The Howling Fantods

David Foster Wallace News and Resources Since March 97

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DFW2015 - Report from Tony McMahon

Hi everyone, I'm back! The first of many updates over the next few days. First up, Tony McMahon's DFW2015 report.

(Part 1 here, btw: On the Road to DFW 2015)

Hi all,

It’s a pretty exhausted correspondent writing to you today from the main street of Normal, Illinois.

Outside the Normal theatre, where End of the Tour will be screening in about 20 minutes time. Past this gorgeous old movie house is The Marriot, where the conference took place today. Further down is Illinois State University, Wallace’s old stomping ground. According to Max’s biography, Wallace watched Jurassic Park here.

Heaps more after the break!

Last Updated on Monday, 22 June 2015 12:10

On The Road to DFW 2015

Hi everyone!

DFW 2015, the second annual David Foster Wallace conference begins today!

Follow the official Twitter account @DFW2015 for updates, and tag your own contributions with #DFW2015 (There's no way I'll be awake all night, so make sure you give all of us on the other side of the planet something to read in the morning.)

Feel free to broadcast live via Periscope while you're wandering around and tag your stream with #DFW2015. I'm hoping at least one session on Friday will be live via Periscope...

Check out the Facebook page for details, including the final schedule. It's going to be a huge couple of days, including a screening of The End of the Tour (Sundance roundup here) tonight.

Now over to guest blogger Tony McMahon (did you sign up for twitter, Tony?)



-Tony McMahon

Hello again Fantods readers,

Some of you may remember me from my blogs here from the Infinite Wallace conference in Paris last September. For better or worse – or perhaps just because of a severe lack of good judgement – Nick has asked me to keep you updated again on DFW15, the second annual David Foster Wallace conference, held in our fave writer’s hometown of Normal, Illinois.

For reasons largely tied up with Jack Kerouac’s On the Road being my favourite book as a teenager, I made the decision to drive to Normal when I arrived from Australia in Los Angeles. Big. Mistake. We’re talking Melbourne to Perth here, with the treacherous and knuckle-whitening Rocky Mountains in between, all of which I’ve somehow managed to make happen in three days. To say I’m frazzled is something of  an understatement up there with ‘Infinite Jest is a pretty long book’.

-Leaving Las Vegas. Plenty of fear, just the regular amount of loathing, but thankfully no bats in the sky

-The Utah Bad Lands, on the way to DFW15

Nonetheless, I’m in Normal now, comfortably settled and showered and ready to be THE VERY FIRST PRESENTER AT THE CONFERENCE TOMORROW. The bad news (for me) is that this makes me more nervous than a bucket of butcher’s knives. The good news (for this website) is that I’ll be able to give the rest of the conference my full, unworried attention, and report back. Stay tuned.

-Arriving in Wallace’s Illinois, as seen from a Chevy convertible, accompanied by Allard Den Dulk’s amazing new book

Last Updated on Thursday, 28 May 2015 22:33

The End of the Tour - Official Trailer

So here's the official trailer for The End of the Tour:

An adaptation of David Lipsky's interview with David Foster Wallace, Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself.

More over at Indiewire's The Playlist.


Here's the poster:

Last Updated on Thursday, 28 May 2015 01:12

DFW's Short Stories

An excellent piece from Chris Power over at The Guardian about David Foster Wallace's short stories, A brief survey of the short story: David Foster Wallace:

David Foster Wallace was a maximalist. His masterpiece, Infinite Jest, is a 1,000-page, polyphonic epic about addiction and obsession in millennial America. His journalism and essays, about television and tennis, sea cruises and grammar, always swelled far beyond their allotted word counts (cut for publication, he restored many of them to their full length when they were collected in book form). In a letter sent to a friend from a porn convention in Las Vegas, Wallace exclaimed that, “writing about real-life stuff is next to impossible, simply because there’s so much!” It might seem surprising that a writer like this could or should want to function within the confines of the short story, yet besides Infinite Jest it is arguably his three story collections that represent the most important part of his work.

Continue reading, A brief survey of the short story: David Foster Wallace here.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 26 May 2015 00:25

Cruise Control - Hidden Wallace References...

Based on direct word from ProPublica, their newest project, Cruise Control, has hidden references to "A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again" throughout the story.

Apparently there will be a 'solutions' page posted later in the week, so get looking!





The Letterman Interview that Inspired "Late Night" / "My Appearance"

[Image via Playboy]

Okay, now this is interesting! Redditor, disumbrationist, seems to have found the original 1987 interview that inspired David Foster Wallace's short story,"Late Night" (via Playboy), collected as "My Appearance" (Via Vulture) in Girl With Curious Hair!

via Reddit /r/davidfosterwallace:

It turns out that the 1987 Letterman interview that inspired this story is actually now available on YouTube here (the interview starts at 8:54).

In case you're not aware, Wallace got in serious trouble when, right before the story was to be published in Playboy, the editors were astonished to discover that the character bore a striking resemblance to the real actress Susan St. James, and significant chunks of the dialogue had apparently been lifted directly from her Late Night interview on March 3, 1987.

So I thought it was pretty interesting to watch this after reading the original version of the story (available here) and to pick out which details were lifted from the real thing. I can definitely understand why there were huge legal concerns here. It looks like most of these were altered or removed before a revised version was published in Girl With Curious Hair.
  • Letterman greets her by saying "Terribly nice to see you" (at 9:12 in the video)
  • They start discussing her commercial appearance (at 12:43)
  • She claims that she "did the commercial for fun" (at 13:02), like in the story. This line was altered to "for nothing" in the newer version.

Continue to read all of disumbrationist's analysis over at Reddit here.

More on this story from Playboy, The Letterman Clip That Became David Foster Wallace's First Print Story.

Last Updated on Friday, 22 May 2015 08:22

The End of the Tour to Screen at DFW15!

It's no too late to register for DFW15 (open until Mon evening), the second annual David Foster Wallace conference... big news because there will be a screening of The End of the Tour! (Sundance roundup here)

Check out their Facebook page for details!


The Howling Fantods