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Friday Morning Roundup

by Stephen Becker 20 May 2011 7:54 AM

Today in the roundup: Gary Shteyngart on the decline of books, Barry Whistler on 25 years in the biz and a show’s long, long road to New York.


THEATER OF THE ABSURD: In author Gary Shteyngart’s latest book, Super Sad True Love Story, he envisions a not-too-distant future in which people wear devices around their necks that provide them with constant updates and books are pretty much a thing of the past. “They’re no longer a central part of our culture,” Shteyngart tells ahead of his appearance tonight at Arts & Letters Live. “A very vociferous group of book aficionados are very serious. They love books. When I go around the country on these tours I’m amazed at how many people show up, which is great. But we are a minority.” Shteyngart is known for his absurdist humor – he even wrote a book called Absurdistan. For a taste of that humor, check out the trailer created for Super Sad True Love Story, in which James Franco (a student of Shteyngart’s at Columbia) makes an appearance. You’ll find out that the author is free of influences because he actually doesn’t know how to read. Definitely worth your 4:42.

GOING ALL THE WAY: How long does it take to get a show to New York? If you’re Douglas Carter Beane, who wrote the Dallas Theater Center-produced Give it Up!, about a year. The show, now called Lysistrata Jones, will open next month. But if you’re Willard Beckham, it takes a wee bit longer. His musical, Lucky Guy, gets a favorable review today in The New York Times. And Jerome informs me that it debuted at the old Snider Plaza Theatre in Dallas in 1987. Now THAT’s persistence. Or patience.

QUOTABLE: “There may be somebody that you are like ‘I don’t care, I like this work,’ and maybe you don’t sell it – but you can’t do that with half of your stable. But maybe sometimes you can take some of those chances, and maybe with time take more of those chances.”

Barry Whistler, who is celebrating his 25th year as a gallery owner this year, in an interview with Front Row.