James D. McCallister

author of the Edgewater County series

Review: TWIN PEAKS (2017)

Or is it, Twin Peaks: The Return? That’s what it’s called on the streaming service I’m using to get Showtime all summer, just to see this continuation of a 25 year-old network television show most casual viewers remember as running into a ditch in its second season and never recovering. While that’s not quite true (see handy graphic […]


In mid-2016, noted graphic novelist and self-professed warlock Alan Moore released his second literary novel, Jerusalem, and it’s a doozy. A 600,000 word Joycean meditation on the lifeblood and history of a single neighborhood in Northampton, UK, the author’s hometown and lifelong residence, this book is an epic journey that seems to go everywhere and yet nowhere. 

Review (Theatrical): MANCHESTER BY THE SEA

Ever notice someone walking by who has haunted eyes? To whom a musky whiff of past or present misfortune seems to linger as they go about their daily lives? Lee Chandler (Casey Affleck, Interstellar, The Killer Inside Me), the taciturn protagonist of Manchester by the Sea, is just such a person. He works with quiet […]

A Stroll through the Knausgaard: A Review of My Struggle, Vol. 5

I wanted to write, that was all I wanted, and I couldn’t understand those who didn’t, how they could be happy with an ordinary job, whatever it was, whether teacher, camera operator, bureaucrat, academic, farmer, TV host, journalist, designer, publicist, fisherman, truck driver, gardener, nurse, or astronomer. How could that be enough? I understood it […]

Book Review: BEAR by Robert Greenfield

In 1985, when I became initiated into my new life as a latter generation Deadhead—it’s called “getting on the bus,” referencing a lyric from the Dead’s psychedelic classic “That’s It for The Other One”—I had certainly heard of Augustus Owsley Stanley III. As an aficionado of the 1960s social revolution I had missed by virtue of […]


Short version: if you want to go and have a good time, avert your eyes from this savagely uncompromising review of what played like a child’s model kit—half-assembled, covered in misapplied decals and sticky with goopy globs of airplane glue—of a Star Wars movie. Seriously. Fair warning. Spoilers ahead. If, however, you’re inclined to read exactly how and why […]


“You ever think how different life could be if you could just change one thing?” Okay, I’ll bite: How about if the Axis powers had won World War 2 instead of the Allies, with the United States partitioned by Japan and Germany into two occupied territories?


Filed under Local Kid Makes Good Department: Late to the pop culture party, my exposure to Bennettsville, SC’s principal comedy export Aziz Ansari prior to this Netflix original series was limited to a few episodes of Parks & Recreation. Charming, quick, and quirky of spirit, I enjoyed his character. Ansari’s sitcom sidekick schtick felt familiar in content, but appealing […]

Review (Live Music Webcast): DEAD & COMPANY

Dang if they haven’t gone and done it. Or so it seems to this longtime Deadhead. Sponsorship. A corporate logo em-bugged in the corner of the youtube screen during the Saturday night live feed from Madison Square Garden, directed by no less a big-time, seasoned hand as Hollywood hit maker (if not precisely auteur) Brett […]

REVIEW (Theatrical): LOVE AND MERCY (2015)

Here’s the first part of my review of this terrific new film, as published on the Jasper magazine blog.   An effectively stylized glimpse into Beach Boys mastermind Brian Wilson’s troubled life composing what remains as the arguable pinnacle of the modern American popular music canon, in the brilliant Love and Mercy we find depicted his mid-1960s creative eruption as well as the sad, bizarre interlude twenty […]