Alice Jones' Arts Diary
After years of searching, Val Kilmer tells Kaleem Aftab how he finally found his ideal role – as himself
Raul Ruiz, who died this year, has left us with a surreal four-hour story, set in 19th-century Portugal, that reclaims cinema as the language of dream
There are many ways to prepare for a month at the Edinburgh Fringe. For most, early nights and a healthy diet are key but Neil Gaiman and his wife, the Dresden Dolls singer Amanda Palmer, decided to kick the August slog off with a wedding – their third. Having had an "art-surprise flashmob" wedding in New Orleans, and a proper wedding in January, last week the couple threw a family wedding party on Skye, where Palmer has relatives on her mother's side. "It made me happy watching Amanda's white-bearded gentlemen in kilts encounter my North London Jewish relatives," wrote Gaiman on his blog. "At one point Amanda and I were hoisted on to chairs for a Jewish chair dance, while the bagpipes played. I do not believe this is something that has happened a lot in human history." The fantasy writer is appearing in several events at the Book festival, including one with Audrey Niffenegger, while Palmer's cabaret show, Evelyn Evelyn, featuring "the world's only conjoined-twin singer-songwriter duo", starts next week.
The life story of Jack Unterweger – an Austrian serial killer who strangled prostitutes with their bras and became a cause célèbre after writing poetry in prison – has been compared to those of Josef Fritzl and Jack the Ripper.
Changeling tells the harrowing true story of single mum Christine Collins (Angelina Jolie) whose son Walter (Gattlin Griffith) was kidnapped from her LA home.
The actress Kathy Staff turned Nora Batty into a television icon. Over 35 years, in 29 series, she played the broom-wielding, humourless battleaxe in the BBC sitcom Last of the Summer Wine. Nora had two targets: her henpecked husband, Wally (played by Joe Gladwin), and the shabby, woolly hat-and-wellies-wearing pensioner Compo (Bill Owen), who lusted after her and did eventually get a kiss. Nora's pursuit by Compo was a staple of most episodes. It provided wacky storylines such as the scruffy old man attempting to have his photograph taken in her bedroom and devising a complicated plan to establish her shoe size.
A lifeline to those who consigned treehouses to the same Elysian fields as sand pits and paddling pools, Treehouses, by Paula Henderson and Adam Mornement (Frances Lincoln, £19.99) provides a fascinating account of "the earliest form of natural architecture".