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"Groove Show," by wenstrom
Several people asked about the drawings a few posts back, so here goes. They are fan pictures of the character Nausicaš, from Hayao Miyazaki's animation epic Nausicaš of the Valley of the Wind (also a multivolume manga). The name Nausicaš isn't very catchy--Miyazaki took it from a minor character in Homer's Odyssey. The second drawing from the top on the left is mine (a larger version was posted here a few weeks back). The rest are from Google Images. The character is much known and loved throughout the world; she has a low profile in the States but the film is being re-issued by Disney to coincide with the next Miyazaki widescreen release after Spirited Away. The Nausicaš DVD was supposed to be out Aug. 31, but according to this Miyazaki fan site, Disney has delayed it AGAIN. I still think it has something to do with Miyazaki's unfortunate decision to give her flesh-colored leggings, which makes it look like she has nothing on under her kilt, so to speak. I'm sure that's driving the puritans at Walt's company insane (or just people worried about marketing it in the Bible Belt).
My ten-minute, live on the wheels mix of 8-Bit Construction Set tracks, alluded to in an earlier post, is now online. [14.28 MB .mp3] The raw materials for this Steve Reichian (or Ritchie Hawtinlike) techno-minimalist epic are the lock grooves from the "Atari side" of the disc, faded together in a continuous flow; I didn't have as much luck with the "Commodore side." Apologies to Messrs. Arcangel, Davis, Beuckmann and Bonn for this arty-fied nonsense, but it had to be done.
UPDATE:The volume trailed off slightly during the last few minutes of the recording so I tweaked it in a .wav editor and re-uploaded it. The same link above now gives you the "enhanced" version.
Before Sunset, Richard Linklater's 9-years-later revisitation of the chatty post-slacker characters in Before Sunrise, is better than it has any reason to be, and better than the first film. It's short (80 minutes) but seems even shorter--why does it move so swiftly? The dialogue is banal, the people only passably interesting, the steadicam views of Paris postcard-pretty, the story bare-bones, but some potent cinema magic is working here. Ethan Hawke hasn't changed--he's still the callow searcher with the bad existentialist schtick. Julie Delpy, however, is more neurotic, more of a controller, and funnier than she was in the first film. Maybe she (the actress) has "lived more" since '94; maybe it's just hard to see her as a nice person after the king-hell bitch she played in Kieslowski's White, but she seems to be driving the story and riveting the viewer's attention here. I wish I could mention a single concrete reason why she or the movie are so compelling, though.
Speaking of revisiting older films, count me among the non-fans of Donnie Darko, the Director's Cut. Until today I felt certifiably cool for having seen the original release during its one-week theatrical run in fall 2001, but I agree with the reviewer who said 20 minutes of added footage makes the film "bloated." What was a mysterious, off-center, multiply-interpretable film is now over-explained and I would say normalized, with the addition of superimposed pages from Grandma Death's book about time travel (formerly DVD extra material), scenes showing a warmer relationship between Donnie and his family (and his therapist), completely unnecessary classroom pontification about Watership Down led by beatnik English teacher Drew Barrymore, and rather ordinary videoscreen effects added to the trippy sequences. I just ordered the original DVD in a mild panic that this cut will replace it.The line "Sometimes I doubt your commitment to Sparkle Motion" remains intact in both versions, happily.
Great moments in home taping, part whatever: Margaret Leng Tan plays a Philip Glass composition on toy pianos live in the studio on the Stork's (still-much-missed!) WFMU radio show. [3.12 MB .mp3] Recorded by me with a cheap boombox, aiming the mic in the general direction of my speakers at a time when I was between decent cassette players (around '97). Make no mistake, this is a cheesy recording (and I only caught the last 2 minutes), but the music is simply the best.
Update: The Glass tune is "Modern Love Waltz."
"The Infinite Fill Show" installation photos - thumbnails.
Press release (incl. artist list).
Critical pontification / more/ still more.
New York Times review (text) / (scan)
Time Out NY review
The exhibition opening was crowded but not too crowded and hot but not too hot. The work fell into two broad categories: things made with actual digital fill patterns (printouts, videos) and hand-crafted objects that mimicked fill patterns (paintings, drawings, needlepoints). Variations and exceptions abounded in this 90-some artist show. A nice touch was the silkscreen-printed dot matrix check pattern tacked up as background wallpaper--that (and the black and white color scheme) helped to unify everything. Overall, an amusing mix of lumpen craft and tech, politics and non-politics, the timeless and the topical (e.g., a tabloid cover of Martha in prison stripes). Paper Rad played a song in the hall and blew a fuse, which killed the gallery overhead lights but not the plugged-in laptops, TVs, or the strobe light. Enough daylight still came in to see the show. Kudos to Cory and Jamie Arcangel for packing the small gallery with nice stuff to look at.
UPDATE: More photos, showing the stunned and bemused opening night crowd (as opposed to my more severe photographic "statement") are at James Wagner's site.
WHY INFINITE FILL? WHY NOW? (SOME THEORIES)
Speaking of Infinite Fill patterns, an artist saw the image of mine below printed out in the studio and said something like "It's so old it's new again." That's actually kind of a bad reason to be working with these patterns and programs: what might be called the fleeting buzz of historicization. Two generational moments connected with an emerging technology are when you experience it in all its newness (especially in pimply adolescence), and when you encounter it nostalgically as a kind of "future past." The rubbing together of those two instants can throw off some sparks, but they're pretty meager to power a body of work, or a career. Better reasons for using old programs might be: (1) to access good effects that have been superseded or "improved" in newer programs, (2) as a way of clearly revealing the futuristic assumptions, mass production values, or plain bad aesthetics of existing programs (most of which are just tricked-up, bloated versions of the old ones), and (3) because less is more, as Kate Moss once said.