Happy New Year!

Screen Shot 2014-12-31 at 11.53.39 AMAnd alas we have reached the end of another year. I hope your 2014 was a smashing success. Here in Hollywood, this year saw the publication of my first book, Across the Bloody Chasm and the launch of my monthly web-journal, The Americanist Independent. I guess I could say that 2014 was a spectacular year.

What’s on the agenda for 2015? Well, I’ve got an essay coming up in a book on the 1864 Overland Campaign edited by Caroline E. Janney and Gary W. Gallagher – it should be out in spring. And of course the journal is still on point. Also, I am working on a book tentatively titled, An American Racist: D. W. Griffith and the Making of the Birth of a Nation. I hope to have it done by summer. Expect some surprises.

I wish you all the very best in the upcoming year! My advice: strive for excellence, do something exceptional, and kick some serious ass.

With compliments,

Keith

The Americanist Independent Volume One, Issue Seven

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Good day to you all!

I am pleased to announce that the January issue of The Americanist Independent is live and available for your perusal. Just click HERE. The subscriptions are free (naturally). If you are not already a subscriber – not to worry, you will be prompted to sign on.

Check out what’s up for this month!

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That should keep you busy for a day or so!

With compliments,

Keith

 

 

 

Digital

Screen Shot 2014-12-22 at 10.05.33 AMI am happy to announce that my book is now available for digital download at Amazon. Just go HERE and click on the Kindle tab and there you go – for those of you who can’t be bothered with physical books… I give you twenty-first century reading pleasure. And, I might add, you get a pretty decent preview of the book to peruse before you make the purchase.

Happy reading!

With compliments,

Keith

The Beginning of the End of Art

Screen Shot 2014-12-19 at 10.12.14 AMWhile I am hardly the first person to lament the unfortunate course of recent events in the entertainment industry concerning the film, The Interview, I do feel I should go on record. It’s over – or it soon will be anyway.

Free expression in this country is doomed.

Members of the entertainment industry – exhibitors, distributors, and studio executives have caved to threats.

And for what? A Seth Rogen/James Franco film? Threats from North Korea?  Give me a break. The free world has been staring down its rocket launchers at the North Koreans since the 1950s and it is going to take a movie to provoke an international incident? All due props to Rogen and Franco – but we’re talking about satire here.

Let’s be clear. I am not jumping on board with the ever-so-trite “now the terrorists win” crowd. Nor am I joining in with the glazed-over jingoistic flag raisers. What I am saying is that the decision to pull The Interview from theaters is tantamount to censorship.

The precedent, my friends, has been irrevocably set. And so now whenever anything offends anyone at anytime all they have to do is make some threats and well…there you have it. What has happened to us? Will this now lead to government censorship? Corporate censorship? Self censorship? It’s all fair game.

So here is my response to all involved in pulling this film: STICK IT.

Art exists to challenge, to push boundaries, to inspire. It exists so individuals can freely express whatever they want – be it offensive or not. It even exists to make people angry. And trust me, every artistic endeavor contains within it a little something to upset everybody. So I guess we’re done now. It’s ruined. Now every artist will have to consider whether or not his or her work will ever reach the public – for fear of its potential to incite…something that might put someone off.

And if you think this stops with art…well guess again. Your intellectual freedom is next on the chopping block.

But of course, I’m not entirely ruling out the possibility that this whole thing is just a clever ruse undertaken by Sony to drum up interest for a film. If that’s the case…good one. Subterfuge, I like it.

With compliments,

Keith

 

In Search of the Knickerbocker

Screen Shot 2014-12-18 at 12.53.57 PMAs part of my effort to understand what made film maker D. W. Griffith tick, I wanted to pay a visit to his last residence: The Knickerbocker Hotel in Hollywood. The hotel, located on Ivar Street just north of Hollywood Blvd, has something of a storied past. It is rumored that Marilyn Monroe met Joe DiMaggio at the hotel bar,  the same bar that Rudolph Valentino had regularly imbibed before his untimely death, Elvis Presley stayed there while in town making Love Me Tender, William Frawley suffered a massive heart attack walking down Hollywood Blvd and then died in the lobby, Irene Lentz jumped to her death from her 11th story window – distraught over the death of Gary Cooper, and alas, D. W. Griffith suffered a cerebral Screen Shot 2014-12-18 at 12.54.11 PMhemorrhage and died after being discover unconscious in the lobby.  By the 1970s, the luster had faded from the hotel facade – both figuratively and literally. Today it is a retirement home – apparently, for Russian senior citizens.

I went for a visit today and could not get in. Residents only. But I hear there is a plaque inside honoring Griffith, so plan B is to contact the manager and see if I can get a personal tour. Wish me luck!

With compliments,

Keith