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Below: a couple more screen grabs from A Beautiful Mind, previously discussed here. Ronny Howard's art installation(s) are at once exotic, invoking the crazed outsider look of Thomas Hirschhorn's work, and familiar, amplifying the hoary Hollywood cliche of the "clipping filled shrine" from a hundred serial killer films. I wonder if anyone ever photographed the real John Nash's "codebreaking rooms" and if they looked anything like this? According to critic tedg (who took a class from Nash after the mathematician was first hospitalized), "Nash's madness was almost certainly caused by his 'breaking' his mind by straying too far from reality to get outside th[e] large problem he was working [on]. The conspiracies came not from cold war silliness but something far deeper: Phil Dick science fiction and Kabbalah. Not stupid numbers but topologies (forms). Not codes but manifold patterns in higher spaces. Literally extraterrestrial voices."
On the subject of extrinsic connections, you might recognize the male actors above as the "student newspaper nerds" from Richard Linklater's Dazed and Confused, a film about random but meaningful collisions (as was Linklater's Slacker), and of course the lovely, wholesome but somewhat cypherish Jennifer Connelly, who has served as the emotional constant in a topological maelstrom of quirky films. Quite a career she's had, from eclipsing Elizabeth McGovern as McGovern's younger self in Sergio Leone's Once Upon a Time In America, to sliding into a pool of maggots in Dario Argento's Phenomena, to besting Goblin King David Bowie in Labyrinth, to famously skinnydipping in Dennis Hopper's The Hot Spot, to wrecking Nick Nolte's marriage in Mulholland Falls, to recoiling from a mutant poodle in The Hulk, to doing heroin and a "double dildo dance" in Requiem for a Dream, to competing with Russell Crowe's imaginary friends in this film. What explains such a rich filmography? Is it just because she's "purdy"?
DEVELOPMENTAL VALLEY SCHOOL DISTRICT LUNCH MENUS FOR THIS WEEK
Copyright 2003 by Phil Austin
Plain Elementary School
Mon: Paper Stack; Boneless Burrito; Paste; Kitten on a Stick; Milkaroni
Tue: White Bread on Toast; Glass of Sugar; See-Through Lettuce; Liquid Milk
Wed: Sponge; Sugar Sandwich; Butter Plate; Cloth Pudding; Milk
Thu: Simple Pie; Banana Splat; Sugar Mound; Blanched Cookie; Milk
Fri: Diaper Surprise; Clear Peaches; Steamed Cereal Boxes; Sugar; Milk
Mystery Island School for Girls
Mon: Soft Eggs on a Mirror; Hard-boiled Hollow Birds; Handful of Tacos; Milk
Tue: Rack of Clever Hans; Whisked Apple Fly; Coronation Ham; Nylon Bunnies; Big Carton
Wed: Mystery Potato; Curd; Slippery Tart; Milk Pie; Leg Salad Sandwich; Clear Liquid
Thurs: Oysters Frightened by Chickens; Liver Mounds; Nest of Interesting Spiders; Mai Tai; Pack of Camels
Fri: Breast of Clam ala "Eddie"; Wieners in a Basket Under a Blanket; Teacher's Surprise; Milk
Earnest Boys Academy
Mon; Beef Throats; Smoked Leg; Hind Quarters; Gros Livers; Old-Fashioned Milk; Cigars
Tue: Flat Motor Pies; Fisherman's Regret; Loin of Fat; Stunned Ducks in Alcohol Sauce; Milk
Wed; Tart Bottoms; Slick Fritters; Breasts of Toast; Sweetbreads in Hand; Cuckoo Punch; Cigars; Milk
Thurs: Roast Puffins; Revenge Pudding; Pancakes in Water; Baked Salad; Ring of Fire; Milk
Fri; Ducklings ala Moron; Smothered Rodents; Closet Pie; Turbo Skeletons; Champagne; Brandies; Cigars; Milk
Willy Loman Public High School
Mon: Horse Butter Sandwiches; Hot Jello Salad; French Kisses; Curb Cake; Milk
Tue: Toads in Blanket in a Hole; Complicated Salad; Ice Bread; Lomax Pie; Milk Cocktail
Wed: Hat with Cheese; Insurance Salad; V6 Bread; Field Surprise; Milk
Thurs: Battered Vegetables; Wax Wrappers; Wallet and Raisin Salad; Adult Milkshake
Fri: Fried Chuck; Paper Salad; Responsibility Pie; White Dessert; Retirement Milk
Alternate Current Magnet School
Mon: Eco-Veggie Bar; Rainbow Krazy Krunch; Twig Sticks; Turkey Straws; Cow Milk
Tue: Helpless Nuggets with Sour Sauce; Gator Tots; Trial Mix; White Milk
Wed: False Rabbit Wedges; Farm Dip; Sloppy Joans; French Acid; Goat Milk
Thurs: Meatless Hot Creatures; Sweetened Cherries; Meltdown on a bun; Squares; Mother's Milk
Fri: Refried Fries; Early Dismissal Cup; Hemp Wheels; Party on a Bun; Dip; Sheep Milk
Past as Prologue: Meat Space Curating
About ten years ago I solo-juried a show at the Lawndale Art Center in Houston, an annual "open to all comers" event called The Big Show. Artists bring work to the gallery and it's selected (or not) on the spot; everything not picked is moved out of sight to a large storage room. This is much better than judging from slides because you have more control over the outcome. The fee was decent so I hung around and designed and supervised the installation, in effect turning it into a curated rather than just juried show. The event got mixed reviews; one writer suggested I was using the art as fodder for my own work as an artist; this was incredibly flattering and not 100% wrong (theory omitted for now). I'm posting these installation shots because I'm thinking now about how the web gives us the opportunity to "curate" others' work and have it be "ours" at the same time. As usual, DJs were years ahead of the art world on this issue. 1 For an example of a web-based "mix" of artist's images, see this roughly chronological assortment; not all but most have appeared on this weblog. Some earlier thoughts on DIY web curating are here.
1. [UPDATE] The issue got an airing in the art world in the '80s with arguments about Christian Leigh's and Collins & Milazzo's "curating as art." But it's been on the back burner, as if everyone collectively decided that having quasi-objective "scholarly" curation was a necessary evil in the all-important personal validation process. DJs didn't have this kind of discussion--in that realm, assembling work you like sidesteps issues of "expert status" and will likely be recognized as an art in itself without a lot of neurotic hand-wringing.
Here's what some of us are saying about [that movie with LA being destroyed by tornadoes and NY being destroyed by a tidal wave]. My first reaction on seeing a trailer in the theatre months ago was "Hey, I thought after 9/11 we didn't do that self-hating Independence Day shit any more." Corporate America has mobilized all forces of modern communication to let us know that it's OK to self-hate again, with saturation TV coverage, print ads, internet streams, tie-in programs on the Discovery Channel (even though the science is dubious), an endless loop on the video billboard at the Holland Tunnel--everywhere you turn there's some sign that this is an unmissable (pseudo) event. The "money shots" do look intriguing but you have to be suspicious when that's what all they show in the ads. Also, let's face it, Roland Emmerich's previous movies--Stargate, Independence Day, Godzilla--blew chunks.
If you hate the mainstream news media, you'll like the Daily Howler. Bob Somerby is very good at showing how the major newspapers and TV networks distract us with trivia ("Kerry has a personal valet," "Kerry threw ribbons, not medals") while the Republican Party, which controls all three branches of the government, robs the store. As our army (and Treasury) are slowly chewed to pieces in Iraq, Maureen Dowd talks about Kerry having peanut butter sandwiches made for him. But let's let Somerby tell it:
While they clowned about Gary Condit, Osama’s men were tooling those planes. And now, as they clown about peanut butter, Osama’s men are still at work. And what will happen to your country because [Jodi] Wilgoren and Dowd set the tone? Let us finally tell you your future: Osama’s men will come with a bomb [...] and they’ll destroy an American city. American society will end on that day. And when it does, you can think of Wilgoren and Dowd—and you can think of the “letters editor” who laughed in your face with that letter today.1 They’ve made a joke of your discourse for years—while your enemies hunt for a bomb.In his most recent screed, Somerby catches the New York Times subtly pushing the Republican script that Kerry voted against certain weapons systems. The paper tells you Bush's ads on the subject are "cynical" but doesn't tell you why. You have to search NEXIS to find that out Dick Cheney opposed the same weapons systems during Bush I. Now, it's hard to defend Kerry on any level, but he's our only reasonable hope of getting rid of Bush, and unfortunately the Times is still pluggin' away for old George, using the same tactics they used to bring down Gore. Somerby shows how the journalists advance the Republican meme du jour with everything from subtle word choices to the numbing repetition of long disproven canards such as "Gore says he invented the Internet." His parsing of the propaganda is invaluable.
1. The Times printed a letter stating that Kerry had “only fingernail scrapes to show for his three Purple Hearts.” In the case of his first Purple Heart wound, Kerry had shrapnel dug out of his arm by a medic. There were no stitches, apparently, just ointment applied, but "fingernail scrape" simply isn't true. The other Purple Heart wounds--shrapnel in the legs and butt--were unquestionably more serious. Maybe the Times editor thinks having jagged pieces of metal penetrating your flesh is no big deal.
Some really good signs and slogans over at the freewayblogger: "Impeach Cheney First," "Quagmire Accomplished," "Real Soldiers Are Dying in their Hummers So You Can Play Soldier in Yours" (good one--I hate Hummers), "32,000 Dead and I'm Still Paying $2.29 for Unleaded," and more--all printed large, hung on freeway overpasses and billboards (until someone takes them down), and photographed. Great! Maybe even Kerry'll get the message that Americans don't want this war.
Three Hour Friends
Yesterday, May 12, WFMU's Kenny G played the final episode of Friends on his radio show. One catch: his program lasts three hours so the episode was stretched to fit. If you'd like to hear this epic moment in television slowed down to one-third normal speed (theme song, commercials and all), a page with links to streams, as well as a complete transcript, is here. The voices are all completely intelligible, except for the fact that everyone sounds severely medicated. And of course, there are no visuals. (The concept of Friends 3x was suggested by 'FMU program director Brian Turner, who says he didn't think Kenny "was crazy enough to do it.")