“Being an artist doesn’t take much, just everything you got. Which means, of course, that as the process is giving you life, it is also bringing you closer to death. But it’s no big deal. They are one and the same and cannot be avoided or denied. So when I totally embrace this process, this life/death, and abandon myself to it, I transcend all this gibberish and hang out with the gods. It seems to me that that is worth the price of admission.”
– Hubert Selby Jr.
If you’re a fan of underground culture, or maybe just someone with an open mind, you need to read a book called Last Exit to Brooklyn; it’s a must read cult classic profiling the seamier side of Brooklyn in the early sixties. I first came across it while reading the inside jacket of my dvd copy of Requiem for a Dream (one of the most intense movies I’ve ever seen – the equivalent of being shocked with a defibrillator after ingesting a handful of amphetamines). The director Darren Aronofsky cited the work in the introduction of the film as one of the most memorable books he’s read; and I’d have to agree here. Requiem was originally a book written by the same author of Last Exit to Brooklyn; Hubert Selby Jr. There’s an interesting documentary called It/ll Be Better Tomorrow that profiles this fascinating and troubled soul. The truth is the sometimes harrowing story of Selby himself is perhaps just as compelling as the stories he shared with the world. Directed by Michael W. Dean and Kenneth Shiffrin, and narrated by Robert Downey Jr. Watch the entire documentary below.
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