HBO Films’ long-in-the-works Deadwood movie has begun production 12 years after the end of the premium network’s Emmy-winning Western series from David Milch. Most of that original cast is returning for the film, which takes place 10 years after the events of the series that ran three seasons from 2004-2006.
That oughta make a whole lotta cocksuckers happy.
The horrific fires in California have taken out an iconic Western set.
The historic Western town area at Paramount Ranch in Agoura Hills, Calif., where productions including “Westworld” have shot, burned down Friday in the Woolsey fire, according to the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation area’s Twitter feed.
The set was also used for the photo shoot for the Eagles’ Desperado concept album.
That’s just one small piece of heartbreak piled on a tragic toll of lives and property….
On a cheerier note, Marilyn and I attended a rousing barn party in Sweet Home Saturday night. Classic west-side Oregon farm country, lorded over by an immense and majestic Douglas fir tree. Lovely place. I caught Meriadoc Brandybuck and Peregrin Took up to their usual mischief in the barn. Had to take action.
The Grey Bastards is worthy. A real hoot of a ripping yarn. Closer in action and themes to a Western than to traditional fantasy. My next read in my just-read-a-novel-dammit program will by Bone Rattler by Eliot Pattison. His series of novels set at the end of the French and Indian War in the 1760s has had a marker on my map for a long time but for whatever reason I never followed his trail.
Pattison describes his approach to his “historical mystery” genre, and it’s resonant:
When constructed by an author who stays true to period context, historical mysteries can be mesmerizing. An engaged reader can discover an inner music when historical chords are played, a resonance that is distant yet familiar, a bond that links him or her to the human experience across time. Those past years are where we come from, and knowing where we come from is indispensable to knowing whom we are. Without that knowledge we are, as Michael Crichton observed, just a leaf that doesn’t know it is part of a tree. I’m not pinning disconnected facts to some sterile backdrop when I describe my settings, I am summoning the reality of our past lives to breath life into flesh and blood characters who are recognizable to modern readers. Ultimately I am tapping into the DNA in all of us—and trust me, that DNA that makes you you was walking around in live bodies in 1765. Our truest history, our most important history, isn’t in books, it is in our blood.
I’ve been dancing to that inner music when historical chords are played my whole life. The bit about history being “in our blood” will come up again in Thursday’s post about author Joseph Boyden and indigenous identity.
Pattison has a great deal to say about the nature of the American Revolution, the origins of which he correctly traces back to the frontier backcountry in the 1760s. And he also waxes eloquent about a unique aspect of American liberty. We are losing sight in many quarters of something profound: Our identity as Americans comes not from heritage, but through our allegiance to a set of principles. That is a truly remarkable thing.
The miracle of the founding of the United States wasn’t that of heroic military victories, it was the unprecedented victory — unique in prior human history — of shared values over ethnicity, culture, religion and race. In many ways that is the essential message of my ‘Bone Rattler’ series, as vividly reflected in my latest installment ‘Savage Liberty.’ It isn’t by coincidence that the casts of my novels include Scottish indentured servants, Mohawk matriarchs, Irish laborers, English aristocrats, African slaves, Oneida warriors and German missionaries, for it was such a diverse collection of characters who made up the threads that were bound into the unique tapestry of America.
Speaking of fighting for freedom: Outlaw/King, Netflix’s Robert the Bruce movie, is worthy. Solid B+ and worth two hours of your time.