Daily Archives: December 31, 2013

The Luncheon Society-NY/Andrew Blum on “Tubes: A Journey to the center of the Internet.”/Blue Water Grill/2.20.13

Tubes coverThe Luncheon Society kicked off its New York gatherings with Andrew Blum, the author of “Tubes, A Journey to the center of the Internet.”

Last year, I found myself listening to a Terry Gross interview with Andrew and it was a wonderful and enlightening conversation about the mechanics of the internet, something we take for granted but cannot explain how it works.

It just is.   Watch his TED talk on the Internet to get an idea about the platform of “old fashioness” that drives our modern communications.

The title comes from a quote from former Alaska Senator Ted Stevens, who believed that  the internet was comprised of a whole bunch of “tubes.”  While he was ridiculed at the time, Andrew Blum essentially confirms Stevens assessment.  Beneath the internet protocols, the fiber optic relays, and whatever else is down there that nobody understands, he essentially got it right.

Here is the book jacket synopsis:  “When your Internet cable leaves your living room where does it go?

Andrew BlumAlmost everything about our day-to-day lives—and the broader scheme of human culture—can be found on the Internet. But what is it physically? And where is it really? Our mental map of the network is as blank as the map of the ocean that Columbus carried on his first voyages. The Internet, its material nuts and bolts, is an unexplored territory. Until now. Continue reading

The Luncheon Society-LA/Tere Tereba on “Mickey Cohen: The Life”/Napa Valley Grille/1.26.13

mickey-cohen-resize

It is always great to support a member of The Luncheon Society when they have a book that comes out to well-deserved acclaim.  Such was the case of Tere Tereba, who we first met several years ago at a TLS gathering in Santa Monica at Mimi’s—a restaurant that is long-missed for its bungalow style rooms as wonderful owner—where she was the longtime companion of Jerry Leiber, of Leiber and Stoller.

Tere TerebaFor us, Mickey Cohen is still one of the great mysteries of the underworld and films of the days focused on the five families of New York and often turned a blind eye to what was going on in their own backyards—for good reason.  Unlike the fictional version portrayed by Sean Penn in Gangster Squad, the real Mickey Cohen was a far more complex figure, who operated and socialized on many levels.

Her book jacket synopsis gives you a good background of what her book is all about.

“Mickey Cohen: The Life and Times of LA’s Notorious Mobster” is a seductive, premium octane blend of true crime and Hollywood lore that spins around a wildly eccentric mob boss.  When Bugsy Segal was executed, ruthless Mickey Cohen a former pro boxer and cunning provocateur, took over the criminal activity in LA, a move sanctioned by Meyer Lansky and frank Costello.  Attaining immense power and dominance from the late 1940’s until the 1976, the semi-literate Angelino became an above –the-fold-newspaper name, accumulating 1,000 front pages in Los Angeles papers alone, and hundreds of articles in national and international periodicals. Continue reading

The Luncheon Society–SF/Richard Schickel on Steven Spielberg/1.15.13/Palio d’Asti

SpielbergFilm has long played a paramount role with The Luncheon Society.  This year, we were pleased that Richard Schickel joined The Luncheon Society for another great gathering, this time to talk about his retrospective on Steven Spielberg.

Schickel’s books remind readers of a more glamorous time in Hollywood because they are these large glossy endeavors that draw the reader into a great film story.

Schickel has a deft touch of capturing the full arc of a creative life and nobody knows the inner working of the studios (especially Warner Brothers where he created the well-received documentary “You Must Remember This.”) and I am pleased to have gotten to know him over the years.

We gave lost couSchickelnt on the number of books Richard Schickel has written over the years and we believe that the number is somewhere north of 40.  He has been equally prodigious in creating documentary films and commentary for DVD’s, a market which has sadly crashed in this Netflix era. Some of the books, like that of Bette Davis, look back at one of the giants of Hollywood, who kept acting long after she outlived most of her rivals. Others, like Schickel’s “Conversations with Scorsese,” breaks each of his films into a series on in-depth conversations between the subject and author.  It represents the sum total of an artist’s progress and each film has its own chapter. Continue reading