Uncle Bardie’s Spotlight Creator: Norman Mailer

Once a week on Friday, Uncle Bardie celebrates the creativity in others by shining a Spotlight on a movie or a creator. This week’s Spotlight Creator is Norman Mailer:

Here he is interviewed by the conservative icon, William F. Buckley. It’s too bad we can’t have such a respectful discussion between liberals and conservatives these days.

In the 1950s, many proclaimed Norman Mailer as the great American novelist, the successor of Ernest Hemingway. His career began with The Naked and the Dead (1948). During the 1950s, he struggled to write a successor that would live up to that first novel’s potential. But still the critics hoped. Unfortunately he was not Hemingway. He was Norman Mailer.

Then he took on the establishment and his persona grew and grew until he seemed to be everywhere. It made some wonder when he had time to write. It got to the point where it seemed that when Norman Mailer farted, the world stood up and applauded. Then he turned to non-fiction and journalism.

His Armies of the Night (1968) won the Pulitzer Prize. Between that book and his masterpiece, The Executioner’s Song (1979), for which he won his second Pulitzer, he wrote several journalistic works like Of A Fire on the Moon (1971) and The Fight (1975). He seemed to have found his subject, American society in the last half of the twentieth century as seen by Norman Mailer.

Norman Mailer was accused of being a misogynist. He found it easy to get into a fight. His personality was that of a brawler. Of all the writers who came out of the World War II generation, Norman Mailer seems to have the potential to become that which he dreamed of most, the great American novelist. With only a few exceptions, he fell short. It seemed like much of his life he was in search of a subject. And such a struggle it was. But always there was his ego.

For writers and artists, Mailer can be a warning. Never let your ego get in the way of your art. But one thing that Mailer reminds all of us about. Words matter, and writers matter. We forget that at our own risk. They tell us things we don’t want to hear. They tell us the truth. If for no other reason, that’s why Norman Mailer matters.

And here is Mailer’s legacy to his fellow writers:

Uncle Bardie’s Spotlight Creator: Pure Boogie

Once a week on Friday, Uncle Bardie celebrates the creativity in others by shining a Spotlight on a movie, a song or a creator. This week’s Spotlight Creator is no other than the boogiest, the woogiest of bands,  Little Feat:

Wanna boogie? Wanna get down? Well, I got the band for you. Little Feat, led by Lowell George, was one of those bands that made the seventies a fun place. They didn’t have an ounce of glamrock or disco in their bones. They just played the heck out of rock ‘n’ roll and stirred in some funk, some boogie, some blues, some gospel, some country and made it stand up on its head and rock. They might be an L.A. band but they could do Southern Rock as if they had drunk from the Mother of Rivers.

So check out and enjoy Lowell George and Little Feat. This is what boogie sounds like when it gets together with its old friend woogie.

Uncle Bardie’s Spotlight Creator: The Florida Folk Festival

Once a week on Friday, Uncle Bardie celebrates the creativity in others by shining a Spotlight on a movie, a song or a creator. This week’s Spotlight Creator is the art and artists of the Florida Folk Festival:

Once a year on Memorial Day Weekend, many Floridans bring their families to the Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park for the Florida Folk Festival. This family affair is a heck of a get together on the banks of the Suwannee. Not only does it feature some great music and musicians. It also features much of the food and culture of the Sunshine State. Everything from folk dancing to circus culture to medicine shows to puppetry can be seen at the Festival. Every year is a different experience.

Rachel Grubb