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Paper Chairs' Poor Herman
Elizabeth Doss' new play shows the literary lion Melville to be just like one of us
Arts Review  May 19, 2016, by Robert Faires
"...Well, it turns out that it was also the story of Herman Melville – yeah, the same guy your high school English teacher tried to convince you wrote the greatest American novel of all time. Maybe you didn't like that book about the white whale any more than the literary critics back in 1851 (in which case you may be grateful you weren't also subjected to Melville's sure-to-be-a-hit follow-up, Pierre: or the Ambiguities, a gothic sudser of New York society, decadent artists, and forbidden love of the brother-sister kind), but if you take a peek at Melville's life through the lens of Poor Herman, the latest from the theatrical adventurers in Paper Chairs, you may find yourself feeling a tad more sympathy toward the 19th-century author..."

Melville in Cubicle Hell
Tyro film director Jonathan Parker brings "Bartleby the Scrivener" back to the future. And who better to ride shotgun than freaky, geeky Crispin Glover?
Screens Story  June 14, 2002, by Sidney Moody
"...That's why tyro film director Jonathan Parker has scored such a coup by casting Glover as the peculiar titular character in Bartleby, Parker's modernization of Herman Melville's short story "Bartleby the Scrivener." (Bartleby screened at the 2001 South by Southwest Film Festival.) Bartleby wangles his way into a job as a law clerk only to decline to perform his duties with no explanation except that he would "prefer not to." His penchant for preferring not to eventually devolves into a catatonic stupor. Melville never delved into Bartleby's motivation -- or lack thereof -- and so Bartleby has become a literary Rorschach inkblot test to which every sort of philosophical and metaphysical speculation has been attached..."

In the Heart of the Sea
Ron Howard sets sails with that famous Nantucket whale story
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Film Review  December 11, 2015, by Marc Savlov
"...The unimaginable chain of catastrophic events that led to the destruction of the Nantucket-based whaling ship Essex in the Pacific Ocean in 1820 is the subject of Ron Howard’s new film. The real-life fate of Essex, her captain, and crew partly inspired Herman Melville to write Moby-Dick; or, the Whale in 1851..."

Pola X
Carax's follow-up to The Lovers on the Bridge is based on Herman Melville's novel Pierre, or the Ambiguities, and is rich in images and ideas. A man who shuffles between the houses of his mother and fiancée becomes involved with a woman who says she is his illegitimate sister.
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Film Review  October 27, 2000, by Marjorie Baumgarten
"...Eight years passed before Carax was ready in 1999 to try it again with Pola X. The film is based on Herman Melville's novel Pierre, or the Ambiguities (curiously, it's the book Melville wrote following the poor reception of his previous novel, Moby-Dick)..."

Bartleby
When a city records manager (Paymer) in search of a new clerk places a frank classified ad ("No benefits. Dull job. Vibrating workplace."), the perfect candidate appears: Bartleby (Glover), a...
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Film Review  June 14, 2002, by Marrit Ingman
"...Vibrating workplace."), the perfect candidate appears: Bartleby (Glover), a wan, stooped, glassy-eyed milquetoast who remains contentedly parked at his desk and apparently subsists on Handi-Snacks alone. In adapting Herman Melville's 1853 short story "Bartleby the Scrivener," debuting writer-director Parker (with co-scripter Catherine di Napoli) wisely moves the action from Wall Street to a behemoth office building on a precipice surrounded by a tangle of freeways (making it "completely inaccessible to pedestrians")..."

Beau Travail
Claire Denis' spare, ascetic film about a French Foreign Legionnaire in Northern Africa is deceptively dreamlike and stirring. It is a stunning work of beauty, mystery, contemplation, and grit.
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Film Review  July 28, 2000, by Marjorie Baumgarten
"...As mesmerizing as the images are, it is difficult to isolate their meaning. Denis' story is inspired by Herman Melville's Billy Budd..."

A Whale of a Tale Goes 21st Century
The Fuse Box Festival hosts a Herman Melville Hoot Nite
Screens Story  April 25, 2008, by Kimberley Jones


Moby's Play
Playwright Kirk Smith talks about trying to squeeze a great white whale into a tiny theatre with his adaptation of Moby Dick for Vortex Repertory Company's Summer Youth Theatre.
Arts Story  July 19, 2002, by Robert Faires
"...In 1997, Smith crafted that adaptation for Vortex Repertory Company's Summer Youth Theatre, where it proved stageworthy enough to be revived in a subsequent season. Now, he's returning to the Summer Youth Theatre with a new dramatic version of Herman Melville's masterpiece..."

Mixed Metaphors
These craft cocktails are for the books
Food Story  June 16, 2016, by Brandon Watson
"...Book: Moby Dick by Herman Melville..."

Invasion of the Kiddie-Lit Plays
Characters from children's literature storm Austin-area stages in July.
Arts Story  July 5, 2002, by Robert Faires
"...Moby Dick Vortex Repertory Company's Summer Youth Theatre stages the premiere of Kirk Smith's new adaptation of Herman Melville's novel, in which minimalist design and stylized movement take us aboard the Pequod as the mad Captain Ahab seeks the great white whale. Bonnie Cullum (The Music of Erica Zann) directs a cast of teenagers and adults, including Elizabeth Doss, Melville's great-great-great granddaughter, as Ishmael..."

(Untitled)
High art is both lampooned and championed in this knowing satire that stars the ever-eccentric Adam Goldberg.
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Film Review  November 6, 2009, by Marjorie Baumgarten
"...Still, Parker’s satire pulls its punches. He really seems to like and admire his characters, who are somewhat reminiscent of Crispin Glover in the titular role of the nonconformist Bartleby in Parker’s 2001 film rendition of the Herman Melville story..."

The Dying Gaul
Playwright and screenwriter Craig Lucas debuts as a director of his own material with this nasty little story about interpersonal deceptions and Hollywood ethics.
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Film Review  November 25, 2005, by Marjorie Baumgarten
"...By the end of the film, relationships have turned so corrosive that the characters leave an ugly aftertaste in the mind of the viewer. It’s only then that the Herman Melville quote that precedes the film begins to make sense: "Woe to him who sets out to please rather than appall." It suddenly seems clear that Lucas is referencing his own mission here rather than the travails of his characters..."

Billy Budd
With its exploration of men's actions in the midst of war, Herman Melville's Billy Budd could not be more timely and relevant, but while Mainline Theater Project's production is perfectly cast, poor artistic choices cause the show as a whole to fall flat.
Arts Review  November 15, 2002, by Barry Pineo
"...Good versus evil. Is there a more timeless theme in literature? On some level, it's played out in every story imaginable, and it is the essence of this Herman Melville tale, adapted for the stage by Louis O..."

Moby Dick
In Kirk Smith's stage adaptation of Moby Dick, language comes forth in great waves, in storms of words, soaking our brains with images of the sea, of a white whale, and of a mad captain's pursuit of it, and while the Vortex Repertory Company Summer Youth Theatre production may not always convey every nuance of every line, it does communicate the feel of a life at sea, danger and dread, and the roles played by Destiny and Death.
Arts Review  July 26, 2002, by Robert Faires
"...In Kirk Smith's adaptation of Herman Melville's masterwork, language comes at us in great waves, in storms of words, soaking our brains with images, not just of the sea but of Atlantic squalls and Nantucket chowderhouses, of berths below decks and masthead perches, of shark attacks and the devastation wreaked by a white whale on ships and sailors and a Captain Ahab, who lost a leg to the beast's "sickle-shaped jaw." All this comes to us through the dense, ornate language of the novel; it is the surging, living ocean on which this play moves. It is through language that we come to know the depth of Ahab's hatred for Moby Dick, through language that we absorb the terror that the whale inspires and the dread in the heart of the sailors Starbuck and Ishmael, through language that we feel the persistent chill of death on board Ahab's ship...."

Doug's First Movie
Doug Funnie is, in some respects, the Charlie Brown of the Nineties. Warmhearted, shy, and likable, he's frequently perplexed by the slings and arrows of adolescence, particularly when it comes...
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Film Review  March 26, 1999, by Steve Davis
"...Bluff, the town tycoon who owns the polluted body of water from which the creature came. (No doubt the name that they give to the monster -- Herman Melville -- will go over the heads of most of the movie's viewers, including some of the adults in the audience.) There's also a more traditional subplot about Doug's frustrated attempts to woo Patti away from the clutches of an obnoxious upperclassman in time for the Valentine Day's dance..."

Elizabeth Crook’s The Which Way Tree
Chasing revenge on the Texas frontier in this remarkable new novel from the author of Monday, Monday
Arts Story  March 8, 2018, by Robert Faires
"...It's a name that, like the flame imagined in the panther's eyes, suggests a thing out of hell, and Crook has fittingly fashioned a figure hellbent on exterminating it. Sam, the scrawny 12-year-old daughter of a former slave and a white man, is about as far as you can get physically from Melville's Ahab, but in her fierce temperament and single-minded resolve to revenge herself on the beast that scarred her – no matter the danger to herself or anyone else – she is the captain's match..."

Mastodon
Record review
Music Review  September 10, 2004, by Raoul Hernandez
"..."Chief among these motives was the overwhelming idea of the great whale himself," wrote Herman Melville in Moby Dick 155 years ago. "Such a portentous and mysterious monster roused all my curiosity." When Clutch's Neil Fallon bellows "white whale, holy grail" amidst the perfect shitstorm of opener "Blood and Thunder," there she blows, Leviathan, "one grand hooded phantom, like a snow hill in the air," wrote Melville..."

SXSW Film Reviews
One can safely assume that Herman Melville never imagined the title character of his dark tale "Bartleby the Scrivener" in an episode of The Drew Carey Show.
Screens Story  March 16, 2001, by Robert Faires
"...One can safely assume that Herman Melville never imagined the title character of his dark tale "Bartleby the Scrivener" in an episode of The Drew Carey Show. But in this updated adaptation, Melville's enigmatic clerk wanders into an office that's standard-issue sitcom, replete with mustard yellow walls, avocado green filing cabinets, and "kooky" co-workers: the sexpot secretary (a slinky Headley), the beefy stud (Piscopo, a cross between an aging Jerry Lewis and a thuggish Sinatra), and the lumpish klutz (a hapless Chaykin)..."

Office Space
Mike Judge's overlooked gem Office Space.
Screens Review  September 17, 1999, by Louis Black
"...We both admitted to having watched it several times in the last few weeks. In Herman Melville's short story "Bartleby the Scrivener," when a clerk is fired, he refuses to leave..."

Letters at 3AM
Freedom is beautiful and dangerous: That has been the theme of American writers since the beginning
Columns  May 11, 2007, by Michael Ventura
"...Then excerpts of Moby-Dick, Herman Melville (1819-1891). He says it's chaos out there!..."

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