Boogie Nights promo photo, image: image:

  • If my mother ever gets around to seeing Boogie Nights, and asks me if she should listen to the DVD commentary tracks, I'd be obliged to warn her that, even though they're informative and fun, Paul Thomas Anderson swears quite a bit. Of course, the probability that she'll ask about such a film (her dealbreakers: the whole pr0n thing, Burt Reynolds) is roughly zero. For the rest of you, though, start clicking on that Amazon link. [There are moments where PTA pulls a Bingham on a drunk-and-trying-to-flee-the DAT Mark Wahlberg, asking him to "tell me that story where you..." and proceeds to tell the story. Credit where it's due: Bingham occasionally pulled a PTA.]
  • To replicate today's Amazon delivery perfectly, add Krzysztof Kieslowski's trilogy, Blue, White, and Red, which was just re-released last week as a boxed set. [I bought mine from Jason Kottke's Movie Hut.]
  • The problem with Pringles: you keep eating them, even though there are technically six servings in a cannister. More a way to deal than a solution: the last 2.5 servings are just hard enough to get out of the can, logistics eventually overtakes lack of will.

  • Other Noteworthy Events (From Different Ends Of The Creative Spectrum)

    From the LA Times, Mark Swed's rather lyrical article about "See Here, A Colloquium on Attention and the Arts," held at Pomona College. Alumnus James Turrell and others spoke, and works by once-attention-trying composers like Anton Webern were played. [via Peter Johnstone's]

    Something I never thought I'd see - a broadcast version of Paul Verhoeven's classic, Showgirls, the first NC-17 film released by a major studio. I kid you not, it's on VH-1 right now, complete with thoroughly dubbed dialogue and low-budget, digitally inserted bikini tops in the scenes they just couldn't cut out. [Or settle for the original on DVD.]

    What VH-1 should do, is Showgirls: Behind the Music. Space Ghost up some clips from Saved by the Bell, throw in some childhood home-style footage, and interviews with former classmates, and explain to me why Nomi's so angry.

    March 7, 2003

    Big Art Events (Now and

    Big Art Events (Now and Upcoming)

    Boiling study, Ricci Albenda, at Momenta's silent auction 3/15, courtesy Andrew Kreps Gallery Untitled (Boiling Study), 2002, Ricci Albenda, at Momenta Art's Benefit Auction 3/15

    The Armory Show (through Sunday)
    -Scope Art Fair (through Sunday, including Bill Previdi's always-interesting collector panel Saturday afternoon)

    Upcoming (Saturday, March 15)
    Momenta Benefit Auction and Art Raffle, at White Columns, bid on/buy some great art and support the program of a pioneering Williamsburg gallery.

    Vince Vaughn, image: Vince Vaughn, US Marshall (Plan evangelist) image:

    My dad is in town for a meeting, and he brought his free USA Today down Via IP: This USAT article about Americans abroad feeling burned by Bush's wildly unpopular unilateralist "megalomania." The punchline stars Vince Vaughn:

    But one incident really stung.

    "Man, it was bad," says the Rat Pack-y star of Swingers. "These girls saw us and were kind of flirting, and they kept asking us if we were American. Finally we said, 'Yes,' and they just took off.

    "One girl turns and says, 'We were hoping you were Canadian.' Canadian? Since when was it cooler to be Canadian?"

    Welcome to the New World Order, baby.

    A very good, long Guardian interview by with Julianne Moore and Todd Haynes at the National Film Theatre in London.

    And I have to say, I look back on Lindsay Law, who was from American Playhouse and was our producer on Safe, and David Aukin, who worked at Channel 4; those guys are so rare, I realise in hindsight how much courage financing producers had to have to stand back and trust you. Now I would look at these dailies from Safe, where Julie was a speck on the screen and the whole film would be played out in a single shot. And he was like, "I don't get it. I don't get it." But he would never talk to me and never say, "Oh, more coverage" or put in his two cents just to make himself feel more creatively esteemed. That's so unusual, that kind of courage and I just now realise the extent to which that helped me. So we were really lucky and although we had just under a million dollars to make Safe, which isn't amazing to think of, but it felt like it. It was tough. But I still had the freedom to do what I needed to do.

    March 4, 2003

    On Fashion On War

    From Guy Trebay's column in the NY Times:

  • My prediction: Canadian flags on YSL backpacks. "I am not a politician," Mr [Tom] Ford said, "but at this point I'm embarrassed to be an American."
  • Majed al-Sabah, who owns Villa Moda, the Barney's of Kuwait: 1) gets all testy over the anti-war rainbow flags on display during the shows ("I thought that Milan had turned totally gay."), 2) Comissioned Prada and other designers to make him some caftans (see them here), and 3) wears a diamond-and-ruby pin that says "I love Bush." Verdict: Gay.
  • Who'da thought? Famous-for-poufs, Pucci designer Christian Lacroix turns out to be a philosopher statesman. Note to all other designers: Be quiet and let, um, Lacroix..lead the, um, crusade.
    During the Second World War, Mr. Lacroix went on, his mother was a girl of 16 living in occupied Arles. To signal her own resistance, she incorporated a fragment of color from the forbidden French flag in her clothes every day. "A little bit of blue, red or white in each outfit," Mr. Lacroix said, adding that if there was anything that decades in the design world had taught him, it was that symbols, however small, can sometimes surprise you with their weight.

  • model for Kaseman Beckman Pentagon Memorial design, image:

    And the winner is: A proposal by Keith Kaseman and Julie Beckman, two recent Columbia grads, to build 184 "memorial units" in a grove of maple trees. Interesting details: All benches are aligned with the flight path of AA77. Memorial units for those who died on the plane cantilever away from the building, while units for those who died in the Pentagon cantilever away toward it.

    Read the Wash. Post article, including comments by the designers and jury chief/MoMA architecture curator Terence Riley. Read Post critic Benjamin Forgey's generally positive review. Read my posts about my frustration with the hyper-individualization of memorials, follow competition links, and see my rash design response.


    US Attorney/curator with posters of Rothko, Bacon, deKooning and either Twombly or Clemente,
    purchased by Sam Waksal with an 8.25% discount, at least.

    In the grand tradition of deposed CEO's, but with downtown sensibility (and far better taste), Sam Waksal pleaded guilty to evading sales tax on $15 million in paintings he purchased through a major New York dealer. It was the old, "send it to my factory in NJ, nah, just fax the invoice there" ploy, which has been tripping up art world naifs since the 80's, at least. (Clearly, it's worth it to work it and get your 10% discount from the dealer instead.) Waksal's lawyer tells the Washington Post that his client was "not the architect of the scheme." Yow.

    Since no report names all nine works involved, here it is, a exclusive:

  • Mark Rothko, Untitled - Plum and Brown - $3.5m. Didn't reach $2-3m estimate at Sotheby's last May. Pic above, or buy a painted copy of it online for $275 [!!?].
  • Francis Bacon, Study from the Human Body - $3m. Also unsold at Sotheby's, against a $2.5-3.5m estimate. City Review has the war story of the failed sales.
  • Franz Kline, Mahoning II - $3m (via the Posts. Mahoning is in the Whitney.)
  • Willem deKooning Untitled V - $2.4m (via NYNewsday and AP/ABC).
  • Roy Lichtenstein, Landscape with Seated Figure - $900k. (via AP/ABC)
  • Cy Twombly, Untitled (Rome) and Solar Barge of Sesostris - $1.3m and $800k. (via Boston Globe. The first was exhibited at Knoedler in 2000, and the second was shown in 2001 by the Dealer.
  • Francesco Clemente, Lovers - $60k. (via The Post.) Eh. For a Clemente, you risk jail? A definite Koslowski moment.

    That adds up to $14,960,000. Any guess what the last, $40,000 work could be? According to the Times, it's Richard Serra. His sculptures can go for more than $1m, but $40k for a painting is doable. What's more, these last three artists show with the Dealer. Waksal can brag about the sweet deal he got on them, all while paying the Dealer super-retail for what amounts to personal shopping.

    [Update: The NYPost pegs Waksal's total at $15.31 million, which means the Serra was $350,000. That sounds like Sam didn't even get a discount on the in-house stuff. No wonder he's fingering The Dealer. Update #2: Turns out the Serra was titled, The American flag is not an object of worship. Don't let FoxNews get wind of that sale.]

  • alexander_payne_moma_dor.jpg
    from r: Jane, David, Nancy, Swoosie

    First, the good. Star photographer-to-the-stars Patrick McMullan has posted Billy Farrell's party pics from the Alexander Payne event last week.

    Then, the lame. In a bit they call House of Payne, the Daily News pretends that Alexander Payne was a pain in the ass and that "he should get over himself," slamming him for his "snippiness" toward good friend and interviewer, UA chief (and legendary indie film producer/distributor) Bingham Ray. But it's totally not true. Here's the deal: Rush & Molloy are too afraid of upsetting a studio head by saying he talked too much or sometimes inadvertently cut Alexander off; instead, they'll take lame shots at an extremely friendly, self-conscious director.

    Ray and Payne had gone off earlier in the day to discuss what themes and ideas they'd talk about on stage. During the rehearsal, their back-and-forth conversation was both animated and fascinating. Both are behind-the-camera guys; performing for a crowd doesn't come naturally to either of them. When the lights went down, Alexander was much more self-conscious, and Bingham was much more talkative.

    Many people told me they found the whole conversation very interesting. Some found it interesting, but thought Ray talked too much, at least for an event about Payne. And a couple of people wondered, who was that guy? If that's you, you're not in the film industry. But if you know Bingham Ray, you want to work with him, and so you're probably not going to tell him he talked too much. It's the paradox of power.

    My take: Ray said several times that night he'd never spoken in a one-on-one format like that, and he'd be mortified to think he messed up Payne's evening in some way. So if he talked over Alexander's answer, or told some story of his own, it was with the best of intentions. But hold a position of power and be sought out for your vision, for a long time, and you can become accustomed to being listened to. Bill Clinton was the same way. And Payne was a combination of polite, nervous and self-effacing; he's not gonna call a friend on something in front of a crowd, and his own reluctance to analyze his work beat out any fleeting desire to spoon-feed the crowd.

    As these two brilliant behind-the-camera guys gamely put on their best show, the producer sitting next to me had quickly figured it out. She leaned over to me at one point and whispered, "I want to hear the DVD commentary track for this."

    Untitled (Republican Years), Felix Gonzalez-Torres, 1992
    currently in "Stacked" at D'Amelio Terras

    If you are boycotting the French right now, you're a loser. They're putting on some of the best shows in town. Additions to an incomplete list:

  • "Back Grounds," at Andrew Kreps [Dude, get a website!] a show of intricately made B&W photographs by Liz Deschenes, James Welling, and Adolphe Humbert de Molard. Curated by Olivier Renaud-Clement.
  • "Stacked," a group show of, well, stacked works at D'Amelio Terras.
  • "Architecture and Furniture by Jean Prouv� at Sonnabend," with Galerie Patrick Seguin, including remarkable 1950 pieces from the Air France office in Brazzaville, Congo.
  • "The Extravagant Vein," at Marianne Boesky. Drawings, video projection and oil painting by Donald Moffett.
  • Photographs by gallery artists at Andrea Rosen, including Craig Kalpakjian's proposal for creating an earthwork on the moon (which would, by definition, not be an earthwork).
  • Douglas Gordon at Gagosian. What's the big deal? Or, more precisely, what's the big deal with "big?"

  • Since 2001 here at, 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 that time.

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

    find me on twitter: @gregorg

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