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Onion interview with director Whit Stillman: he's dry, self-effacing, and funny, just like his movies:
AVC: To extend the Citizen Kane analogy, you were nominated for a Best Screenplay Oscar [for Metropolitan] on your first try, just like Welles.Or later:
WS: I like these analogies. [Laughs.] But my idea was that The Last Days Of Disco was going to be the Citizen Kane of romantic comedies. [Laughs.] I like to defend Disco because it got a beating in some corners.
AVC: Why do you think that was? Why didn't people respond to it?
WS: I think I touched the third rail of popular culture, which one should never do. The third rail of cliche. A lot of people had very firm ideas of what disco was. They weren't my ideas, nor what I wanted to show. And then I later found out that many of the people who were so authoritative about how our disco period wasn't "real" disco had no information of their own. They were just going from having seen Saturday Night Fever or something. I imagined these journalists lambasting us for inaccuracy to all be habitues of Studio 54. No, not at all. [Laughs.] They would all preface their comments with, "Well, in that period, I only liked punk music. I hated disco. But this film is not..." Whatever. Anyway. For me, it was exactly as it was in my head.
AVC: Those scenes in The Last Days Of Disco work a lot like the closing scenes in Metropolitan and the closing scenes in Barcelona, in that they all introduce a note of hope into movies that are about a golden era coming to an end.
WS: For me, the present is a golden era that's ending too. That's the greatest golden era. Right now. [Laughs.] I just like pining for lost times. I can pine for this morning.
This lovely bear in the woods image was made with MSPaintbrush--the old one, pre-Paint, the one I use, but never this lyrically. Travis found it in this gallery (I couldn't view it in Firefox, had to switch to IE). He's been digging up some great drawings made with these simple paint programs.
On the opposite end of the Internet art content spectrum, check out Karl Klomp's glitch videos ("It seems much of his glitch output, and very tasteful it is too, comes via repurposing video mixers or even burning DVDís with 'impossible bitrates' for challenged DVD players to read," says dataisnature) and prints.
Meanwhile, back in the real world, looks like the Whitney is rehashing Gordon Matta Clark and the spirit of '68 again, based on this Times review of the 2006 Biennial and other reports. I promise to keep my mouth shut and mind open till I see it, but till then, I'm groovin' on that bear.
A friend has been talking about remixing some of my early tunes done with the Macintosh SE. This gave me a push to re-record some of them from the original cassette tapes. All of the below were posted a couple of years ago, but most of these new (old) recordings sound a bit punchier now. Besides the Mac (which has a very primitive "8-bit" sound) I used a few lock grooves (and um, "found" beats) from vinyl records playing on turntables, saying a short prayer that everything would stay in sync.
1998 - 2004
1. Scratch Ambulance [3.7 MB]
2. Phil's Revenge (TM vs Ectomorph) [2.1 MB] / hi-fi [2.6 MB]
3. Brakin' 1 [1.8 MB]
4. Brakin' 2 [2 MB]
5. Calypsum (TM vs M. Mayer) [3.3 MB]
6. Migrant Song [2.3 MB]
7. Streetsong (TM vs 8BCS) [2.84MB]
8. Eins Zwei Drei (Melody) [mp3 removed]
9. Monster Scales [1 MB]
11. Robot Landscape [3.6 MB]
1. Arpeggiasm [2.6 MB]
2. Dance of the Nematodes [3.3 MB]
3. Lament for a Treefrog [1.8 MB]
4. Life in the Mortuary [1.1 MB]
5. Pass the Amphetamines [1.5 MB]
6. Spring Has Sprang [1.2 MB]
7. The Organist Died [.9 MB]
Speaking of clones, here are some Lawrence Lessig articles on what he's calling the "Read-Only Internet"--for example, the Apple iTunes store--a one way street where the consumer plunks down money and gets a product. Opposed to this concept is what he calls the "Read/Write Internet," a world of collaborative creativity that famously includes mashups, remixes, and MAVs (music with anime visuals), but is in fact closer to the openness of the pre-digital era, before every "reading" became a "copying." The read/write milieu is in increasing danger of disappearing as the money folks tighten their grip.
DRM (so called "digital rights management"--could also be called "don't remix me" or "die, revenant masher-uppers" ) is a related means of slowing creativity to a crawl. The egregious Sony CD "protection" scheme, which actually put crippling, virus-attracting malware on people's computers without their knowledge, has been much discussed. But it's also showing up in little ways that are a drain on time and energy.
I realized this as I was trying to move files between computers--certain .avi files created in a particular program couldn't be dragged directly from Computer A to Computer B without first being deposited in a "Shared Folder" on Computer A. For Windows nerds, you couldn't just make the source folder available to the network by right-clicking it and picking that option in "Sharing and Security," you had to use the preset folder with the word "Shared" in it.
So if you're transferring several hundred (other easily transferrable) files and the transfer hangs up for those .avis, it takes time and detective work to go back and figure out what got moved and what didn't. The culprit appears to be Camtasia Studio--thanks guys, who gives a crap about your .avis? I'm guessing that because it's a capture utility they had to promise the movie industry that clips couldn't be easily shareable. Can't have people out there promoting movies and creating buzz by passing around clips, can we?
Similarly, the movie player Intervideo WinDVD on my 2002 computer has a "frame capture" button, which made it easy to generate stills for the Web and to make animated GIFs. Kiss that one goodbye--it's not on the 2005 WinDVD. Movie folks snapped their fingers, said uh-uh, I'm guessing. "We'll do our own shitty PR, thanks."
I would predict vintage computers and software would have increased value for remixers by virtue of being pre-DRM, but that gear is slower and older formats are also hard to work with because they go out of date. So, unless you have serious cracking skillz, the ownership class will increasingly have us by the short hairs, as they say.
Update: The company that makes Camtasia Studio emailed to say the product has no digital rights management. Still waiting to find out why the .avis it creates aren't easily movable between PCs and why a friend can't open them in iMovie (which imports .avis).
Attack of the Clones
I'm pleased to announce I'll be having a solo show in May at artMovingProjects, in Williamsburg (Brooklyn), NY. Mike Ballou, whose work I've liked since seeing his show of mutated toys on corrugated cardboard ledges at Postmasters a while back, is slated for the Project space. [Update: the Project space assignment is being reshuffled.]
And as if enough personal horn-tooting doesn't go on around here, here's a scan of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram review of my Dallas show with Saskia Jorda, ending this week (yes, I already posted the article, but this is the all-important print edition). As they say, "the best museums in Dallas are in Fort Worth" (the Kimball, etc) and it seems the most conscientious writing on Dallas also comes from there.
Just want the record to reflect that I bought and read the graphic novel V for Vendetta--about a terrorist blowing up buildings in a near-futuristic but Thatcher-like England--a couple of years ago, was impressed and creeped out by it, and have been dreading the movie adaptation since the Alan Moore adaptations to date have been bad. James Wolcott gives the Wachowskis' V for V a solid advance plug.
Am reading Emmanuel Carrere's Philip K. Dick bio I Am Alive and You Are Dead, discussed earlier here (including a retort from Gary Indiana, whose review of the book was being bashed). Carrere's narrative is definitely a delight for a Dick cultist: I love the way he recounts one of Dick's daydreams--an astronaut reading aloud from a satellite to radio listeners as he circles endlessly over a post-nuclear holocaust Earth--without tipping off non-insiders that that's one of the subplots of Dr Bloodmoney, or the interweaving of Dick's day to day bloody marital battles into a plot synopsis of Clans of the Alphane Moon. It's oodles of fun if you already know everything about Dick (and most of the particulars of Carrere's tale have been told elsewhere). The down side of Carrere's (artful, accurate) blurring of the boundaries between Dick's life and fiction, though, is that it gives ample material for haters like Indiana. If you don't like PKD's writing, the author is just a bundle of neuroses and the writing merely a symptom of those neuroses.
For some of us, though, Dick was how we survived the Reagan '80s. Powerless to stop the eight year reign of the stupid, overhyped Gipper, it was easy to retreat into Dick's "fictional" world--not so easy to create, not as dismissable as Indiana would have you believe--and know that was an animatronic dummy, possibly an insect creature from space, up there on the TV mouthing platitudes scripted by sharp ad men. Indiana, meanwhile, spent the decade limning the Boom's art world sociology, in the pages of the Village Voice: Just another kind of useless metafiction, but with a high culture connection Dick never had.