Max Evans

Author of Rounders and High Low Country, Max Evans shares how the West and New Mexico inspired his writing.

AIRED: September 12, 2020 | 0:26:17






of life is creative if you're

open to it, all of it,

everything that happens, every

single little thing. MICHAEL





a personal history that's

collected, that's gathered

together creates this

experience of the world that's

somewhat in between truth

and reality. BEHIND THE SCENES





PERFORMANCES. Really really

good Shakespearean film

defines how acting is

in a generation. IT'S ALL





Sometimes there's more truth

in fiction then in truth

or then there is in real life.

>>Max Evans: If you tell

a true story let's say I'm

interviewing someone

for a story for a

magazine.Pretty simple like

that, then I'm obligated

to that person to tell

the truth the best way

the most interesting way I can

in the way they related to me.

But in fiction, I'm allowed

to take my

lifetimeobservations, of all

human and wild or whatever

or tame. And insert that

into fiction that's why I say

you can reach a greater truth

because you are not using

a single approach, you are

using a lifetime approach.

>>Hakim: How do you find that

truth through the process

of writing? >>Evans: There's

not much of a process,

because I write out of just

emotion but there has to be

a process no matter what

your emotion is and I think

even in the most wildest

of fiction you know it,

innately you know, okay I'm

tell the truth. You just

simply know it by life

experiences; by putting things

down they're the same

in a strange way. What you are

doing is extracting

the essence of life

into the essence of a story.

>>Hakim: Your westerns aren't

shoot 'em ups; you talk

about these untold stories

in the Western genre. >>Evans:

Before the pickup truck came

along, horses, and everything

was slow and you'd use wagons

for transportation you'd use

them all over town to do

shopping. And then everything

changed at that time

and for a short time, which

I wrote about, people depended

on their humor they had no,

hardly anyof them hardly had

a radio they had

no television, they had

no movies. So their humor that

everyonehad to survive was

simply between two people

or three people and they had

to invent their own humor.

And I noticed this first

as a kid when I first took

a job on a ranch that these

people had a grandsense

of humor more than I already

related to in my life. And it

dawned on me after WWII, that

herecomes the pick up trucks

beginning to take

over so if I don't tell this

it'll never be told. That was

the driving force, I started

to laugh with them,

I remembered things that

happened, cowboys that would

kid with one another the whole

pranks they would pull on one

another. Their own movies

and radios and their own cell

phones were in their head

only. In their souls,

in their own observations

of what would have been funny

to them or to their friends.

So that was the world I wanted

to tell in the beginning

so then I started spreading it

around, you know the bartender

or the grocery clerk wouldbe

just as important

as the cowboy in my stories.

So that transition was

an immense transition

if you're going to think

about the west as part

of America. It was part

of America. >>Hakim: What

would you call that phenomenon

of living your writing before

you write it? >>Evans:

The word creative as a kid

at 10, 12, 13 and even at 14

you don't really understand

what that word creative means

in it's totality but you're

doing it you're absorbing it,

all the world around you,

if you're going to be

a writer. I don't know it,

I don't think you're going

to know it. It was a thing

that inspired me deeply was

the first ranch I grew up on,

I went to work in Glorieta

whichis south of Santa Fe,

there was no telephone,

no mail service there was

nothing besides the horses

the cows and the wild animals.

There was no communication

to the outside world what

so ever. And I think one

of the most beautiful things

I've ever experienced was

a ranch lady, the boss's wife,

who did the cooking,

she painted the pictures

on the wall, she made the rugs

on the floor. The lamps

thatyou had to hang when there

was no electricity you had

to bring in Kerosene

for the lamps. All of that

she made and I discovered that

one night when I carried

the water for her stove, I cut

the wood for her stove

and at night I volunteered

because I could not imagine,

I started looking around

thinking my God this woman is

holding the world together

here. And it was a thing that

was going on throughout

the whole so called West.

We were neglecting

the appreciation of the women

who were holding it all

together. That was to me

a huge inspiration to me

and we talked many things

I got to talking painting

with her, she never had

lessons she ain't never had

a lesson in the world,

she painted in thisold ranch

house they were good,

they touched my soul, my heart

she did that greatly while

I was drying dishes

for her every night. That was

one way, I didn't choose it,

I was there that's how

I became aware. >>Hakim: Why

write it down? >>Evans:

You can't help it, I've never

known a writer that can help

themselves, if you are a real

writer you might not be able

to make a living out of it

but you'll be able to maintain

your soul and if you are

that's what you are going

to do. You are going to have

those things all

through your life the great

cord of life is going to have

little knots here and there,

it's going to have wonderful

things that are on that cord

in your head and soul

you can't help it. You can't

do a cockeyed thing about it.





>>Michael Endo: I'm an artist

who uses a lot of materials.

>>Robe Imbriano: Michael

Endo's preparing for a show

that opens when exactly?

>>Michael Endo: The show opens

in a little over two weeks

at Bulls Eye Gallery. >>Robe

Imbriano: How many pieces do

you have already? >>ME: I'm

going to have...well there's

going to be five glass panels,

this painting which is far

from being done; regrettably

it's not that far

from my normal process. >>RI:

That's because Michael loves

the urgent and the unknown.

>>ME: I love this red. >>RI:

You can see it in his work.

>>ME: This smoke here I think

is going to change color. It's

going to be pinkish. Like

a signal flare or signal

smoke, or something. The theme

of the show is the apocalypse,

but I kind of was

thinkingabout what that

actually means and whether

or not that has to be

something large and

cataclysmic, like the actual

end of the world,

or if disaster's

for an individual isn't

in itself some sort of end,

some sort of like a tiny

apocalypse or a tiny disaster.

>>RI: Trained as a painter,

Michael has learned how

to work with glass

at the Bulls Eye Gallery where

he's also the curator. >>ME:

Enamel is what we'll fuse

to the surface of the glass

because it'll act like paint.

So now I'mgoing to use

the powder to get a kind

of an atmosphere in the sky

here and also some more

atmosphere along the ground.

This area here that looks like

it's just becoming white is

actually going to be a kind

of a warm gray color, when

it's fired a khaki color. This

one I'm not so sure about.

I was thinking about this

painting The Isle of the Dead

and this kind of magical

island and this raft going

towards it and I had done

the work in painting,

a similar piece. So this is

the first layer. There'll be

another piece of glass

over the top that will have

this raft dock form kind

of moving towards this

somewhat mysterious island

that'll be orange. I like

to try different techniques

to get at the idea, so I don't

always know if it's going

to work and that's fine.

If I was scared of failure

I wouldn't be an artist. I was

born in Portland. My father is

Japanese so I'm half Japanese.

My mother is a fourth

generation Oregonian.

My father as a child was

in the internment camps

during World War 2. >>RI: This

is the only picture Michael

has of his father. >>ME:

The details of my father's

life are very sketchy for me.

He wasn't around very much

and so allthe information that

I have is second-hand either

from my mother or from stories

I've collected andso even

today I have this story of who

he is, but I'm not really sure

how much of that is true.

Having a personal history

that's collected, that's

gathered together creates this

experience of the world that's

somewhat in between truth

and reality. And my own work

is directly tied to that

somewhat slippery idea

of what's truth and what's

false. I collect images,

I collect histories, I collect

stories and then recreate them

to create these new

experiences. This is

my complicated filing system.

I collect all these images

and there was just something

about this truck

in the background and these

trees that I really responded

to. Then I found this photo

from the paper of a protestor

in Tunis and there's this

protestor here that's...he's

like jumping away or something

in this cloud of smoke,

he just kind of becomes

a gesture, so I kind of wanted

to include him. What art does,

or at least what I try to do

through art is take these

experiences, take these events

and re-package them in a way

that I can communicate

so other people can understand

and maybe engage with it.

You remove bias and you remove

stereotypes. You remove

preconceptions; you remove all

these things that would

normally prevent

you from engaging

with something. I think art

has that ability to do that,

has this ability to get

you to enter into an area that

you will be uncomfortablewith

and deal with it in real time

rather than putting it off

or pushing it aside. >>RI:

It's almost time for his show

and Michael is going

to sandblast one

of his paintings made

of glass. He knows what

he wants, but he's not exactly

sure this is going to work.

>>ME: Instead of

a traditional...sandblasting

the surface to break that

glossiness. The last step

isreally to remove

the glossiness of the glass.

After the glass is fused

together, it has the shininess

we all associate with glass.

That doesn't interest me

because it's reflecting

the light, I want the light

to enter in and bounce around

kind of like a glaze

in a painting. >>RI: Success.

And so is the show at Bulls

Eye because Michael is not

nearly comfortable

with uncertainty, he embraces

it. >>ME: I'm really happy

with this final result.

There's a Buckminster Fuller

quote which I tell all

my students and that I keep

in my own head, and the quote

was If you know what you're

doing you're wasting

your time. I agree with that.

I don't like to know exactly

how the painting's going

to turn out when I start.

I don't like to know every

technique that I'm going

to use. It makes it more

exciting. It makes this

experience not so much

about producing something,

but about learning something.








HISTORY. >>Jeremy Irons: Well

all crowns are hallow;

if you look at them you can

see through them. It's like

all positions are hallow, it's

the people who fill them who

make them what they are. >>Tom

Hiddleston: This was an era

where kings led armies

into battle. And that doesn't

happen anymore. >>Ben Whishaw:

You realize how people can

lose themselves in power.

You do feel it when you've got

the crown on and you're

on the throne and everyone's

waiting on your every word.

>>Simon Russell Beale: This

was the first time that

anybody had written plays

about the whole breathof

English of society.

And they are dazzling.

You know it's not just

about kings. It's also

about the poor men who were

conscripted into the army.

It's about a drunk man who

spends the whole of his life

in a pub, it's about

a prostitute, and it's

about princes. And nobody had

ever done something like that

before and very few people

have done it since. >>Rupert

Goold: Really, really good

Shakespearean film defines how

acting is in a generation.

What I've been so lucky

with Richard II is having

actors who have got stacks

of screen and Shakespeare

experience, and uh, I do think

you need both. >>Ben Whishaw:

The exciting thing

about filming this play is

that they're not really well

known these speeches, you know

they're not like some

of Shakespeare's characters

are... we've sort of... people

seem to know them even

if they don't really know

the plays, whereas I think

Richard has stayed

under the radar more. >>Rupert

Goold: In some ways it's

a very, very contemporary

piece it deals with

the pageantry and spectacle

of the politician, uh and how

leadership is really defined

by how one appears. >>Ben

Whishaw: If you believe that

you're sort of a god on Earth,

you're trying to project

a sense that you're at ease,

because why else shouldn't

you be. No one can possibly

challenge your power

and authority because it's

divinely given. Landlord

of England, art thou now not

king? And thou-! A lunatic,

lean-witted fool. Dearest

with thyfrozen admonition make

pale our cheek. Chasing

the royal blood with fury

from his native residence.Now,

now my seat's right royal

majesty weren't thou not

my father's father son? This

tongue that runs so roundly

in thy head should run thy

head from thy unreverent

shoulders. >>Rory Kinnear:

I play Bolingbroke in Richard

II, who becomes, at the end

of Richard II, Henry IV, uh

who you then meet as an elder

king in the, in the second

of this four part miniseries.

>>Jeremy Irons: For whatever

reason wherever he came from,

however he got to it,

he seemed to touch the English

consciousness in a way that

few playwrights had done

since. >>Sir Richard Eyre:

The whole story you could say

is about the cost of power

and uh a lot of the second

half is concerned

with the king demonstrating

his intense guilt for the way

in which he won the,uh

the crown. >>Tom Hiddleston:

Harry Monmouth is how he's

called by lots of people.

Across the three plays is

I think one of Shakespeare's

greatest young men,

because the journey

of the character is

so exciting. He starts off

as a drunken, wayward,

rebellious, deliberately

antagonistic and irresponsible

young prince. He spends all

his time in a pub in um East

Cheap called The Boar's Head,

a tavern, uh hanging out

and thieving and drinking

with lowlifes, chief among

whom is Falstaff. >>Simon

Russell: Beale He's not- not

entirely attractive, actually.

Uh, he's a thief. He's

a scrounger. He's um, credibly

selfish. Um, but he has

that... that particular

quality for which you forgive

everything which is charm.

>>Sir Richard Eyre: I think

his performance is quite

simply the best performance

of Falstaff I've ever seen.

It's incredibly detailed. It's

very, very touching. It's

witty. And he manages

to handle this language

in a way that seems entirely

natural. >>Tom Hiddleston:

Well Hal goes through the-

an experience of enormous

change. He goes from this-

this wayward prince into one

of England's greatest warrior

kings, who after the death

of Henry IV, exceeded

to the throne and um contested

the throne of France. >>Thea

Sharrock: The whole thing is

about this journey from this

young man... who rather

abruptly becomes king,

and so the whole... the world

surrounding him; the world

of the court surrounding him,

the world of the politicians

surrounding him. The world

of the people don't know what

kind of king he's going to be

yet. Nobody knows yet

because he's had no real

reason to do anything yet.

>>Julie Walters To do

Shakespeare with no rehearsal

which is what we've done,

I mean is- I mean my part,

I mean I can't even begin

to think about Tom Hiddleston,

doing what he's done. >>Tom

Hiddleston: Day one, slate

one, take one, was Once More

Unto the Breach. It's

as almost as if it was

to myself, you know. I was-

I had this enormous part

and I was staring up at the-

like I was staring up

at a mountain I had to climb.

Once more unto the breach,

dear friends! Once more!

Or close the wall out

with our English dead. >>Tom

Hiddleston: There's obviously

the astonishing, breathtaking,

warrior poetry of that play.

And that was my enormous

privilege to - to be able

to speak it and to be able

to speak it on film in a way

that will last forever.

You know to be able to say

'Once more unto the breach,

dear friends. Oncemore.' Um,

and also deliver the Crispin's

Day speech. We happy few.

We band of brothers.

For he today that sheds

his blood with me shall be

my brother. >>Tom Hiddleston:

Henry goes over to France

and rightfully, because this

is a culture who believe inthe

divine right of kings, um

he beats the French

at the Battle of Agincourt,

in an astonishing feat

of military strategy

and bravery and leadership.

>>Thea Sharrock: And for me

it's about how this particular

man responds in that

particular moment and he is

learning how to be a king

literally as we go with him.

He doesn't know because

he didn't really learn

from his father because he was

so disrespectful. The breath

no sooner left his father's

body but did his wildness

mortified in him seem to die

too. Never was such a sudden

scholar made. >>Tom

Hiddleston: To be able to play

those two things, you know

extreme wildness and frivolity

and drunkenness and ebullience

and um, and smiles

and laughter and genuine-

genuine good times, to um,

toum, majestic, kingly

commander and chief. Amazing.

I mean it's just amazing.

>>Jeremy Irons I'm very

hopeful that if this is

the first time you see

Shakespeare, and I'm sure

formany millions of people it

might be, it will be, I'm- I'm

happier that they see this

than if they see a bad

production in their classroom

or school or local rep

[ertory]. Because I think

Shakespeare,like opera,

in order to be enjoyed, it has

to be done really well. NEXT


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