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Miscellaneous links I've been meaning to post:
Computer Movies Suck. This rant is several years old but still entertaining. (
Samuel Jackson Young girl hacker in Jurassic Park: "This is UNIX! I know this!" --described under the category of "blatant factual errors.")
Atomic Cinema. Well-written blurbs about cult, art, horror, and sleaze films, crafted to sell tapes and DVDs (you'll want to buy all of them), but with a prevailing point of view that is pro-erotic & anti-control process, much like RE/SEARCH's Incredibly Strange Films book.
Bonaire Webcams. From this desert island in the Netherlands Antilles, stationary views of beaches, a "reef cam" about ten feet underwater, and a view out the window at Kaya Rotterdam 2 (a street in the Hato section of the island).
More film (and music) stuff. Some new PreReviews are up, describing movies the reviewers haven't seen and neither will you: Karate Kid III, Mystic River, The Human Stain, Elf... This is some kinda service. In his Karate Kid review, Joe McKay mentions a bit from the Jamie Arcangel and the Arcangels show I posted about earlier and forgot to describe: the guitar duel between Arcangels guitarist Cory and Ralph Macchio, using clips from the Macchio film Crossroads. That mid-'80s gem, directed by Walter Hill (48 Hours, The Warriors), is basically Karate Kid with an old bluesman instead of a martial arts master; it climaxes with a battle of the bands type scene where Ralph wows the crowd with some stellar guitar, overdubbed by Zappa/Whitesnake prodigy Steve Vai.
At the performance Saturday, a video projector rolled a clip of Macchio playing a few notes, then the tape stopped and Cory tried to "beat" Macchio with his own, live guitar. This continued through several tradeoffs. Cory has the moves to pull this off, up to a point, but a small minority of people (who knew Crossroads) knew that inevitably Ralph was going to kick his ass. Thus, suspense was created and a kind of unconscious caste system developed in the crowd between the Crossroads elite and non-initiates. At the end of the performance, Ralph let rip onscreen with a long sequence of cascading notes roaming up and down the fretboard like an impossible physics formula, while the old bluesman looked on approvingly. This was the big moment, and singer Jamie asked the crowd if Cory should go for it, prompting a chorus of mostly yeses and a few skeptical jeers. Cory started a solo and then a few bars into it petulantly smashed his guitar to the floor and walked off, leaving the feeding-back instrument lying there howling. What else could you do?
Speaking of PreReviews, I need to eat some crow for calling The RZA's great Kill Bill music "generic hip hop" (without seeing the movie). Turns out the complex, sample-heavy score is one of the two reasons to see it. You don't really realize how much material was ingeniously mashed up until you watch the song credits scrolling forever at the end. [Update: For some reason Elvis Mitchell in the NYT gives credit to Tarantino for all the music choices and doesn't even mention the Wu Tang guy. What's up with that???] A really lovely tune plays while Darryl Hannah prepares to kill the comatose Uma Thurman; I want to go back just to hear it again.
Oh, and here is the other reason to go see the film, the second in a series of Females I'd Like to Be Slaughtered By (the first being the T-X Terminator). This kind of unabashed fandom is just to help the film industry and America's ailing economy, that's all, really.
Chiaki Kuriyama: Scary.
[The following found sentence has been inserted for design reasons, to put a kind of text buffer between completely unrelated photos. OK, there's an animated .gif, too, but it's way over on the right.] Less than a week before "putting to bed" the second half of Artforum's two-volume look back on the '80s, organized by my predecessor, Jack Bankowsky, I found myself seated across from sculptor Haim Steinbach at a Brooklyn kitchen, a late winter light waning on the running tape recorder and a half finished plate of marzipan between us.
Black Hole Sun
Above: The Black Hole, 1979, lobby card image Below: Olafur Eliasson, The Weather Project, installation at Tate Modern, 2003
Below: Olafur Eliasson, The Weather Project, installation at Tate Modern, 2003
My dream is that we'll pull out of Iraq, soon, and that George Bush will be judged a miserable failure and consequently lose the next election. He'll then have to go back to the Midland Racquet Club, and spend the rest of his life tapping his friends on the shoulder and saying, "We gave'em a hell of a run, didn't we?" while they pretend to listen.
Well, if we can't have that (yet), let's settle for Bush's Dad giving a public service award to Ted Kennedy, who recently called the Iraq war a "fraud." Talk about a vote of no confidence from the Pops! I wonder, do they sit around at Kennebunkport making stupid small talk under Bar's authoritarian eye, and then return to their respective mansions and bicker via broad symbolic gestures? How did we get in the middle of this weird family's dysfunctional arguments? Anyway, if Junior's angry, and therefore one step closer to a (preferably non-nuclear) meltdown, we should all be happy.
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."