Alan Arkin died a few days ago. You can find plenty of encomiums to this unique, legendary, etc. artist online1. Back in 1958, long before Peter Falk yelled “Serpentine” at him, he wrote a minor classic science fiction story, “People Soup.”2 You can read it here.
There’s an exhibition of Komar & Melamid’s art in New Jersey. I’d like to see it, but it’s a bit far to pedal. I wrote briefly about the duo here. The New Criterion article, worth reading though it is, omits one noteworthy project of theirs, a collaboration with composer David Soldier to produce examples of the “most wanted” and “least wanted” pieces of music. The “most wanted” song is inevitably drivel that not even Vernon Reid’s guitar can redeem, but people do like drivel, as I constantly rediscover. The “least wanted” song, however, is simultaneously wonderful and horrible and is worth hearing all the way though at least once.
- though few mention Fire Sale, the dumbest movie I ever sat through to the end
- Ten years later he made a short film of the story, starring his sons. I haven’t seen it, but I expect you can find it on YouTube.