Upcoming Exhibit of Collaborative Corpse on Paper

Josh Michels and I will be in this show:

Suckers & Biters: Love, Lollipops, and the Exquisite Corpse
an art exhibition of collaborative works,
opening February 14th,
up from
Feb 14 - Mar 5, 2007
at Ad Hoc, in E. Williamsburg, NYC

49 Bogart St., near the Morgan stop on the L train
An exhibition catalog will be available at the show, or by request.


Above the Tenor, A Subversive Message about Masculinity

On Thurs, Dec 21st my friend Tako Oda performed his experimental music set in a remote atrium of Julia Morgan’s Chapel of the Chimes, as part of their annual Winter solstice celebration. Even though he was in the midst of recovering from the flu, Tako played with polished gusto in Oakland's "most desired cremation venue."

The opening song cycle was written by his favorite composer, Fumio Hayasaka, who scored Sansho the Bailiff, Ugetsu, as well as films by Mizoguchi, and Kurosawa. In addition to the Hayasaka cycle, he played 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. He sings in a counter tenor voice, what a man’s voice sounds like when it sounds like a woman’s.

Because of the still cold in the columbarium, Tako’s voice condensed into fog, lit by a solo beam of whitish blue light from his headlamp. During the first number, everything concentrated into the air coming from between his lips, and the ringing coming from the bell mallet brushing and striking his chimes. He seemed to concentrate on silencing and dampening the bells’ sounds as much as he did playing the notes in-between the quiet spaces.

Later in the set, he changed the color of his headlamp to red, which again lit up his breath as it wavered about two inches out from his face.

I conducted a brief email interview with Tako after the show.

Terri — What is a counter tenor? Describe your voice, and how it relates to your interest in gender issues.

Tako — Countertenors are men who sing in the traditionally female alto or soprano ranges. Countertenor is short for contratenor altus which just means “above the tenor”.

Two modes of vocalization available to both sexes are the “chest” voice and “head” voice. The chest voice, which produces low pitches, is what most people use to speak. For head voice, the larynx makes a gear shift, allowing for higher pitches. Most women use both modes when singing. Most men use only their chest voices, but I use both.

Gender issues are built into the term “falsetto,” which is often (inaccurately) used to describe the head voice of a countertenor. It raises the question of what is “false” about a man singing in this range. To me it feels perfectly natural to sing this way. There is nothing physiologically or acoustically false about it, so the implication is there is something intrinsically wrong with a man singing in the same range or manner as a woman. Our gender binary does not tolerate much overlap between the feminine and masculine, so a man singing in high voice is therefore not a “real” man, singing in his “real” voice. So I guess countertenor singing carries a subversive message about masculine identity, regardless of musical context.

Oddly enough, many modern countertenors spend their careers singing operatic roles written for 18th Century castrati. The castrato’s voice was about as “false” as could be, since they were hormonally altered men… Yet the most virile, heroic roles were written for these guys!

Farinelli was the spandexed, long haired rock star of the Baroque era.

Terri — What’s it like to perform in the Chapel of the Chimes? Does the cold stony structure affect the sound quality? Do you feel like you’re playing for the dead?

Tako — The Chapel of the Chimes is an amazing space for music. On one hand it is incredibly reverberant because of the hard surfaces. Marble reflects sound very well. On the other hand, the mausoleum is set up like a gigantic labyrinth, which insulates the various chambers from one another. It allows visitors to experience many discrete acoustic environments in one building.

For the Solstice event, I was singing for the living, but I visited the space alone earlier in the week and sang to the dead. I guess I wanted to make a musical offering to the residents first before using their space to sing for the concert. It’s a different dynamic singing to the dead… much more personal and introspective.

Terri — How did the night progress for you, with each successive song?

Tako — As I mentioned before, it is different singing for the living! I was trying to be mindful of what songs were resonating with the audience members… there was a level of improvisation in what I chose to sing and when based on how different pieces connected with whomever was there. I did plan ahead a little, though, knowing some repertoire works better when my voice is fresh, while others better when I’m warmed up.

Terri — Do experimental musicians care about whether or not they have an audience?

Tako — Ha! The official answer is “No!”, but everyone is different. On principle, experimental artists must have the courage to do what it is that comes from them regardless of what kind of praise or money flows their way. Still, everyone wants to feel appreciated… It’s mixed for me. It is hard for me to prepare a solo set for people because I constantly second guess myself about if I am making honest aesthetic choices or choices that might make me look smart, intriguing, avant garde, or whatever. Maybe it’s a good thing for me to have to work through that and reflect on my purpose as an artist.

Terri — Do you sing for your kids? Do they also enjoy experimenting with music, and building musical instruments? How has music bonded you with the people in your family or others?

Tako — I love singing for my kids. I sing them to sleep at bedtime, but mostly during the day they are barely tolerating it or ignoring it. They are way too cool now to want to be around a grownup who sings to himself. Still, I laugh because they are turning into me! They are all capoeiristas and I catch them singing their roda songs at the top of their lungs to themselves or each other all the time.

We had a lot of fun building the chime instrument I played for David Solomons’ Solstice Song. We went to the hardware store together to pick out parts. My daughter drafted a frame design that used three 10 foot tubes of ABS without wasting an inch of plastic. My sons had fun using the miter saw! Of course the funnest part was having this giant thing in the living room for a month. They tried out playing the chimes with all sorts of implements.

Singing is a big part of our family life, though I wish it were more so. My dream is to be like the VonTrapp Family Singers, except we would go to old folks homes and sing songs to seniors instead of escaping from the Nazis.

I’ve been trying to find a good service project we could do as a family, and it seems like it would be a perfect fit once they learn to carry harmony parts on their own.

Terri — Do you perform very often locally? Where can we expect to hear you next?

Tako — I don’t perform all that often. I’m still struggling with the notion of promoting myself, because I’m trying to keep my ego in check as it is! Basically I end up doing a show if someone asks me to, and given the state of arts funding nowadays, that’s not very frequently. I’ve been seriously thinking about how to make it a bigger part of my life again, though, now that my kids are getting older.

Terri — What was the first instrument you learned to play, or was it your voice, or your hands clapping?

Tako — My mother thought I was tone deaf, and tried to steer me towards painting. I did finally convince my parents to get me piano and cello lessons. I did not start singing with any sort of seriousness until I got to college, actually, and did not convince anyone to train me as a countertenor until after graduation.

Terri — Tell me about your interest in Hayasaka, John Cage, and Sinead O’Connor, and how they might relate to one another.

Tako — I think there tend to be political motivations behind my repertoire choices, though ultimately it boils down to the music itself. To me it’s important to include as many non-establishment (i.e. gay, female, non-academic) composers on my programs whenever possible.

I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for Sinead O’Connor because she is such a genius musically and yet conspicuously imperfect as a person. She tries so hard to make a difference, and is willing to make a fool of herself from time to time. She reminds me that people are not perfect, but that their personal journeys can be. I think that’s what her song I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got is about.

The Hayasaka songs have special meaning to me because the poetry is by Sato, a poet from my hometown in Japan. The text really spoke to me. He’s got the sad thing down pat! Hayasaka is a modern composer, but has a great love for and literacy with traditional Japanese music. It is a musical voice with which I can really identify. It feels very natural to sing.

Terri — What are you working on now?

Tako — A sound engineer friend has been talking about recording me. It would be fun to create a permanent record of some of the songs I sang at the Solstice event. I don’t know that anyone has ever recorded the full Hayasaka cycle.

Terri — Is there anything you’d like to see happen in the world(s) of experimental music?

Tako — I don’t know if I speak for most experimental musicians, but I would like to see more outreach to young people. There is a natural affinity between experimental music and kids. The work of an experimental musician is much like the work of a child… dreaming stuff up, putting stuff together, using it once, seeing how it works, then dismantling it and forgetting about it, but remembering the lessons learned. No preconceived notions about form or genre.

I am involved with the Thingamajigs Foundation, which has been putting on an annual festival for musicians who build their own instruments and use non-traditional tuning systems. A couple of years ago we put on a program at the Oakland Museum of California, where kids could see musical installations and make their own instruments at a booth. It was incredibly well attended and very fun for everyone.

Terri — Did you see the film that played recently at the Pacific Film Archive about the experimental composer Fred Frith, called Step Across the Border? If so, what did you think of the film?

Tako — I hope I get to see this film some day! Although I haven’t seen Step Across the Border, I can say Fred is a positive influence in my life. I have studied composition privately with him, which I enjoyed, but mostly I am impressed by how he chooses to live his life. He has kids, he plays around a lot, but also teaches music to keep life comfortable for his family. He doesn’t have major hang-ups about the life of a musician, like it makes him the most important person in the universe. It’s a job, and a job he enjoys and is very good at.

Terri — Do you find inspiration for your music in films? Which ones in particular?

Tako — Absolutely, but not any particular films, or maybe I should say there aren’t any particular films that have inspired me in a particular way on particular compositions.

To me, the compositional process is most rewarding when it is created in collaboration with someone else. In fact, the vast majority of my writing has been for modern dance choreography. When I experience a film, I am mindful of how the music works with the moving images, creating something new and sometimes better. I marvel at what must have gone into it – the compromises, the coordination, the intuition, the countless hours of lining up details together.

That said, I love Koyaanisqatsi, the silent battle scene during Ran, and the banjo solo at the end of Raising Arizona.

Terri — Thanks Tako~

Tako — Thank you, this was fun!


They're Calling Booklist's Editor's Choice Eclectic

Both Coleen and Ed are praising the Booklist Editor's Choice 2006 lists.

These are the titles in my TBR (to be read) pile:

1. Pynchon, Thomas. Against the Day. Penguin, $35 (9781594201202).

Pynchon is as erudite, inventive, satirical, and trenchant as ever in this many-faceted, globe-circling novel about family, love, exploration, technological advances, metaphysical conundrums, greed, and conquest in the years leading inexorably to World War I.

2. Eggers, Dave. What Is the What: The Autobiography of Valentino Achak Deng. McSweeney’s, $26 (1-932416-64-1).

Deng is a Sudanese "Lost Boy," and his story is one of unimaginable suffering. Reworking Deng’s powerful tale with both deep feeling and subtlety, Eggers finds humanity and even humor, creating something much greater than a litany of woes or a script for political outrage.

3. Powers, Richard. The Echo Maker. Farrar, $25 (0-374-14635-7).

In this remarkable novel, Powers explores how humans as a species smooth out the rough spots in their lives, tuning out the natural world and straying from instincts that might keep us alive.

These are the books I'm looking forward to reading soon:

1. Adrian, Chris. The Children’s Hospital. McSweeney’s, $24 (1-932416-60-9).

In this elegant and enormously wondrous novel, the world has come to an end. A devastating, transformative tale.

2. Brown, Frederick. Flaubert. Little, Brown, $35 (0-316-11878-8).

Brown’s landmark biography deftly limns the turns—psychological, artistic, amorous—by which Flaubert turned away from what he feared would be a destiny of dull conformity.

3. Feinstein, Elaine. Anna of All Russias: The Life of Anna Akhmatova. Knopf, $26.95 (1-4000-4089-2).

In the first biography of the great Russian poet Anna Akhmatova in decades, Feinstein chronicles, with exceptional political and literary expertise, the life of the legendary beauty and regal stoic whose defiance of the Soviet regime gave hope to a tyrannized land.

4. Peterson, Dale. Jane Goodall: The Woman Who Redefined Man. Houghton, $35 (0-395-85405-9).

Goodall is admired all around the world for her revolutionary work with chimpanzees, but as Peterson reveals in this vivid and insightful biography, the hardships she faced and the extent of her accomplishments as a scientist and humanist are far greater than most imagine.

[titles and descriptions from Booklist Editor's Choice 2006]

Andrew's Armchair Apocrypha

You Ain't No Picasso introduces the new Andrew Bird release.
"OK. Last time, I promise: 2007 is going to be the best year for music in quite some time. Andrew Bird’s new album, Armchair Apocrypha, is another in a long line of works that establish him as a true master of his craft."

Taking Titles Literally

It's an Interstate of mind. Take the Lost Highway to the Inland Empire... where David Lynch's films are more about the destination than the journey.


Coming Soon

SF Indiefest 2007 Preview, from Life With Movies and Maxxxxx.

Kids Fondle Fetus Dolls at Jesus Camp

Maud Newton on Jesus Camp,

"Becky Fischer, the leader and mastermind of the actual Jesus Camp, believes in indoctrinating kids as early as possible — preferably starting before the age of seven. Palestinian children are ready to blow themselves up for Islam, she says, and American children should be prepared to make equivalent sacrifices."

“I can go into a playground of kids that don’t know anything about Christianity, lead them to the Lord in a matter of, just no time at all, and just moments later they can be seeing visions and hearing the voice of God, because they’re so open. They are so usable in Christianity,” she tells the filmmakers."


Listen While Ed Attacks His Own Keyboard... and Michiko

Ed suggests we throw Michiko into the Wasteland. I can't help but agree, although I admit to being wooed more by Champion's hilarious sleep deprivationese than by his analysis of Michiko's lack of understanding on display in her review of the poet Craig Raine's new book, "T.S. Eliot."

Analysis of Average Shot Length

Average shot lengths are usually measured in seconds. Some more contemplative films have average shot lengths that last minutes, as noted in the comments field of Unspoken Cinema's post on average shot length.

"ASL (Average Shot Length) indicates the average duration of a shot between cuts in a film (total film run time divided by number of shots). It's a data used to compare films from their editing style : how often do they cut, how long do the shots last. A long ASL means the film uses, on average, longer shots and fewer cuts. Comprehensive example of ASL calculation (at OffScreen) : Bresson's Pickpocket(1959) ASL = 10"

"In my book, THE WAY HOLLYWOOD TELLS IT, I try to show that the acceleration of cutting in recent decades can be seen as moving from an ASL range of 8-11 seconds before 1960 and towards a range of 4-6 seconds in recent years." David Bordwell

[Read more here]

Watching Andy Warhol Films While Standing Up

Girish, on Andy Warhol

"To begin with, some facts. Warhol bought a 16 mm Bolex camera and started making films in 1963. Almost all his films were made in the five-year period from 1963-1968. As Michael O’Pray has pointed out, these years can be roughly divided into three phases: (1) 1963-64: silent, relatively short B&W films made with the Bolex, like Kiss, Sleep, Eat, Haircut, Blow-Job, and the Screen Tests; (2) 1964-66: longer films, often an hour or more, with sound, like Beauty #2, Kitchen and The Chelsea Girls; (3) 1967-68: an attempt to build upon the commercial success of The Chelsea Girls, with a slightly tighter and clearer, more realist narrative, probably under the increasing influence of Paul Morrissey. Films in this phase include: My Hustler, Nude Restaurant and Lonesome Cowboys. Valerie Solanas shot Warhol in 1968, which abruptly ended his active, hands-on filmmaking activities. He did continue to sign Morrissey films like Flesh, Trash and Heat over the next couple of years."

"...I have two points of concern about films that are part of an art exhibit these days:(1) more and more, they are being shown on DVD and not celluloid; and (2) sometimes (as for these Warhol films) there is no place to sit if you want to watch them—you have to stand, which quickly gets uncomfortable, not to mention the bustle of the circulating crowd around you..."

[Read more here]


More Presses Going Cold

Another publishing funeral is in order. Independent Press Association is going under. The death of the IPA has just put Kitchen Sink Magazine out of business.

"The IPA was founded in 1996 to support free speech and social justice. Under John Anner’s leadership, it grew rapidly from a scrappy little nonprofit into a multimillion-dollar social venture that provided business services to a membership of periodicals that included Mother Jones, Sierra, Utne Reader, The Nation, and, at one point, over 500 indie magazines, including Other Magazine, many of which were threatened by the consolidation of the distribution and retail ends of the magazine industry. At its height, the IPA handled the distribution of almost 100 members, made them loans, financed investigative features by journalists of color, ran a paper buying co-op, and
provided technical assistance and a sense of community for magazines that were until that point pretty fragmented..."

Cormac McCarthy's The Road, and Fragments Blown from Mt. Lassen

I finished Cormac McCarthy's The Road on a back porch in Chico, in someone else's home, on Martin Luther King, Jr. day, the day before Barack Obama announced his presidential bid. The Road is like a long prose poem leading up to an exercise in relativism. The ending glows like an X-ray of one's own injury, the satisfaction of being able to look deeply at a chemical rendering of pain. I couldn't be distracted from my reading. I was wetting myself with tears.

I finished (harnessing a newfound determination to finish books) by digging into its text, despite dueling televisions (ignored, stuck ON, taken for granted, competing for voluminous dominance), a Chihuahua biting the cheeks of a Dachshund, and a kitchen countertop being lovingly dismantled.

The day before I finished The Road the temperature swam between 15 - 21 degrees, colder when the wind blew and we lost our sun. My family (what I'll call my latest incarnation of family, since others refer to us as such, and it imparts a nice warm-to-the-bone feeling) and I tried out our new snowshoes in Mt. Lassen. But, we only made it about 1.5 miles up the hill to some sulfur springs. We kicked our footed claws into hard packed ice, when the sun started setting and the wind came up, stirring up the acrid sulfur smell gurgling out of the volcano. So, after our brief sunny picnic on a frozen bridge, we had to turn back. My girl's toes were stinging in her boots when the white mountain turned pink.

It apparently would have been much more fun to snowshoe in fresh snow rather than old snow, but seeing as how we would have been sinking up to our knees in the rare parts that were partially powdery; it's good we had the shoes on anyway. Besides, we had never been snowshoeing and were eager to try out our new anti-gravity boots.

The drive back from volcanic springs through the boulder strewn oak valleys and bluffs was pocketed, rough, and star lit. I had no idea the paths of the lava flows would remain obvious for over 150 miles or so, far from Lassen, through Mineral, and other unnamed places.

Next time I'm going to bring more layers of clothing. My child had to wear my extra jacket, over her puffy down jacket, and she still was freezing. Luckily she had brought along a minimal waxy plastic sled from Germany that went incredibly fast, for being made of hardly anything. Fellow kiddles cheers raised virtual temperatures up at the end of the hike when she had the chance to fly down the base, starting at 5,000 feet, outracing the boys. Once she'd hit the bottom of the valley, her sled kept going about twice the length of the mountain she'd expected to ride into the more powdery snow flattening in the basin. The handles were supposed to work as brakes, but didn't. Unfortunately she had no idea if they would work or not, and when they didn't, she was already speeding off into the hollow, going backwards, which didn't bother her too much.

All the time in my snowshoes I was thinking about The Road (just now I'm mimicking its style), its stark apocalypse giving me a taste of fire and brimstone warnings of hell that remind me of being a descendant of Puritans, among other tribes. The ringtones of nihilism. Soothed by small chopped sentences. Our earthly here. A glow that comes from parenting. Tipping over a pack of supplies and emergencies. Knowing this is frail. Cleaning off of headlamps for reading in the dark. Chips of volcanic rock dropped into pockets for future lessons in flint napping. A Chevron refinery explosion in Richmond literally dimming our headlights with its ashes as we drove it home, not knowing enough to close our vents.



Listen to:

1. Busdriver "...loquacious, bookish rappers duetting with British dance-punk bands"
"Sun Shower" (mp3), via marathonpacks

2. The Bees "...collaging together the previously-collaged."
"Listening Man" (mp3), "...exquisitely nails the oft-overlooked American R&B influence in 1960s and 70s Jamaican pop music," via marathonpacks

3.Karen Dalton, "Katie Cruel", via Loose Strife

4. Air, "Buddy Bolden’s Blues", Air Lore, RCA : 1979, and Charlie Haden, "Out of Focus", The Golden Number, A&M : 1977, via Destination:OUT

5. A one hour Lovefingers mix, from Beats in Space, via Devil in the Details

Native Americans Make Anti Uranium Mining Declaration

From the Gathering Tribes Indian Times newsletter,

"From November 29 through December 3, 2006, over three hundred Indigenous people and our allies gathered in Window Rock on the Navajo Nation, coming from the four corners of the world: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, Indian, Japan, the United States and Vanuatu. We gathered together to look at how the nuclear chain affects all of us from the mining of uranium to the processing, enrichment, fuel use, weapons testing, deployment and nuclear waste dumping on Indigenous lands.

It was a world class gathering of activists and supporters who were able to share our stories (some of them horrifying) make friends and network, and which resulted in a Declaration Of The Indigenous World Uranium Summit on December 2, 2006."

An excerpt from the declaration:

"We, the Peoples gathered at the Indigenous World Uranium Summit, at this critical time of intensifying nuclear threats to Mother Earth and all life, demand a worldwide ban on uranium mining, processing, enrichment, fuel use, and weapons testing and deployment, and nuclear waste dumping on Native Lands.

Past, present and future generations of Indigenous Peoples have been disproportionately affected by the international nuclear weapons and power industry. The nuclear fuel chain poisons our people, land, air and waters and threatens our very existence and our future generations. Nuclear power is not a solution to global warming..."

Rumors vs. Facts

Here are some sources of rumors and facts about what's going on at PGW.

So far, Radio Free PGW includes some speculation, great humor, amazing quotes, and some facts. It seems to be the posting of a mystery publisher.

Return of the Reluctant posts links to numerous sources, some factual articles, and some sites speculating falsely.

Galleycat is starting to get its facts straight, after a blunder about publishers' stock.

PGW is all over PW. Expect updates and corrections.

The Avalon purchase is in the Wall Street Journal today. I don't have a subscription to read the full article, but it's most likely been thoroughly fact-checked.

Will PGW survive? Will the independent culture cultivated there remain intact? Will it loose its grip in California? Will it be sold to Perseus? Will publishers remain loyal? Will they get paid? Will layoffs happen in the course of the restructuring? If Avalon is keeping its Emeryville, CA office, does that mean that PGW will also keep its Berkeley location?

I don't know the answers to any of these questions, and I hesitate to trust anyone who claims to know what will really happen, even the brilliant Radio Free PGW blog, who assumes the PGW as they know it, will soon evaporate. Let's hope that's not the case.

Anyone who purchases PGW should take the time to learn the history and culture that have made PGW a success, trudging on in the face of corporate takeovers, threatened layoffs, major industry shifts, parking space dramas, key fob fashion, toppling to-be-read piles, missing bonuses, leaky hand-soap dispensers, milk shortages, funky coffee machines, scented oil perfumes drifting in from the soap company next door, abandoned fish tanks, and large doses of pessimism in the book industry.

Good luck PGW!

[art by Ben Vautier]

Genre Works for Guillermo del Toro, But Limits Alfonso Cuaron

Jonathan Rosenbaum reviews Pan's Labyrinth and Children of Men together, saying "In Pan's Labyrinth, Guillermo del Toro makes genre work for him. In Children of Men, Alfonso Cuaron lets it get in his way."

"Pan's Labyrinth is a fairy tale for grown-ups throughout, even though it maintains a child's simple view of good and evil. It shuttles back and forth between fascist Spain and a child's imagination as if those realms were interchangeable -- and even containable within the same shot. Like Pere Portabella's Cuadecuc-Vampir (1970) and Victor Erice's The Spirit of the Beehive (1973), this film perceives horror traditionally, as something derived from gothic novels and ultimately the Middle Ages. The horror here, linked to both these traditions, is Franco's fascism, the villain the fascist captain, who roots out, tortures, and kills Republicans. He's far more frightening than the Dracula of Cuadecuc-Vampir or the Frankenstein of The Spirit of the Beehive, though Ofelia's fantasies certainly have their creepy and grisly moments. The horror of the captain ultimately trumps any she can imagine, because he seems more real and more metaphysical -- the menace he conveys seems to infect the universe. The only equivalent rendering of a child's perception of terror that comes to mind is Robert Mitchum's psychopathic preacher in The Night of the Hunter. This is a metaphysical vision, shot through with poetry, and unlike the visions in Babel and Children of Men, it doesn't predetermine anything."
[ Chicago Reader]


Disharmony in the Headlines

Before opening my email today, two headlines showed up in the news preview screen, one above the other, sending me into a fit of cognitive dissonance:

Bush adding 21,500 troops to Iraq force
Study: 744,000 are homeless in U.S.


January 11th Protest Guantánamo

Meteor Blades has written a concise post summarizing what is happening to the Guantánamo prisoners, and why we should protest their treatment on January 11th.
"On a dark, dark day five years ago Thursday the Bush Regime locked up the first 20 hooded, shackled prisoners at Camp X Ray near Guantánamo Bay. Soon, there would be several hundred more. It was a cheeky move set on the shakiest of legalistic pillars. The men incarcerated there – several of them teenagers, one of them 10 years old – were said by U.S. officials not to be prisoners of war, but rather "unlawful enemy combatants," stateless unpersons unprotected by the strictures of the Geneva Conventions."
"As has been learned little by little over the years as news trickled out from Guantánamo, prisoners were beaten, sexually humiliated, deprived of sleep, shackled for long periods in cramped positions, subjected to exceedingly loud music, forced to live under bright lights 24 hours a day, interrogated repeatedly under harsh conditions, waterboarded and otherwise cruelly mistreated."

"The Red Cross, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the U.N. Committee Against Torture, the Center for Constitutional Rights and scores of ex-captives released from Guantánamo without charge after years of incarceration have a word for what happened there: torture."

"January 11 marks an international day of protest against the incarcerations at Guantánamo. You can find out more at this site. [Hat tip to Mae.]"
[Daily kos]

Chromewaves Sees Pan's Labyrinth

Chromewaves is surprised that such a well reviewed film, Pan's Labyrinth, is only showing on one screen in Toronto.
"A fair bit has been made about the violence in the film, and while it's definitely violent - this is not a film for children, not even close - I don't really see the "gore" that some have commented on. If anything, the violence is exceedingly dispassionate. To me, gore implies excess or sensationalism and there's none of that in Pan's Labyrinth. Even the fantasy scenes are rather subdued, all things considered, though that's not meant to take away from the imaginativeness and attention to detail that does appear.

I don't know that Pan's Labyrinth is the best film of 2006, as all the accolades being heaped upon it might imply, but it is a powerful one if more than a little depressing. But it's undoubtedly one worth seeing and certainly deserving of more than one screen in all of Toronto."
They've limited its venues in the Bay Area as well, to only SF. I'm not sure why it's not in wide release. I guess it's part of their marketing strategy, to build some kind of frustration buzz, which I find annoying.



Park Your Bike in Manitoba

Terri Saul, Holds Loosely the Thunder Tired Award, 22" X 22.5", Ink on Fabriano Hot Press, 2006

I'm going to be in a show at The Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba from May 3rd - June 9th. The exhibit is called "Do Not Park Bicycles," the Aboriginal Bike Culture exhibition.

Paintings by Terri Saul and other artists
Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba
710 Rosser Avenue, Unit 2
Brandon, ManitobaR7A 0K9

204. 727.1036


Daylight Magazine, Global Commodities, Issue #5

"We are pleased to announce the publication of Daylight Magazine Issue #5. This edition of the magazine explores the role humans play in producing, selling, and distributing a number of 'Global Commodities.' The publication features work from: Adam Broomberg, Oliver Chanarin, Ali Chraibi, Kadir van Lohuizen, Heidi Schumann, Allan Sekula, elin o’Hara slavick, Ian Teh, Heinrich Voelkel, and Michael Wolf."

Jan 8, 2007 6:30-10:30pm
@ The Bubble Lounge
228 West Broadway

"There is a suggested donation of $5 at the door which will enter guests into a raffle to win original, signed photographs donated by: Samantha Appleton, Stanley Greene, Teru Kuwayama, Kadir van Lohuizen, Jake Price, Ivor Prickett, Heidi Schumann, Ian Teh, and Michael Wolf."

[Daylight Magazine]

Best Scent of 2006

The winner for the Best Scent of 2006 is the smell of damp Bay laurel leaves (Laurus nobilis) hanging over running water somewhere between the Nora and Matt Davis trails on Mt. Tamalpais. One comes to it after walking through a grove of Manzanita, leaving a dry place, turning a corner, and descending into a wet one.

It literally hangs in the shade and envelops everything in its mentholated thickness, invoking childhood memories of my dad's Bay Rum cologne, and a newly discovered dish, Bay Scented Chicken with Figs and Olives.

Depicting Suffering Makes Film and Art Profoundly Human

Reverse Shot picked their Top 10 Films of 2006, choosing The Death of Mr. Lazarescu as Number One.

"Lazarescu" shows a dogged fidelity to its subject - nearly three hours in the life of a direly ill man being tossed between Bucharest hospitals - and an unostentatious mastery in execution. I only hope more people get to see it on DVD, because it's profoundly human filmmaking..."
ArtInfo just announced their Top 10 Shows of 2006, giving the top spot to both “Sean Scully: Wall of Light” — The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and “Kiki Smith: A Gathering, 1980-2005” at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Places Eight, Nine, and Ten went to Colette Calascione at Nancy Hoffman Gallery, “Eva Hesse Sculpture” at The Jewish Museum, and “Fernando Botero: Abu Ghraib” at Marlborough Gallery. I would have put Botero closer to the top.


From the Shitty to the Shit, From the Living and the Dead

Like Anna Karina's Sweater (AKA Filmbrain) had a shitty 2006, but has posted a list of favorite films that look to be the shit, mostly foreign (Japanese, German, French, Korean, Mexican, Romanian) films, and a short list of unreleased films. The list does include two homegrown directorial efforts by the late Robert Altman and the living Spike Lee.

Customers Feel Manipulated by Amazon Price Changes

"Imagine this: You go to a bookstore, browse, choose a couple of volumes. But you don't want to carry the books around. So you ask the clerk to hold the tomes until Saturday, when you'll come back to buy them.

When you return, the bookseller hands you the items but advises you that he's raised the prices. 'I knew you were hot to buy them,' the clerk says, 'so I figured I could make a few extra bucks.'

That's what it feels like online bookseller Amazon.com Inc. has been doing to me."

[LA Times via Arts Journal]

A Note for David Markson

Oskar Kokoschka signed his drawings "O.K."

For Christmas I received a book surveying his works on paper. Each new image is marked "O.K."

Whitney Van Nes, An Artist Inspired by Literature

"Van Nes approaches the content of her paintings almost as a novelist, building characters and narratives. Painting only from her imagination - never found images, models or other visual references - her work nonetheless betrays other sources, often literary. "I don't look at references of what I'm depicting. I want to always get at what only I know of something."

A voracious reader of novels, Van Nes is often inspired by nineteenth and early twentieth century literature's frequent humanist concerns. At the same time, her fascination with the small mysteries of everyday life is conveyed in the visual representation of people interacting with nature, each other and their own thoughts."

Whitney Van Nes, Kings Highway
Larissa Goldston Gallery
530 West 25th Street, 3rd floor
Jan 6 - Feb 10, 2007
Opening: Sat, Jan 6, 6PM - 8PM