Shape Shifting

The counterpoint to this mushrooming is a project so resolutely noncommercial that you can't help but feel it's from a different age. Local programmer Levi Asher, the one-man band behind the Beat-literature altar Literary Kicks (litkicks.com), is releasing 750 free copies of the CD-ROM based movie Notes From Underground beginning August 4 at his site. Filmed on 8mm and starring his friends, Asher's 64-minute, updated Dostoyevsky looks more like a thoughtful, earnest film-school project than a professional venture--and he wants it that way. "Venture capitalists stay away, nothing about this project has anything to do with money," writes Asher in the liner notes. Come October, he'll be selling the disc for $12, but he's realistic about its potential. "This is a pretentious dream, but I like what Lawrence Ferlinghetti did--he never got lame or sold off to Bertelsmann to start producing Tom Clancy books," he says. With Notes From Underground, Asher, like the rest of them, has his eyes fixed on his ideal audience. "One of my secret hopes," he says, "is that it will catch the student audience of kids who don't want to read the book--like Cliffs Notes."


Signal & Noise

Objectively Speaking: When Random House created an online poll for a more democratically compiled list of the 100 books of the 20th century (www.randomhouse.com), it likely didn't expect I Want To Blow Monkeys, Dancing Bear Rides the Big Woody, and William Shatner's Tek Lords to elbow out Joyce, Fitzgerald, and Durrell (full story at wired.com. The list, which changed constantly based on the efficacy of the homegrown bots stuffing the ballot box, did manage to crown one title consistently No. 1: Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand...

Varying from Variety: Indiewire.com, a news and community site for the independent-film industry, has recently launched a solid new site for indie-film audiences at ipopmag.com. Heavy on interviews, ipopmag.com is an excellent complement to its parent's bottom-feeding integrity.

E-mail: abunn@villagevoice.com

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