Last night, I headed over the Central Library to hear Michael Tolkin talk to Jonathan Lethem about his new book, "You Don't Love Me Yet". The book, set in Los Angeles, is about a near famous Gen-X rock band. As you may have read, Lethem has been getting more attention for his plan to "sell" the film rights, than he is for the actual content of the book. You see, he plans to just give the rights away to one filmmaker who agrees on two conditions: 1) that Lethem will get 2% of the budget when the movie is picked up and 2) that 5 years after the film's debut, the movie, the novel and all things associated with it will become open source material - free for anyone to play with, adapt, steal, etc.
It's pretty incredible when you think about it and Lethem talked extensively about the idea last night. Tolkin brought up his most recent piece (must read!) in Harper's Bazaar, which is an incredibly well written tale of the history of plagiarism and open sourcing only to get to the end and discover that he didn't write any of it - it's all been plagiarized. Yes, the idea is brilliant and yes, he is much, much, much smarter than you. He is planning on doing the same for a fiction piece and I am sure the movie will get some press for the same reason if it is ever made.
The conversation went on to discuss more about LA (he's never really lived here, yet wrote an entire novel based here), mash-ups (he loves them), Mickey Mouse (he is the Nelson Mandela of Public Domain) and Frank Gehry (hates him).
There are some other fantastic events happening at the Central Library in the next few months and I encourage all of you go here and check the schedule. Highlights include:
May 9: Michael Chabon speaking to Kenneth Turan about his newest novel
May 15: Film Screening of "Tony Kushner: Wrestling with Angels"
July 12: Daniel Wallace speaking to Erika Schikel about his new novel
July 25: An Evening with Graphic Designer Chip Kidd
All events are free.