Nick Otten | St. Louis Public Radio

Nick Otten

Nick Otten

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The new movie of "The Great Gatsby" is not the worst version you'll see and it's not likely to be the last. But "The Great Gatsby" was not an instant classic.

The story did not take America by storm in 1925 when published. The book had some brief success but then languished for several decades. After the brutal combination of the Great Depression first and then World War II besides, people began to look back and wonder, “What were we thinking?”  — and that's when the story really began to take root.

Award-winning novelist and former St. Louisan Jonathan Franzen is a hot topic in the media world — again.

The “Gorky Park” series gave Martin Cruz Smith the “overnight success” label that's reserved for those who have been toiling in his field for years. “Gorky Park,” which the author sold for $1 million in 1981, was called by Time magazine the “thriller of the ’80s,” and was made into a successful movie two years later.

Smith will discuss and sign his new novel, “Three Stations,” at St. Louis County Library Headquarters on Sept. 13. This is the latest in the heralded series of seven murder mysteries that feature Senior Investigator Arkady Renko of Moscow.

SLIFF: '1000 Journals'

Nov 20, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: November 20, 2008 - This charming, easygoing documentary recounts the development of a quiet project that started in San Francisco with a young man self-named Someguy.

In the summer of 2000, he decided to circulate 1,000 blank journals that he had personally decorated with individual covers. He placed them in public places, obvious and odd, and invited people to use them, share them, pass them all around, and send them back when full. He also put up a website (www.1000journals.com ) and tried to keep track of the results.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: November 18, 2008 - The Fish Fall in Love -In my experience, movies built on the importance of making good food are likely to have some serious soul. Think back to Ang Lee's Eat Drink Man Woman (1994) and Stanley Tucci's Big Night (1996) and Germany's Bella Martha (2001). You can add this movie to that list.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 21, 2008 - I recently had the idea that used books might sell better during an economic downturn. So, over the summer, I went poking into used bookstores, asking questions, especially whether sales are up. Mostly, I stayed in the central/south/west corridor of St. Louis and St. Louis County.

Meredith, Cece and Justin Harris 300 px;s 2008
Provided by the Harris family | St. Louis Beacon archive

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The Harris family has decided to move.

Justin and Meredith Harris and baby Cecilia are leaving New Orleans. They will soon put their dog into a rented truck with all their possessions and move from their traditional home in Uptown to a ranch house in Glendale in St. Louis County.

The Harris family has decided to move.

Justin and Meredith Harris and baby Cecilia are leaving New Orleans. They will soon put their dog into a rented truck with all their possessions and move from their traditional home in Uptown to a ranch house in Glendale in St. Louis County.

Fun in a Photo booth

Courtesy of the family

Meredith, Cece & Justin Harris

Nick's List -- May 19

May 17, 2008

Notes to Readers:

I see in retrospect that I have somewhat overused the term “eye-popping” to describe movies. I will give that one a rest.

Silent movies aren't

May 9, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon:  Some people hate silent movies even more than subtitled foreign movies. The problem they have in common is the reading requirement. In a foreign movie, you can’t watch the action while you read the bottom of the screen. If they talk much or too fast, you know the translation will be simplistic and probably “cleaned up.”

Nick's List -- May 5

May 3, 2008

Welcome back to Nick's exploration of books and movies. Remember the list is presented with the most recent one first. To read earlier lists, click on March , April 28 or April 21 .

 

Movie 40

The General
(Buster Keaton & Clyde Bruckman, 1927, silent, b&w, 75 m.)