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Performer above: The Plantains; Song: "Pop Iconography"; Video Projection: English Kills; Event: NY Underground Film Festival "Audio Visual" Live Showcase, October 8, 2003. Picture in background behind the musicians: that guy who's passport the FBI found lying on the ground a few blocks from the World Trade Center on 9/11. The Plaintains are a slick, funny sendup of a British neuromantic duo circa 1982, a dapper Spinal Tap for the synthpop era. Other performers included LoVid, Jamie Arcangel and the Arcangels, and the incredible Dr. Doo, who sat at a drumkit working the sticks athletically while lo-fi symphonic synths chugged and transcendental cartoon videos dazzled (sample frame below). The vibe was Soft Machine sound-and-light shows circa 1969 by way of Atari and Gumby, and wonderfully loud. Music to drive the bad shit away. (On-the-fly rock journalism type photography by yours truly.) Oh, yeah, I really wasn't into the last act, Ssion, which I would describe as Voice Farm meets B-52s meets dancers from Cats. Their pop irony seemed too much like MTV pop irony. Tryin' too hard.
Below: C-level's Endgame: Waco Resurrection at the Kitchen. Players wear plastic polygonal David Koresh heads, and guide the onscreen Koresh around the burning compound, saving souls and shooting Feds. The inside of the virtual compound is exquisitely mapped with lots of plywood paneling, pile carpet, and Davidian women in pantsuits. Periodically Koresh lifts his rifle heavenward in an ecstatic gesture; at the spoken command "Gunshow!" an arsenal of weapons appears around him like a ring of holy fire. All my reservations are still intact after seeing the game live and fooling around with the interface.
Part of BushCo's "It's all good in Iraq" propaganda push was bragging about restoring the marshes that Saddam drained to catch elusive "marsh Arabs." See how environmentally friendly we are (at least abroad)? Well, the flip side of that particular coin is our Sharon-esque bulldozing of fruit trees further north. I guess some environments are just better than others.
US soldiers driving bulldozers, with jazz [?!]* blaring from loudspeakers, have uprooted ancient groves of date palms as well as orange and lemon trees in central Iraq as part of a new policy of collective punishment of farmers who do not give information about guerrillas attacking US troops. (The rest is over at CounterPunch)That makes me sick--I mean, we invaded their country, shouldn't they be fighting back?--as does the following statement by Joshua "Conventional Wisdom" Marshall:
I certainly donít think we should pull out of Iraq. More importantly, I donít know many of what Iíd call mainstream foreign policy voices who think we should pull out of Iraq any time in the near future. (No, Dennis Kucinich doesnít count.)Ha ha ha. So funny. Marshall's blog is well written and researched and all, but utterly conventional in adhering to the inside-the-Beltway zeitgeist of defense contractors, right wing think tanks, & scary Likudniks. It's too bad Kucinich isn't a stronger presence (some commentators describe him as creepy), because we need a real peace candidate, especially now that Dean has endorsed Sharon's attack on Syria. Stop the Middle East madness (or at least, our part of it)! I noticed Kucinich is co-sponsoring a bill with Houston libertarian Ron Paul to roll back portions of the USA Patriot Act. Good! That's where I find myself, at least on the subject of US imperialism and domestic spying--over where the far left meets the far right. The tiny, antiwar minority. Hey, we've been right so far.
*Cecil Taylor? Ornette Coleman? Nah, probably "smooth jazz."
Mercer Street - 2
Trees - 0
The wind blew down a big tree across the street from my apartment. It completely crushed a late-model sporty car that had the misfortune of parking beneath it. A couple of months ago, I watched aghast as some lame-ass utility contractors (for PSE&G, according to a neighbor) cut through the roots of that same tree to put in a new pipe. They loosened it just enough; today their negligence bore fruit. That's the second tree down on the block this year, not counting recently planted saplings that got scraped to death by who knows what.
Michael Sailstorfer, Schlagzeug, a slightly larger-than-life drum kit made entirely from a police car, at homeroom, Munich (the green and white colors would be recognized instantly by Munich residents as "cop colors.") In the background: a painting by Douglas Melini. The exhibition dates were May 31 - July 18, 2003.