MARGIN: Exploring Modern Magical Realism
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30 November 2005
Topic: November 2005

? The prolific Jan Steckel has been a busy bee this fall. She writes: "First, the most exciting news: Zeitgest Press will publish The Underwater Hospital [Jan's chapbook] in the spring." She'll be reading and signing copies at the following dates/venues in the Bay area:

Tues Mar 7: Works in Progress at the Montclair Women's Center (an all-women reading with open mic)

Thurs Apr 6: First Thursdays at the Albany Library (with open mic)

Sat Jun 17: 2-4p at the Lakeview Branch Library in Oakland

Steckel's recent publications include work in Street Spirit, The Pedestal, El Portal de Una Musa, So Ma Literary Review, Oakland's Neighborhoods (Mailman Press, 2005), Bay Area Poets Seasonal Review and Woman-Stirred.

Upcoming: "Alex the Dragon," a very short story by Steckel, will appear in the Winter Issue of Lodestar Quarterly on December 21. Her work, "On a Lesbian Wedding in the Woods," will be coming out in March in Linda Zeiser's What I Want from You: Voices of East Bay Lesbians (Raw Art Press). Her poems, "Black Leather" and "Home Run" are forthcoming in Harrington Lesbian Literary Review. Also, her poem, "The Maiden Aunts," will be reprinted next year online in Awakened Woman and in 2007 for the second edition of Blood to Remember: American Poets on the Holocaust (Time Being Books) (edited by Charles Fishman). Fishman will also include Steckel's poem, "Diamonds and Rubies," in the Apr-Jun 06 issue of New Works Review.

Steckel also announces this contest:

Mother Poetry Contest for the online literary salon, Woman-Stirred. No entry fee, and the winner gets their poem published on Woman-Stirred and wins several other prizes, including a copy of The Underwater Hospital.

? Christopher Kritwise Doyle's story, "The Missing Scroll," which we nominated in 2005 for the Pushcart Prize, Best American NonRequired Reading and The Year's Best Fantasy, was selected for reprint in the forthcoming anthology, Peculiar Pilgrims: Stories from The Left Hand of God, which will be released in Summer 2006.

? We always love to hear from our French Martinican contributor, Zyskandar A. Jaimot. He reports that his beautifully handprinted book, From Asano Condivi's Life of Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni [The Lost Chapter], has been released by publisher Bull Thistle Press and is available for purchase. His first book of poetry, Take Me Home to Pringus, will be released in early 2006 by M Books of Canada. Jaimot recommends Kazuo Ishigura's latest book, Let Me Go, which he describes as "well-written, although kind of depressing—nonetheless a good read." He also reports that he still refuses "to follow any of Martha Stewart's recipes or stock tips!"

Especially good news: Jaimot's now stabilized from a recent setback in his physical condition, with surgery to follow in a week or so. Speedy Recovery To You, And Get Well Soon, ZAJ!

? Thad Rutkowski, who interviewed Janice Eidus for Margin a few years ago, continues to be busy with writing, performances, publishing and teaching.

Rigoberto Gonzalez gave Rutkowski's book, Tetched, the thumbs up in Laila Lalami's blog, Moorish Girl [see Nov 8 05 entry]. Tetched was also reviewed by George Held for Book/Mark and in the Midwest Book Review.

Rutkowski will be teaching "Generating Fiction" on Mon Jan 9 at The Writer's Voice of the West Side YMCA. The workshop focuses on producing new writing (stories, chapters, prose pieces) and is open to all. For more info

Upcoming readings for Rutkowski:

Dec 3, 2-4p, Bowery Poetry Club, with Tom Savage, Jeffrey Wright, James Hoff, others. Hosted by Steve Dalachinsy and Yuko Otomo

Dec 5, 8p, Smut series at the Galapagos Arts Space, Brooklyn. Hosted by Desiree Burch and Regie Cabico. Info: (718) 782-5188.

Dec 6, 7p, Fiction slam with Fiction magazine contributors at the Loft in Manhattan. Info

Dec 9, 8p, The North Water Street Gallery in Kent, OH. Hosted by Maj Ragain.

Dec 10, 7p, Mac's Backs Books on Coventry in Cleveland Heights, OH. Info

Jan 1, 2p-midnight. Alternative New Year's Day extravaganza. Bowery Poetry Club Hosted by Bruce Weber, others. [Rutkowski reads between 2-4p]

Jan 8, 6p, Quetzal Quill reading at Cornelia Street in Manhattan. With Paolo Javier, Sarah Gambito. Hosted by Rigoberto Gonzalez. $6, includes drink. Info: (212) 989-9319.

Feb 12, 5p, East Side Oral, The Living Room in Manhattan. Hosted by Elise Miller. Donation. Venue and Host Info.

Feb 21, 7p, Poets for Oxfam at Oxfam Books & Music in London W1, England. Hosted by Todd Swift.

Feb 23, 8:30p, Shortfuse series at The Camden Head Pub in London N1, England. Hosted by Nathan Penlington.

Mar 15, 7:30p, World's End in Beacon, NY. $3. Plus open reading.

Posted by at 9:54 AM PST
Updated: 30 November 2005 9:58 AM PST
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29 November 2005
Topic: November 2005

Darran Anderson, editor of the new online poetry journal, Laika Poetry Review, is seeking a broad range of poetry and short fiction. Says Anderson, "the best definition of the work we are seeking would be magical realism with a radical edge." They wish to promote a literary counterculture and aspire to include the alternative poets, "the prophets rather than the kings, the disgraces and embarrassments of their day who chose the ditch to the middle-of the road." Got something? Send it to them. They're based in Scotland. Cool.

Posted by at 11:56 AM PST
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28 November 2005
Topic: November 2005
MR Miscellany

While the throngs were all shopping last Friday, Daniel Olivas's book, Devil Talk, was reviewed by book critic Jordan Rosenfeld for KQED public radio out of San Francisco. See? You should have stayed at home!

Okay, so it's not specifically magical realist in focus, but David Dorado Romo's book, Ringside Seat to a Revolution, was inspired by the author's exploration into the so-called psychogeographic zones of El Paso and Juarez (…"those areas physical and non-physical that express moods, ideas, ideals, thoughts and psychic communities"…). During his research into the subject matter, Romo eventually "stumbled" into a "treasure trove" of chronicled history which shed new light on El Paso and Juarez during the Mexican Revolution. Certainly this would make for interesting reading for anyone interested in the historical and sociopolitical strengths of magical realist literature and its characteristic worldview.


Jose Rivera's script, Cloud Tectonics, directed by Aimee Bruneau, will enjoy a full swing of stage productions through December 17 via several venues in Seattle. Brendan Kiley for The Stranger didn't give the play a strong thumbs up, but Kiley does credit Rivera with creating "a hermetic world where Celestina can credibly sigh dreamy metaphors" and says the efforts of actors Todd Licea and Jennifer Faulkner "are enchanting" as Anibal and Celestina. Sounds like a play one has to see for themselves to be sure (isn't that always the case with magical realism?). … Running in the DC area through December 18, Rick DesRochers's Yemaya's Belly doesn't get rave reviews either; Jayne Blanchard for the Washington Times only gave it one star. … Jose Cruz Gonzalez's play, September Shoes, garners better reviews in an article in the Reporter-Herald of Loveland, CO, where the play also expects to run through December 17. Writes Phyllis Walbye, "Although there are sophisticated characters and dialogue in September Shoes, the primary aura is one of innocence as the story moves closer and closer to a fable. … And when have you seen a play that features a Latina maid (Wilma Bonet) as the central character?"

Posted by at 2:47 PM PST
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22 November 2005
Topic: November 2005
MR Miscellany

First, a word from Margin's sponsor, editor/publisher Tamara Kaye Sellman:

Folks, the Harry Potter books are not dyed-in-the-wool magical realism. They are fantasy. I have nothing against Harry Potter; in fact, I love and support all quality imaginative writing regardless of category. But Harry Potter isn't MR, so let's us all stop mislabeling it, k? (That means you, Bruce Newman.) Thanks.

> Here's an interesting commentary on the work of Puerto Rican novelist, Mayra Montero, who introduced her latest book, Captain of the Sleepers, at the Miami Book Festival yesterday.

More commentary from Margin's sponsor, editor/publisher Tamara Kaye Sellman:

Montero (above) is yet another Latino author who resists being categorized "magical realist," though whose to blame her? It's not only fashionable for authors of all identities to resist pigeonholing, it's critical to their survival. If magical realism loses its foothold in pop culture, it'll be due to the marketing and bookselling mishaps of publishers and chain booksellers, not because of literature or authors. (See comment, above, about Harry Potter).

Does that make the editor of a website on magical realism just as complicit? One could wonder. No. There's a difference between intellectual discussion of the arts and its packaging and consumption. We dislike the mislabeling of work just as much as the authors do. It makes our own discussions even more complicated. Maybe the solution is to force the marketing lackeys working for publishers and booksellers to take some basic courses in comparative literature so they can at least all be talking accurately about their wares.

> You don't hear from Greece all that often in conversations about literary magical realism. So this is big, if belated, news: In 2003, author Justine Frangouli-Argyris released her first novel, MPetaei, Petaei to Synnefo (Psichogios Publications). The publisher put the book into a second printing two weeks after it was released. The Hellenic News of America summarizes it here: "The novel transcends the gamut of Greece's modern history through the eyes of a man whose dreams mature in step with those of his country, only to have them shattered by the occupying forces of Hitler's Germany and then to be reborn with his ordination." … They also gave the book their stamp of approval: "A new Zorba is born to whom all will refer in the future, Father Kostaggelos Argiriou." Opa!

> Amanda Heller for The Boston Globe critiques Jerome Charyn's Savage Shorthand, an accounting of the popular Jewish fabulist Isaac Babel. Writes Heller in her introduction, "The Odessa fabulist Isaac Babel left the world at around the time the Bronx fabulist Jerome Charyn was entering it. It is hard to resist the sense that something spooky was going on there, for the spirit of Babel's ghetto gangster king Benya Krik surely lives on in Charyn's hallucinatory-folkloric fiction." Okay, put this one on my Christmas list; Heller's review makes me want to ead it, already.

Posted by at 2:04 PM PST
Updated: 22 November 2005 2:16 PM PST
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21 November 2005
Topic: November 2005

Check out Margin's latest edition!

Featuring some fab folks, I.E.: Paola Corso, Michelle Cliff, Kathleen Alcala, Adrianne Harun, Gina Ochsner, Gregory Rabassa, Daniel Olivas, Nnedimma Okorafor, Maureen Tolman Flannery, Naomi Ayala and much much more!

Posted by at 12:26 PM PST
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Topic: November 2005
News from our Contributors

MINNEAPOLIS, MN—Aliform Publishing's director and translation editor, Jay Miskowiec, recently discussed his newly translated Spanish novel, Die Lady, Die, at the U of M Bookstore. Die Lady, Die is an award-winning Spanish novel by Alejandro Lopez. This contemporary work combines madness and Latin pop culture.

WWW—Margin contributor Joe Benevento's poem, "Yankees in East Texas", was the featured poem of the month for Freedom Road in November.

USA—A new book by Gene H. Bell-Villada (whose journalism was cross-referenced in our recent retrospective on GGM's Leaf Storm), will feature, as its title suggests, Conversations with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. The title will be released in December, just in time for the holidays!

LOS ANGELES, CA—Tonight Only! On Monday, November 21 at 7:30 pm, the Quetzal Quill collective of poets and writers features several amazing authors, including our feature author for the Autumn 2005 Edition, Daniel Olivas. Hosted by QQ curator, Rigoberto Gonzalez, the event will take place at the Imix Bookstore in LA. More Info. By the way, Olivas was also a featured writer in the November 2005 edition of Poet icDiversity.

WWW—You can read more of Monica Kilian's work in the November 10 edition of ' Slow Trains.

WWW—Reggie Poche's story, "A Shadow in Poughkeepsie", was nominated for a Pushcart Prize this fall by Zahir. Congratulations, Reggie!

SEATTLE—Margin's consultant-at-large, Bruce Taylor, announces his latest release: Kafka's Uncle and Other Strange Tales (with an introduction by Brian Herbert) (Afterbirth Books). The collection, though not patently magical realist, is weird in the way only Bruce can be. Check it out.

"THE WAHALA ZONE"—Nnedimma Okorafor's latest novel, Zahrah the Windseeker is now available. She'll be signing copies of her book at the Elgin Community College Bookstore on December 8th, 2005 from 12:30pm-2pm.

ASPINWALL, PA and NEW YORK, NY—Here are some upcoming appearance dates for Margin featured author Paola Corso:

Sat Nov 26/Barnes and Noble, Aspinwall, PA
For more information

Mon Nov 28/Mid-Manhattan Public Library, New York, NY
For more information, call 212-340-0833

US—Read this preview of the December release, Stories From Blue Latitudes, an anthology of Caribbean Women Writers which includes work from Michelle Cliff and Nalo Hopkinson

SEATTLE—For the winter quarter at the Richard Hugo House, you might consider taking Kathleen Alcala's latest workshop: Called to Witness. From the workshop blurb: "In the aftermath of 9/11, Darfur, the Iraq War, London bombings and Hurricane Katrina, writers struggle to respond with work that is relevant, uplifting, yet honest. They write from first-hand experience and empathy asking, What is appropriate? What is exploitative? In the age of blogging and cell phone photos, writers can still produce thoughtful and resonant work. Through the ages, writers and storytellers—including Joseph Conrad, Jonathan Safron Foer, Ian McEwan, Tram Nguyen, and Joan Didion—have tried to answer these questions, and we will read examples, discuss specific topics, and produce our own new work."

SEATTLE—And speaking of Kathleen…she joins Tamara Kaye Sellman and Wayne Ude in a final Margin 5th anniversary reading to be held Wed Dec 14 at 6 p.m. at Epilogue Books in Seattle. Hope you'll come see us!

ST. PETERSBURG, RUSSIA—Gina Ochsner will serve among the faculty for the 2006 Summer Literary Seminars program in Russia. The month-long program, which takes place in the heart of St. Petersburg, offers writing workshops with distinguished American, Canadian, Kenyan and international writers. The winners of The Walrus Magazine 2006 Fiction and Poetry Contest (judged by Margaret Atwood and Robert Hass) will have their work published in The Walrus and receive airfare, accommodation and free tuition to SLS 2006.

Posted by at 12:21 PM PST
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15 November 2005
Topic: November 2005
MR Miscellany

Has anyone read these children's books?
If you have, let me know what you thought

After The Darkness by Michael Smith (YA fiction)
Ghost Train by Paul Yee (picture book, ages 4-8)
Is Anybody Listening? by Larry O'Loughlin (YA fiction)

Brotherly love helps in times of trouble
Read about Yu Hua's latest book, Brothers
from China Daily. "For one moment we will even wonder whether these scenes could really have happened because they are so absurd. In the next moment we will be convinced because his narration retains the magical realist quality the strange mixture of absurdity and tragedy is another prominent characteristic of Yu's writing."

• Here's a nice discussion of French magical realist and visual artist, Rikki Ducornet
from The Buffalo News. "While living in a village in provincial France in her mid-30s, a fully formed narrative voice emerged from her imagination. Ducornet began writing the tale of a young girl born in that same village a century earlier with a mysterious, hare-shaped birthmark that was believed by local clerics and townspeople to be the mark of the devil."

Posted by at 7:59 AM PST
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14 November 2005
Topic: November 2005
MR Miscellany [11.13.05]
Book Feature: Shopping Cart Soldiers
from Times Online. "Mulligan described his style as 'Scottish magic realism with a slight leaning towards the surrealistic.' "

Stage News: A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings , presented by Los Angeles's Center Theatre Group and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Nilo Cruz, opens at the Kirk Douglas Theater through November 19 and will run through December 18.
from Playbill. "Based on a short story by Nobel laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the work of magic realism set in a small Caribbean town finds two children who happen upon a very old man with enormous wings who falls mysteriously from the sky."

Book Review: Isle of Passion by Laura Restrepo
from Cleveland Plain Dealer. "Elements of magical realism give Restrepo's finely wrought work an ethereal quality, offsetting her stark portrayal of humankind's capacity for cruelty."

Book Review: Praying Mantis by Andre Brink
from "The magic realism in this novel evolves around the presence and meaning of the praying mantis, of stars and ancient piles of stone or piles of stones erected along travellers' routes throughout the country."

Movie Review: Bee Season
from Palo Alto Online. "The subtle heartbreak of Searching for Bobby Fischer meets the dreamy idealism of A Beautiful Mind in this cleverly intentioned but slightly disjointed drama."

Posted by at 7:39 AM PST
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10 November 2005
Topic: November 2005

Terri Windling of Endicott Studio writes about Carolyn Dunn's book of poems, Outfoxing Coyote: "If there's such a thing as magical realist poetry, then this is it: a simply gorgeous volume of poems that draws upon the myths of Carolyn's Native American heritage (Coyote, Deer Woman, etc.), yet brings them into a contemporary context."

Here's a MR poem from five-year veteran and active organizer of the National Poetry Slam, Julia Ann Delbridge.

The Guardian, in a long-ago article in lit., cited Claribel Alegría as a magic-realist poet from Nicaragua in their World-in-Translation Month celebration based upon Jules Verne's classic novel, Around the World In 80 Days.

Fans of Marjorie Agosin can read one of her poems, "Jerome (for John)," in both Spanish and English versions, here. Agosin is a Chilean-born poet whose peace activism was recently recognized with the coveted Leadership Award in Human Rights from the United Nations.

From an old press release at Lapidus: Literary Arts in Personal Development, Jean Sprackland was touted Britain's "foremost magical realist poet" and named in 2004 as one of the Poetry Book Society’s Next Generation poets.
Still can't guess the theme?

Posted by at 2:06 PM PST
Updated: 10 November 2005 2:11 PM PST
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9 November 2005
Topic: November 2005

Memories of My Melancholy Whores, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez; translated by Edith Grossman [See the November 18th launch of Margin's Autumn Edition for more on this book!]

The Guest, by Hwang Sok-Yong; translated by Kyung-Ja Chun and Maya West [Korean magical realist novel]

A House at the Edge of Tears, by Venus Khoury-Ghata; translated by Marilyn Hacker [Lebanese magical realist novel]

Necklace of Kisses, by Francesca Lia Block [next in the Weetzie Bat young adult series]

Half Light, by Hiromi Goto [young adult fiction]

Posted by at 12:37 PM PST
Updated: 9 November 2005 12:46 PM PST
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8 November 2005
Topic: November 2005
Casting into the Blogosphere

Mia Couto and the Exercise of Modesty, Pt II
Mia Couto and the Exercise of Modesty, Pt I
from Blogging Burt, Topeka, Kansas, United States

Rushdie in Cambridge
from Reality Cafe, Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States

One case for MR in Jane Eyre
from Burning Shriek, Cape Town, South Africa

Breakout MR from India: Siddharth Dhanvant Sanghvi
from Aristera Says, India

GGM: Buddha of MR
from Clouds, Rocks and People, Nauru

Film Review: Ponette
from *Sunshine*, Shanghai, China

Magic Realism, Sensuality at Latino Film Fest
from Hispanic Tips, Chicago, Illinois, United States

The Difference Between Fantasy and MR is…
from River's Blue Elephants, Delhi, Delhi, India

The Magical Realism of Louis de Bernieres
from Gallimauphry Musings, Oak Park, Illinois, United States

MR Quick Fix: excerpt from One Hundred Years of Solitude
from Imagination Dead Imagine, India

Interview with Rushdie
from Moorish Girl, Portland, Oregon, United States

Geoff Ryman Rules (review of Air)
from ScribblingWoman

Magic-Realism as WMD?
from boingboing, Los Angeles, California, United States

Posted by at 11:52 AM PST
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7 November 2005
Topic: November 2005


AMERICAN LITERATURE owes a debt of gratitude to the rich cultural traditions of the Deep South. The literary dynamism of the region truly captures a jambalaya of cultures, voices and ideas. Sadly, the 2005 hurricane season has destroyed or severely impaired the libraries, literacy programs, and lives of writers and publishers in the region.

We at Margin and Periphery wish to aid in the restoration of this treasured cultural region by devoting our 2006 edition of Periphery, entitled Southern Revival, to library recovery efforts. The editor pledges to absorb all production costs and to forward all sales, donations and support culled from Periphery to Book Relief, First Book's comprehensive effort to provide millions of new books to the victims of the fall 2005 hurricane season. Please click on either link above to learn more about the award-winning nonprofit organization and its national campaign.

Our goal at Periphery? $2,500. That amount will provide support for the delivery of 5,000 books to those displaced by the hurricanes, to schools and libraries supporting the evacuees, and to replenish the schools and libraries ultimately rebuilt in the Gulf Coast.


Contributions to Southern Revival must capture, in some way, the magical essence of the Deep South. While our usual focus is magical realism, the editor has expanded the possibilities this time to include all imaginative literary forms. We are interested in diverse voices and ideas. Forms: free verse, flash fiction (<1000 words), creative nonfiction (<1000 words), digital artwork and prose poetics. Possible subjects: faith healing, voodoo, haints, curses, miracles, legends, fish stories, vampires, devils, preachers, black cats, owls, thunder and lightning, snake oil salesmen, black magic, mardi gras, witchcraft, planting by the moon, superstitions, ghost armies, sleepwalking, and all things haunted. From these submissions, we will select the best work to fill Southern Revival's 24 pages.


Posted by at 9:24 AM PST
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4 November 2005
Topic: November 2005
11.04.05, TORONTO, Ontario —The FANTASY WORLDWIDE International Film Festival (November 4-6, 2005) celebrates fantasy filmmaking in Canada and around the world. The festival organizers have selected a showcase of world mythology, fantasy (no horror), mysticism, magical realism, science fiction, historical fiction, legend and archetype in a plethora of feature films, shorts, family and children's films, documentaries and animation. Tickets are available at the Bloor Cinema during the festival ONLY. For more info

11.04.05, THE WORLD WIDE WEB— The Gregory Nava film, El Norte, has achieved a cult following since its release in 1983. Fans wishing for a DVD version are flooding with requests. We paid a visit to that page and discovered this message from the folks at the world's largest online bookstore:

This title will be released on December 31, 1969. You may order it now and we will ship it to you when it arrives.
Yeah, good luck with that, How Borges must be laughing in his grave!

11.04.05, AMERICAN TELEVISION—And speaking of graves… Okay, so I'm having terrible Six Feet Under withdrawals. I had an even worse time accepting last summer's final episode. I'd been at my vacation place, well, vacationing, and hadn't been clued in to the news that the August episode I was about to watch was not only the season finale, but the series finale. What? It didn't occur to me that this was The End until Claire began having her "trip" into the future. [Click on this link to find out what happened to everybody!]

Oh, the tears in my eyes when it all dawned on me in one big rush, just like that amazing closing scene (one of the best ever for a series finale, hands down).

But there's good news. No, I didn't save any money buying any insurance from a gecko, but I did find this: Reading Six Feet Under, which publisher Palgrave-MacMillan describes as an examination of the show's "predominant themes as the dead body, magic realism and the grotesque, American cultural politics, family relationships, homosexuality, motherhood and more."

What a fix for the cold-turkey loss of one of television's finest ever dramas. I'll certainly be asking for the entire 5-series set on DVD (you can get the first four now, but I'll wait for the 5-pack so I can revisit that amazing final scene in the series finale).

10.29.05, NEW YORK, New York— Darn. I always despair at headlines like this one:

"Magical realism on page is a little unreal on stage."
Rachel Breitman's panning of the theatrical adaptation of Aimee Bender’s story collection, The Girl in the Flammable Skirt, at WalkerSpace in New York isn't a criticism of Bender's genius as a storyteller, however, nor is it a harsh condemnation of Bridgette Dunlap's adaptation, as much as it's a familiar complaint about adaptations in general of complex storylines.

Let's face it. It's just plain hard to capture the nuances of magical realism in the more visual performance arts like theater. It's not as if it can't be done, but rather how to do it so that the audience, which brings its own experience and expectations to a performance, can grab onto those layers it understands and walk away with some level of satisfaction. Without the special effects of film at their behest, nor the intellectual symbology spelled out in a text, how can the stage effectively portray a story like "The Healer," for instance, which is brilliant and emotional, without relying heavily upon the theater of the mind?

As Breitman points out, "Bender’s stories are lyrical, bizarre, and delightful, but sometimes the movement from humor to pain, real to surreal, and child to adult on the page should have been dealt with differently onstage."

While the headline seems to befit a scathing criticism, Breitman's review is thoughtful and not nearly so judgmental. In the end, it seems that she's not faulting Dunlap for trying. Nor are we.

10.21.05, NEW YORK, New York — Antonio Pasolini's review of director and screenwriter Lucile Hadzihalilovic's Innocence should inspire American audiences to seek out this haunting film if? when? it's released on DVD. New Yorkers were able to see it on the screen this October when it was released on the 21st.

The storyline, based upon the 1888 short work by symbolist German writer Frank Wedekind, plumbs the depths of its title suggestion in the form of dramas encountered at a remote all-girl school where a new student arrives within the confines of a coffin, of all things. Spooky? You bet.

Hadzihalilovic, an emerging presence in French cinema, "managed to create a meticulous balance between fantasy/surrealism and reality in a film that moves like a dream but which is, all the same, naturalistic. Innocence is a beautifully woven fable tailored to the contemporary imagination populated by accumulated references. It is a very idiosyncratic work with one of the most beautiful and haunting opening credits scenes I've ever seen," writes Pasolini for London's film newsletter, The Filter.

Other reviews of the film depict it as slow or confusing, but also beautifully articulated and atmospheric. You might want to check out the film's home page to see if it's the film for you. We're certainly intrigued…

Posted by at 12:30 PM PST
Updated: 4 November 2005 12:32 PM PST
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3 November 2005
Topic: November 2005
Come check out the most recent interview with Margin publisher Tamara Kaye Sellman! This week's Writing it Real column includes the interview, conducted by editor Sheila Bender. We had a terrific time this fall chatting about Margin, publishing in online publications and discovering magical realism. If you get the chance, drop by the site! At the end, there's a place to offer your comments. Please give some feedback, if you're motivated.

Posted by at 2:11 PM PST
Updated: 4 November 2005 12:30 PM PST
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1 November 2005
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: November 2005

10.26.05, BOWLING GREEN, OhioPrairie Margins, the undergraduate literary journal of Bowling Green State University, was released on October 26 as part of an important unveiling. This particular edition is the first ever to feature work from all over the U.S..

The content of the new edition is rather diverse, reports coeditor-in-chief, Steven Barrie. “There is some stuff that seems really real, and there is some stuff that is like magical realism." See for yourself: Get your copy of Prairie Margins by e-mailing coeditor-in-chief Oleander Barber: debrab @

10.29.05, CALCUTTA, IndiaThe Telegraph reports that Indian filmmaker Aparna Sen is now ready, after a few copyright entanglements, to start production on Goynar Baksho, a magical realist film adapted from the Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay story of the same title.

“I have always loved this story," said the filmmaker. "It has a Marquezian feel, that kind of magic realism. It shows the changing position of women in our society through three generations, vis-a-vis the changing attitude of the women. I like the story because there is no pontification and it’s very light." The film, which will star both Aparna and her daughter, Konkona, will take on comedic overtones, she said.

10.30.05, SAN LUIS OBISPO, California—The Latino Outreach Council presented the 1959 film, "Macario," last Sunday as part of the "Cine sin Fronteras" ("Cinema without Borders") film festival, produced to honor the Day of the Dead along California's central coast.

"Macario," produced by cinematographer Gabriel Figueroa, is the classic tale of a Mexican man who fantasizes about having a roast turkey and who must confront God, death and the devil when he finally acquires his edible "grail."

Festival organizer Pedro Arroyo remarked of the film's theme, "You see it happen again and again: People gain a little wealth and power, and they squander it all." He contends that the film, with its magical realism, "has crossover appeal. I think anybody can relate."

10.31.05, DENVER, Colorado—Musical cult hero Reverend Adam Glasseye, a special contributor to the Denver Post, had this to say about Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children in a recent musing about the art that inspires him:

"Rushdie's telling of the modern history of India is so alive and frighteningly chaotic that even his most absurd magical realism resonates as truth."

10.31.05, MEDFORD, Oregon—Bhutan's first-ever homegrown feature film, Travelers and Magicians, opens at the Varsity Theatre on Friday, November 11.

Directed by Khyentse Norbu, a Rinpoche (reincarnated high llama) of Bhutanese Tibetan Buddhism, the film is described by film critics at The Medford News as a "magical mixture of rustic road movie and mystical fable...a potpourri of desire and its consequences, set in a breathtaking landscape." The film has received raves globally, including these words from Lee Marshall for Screen International, who describes Travelers and Magicians as a "Magic realist fable...Sweet and intriguing...A paean to the mountain kingdom's unhurried pace of life and stress on spiritual values."

Showings run 6:15 pm and 8:30 pm, and the film will run for at least one week. The opening will benefit the Ashland Independent Film Festival. Tickets are $7.25 general public and $5 for AIFF members, available now at the Varsity Theatre Box Office.

Posted by at 10:35 AM PST
Updated: 4 November 2005 12:33 PM PST
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Mood:  happy
Topic: November 2005

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Posted by at 9:18 AM PST
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