April 2, 1992 |
The streets of Philadelphia have perhaps never been as mean as in Pete Dexter's ironically titled Brotherly Love. Far from being the city of brotherly love, in Dexter's book, Philadelphia is the backdrop for family violence of a particularly vicious kind. The book, which has been released in an abridged version by Harper Audio (2 3/4 hours, $16), is unrelentingly dark. It starts with a newspaper report about the deaths of two union officials on the same day, in separate locations in 1986.
May 7, 1990 |
Former Philadelphia Daily News columnist Pete Dexter has been chosen to replace Oscar-winning screenwriter Robert Towne (Chinatown) to write the film adaptation of Kim Wozencraft's just-published novel Rush. It seems Towne was taking too long to finish up work on Days of Thunder, the Tom Cruise movie now shooting in Florida. "I couldn't wait any longer," says producer Richard Zanuck, who bought the movie rights to the cops-and- cocaine story for $1 million. Now a columnist for the Sacramento (Calif.
August 24, 1988 |
Pete Dexter, the Philadelphia Daily News columnist who went to California to work for a newspaper named after a bug, is not exactly basking in the glow of the rave reviews his new novel is getting. He's not the basking type. "I'm glad people like it," he said, and shrugged. Pete Dexter can shrug over the telephone. Paris Trout (Random House, $17.95) is Dexter's third novel, and his most critically acclaimed. The Los Angeles Times called it "a masterpiece, complex and breathtaking.
October 18, 1991 |
At 48, Pete Dexter hobbles like a crippled old master, picking his way with a wooden cane. He settles into a soft chair amid a circle of admirers, the cane between his knees, and receives them - famous screenwriters, powerful agents, magazine editors, novelists, ex-English majors who marvel over the Faulknerian moods and references in his work. Which is a joke because Dexter "didn't even understand the f-ing Cliffs Notes to Faulkner. " Still they come - S.I. Newhouse, Jimmy Breslin, Harold Evans - to honor Dexter at a Random House party this week.
April 10, 2007 |
Hanging around with Pete Dexter, you can't help but collect some characters along the way. The troupe assembled along the bar at the red-walled Doc Oliver's Brew & Cue alone is right out of the old Dexter playbook. Were it the old days, and you were making the rounds with Dexter, you might literally collect these people. "We'd have to take him with us," he says more than once, regarding the likely outcome of striking up a conversation with someone like the drooling but bucolic old man at the bar, or the not drooling but staggering man outside the pool hall, or the cackling woman whose boyfriend is picking stuff out of her hair, or the guy with a belly not unlike the one that prompted Dexter to write, back in 1980, when the belly was attached to an old Daily News police reporter named McGuire: "IF THERE IS ANY JUSTICE IN THIS WORLD SOME DAY HIS STOMACH WILL BE MOUNTED OVER THE DOORWAY OF THE GREATEST TAPROOM IN THE COUNTRY.
November 4, 2003 |
For a dozen years, Pete Dexter was the scourge of Philadelphia - the most notorious and gripping newspaper columnist the city has ever had. More than a continent separates him from that wild era. He now lives on a bucolic island in Puget Sound. "When I came here there were no stop lights. You could go weeks without hearing a car horn honk or waiting in line for anything," he says from his home on Whidbey Island. "I was here a week when the headline [in the local paper] was: 'Plane Crashes; Three Cows Killed' and they got this picture of dead cows and the plane upside down and the pilot out there scratching his head.
June 12, 1991 |
QUOTABLE If only the world could feel the power of harmony. - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The only way to learn if a person is trustworthy is to trust them. - Ernest Hemingway. All things have to happen at one time or another. - Pete Dexter. If you could kick the person responsible for most of your troubles, you wouldn't be able to sit down for two weeks. - Anonymous. If the world were perfect, it wouldn't be. - Yogi Berra. Living on this planet will kill you. - Truman Capote.
January 10, 1992 |
There's something about a movie set in the mid 1970's - as "Rush" is - that's automatically depressing. It's something that goes beyond this movie's downbeat story about addiction and police corruption. I think it's those '70s clothes. Everybody's wearing shirts with gigantic lapels and flared pants. It's no wonder so many people in this picture turn to hard drugs. "Rush," loosely based on a book by former police detective Kim Wozencraft, stars Jennifer Jason Leigh as a young police officer drafted into a nightmarish world of undercover narcotics in a gritty Texas town.
May 16, 1986 |
By now I am quite sure that you have received numerous letters from other lawyers decrying the "outrageous" or "irresponsible" remarks about lawyers made by Pete Dexter. I gather from his column of May 5 that most, if not all, of these letters suggest that Dexter should himself be shot. Perhaps not for expressing his views, but rather for the manner in which he chose to express them. But alas, Dexter is a journalist and the newspaper is his forum. As a lawyer, I recognize that newspapers have a duty to the public to publish views that may be unpopular (although his may not be so)
February 17, 1999
So, the time has come to bid my readers farewell. This is my final column after more than 30 years of amusing you and sometimes upsetting you. But I did try not to be mean to anyone or any group (except the Nazis). My fading memory takes me back to the first day I went to the Daily News offices in Philadelphia to talk to Rolfe Neill, then editor of the Daily News. Rolfe had invited me to talk to him about my work as editor of the Catholic Star Herald, official newspaper of the Camden Diocese.