Circus Cover Baja

Drama and Romance Under the Big Top

“Circus” depicts the drama and romance, the triumphs and the tragedies, behind-the-scenes of a good old-fashioned American circus making its way through the midwest in 1935. Fonvielle immerses the reader in the unique show business world of the circus and provides a thrilling glimpse of the last days of the old-time traveling tent “Big Top” circuses that would disappear in the coming years after the story is set. The complex and colorful characters and evocative portrait of a time and world long-gone made this a highly enjoyable read.

Read the review and get book details here:




This is a Looney Tunes version of Fitzgerald’s novel, but it’s a pretty good Looney Tunes version of Fitzgerald’s novel, at least if you watch it in 3D — which is to say that it’s visually amusing and inventive, and possesses a delirious sort of momentum from shot to shot.

Baz Luhrmann has always aspired to the delirious visual style of a cartoon but his efforts have always fallen short to me — consisting mostly of lurid production design and hysterical, all-but-incoherent editing.  3D has gotten him to concentrate on making interesting, or at least diverting shots, playing with the possibilities of the format in a exuberant way.


It’s long for a Looney Tune, of course, but the acting is good enough and the story is good enough to keep your interest as you watch Luhrmann fiddle around happily with his new toy.  I imagine it would be deadly dull in 2D — you’d probably have to force yourself to sit through what is, aside from the visuals, an over-long and fairly pedestrian adaptation of a classic.

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Lars von Trier has signed Duke University porn star Bell Knox to star in his upcoming film based on the life of 19th-Century poet Emily Dickinson.

Knox will portray the reclusive spinster in a film without nudity or sex of any kind. “I want to make a prim film, a repressed film,” says von Trier.  “I want to explore the mind of a quiet genius.”


The film, whose working title is Lap the Miles, will explore “the intersection of yearning and reticence” says the director.  He thought of Knox because her first name reminded him of a one-woman play about Dickinson called The Belle Of Amherst.  “I watched many pornos of Belle Knox and saw in her an inwardness, an intelligence, which I knew would be right for the character of my dear Emily.”

The film, to be produced by Marie Cecilie Gade and Louise Vesth, who also produced Von Trier’s Nymphomaniac, will be shot in Denmark.

Belle Knox at HeadQuarters Gentlemens Club

Knox, who says she’s very excited and challenged by the idea of working in a serious dramatic film, was not familiar with Dickinson’s poetry until contacted by von Trier.  “Then I read some of it and realized it was amazing.  Quirky and funny and brilliant.  I knew immediately I could relate to this woman and feel honored that I can help bring her story to a modern-day audience.”



Dramatic geniuses can get a bit eccentric towards the end of their careers. In his late romances, Shakespeare pretty much abandoned plausibility and consistency of tone — he just threw together incidents and scenes and characters and language that interested him and cobbled them together this way or that. He basically said “fuck you” to the “well-made play” and pleased himself.


The results were both magical and unsettling. The same can be said of many of John Ford’s late-career movies. They’re not tightly constructed, they veer around drunkenly between themes and dramatic arcs, with the director concentrating on the stuff that interested him, whether it had a clear structural function or not, and fecklessly tossing off the other stuff.


This is true of Donavan’s Reef (above) and Cheyenne Autumn — both of which are uneven as dramatic works but have passages of great beauty, as powerful and moving as any in Ford’s work.

Two Rode Together Stewart Widmark Opening

It’s true also of Two Rode Together, above, a Ford film from 1961.  The film starts off at a stately pace, apparently setting up a buddy adventure between the characters played by its two stars, Jimmy Stewart and Richard Widmark.  But Ford quickly loses interest in the adventure.  He pauses to let the two great actors banter with each other, in leisurely and absolutely riveting exchanges.  He makes breathtakingly beautiful shots of horses and wagons moving across the landscape and neglects the visual possibilities in scenes that have dramatic weight in the story.


The adventure sort of fizzles out by the end, but by then Ford has switched his interest to the sexual and racial dynamics in the romantic subplots his leads get entangled in.


It’s like listening to a great storyteller drinking and talking by the fire, getting sloshed and losing the thread of the tale he started out to tell, but still captivating you with his voice and with the brilliance of his digressions.


The result is a perplexing film that is also great and immensely pleasurable — like Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale.  You know that wherever the tale is going, the journey is going to be worth it — maybe not in the ways you expected but  . . . somehow.

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A new Amazon customer review:

Another good collection from Fonvielle

The most recent release from Lloyd Fonvielle, Christmas in the West is a collection of six short stories set in various time periods in the West. While the majority of them are authentic Westerns, “Christmas in December” is set in contemporary times and “Twilight” takes place during World War II.If you’ve read Fonvielle’s previous work, Christmas in the West is largely more of the same. His characterization and plotting is as tight as ever, interweaving characters from all walks of life in a believable, honest and non-sentimental way. My personal favorite story is the aforementioned “Christmas in December,” about a neglected young man who takes up with a Vegas escort, deftly avoiding even the slightest hint of bathos.

If you’re looking for a brief but enjoyable fiction collection, Christmas in the West is worth a read.

For the review and book details, go here:



Western stories?! Yes — and recommended

Don’t be fooled by the title; this is not your Roy Rogers and Gene Autry. These are skillfully-crafted stories couched in a succinct and no-self-indulgence prose, presumably influenced by Elmore Leonard, with clever, unpredictable, and often witty turns of plot. Despite the strictures of the genre, each story and each character is different. Recommended.

To see the review and for book details, click here:

Fourteen Western Stories



Excellent Read

I was first introduced to Lloyd Fonvielle and his writing through his website, which I try to visit as often as possible. It is always full of engaging and interesting content. After following for a while, I read Fourteen Western Stories and thoroughly enjoyed it. Missouri Green was next up and I again had a wonderful time reading it. A short, but concise story with wonderful characters. I especially enjoyed the dialogue throughout this western tale. It is a great read and I look forward to digging into more of his work in the future.

Go here for the review and book details — Missouri Green.