Mikio Naruse Film Being Released on DVD in the US

The New York Times says Mikio Naruse's “When a Woman Ascends the Stairs” (1960), will soon be available on DVD in the United States. None of his other films are in print here, although you can find a few on video in various libraries, and some prints in film archives.

"Naruse’s characters, like the heroine of “When a Woman [Ascends the Stairs],” are... often individuals resigned to ultimate loneliness, whose families represent just one more financial burden in a world that constantly exploits and deceives them."

His films are dark, dark, dark, but somehow fulfilling, nourishing. He speaks to struggle and suffering without twisting an arm; A flash of lightning in a Naruse film is just what it is -- a sharp jab of light, power, and electricity.

I find him to be a true realist, and an enlightened feminist story-teller, far ahead of his time. He does exploit contrasts between domestic spaces and wide-open landscapes, sometimes shooting in Scope, an aspect ratio that squeezes, then re-stretches the photographic image in each frame.

I hope the Naruse boxed sets available in Europe will be released soon in the US.

Beautility Aesthetizen

I'm reading Citizen Designer: Perspectives on Design Responsibility. My favorite essay so far is called "Beautility: Good Design Has Utility." Tucker Viermeister defines beautility as, "the convergence of ethics and aesthetics." Products produced with sustainability and aesthetics in mind will tend to be healthier, because thinking about things visually, aesthetically, and holistically requires one to slow down and wake up. And products produced with the health of individuals and the planet in mind will tend to resonate more beautifully, their beauty being intrinsic and solid.

Counter to the Bauhaus aesthetic, here are some useless linguistic mosh-ups I came up with after reading about beautility:

Aesthetizen -- A citizen designer who is commited to making every day life more beautiful

Anthropomorphine -- The drug-like effect of relating to an animal who has homo-sapien like attributes

Armpersand -- Embodying the ampersand by putting your arm around your partner while doing something jointly

Bankrupture -- The adoption of banal terms invented by bankruptcy lawyers during the death of a formerly astute company

Bravote -- The support of women voters

Buh-Bi -- Saying goodbye to antiquated notions of sexual orientation

Departmentsartre -- The suicidal depression brought on by windowless cubicles

Dynamites -- Small groups of culture jammers who get under the skin of exploitative globalists

Errordition -- When smart people constantly correct each other

Exclamato -- The clam shells left over after eating slow-food style clam chowder with real clams in it

Headphonies -- Self absorbed ipod users

Husbandaid -- A generic, passionless husband used by a woman to feel whole

Jackash -- An environmentalist who leaves his smokes on the sidewalk

Pauvetry -- The poetry of poverty

Primerdo -- The first shit of the day

Semicolonoscopy -- The act of becoming more aware of the various uses of the semicolon in modern writing

Sergegains -- The political gains made by the French left


Comme d'Habitude, Girish a l'Histoire

Girish summarizes the New Left Review's article on the history of the world's greatest film journal, Cahiers du Cinema. The actual article isn't available for free; So we're lucky to have Girish's take.

The Morning News Offers 30% Off Tournament of Books Nominees

Here are the candidates for TMN’s 2007 Tournament of Books, "after a few glasses of Argentinean Malbec, we each confessed that we’re attracted to the sexiness of book awards despite the fact that book awards are also arbitrary and stupid."


Eavesdropping On Karzai Critic

While I was sitting in the fickle sun, having lunch, a man immediately behind me was being interviewed at length by a journalist about his experiences in Kabul, as a relative of some sort of interior minister under Karzai. I couldn't help but sit very still while he told his story to the journalist.

He said Karzai is using his underlings, and all of the US forces to get rid of anyone with power equal to his. The US forces are simply following his orders, regardless of why they are being given, and without questioning them. The troops stationed there think they are fighting Taliban, when in reality; they are simply being used to enforce the power of one man. This man's close relative (who had pressured him to "make things easy on himself") went as part of a human rights commission to observe operations at Guantanamo and said it was all pleasant and wonderful. It was interesting hearing this one man, very much on his own here and in his own country, talk about what he was up against, trying to change the path his entire family is taking, by taking advantage of the power offered to them by being involved with the current government (multiple wives, huge scored of bodyguards, money, palaces etc...) .

He wants to create a grassroots, student-led movement for true democracy and against corruption. He said there is so much corruption and in-fighting in Afghanistan that the only place he can conceivably start to make changes is within himself, and with his own family, by trying to use their influence in a less selfish way. He's worried that family members and tribal members won't listen to him philosophize because many of them are so used to being motivated primarily by greed and fear, or fear of other's greed.

The journalist asked him what would happen if the US forces were absent, would Karzai be ousted. He said yes, in a very short time. He also said that many families there are vulnerable to being victims of tribal revenge because of the actions of US troops and Karzai's guards who have forced their charges to commit acts of violence against others, who in turn act against the tribe hired to do the violence, and so on...

I don't know very much myself about the situation over there, other than the most basic facts, and that there is not an easy answer to the long lasting struggles started by the CIA decades ago. Contrary to what Fox News reports, there are ordinary people in Afghanistan, not only Taliban, Opium farmers, and supporters of Karzai. I'm only an eavesdropper, not a foreign policy expert, but I’m going to keep listening when it comes to news leaked about the ongoing corruption of Bush's poorly placed puppets all over the world. It seems that Bush's plans have not helped ordinary Afghans who are not surprisingly suspicious of even the idea of democracy or democratic change -- words and phrases taken over by lunatics in high places.


Monday Night Nord With Nels

This'll be a good show, at Café du Nord in San Francisco.

Nels Cline with Glenn Kotche Of Wilco

Mon, 2.26
9:30 pm
Doors: 8:30 pm
In Adv: $12
Door: $14
Ages: 21+

In his jazz days, Nels used to play with bassist Charlie Haden. He currently tours with Wilco. In the 90s he played with Mike Watt, Thurston Moore and Carla Bozulich. He still plays with locals Scott Amandola and Carla Bozulich when he's feeling experimental.

Hot Off Facades From Graffiti Research Lab

Graphological anarcho futurists stand by. There's a new form of short range laser graffiti tagging for projecting words or images on tall faces in the works. I see it being put to good use for protests and temporal art: non-violent riot porn?

One aspect of laser graffiti potentially comforting to corporations: It costs nothing to remove!

The allure for protesters, artists, and organizers: It travels at the speed of light. But, the projectors look pretty heavy.

Free Documentaries

February 20th and 21st, "the Balboa Theatre and the Documentary Film Institute at San Francisco State University will present all the short and feature documentaries nominated for the Academy Awards this year. The complete lineup, nine films, will show at the Balboa in a different order, and admission both days is free... You can also watch the Oscar presentation live at the Balboa this Sunday (Feb 25th) beginning at 3:45 pm, and regular ticket prices apply.

Then on February 27, this year's Balboa Birthday bash will salute Buster Keaton with screenings of Sherlock Jr. and The Play House. There will be a live piano accompaniment and other special guests in attendance... Remember that all year-round Film Society members get a discount at the Balboa by showing your membership card at the box office."


Republican Doubting Copernicus

kos: I really, really miss Molly Ivins today.

For more on Copernicus' doubters, read Vollmann's, Uncentering the Earth.

Polk Awards in Journalism

Spike Lee has won the George Polk Award in journalism for his documentary, When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts, produced after interviewing about 100 residents of New Orleans after the flood. "
"Nevins describes Lee's approach as "down-to-earth reportage of how the disaster was treated on a local and federal level. Spike has access to people and information that would result in an encyclopedic look at the chronology of events, and the lack of action that followed."

The other winners and their works are listed on Long Island University's website, such as the award for
"local reporting which has been given to the staff of Lakefront Outlook, a free-circulation, Chicago weekly. Its lone editor, four reporters and intern tackled the complex investigation of the $19.5-million Harold Washington Cultural Center, which had been touted by Third Ward Alderman Dorothy Tillman as “the cornerstone of historic Bronzeville’s economic and cultural rebirth.” Instead, the team exposed the Center as a money-losing operation that was staffed by Tillman’s family, friends and political cronies."


Art Show: March 14th, 7PM-1AM, The Milk Bar, SF

“We’ve pulled together a list of ten amazing local artists and three djs to rock the dance floor. Come look at art and get your groove on at the Milk Bar on Wednesday March 14th. The party starts at 7pm. There is no cover charge. See you there!”

FEATURED ARTISTS: Dan Pask, Phuong Tran, Ani Boursalian, Taiko Fujimura, Lien Gray, Terri Saul, Matthew Leigh, Emily Merrill, Michael Mersereau, and Ernesto Ortiz.


Everything is OK

The SF Valentine's Day Pillow Fight! in pictures.

More here.

Do Litbloggers Loathe the NYTBR? Kick the Assumption

Scott responds to the assumption made by The Elegant Variation (TEV), and addressed by Literary Kicks (LitKicks) that all litbloggers loathe the New York Times Book Review (NYTBR) under Sam Tanenhaus in, Loathing the NYTBR.

Scott (
Conversational Reading) says:

"I don't think there is prevalent loathing of the NYTBR in the litblogosphere. The websites that most commonly and systematically take on the NYTBR--
LitKicks, Return of the Reluctant, the Literary Saloon, and Daily Blague--do so because they'd like to make it better. Each of these recognizes the kind of quality weekly the NYTBR used to be, and they'd like [it] to return to its former status."

Levi (
LitKicks) argues:

"Doesn't the NYTBR deserve a Kurt Anderson, a David Remnick, a George Plimpton at its helm? Tanenhaus does not appear to have the steely independence, nor the transcendent vision, required of a great editor. And I think the New York Times Book Review is a great publication that deserves a great editor."

Mark (
TEV) explains:

"Before I go on, I should be clear – I do not share the loathing of the NYTBR that seems de rigeur in the litblogosphere. I might have my quibbles with individual issues and/or reviews but in the main I think the Book Review is more consistently interesting than it's been in the past. I think the coverage of fiction is sufficiently wide and deep – witness this week's cover review of Man Gone Down – and it's not Tanenhaus' fault that non-fiction appears to have a greater audience than fiction these days."

More NYTBR love from The Champion, here.


Trompe L'Wheel

I found these images of wooden bicycle sculptures on a Fecal Face blog by Count Tracula. They're from the Albuquerque Museum of Art & History.



The Artforum diary is underwhelmed by Cat Power at MOMA, and bored by a visit to The Pompidou. To the editors — hire a diarist or two with some sitzfleisch. Closer to home, Jennifer Maerz scoped out Christopher Tallon's weightlifting show, Six Pack, at Steven Wolf Fine Arts, a show I couldn't miss. I'm a sucker for lightweight workouts. At the opening the gallery sitters told me I could have a free sweatshirt if I did 10 one-armed push ups. I gave it a shot and collapsed quickly after assuming the proper position for a one-armed push up, a wide-legged stance (in an unforgiving skirt), grounded by a centrally located stiff forearm (the lodge pole). It's always nice to provide entertainment for less than ridiculous (boring) onlookers.


The Millions takes a futuristic look at Pynchon's latest tome, Against the Day.


Hungarian Rhapsody is featured on 8+, a weekly Ear Farm offering of songs lasting longer than 8 minutes. Via Boing Boing, Ethnomusicologists draft a statement opposing the use of music as torture. I'd fess up to cannibalism if psy ops forced me to listen to Beat it or You're No Good in my cell. On a more serious note, Laila Lalami quotes from an op-ed in today's Washington Post from a man experiencing first hand the real-life karmic effects of torture, not as a victim, but as a tortured perpetrator.


Ed, in his post Man Boobs Live Up to the Sobriquet, points to a Scientific article on spontaneous male lactation.


Contemplative Cinema. It's a Wrap.

The Contemplative Cinema blogathon has ended at Unspoken Cinema with the posting of a Table of Contents with links to all the discussion topics. The blogathon was cross-pollinated in French over at cahiers du cinema.

Here's a very small sampling of topics from the TOC (Table of Contents)


Defining Contemplative Cinema (Bela Tarr) (weepingsam at The Listening Ear)
Minimum Profile (HarryTuttle at Unspoken Cinema)
Gilles Deleuze and Contemplative Cinema (Adrian Chan at Unspoken Cinema)


Music & Experience as narrative force... (Johanna at The Lone Revue)
Thoughts From an (Experimental?) Documentary Film (Johanna)
Time in Akerman's Je, tu, il ...elle (Johanna at The Lone Revue)


Is Ozu Slow? (Jonathan Rosenbaum at Senses of Cinema)
Rivette 1 (weepingsam at The Listening Ear)
Andy Warhol (Girish at Girish)


The Future of a Luminescent Cloud - Recent Developments in a Pan-Asian Style (James Udden at Panoptique)
La Nature au Cinéma (Guillaume Massart at FilmDeCulte) French
Gus Van Sant on Bela Tarr (HarryTuttle at Screenville)


Commenters Say, Dope Dope Dope

As if from the sparse apartment of an audio file, Gorilla Vs. Bear has posted a Stone's Throw podcast, Thank You J Dilla. It's about one hour long.

[photo by Rafael Rashid, from Behind the Beat, from Gorilla Vs. Bear]

Aboriginal Culture and Bicycling Participants Announced

Update: The confirmed artists for Do Not Park Bicycles! are America Meredith, Dylan Miner, Tania Willard and Terri Saul (AKA Sister Rye). Two other surprise artists may be participating, but we are waiting on their confirmations.

Do Not Park Bicycles!
May 3 – Jun 29, 2007 at the
Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba
710 Rosser Avenue , Unit 2
Brandon, Manitoba

EthnoGraphic Tube

An anthropology professor has produced a simple Digital Ethnography of Web 2.0 in the form of a video on YouTube.

After watching the video, adaptive path blogged about creating an informal lexicon to use when speaking about types of text.

When thinking about codes and text: subtext, intratext, intravenous extantides, mashed-up hypertrackers, flickermarbles, googleclimatizers, youmateurs, autrextendovers, terminatricksters, dominatresses, codeuxcurators, survivregenerators, operationominals, and javascrupulses to master last weekend, I learned the design phrase, intercap. InterCap is when two words are smashed together, to be separated only by a capital hump. That's why it's also known as CamelCase. The roots of this ancient form of lettrist moshing sunk in with names, such as McMurray. OuLiPo is another famous example from the French; Although OuLiPo (Ouvroir de Littérature Potentielle) is an abbreviation of a long phrase, rather than two conjoined words.

Italian for Spaghetti Western

Roman Ennio Morricone has conducted his first U.S. concert, at the UN General Assembly, at the age of 78. He'll receive an honorary Oscar for his scores of film scores on February 25th in LA.

"Ennio Morricone owned (lock, stock and barrel) the audio backdrop of the American Southwest from his perch in Italy."

Yoko's Track List

Yoko's new album comes out today. She picked her own collaborators for Yes, I'm a Witch.

1. Witch Shocktronica Intro - Hank Shocklee
2. Kiss Kiss Kiss - Peaches
3. O'Oh - Shitake Monkey
4. Everyman Everywoman - Blow Up
5. Sisters O Sisters - Le Tigre
6. Death Of Samantha - Porcupine Tree
7. Rising - DJ Spooky
8. No One Can See Me Like You Do - The Apples In Stereo
9. Yes, I'm A Witch - The Brother Brothers
10. Revelations - Cat Power
11. You And I - Polyphonic Spree
12. Walking On Thin Ice - Spiritualized
13. Toy Boat - Antony And The Johnsons
14. Cambridge 1969/2007 - The Flaming Lips
15. I'm Moving On - The Sleepy Jackson
16. Witch Shocktronica Outro - Hank Shocklee
17. Shiranakatta (I Didn't Know) - Craig Armstrong


Words Without Borders
, The Online Magazine for International Literature
, has devoted its latest issue to comics, translated from French, Russian, German, and Spanish.

Laila in the NYT

Laila Lalami, the author of Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits, has written a piece about humor and censorship in Morocco for the New York Times.

"The Bush administration has time and again referred to Morocco as a moderate Arab state that deserves to receive millions of dollars of taxpayers’ money to encourage democratic reforms. American officials point to recent elections, changes in family law and a good growth rate as indicators of Morocco’s success. But they turn a blind eye to problems of press freedom. A democracy cannot be established unless independent journalists, whatever their political beliefs, are allowed to work and publish freely."

Sister Rye originally posted about Lalami's coverage of the witch hunt back in December.

The New PFA

There's another PFA, not the Pacific Film Archive; It's called Poems for All. Here's a sampling of their mini-bound poetry pamphlets. The 24th street irregular press publishes them out of Sacramento. I don't see any entries for 2007 yet. I hope they're still pressing on.


You Can Still Smell the Sebadoh!

Buy Eric Gaffney's Birkenstocks; Come to Eric Gaffney's Garage Sale tomorrow in San Francisco's Mission District.

kitschy/collectibles/music/drums + MORE!

LEFT OF Mission Girls School/

across from Gallinita Mkt.

WHEN: Saturday, February 3rd, 2007
12:00 Noon to 3:00 PM


items collected from flea markets, garage + tag sales, collections, over last 30 years.
Kitschy + Collectible items,
MUSIC/Instruments/accessories (start yr own band!)
TV/VCR, Books + more Men's clothes.... Women's clothes ! ! !

DRUM SET!!! 1960's Made-in-Japan drum set "black/silver melted rounded squares/patches-look" 4 piece, 20" kick head on kick side only w.Gibraltar Pedal2 rack toms, smaller tom w. bottom head intact, floor tom w. bottom head. with Zildjian 'heavy' sticks

"Stella" acoustic guitar (1969) student model/w. elec gtr-style headstock! sunburst/black Nylon String guitar (student model, est 1993) butterfly inlay. needs new strings (1980's) Mic Stand. (Boom stand) VARIOUS guitar + drum accessories (cables, widgets, more) E-Bow w. original box/button/cassette, used only once!

CASIO VL-TONE (80'S) WORKS! (W. Batteries)
MUSIC/Recording Books:
Sound Advice, Musical Instruments of the World, Audio Pro Home Recording Course.

Boss Chromatic TU-12H Tuner (fair condition, needs to be re-wired, but works!)
Porta 05 Tascam 4-track w. original box (no manual) needs work! not sure why it doesn't work.
Ironweed DVD collection (9 titles, all sealed! $180.00 value new) (THESE ARE NEW + UNOPENED)

SEBADOH (Indie Rock favorites) rare merch (out of print 45's/Vinyl)

(NEW! never worn) Large Men's (white/black)T-shirt
"Zig Zag" papers
Muddy Waters (Chess) 3 CD Box set w. booklet LP-sized (out of print)
Electralane poster (live, 2001)
Wings '76 Poster (from wings over America LP)
various stickers!
Beatles #1 (promo) 'Love' Button, stamps "Pancaker" (1962) w. original box "Realorama" (50's) with original box (blue) a collector's item! Gaf Pana-vue (mid-late 60's) "It's Cooler Inside" Gin & Squirt Ad w. polar bear logo (plastic, 1967 picture frames Vinyl/45's, Tapes
various books: Dali, Frederick Douglas, Emerson nice hand-crafted journal (never used)
colorful pens, highlighters, + markers
Goldstar (Color) Television 11" screen. works!
(80's) Broksonic VCR Stereo Unit + speakers (CD Player, Radio Shack 'Realistic' receiver, 2 speakers)
1980 Dual (made in Europe) phonograph turntable (needs elec. work + new needle)
2 shelves
wooden chair
small round wooden table
70's plastic lamp white with green plastic shade
KITCHENWARE: pots and pans (revereware) garlic press, Christmas glasses, + Can opener Candle holders
Men's Size 10+1/2 Birkenstock Sandals (Milano style)
gold-colored roll up mat
afghan/blanket (red/shades of red)

[from: Eric Gaffney's Newsletter]

Post Apocalyptic Runway Fashion

Once the polar ice caps melt, one will be required to strap on a reinforced cloth dildo under one's hip skirt, and specialty gloves to lift it up. The boots will be a necessary but expendable stabilizing factor, a luxury in hard times.

In a moneyless economy, brown yarn will do as a unit of power exchange. Bronzing lotion protects the skin from hot gasses.

Moto Moto Moto!

[via you aint no picasso]

Exit Strategy

Take a turn with Bill Sullivan, Situation 2 : The Subway Turnstile Pictures

"I became a spy for the obvious."


How to Take Control of a Press Conference

After Boston panicked, the guys hired to install guerrilla marketing LED art answered the media's questions. Advised by their lawyer not to discuss their case on camera, they decided to focus their press conference on haircuts of the 70s.

Are they — as CBS says — making "a mockery of the situation," or are they reacting with wit to something that would cause most of us to fall into a pit of despair?

[via Laughing Squid]