Learn To Write From The Movies: Genius

Filed under: Joy's Work — Administrator at 7:52 am on Friday, December 22, 2017


It’s the next installment of my Barrelhouse column, Learn To Write From the Movies. This time it’s about the movie Genius.

Genius is a 2016 movie about Thomas Wolfe, who wrote Look Homeward, Angel, and his editor, Maxwell Perkins. The movie is about the time Perkins, played by Colin Firth, edited Wolfe’s 11,000-page novel for him and it became a bestseller. Wolfe is played by Jude Law, who’s doing the same Southern accent he did in Cold Mountain and also the same accent that Foghorn Leghorn does in Looney Tunes. At one point, he says, “Damn,” and it sounds like “Dah-yham.” I tried to find out if Wolfe talked like Foghorn Leghorn, but the closest I could find was a recording of Wolfe’s mother, who had a slight Southern drawl. I’ll give Jude Law the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he knows something I don’t.

Read The Rest Here.

LA Review Of Books: Ted Hughes’s Play About Marriage

Filed under: Joy's Work — Administrator at 7:35 am on Tuesday, October 24, 2017


I wrote an article for the LA Review of Books on Tight Wires Between Us: On “Difficulties of a Bridegroom” by Ted Hughes. Excerpt:

ON FEBRUARY 9, 1963, two days before the poet Sylvia Plath killed herself, a radio play about her marriage aired on the BBC. Difficulties of a Bridegroom was written by her husband, Ted Hughes, and was about a man rejecting his bride in favor of his mistress. The play aired twice, in January and February, and was heard by all of literary London — including Plath herself.

Ted Hughes as a class act, wasn’t he?

Read about it here.

Barrelhouse Column: Learn To Write From The Movies

Filed under: Joy's Work — Administrator at 1:28 pm on Monday, October 23, 2017

I have a column! It’s called Learn To Write From The Movies and it’s for Barrelhouse. More information:

Welcome to a column where we learn how to become the sexy intellectual rock stars that Hollywood says all writers should be. In movies, writers scribble in garrets near trashcans overflowing with crumpled paper or swill liquor while typing on typewriters. So far, my writing life has none of these things. I don’t even own a quill. When you think about it, movies about writers are like graduate-level workshops, only you can get drunk during them without anyone yelling at you. Why practice the tedium of daily writing when you can study the greatest writers in the world as portrayed by actors in their Hollywood biopics? Let’s learn.

The first column is about Cross Creek, a movie about Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings as portrayed by Mary Steenburgen. She was angry a lot.


Read all about it here.

Germany and Austria Trip 2017 Part 4: Hallstatt

Filed under: Personal — Administrator at 3:36 pm on Saturday, October 21, 2017

Hallstatt is a tiny town in Austria. It sits by a lake and is surrounded by mountains. I’m not kidding when I say it may be the most beautiful place I’ve ever visited. Here’s a picture of the town from Wikipedia.


To get to Hallstatt, you take a two-hour train ride from Salzburg and then a ferry across a gorgeous lake. While there, we walked around the town, saw a Catholic ceremony, and went to a 7,000-year-old salt mine. Salt has been mined in Hallstatt since the Iron Age. We took a tour of the mine, slid down mining slides, learned about its ancient history, and bought a ton of salt in the gift shop. I don’t have pictures because it was underground, but the salt mine was one of the highlights of the trip. Maybe the highlight.

Pictures of Hallstatt:


Boat on the pristine water.

view from above

Hiking in the Alps, looking down at the lake.

The town:





There were lots of tourists, some annoying, some adorable:


Another boat on the pristine water:


The salt mine in the Alps.


This was the Catholic ceremony, which was in German, so I didn’t understand what it was about. This little girl looks exactly like a Christmas ornament I had a child:


Germany and Austria Trip 2017 Part 3: Salzburg

Filed under: Personal — Administrator at 8:25 am on Thursday, October 5, 2017

I liked Germany, but I loved Austria. We spent several days in Salzburg, where they filmed The Sound of Music and where Mozart lived. I liked everything about the place.

Joy Lanzendorfer Salzburg Trip

Like this view.


The people there are so stylish. Is that Audrey Hepburn? No, she’s dead. It’s just a lady walking around.


This is the glorious church where Mozart was the organist. Can you imagine?

mozart Joy Lanzendorfer Salzburg Trip

You can visit Mozart’s birth house. Here’s the clavichord where he composed Requiem and The Magic Feather.


We also saw a marionette show of The Sound of Music. I wasn’t expecting much, but it was quite powerful and impressive. This is a shot from the scene where the Nazis take over and Von Trapp sings Edelweiss.

edelweiss sound of music marionette Joy Lanzendorfer Salzburg Trip

Real edelweiss is an odd, muppety flower.

Joy Lanzendorfer Salzburg Trip

Salzburg is a town of steeples.

cake Joy Lanzendorfer Salzburg Trip

And amazing cakes.

unicorn Joy Lanzendorfer Salzburg Trip

And random unicorn statues.

meadow Joy Lanzendorfer Salzburg Trip

There’s a delightful meadow growing beside the river.

band Joy Lanzendorfer Salzburg Trip

The street musicians are trained classical performers.

Joy Lanzendorfer Salzburg Trip

There are several castles you can visit.

Mirabell palace Joy Lanzendorfer Salzburg Trip

This is the garden of Mirabell Palace. We saw a Mozart concert here.

Joy Lanzendorfer Salzburg Trip

Sometimes children perform folk dances in the castle gardens.

Joy Lanzendorfer Salzburg Trip

I love castles.

Stay tuned for one last vacation post. It’s about Hallstatt, one of the most beautiful place I’ve ever visited.

I Was On The Radio In Portland, Oregon

Filed under: Joy's Work — Administrator at 3:50 pm on Thursday, September 21, 2017


I was on XRAY In The Morning in Portland, Oregon talking about my article in The Atlantic Why Aren’t There More Women Working in Audio? You can listen to it online. Hurrah!

Germany and Austria Trip 2017 Part 2: Castles

Filed under: Personal — Administrator at 7:14 am on Sunday, September 17, 2017

While in Fussen, Germany, we visited Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau castles, which were the homes of Mad King Ludwig. The history is fascinating. It’s well worth the side trip to see these castles, which were built in the 1870s. Personally, I liked Hohenschwangau better. You learn more about Ludwig’s family and it’s more leisurely and interesting. They kind of rush you through Neuschwanstein.

Here’s a tip for visiting the castles: You will have to take a 40-minute walk up a mountain to get to Neuschwanstein Castle. It’s quite a hike, although my 5-year-old was able to do it. There are horse-drawn carriages that go up the hill, which may be a better option, especially if you have trouble walking. Either way, you have to factor going up the hill and back down into your visiting time, so make sure you think about that when planning your trip.

(Also, reserve tickets online or get there first thing in the morning. The tours sell out fast.)

castle in hill

Hey, it’s Neuschwanstein on a hill!


And there’s Hohenschwangau. Let’s go there first.


Hohenschwangau is fantastic.

view hog

Look at the views!


And this lion statue.

Too bad they wouldn’t let us take pictures inside. Oh well time for a break.


Let’s eat a schneeball, a snowball, which is really a donut ball.


Aw, those horses are kissing.
view new2

Now for a walk up the Alps.


That was hard, but here we are. Up close, Neuschwanstein is less fairytale, more scary fortress.

Too bad we couldn’t take pictures inside. Oh well.

view hog2

Here’s another view with Hohenschwangau in the distance.

view new

And the countryside. Time to hurry down the mountain so we can catch our bus. Thanks, castles.

Next up, Salzburg.

Germany and Austria Trip 2017 Part 1: Germany

Filed under: Personal — Administrator at 3:41 pm on Thursday, September 14, 2017

This summer we went to Germany and Austria for vacation. It was one of the best trips I’ve ever taken. It was also really long, so I’ll split it up in a few posts and try to touch upon the highlights. First up, general Germany. We went to Munich, Fussen, and Andechs. While there, we:

beer hall

Went to many beer halls.


Looked at the scenery.


Ate sausages, especially weisswurst:

weiss wurst


Walked around towns.


Looked at art.


Sat in meadows.


Admired the Alps.


Wore out our son.


Visited a 900-year-old monastery, where we also drank enormous beers:


In short, Germany was great.

Next up, castles!

The Atlantic: Why Aren’t There More Women Working in Audio?

Filed under: Joy's Work — Administrator at 10:48 am on Thursday, September 7, 2017


I have a new article in The Atlantic asking Why Aren’t There More Women Working in Audio? Here’s an excerpt:

In 2000, the Audio Engineering Society’s (AES) women in audio committee—which is now, tellingly, defunct—loosely estimated that 5 percent of those working in the field were female. A 2016 survey by AES found 7 percent of its members were women, though that number is incomplete because participants could opt out of reporting their gender. According to Women’s Audio Mission (WAM), a nonprofit that trains women for sound careers, that number is probably lower. With men holding the vast majority of technical jobs in audio, it follows that virtually all the music we hear—on the radio, over headphones, or in a live venue—has been shaped by a man.

Read the rest here!

Smithsonian: Hollywood Loved Sammy Davis Jr Until He Dated a White Movie Star

Filed under: Joy's Work — Administrator at 10:10 am on Thursday, August 31, 2017


I wrote an article for The Smithsonian on Sammy Davis Jr. and interracial marriage.

Did you know the mob forced Davis into a sham marriage to a black woman after he was caught dating Kim Novak? Or that his marriage to Swedish actress May Britt was so controversial that JFK uninvited him to the 1960 inauguration? Or that he was friends and a supporter of Martin Luther King Jr.?

Check out Hollywood Loved Sammy Davis Jr Until He Dated a White Movie Star

Here’s Sammy as a little kid, dancing and eating a sandwich:

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