Jamie Marks is Dead released!

Last night I had the pleasure of watching Jamie Marks is Dead, the movie based on my first novel, One for Sorrow, in Cleveland, Ohio, with a bunch of friends and family. It was so good to finally have others who I’m close to, people from my community, see it as well. Before it had felt a little bit like Big Bird’s relationship with Mr. Snuffleupagus. No, really, there is a movie out there adapted from my novel! It’s not just imaginary!

Here is me and the director/screenwriter, Carter Smith, who made a surprise guest appearance to do Q&A with me after the screening.

Me and Carter

The film debuted as one of sixteen competitors in the dramatic category at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. From there it went on to screen this past summer at Newfest in NYC and Outfest in LA. Now it’s in a limited theatrical release in major cities, as well as also available on video on demand platforms.

Here are the cities where it’s playing:

10641007_1521307461417550_6496635317705134221_n 

And here are the video on demand platforms where you can purchase it or rent it to watch in your own home:

I hope as many of you out there as possible can watch it too. It’s really a dream of a film. I mean that. It feels like a dream, or a nightmare, that you wake up from more than a conventional film. When the Washington Post reviewed my novel when it first came out, they said, “Traveling through this story with Adam is like a nightmare, but the kind that fascinates you so deeply that when you wake up, you grab the first person you see and tell him about it.” The film feels that way to me too. So I hope you enjoy the pleasures of dream logic. 

The New York Times recently reviewed the film incredibly favorably. I hope you find it as fascinating as others are finding it. 

Advertisements

One for Sorrow AKA Jamie Marks is Dead

I have good news at the end of 2012. My novel One for Sorrow‘s film rights have officially been sold, and filming will begin shortly in the new year, from what I understand. This has been a long-term project for the director/script writer and the production company he has assembled since he first optioned the rights several years ago. To be honest, most book-to-film options never come to fruition, and I knew that from the beginning, so I never got my hopes up that I’d see my book truly made into a movie, and remained grateful just that there was someone out there who had read the book and resonated with it so greatly that he went so far as to pay money to option the right to make it, and to continue renewing the option until he had a production company in place to make it happen. Now, I’m kind of dumbfounded that it’s really going forward.

Here’s what I can tell you so far:

imgres
The director and script writer is the really well known fashion photographer Carter Smith. On top of fashion photography, he’s also a filmmaker who won a Sundance Film Festival Award for Best Short Film in 2007, for a film called Bug Crush. After that short film, he directed his first feature length film in 2008 called The Ruins, based on the novel by Scott Smith, for DreamWorks.

 

imgres-1Hunting Lane Films, from what I understand, will be producing the film version of One for Sorrow.  They’ve done movies like Half Nelson and Blue Valentine most recently.  The executive producer on the film is John Logan, who wrote the script for movies like Hugo, Any Given Sunday, and Gladiator (!!!), who also won the 2010 Tony Award for Best Play for Red, the Broadway play about painter Mark Rothko.

With a crew like this, I feel like the book is in good hands.

They are most likely going to change the title, however, to Jamie Marks is Dead .  There will also be some slight changes to the novel’s version of the story, but a film based on a novel is never the same thing as a novel–they’re adaptations–so I’m looking forward to seeing how the story of Adam McCormick and Jamie Marks and Gracie Highsmith plays out in this film version of the book.

I’m not sure who all they have cast yet, but I’ve been privy to hearing about possibles, and if I can ever confirm who will be in it for my readers, I’ll be certain to update here on my website as soon as I can.

However, I’ve been shown auditions by some of the hopefuls, which were incredible, and have also seen what seems like thousands of photos from location scouting. It seems they’ll be filming in several different upstate New York locations, small towns and rural villages around the Sleepy Hollow area, which somehow seems appropriate, this being a ghost story and all.

This has been something I’ve been sitting on for so long now, so I’m really excited to finally be able to announce it! I can’t wait to see what Carter makes of my story. It will be interesting and fun to be in the reader/viewer’s seat in these circumstances.

2013, here we come!

Map for a Forgotten Valley and 631

Dear Locals (and those traveling nearby) who will be around Youngstown on February 15th.  I am giving a reading from my series of creative nonfiction vignettes called “Map for a Forgotten Valley”, along with a showing of Derek Jones’ short film “631”.  Here is a blurb of what the evening will look like.  Please click on the image to make it larger.

 

Please come, listen, watch, speak.

Also, the image of the feral house on this flyer was taken by Tony Romandetti, photographer extraordinaire. 😉

Another piece of the map

For those of you who may have read the vignettes in Map for a Forgotten Valley that I published last month, another piece of that map has recently been published by Muse, a Cleveland magazine.  You can read the whole issue of Muse by visiting their website and downloading the pdf of the issue.  Along with my story, “The B&O, Crossroads of Time and Space,” the poet Nin Andrews has interviewed me for the issue as well.

Here’s a link to Muse.

And here’s a direct link to Muse 12 JAN11.

Thanks for reading!

Map for a Forgotten Valley

As promised in earlier posts, my series of lyrical essayistic vignettes, Map for a Forgotten Valley, are now available to be read online at The New Haven Review.

I’m interested to see what readers might make of these dispatches on place, environment, history and local culture.  It’s a very different type of writing I’ve done in these pieces, and I found different muscles engaged while writing them than I usually use for fiction.  It was a good experience, and I’d like to write more of them, to continue writing in this series occasionally.  There is one other vignette in the series soon to be published in Muse, a Cleveland magazine.  I’ll post info on that one when it becomes available too.

The New Haven Review can be found by clicking here.

But you can click right to the pdf file of my pieces by clicking this link too.

Happy Holidays.

Introducing “jenny”

“jenny” is something my students in the Literary Arts Association at YSU have been busily preparing as a new online literary magazine.  This is a radically energetic and creative group of students, and I’m really proud to be working with them as they put together something new and electric like this.  Please take a look at the site preview.  The debut party will be on November 24th at 7PM at Dorian Books in Youngstown, OH.  Details on the front page of the “jenny” magazine site itself.  If you’re around the area, please join us.  And if you’re not, please give the magazine a read when it debuts and consider sending your own work in the meantime!

–Chris

Dear Friends,

Youngstown State University’s Student Literary Arts Association is proud to invite you to submit work to our new online literary magazine: Jenny.

Allow us a moment to explain the title of our venture.

Like many struggling postindustrial cities across the country, Youngstown, Ohio is a place defined by images of ruin and rust, and there are few images more striking than that of the Jeannette Blast Furnace. “Jenny,” as plant workers called her and as Bruce Springsteen referred to her in his 1995 song “Youngstown,” was one of two furnaces located at Youngstown Sheet and Tube. It was a place where things were made, shaped, created.

The blast furnace was shut down in the late 1970s and was demolished in 1996. Steel was one of many industries that left this region built on manufacturing in the last four decades of our history. While the absence of our blast furnaces has been felt in terrible ways throughout our region, our fire has not gone out. In the aftermath of de-industrialization, we are not a people without industry. Youngstown is not done creating, not done making. We are each of us, every day, telling stories. Here in the pages of Jenny, we aim to display some of those artifacts made by wordsmiths and visual artists alike.

Jenny will publish short fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, and interviews with artists and writers. We hope to bring together writers and artists both from the local region as well as the wider world, connecting our stories with yours, yours with ours here in America’s heartland and America’s rustbelt. Submissions do not have to be set in Youngstown, or in rustbelt or postindustrial settings at all, though we do encourage writing and art that speaks to that experience.

Jenny will appear twice a year, in late fall and spring. We will be publishing 5-7 pieces of fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry per issue. We ask that prose not exceed 7,000 words (preferably 5000 or under), and that poetry submissions not exceed 5 pages (or 5 poems).

Each issue will also include a featured artist. If you are interested in being a featured artist, please contact us with a proposed series of images or photographs.

Along with writing and art, we will also feature interviews with authors and artists, and podcasts of selected stories and poems.

Please direct all submissions and questions to ysujenny@gmail.com. Please submit all work as an attachment in .doc or .rtf format. Deadline for the Fall issue is October 29th. If your submission arrives after that, we will consider it for our Spring issue, the deadline for which is April 2nd.

We look forward to your contributions.

Sincerely,

YSU SLAA (Student Literary Arts Association)

Best Beer Store in the World

Hello, World.  Did you know a Youngstown area retailer/pub is rated the best beer store in the world?  I didn’t until today, when my friend Peter Oresick sent me this link to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s article about Vintage Estates, which is just over the border of Youngstown in Boardman, one of the suburbs.  I certainly knew that it was one of the best places I’ve been to, but didn’t realize it was top in the world.  It’s a cool place: carryout store on one side, with every beer and wine imaginable, along with other kinds of alcohol like mead and various blends of sake.  The other half is a tasting pub, with some of the best pizzas I’ve ever eaten.

So, out of town friends, if you’re around these parts in the future, hit me up.  I’ll take you for a visit.  It’s definitely worth it.

Oakland Open House

For local readers:

The Oakland Center for the Arts announces its third annual Free Open House and Season Announcement Party on Saturday, August 29, from 6:00-9:00 pm. Hosted by the Oakland Board, the Open House is a chance for the community to get to know their community theater better. Free food, wine, punch, and beverages will be offered in the Star Gallery, where a retrospective of posters from 23 years of past productions will be highlighted. Attendees will also be treated to a preview of show selections highlighting the upcoming season.

The Oakland is celebrating their tenth season at the Boardman Street location with a bang! The 2009-2010 Season will be previewed live on stage, featuring local actors and a roster of up and coming directors including Robert Dennick Joki, Alexandra “Sandy” Vansuch, Christopher Fidram, Dr. John Cox, Shawn Lockaton, and Nathan Beagle. Local actor and media personality Brandy Johanntges will host.

The cast of The Great American Trailer Park Musical will reprise a selection from its recent sold-out smash hit production. Also making an appearance will be the cast of Rent, Jr., which will mark the premiere of the much-loved musical in the Mahoning Valley. Other plays which will be highlighted include Sandy Vansuch’s original one-woman show Love, Ludmilla; The Rocky Horror Show, which returns to the Oakland stage with a totally new look; the Oakland’s annual holiday fundraiser How The Drag Queen Stole Christmas; Dinner with Friends; An Adult Evening with Shel Silverstein; Wit; and Back of the Throat.

Never been to the Oakland but dying to find out what all the fuss is about? Stayed away for years and ready to come back? Been a loyal supporter since the Oakland was on Mahoning? The Open House is our way of welcoming, renewing, and saying thanks to our friends and family who keep us afloat. Stop by, grab a bite, take in a show, and meet some new friends. Flexpasses will be for sale all night with drawings for free tickets occurring on the hour.

The Oakland is located at 220 W. Boardman St. in downtown Youngstown. For more information, please visit oaklandcenter.com or follow oaklandcenter on twitter, facebook, or myspace.

A small taste of America in decline

An interactive segmented video about my home region’s loss of industry over the past thirty years, and how it may now lose its very last major manufacturer in GM.  It’s very well made, though a sad reality, and one that is now in the new century becoming the reality of more and more communities in America.  If you want to know what loss of economic foundations look like, watch this small portrait.  There are other documentaries I’ve watched that give bigger pictures, but this is a small taste of America in decline.

To watch it, click here.

The Dreamer

Okay, okay, I babble on about my home city–small, cranky and rusty as it is, I love it, as a person should love and care for anything they feel is theirs in some way, as a home is–but sometimes I fall silent about it on my blog for long periods because even I get sick of my own obsession and passion for it.  Today, though, I’m slapping a picture on the blog that made me very happy when I saw it:

IMG_6138

I’m not a business person, but I’m more than happy to see that this old town that hasn’t know what to do with itself since the mills left it three decades ago is finally finding its feet again.  Sure, it’s the beginning of something, and there’s a lot to wince at and flinch about on the ground in Youngstown, but beginnings are better than endings, which we’ve had enough of here for the past thirty years.  I love how the subtitle of this month’s Entrepreneur is questioning, curious, and knowing that it will be a surprise to people who pay attention to cities like this and their histories.  And when you open the magazine and see how the magazine has classified or typified Youngstown, it’s called “The Dreamer”.  Which is appropriate.  And makes me feel that being here is appropriate.

I Will Shout Youngstown has actual things to say about it, though, so you can follow up there if you’re interested.