Bob Dylan opted to blow off the Nobel Prize for Literature awards ceremony in Sweden this weekend, instead opting to have Azita Raji, the U.S. Ambassador in Sweden, read a speech that he composed (And no, I had never heard of our ambassador to Sweden until I looked it up this weekend).
Among those who care about this prestigious award, there has been some criticism about awarding a songwriter, and not a novelist or poet.
The Swedish Academy defended its decision to extend the award to a genre such as folk music. Speaking at the dinner, Professor Horace Engdahl of the Swedish Academy, a literary critic, said the choice “seemed daring only beforehand and already seems obvious.”
There are those who thought if the Swedes were going to award an American literary hero who is still around to accept the honor, it should have been Philip Roth or Don DeLillo, who are 83 and 80, respectively.
DeLillo is still at it, by the way, and while his latter day works may never have the impact of 1997’s “Underworld,” he still provokes in “Zero K,” which was published this spring.
Somebody who did actually attend an awards ceremony this weekend was Madonna, was gave a fiercely emotional speech at the Billboard Women in Music 2016 event that touched on feminism, sexism and ageism.
“I think the most controversial thing I have ever done is to stick around,” she explained. “Michael is gone. Tupac is gone. Prince is gone. Whitney is gone. Amy Winehouse is gone. David Bowie is gone. But I’m still standing. I’m one of the lucky ones and every day I count my blessings.”
Speaking of Prince, if you were a fan of His Royal Badness, please do read this piece in the new GQ, which features some of some of his closest friends sharing their favorite personal anecdotes about the man.
Sticking with Arts & Culture events from this weekend, some of Hollywood’s best films of the year are now coming out steadily as we approach Christmas, and two Oscar friendly releases hit theaters in Tampa Bay this weekend: “Noctural Animals and “Manchester by the Sea.”
The latter will undoubtedly reap multiple nominations, as it depicts how a man deals with an unbelievable human tragedy.
The film is getting much love everywhere, but not from Samuel L. Jackson.
“The politics of what happens during this time of year is very interesting in Hollywood,” he in Dubai last weekend,according to the Wrap. “The movies they choose to say are amazing and great, you know — ‘Manchester by the Sea,’ oh my god, you must see it, it’s an amazing film!’ But, ehh, I guess it is — to somebody.”
“It’s not an inclusive film, you know what I mean?” Jackson continued. “And I’m sure that ‘Moonlight’ will be thought of the same way. They’ll say, ‘Well, that’s a black movie. Where are the white people?’ We’ll say the same thing about ‘Manchester by the Sea.’”
For the record, I saw the much acclaimed “Moonlight” a few weeks ago, and observed some young back teens leave the theater when there was just a hint of some man-on-man action.
“Nocturnal Animals” is fashion designer Tom Ford’s second feature, and it is mesmerizing (though extremely violent at times in a “Straw Dogs” sort of way ). But the first two minutes of the film – I guess a commentary on what we beautiful – is going to challenge most audiences with his slow motion shots of corpulent nude women dancing. It is something, for better or worse, you’ll never forget.
In other news..
The Pinellas County Republican and Democratic Executive Committees vote in the local party elections tonight, but all the candidates (up to now) are running unopposed.
In perhaps his last act in Congress, Alan Grayson filed a bill on Friday in the name of the late Andrew Joseph III, the 14-year-old black youth who was killed crossing I-4 after Hillsborough County sheriff deputies released him after detaining him and other students from the Florida State Fair in February of 2014.
And we take one last look at what happened in the Tampa City Council District 7 race that saw Luis Viera beat Jim Davison by one point last week.