April 2005 Archives

noble_webster_dollar.jpg no, tim noble and sue webster didn't make the top 100 list, either, but what better image is there?I wrote an article for the NY Times Arts & Leisure section about the reasons art made by women sells for lower prices than art made by men. Itís a tricky subject, partly because art is subjective and inherently difficult to compare side-by-side, and partly because the art world is not known for the transparency of its financial information and sales figures.

For the article, I narrowed the data sample used to the upcoming contemporary art sales in New York. Itís a snapshot, a limited and admittedly arbitrary choice, which is not to say itís not useful or thought-provoking. Another, more systematic but equally imperfect data set I analyzed didnít make it into the article: the Kunstkompass, which is an annual ranking of the 100 biggest living artists compiled by the German business magazine, Capital.

The results surprised me, although I donít think they, in themselves, constitute a smoking gun of art world sexism or anything. Still, theyíre illustrative and provocative. And after researching this topic intensively for several months, I think theyíre about as compelling as anything youíre going to find out there.

April 30, 2005

Socks, Fries & Videotape

The Guardian reports that Steven Soderbergh's new series of HD films will be released by Mark Cuban's and Todd Wagner's 2929 Entertainment simultaneously in the company's theaters, on their HD TV channel, and on DVD. Given the reach of the channel and the market for an unknown DVD, my guess is the initial buzz and revenue will still come from theatrical, but those ratios will change over time, both as the release and the series plays out and as more titles have multi-channel releases.

A couple of weeks ago, I'd read somewhere (?) that Soderbergh was casting the film's non-actors by cruising malls and fast food restaurants in Ohio, looking for people with the right look. Of course, Gus Van Sant did this for Elephant, too, but he only went to A&F.

Soderbergh's revolution [guardian.co.uk, via kottke]
Related: The Cuban Revolution [wired mag]
The Wagner Revolution [oh wait, no. Xeni?]

[5/5 update: Guess she doesn't read the blogs, but now that it's been in THR, Xeni namechecks the story, adding some transcript from her Cuban interview.]

Who's the must-have light installation artist in Los Angeles these days? If you answered, "James Turrell," pack up your Uggs and get out. In Pasadena this week, Olafur Eliasson debuted a modernist hill houseful of installations and interventions, organized by his Italian gallerist, Emi Fontana.

Check out pictures and descriptions at arcspace, or pour yourself a glass of whine at artforum diary, which features largely content-free Olafur soundbites and bitching about the opening's lack of valet parking. Or go yourself, until May.

Olafur Eliasson: Meant to be lived in [arcspace.com]
LA Residential [artforum diary]

It turns out I've got about 1,000 words a day, maybe 2,000 if I'm just doing stream of consciousness.

Anyway, as you can guess from the last few days' posts [sic], that wordstream has been gobbled up by another project. Now that's it's to bed, they're backing up in my head while I'm at the Outer Banks. So you just wait until Saturday morning, when you'll find me curled up on your doorstep, like an unwanted drunk.

In the mean time, please go register for a bunch of classes at The New School.

April 25, 2005

Navelgazing: The Musical

Three Broadway directors--Joe Mantello, George Wolfe, and Jason Moore--watch and talk about Show Business, Dori Berinstein's documentary...about them and the musicals they put on, "Wicked," "Caroline, or Change," and "Avenue Q," respectively.
The Film About the Show Behind the Show [nyt]

In the magazine header, image: newyorker.com
Issue of 2005-05-02
Posted 2005-04-25

COMMENT/ HOLY ORDERS/ Jane Kramer on the new Pope.
REVENUE DEPT./ NEW HACK CITY/ Ben McGrath on marketing the city's taxi drivers.
DEPT. OF CELEBRATION/ DRUNK MONK/ Amy Goldwasser attends a Kung Fu birthday party.
/ Lauren Collins on a novel trend in Hollywood.
THE FINANCIAL PAGE/ OIL CHANGE/ James Surowiecki on why high oil prices might not be so bad.

ANNALS OF MEDICINE/ Jerome Groopman/ A Model Patient/ Can you simulate a medical education?
SHOUTS & MURMURS/ Christopher Buckley/ Social Security Reform Made Clear.
FICTION/ Haruki Murakami/ "Where I'm Likely to Find It"

BOOKS/ Judith Thurman/ Rules of Engagement/ Writing, fighting, and AndrÈ Malraux.
THE SKYLINE/ Paul Goldberger/ Green Monster/ A startling addition to Astor Place.
MUSICAL EVENTS/ Alex Ross/ The King of Spain/ Jordi Savall at the Metropolitan Museum.
THE CURRENT CINEMA/ David Denby/ Angry People/ "Crash."

LETTER FROM LONDON/ Julian Barnes/ The Modernizer/ A profile of Tony Blair./ Issue of 1994-08-22

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April 24, 2005

Wreading Writers' Weblogs

Used to be when Roger Avary was the only screenwriter with a weblog. No more. Here are three other screenwriters' blogs that are well worth reading:

  • JohnAugust.com: In addition to film credits such as Go, Big Fish, and the upcoming remake of Charlie & The Chocolate Factory, August answered script-related questions for years on imdb's message forums. His weblog consolidates all these resources into one, happy spot.
  • The Artful Writer, by co-authors Craig Mazin and Ted Elliott, strikes a very serious-sounding note by focusing on "information, theory, and debate for the professional television and film writer." One recent post, though, is an insightful and entertaining glossary of comedy writing terms [part I, part II], developed by the Zucker brothers and Jim Abraham to help "explain to each other why we're wrong."
  • Meanwhile, John Rogers (from Cosby to Catwoman has been assembling an excellent collection of comedy writing jargon, too, at his blog, Kung Fu Monkey.

  • calatrava_south_st.jpgAccording to the Curbed Theory of NY Media Darling Architects, full-force Calatrava-hatin' should've kicked in in January. But here it is April, and there's a snuggly celebration in the Times by Robin Pogrebin, and it's got subtexts packed so tight, I can't figure out what the real story is:

    It's what New York's all about, baby: reinvention "he considered himself more an artist than an architect." Really? Because he used to be "the bridge guy, the engineer who also did architecture."*

    Can you believe it, he's in a museum show! In NYC!: True, Sandy does have a show coming up at the Met six months from now. Odd that there's no mention of his MoMA shows, either last year's "Tall Buildings" or that little ol' one-man show in 1993. Or the Municipal Art Society's St John the Divine exhibit that debuted his first NYC project.

    $45 million condos at the Seaport don't sell themselves, pal: I think we're getting warmer. Says connoisseur/condo developer Frank Sciame, "Standing there in front of his sculpture, that's how this started." Or as he puts it in Absolute magazine, "In addition to being a work of art... it will also be a place to live."

    He's the only thing right about the WTC site: Ah-ha. "It helps us immensely to have someone give us a solution that is workable from an engineering point of view, as opposed to just an architecturally beautiful feature." Translation: Thanks for playing, Danny. There are some lovely parting gifts for you on the way out.

    See, if only we'd let the Port Authority make every redevelopment decision for the WTC site unilaterally, we'd be much better off. Ahh, I'm inspired already.

    An Architect Embraces New York
    Calatrava's Tower: Even More Egregiously Expensive! [curbed]

    * like the suit who calls himself a filmmaker but ends up writing all the time has room to talk.

    April 22, 2005


    nakadate_finch.jpgThe soft, supple opening to Charlie Finch's latest column on Artnet:

    We first met Laurel Nakadate in 2001, right after she received her MFA from Yale. While in New Haven, Laurel lived in a single-room occupancy apartment house full of lonely, homely, aging single men whom she proceeded to bait and cocktease mercilessly in her video work.
    By "we," I think he means "me and my lonely, homely, single hand."

    Critic, art world svengali, and breast man Charlie Finch stick his own hand into "perky, dewy" video artist Laurel Nakadate's career, apparently without realizing that he's already soaking in it.

    If someday she comes out and says her work is about a young artist who graduates from Gregory Crewdson's Yale and tries to get ahead in the art world, I will die laughing. And give her the Turner Prize.

    Nakadate's show is up at the otherwise redoubtable Danziger Projects through May 14.

    Danger is Her Game [charlie finch on artnet]

    The problem is that Penn can't play just any agent trying to do his job. He has to have his own traumatic back story and overflowing well of grief over a dead wife, because what's a Penn performance these days without the actor emoting in close-up for a camera frozen in awe? (You can practically hear the director say, "And now, ladies and gentleman, the stylings of the premier actor of his generation.")


    After all, [Kidman] has a back story of her own...

    In the true spirit of diplomacy, Edelstein lets both the director and the writers have it in his Slate review of The Interpreter.

    Lost in Translation [slate]

    No honest questioning of the Silverstein/Port Authority 10mm sf program. No more Libeskind master plan. No political backbone or redevelopment vision. No appreciation for the arts as anything but a criticism-placating bullet point on a mission statement. No program apparently required for this amorphous-at-best Freedom Center museum thing, which is going ahead full force anyway. And now no fundraising for no performing arts center, which was originally pitched as a central requirement for the site's viable rebirth.

    Ada Louise Huxtable's pissed, and--if she thought it'd help--she wouldn't take it anymore.

    Death of a Dream: There won't be a creative rebirth at Ground Zero after all. [wsj, via curbed]

    86theonions_nec.jpgNever the innovator, apparently, NEC commissioned a series of sponsored short films which debuted last fall. The theme(s)? "Ubiquitous" and "U Can Change." Let me just say, that slogan's no "Art of Speed." I guess they think it works alright in Japanese.

    Anyway, Venice, CA punk agency 86 the Onions produced a batch, which look to me like Western parodies of nonsensical Japanese commercials. "Cocoon" or "Karaoke" are probably the best, although the latter's too long. My favorite is "Wedding"; it's got a smart surprise ending. [Reading the making of story at adland, no one'll be surprised to learn they came up with the ideas in 24 hours, and shot them in like a week. I hope they got paid a fortune.]

    Meanwhile, the trailer's online for Lars von Trier's Manderlay. Hmm? Something about slavery? Whatever, it's a shoe-in for La Palme d'Feelgood at Cannes.

    adland: 86 the onions make ubiquitous campaign for NEC Japan
    Shorts for NEC Ubiquitous, by 86 the Onions
    Lars von Trier's Manderlay [play.dk, via robotwisdom]

    I've been crunching on an offline deadline, and I've barely even read these, much less thought and posted about them:

  • How to Make a Movie About 9/11? Carefully: Unfortunately, careful isn't usually the stuff of great Hollywood drama, but of compromised, templated biopics. As for "the most basic creative dilemma" being whether to show the planes hitting the towers, this footage, this imagery was arbitrarily sacralized so quickly, this taboo theology has accreted on it. The media equivalent of The Footprints, it's an unsuitable vessel for the emotions and memories and eventual understanding of September 11th.

    On the other hand, The Great New Wonderful, directed by Danny Leiner, sounds promising. It's set well after the Sept. 11th attacks, which is far more interesting, uncharted (in film) emotional territory. Plus, he did Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle.

  • Hollywood Welcomes New Crop of Moguls: Always on the lookout for a crop of new somethings, Sharon Waxman finds people who are trying to make small fortunes in the film business using their big fortunes from elsewhere. A business model after my own heart. Now, if I only owned the Mavericks...

  • question: is the URL in the first story intentionally 20atta.html? Because the URL in the second is 19rich.html. Just asking....

  • In the magazine header, image: newyorker.com
    Posted 2005-04-18
    Issue of 2005-04-25

    COMMENT/ WITHOUT DELAY/ Hendrik Hertzberg on Tom DeLay's ethical and moral troubles.
    HOUSEKEEPING/ ELLEN BARKIN AT HOME/ Lillian Ross visits the actress and society wife at her East Side town house.
    THE CUTTING ROOM/ IN THE GARDEN/ David Blum on the controversy over a new documentary about Madison Square Garden.
    THE PICTURES/ A KIM JONG IL PRODUCTION/ Michael Shapiro on a Korean monster movie.

    NEW YORK JOURNAL/ Rebecca Mead/ Mr. Brooklyn/ A borough president with a big plan.
    SHOUTS & MURMURS/ Paul Rudnick/ My Living Will
    ANNALS OF HISTORY/ Ian Frazier/ Invaders/ The destruction of Baghdad [not yet online]
    ANNALS OF SCIENCE Elizabeth Kolbert/ The Climate of ManóI/ In the first of three articles, a report from the Arctic on the realities of global warming.
    REFLECTIONS Philip Roth/ "I Got a Scheme!"/ In letters and conversations, Saul Bellow recalled how he came to write his early novels.
    BOOKS/ Adam Gopnik/ John Brown's Body/ A new biography restores Brown's centrality to the Civil War.
    THE THEATRE/ Hilton Als/ Tears Before Bedtime/ Martin McDonagh's perverse twist on the children's story.
    THE CURRENT CINEMA/ Anthony Lane/ In Translation"The Interpreter" and "The Best of Youth."

    LETTER FROM LONDON/ Julian Barnes/ The Modernizer/ An article about Tony Blair/ Issue of 1994-08-22
    Subscribe to the New Yorker via Amazon

    Nebraska In Single Frames is a beautiful, evanescent short film from Robots on Strike, the home for the Oregon-based design house Impactist's off-the-clock projects. [via Coudal's Jewelboxing]

    wac_hdem_sidewalk.jpg, totally cribbed from walkerart.orgSo the Walker Art Center reopened last week in Minneapolis, and the reviews I've seen are great.

    Did you know they had what amounts to a production blog for the completion of the new Herzog & deMeuron addition? Titled "New Media Initiatives," there are entries about architectural minutiae like sandblasting H&deM patterns on the new sidewalk, testing semi-reflective films for the projected signage, and kiosks. Lots of kiosks. Solid, geeky museum stuff. There's also an education-related blog.

    New media initiatives [blogs.walkerart.org, via man]

    Venezuelan president (who's working on the "for-life" part)Hugo Chavez is distributing 1 million free copies of Don Quixote to his countrymen as part of a nationwide literacy campaign based on a Cuban model.

    According to the BBC, Chavez called for his pueblos to, "feed ourselves once again with that spirit of a fighter who went out to undo injustices and fix the world." And who was bat-guano crazy. Good luck with that.

    Venezuela celebrates Quixote book
    [BBC via robotwisdom]

    While the Republican Sanhedrin was proclaiming their own--and Tom DeLay's--righteousness on the Sunday morning political talk shows, I spotted Harry Reid, Senate leader of what Bill Frist calls the "anti-faith" movement--at church.

    They probably have to look up the address: Get Tom DeLay To The Church [frank rich, nyt]

    On the occasion of his cashing out on some serious equity (3,500 sf, Dakota, all orig. woodwork, bought around the time Gimme Shelter came out), Albert Maysles tells the NYT Magazine the first things that pop into his mind:

    Favorite household chore: Washing dishes, because that is what my father did. In his day, he did a lot of work a woman would do then. We were all very proud of him for that because it saved my mother a lot of work. He's gone, but every time I wash dishes, I identify with my father, which is quite a pleasure.


    Broken item he can't part with: I have this movie camera that I built to work in a way no other camera at the time could. It allowed me to shoot while moving around with synchronized sound but untethered to a tape recorder. I first used it to shoot the Beatles in 1964. That film was a revolution in documentary film because I could run around after them.

    sony_dsr-pd170.jpg[Is he talking about the Drew Associates synch sound 16 mm? Because he first used that to shoot Robert Drew's 1960 doc, Primary, considered the birth of cinÈma vÈritÈ. Maysles was camera on that, along with Leacock, and Pennebaker.

    Whatever, last year he made the switch to DV; now he uses a Sony PD170.]

    For a 72nd St. Duplex, It's a Wrap [nytmag]
    "Hand-held and from the Heart: The Stories of Albert Maysles" [Doubletake, via Maysles Prod.]
    Origins of Documentary Film: Cinema VeritÈ [berkeley.edu]
    Buy a Sony DSR-PD170 (MSRP $3940) for around $3,127 at Amazon [amazon]

    April 16, 2005

    Smells Like Cine Spirit

    Gus Van Sant's new film, Last Days, is a fictional recreation of the impending death of Kurt Cobain, shot in the director's now-mature semi-documentary style.

    The trailer's up; Last Days opens May 16 in France, timed, presumably, with its debut at Cannes. Don't feel bad that France gets to see it long before the US, though. After all, Gerry didn't come out in France until after Elephant.

    Last Days trailer [allocine.fr, via mefi]
    a fluffy Cobainiac take on the movie [mtv.com]

    Since all the pros are weighing in on it, let me say that Laura Shin's umbrella review in Slate is wack. What purports to be a The New York Review of Umbrellas's ignores some key aspects of New York City's indigenous umbrella culture, and in ways that make me think it's unconsciously geared to visitors, not residents, of the city.

    This daytripper's bias manifests itself in the criteria: saying smaller=better makes no more sense for umbrellas than bigger=better does for SUV's. Unless you're planning on carrying it folded up much of the time because, like the folks you see uptown with Century 21 bags, you don't have an apartment or an office to stash stuff in.

    Also, even in these Friends-friendly days, "plays well with others" is not a trait held in high esteem on New York City streets, especially not for umbrellas. For a lot of highly self-interested New Yorkers, bigger is better, even if it's not, and getting your eye poked out is your problem, mac. [Note to Malcolm Gladwell: got another SUV story for you.]

    Sure, there's the Chinatown umbrella, but Manhattan's other indigenous species--the Doorman Umbrella--is completely ignored. Maybe the writer lives in a walkup. These black giants are the Lincoln Town Car of umbrellas, more than you really need to do the job, and better if you have someone else doing it for you.

    Lately there's been a proliferation of Patented Umbrellas, which have those collapsible drinking cup-like sheaths on the tip. This is wrong. Convenient, surely, but wrong.

    The Hotel Umbrella is an increasingly rare breed. These usually logo'ed Doormen Umbrellas are briefly loaned to guests at better hotels. [They're getting rarer because some new better hotels now prefer to sell their guests an umbrella.] Someone once took my large black umbrella from the bucket at a shop, and left me with a nearly identical model courtesy of The Carlyle Hotel. Thanks.

    The Firm Umbrella, the Golf Umbrella, and the Firm Golf Umbrella are usually seen in midtown, and truth be told, they're probably being carried by some banker who moved to Rye when his second kid was born. In addition to being selfishly large for the street, these usually have the added benefit of being free (or at least it felt that way when you signed for it at the pro shop).

    I recently lost my favorite umbrella, which had served me well for over six years. At the height of Niketown-hatin' 1998, and figuring that they'd probably invest a lot in the R&D, I bought a big black Nike Golf umbrella. Yes, it had swooshes on it, but it was a small price to pay; the thing was light, strong, huge, and it never once blew out on me.

    When someone stole it from a pizza restaurant a few months ago, I tried to replace it, but they sure don't make'em like they used to. I ventured back into Niketown (what a dump), nothin'. The $15 model at the outlet you pass on 95 in Maryland was engineered to protect Nike's margins, not my (or anyone else's) head.

    I know return you to your regularly scheduled programming.

    Un-brellas [slate, via kottke and TMN]

    Typing the first thing that comes into my mind:
    Isabella Rossellini: [gulp] hi
    Ryan Gosling: unexpectedly wry
    David Benioff: composed (but watch out, the dude killed off Agamemnon)
    Will Ferrell's brother: his biggest fan, (but with the unenviable job of being nice to his richer, little brother for life)
    Maggie Gyllenhaal: good sport, Harvard Law material
    Maggie Lyko: one of the greatest women in America, who happens to have left for Mexico.
    Marc Forster: Sick. [flu-sick, not gross-sick. Both he and Ferrell are getting Theraflu-high on stage]
    Meeting Marc Forster: genial. [nice, easy-going, surprisingly not wearing clogs. Says, "I know," when I introduce myself. Politely doesn't mention the restraining order.]
    My oblique Monster's Ball oral sex scene reference in my speech: too oblique. Only Forster and the writer get it. Embarassingly, only Forster says it was funny.
    Jamie Niven's inadvertent and unacknowledged oral sex sight gag when the tech guy got down on his knees behind the podium to fix the mic during his speech: hi-larious, that man is grace under pressure personified.
    Sean Combs: left the P. Diddy at home.
    Best description of Everything Comes Together: The Dead Baby Movie.
    Will Ferrell: makes even repressed movies about dead babies, racist executioners, and manipulative closet cases funny.
    MoMA atrium: nice place, whaddya pay?
    Mini cheeseburger hors d'oeuvres: Get back here!
    Bresaola hors d'oeuvres: pre-touched meat
    Champagne with straws: generously provided
    Diet Coke at the pre-event champagne-only reception: cruelly absent

    "Please don't publish narratives in our Home Section; we don't embroider the wallpaper in your maharani boudoir."

    Or how about, "A decorator with a narrative is like a mule with a spinning wheel. no one knows how he got it, and danged if he knows how to use it."

    Or wait, how about this one:

    And over the desk, where a picture of Ashton Kutcher might presumably rest, hangs a work of art - an homage to Donald Baechler - by the poet and painter Rene Ricard. (Ms. Angus initially told visitors that the artist in question was Renee Richards, the tennis player, physician and celebrated graduate of sex-change surgery.)...

    But I wondered why an ÈtagËre in the corner had been lined with children's game boards and cocktail glasses, an arrangement that seemed to say that this family was readying itself for a visit from a 6-year-old accustomed to demanding a gimlet and a game of Candy Land.

    I was worried about this family. The table in the dining room was set for dinner and a place card indicated that Lizzie Grubman had been invited.

    At Kips Bay, Madame Is at Home (and pretentious, imaginary client personas by at-once un- and too-self-conscious decorators run amok) [NYT]

    There's a lot of goodlooking work that's been donated to White Columns' 2005 benefit auction: nice pieces by Verne Dawson, Peter Doig, Rachel Harrison, a pointless-but-nice T-shirt by Payne/Relph, a wheel-thrown ceramic pushpin by Mungo Thompson.

    Silent and online bidding is on right now, and some lots will end with a live auction on the night of the 16th.

    White Columns 2005 benefit auction

    fitzpatrick_che.jpgFor an exhibition in Dublin, Dutch artist Aleksandra Mir interviews Jim Fitzpatrick, the Irish artist who created the stencil-like poster of Che Guevara. It's a fascinating story of copyright, revolution, and appropriation, told by someone who's been largely invisible, even though he made one of the most widely known--and widely copied--images of the last 50 years.

    Some interesting tidbits:
    - Fitzpatrick originally made 1,000 two-color posters, with the stars hand-colored yellow.
    - Several hand-printed early variations--and one painting--made for an exhibition went missing somewhere in Eastern Europe.
    - Che was Irish. Irish Argentinean.
    - After cutting off negotiations with Fitzpatrick, A US company, Fashion Victim, bought the rights to the underlying picture from the photographer's heirs and now enforces a trademark--while producing Che clothing in Honduran sweatshops.
    - There was an Amsterdam rebel group called 'The Provos.'

    Not everything is always Black or White. [aleksandramir.info]
    Jim Fitzpatrick's website

    "12 WHEREAS, the Preston High School administration and staff, particularly
    13 the cafeteria staff, have enjoyed notoriety and worldwide attention; and
    14 WHEREAS, tater tots figure prominently in this film thus promoting Idaho's
    15 most famous export; and
    16 WHEREAS, the friendship between Napoleon and Pedro has furthered
    17 multiethnic relationships;"

    It passed unanimously, btw.

    HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 29 [state.id.us, via waxy]
    previously: Napoleon Dynamite: Oh. My. Heck.

    April 11, 2005

    I See Dead People...

    ...in every second of coverage on every channel of the conservative mass media deathwatch, thanks, Frank Rich,
    ...in this odd music video, "Amer-uh-kuh, we stand as one," by a former Star Trek stunt coordinator from the Jersey Shore. [thanks, TMN]
    ...um, nowhere else, really, just in a random music video and everywhere.

    In the magazine header, image: newyorker.com
    Posted 2005-04-11
    Issue of 2005-04-18

    COMMENT/ WASTED ENERGY/ Elizabeth Kolbert on the fight over drilling in Alaska.
    DEPT. OF MERGERS/ WINNERS/ Rebecca Mead reports from Mr. and Mrs. Jack Welch's book party, at the Four Seasons.
    DEPT. OF NOISEMAKING/ THE ANGRY INVESTOR/ Ben McGrath on Daniel Loeb and what complaint letters will get you.
    LEGACIES/ THE NUT LADY RETURNS/ Tad Friend on a showdown in the Nutmeg State.
    THE FINANCIAL PAGE/ IN YUAN WE TRUST/ James Surowiecki on where America's currency is headed.

    OUR FAR-FLUNG CORRESPONDENTS/ Tad Friend/ The Parachute Artist/ How Lonely Planet changed travel.

    FICTION/ Ludmila Ulitskaya/ "The Orlov-Sokolovs"
    Nicole Krauss/ My Summer in Poland
    Jonathan Franzen/ Countdown
    Jane Smiley/ Cold Front
    Mary Gordon/ Pilgrimage

    BOOKS/ Joan Acocella/ Piecework/ The writings of Sybille Bedford.
    BOOKS/ Steven Shapin/ Cleanup Hitters/ The steroid wars and the nature of what's natural.
    THE THEATRE/ Hilton Als/ The Many Faces of Jane/ A one-woman show about the life of Djuna Barnes.
    MUSICAL EVENTS/ Alex Ross/ Off the Rails/ A rare performance of Harry Partch's "Oedipus."
    THE CURRENT CINEMA/ David Denby/ Track and Field/ "Kontroll" and "Fever Pitch."

    A CRITIC AT LARGE/ Philip Roth/ Rereading Saul Bellow/ Issue of 2000-10-09
    BOOKS/ Joan Acocella/ Finding Augie March/ Saul Bellow's first novels./ Issue of 2003-10-06/ Posted 2003-09-29
    FICTION/ Saul Bellow/ "A SILVER DISH"/ Issue of 1978-09-25

    Subscribe to the New Yorker via Amazon

    Some of you have already gotten this in email, but tomorrow night (Tuesday, 4/12) is the fourth annual installment of A Work In Progress, where MoMA's Film & Media department celebrates a distinct directorial voice in cinema.

    This year's honoree is Marc Forster who will be talking with legendary post-structuralist film scholar Will Ferrell about his work (Finding Neverland, Everything Comes Together, that scene in Monster's Ball). There will be many celebrity guests [not counting me; I'll be working it so hard, you couldn't call me a guest], which I'm pretty sure means Johnny Depp and Heath Ledger doing their infamous mashup skit, Finding Balls. No idea what that means.

    Here's a pdf [300k] of the invite, or you can call MoMA's Special Events office: Tel. (212) 708-9680, fax (212) 708-9429, specialevents@moma.org.


  • The Sniff Forster's Cologne section: $375 [very limited number left sold out]
  • The Catch A Glint Off His Dome section: $200 [ditto sold out]
  • The Share A V.I. Bowl Of Dip With Sean Combs afterparty: $150 [pack'em in, baby]
  • Hear a party-only guy utter the phrase "typically Swiss mise-en-scene" to try and convince the ladies that he was at the discussion: priceless

  • sundance_channel_id.jpgA few weeks ago, the new identity system for The Sundance Channel caught my eye.

    Built on a string of images and boxes that pulses, tugs, and scrolls leftward off the screen, the system cleanly embodies the idea of a TV channel as a programmer, a curator of a continuous stream of content in time. It also reminded me of a non-linear editing timeline like in Final Cut Pro, and of the timeline-like installation of artist Jeremy Blake's 2003 painting show at Feigen in NYC.

    Anyway, I recently spoke with Keira Alexandra, VP, Creative Director at The Sundance Channel, who came up with the design, which launched in late January (to coincide with the Sundance Film Festival).

    On April 29, Alexandra will talk in depth about the project at MOVE: Stories In Motion, a conference organized by the NY chapter of AIGA.

    The Canadian Government has begun restoring the WWI-era Vimy Memorial in northern France:

    It was 88 years ago today [apr. 9] 20,000 Canadians stormed out of the trenches and into the history books, but the scene of Canada's most famous battle still poses a deadly threat for those toiling here to honour their memory...

    But workers rehabilitating it and surrounding landscape must exercise extreme caution...

    The same armaments and implements of war that left more than 10,000 Canadian dead or wounded at Vimy in 1917 are still exacting a deadly toll...

    The surrounding battleground's "atmosphere of terror and horror" will also be enhanced to contrast with the stark beauty of the monument, says restoration architect Julian Smith.

    Project beset by danger [canoe.ca, via archinect]
    Official Site - Vimy Memorial
    Vimy Ridge - 80 years on [I used this site a lot researching the film]

    April 8, 2005

    Bond?, Max Bond?

    Since when did architecture Max Bond, of Davis Brody Bond get above-the-line billing on the design of the World Trade Center Memorial?

    From the earliest beginnings of the WTC redevelopment and memorial design process, there's been a dissonant gap between the public theater and the actual, invisible strategizing and decisionmaking. Like Japanese bunraku, where the puppeteers are in full view, but the audience is transfixed by the controlled movements of the marionettes.

    Some day--but not yet, because it's still going on--there'll be an eye-opening saga on the scale of Robert Caro's The Power Broker to come out of the WTC.

    And Bond Makes Three at the WTC [curbed, and miss representation]



    * 3


    bbc_jp2.jpg, afp via yahoo

    [headline via the comments on Grammar Police]

    While I'm lackadaisically culling archival links from the New Yorker's website (to make up for the fact that they have no search or archive function), the New York Observer has emptied the scribbled-on scraps of paper and cocktail napkins from their pockets to piece together a nearly complete masthead for the magazine (to make up for the fact that they have none).

    1) Is there anything else you need done, New Yorker? Can we pick up your cleaning, water your plants, glue in your perfume strips?
    2) There's no one in charge of squelching run-on sentences, either at the New Yorker or (more obviously) here.
    3) Is Andrea Scott no longer doing the art section for Goings On About Town? [making hand-as-phone gesture and mouthing 'call me, Andrea.']

    Our Far-Flung Staff [Observer.com]

    It's been a pretty crappy day, already, so don't make me decide which writing is more annoying, self-reflexive, and wilfully misinformed and misrepresentative about its subject:

    • Lee Siegel's free-associational riffs in Slate about Cy Twombly's "doodling," which, after all these years IS apparently just like your kid could do. Bonus quote: "You cannot fully understand Twombly's art unless you know that he is gay." [huh?? I DID pick up "fatuous" from here, though.]
      updated link: archive.org

    • Hilton Kramer's self-contradictory, dishonest, and obtuse reading and critique of Pace Wildenstein's amazing show, "Logical Conclusions: 40 Years of Rule-Based Art." Kramer--why am I even mentioning him??--starts in on Minimalism, too. Oy. And the Communist Threat, blah blah blah. Save it for that big Flavin/Judd/Kramer panel discussion in the sky, Hilly. It's 2005 already.

    Jason Cala-who? Nick's raising, er, lowering, er, his sights and going after Drudge. His secret weapon: the awesome pithiness of his Choire Sicha-lator, now transformed into an automatic NY Post Headline Generator.

    Actually, the first day's batch of heds sounds like Larry Levy's first studio meeting in The Player, where he has someone read out a random story from the paper and he turns it into a one-line movie pitch on the spot:

    Grossman: How about 'Mudslide kills 60 in slums of Chile'?

    Levy: That's good. Triumph over tragedy. Sounds like a John Boorman picture. You slap a happy ending on it, the script'll write itself.

    Here, Bonnie, you give it a shot.

    Bonnie: Gee, I don't know, Larry--

    Levy: Come on.

    Bonnie: OK, 'Further bond losses push Dow down 7.15.'... I see Connery as Bond...

    Sploid [via, dude, where DIDN'T you see this yesterday?]

    And the only place it's spring is in the corner of the garden where there was a Whole (Foods), and all the children started drinking Jamba Juices for breakfast.

    Google's satellite image map of Manhattan is stitched together from two passes, taken in different seasons, but at nearly the same time of the morning. The buildings' shadows are at slightly different angles on the east and west sides, but they're so damn long, they render the whole map pretty useless.

    Google Map of Manhattan [via kottke]
    "The Selfish Giant," by Oscar Wilde [planetmonk.com]

    Now that's a deft review. While Michael Atkinson praises Wong Kar Wai's segment of Eros he largely ignores Soderbergh's contribution--and he totally pans Antonioni's in the most deferential possible way: "[Antonioni]...is 20 years into his post-stroke period and whoit must be said, should consider resting on his laurels and, perhaps, supervising the transfers and supplements on his old movies' DVDs."

    Triple X [vv]

    First Jim Taylor and his writing partner Alexander Payne spoke at MoMA as part of the museum's Great Collaborations series, then Jim Taylor and his wifing partner Tamara Jenkins spoke at MoMA about their collaborative, parallel screenwriting/moviemaking as part of Leonard Lopate's 20th Anniversary show for WNYC.

    From now until the end of the year, Jim Taylor will be appearing weekdays from 2-5pm at MoMA in the Titus Theatre. Which will now be renamed the Taylor Theater. He will become MoMA's answer to Celine Dion or Siegfried & Roy. He will read your scripts and give you helpful coverage. He will not, however, introduce you to Amanda Peet, no matter how nicely you ask. His act involves no tigers.

    All this is just a rambling excuse for posting about a show I heard repeated on the radio this afternoon, but for which I can't find an archived audio link. Hope you were duly entertained.

    Behind the Screen, The Leonard Lopate Show [wnyc.org]
    Previously: Night of a thousand film geeks [greg.org]

    April 4, 2005

    No Kidding

    [John Patrick] Shanley, whose screenplay for Moonstruck won an Oscar in 1988, received the drama Pulitzer for "Doubt," his Broadway debut. "I have been trawling around for a long time before they let me come up out of the muck."
    Other credits include: the adaptation of Michael Crichton's Congo; another Frank Marshall film, Alive!; and 1990 writer/director gig he cashed in his Oscar for, Joe Versus the Volcano*.

    Shanley, Robinson Win Pulitzers in Writing [yahoo news, via waxy]

    * Which is a classic, I'm sure, and would we ever have had Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan together in Sleepless in Seattle and You've Got Mail if it weren't for JvtV? I don't even want to think.

    First Bjork moves to New Jersey, and now this:

    I incorrectly assumed that Time Warner would be our cable carrier, as we are in the Time Warner building. Guess what? Not available! RCN is the cable company for this building.
    - Trippy home owner featured in NY Magazine [via curbed]

    In the magazine header, image: newyorker.com
    Issue of 2005-04-11
    Posted 2005-04-04

    COMMENT/ JOHN PAUL II/ David Remnick on the life of Karol Wojtyla.
    INK / BATTLE OF THE TABS/Ben McGrath on the recent flare up between the Post and the Daily News
    LOST TREASURES/ DEEP/ Adam Green finds an early diving chamber in storage at Coney Island.
    THE FINANCIAL PAGE/ ALL TOGETHER NOW/ James Surowiecki on Sony and the dangers of going it

    ART AND SCIENCE/ Richard Preston/ Capturing the Unicorn/ Two mathematicians tackle a tapestry.
    FICTION/ Mohammed Naseehu Ali/ "Mallam Sile"
    BOOKS/ John Cassidy/ Always With Us?/ Jeffrey Sachs's plan to eradicate world poverty.
    ON TELEVISION/ Nancy Franklin/ Living Large/ Kirstie Alley fills the screen in "Fat Actress."
    POP MUSIC/ Sasha Frere-Jones/ Slow Fade/ The afterlife of an indie band.
    THE THEATRE/ Hilton Als/ Shades of Black/ Race relations in "This Is How It Goes" and "Julius Caesar."
    THE CURRENT CINEMA/ Anthony Lane/ Feelings/ "Sin City" and "A Hole in
    My Heart."

    PROFILES/ Richard Preston/ The Mountains of Pi/ Issue of 1992-03-02/ The Chudnovskys, who were then engaged in an exploration of pi, one of the most mysterious numbers in mathematics.

    Subscribe to the New Yorker via Amazon

    April 4, 2005

    Blu Dot Films

    blu_dot_720.jpgTechnically, The Year of The Dependent Short was 2004, but the people at Blu Dot are usually so far ahead of the curve, I'll cut them some slack.

    In conjunction with Daylight Savings Time, Blu Dot launched the first in a series of sponsored short films. Seven Twenty is directed by Christopher Arcella, and it's about, well, it's about the making of a clock.

    What, you think you're gonna hear criticism from a guy who made a short about ironing?

    Blu Dot Film(s) [bludot, via mocoloco]
    Christopher Arcella

    I want to say, "Finally!" The NYT reports on the players in the burgeoning medium of DVD extras: directors like Laurent Bouzereau (Spielberg) and producers like Mark Rowen (Shrek 2).

    Bouzereau started in the laser disc business and spent time at standard-setting Criterion--which gets short shrift in the article, by the way; The Matrix may have made the DVD business, but Criterion made the DVD extra--before setting up his own shop. He's the making of documentary and bonus material guy.

    Meanwhile, it's the producer who takes the blame for the pointlessly animated, time-killing interactive menus. And it's suits like the guy from Lion's Gate who think no one cares about DVD extras who are to blame for nearly naked DVD's with little more than a few crappy trailers tacked on.

    That said, there are plenty of directors whose fans would surely appreciate some more DVD material who can't get their distribs to rub more than two dimes together for a 10-min. making of, Gus Van Sant. Now that I think about it, the quintessential DVD extra--director commentaries--get almost no play at all in the article, even though they're almost a medium in themselves. [Carrot Top's commentary track on Rules of Attraction is in a category all its own.]

    The Powers Behind the Home-Video Throne [nyt]

    I received one of these bags as a thank you gift for one of the panel discussions I did in February at Art Rotterdam. [Inside were a couple of great catalogues and a fine bottle of spirits which I shared away, since I don't drink. Thanks again to the folks from Het Wilde Weten for the opportunity.]

    Anyway, the bag rocks. It's made out of a super-light, super-strong coated nylon normally used for kites. It's designed by artist Susan Bijl, and it's available online and in museum shops and other design-savvy spots. Despite being unable to adequately explain The Preppy Handbook to my hosts, I ended up choosing the pink and green one.

    Get your own New Shopping Bag without bloviating in a crowd susanbijl.nl

    Since 2001 here at greg.org, I've been blogging about the creative process—my own and those of people who interest me. That mostly involves filmmaking, art, writing, research, and the making thereof.

    Many thanks to the Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Program for supporting greg.org that time.

    comments? questions? tips? pitches? email
    greg [at] greg [dot ] org

    find me on twitter: @gregorg

    about this archive

    Posts from April 2005, in reverse chronological order

    Older: March 2005

    Newer May 2005

    recent projects, &c.

    Social Medium:
    artists writing, 2000-2015
    Paper Monument, Oct. 2016
    ed. by Jennifer Liese
    buy, $28

    Madoff Provenance Project in
    'Tell Me What I Mean' at
    To__Bridges__, The Bronx
    11 Sept - Oct 23 2016
    show | beginnings

    Chop Shop
    at SPRING/BREAK Art Show
    curated by Magda Sawon
    1-7 March 2016

    eBay Test Listings
    Armory – ABMB 2015
    about | proposte monocrome, rose

    It Narratives, incl.
    Shanzhai Gursky & Destroyed Richter
    Franklin Street Works, Stamford
    Sept 5 - Nov 9, 2014
    about | link

    TheRealHennessy Tweets Paintings, 2014 -

    Standard Operating Procedure
    about | buy now, 284pp, $15.99

    CZRPYR2: The Illustrated Appendix
    Canal Zone Richard Prince
    YES RASTA 2:The Appeals Court
    Decision, plus the Court's
    Complete Illustrated Appendix (2013)
    about | buy now, 142pp, $12.99

    "Exhibition Space" @ apexart, NYC
    Mar 20 - May 8, 2013
    about, brochure | installation shots

    HELP/LESS Curated by Chris Habib
    Printed Matter, NYC
    Summer 2012
    panel &c.

    Destroyed Richter Paintings, 2012-
    background | making of
    "Richteriana," Postmasters Gallery, NYC

    Canal Zone Richard
    Prince YES RASTA:
    Selected Court Documents
    from Cariou v. Prince (2011)
    about | buy now, 376pp, $17.99