’s and 90’s, while some are song titles Purcell created to challenge her readers to a little music trivia game. If you’re familiar with the tunes, it clues you into what the characters are feeling.
This is a modern novel that deals with real problems, including depression, drug abuse, sexual abuse, and deadbeat parents. I think you’ll find there is hope for the two best friends to find love, in spite of all the dysfunction around them. Be sure to read Purcell’s first novel Love is the Drug.