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Some pros and cons on the NY transit strike can be found on the News Blog--Steve and Jen disagree. Jen says it's not about race and this is not the strike to make us think about union solidarity--people's jobs and incomes are at stake. I'm lucky because I just went on Christmas break but just want to say that it *should* be bigger than just the problems of the transit workers. When Reagan fired the air traffic controllers it pretty much broke the clout of unions in this country--gains for workers it had taken decades of folks getting clubbed on the head by company goons to obtain. The flip side could be a major, publicly supported strike that begins to stop the slide of unchecked power accruing to the owner class since the early '80s. Solidarity with the union means you stop pretending that you will eventually join the bosses and admit that you're next in line for the ax while they lead lifestyles of the rich and famous. In theory I'm on the side of the transit workers against their undeniably crooked, or crookedly inept bosses ("Oh, we just found a billion we didn't know we had!"). But ask me after several weeks of no subway. It would be nice if we could all get through this and still send a message to the oink squad.
Update: Fox News, playing in a deli near my apt where I can't avoid it, has their tag line in place: "Capitalism Held Hostage," with clips of Saint Ronnie firing the controllers, and the Mayor threatening jail. Definitely increases sympathy for the striking workers.
"Curtains for You" [mp3 removed]
Sometimes the first draft is the freshest. I don't know if that will be the case here. I can think of a half-dozen other things I can do to this piece, such as adding little syncopated breaks and wah-wah filtering to the organ riff, using sustains or fades to smooth over seams in the rhythm, possibly adding some percussion floating over the drum loops, and I plan to do all of them, but they take time, and there's always the risk that spontaneity will be lost, even in a piece where the "playing" is already all done by the computer. It's pretty catchy as it is, so I'm posting it, with the usual torrent of exculpatory verbiage.
Revised version here.
More items available for reasonably-priced consumption today and tomorrow, Dec. 17 and 18, at La Superette, the annual sale of useful items and artistic gimcracks organized by Tali Hinkis and Susan Agliata. This year the sale's at Exit Art, 475 10th Avenue at 36th Street, New York. Hours are Saturday 2pm-10pm and Sunday 1pm-6pm. Images top to bottom from the online catalog: Jill Killjoy (mini wallets), Jill Killjoy (chart t-shirts), Jonathan Rockford (holiday hand grenades), Lisa Bennett (it).
The blog Asymptote comments here and here about Astra Taylor's film on flamboyant theorist and "public intellectual" Slavoj Žižek (in quotes because we don't have those in America--only think tank bloviators who go on TV a lot).
Taylor's film makes heavy use of extreme closeups to capture the animated, restless, nervously gesticulating philosopher-as-third-base-coach engaging in his characteristic stream of logical reversals and psychoanalytic reflections on political ideology and current affairs, peppered with suggestive illustrations drawn from popular culture -- high, low, and everything in between.Haven't seen the film, it sounds interesting, but wanted to give a shout to Astra, who briefly worked at a gallery where I showed some art. I've been wondering what she's up to and now I know. As the kid said about Paul McCartney, go Astra go!!!!!!!!!!!!!
A friend of mine says no way will he see Chronicles of Narnia, because he is an avowed secularist and doesn't want a heavy Christian message shoved at him by Disney. I read C.S. Lewis's books as a kid and never figured out what the Christian symbolism was supposed to be, even though I knew it was in there. But boy, was this guy right about the movie, it's Christian as hell, I mean...well, you know. (Caution, spoilers ahead.) Consider the heavy Bible allusion in this bit of soothsaying, first mentioned in the film by talking beavers:
It has been prophesied that when four human children appear in Narnia, a giant lion will return to power, and will raise a mighty army of centaurs, fauns, dryads, and hundreds of talking animals of all species, and will train them and equip them with swords, bows, and spears, lead them into an elaborate pitched battle against the White Witch and her army of trolls, dwarves, talking wolves, and chariot-pulling polar bears.This greatly resembles Old Testament scrying about the coming of the Messiah, and indeed recalls Jesus's triumphant entry into Jerusalem. Another painfully uncomfortable Biblical parallel is this bit of Narnian law, spoken aloud by several characters in the movie:
According to the rules of Deep Magic, a traitor belongs to the White Witch to execute, by stabbing him to death on the Stone Tables. However, someone else can offer himself up for execution in the traitor's stead. Yet, as is written on the sides of the Tables themselves in runes the Witch cannot read, or will stupidly misinterpret, if the substitute executee has done no wrong, he will rise from the dead several hours later!This is very much like the story of Jesus. That's exactly the way he was killed and resurrected! Anyway, hopefully you're getting the idea--the movie isn't preachy, it's just wack, and I liked it a lot. As an icy cold, dreadlocked, sword-wielding she-bitch from hell with dilated pupils and dresses with enormous padded collars, Tilda Swindon will give small children nightmares for decades to come. Seriously, she's great. When she rides up in that chariot pulled by polar bears, adults all over the theatre were saying "All right!"
I think it was degenerate gambler Bill Bennett that came up with the idea that conservative types should flash the "purple finger" on the eve of the latest "no really this is the turning point" electoral whatever in Iraq. I redid the picture in Photoshop, and it may seem cynical, but it's not one-tenth as cynical as the racially prejudiced Republicans pretending they give a shit what happens to people in that part of the world. We've spent close to a half trillion dollars that could have gone to help Katrina victims, fund decent health care, improve public schools... All for an "experiment in democracy" that Bush gave us as the reason we invaded Iraq only after weapons of mass destruction failed to turn up. It's about controlling the Middle East, you chumps.
Another great gift item from the best named band in the world, Neg-Fi. On sale this weekend at La Superette, the annual sale of useful items and artistic geegaws organized by Tali Hinkis and Susan Agliata. This year the sale's at Exit Art, Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 17 and 18. More details and pics to follow. The piece above is described as follows:
"Bad connection" sound generator. Turns any sound into static and hiss!