9.29.2006

Goodwill Ambassadors Improve Border Relations


Introducing: Border Fence Beach Volleyball
US vs. Mexico

"This is a filthy beach, where the Tijuana River deposits human waste, heavy metals, toxic poisons and other industrial effluvia from Mexico into the ocean. “CONTAMINATED WATER; DEEP HOLES; RIPTIDES; NO LIFEGUARD; NO SWIMMING!” the signs announce.

No switching sides allowed This is also a geopolitically divided beach, purposefully hidden, a DMZ in miniature where the men and women of the U.S. Border Patrol would prefer no distractions as they monitor the fence of metal pylons that draws a 20-foot-tall line in the sand all the way into the sea.

It is the perfect beach, in other words, for the world’s first game of international border volleyball..."

[Joshuah Bearman, LA Weekly]

9.28.2006

Feingold, Dodd, and Kerry Oppose Torture Bill

Senator Feingold: "Mr. President, I oppose the Military Commissions Act."
"...To take just a few examples, this legislation would permit an individual to be convicted on the basis of coerced testimony and hearsay, would not allow full judicial review of the conviction, and yet would allow someone convicted under these rules to be put to death. That is simply unacceptable. We would not stand for another country to try our citizens under those rules, and we should not stand for our own government to do so, either."

Senator Dodd: "Mr. President, the Administration and Republican leadership would have the American people believe that the War on Terror requires a choice between protecting America from terrorism and upholding the basic tenets upon which our country was founded -- but not both. This canard has been showcased in every recent election cycle. I fully reject that reasoning. We can, and we must, balance our responsibilities to bring terrorists to justice, while at the same time protecting what it means to be America. To choose the rule of law over the passion of the moment takes courage. But it is the right thing to do if we are to uphold the values of equal justice and due process that are codified in our Constitution."

Senator John Kerry: "We must start treating our moral authority as a precious national asset that does not limit our power but magnifies our influence..."
"...Let me be clear about something--something that it seems few people are willing to say. This bill permits torture."

[via Daily Kos]
find links to full speeches, and excerpts chosen by mcjoan on the kos

Almadovar's Return to the Maternal Breast


According to Vincent Dreary, Almadovar, one of my favorite feminist film-makers, has returned to his roots, making films about women, with his latest print, Volver. Although his vision of women’s labor, women’s drama, feminine sexuality and matronly death is overtly romantic and theatrically tragic-comic, it is still a less male centered universe when compared to most films in wide release. I'll take a shamelessly warped view of femininity over a stereotypically dull Hollywood gaze any noche.

“…Almodóvar has, after two uneasy films about men, returned with palpable relief to the world of women. He has said of it: “This film is my deepest return to my origins . . . I was brought up by women, the men whom I practically never saw being in the fields”. It is also a geographical return to his native La Mancha, and to the mores and rituals of village life.

The opening scene is one of vigorous feminine labour, a group of unsentimental Spanish village women cleaning, brushing and polishing. The objects of their domestic attentions are graves, setting the tone for a film in which women and women’s work are portrayed as imperturbable forces, dealing even-handedly with the comedies and tragedies of life and death.”
(…)
“Penelope Cruz, in particular, is remarkable, evoking the presence and look of Anna Magnani or Sophia Loren, their combination of earthiness and fire. And the film is full of colour, full of images of food and drink, their preparation, sharing and consumption; full of the textures and patterns, music and rhythms that enrich the home. This is the world of women as sensual nourishment – Almodóvar has even described it as a return to the maternal breast – where women weave the social matrix, while men are either absent or are trying to disrupt it for their own ends. But even this violence is woven back into the fabric of society to be contained by the hands of women.”
(…)

[Vincent Dreary, Times Literary Supplement, via Scott]

9.27.2006

A Ribald Tale of Ass Stuffing in the Gourmet Ghetto


I'll need to read this book to get in touch with my roots. Living in the Gourmet Ghetto just wouldn't be the same without Alice's influence -- a bowl of home grown sweet 100s in a balsamic reduction, freshly squeezed roasted garlic eaten with remnants of meyer lemon slivers embedded under the fingernails, and er... opium stuffed up my asshole? Cough. I mean, a fine bottle of Loire Valley rouge, corked and exhuding it's gamay scent all over the pepper pot.

From Gristmill,

"It's the 1970s in Berkeley, California, and things are getting raunchy in the kitchen of Chez Panisse, where the cooks are busy revolutionizing high-end U.S. restaurant food -- among other activities:

"As dealers started showing up at the back door with regularity, [one cook] and some of his acquaintances got into increasingly harder stuff. "We were doing opium stuffing," he says. "You stick it up your ass. Just a quarter of a gram, a little ball, and you bypass the alimentary canal. You don't get nauseous -- you just absorb it." -- from David Kamp's
United States of Arugula

"Vanity Fair staff writer Kamp's account of Chez Panisse's early days is a great, ribald read. It recounts the epic clash between the elegant earth mother Alice Waters and the Falstaffian proto-celebrity chef Jeremiah Tower over the soul of what is probably the most influential restaurant in U.S. history."

[Tom Philpott, Gristmill]

Conceptual Crossroads and Bloated Celebrity Blowhards


In the latest New York art opening list compiled by Douglas Kelley, he discusses two topics -- the Fluxus Legacy Debate circulating around a show of George Maciunas ephemera at Maya Stendhal Gallery, and his reaction to PBS’ Andy Warhol documentary.

I’ve excerpted pieces from each section here for your reading pleasure.

"Fluxus Legacy Debate:And George Maciunas
Which Came First?
The Chicken or The Egg Head"

George Maciunas (1953-1978)
Charts, Diagrams, Films, Documents, and Atlases 1953-1978
Maya Stendhal Gallery,
545 West 20th Street,
Opening Sept 28th, 6-9pm
"It's Alive! It's Alive!"

“Dear Douglas,

Thanks for your latest note on George. There is one issue I'd like to bring forward: George was essential to Fluxus, but his genuine achievements are obscured by describing him as a sole force in Fluxus.

George was a central figure in a network of strong figures. There would have been no Fluxus without George -- and there would have been no Fluxus without the rest of us, all contributing in different ways and at different times. George was the co-founder of Fluxus, not the sole founder, and even though he was the one and only George Maciunas, he was not the one and only Fluxus participant.

As someone who worked closely with George from 1966 on, and as a person he always labeled a "100% Fluxman," I make this note with respect for George's deep and genuine achievements. George would have been offended by the notion that Fluxus ended with his death -- it didn't, but many speak as thought it did. George's keen understanding of social networks and his attention to social forces indicates what actually happened: George worked within and hoped for the continuity of what became a thriving community. Despite various arguments, and occasional factional struggles, the real Fluxus involves many people -- and the real George, with his care and attention to charts and diagrams, shows this.

Warm wishes,
Ken”

“To which ...I replied in part,

How wonderful to hear from them you! Yesterday at lunch with the dealer Harry Stendhal your name came up. I asked if he had ever seen something I had just the day before come across, which I can't believe I didn't stumble across last year when I was trying to trying to bone up on all this?--Your "40 Years Of Fluxus" piece, which I thought presented a very mature and very generous appraisal of George, which, I don't have it in front of me, but commented that while George was one of the important founder/originators, and as protective and feisty as any first-time mother, after he did his part, seemed to learn that for love, it to let go, when it was time? from what I've heard that seems right.

I love the fact everyone still has such passionate opinions about the guy, the movement, the legacy and the future of Fluxus. My humble opinion is that Art Historically Fluxus is the great conceptual crossroads, and the ultimate bridge to all of which that went before, and to all that is yet to come. And that what ever it was when it started, it quickly evolved into something much, much more. And solely because it was not all about heroic tragic individualism in art and its massive bombastic institutional personal displays.

I was going to address the Mr. Fluxus issue.

It would seem on its face patently absurd that anything as collaborative, in a positive post modern sense, and as fundamentally opposed to the stolid romantic individualism of post war European existentialism in most other movements, as Fluxus should even have a"founder" or "father" or a "figure head." I thought his Mr. Fluxus personality was a character he created because he was shy or a silly print icon like Mr. Peanut? Sort of like the way my friend Red Grooms has Mr. Ruckus and he still calls me J. Tabasco?

I don't mean to rewrite Fluxus Art History as a unitary personality cult, I just want to promote this show.

D"

"After which I got to further clarification as well as a 47 page Article about legacy issues that I'm still trying to digest.”

DKS on the Andy Warhol documentary,

“How many of you caught Ric Burns's new four-hour PBS documentary on the career of pop artist Andy Warhol last week? Hated it.”

It was a “…four-hour, overblown, somber, big budget, however beautifully executed, bloated, romantic totalitarian existentialist piece of crap production with its stellar array of celebrity blowhards."

"...I don't believe that his career, life, and collaborative style of working, is best retold as if a natural disaster? With Mr. Burns' production style of boggy and echo - ie submerged piano duets and moaning and groaning clarinets and bass violas wailing so sorrowfully in the distance, this production not his life is the disaster.

I found it very interesting that Mr. Burns got the top professional full-time Las Vegas quality Warhol impersonator, some one who, some might argue, has had outstanding career performing what they consider to be the most polished and elaborate Warhol impersonation ever seen- Jeff Koons. Jeff got to to be that soft, gentle, reflective interior voice of Andy' to cover Andy's quotes from his books and elsewhere. What a perfect match. Those are my favorite parts when he was reading the thing so tenderly. I am sure Jeff relished it as much as Andy would have theoretically enjoyed being the voice of Marilyn Monroe in a documentary about Jeff Koons?

The startling, stunning voice over surprise of the show for me was the main narrator Laurie Anderson, who with a relentless no nonsense NewEngland schoolmarm voice of authority, like a Jean Harris, mixed with Edward R. Morrow, seemed perfect for those PBS corporate i.d.s…

Andy Warhol was a much more interesting artist and complex fellow than you get from that documentary. I felt it was a heinous propagandistic exercise in myth making ascribing to the dominant American procapitalist discourse of the lonely romantic heroic existential individualism.... or how, one sad, but brave, so weird, yet intelligent, gruesome but sympathetic Art geek with three-quarters of a human brain, plus the steely determination of this Polish mother, (together with some of the most ironclad bonafide rabbis of the art Mafia) single-handedly, and with only a pocketful of dreams, and a devout parochial love of all things cheap, trashy and American and a Hope in his virtuous Virgin bloodless heart that would always spring eternal until his last dying day due to gross unconscionable hospital malfeasance.... would turn the world on its head, so that we could never look at it the same.”

[DKS List Newsletter]

9.25.2006

Mugi Live! at Jamb Jamb



Mugi Takei will be in a live performance at Jamb Jamb,
in Asagaya, Tokyo on Wednesday 10/18

Jamb Jamb
2-4-8 Asagaya Suginami
Phone 03-3398-2912

Keiko Higuchi (voice)
Tomoko Katabami (percussion)
Shoji Watanabe (sax/percussion)
Mugi Takei (drawing/painting)
open at 19:00 / start at 20:00
charge 1000yen w/ 1 drink

10/18(水)ライブ パフォーマンスに参加します。場所 
Jamb jamb 杉並区阿佐ヶ谷2-4-803-3398-2912ヒグチ ケイコトモコ カタバミワタナ ベショウジタケイ ムギスタート 20:00 オープン 19:00チャージ 1000円 w/ 1ドリンク

[Image: Portrait of Terri Saul by Mugi Takei]
[Text: Mugi]

Best Benefits for Mother Workers





Working Mother magazine has released its list of the Best Companies for Working Mothers. The criteria used to rate companies were, "flexibility, leave time for new parents, child care, elder care and the number of women occupying top jobs."

The top 10 were

  • Abbott Laboratories
  • Bon Secours Richmond Health System
  • Ernst & Young LLP
  • HSBC USA Inc.
  • IBM Corp.
  • JPMorgan Chase & Co.
  • Patagonia Inc.
  • PriceWaterhouseCoopers LLP
  • Principal Financial Group
  • S.C. Johnson & Son Inc.

    [New York Times, via the Associated Press]

  • Second Edition Book Shelves


    Bookshelves made from books.

    [via Pinky's Paperhaus]

    9.22.2006

    A Century of Faces Archived at Ransom


    I used to work in the archive at the Harry Ransom Center in Austin, which houses the largest photography collection in the US.

    A major retrospective of the photographs of Arnold Newman is on display there. They've aquired the entire Newman archive, "including all of the artist's negatives, slides and color transparencies, all of his contact sheets and more than 2,000 prints"

    "Arnold Newman photographed nearly all of the major icons of the 20th century during his lifetime, including every U.S. president from Harry S. Truman to Bill Clinton. He captured on film the century's most celebrated artists, including Pablo Picasso and Georgia O'Keefe, writers such as Allen Ginsberg and Langston Hughes, and celebrities like Marilyn Monroe, whom he called "the saddest woman I've ever known."

    In fact, when considering the major cultural figures of the 20th century, the more logical question is whom did Newman not photograph. When asked, Newman would quickly answer, "Albert Einstein." The physicist died just two days before their scheduled photo shoot."

    [Quotes from Vivé Griffith, The Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, UT]

    "The Harry Ransom Center houses 36 million literary manuscripts, one million rare books, five million photographs, and over 100,000 works of art. Highlights include the Gutenberg Bible (c. 1455), the First Photograph (c. 1826), important paintings by Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, and major manuscript collections of James Joyce, Ernest Hemingway, T.S. Eliot, D.H. Lawrence, Isaac Bashevis Singer, and Tennessee Williams, to name but a few.

    [Photo: Harry Ransom Center, UT, quote from the website]

    Unbearable Lightness














    Sven Nykvist, the cinematographer who shot the Unbearable Lightness of Being, and Ingmar Bergman's Persona has died. RIP Sven Nykvist.

    Sven "worked with many notable directors--Roman Polanski, Alan J. Pakula, Bob Rafelson, Paul Mazursky, Woody Allen and Louis Malle, to name a few. But he first gained prominence shooting for Ingmar Bergman, and for many he remains Bergman's cameraman."
    [AFI]

    "...an astonishingly subtle painter of atmospheres. Ingmar Bergman called the movie camera "an incredible instrument for recording the human soul as captured in the human face." No one has used the camera to that purpose more sensitively than Sven Nykvist."

    [Chris Fujiwara, Boston Phoenix]
    [via Ed]

    No Rape, No Marriage, No Emergency Contraception



    What it's like to be turned down for emergency contraception.

    "A blogger recounts the unbelievable crap she was fed by her doctor, pharmacist and local hospitals when she tried to get emergency contraception after the condom broke. She has three kids and doesn't want a fourth, but no one would give her EC -- instead, they asked her nosy questions about her sex-life, told her she couldn't have "abortion pills" and eventually turned her away..."

    "I sigh and thank him before hanging up. I know exactly what he was telling me. If I wasn't raped and wasn't married then too damn bad for me."

    "Well see," he begins, his voice dropping a little, "the problem is that you have to meet the doctor’s criteria before he'll dispense it to you."

    "Criteria?" I question.

    "Well," the nurse sounds decidedly nervous as though what he really wanted to do was hang up the phone completely, "Yes, his criteria. I mean...ummm...well, are you ok? Is there any, ummm....trauma?" he asks me."

    "My face changes expression and I hurry to explain, "No, no" I said, "No. I haven't been raped. This was consensual sex."

    "Oh..." he trails off."

    "I wait expectantly."

    "Well, ummm....*clears throat*...So you haven't been raped?" he asks again."

    "No. I have not been raped. The condom broke". I state, becoming very frustrated at this point and wondering what the hell is going on."

    "Ok, well ummm....Are you married?" he mumbles the words so low I can barely hear them."

    "Suddenly I get this image of the poor nurse standing at the hospital reading from a cue card that was given to him by a doctor."

    [via Cory Doctorow, Boing Boing]

    9.20.2006

    Wai Chan Wai


    Chan Marshall, AKA Cat Power, might be in the next Wang Kar Wai film. I can see her now, moving in slow motion, wearing a different high-necked dress in every scene, working anticipation with the strategic seemingly passive ponderous longings of a Wai temptress.

    "Like Will Oldham, ...Ms. Marshall is considering a foray into acting. She said that the cult director Wong Kar-wai invited her to play Jude Law’s ex-lover in the movie he is now shooting. Mr. Wong, she said, told her he was in the habit of playing “The Greatest” for his actors before each scene."
    (...)
    "Her next album, “Sun,” is already written, and she talks of a second covers album; top of the list are James Brown and Billie Holiday songs."

    Chan is not missing.

    [quotes from: New York Times, Winter Miller; photo: chickfactor]

    9.19.2006

    Five Loaves For Last Days









    The new Handsome Family release,
    Last Days of Wonder, gets Five Loaves of Rye (5/5). Flapping Your Broken Wings has been in heavy rotation over at KALX.

    "Boiled down to its essence, one could say the album is about death and air travel, which are seemingly everywhere on Last Days."

    "...the Handsome Family, as the country music equivalent of Edward Gorey, mine more from the combination of darkness and levity than from either on its own."

    [Pop Matters, Michael Metivier]
    [Photo by Ted Jurney]

    9.18.2006

    Bush Tries to Control Emissions

    Ed says it best. "President Bush, having decided that a left turn is out of the question and that a right turn would only make his poll numbers worse, has done the unthinkable: he’s settled on a U-turn."

    "Administration insiders privately refer to the planned volte-face as Mr Bush's "Nixon goes to China moment."
    (...)
    "...Iain Murray, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, Mr Bush's chief climate change cheerleader, is deeply alarmed: "We are left with the unpleasant conclusion that the only motivation is political."

    [The Independent, via Ed]


    Troppe Barrette e l'Intervista Magnifica



    I've been interviewed by an Italian art blogger, Claudio Parentela, on his art blog The extra Finger.

    Karin Frank is an Austrian artist who works in Japan. She was also recently interviewed by Claudio. Her wooden sculptures freeze frame ephemeral bodily functions -- gas made of wood; ejaculation popsicles; nuclear toilets. I'd love to put Karin Frank and Freud in a room together and see the smoke swirl up to the ceiling.

    Archipelago Yo

    Here is the Brooklyn Book Festival Dispatch from The Millions (A Blog About Books). Million's dispatcher writes in about the only neighborhood where writers spend about as much time looking for a parking space as they do hitting the letters.

    "...that wonderful Brooklyn admixture of charm, originality, and public-mindedness tempered by self-satisfaction were palpable all around. "

    "...for my money the most interesting house in Brooklyn is Archipelago. These guys, like Dalkey and NYRB are putting out translations of serious works of fiction from around the world, in beautiful editions. "

    Also, Chekhov's Mistress has posted a 60 second video of the festival.

    [via Ed]

    Unusual Dopyera Instruments For Sale

    The Dobro -- a hollow-bodied resonator guitar -- haunts the blues, country music, indie rock, the melodies of Hawaii, and the living rooms of Dobro wives across America with its open tunings, "fills", and slippery approaches to pitch. The entire collection of the Dopyera Brothers, the inventors of the Dobro is up for sale.

    "John’s unusual (and spectacular sounding!) resophonic violin, Rudy’s balalaika-inspired Lullabyka, the Art Deco-influenced steel body uke and tenor guitar, even the actual workbench on which John perfected the fabled tri-cone resonator system – are uniquely American (and uniquely Dopyera) innovations."
    (...)
    "There’s no doubt that many of the great blues and slide guitar players owe their careers to these radical innovations of the Dopyeras; and there’s no question that both country and bluegrass music developed a whole new voice after the introduction of the Dobro."
    (...)
    "Sold as a collection. Serious inquiries email dopyera@elderly.com"

    "Dobro means good in any language"

    [from Elderly Instruments via Orange Crate Art]

    9.15.2006

    Miranda You and Everyone We Know


    Miranda July Live
    A Benefit for the
    SF Cinematheque
    Mon & Tues, Oct 23 & 24 at 8pm
    Project Artaud
    450 Florida St.
    (Between 17th & Mariposa)
    SF, CA

    Things We Don't Understand and Definitely Are Not Going To Talk About

    Co-presented by Project Artaud Theater

    "Filmmaker, writer and performer Miranda July is no stranger to the Bay Area (she grew up in Berkeley) nor to Cinematheque, where she has shown The Amateurist, Nest of Tens and performed The Swan Tool. Internationally acclaimed since the success of Me and You and Everyone We Know, July graces us with a special two-night performance at Project Artaud to benefit San Francisco Cinematheque. In collaboration with the audience, she will perform a story of love, obsession and heartbreak. This multi-media production is a work-in-progress that will be shot as a feature film in Spring 2007."

    "After the Tuesday performance, Cinematheque will host a reception in Miranda's honor. Admission is by ticket only to this special reception. "

    General tickets go on sale September 18.

    9.14.2006

    The Dérive and Urban Hiking



    This was originally posted on my old art blog at http://www.terrisaul.com. The places inserted into the Guy Debord quote can be found in San Francisco's Mission District.

    ----- ----- ----- ----- -----

    "What do you do anyways?"

    "I don't really know."

    "Reification," Gilles replied.

    "It's serious work," I added.

    "Yes," he said.

    "I see," Carole said with admiration. "It's very serious work with thick books and a lot of papers on a big table."

    "No," Gilles said. "I walk. Principally I walk."

    Jane Dark's Sugarhigh says the last line is usually translated as "I drift. Mainly I drift." But, that doesn't quite get at the meaning of "Je me promene" either. In the everyday act of the translation of the political, philosophical, poetic, and historic, choosing one word or another makes a difference.

    As noted in the post by Jane Dark's Sugarhigh, this refers to the S.I. idea of the drift through the city as a critical act -- the Theory of the dérive.

    By Guy Debord; Bold copy by Sister Rye,

    "In his study Paris et l'agglomiration parisienne (Bibliotheque de Sociologie Contemporaine, P.U.F., 1952) Chombart de Lauwe notes that "an urban neighborhood is determined not only by geographical and economic factors, but also by the image that its inhabitants and those of other neighborhoods have of it." In the same work, in order to illustrate "the narrowness of the real Paris in which each individual lives . . . within a geographical area whose radius is extremely small," he diagrams all the movements made in the space of one year by a student living in the 16th Arrondissement [16th and Mission in San Francisco]. Her itinerary forms a small triangle with no significant deviations, the three apexes of which are the School of Political Sciences, her residence and that of her piano teacher [Tartine, her residence, and Dolores Park]."

    The dérive was a Surrealist and Situationist attempt to meander in cities in a way which would break free of this habitual triangulation between apexes.

    (...)
    "We can say, then, that the randomness of a dérive is fundamentally different from that of the stroll, but also that the first psychogeographical attractions discovered by dérivers may tend to fixate them around new habitual axes, to which they will constantly be drawn back."

    (...)
    "The average duration of a dérive is one day, considered as the time between two periods of sleep. The starting and ending times have no necessary relation to the solar day, but it should be noted that the last hours of the night are generally unsuitable for dérives."

    The modern phenomenon of the urban day hike can be seen as a form of the dérive, in that it is not a hike, a walk, a stroll, or a promenade. Also, it is emphatically not a shopping spree.

    (...)
    "The spatial field of a dérive may be precisely delimited or vague, depending on whether the goal is to study a terrain or to emotionally disorient oneself. It should not be forgotten that these two aspects of dérives overlap in so many ways that it is impossible to isolate one of them in a pure state. But the use of taxis, for example, can provide a clear enough dividing line: If in the course of a dérive one takes a taxi, either to get to a specific destination or simply to move, say, twenty minutes to the west, one is concerned primarily with a personal trip outside one's usual surroundings. If, on the other hand, one sticks to the direct exploration of a particular terrain, one is concentrating primarily on research for a psychogeographical urbanism."

    "In every case the spatial field depends first of all on the point of departure, the residence of the solo dériver or the meeting place selected by a group. The maximum area of this spatial field does not extend beyond the entirety of a large city and its suburbs. At its minimum it can be limited to a small self-contained ambiance: a single neighborhood or even a single block of houses if it's interesting enough (the extreme case being a static- dérive of an entire day within the Saint-Lazare train station)."

    Urban Hikers have taken advantage of the use of modern forms of map making/reading, aided by the technology of Google maps, in particular the hybrid map/satellite view and the pedometer.

    "The exploration of a fixed spatial field entails establishing bases and calculating directions of penetration. It is here that the study of maps comes in, ordinary ones as well as ecological and psychogeographical ones, along with their correction and improvement. It should go without saying that we are not at all interested in any mere exoticism that may arise from the fact that one is exploring a neighborhood for the first time. Besides its unimportance, this aspect of the problem is completely subjective and soon fades away."
    (...)

    [Bibliography:A slightly different version of this article was first published in the Belgian surrealist journal Les Livres Nues #9 (November 1956) along with accounts of two dérives.]

    9.13.2006

    Dirty Little Whirl Wind










    These are the lyrics to my new favorite song, Dirty Whirl, from the latest TV On The Radio, which comes out today on Return to Cookie Mountain.

    Oh there is a murderess amongst us
    her love is a violent spiral
    hurling in upon us
    conjured up at the birth of the world
    Durga is a dancer
    mindless questions find no answers
    slicing through the ether
    yeah she's gleaming like mother of pearl
    dirty little whirl wind
    commander, controller I found you
    dirty little whirl wind
    I am pinned by the heat of your swirl
    dirty little whirl wind
    descender, destroyer, I found you
    you dirty little whirl wind
    tangled up in the flesh of a girl
    curl me up beside you
    this spark in your eyes belies
    the apocalypse inside you
    twisting the pits from the particle
    skull can't save face
    so shake the shame from it
    burn me up inside you
    let me churn in your furnace of whirl
    dirty little whirl wind
    commander, controller I found you
    dirty little whirl wind
    I am pinned by the heat of your swirl
    dirty little whirl wind
    descender, destroyer, I found you
    you dirty little whirl wind
    all caught up in the flesh of a girl
    all I ever wanted to be was destroyed at sea
    the hurricane rescued me
    savage calamity
    all I ever wanted to be was destroyed at sea
    hurricane rescued me
    savage calamity
    do not delay
    we stood in place for it
    turn me up inside you
    up and into the heart of your world

    [Dirty Whirl, TV On The Radio, Return to Cookie Mountain, 2006]

    5 X 5 = 0 at Festivaletteratura



    Paul Collins' weekend stubble takes time to grow in. I admire his pensive "resistance to issuing a personal canon."

    Paul -- "Bizarrely, in the course of 10 interviews in a row on Wednesday alone -- a guaranteed way to lose your grip on reality, incidentally -- I was asked 5 times in succession: "Name 5 books that everyone should own." The first to throw this spanner into my gears was a TV crew from RAI 1, one of the national channels. My response: to stand stunned for a moment and then say, "Turn off the camera. I need a minute."

    Eventually, I gave them this response: "Everybody should have five books that they haven't seen in anybody else's house."

    I thought that was that, until the next interviewer asked the same question. And the next. And the next."

    [via Ed, via Jenny D]

    Bush Drops a Bomb of Puritanical Fervor


    "Bush Tells Group He Sees a 'Third Awakening'"

    "President Bush said yesterday that he senses a "Third Awakening" of religious devotion in the United States that has coincided with the nation's struggle with international terrorists, a war that he depicted as "a confrontation between good and evil.

    Bush told a group of conservative journalists that he notices more open expressions of faith among people he meets during his travels, and he suggested that might signal a broader revival similar to other religious movements in history. Bush noted that some of Abraham Lincoln's strongest supporters were religious people "who saw life in terms of good and evil" and who believed that slavery was evil.

    [Sorry Bushie, you're no Abraham Lincoln.]

    "A lot of people in America see this as a confrontation between good and evil, including me," Bush said during a 1 1/2 -hour Oval Office conversation on cultural changes and a battle with terrorists that he sees lasting decades. "There was a stark change between the culture of the '50s and the '60s -- boom -- and I think there's change happening here," he added. "It seems to me that there's a Third Awakening."

    [You mean WWIII]

    The First Great Awakening refers to a wave of Christian fervor in the American colonies from about 1730 to 1760, while the Second Great Awakening is generally believed to have occurred from 1800 to 1830.

    (...)

    Bush has been careful discussing the battle with terrorists in religious terms since he had to apologize for using the word "crusade" in 2001.

    (...)

    "He's drawing a parallel in terms of a resurgence, in dangerous times, of people going back to their religion," said one aide, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the session was not open to other journalists. "This is not 'God is on our side' or anything like that."

    [Oh, yes it is. His bombs are the equivalent of burning people at the stake. His witch hunts, wiretapping and civil rights abuses are his expressions of puritanical fervor.]

    The White House did not release a transcript of Bush's remarks, but National Review posted highlights on its Web site."
    (...)

    [Peter Baker, Washington Post Staff Writer]

    9.12.2006

    Listen! New TV on the Radio



    "Return to Cookie Mountain," the new CD by "TV on the Radio" comes out tomorrow. But, tonight, for one night only, it's available to stream for free.

    Waifs Deemed Sick in Madrid


    Good news arrives via Ed.

    "Madrid's fashion week has turned away underweight models after protests that young girls and women were trying to copy their rail-thin looks and developing eating disorders."

    "Organizers say they want to project an image of beauty and health, rather than a waif-like, or heroin chic look."
    (...)
    "The mayor of Milan, Italy, Letizia Moratti told an Italian newspaper this week she would seek a similar ban for her city's show unless it could find a solution to "sick" looking models."

    [Washington Post via Return of the Reluctant]

    Literary Dzanc Provides Free Guidance and Pays





    Steve Gillis, and Dan Wickett have started a non-profit publishing house, charity, and lit journal promoter and distributor.

    "Our mission at Dzanc is 3-pronged: To assist literary journals in reaching the largest reader base possible; to develop educational programs within the schools in the areas of reading and writing; and, beginning in 2007, to publish two excellent works of literary fiction per year."

    "As Publishers, Dzanc's mission is to provide a home for some of the amazing, talented authors out there. Both Steve and Dan are intimately aware of the current state of publishing, which finds well-intended presses unable to offer their authors the necessary editorial or marketing support, particularly when a manuscript doesn't fit neatly into a clear market. We at Dzanc have no such fears. If the manuscript is excellent, we will provide editing guidance and do whatever it takes to find the audience a work deserves."
    (...)
    "While Dzanc operates as a non-profit, our authors will receive full payment just as any for profit house. More about submitting can be found at www.dzancbooks.org/excerptsubmissions.html."

    [Press Release, posted on the Emerging Writers Network]

    9.11.2006

    Shotgun Players Dream Lorin

    The Shotgun Players have a strong commitment to community theater, from including non-actors in their plays to staging shows for free, or based on a sliding scale, with "pay what you can" nights.

    Here's a preview of the Shotgun Players next play, "Love is a Dream House in Lorin," from Patrick Dooley, artistic director of the company --“Based on the powerful model created by Cornerstone Theater in Los Angeles, we've built a new piece of community theatre that puts our neighborhood - our community, and its residents - onstage to tell their stories alongside professional actors." (…)

    "Playwright Marcus Gardley was commissioned by Shotgun Players in 2005 to create a play about the neighborhood once called Lorin that surrounds our theater The Ashby Stage."

    "In Love is a Dream Hose in Lorin
    we’ll meet fictionalized generations of South Berkeley inhabitants who each have a different chapter of the story to tell. (…) Beginning with the Ohlone Indians, and moving up through the proposed Ashby BART Transit village, Love is a Dream House in Lorin is giant in scope— by far the most ambitious project this company has ever undertaken."

    "Shotgun Players learned of the complex history of the Lorin District in 1999 when we arranged to perform plays at the South Berkeley Community Church. In 2004, when we acquired our own theater in the same neighborhood, there was a strong desire to learn more and to create a production that truly is community theatre: both by telling a story about the community – and by involving its members in both the development and the production itself." (…)

    "Shotgun Players production of Love is a Dream House in Lorin will be directed by Aaron Davidman (Artistic Director of Traveling Jewish Theatre). The show features an awe-inspiring cast of 30 people ranging in age from 9 to 69, with members of the local theater community and the neighborhood community. The set will be designed by Lisa Clark, with costumes by Vincent Avery, light design by Richard Olmstead and sound design by Shotgun Company Member Daniel Bruno. Choreography will be created by Shotgun Company member Andrea Weber, and Dena Martinez will Assistant Direct."

    [quotes from Patrick Dooley, Shotgun Players]

    Mizoguchi The Shakespearean



    Update: Mizoguchi's: Ugetsu, Street of Shame, and Sansho the Bailiff are praised in this New Yorker preview by Anthony Lane,

    “The Japanese director Kenji Mizoguchi died fifty years ago, on August 24, 1956. In his honor, Film Forum has organized a short festival, starting September 8th, comprising half a dozen films. Should you enjoy those, you will have a mere eighty-four movies to go—an unfeasible task, given that many of them are silent, untraceable quickies from the nineteen-twenties. Nevertheless, the handful of films in the series, ranging from “Sisters of the Gion” (1936) to “Street of Shame” (1956), and including a six-day run of the celebrated “Ugetsu Monogatari” (1953), should be enough to back Jean-Luc Godard’s claim that Mizoguchi was, “quite simply, one of the greatest of filmmakers.” If you know the name already, that assessment will seem uncontentious; for many moviegoers—those familiar with Akira Kurosawa, perhaps, and eager to place “Rashomon” or “The Seven Samurai” at the summit of Japanese cinema—the more likely response will be “Who?”

    "There are certainly fertile comparisons to be made between Kurosawa and Mizoguchi; and yet, to those who love the latter, there is no comparison. Kurosawa seems sweaty and overwrought beside the astounding formal finesse of a movie like “Sansho the Bailiff ” (1954). I have seen “Sansho” only once, a decade ago, emerging from the cinema a broken man but calm in my conviction that I had never seen anything better; I have not dared watch it again, reluctant to ruin the spell, but also because the human heart was not designed to weather such an ordeal."

    Read more...
    [Anthony Lane, Current Cinema, The New Yorker, 9.11.06]

    9.08.2006

    Sweet and Tender Vagueans

















    The Nouvelle Vague show at the Fillmore last night was sweet, tender, and fantastic. The two main chanteuses, Phoebe Killdeer, and Melanie Pain (who is the lead singer on "Sweet and Tender Hooligan"), sultry slinky lionesses with poisonous voices and dance moves that would melt the Siberian permafrost: sexy, hip, beautiful, wickedly cool, and very French, seduced every undead heart in the audience. There was another amazing woman on accordion who breathed with her hands, I think that was Camille. Marc Collin and Olivier Libaux are the other two vagueans. I've only seen dancing like this in films. I've only heard singing like this by Nina Simone or Marianne Faithfull doing Kurt Weill doing Brecht. I'd rate this show up there with Bjork when she was touring with Coba the accordionist in 1996, or PJ Harvey, touring for "Uh Huh Her" in 2004. I screamed "Mon Dieu" and "Encore" until they served up a plate of barbecued iguana, "Mexican Radio".

    ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- -----

    En français, peut-être mal. Excusez-moi--

    Nouvelle Vague chez le Fillmore la nuit passée était douce, tendre, et fantastique. Les deux chanteuses principaux, Phoebe Killdeer, et Melanie Pain (qui est le chanteur principal sur "Sweet and Tender Hooligan"), les lionnes furtives étouffantes avec des voix toxiques et les mouvements de danse qui fondraient le pergélisol sibérien : sexy, chic, beaux, chouette, et très français, a séduit chaque coeur dans les assistances. Il y avait une autre femme étonnante sur l'accordéon qui a respiré avec des mains, je pensent qui était Camille. Marc Collin et Olivier Libaux sont les deux autres vagueans. J'ai seulement vu danser comme ceci en films. J'ai seulement entendu le chant comme ceci par Nina Simone ou Marianne Faithfull faisant Kurt Weill faisant Brecht. J'évaluerais ceci pour révéler là avec Bjork quand elle jouait avec Coba l'accordéoniste en 1996, ou PJ Harvey, la voyageant pour "Uh Huh Her" en 2004. J'ai crié "mon Dieu" et "Encore" jusqu'à ce qu'ils aient servi vers le haut d'un plat de “barbecued iguana”, commençant à jouer, "Mexican Radio".

    Saturday Mes Fantomes, Sunday Heaven's Doors






    San Francisco Cinematheque is co-presenting with the Arab Film Festival this week at the Roxie.

    ALGERIES, MES FANTOMES
    By Jean Pierre Lledo
    San Francisco, Roxie Cinema
    Saturday 9/9 2:00 pm
    3117 16th Street (at Valencia)

    "An exiled Algerian filmmaker of Judeo-Spanish descent begins a long filmed journey to confront the ghosts that have haunted him since his arrival in France. A quest of identity and a flashback to an Algero-French story of the past half century. Finally, from city to city, from meeting to meeting, the pieces of the puzzle of a many-faced Algeria that never was, but which someday may be, slowly fall into place."

    HEAVEN'S DOORS
    by Swel & Imad Noury
    San Francisco, Roxie Cinema
    Saturday 9/9 9:00 pm
    Sunday 9/10 6:00 pm
    3117 16th Street (at Valencia)

    "Casablanca, late afternoon: Ney, a young Moroccan man in his early 20s, heads toward his victim's apartment, bent on revenge and ready to commit an act that will lead to the collision of three different lives. Ney lives with his blind mother and little sister. Being the only man at home, Ney feels responsible for his family but starts forgetting his principles and ends up working for a powerful local gangster, Mansour. Lisa is an American woman living alone in Casablanca. Since her husband's accidental death, Lisa brokeall ties with her in-laws. She pours her only efforts into drinking bourbon alone, though sometimes shares her problems with her best friend, Jalil, a single lawyer. Lisa's life changes forever when she hears she is the only remaining family member to two victims of a murder, one of which gets out of jail and is eager to be out for two reasons: to tend to his ailing mother and execute his plans for revenge."

    [San Francisco Cinematheque]

    ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- -----

    For supplemental viewing, Sister Rye suggests:

    ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- -----

    THE BATTLE OF ALGIERS 1966

    "Because of its perfect fusion of form and content, this is one of the most strikingly successful subversive films ever made. Its revolutionary fervour - though subtly muted by a compassionate humanism that embraces both camps - is pure and passionate. Without Pontecorvo's control over his plastic material, however, it would have remained ineffectual. Incredibly, this huge 'documentary' of the Algerian struggle against the French - street battles, bombings, riots, mass strikes, assassinations - was entirely staged, and made to resemble authentic newsreel shots by the use of high-contrast, high-grain film stock, hand-held cameras, and intentional jump-cuts. The cruelty of torture, the arrogance of the fascist French paratroopers, the escalating terrorism and mutual reprisals...mount to a masterful final sequence of poetic symbolism: the Algerian masses, leaderless after the destruction of the National Liberation Front, once again surge into the streets in a spontaneous, powerful demonstration.... Their confrontation with the French military is classic in concept and execution and reminiscent of early Soviet cinema: the steady, drum-like chants for independence of the swaying possessed mass, the young women with flags, the soldiers slowly retreating, the music reaching towards a crescendo but symbolically ending before the final beat." --Amos Vogel

    Directed by Gillo Pontecorvo. Screenplay by Franco Solinas. Photographed by Marcello Gatti. With Jean Martin, Yacef Saadi, Brahim Haggiag. (1966, 35mm, 123 mins, English titles, Print from Northal Film Distributors) Played at PFA: MON NOV 9 1981

    and also,
    OCTOBER 17, 1961 (France, 2005)
    NUIT NOIR, 17 OCTOBRE 1961

    "One of contemporary Europe's darkest moments—the still-uninvestigated 1961 massacre of Algerian protesters in Paris—is meticulously reconstructed in director Alain Tasma's docudrama, a France-set counterpoint to Gillo Pontecorvo's legendary Battle of Algiers (1965). "The night that never existed," October 17, 1961, was left out of French history books for over forty years. As the Algerian war came to its conclusion, the main Algerian nationalist group organized a massive demonstration in Paris against police repression and a local curfew; the chief of the Paris police (a man currently imprisoned for Vichy-era war crimes) responded by ordering a brutal crackdown. By the time the evening had ended, over 11,000 people had been imprisoned, and hundreds of protesters had been killed. A portrait of one night in France's history, October 17, 1961 also serves as a window into the fissures that divide Europe today: between North African and European, immigrant and native, repression and assimilation. Inspired by the fiction/documentary blends of such socially committed British filmmakers as Alan Clarke and Ken Loach, and by the incendiary force of Battle of Algiers, director Alain Tasma reimagines an event that has been shamefully ignored in France's textbooks, but whose scars still linger. "Thanks to the possibilities that fiction brings," notes the screenwriter Patrick Rotman, "we have been able to dive into the past and to construct a narrative of many voices in which each character, be they an Algerian or a police officer, defends their own truth. Now it is up to the viewer to construct their own."

    Written by Patrick Rotman, François-Olivier Rousseau, Tasma. Photographed by Roger Dorieux. With Clotilde Courau, Thierry Fortineau, Jean-Michel Portal, Ouassini Embarek. (106 mins) 7:00 Played at PFA: MON APR 24 2006 19:00

    [PFA FILM NOTES]

    9.07.2006

    Rude Mechanicals Get Their War Tour On








    GET YOUR WAR ON is on tour 9/13 - 10/21


    "Rude Mechs is proud to announce a 6 week, 4 city tour of our hit play "Get Your War On" to the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival (Philadelphia PA), DiverseWorks (Houston, TX), Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company (Washington D.C.) and Ballroom Marfa (Marfa, TX)."

    "We are thrilled to represent Austin across the country with our wildly popular and acclaimed original production. Adapted from David Rees’ internet comic strip of the same name, “Get Your War On" represents stunned and outraged Americans as they react to 9/11, the Bush administration and this totally awesome War On Terror. "Hey, remember when we declared a War on Drugs and now you can't buy drugs anymore? It'll be just like that!"

    "Tell all your friends, family and vague acquaintances in Philadelphia, Houston, Washington DC and Marfa to come join us."

    Live Arts Festival in Philadelphia: September 13 - 16, 2006
    DiverseWorks in Houston, TX: September 21 - 30, 2006
    Woolly Mammoth in Washington, DC: October 5 - 14, 2006
    Ballroom Marfa in Marfa, TX: October 20 - 21, 2006

    [Rude Mechanicals Newsletter]

    Indy Japanese Co. Saves Cody's Books




    Cody's is Turning Japanese but Keeping its Cali Team


    They're filming the press conference down on 4th street with Ross of Cody's and Kagawa of Yohan Inc. now. The employees seem happy (because they still have jobs) and so do the book buyers (who were worried Cody's was going under). The workers are waiting to see how it pans out in the long run.

    Kagawa loves Cody's, and likes independent bookstores in general. He is doing our community a great service, in my opinion, by saving one of our favorite haunts and allowing it to maintain it's indy flavor.

    "Yohan owns and operates 18 stores in Japan. "They all have personality and character and are as independent as one can get," said Mytinger. "It's a terrific pairing. I'm actually quite pleased."
    [Bridget Kinsella, writing for Publisher's Weekly]

    Update:
    Edward Champion
    voices his opinion. He's not happy about the purchase of Cody's, or with the behavior of Andy Ross, who has been heavily criticized in Berkeley for allowing the Telegraph store to close. Personally, I think Ed should give Yohan a chance. Kagawa might be a good influence on Ross.

    {photo by Dayna}

    9.06.2006

    Fellow Graduate Paints His Goil



    These paintings evolved from his earlier studies of Popeye and Olive Oyl. Note the long neck, and the flower in her hair.

    Brian Calvin
    at Anton Kern Gallery
    September 7 - October 14
    532 West 20th Street NY 10011

    Brian Calvin was always a resourceful painter. When other students spent their beer money on new paint, he scrounged the studios for discarded tubes and dregs of wash left in cans. The attitude of using only what is required and using it sparingly can be seen in his work, which displays a remarkable consistency over the last 10 years. Calvinist restraint wins over Matthew Barney's trite shackles.

    Bourgeois Works On Paper












    Louise Bourgeois, Works On Paper From The 1940's And 50's

    September 5 - November 4, 2006

    PETER BLUM SOHO
    99 Wooster Street
    New York, NY 10012

    "The drawings, most of which have rarely been publicly shown, are inhabited by abstracted portraits and images inspired by the landscape of Bourgeois' childhood home in the Creuse region of central France. The repetitive, rhythmic patterns of black ink lines suggest undulating hills, hanging plants, knotted hair, and arid soil. These forms pulsate and move in uneasy waves. Like most of Bourgeois' art, the drawings presented here are rife with allusions and deeply autobiographical references."
    [Peter Blum Gallery, Soho]


    "I am a woman without secrets. Simply because my life every day is a
    liquidation of the past. I feel that if I had liquidated the past completely, I
    would be able to experience the reality of today. Nothing private is a
    risk. The private should be understood, resolved, packaged, and
    disposed of, not recycled- it is a disposal, a deposition." -- Louise Bourgeois
    [Douglas Kelly Show List, NYC]

    9.05.2006

    It Takes A Village Voice



    The heart of the Village Voice is no longer beating.

    "The Village Voice’s new management fired books editor Ed Park by telephone on Wednesday. Longtime rock critic Robert Christgau ["a senior editor and longtime pop music critic who had been at the paper on and off since 1969."] also got the axe, along with six more senior editors," from Maud Newton's take.

    Jane Dark's Sugarhigh
    provides a list, "...On the editorial side: Darren Reidy, Ed Park, Jorge Morales, Elizabeth Zimmer, and - gasp -- Bob Christgau. On the art side: Minh Uong, LD Beghtol, Tina Zimmer.

    Good people all, no doubt."

    More from Maud Newton, "It’s about time, don’t you think? Now the New Times, which owns the Voice, can redirect coverage toward truly relevant cultural matters — like how great boob jobs are!"

    From the NYT article by Motoko Rich, "In an interview, Tom Robbins, a longtime reporter and union steward at The Voice, said: “We’ve been looking forward to this new editor coming on and then all of a sudden we get hit with these very deep cuts and firings, including people like Bob Christgau, who helped put The Voice on the map. It cuts the heart right out of the paper.”

    "Not including yesterday’s layoffs, nearly 20 people have either been dismissed or left voluntarily since the merger."

    [quotes from Jane Dark, Maud Newton, and Motoko Rich]
    [art by Bill Traylor]

    Calder's Flying Mobiles


    Braniff, as part of its "End of the Plain Plane" project, commissioned Calder to paint some of their jets from 1972-1976. So far, this level of painterly expressiveness on aircraft bodies goes unmatched. These aircraft were some of Calder's last works of art.

    Also, check out what the flight attendants were wearing.

    The Mona Loca



    You tube users are looking for inexpensive post-production tools as alternatives to Avid or Final Cut. Jumpcut, a Flash based editor, is free, but unfortunately it won't allow users to upload videos to You Tube. Eyespot is another popular video editing site, that allows users to mix each others clips.

    "...producing a blockbuster on YouTube doesn't have to cost a lot of money. "Some of the software you can get for the price of a pack of smokes..."

    "Harding ...opted for a Canon Powershot SD500 and a backup SD200. He says this comes as a surprise to people because the cameras are marketed for shooting still images. Yet, they also shoot brief video clips. They were inexpensive, are small enough to fit in his pocket and are durable."

    "I've gone diving with serious underwater photographers in Borneo," Harding said. "They got depressed when they saw my high-quality stills and clips taken with these little cameras after they spent most of their dive time fussing with their high-priced equipment."

    "...big-ticket technology is never going to make up for a lack of creativity."

    [quotes from Greg Sandoval writing for CNET News]

    The Little Mark on My Cheek


    Kazue Daikoku & Alexis Jones have written a Star Bellied Sneeches type of story for children in English, Japanese, and Japanglish (my favorite), with an accompanying photo essay, by Ari Marcopoulos called The Little Mark on My Cheek.

    The music for the web version of the Happano Press book is by Shugo Tokumaru and OKI.

    Kazue feels that the story is less cynical than the Star Bellied Sneeches, and I agree. They both deal with simple lessons in battling prejudice based on outward appearances for children and adults, but The Little Mark on My Cheek has an easier time reaching the happy ending, and is more about self acceptance and individual pride than the Sneeches, which is more about a critique of forced conformity, and capitalism.

    The print version of the book will be available in mid September. Packages from Happano Press sometimes come with easy to assemble Japanese plastic slipcover boxes, to keep the books dust free on the shelf, and are beautifully designed. They use high quality paper, accordion folded bindings, and superb inks in their printing processes.

    9.01.2006

    Feral Books



    Bookmooch, BookCrossing, Frugal Reader, Paperback Swap, are all new ways to share used books with other people, and make the world into a free lending library. How many books just sit and gather spores in the dark? Joi Ito blogged it. Here's a note from BookCrossing to publishers,

    "Publishers and authors: listen up! We know you may be concerned about all this book-sharing talk, and what it might do to your book store sales. You may be surprised to know that many, many publishers and authors are big BookCrossing fans. They've seen the paradoxical value in encouraging the sharing of books. In fact, if one were to compare the number of people who buy books based on seeing book reviews here as the books change hands, to the number of people who actually find free books, we can assure you there are far more buyers than finders. This site is not about saving people money. Many of our members, in fact, purchase two copies of every book they like, so they can keep one and release the other into the wild!"