There's an excellent, loong interview on Archinect with Kenneth Goldsmith, the artist, poet, dj, theory karaokeist [?], professor, and web developer behind the incomparable UbuWeb.

Ubu began with just texts, and as collections and formats and partners came their way, it's expanded into other media: sound, performance documentation, artist film and experimental video. The focus remains resolutely on the undeservedly inaccessable and out of print/circulation.

Goldsmith: "My only regret though is that there aren't fifteen or twenty UbuWebs." They talk about theater, dance, and architecture Ubus, but I confess, I have a hard time seeing how those might come together as well as Ubu's collection of conceptual/concrete poetry. Could happen, though. Anyone have some unlimited bandwidth and server space? There may be a MacArthur in it for you.

UbuWeb Vu - Kenneth Goldsmith [archinect]

April 12, 2007

My Quarters With Conrad

A short film Noah Baumbach made in 2000, Conrad And Butler Take A Vacation, was included on the Criterion edition of Kicking and Screaming. Variety was not pleased with this story of two buddies, one damaged from his divorce, getting annoyed and drunk on some sofas: "with grade-Z production values, this esome lark serves only one purpose: It proves just how far Baumbach has come."

I don't think it's that bad, though, kind of carefully written, in fact. The short's on YouTube, broken up into three 10-minute parts. At the moment, Part 1 has about 700 views. Part 2: 300, and Part 3: 250.

This vote-with-your-eyes data feels like a more useful assessment than Variety's snark, especially if everyone who started watching was looking for Baumbach or Wes Anderson in the first place. [via coudal]

Jason caught a Guardian article saying that the Weinsteins are going to split Grindhouse in two: "There have been reports that many film-goers have been confused by the movie's structure - mistakenly assuming that there was only one film on offer and leaving the cinema en-masse after the Rodriguez section."

Having seen Grindhouse on opening night, I can only suggest the obvious: maybe people are leaving early because Rodriguez's film sucks and blows simultaneously, and they're trying to cut their losses?

Tarantino's film is infinitely better, even in the trashfilm terms the two movies purportedly want to be judged on. I wish I'd gone to the previous showing of Deathproof, hung out in the lobby, then sneaked back into catch Planet Terror. Which I'd have then left early. Oy.

Grindhouse to be sawn in two?
[guardian via kottke]

‘What is amazing is the idea of this generation being responsible for creating a cultural icon— like that we get to do that!’
—Elizabeth Berkley speaking, presumably, about Nomi at a fund-raiser for the New Globe Theater [in last week's NYO]

So the Oscars. Did I just miss their press release warning that they were going to inject off-off-Broadway wacky juice into the show? Because after being numbed into catatonia by years of Debbie Allen, Debbie Allen manques, and Gil Coates' Hollywood-snake-eating-its-tail directing, a simple heads up that they were going all avant garde would've been nice.

Never mind that both Will Ferrell's weird musical number and Tom Hanks' speech made reference to alcoholism. Plus there was Ellen's rolling papers joke at the end. That's mainstream.

What threw me--after the very existence of the non-relevant Ferrell song, that is--was that choir of sound effects people. Cool, sure, but WTF? Their multi-channel video backdrop made me think they were doing a live cover version of Christian Marclay's Video Quartet.

Obviously the biggest Marclay cover version was that iPhone commercial, though. I'd say I hope he got royalties, but then, I wonder how much he paid to license those clips. Exactly. The proper course of action would have been for Apple's agency to hire Marclay to do the commercial. Or actually, to do other commercials.

And speaking of commercials, did anyone else think of that VW shadow hands commercial during the Pilobolus numbers? Also, Pilobolus???

update: [d'oh, I see kottke's already got people working on the Marclay iPhone thing.]

January 25, 2007

Frank's & Bacon


When I was a freshman at BYU, I had a hopeless crush on a girl from Hawaii. She was really nice to me, and we eventually became friends. But I never had a chance because, unlike her boyfriend at the time, I had not been an extra in Footloose, and I had not been immortalized [sic] on film picking my nose, and wearing a powder blue tuxedo.

Footloose was filmed in the wide open grain and alfalfa fields of Lehi, Utah, just north of Provo. The Lehi Roller Mills where Kevin Bacon's triumphant school dance was held, was Lehi's only landmark, visible from the desolate stretch of highway leading to Salt Lake City--and civilization [sic again]. There used to be a rest stop near there.

Hang gliders would sometimes soar over the southern, Provo side of the Point of the Mountain, which separated Salt Lake Valley and Utah Valley [or, as it's also known, Happy Valley.] On the north side of the Point, above the prison where Gary Gilmore was executed by a firing squad, bikers'd stage a widowmaker hill climb [I don't know, annually?] that'd carve deep ruts into the grass.

Tract houses have long since crept along the foothills and over the fields on both sides of the Point, but it's always been an empty, rural place people pass by, around, through, on their way to the city. That's the mental image, anyway, of folks who lived in or visited Utah more than ten years ago.

Next week, though, Brandt Andersen, a 29-year old software & real estate developer from Provo, who owns the local franchise for the NBA Development league, will unveil the plans for an 85-acre plot in Lehi, just south of the Point, and right across the freeway from Thanksgiving Point, a large entertainment/recreation development by the WordPerfect folks.


The mixed use project will contain " a 12,000-seat arena, a five-star hotel, high-end shopping, restaurants, offices, a wakeboarding lake, and a massive residential community." The architect for the project is Frank Gehry.

Said Gehry, whose other mixed-use urban center project, Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn, has met considerable opposition, he likes the absence of a "big city bureaucracy." Says it's nice to be able to just have lunch with the mayor when you need to. Gets things moving along.

For his part, Lehi Mayor Howard Johnson is "most excited about the project's proposed lake, which Andersen has agreed to let Lehi use as a secondary irrigation reservoir. The city would be able to store water in the lake and use it when necessary. 'That is of a rather sizable financial value to Lehi,' Johnson said."

For my part, I'm hoping Andersen will throw in a Gehry-designed church or two for all the Mormons moving into his massive residential project. Back in the day, before business school, when I was high on his architecture [just as the Weisman Museum opened in Minnesota, but long before Bilbao] and feeling low about the bland, utilitarian, sameness of contemporary Mormon buildings, I decided I was going to just commission Frank Gehry to design a chapel. Then I'd build it, and hand it over to the Church, fait accompli. I hadn't thought to build the Mormon neighborhood required to go with it.

When he was introduced to such bigwigs are there are in Lehi at the moment, Gehry was self-effacing, and promised not to airdrop in some flashy, Bilbao-y blob. "We won't build something that people won't buy into. It's subtle how culture translates into architecture. And there is a culture in Utah." Amen to that.

Moroni, I know. But I'm just sayin'...

Lehi goes postmodern with Frank Gehry [ via archinect]
Legendary architect agrees to design a big Lehi project []
A n unofficial rendering of the massing plan []


The FBI said Monday that it has recovered a 1778 painting by the Spanish artist Francisco de Goya that was stolen as it was being taken to an exhibition earlier this month.

"Children with a Cart," which disappeared en route from the Toledo Museum of Art in Ohio to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City and was valued at about $1.1 million, appeared to be unharmed, said Les Wiser, agent in charge of the Newark FBI office.

Steven Siegel, a spokesman for the FBI, said the bureau recovered the painting Saturday in New Jersey, but would not be more specific about where or how it was located.

FBI Recovers Stolen Goya Painting [ap/seattle p-i via artforum]

October 3, 2006

Powers Of Tan

The Dutch Sunbather On Google Earth, a Powers of Ten-like zoom-in video. Here's the spot on GoogleMaps, if anyone cares to find out who it is.

A week after finally seeing it, I’m having a hard time starting to write about Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden’s wonderfully crafted, intelligent, slice-of-basehead-life feature, Half Nelson. One thing’s for sure, though: I won’t be able to sustain the same insouciant, faux-decadent abandon in my dance floor renditions of "White Lines" anymore.

In fact, the movie’s warping my whole funk karaoke world. After the groggy, solitary silence of the opening scene, where he finds himself right where he blacked out-- on the floor of his dingy living room, in front of his glasstop coffee table—Dan Dunne’s first words are Pointer Sisters lyrics.

Not coincidentally, they’re probably everyone Child of Television’s first Pointer Sisters lyrics, too: “Onetwothree four. five. sixseveneight nine. ten. eleven. twelve.” In an incisive, throwaway performance sung into the rearview mirror, these vintage Sesame Street lyrics, which have also been remixed into a minor underground techno hit, ground the main character, date the filmmakers, and implicate a large segment of the audience in equal parts.

But despite the presence of an over-educated White Man in The Ghetto, Half Nelson is no more a glib Williamsburg hipster parable than it is a treacly Stand And Deliver homily. Ryan Gosling’s performance is as nuanced and assured as Fleck’s direction and his and Boden’s screenplay. And the whole film feels as real and raw as a documentary, but with a narrative that unfolds--Boden is credited with editing--with offhand meticulousness

Andrij Parekh keeps his jittery handheld camera close, impossibly intrusive for a verite doc, but intrusively perfect for a verite doc style, and the actors' gestures, expressions, and reactions almost always deliver. [Or just as likely, Boden finds the exact instinctive or unconscious elements of their performances to fit together.] Shareeka Epps has been scoring a lot of great reviews for her performance as Drey, the thoughtful, conflicted student torn between her two surrogate father figures, but the more I think back, the more impressed I am with Anthony Mackie's Frank, who has more emotional and intellectual complexity than any movie drug dealer I can think of.

As I watched Dunne's entirely plausible addiction unspool, I began to warily question if I should care. Is he an unredeemable loser? Should I go ahead and invest my sympathy, only to be duped, manipulated or let down later? Was I going to be confronted with some formulaic rationalization for his addiction, one that's not afforded the black characters whose susceptibility to the lure of drugs--poverty, no opportunity, no education, The Man, etc.--are so thoroughly played out in movies and TV?

It was an oblique-then-devastating trip, but Fleck and Boden anticipated and delivered on this backstory, too, and in a way that telescopes Half Nelson into a non-didactic, intergenerational historical/political critique. But it works, because the filmmakers never lose touch with their film's emotional core, which is Dunne's development.

This is such a well-realized film, I'm tempted to say it's hard to believe it's a first film. But then, I can't really imagine this thoroughly conceived-yet-modest film coming from anyone BUT a young filmmaker. If it's like anyone at all, it's a more restrained Cassavetes. And Boden and Fleck's multiple, shared credits seem to belie a Cassavetian work method.

There's a great making of story to be told, though; this small, micro-budget film has twelve producers [including a friend, Hunter Gray]. It seems like just yesterday when I wrote about and spoke with the two Ryans about Gowanus, Brooklyn, their Sundance-winning short film version of Dunne's story, and the script was apparently workshopped at Sundance's summer Lab before that. If it weren't such a rare success, I'd say Half Nelson was a throwback/textbook example of indie film production. Whatever it is, though, it's definitely worth a trip to the theater.

Half Nelson opened in wider release this past weekend []

No more walking, watch three movies at once, and "You don't have to carry a passport, because a friendly computer already knows more about you than you do."

1975 commercial - Braniff Airways - The Supersonic Future

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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.

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greg [at] greg [dot ] org

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about this archive

Category: movies

recent projects, &c.

Our Guernica Cycle, 2017 –
about/kickstarter | exhibit, 2017

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
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
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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
Selected Court Documents
from Cariou v. Prince (2011)
about | buy now, 376pp, $17.99