Quick Jim Carroll memory: Met him briefly during the five minutes I worked at Viking Penguin years ago. He spent most of his visit hitting on a coworker’s comely teenage daughter, who was, if I’m not mistaken, going to Dalton School. Carroll, who went to Trinity School and wrote about it in “The Basketball Diaries,” a movie Leonardo DiCaprio eventually starred in, tried to use that as an entree without much luck. Last night, a former Variety coworker tweeted that no one in the office knew who he was. I thought everyone had at least heard his signature song, “People Who Died.” I’ve certainly heard it on the radio often enough.
Carroll made it to 60, dying at his desk. Read more in the New York Times obit.
Rachel Donadio’s NYT profile of Franco Zeffirelli made me want to go to Italy and visit with him, if not watch his movies. It’s utterly charming. Critics pan the maestro’s work, she notes early on in the story keyed to his operas, but “viewed from Italy — where less is never more — his style seems less over-the-top.” And he can’t help but direct the world around him. Her kicker: “In the story,” he said, turning to this reporter and rubbing his fingers together as if pinching salt, his face wincing in the evening glow, “make it alive, make it alive.” Read the story
The NYT and LAT both devote considerable real estate to Woodstock ahead of the the concert’s 40th anni next weekend. Each paper weighs the muddy fest’s impact in lengthy features, but both feel surprisingly pro forma, perhaps because this ground has been so thoroughly covered before. The real juice comes elsewhere, most notably Gail Collins’ review of two Woodstock books. Collins does a good job evoking the fest — describing the ferocious smell of the Port-o-Sans, Wavy Gravy’s granola and dangers of eloctrocution. There’s good reason for this: She was at the fest. (So was counterpart Jon Pareles, but his account is strangely bloodless.) Also worth checking out: the L.A. Times’ photo essay. The NYT website features a photo gallery and reader snaps.