12.22.2006

Melody, Punk and Bill Stevenson's Drumming




















The brother likes the new Lemonheads CD I gave him for Christmas.
"That Lemonheads CD just nails me to the wall.. I grew up with Bill Stevenson's drumming: Descendents, Black Flag.. now the same chops blending in with those beautiful, seasoned melodies. That really hits the spot!"
Descendents
Black Flag
Dinosaur Jr.
J. Mascis

12.21.2006

Fans of Jacques Rivette Unite

Thank you Charles for introducing me to a fellow Rivette fan. His latest post Winter of our Film Content lists every film series you might want to see in the San Francisco Bay Area over the next few weeks, breaking down the PFA Calendar, as well as schedules at the Roxie, Red Vic, Castro, Rafael Film Center, and Cerrito Speakeasy Theaters.

[Hell on Frisco Bay]

Raed Says "80% Solution" Will Not Work in Iraq

Raed is blogging again. He says that politics, not sectarianism is at the root of the conflict in Iraq, based on the fact that diverse religious groups are coming together to form a pro-unity group against the U.S. occupation, and the so-called "80% solution", which excludes 20% of Iraqis.

"There are new, mixed Iraqi coalitions emerging, which makes the Iraqi political map more complicated..."

"The main issue that is splitting Iraqis is the presence of the occupation, and that's why more than 87% of the Iraqi people, and a majority of the country's politicians, believe that the first step in dealing with the Iraqi-Iraqi conflict is pulling out the U.S. and coalition troops and ending the occupation."

Raed was one of the first bloggers to blog from Iraq before and during the start of the war. See a running total of the cost of the war here.

[Raed in the Middle]

Witch Hunt

This Arabic-language magazine has been banned in Morocco for publishing an article on the cathartic role of jokes.

Lalami says, "What makes this campaign against the free press particularly troubling is that its fomentors include journalists, people who should at the very least know something about freedom of the press and show some solidarity for their fellow writers, editors, and reporters."

[Laila Lalami]

Reed's Berlin Called "Excruciatingly Literal"

ArtForum diarist Zach Baron covers Lou Reed's Berlin saying wearily,

"On an otherwise excruciatingly literal night—the album was “depressing,” therefore the audience would remain still and somber throughout; when the Brooklyn Youth Chorus chorused “No, no, no!” they would also shake their heads, no, no, no—the only break in the mood was Julian Schnabel’s set, a perplexing creation of Japanese screens in pale orange, yellow, and cream, set off by a fifteen-foot couch hanging vertically from the ceiling. Reed riffed on the otherwise inviolate solemnity, capping an extended guitar rave with a resigned shrug: “Oh, back into the land of depression now.”
The Rolling Stone's David Fricke felt more upbeat about the revisionist spectacle,
"On December 14th, thirty-three years after the album's release, Reed opened a sold-out four-night stand at St. Ann's Warehouse in Brooklyn, New York, performing the whole of Berlin live for the first time, with full orchestration and atmospheric stage direction by Julian Schnabel. The story still thrills as it repels: the way Reed, with a poet's ear and a reporter's eye and no intruding moral comment, renders both artificial ecstasies (booze, speed, reckless sex) and real-life horror (beatings, blood on the sheets).

But the most astonishing thing about hearing Berlin live was the greatest-hits glow of the songs. The arrangements, which sounded muted and crowded on the album's original, flimsy RCA pressing, bloomed in 3-D"
My favorite song on the album seems to have been hailed as a triumphant antidote to the wrist-splitting doom,"And when he got to "Caroline Says II," Reed offset the escalating violence and emotional collapse with a tenderness, in the music and his singing, that made it a love song in all but the bruises."

[ARTFORUM Diary, Rolling Stone]

Saturday Night Live Jumps Censorship

SNL has decided to post web versions of their sketches, in order to run bleepless.

"Last weekend, NBC censors drew the line on a bawdy Saturday Night Live sketch, repeatedly bleeping a certain word as it went out over the air. It was hardly the first time SNL has gone up against the censors, but this time, the show's creators had a Plan B. The sketch was immediately posted, sans bleeps, on NBC's website, and on YouTube.com. "In the process, Saturday Night Live appears to have become the first scripted comedy on a broadcast network to use the Web to make an end-run around the prying eyes of both its internal censors and those of the Federal Communications Commission, whose jurisdiction over "Saturday Night Live" effectively ends at the Web frontier."

[NYT via ArtsJournal]

12.20.2006

Play Lookey With Lars


In the Latest Lars Von Triers film, The Boss of It All,
"(there are over 1500 shots). The film boasts more jump cuts than Breathless or Matchstick Men, and each one creates a bump."
It will also feature a game, to be played by the audience.

"Turns out that The Boss of It All employs Lookey, a game that challenges the viewers to spot objects that don’t belong in a scene. “For the casual observer it’s just a glitch or mistake,” he says, “but for the initiated it’s a riddle to be solved.” The purpose is to keep viewers alert and active. Film’s great flaw, he claims, is that “it’s a one-way medium with a passive audience.” Lookey, however whimsical, fits well with the agitating effects of the cut and sound dropouts. The first viewer in Denmark to identify all the Lookeys correctly wins a cash prize and a chance to be an extra in von Trier’s next film."

The Boss of It All premiered in September at the Copenhagen International Film Festival. It also features references to the historical conflict between Iceland and Denmark, which I recently enjoyed reading about in Halldor Laxness' Iceland's Bell (fiction).

[David Bordwell's Film Blog]

Christoph Büchel's Art Might Infect You














Take a walking tour of Simply Botiful [sic], “a sprawling and wildly ambitious” interactive installation by the Swiss-born artist Christoph Büchel," without signing the personal injury disclaimer required to navigate the actual piece.

[ArtInfo]

Syntax of Things 2006 Underrated Writers Project

I've contributed my list of lesser known writers to the 2006 Underrated Writers Project. The list is rich with suggestions. Peruse the submissions, and find something new and exciting to read.

12.19.2006

Last Look at 11 Spring St. NYC



















"Depending on your point of view, the hulking 19th-century brick building at 11 Spring Street in NoLIta, a former stable and carriage house, was either a stunning eyesore or one of the most famous canvases and lodestars in the world for urban artists. When those of the latter view heard recently that the building had been sold and would soon be gutted and converted into condominiums, they considered it the end of an era. Bearing their cameras, they began showing up at the building over the last few weeks in a kind of mournful procession.

But inside the building over those same weeks, an unlikely tribute to 11 Spring’s history — and a brief reprieve for its artwork — was also quietly taking shape."

Yasha from Fecal Face has posted her photos of the 11 Spring St. Project in NYC. More...

It's Absolutely Kosher










Cory Brown has just posted his latest Absolutely Kosher Podcast #11.

Here's the playlist:

1. +/- {Plus/Minus} – Fadeout from Let’s Build A Fire
2. The Affair – Left At The Party from the forthcoming Yes Yes To You
3. Chris Garneau – Relief from the forthcoming Music For Tourists
4. The Court and Spark – Uptown Rulers from Hearts
5. Get Him Eat Him – Not Not Nervous from Geography Cones
6. Bottom of the Hudson – Riot Act from Holiday Machine
7. Pidgeon – Orcish Pleasure from the forthcoming Might As Well Go Eat Worms
8. Sunset Rubdown – Shut up I am dreaming of places where lovers have wings from Shut Up I Am Dreaming

12.18.2006

Danish Youth Defend Ungdomshuset











About 300 protestors were arrested Saturday defending their youth center, Ungdomshuset (the Youth House) as Danish squatters clashed with police.

"The conflict over the youth center has been brewing since 2000 when local government sold the building that houses the center. Left-wing activist have been using the center as a base since 1982."
From the Ungdomshuset website, where they list their approach to direct democracy and leaderless leadership,

"Volunteer activists do everything being done in Ungdomshuset, from every wall painted to every meal cooked and every beverage sold at shows. It can be hard work, but is a necessary part of creating an equal community."

"We do not have a management and we do not have a leader. Our highest instance is our weekly general meeting at Mondays at 7 p.m. Here we coordinate our work and discuss issues regarding Ungdomshuset. We make all decision processes as decentralized as possible. Every group in the house make decisions by themselves, but all matters can be brought to the Monday meeting. We never make decisions by voting but by finding solutions suiting everyone. Some will claim that our way will never work, but we have been functioning this way since 1982."
[Reuters]
[photos]
[Ungdomshuset]

17,000 People of the Goodyear







Jane Dark calls it cognitive dissonance. Jane says, according to Time Magazine's Person of the Year award, individuals are gaining power over institutions. When one is simultaneously made aware that the US Army is threatening to force 17,000 striking laborers to return to work, it becomes clear that some individuals are not being honored with the same power as others to bring about change. Jane says Goodyear workers must not belong to the digital democracy (enough), especially when the manufactured goods in question are Humvee tires, whose incessant production is required for the US to continue its war efforts.

Tim Capsule

Rahsaan Cruz and Tim Willcutts just finished another collaboration, Rahs' stained glass piece paired with Tim's poem Lagrangian Point.

$150 Cardboard S-H-I-T

Receiver Gallery's latest art set, from I Think We Better Split Up is online to purchase now. Support your San Francisco art scene.

And you broke my fucking glasses too!
by Ryan Jacob Smith
mixed media
13" x 11"
$320

12.14.2006

The Best of the Best-of Music Lists 2006







Prefix Magazine has my favorite best-of-this-past-year list, both in terms of the unknown artists (artists unknown to me), its streaming music format, and its seamlessly neat design.

Joanna Newsom's Ys (Drag City) is near the top of every list I've found.

"Folk meets classical in this second album from harpist extraordinaire
Joanna Newsom, who in addition to her own colossal talents recruits a number of valuable collaborators, including a full orchestra arranged by Van Dyke Parks on four of five tracks and production from Steve Albini. Newsom's harp playing perfectly complements her lyrics, which travel in allegory and mythology while remaining both poetic and full of whimsy, and offbeat vocal style, which is both childlike and mature beyond its years. Without knowing anything in advance, it would have been impossible to tell what time period this album came from, a tribute to its rejection of current trends and a guarantee of its timelessness. ~Chris Sahl"

Evaporation Refrigerators Bring Relief for 40 Cents


Mohammed Bah Abba has been spreading the news about his natural fridge to people living without electricity in hot climates. This is an older post that has been circulating via email because of the current need for simplicity and sustainability in our everyday lives.

"So what’s modern + green about a couple of terracotta pots? Nothing and everything. The oldest known African earthenware has been found in Nigeria, so that ain’t exactly new. What does brings it up-to-date is the incredibly simple application of two pots, one inside another. Fill the space between the two with moist sand, and you have a most ingenious fridge. (That’s very modern if you live in one of the 90% of villages that don’t have electricity.) The water in the sand naturally migrates towards the outer pot, where it evaporates causing a temperature drop around the inner pot. The principle is not new... what is remarkable here is that Nigerian teacher, Mohammed Bah Abba, did not merely reinvent the idea, he made it a reality for tens of thousands of impoverished Nigerian women and farmers. By setting up the local production facilities to provide the pot-in-pot for $2 (since lowered to just 40c), he allowed perishable food to extend their spoilage rate. “Eggplants, for example, stayed fresh for 27 days instead of three, and tomatoes and peppers lasted for three weeks or more. African spinach, which usually spoils after a day, remained edible after 12 days in the pot-in-pot.”

"...a simple idea, but one with massive repercussions. For example, young women who had to hawk food before it perished, now have the opportunity to attend school and gain an education. The downstream results of which are simply immeasurable. Mohammed has also been asked to consider “adapting his cooling device in Eritrea, where it could preserve insulin vials for diabetic patients in remote rural areas, India, Haiti and Honduras.” And he has been requested to facilitate workshops in Brazil. Already the pots performance has seen the Darfur’s Women’s Association for Earthenware Manufacturing produce their own version, known as a zeer pot, with resulting incomes for women increasing by 50%."

[Treehugger, via Rahsaan]

12.13.2006

Get Thee to a Nunnery

For those of you who have come here looking for a nun. I'm sorry to say, I am not of the genuine habit. I'm named after a Velvet Underground song, and sour bread, for crying out loud.

In order to soothe your disappointment, here are some nuns, and nun-like people I admire for being scholars, feminists, liberation theologists, protesters, poverty addressers, nudists, art lovers, rollerskaters, pacifists, and rabble-rousers.























































































Shins Get Their Sea Legs





Here's a list of the mix I put together for my friends for the holidays. I don't have the ability to share mp3s of these songs, but most of them are available, if you look. Some of my favorite new discoveries are Sibylle Baier, and Karen Dalton, both out on reissues, and Midlake.

I'm looking forward to some new releases in 2007: Lucinda Williams, Chris Garneau, and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah.

The album I'm most looking forward to in 2007 is The Shins, Wincing The Night Away, available for preorder on SubPop.
Here's a quote from a review by Tom Mantzouranis,

"There are songs, like the first single "Phantom Limb" or the sublime "Turn On Me," that sound like vintage Shins. But those are rare. Hardly does a traditional instrument appear without a warm electronic wash or cadre of vocal harmonies. The songs are more rounded and fleshed out than their previous albums. Rolling Stone says, "they’ve grown up and out of their pretty psychedelic Sixties pop," which is true. What they only hinted at on "Mine's Not a High Horse" is now what they now hang their hat on.

Personally, I love the new direction, and Mercer's voice triggers my endorphins like no other. Something about it just clicks with me."

And from the review posted on The Sandwich Club, by stephbot,
"The darker, deeper sound of 'A Comet Appears' - my favourite track - finishes the album off with lyrics like "Lets carve my aging face off/ fetch us a knife, start with my eyes/ down so the lines form a grimacing smile". Mercer? Is that YOU?

And for those playing at home, I predict 'Sea Legs' as a forecast of where the band intends to go from here - there's strings, there's windpipes and there's that eerie depth you won't find as much of in the previous albums, with the intricate structure of the song well complemented by the typically convoluted lyrics."
Christmas Playlist 2006
Brought to you by Sister Rye
A Ray of Rye

Sibylle Baier, Tonight

Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin, House Fire

Unknown, Ostrich

Karen Dalton, Same Old Man

Midlake, Roscoe

Plus/minus, One Day You’ll Be There

Ms. Tyree Sugar Jones, If You Feel It

Eliza Carthy, Wildwood

Thom Yorke, The Clock

Headlights, Lullabies

My Latest Novel, Hope Edition

Decembrists, The Soldiering Life

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Love Song No.7

Barzin, Leaving Time

French Kicks, So Far We Are

My Latest Novel, The Reputation Of Ross Francis

Golden Smog, 5-22-02

Fields, Song for the Fields

Robyn Hitchcock & The Venus 3, Adventure Rocket Ship

12.12.2006

Lou the Literary Reed Does His Brecht


Lou Reed is finally fleshing out Berlin "...his bleak, Brechtian song cycle from 1973, which he is performing in full for the first time at St. Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn for four nights beginning tomorrow."

Lou (embarrassed that he sounds so much like a recent literature graduate) says about Berlin,

"It’s trying to be real, to apply novelists’ ideas and techniques into a rock format.” He mentioned William S. Burroughs, Hubert Selby Jr., Allen Ginsberg and Raymond Chandler as literary models."

And, on another artistic high note, Julian Schnabel has designed the sets, and managed to include projections of his daughter Lola as part of the background noise.

[NYT]

Segregation in Journalism at the Washington Post

Read kos' critique of Deborah Howell's so-called solution to this problem:

"At the Washington Post, out of 20 columnists on the Op-Ed page, 17 are men. Only three are non-white. Looking at columnists throughout the entire paper, its 44-17, male to female. Only eight are non-white, and of those, only one isn't African American."

[kos]

AP Cameraman Killed Covering Clash in Mosul


"Aswan Ahmed Lutfallah, 35, was having his car repaired in an industrial area in the eastern part of the city when insurgents and police began fighting nearby and he rushed to cover the clash, police Brig. Abdul-Karim Ahmed Khalaf said."
[AP]

Zombie Santas Invade SF













"...a horde of zombies infiltrated last Saturday’s San Francisco Santacon 2006"

Jason Defillippo shot the holiday carnage.

Cold Flashlights, Warm Candles, and Death




My friend Tako Oda will be performing from about 7 - 7:30pm in the Chapel of the Chimes Winter solstice celebration -- four hours of candle light, experimental music, video, spoken word, and architectural wonderment. Flashlights are encouraged to guide you through this unusual maze in Oakland's most beautiful columbarium, crematorium, mausoleum, and funeral home (used for many a photo shoot). Chapel of the Chimes was recently named the "most desired cremation venue." The structure was rebuilt in 1928, based on designs by Julia Morgan.

The main event is Thurs, Dec 21st from 6-10 pm, at 4499 Piedmont Ave, in Oakland, CA.

Tako plans to perform music written by his favorite composer, Fumio Hayasaka, who wrote the score to Sansho the Bailiff, Ugetsu, and many other Mizoguchi, and Kurosawa films.

In addition to the Hayasaka cycle, he'll be playing his new homemade wind chime instrument (with an ABS tube frame designed by his daughter!), a cycle for slide mandolin and countertenor by Music for People & Thingamajigs founder Dylan Bolles, John Cage's "Ryoanji", and Sinead O'Connor's "I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got".


Although it hasn't been confirmed, he will most likely be on KPFA 94.1 with a couple of other musicians this Thurs, somewhere between 10 - 11am to help promote the event, in which case he'll preview some of the Hayasaka.

12.11.2006

First of the Worst of Lists of 2006

Ed, on The Worst Book Covers of 2006

Flaubert, a Great Waster of Time


Ed nearly posits the question of the day, which would be, if Ed had asked it, "Were the Goncourts the first litbloggers?" But, in fact, Ed did not ask this question (exactly); I did. So, I wouldn't go around misquoting Ed. Despite the well known fact that Ed didn't utter this query, he leads us to a very interesting place in France, to Pages from the Goncourt Journals, recently republished by NYRB.

acronym decoder:
NYRB = The New York Review of Books

Verizon Doesn't Make Cents

This is unbelievable!

We Already Know the Voice-of-God is Boring and Stifled

Press Think's Jay Rosen discusses the so-called new journalism with a former writer for the Washington Post, John Harris, who left to pursue something not really new, to join in the creation of roving online multimedia correspondents, "a collection of journalists who have distinctive signatures—by virtue of their personalities or source networks or ability to connect the dots in illuminating ways."

"... in general organizations like the Post or the New York Times have been insulated from the spirit of the age— precisely because they were secure and prestigious places to work. Once people got a job there, they tended to stay for years and even decades. Most of the people in those newsrooms are creative, and in my experience they tend to think of themselves as individualists and even iconoclasts. But the reality for many (including me until two weeks ago) is that they have careers that are more reminiscent of the 1950s, when people got hired at General Motors or IBM and stayed put. I believe that for people who want this type of stability, journalism is not going to remain an attractive profession for much longer. But people who adapt will thrive and end up having more fun than in the old days."
"I have long puzzled over a phenomenon about many reporters, one that I am sure is true for me also. They tend to be more interesting in conversation than they are to read in the paper. I think one reason for that is that the typical newspaper story continues to be written with a kind of austere, voice-of-God detachment. This muffles personality, humor, accumulated insight—all the reasons reporters tend to be fun to talk to."
Is this Q and A real news, or a case of news reporters trying to simply catch up with bloggers? Their apparently new form of reporting from Washington looks to be launching in January.

[Press Think]

The Devolution of Journalism's Methods

Is an e-mail interview a real interview? There are pros and cons to conducting interviews via email, rather than in person, or over the phone. The American Journalism Review discusses this issue at lenght in Inbox Journalism.

"...while many journalists laud e-mail's speed and efficiency, others remain leery of using it to conduct interviews, citing it as less transparent and credible than more traditional reporting methods. Using e-mail interviews may eliminate rounds of phone tag, but skeptics say it also eliminates the candor, spontaneity and natural dialogue that make for engaging conversations and compelling stories."

Investigative Reporters and Editors director, Brant Houston says, "with in-person, telephone and e-mail interviews alike, inherent skepticism is always critical," and "teaching good habits of verification is just as important as how the interview is conducted. "I think being savvy comes down to being savvy in all media."

[American Journalism Review]

The Premier Jeanne d'Arc Film



I’ve seen few six hour films that didn’t make me want to ask John Waters for a cigarette. This is one of them.

Joan the Maiden (Jeanne la Pucelle), directed by Jacques Rivette in 1993, is a straightforward, unromantic, and stunningly researched portrayal of Joan of Arc, played by Sandrine Bonnaire. Rivette reveals what pre-gun battle scenes would look like without any special effects: slow, lumbering, and realistic.

"Perhaps the only movie that offers a plausible portrait of what the
15th-century teenager who led the French into battle was actually like."-Chicago Reader
Each, approximately 3 hour segment was worth an entire weekend day, Joan the Maiden, Part 1: Les batailles, and Joan the Maiden, Part 2: Les prisons.

Here’s what the New York Times said about Joan the Maiden, when it was shown in the US in 1996.

“As a film, ''Jeanne la Pucelle'' is austere and handsome, propelled by an unadorned but magnetic performance by Sandrine Bonnaire as the doomed heroine and enhanced by music by Jordi Savall, the violist da gamba whose expertise in medieval, Renaissance and Baroque music contributed so much to the authenticity and excellence of ''Tous les Matins du Monde.''

“Mr. Rivette has spurned the lighting tricks and depictions of dewy-eyed near-daftness that are such clichés of films of religious fervor in favor of a blunt portrayal of a simple young woman impelled by her belief that she is destined to save France. Although her faith is profound, this Joan does not so much inspire those around her by the force of her religion as win them by her willingness, from beginning to end, to sacrifice her life for her country.”

Although the film was somewhat unadorned, criticized by some as lacking in spirituality and magic, it was beautiful, plainly beautiful, which seems most appropriate for a film about a misfit who dressed as a man among men. William Lubtchansky must have been partially responsible for the grey, pale gold, cerulean, and red ochre palette of the film. I could have been shivering in the Met gazing at El Grecos and da Vincis all day. One memorable shot of a rotund grassy shadow, made by the absence of snow under a tree brought me back to France, more precisely to the Loire valley, Orleans, Blois, Tours, and the long rolling horizons hatched by steeples and endless varieties of spindly trees and old vines.















I’d like to recommend another Rivette film, also recently screened at the Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley, Celine and Julie Go Boating (1974), “...one of Rivette's most memorable films. A mixture of thriller, comedy, and mystery, it is a fairy tale about two women and their adventures in an old house in Paris. The story follows a film-within-a-film structure and touches on the themes of memory and fantasy, with literary roots in the works of Henry James and Lewis Carroll.”

Chromewaves Readers' Top Albums of 2006

The number one place is held by two albums.

1. The Decemberists / The Crane Wife (Capitol)
1. TV On The Radio / Return To Cookie Mountain (Interscope)
3. The Hold Steady / Boys And Girls In America (Vagrant)
4. Belle & Sebastian / The Life Pursuit (Matador)
5. Cat Power / The Greatest (Matador)
6. Destroyer / Destroyer's Rubies (Merge)
7. Neko Case / Fox Confessor Brings The Flood (Mint)
8. Band Of Horses / Everything All The Time (SubPop)
8. Joanna Newsom / Ys (Drag City)
10. Beirut / Gulag Orkestar (Ba Da Bing)

[Chromewaves 2006]

Dando + Descendants + J Mascis + Garth Hudson = New Lemonheads



I'm looking forward to the new Lemonheads release, which is being called "Louder, faster, more like Buzzcocks pop-punk..."

"Recruiting the rhythm section from Los Angeles punk legends The Descendants to round out the band (and wrangling guest appearances from Dinosaur Jr's J Mascis and The Band's Garth Hudson), Dando has turned out a set of power-punk-pop that's punchier and more classic-sounding than a record that's been made because someone's bank account is low has any right to be."

[Chromewaves]
[Photo of J Mascis: Juan de la Cruz Calivá]

Bangladeshi Wins Nobel Peace Prize for Microcredit









Yunus proves that small change can have a big impact. Would terrorism exist if we eradicated poverty?

"Muhammad Yunus accepted the Nobel Peace Prize on Sunday for his breakthrough program to lift the poor through tiny loans..."

"To me, globalization is like a hundred-lane highway crisscrossing the world," Yunus said. "If it is a free-for-all highway, its lanes will be taken over by the giant trucks from powerful economies. Bangladeshi rickshaws will be thrown off the highway."

"Rule of 'strongest takes it all' must be replaced by rules that ensure that the poorest have a place and piece of the action, without being elbowed out by the strong," he said.
"The average loan is about $200, and interest rates range from zero to 20 percent depending on how the money is used. About 7 million people have Grameen loans, 97 percent of them women."

[AP]
[AP Photo/Pavel Rahman]

12.08.2006

Martin McMurray to Show With George Grosz











Martin McMurray has some upcoming shows, one with my old teacher Drew Beattie, and one with the German expressionist and master of caricature George Grosz. Yes, George Grosz! I can't think of a better pairing.

Exhibitions:

Darling Project
Wendy Cooper Gallery
Noelle Allen, Katrin Asbury, Drew Beattie, Zo Charlton, Xylor Jane, Martin McMurray, Amy Park, Sabrina Raaf, Thorina Rose, Rita Rubas, Eduardo Santiere, J. Shimon & J. Lindemann, Jered Sprecher, TL Solien, and Ann Toebbe
Dec 1, 2006 - Feb 8,2007
Wendy Cooper Gallery
119 N Peoria St Ste. 2D
Chicago,Illinois 60607

Hard Times: Paolo Arao, George Grosz, Chris Hammerlein, Martin McMurray
Jeff Bailey Gallery
Jan 10 - Feb 10, 2007
Opening: Thurs, Jan 11, 6-8 pm
511 W 25th Street / No. 207
New York, New York 10001
Martin McMurray: The Procession
Susanne Vielmetter
Los Angeles Projects
Jan 27 – Mar 10 2007
Opening Reception: Sat, Jan 27
5795 West Washington
Los Angeles - Culver City, California
90232323-933-2117
[image: Martin McMurray]

12.07.2006

My Favorite Male Feminist

My favorite male feminist is Ed. First, he kept a close watch on the ratio of male to female writers writing for the NYTBR with the Sam Tanenhaus Brownie Watch. Now he writes, in this post about gender and humor, referring to numerous articles trying to explain why men should be funnier than women,

"Let’s consider Goodyear’s modifier: “approachable.” This suggests then that if a woman is funny, by the logic employed by The New Yorker, discounting the requirements of audience appeal, she must somehow stifle her comic impulses rather than greet the audience in her naturally tailored persona. And even when she’s a comic as successful as Silverman, there’s still the troubling problem of coming across as “deranged,” as if comedy, a science often rooted in madness, is a loony byway as closed off to women as the Herbertstraße.

Perhaps this is because humor is associated with intelligence and some men, terrified by the notion of a level playing field among genders, view the advent of funny females as a threat."
Read the rest of Ed's rant on his blog, especially the last paragraph.
"Erma Bombeck once observed, “When humor goes, there goes civilization.” If women cannot be accepted for their humorous contributions (too great and numerous to list), then what hope civilization?"
Acronym decoder: NYTBR = New York Times Book Review
[Return of the Reluctant]

Largehearted Lists

Go to Largehearted Boy for your 2006 Year End Music Lists.

Here's a little taste,
Exclaim! (punk albums)
Exploding Now (best albums)
The Explosive Generation (best albums)
FACT (best 12" releases)
FACT (best 7" releases)
FACT (best albums)
Fids and Kamily (best kids and family albums)
Fimoculous (albums)
Folk Alley (top 10 CDs)
The Good, The Bad, and The Unknown (albums most likely to be nominated for a Grammy)Gorilla vs. Bear (favorite albums)
Gorilla vs. Bear (best songs)
Gorilla vs. Bear (reissues & compilations)
Heavy Metal Librarian (top metal albums)
Hey Andy... (top singles)
Hipcat Yo Boy (top albums)
indiechristoph (best albums, ongoing)
Information Leafblower (top bands in America)

[Largehearted Boy]

Child Rearing Advice From the Niece of Hannah Wilke


Your little Übermensch needs more than a ramshackle ant farm to get by in the future world of art. Hyper Creative Action must start right away.

Robert Chambers:

"As a former NYU art teacher and father of three children under the age of 2, I have some advice. You, your wife and child are already off to a great start on your journey to creative nirvana. To begin, I would suggest thinking about light arriving to Earth from galaxies billions of years away. Use this as a form of meditation while you prepare to hyper-create your child's universe. It is a process to break the bonds enshrouding your imagination"
But, meditation is not enough. The only way to ensure your child will become a bitter genius is to construct the post-structuralist treadmill that will accelerate her necessary angst.

"1. Purchase giant sheets of colored paper and tape them to the ceiling and walls for a few days. Next, begin to remove various squares and cut with scissors in big egg-like shapes. Over a week, replace all squares with egg shapes. Change order and location frequently. This will stimulate the Precambrian in the child specifically and theoretically the Proterozoic eon of Earth's earliest animal history. Read Emotion and Meaning in Music by Leonard B. Meyer."
[Miami Herald via Emmy]

12.06.2006

Clap Your Hands Say AhahuhAhahuhAhuhAhahuhAhahuhAhuh

These two songs will be on the January album, out in MMVII. In the meantime, listen to these sumptuous appetizers gratis.

Love Song No.7
Underwater (You and Me)

[earfarm]

Elected Middle Week Workers

Congresspeople are being exploited!

kos says, "Republicans are apoplectic"

"Forget the minimum wage. Or outsourcing jobs overseas. The labor issue most on the minds of members of Congress yesterday was their own: They will have to work five days a week starting in January.

The horror."
Who knew the House only had to work 3 days a week?

"For lawmakers, it is awful, compared with what they have come to expect. For much of this election year, the legislative week started late Tuesday and ended by Thursday afternoon -- and that was during the relatively few weeks the House wasn't in recess.

Next year, members of the House will be expected in the Capitol for votes each week by 6:30 p.m. Monday and will finish their business about 2 p.m. Friday, Hoyer said."

Ouch! That's gotta sting.

[WaPo via kos]

12.05.2006

France Vingt Quatre, le Regarder Chez Vous






As a French alternative to CNN, the BBC, Al-Jazeera, and the guns of Pricksdom, Chirac launches France 24, international news tonight, saying it will highlight diverse cultures, challenge Anglo-Saxon conventionality, focus on culture avec les yeux Francais, emphasize the arts, philosophical and political debates, and present a uniquely French view of all things international, with most of its broadcasts in English, some in French, Arabic in 2007, and Spanish in 2009. Although it will seek to present a French world view, it will do so without relying on la langue Francais, which is the most un-French idea imaginable. If language determines thought, la vie quotidienne ne peut pas exister dans l'anglais. Where would we be without l'hyperbole and la poésie? Is it hype or la vie en rose?

Chirac hopes that by broadcasting in English, he will better be able to take a stand on things like the war, freedom toast, and perhaps haute couture.

"...when Mr Chirac tried to slow the US drive to war in Iraq and some media in the US and Britain mocked his efforts, the need for a news channel with a French voice gained currency. Mr Chirac now wants to launch it as part of the president's legacy of projects that continue France's struggle against the global dominance of the US."
Apparently the producers are confident that the station will remain independent,
"...although the ageing president will launch France 24 at glittering gala in Paris's Tuileries Gardens, the station's chief executive, Alain de Pouzilhac, is determined not to let it become "Chirac TV". "We have public money but we are an independent channel," he told the Guardian. Nor will it be a vehicle for the centre-right presidential hopeful Nicolas Sarkozy, who has been accused of being too close to TV stations. "I know Nicolas very well. I don't believe we will have a problem with that. He hasn't called me," Mr Pouzilhac added."
I'm surprised to learn that France didn't already have its own 24 hour international news station (l'actualité internationale), but on the other hand everything in France is closed between 11am and 3pm. You can't get breakfast 24 hours a day, or dinner early. The entire concept of timing and scheduling revolves around a set routine of civilized breaks and rules about eating a tarte tatin (tip: keep your hands above the table or you will be thrown in the cave de la guerre). Instant gratification and 24/7 truques are simply not a part of the French lifestyle.
"...at its headquarters, where a banner outside proclaims: "Everything you are not supposed to know", journalists say the station will influence world politics. Mark Owen, formerly of Granada TV, who will present the English morning news bulletins and debate show, said: "Take the conflict in Lebanon this summer. If Jacques Chirac's call for a ceasefire - which didn't even make BBC or CNN - had been reported earlier, it could have brought about an earlier resolution of the conflict."
Good point. Bonne chance France 24. I hope you will set the standards of haut news, and revolutionary journalism.

[The Guardian Unlimited]

Question: What is Flarf? Answer: Chris Daniels.

This is old news in the world of the poets. But, for the rest of us, it is still a strange curiosity. What is Flarf?

Joshua Clover is bored by the question.

Lime tree provides clarity, "I guess everyone might as well know the truth (better you hear it from me here than from the kids on the playground). Flarf has indeed suffered a schismatic rupture, but it's even more serious than Kent suspects. In addition to the Dogmatic Grimacing Wing (DGW) and the More Smiling Affiliatory Compassionate Million Poems Tendency (MSACMPT or just MPT), there is now the DGW splinter group known as the Symbionese-Patheticist Front (SPF), and the stubbornly non-committal Citizens for an Undivided Flarf Faction (CUFF). Kent has a few of the players on the wrong teams, so I hope the following breakdown will clear things up:"

I still have no idea what the hell is happening here, but I like all the acronyms.

I'm pretty sure this is not Flarf.

12.04.2006

Turner Goes to Tomma Abts for Abstraction


Tomma Abts has won the Turner prize in art. The Guardian says she's "the first woman to win since Gillian Wearing took the prize in 1997, and the first artist devoted to painting since Chris Ofili in 1998."

Yoko Ono handed over the 25,000 pounds.

[Guardian Unlimited]

The Rules for Editors and Art Writers

When editing an article or interview, please observe the following rules:

1) Quotes are to be quoted. Verbatim dialog, recorded in an interview, and transcribed by the journalist should not be altered. Questions not asked by the journalist, should not be inserted. Dialog not spoken by the interviewee should not be manufactured.

2) Don't censor the writer. Controversial subject matter is interesting. Leave it in, especially if the work is to be posted online. The value of publishing online is not having to answer to advertisers, and not having to pander to the mainstream.

3) Respect the writer. The writer should have the final say in the editing process. It is her work. Let her have her own voice.

4) When a writer has approved an edit, do not publish a different version, not approved by the writer.

5) Editors should catch grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, and factual errors. They may clean-up the piece stylistically, and in terms of organization, but only if the cleaning does not remove the artistic value of the original. This should be done in fair negotiation with the writer.

6) When editing for online publication, word counts are not as critical. Paper is not being wasted.

7) When a writer fights for her work, this is not defensiveness. Any writer not passionate about her sweat and inspiration does not deserve to call herself an artist.

8) One does not need to choose to call oneself a writer or an artist. It is acceptable to be gifted in both visual art, and writing.

Feel free to add your own rules or comments.

The Real William T. Vollmann Interview











My editor has done a hack job on my interview with William T. Vollmann. You can view it here. Be warned. Quotes have been altered. Dialog is spoken out of context. Clichés have been inserted. The title has been changed. The most interesting parts have been deleted. This was all done without my permission. The edit you will see does not resemble the final product.

I'm considering publishing the real interview myself. If you would like a copy of the genuine article, email me.

12.01.2006

Troop Math

In his post, "No One to the Rescue," kos says:

"Everyone wants out. And the troop totals of the countries sticking around aren't exactly awe-inspiring:

UK: 7,200 (and about to be "significantly reduced")
South Korea: 2,300 (and pulling out 1,000 right now)
Australia: 850
Poland: 900
Romania: 865
Denmark: 515
El Salvador: 380
Georgia: 300
Azerbaijan: 150
Bulgaria: 150
Latvia: 136
Albania: 120
Slovakia: 103
Czech Republic: 100
Mongolia: 100
Lithuania: 50
Armenia: 46
Bosnia & Herzegovina: 37
Estonia: 34
Macedonia: 33
Kazachstan: 29
Moldova: 12

That totals 17,500, with just about 10,000 of it coming from the UK and South Korea, both drawing down their forces right now.

This is the crowd that Weisberg thinks will fantastically come up with the over 100,000 troops that will magically transform Iraq into a pro-Israeli pluralistic democracy? What, does he think the people of these nations will happily see their men and women in uniform sent into the Iraq meat grinder to try and save Bush's incompetent ass?"

Sister Boss' Pop-Hop Revisited





Listen to Kelis' Bossy remixed, via Jane Dark. Here's the Kelis' original, on her MySpace page. She's being compared to Lauryn-Cherry-Erykah-Neptune-Macy-Gris.

Two Thumbs Down for Michiko on Pynchon

One and Two.

Eggers flip on Infinite Jest





What is the Jest?

This is beyond ridiculous. But hey, the money goes to a good cause, kids in the 826 Valencia writing program. The controversy has turned into a fundraiser. I have faith it will be a fait accompli.

Here's the background story on Eggers change of heart with regards to David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest, Rake's challenge, and the offer of Thomas Pynchon's check.

Boldtype's McKay McFadden has written a review of Egger's latest (pictured above), which looks to be his best.
"In a Dinka creation myth, God gives man the choice between cattle, which provide a sustainable existence, and the What. The What is the unknown — and all the accompanying trepidation, expectation, and ecstatic possibilities. This autobiographical novel is Deng's story of the What. It is what lies ahead of each step of the 'Lost Boys,' as they dream of bowls of oranges on clean tables. It is the deceit that encroaches on their refugee camp in Ethiopia and their sense of purposelessness as they wait to return home. It is the answering of life with more questions and doubt — endlessly promising and ceaselessly terrorizing. In short, it's the life of a refugee."
As an aside, I offer you a brief guide to lit blog acronyms below:

DFW = David Foster Wallace
WTV = William T. Vollmann
NBA = National Book Award
WRT = With Regards To
ATD = Against the Day
TQC = The Quarterly Conversation
TEV = The Elegant Variation

Please add more lit blog acronyms in the comments as they come to you...