Last Call: Watch Surfer Dan catch icy waves in the Upper Peninsula

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Screenshot: Camp4 Collective (Vimeo)

Bundle up for the Surfer Dan documentary


My favorite film of last weekend’s Backcountry Film Festival was Surfer Dan, a short about a surfer named Dan (stay with me, people) whose stomping grounds are the frigid, ice-covered waters of Michigan’s Lake Superior. “To most, it’s quite possibly the most unattractive surfing destination in the entire world,” the film’s description reads. But to Dan, below-zero air temperatures, icebergs, and a frozen beard are just par for the course. He’s surfed Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, and even northern Michigan’s Teal Lake. The documentary is visually beautiful, and worth your time. [Kate Bernot]

Another Dan makes for a fascinating, disturbing story about the book industry

Today’s must-read is in The New Yorker (I foolishly started reading it off of Twitter soon after I woke up, almost making me late for work): “The Suspense Novelist’s Trail Of Deceptions” by Ian Parker, about The Woman In The Window author Dan Mallory (pen name: A.J. Finn). That debut novel was an immediate best-seller and is being made into a movie, the kind of deal every writer dreams of. But years before TWITW, Dan Mallory had studied Patricia Highsmith’s Tom Ripley novels and skated his way from high-end publishing job to high-end publishing job, all the while unfurling conflicting stories about his family history, his education, even his own health. It’s a fascinating tale about how easy it is for a privileged white male to fall upward, even in a super-competitive industry like publishing (in a way, Mallory reminds me of Fyre Festival organizer Billy McFarland). But it’s also a difficult-to-fathom actual true tale about the huge gray area between reality and fiction in real life. Definitely check it out—just make sure you’ve got the time to read it all. [Gwen Ihnat]