Category:scott sforza, wh producer

September 11, 2012

One Song More

Wow, is it that time of Election Year already? When superblogger and apparently self-hating theater queen Andrew [Lloyd] Sullivan posts a WTF Obamafied version of a Les Mis anthem?

This time it's "One Term More" which, Holy Cameron Mackintosh, people. Just go watch it this very instant. Don DeMesquita, ladies and gentlemen.

Because it even has "A Political Parody" right in the subtitle, I'm forced to wonder what, exactly, it's a parody of. And then how do I really know it isn't some kind of super-jiujitsu triangulating GOP countermeasure to psych out musical theater liberals? But no, the fair use disclaimer is so desperate, they must be real.

HOW COULD I HAVE EVER DOUBTED UPDATE: I forgot the couplet, "Emboldened by Star-Spangled myth,
We want a JEDI...NOT a SITH!!!"

Anyway, in 2008, it was "Les Misbarack," UltimateImprov's straight-up lipsynch of "One Day More," set in the Obama National Campaign HQ on election eve.

Which Sullivan introduced on Sept. 12th, at 4:53 AM, with the comment, "Whatever happens, the McCain campaign could never pull this off. Patience, steel... triumph."

To which I will only add, "Malgre tout, la Resistance demeure." Or in this case, "So hat doch, la Resistance gesiegt!"

September 1, 2012

Running Presidential Fence


I'm really trying to get this writing thing done tonight, but I just have to point out that Richard Smith's photo of the Secret Service's six-mile perimeter fence at the RNC in Tampa is awesome. It's like if Christo and Serra were cellmates and Cady Noland was their baton-wielding guard.

Fence Comes Down [narrativemag]


Speaking of Running Fence, there are two historical markers in Marin County commemorating Christo & Jeanne-Claude's 1976 project.


see full size images at the Wikipedia entry for Running Fence. Please.

This anniversary marker is located in the quarter-acre Watson School Historic Park in Bodega. An outdoor vitrine contains an installation photo by the artists onto which was added the following text:

Running Fence
September 10, 1976

On September 11, 2001,
the Board of Supervisors of the
County of Sonoma selected this
site to commemorate the contributions of
Christo and Jeanne-Claude.
Their vision,
dedication and
perserverance made
the Running Fence
possible. This art
project consisted of:
42 months of collaborative efforts with ranch property owner participation, 18 public hearings,
3 sessions at Superior Court, an environmental impact report and the temporary use of the hills, sky, and ocean.
Rising from the Pacific Ocean south of Bodega Bay the 19 foot high 24.5 moile long Running Fence ran west to east,
following the rolling hills of Marin and Sonoma counties to the Colati ridge.
[Format and italics original.]

Watson School Park is currently listed as closed for renovation. It is not known whether the marker is affected.


Meanwhile, in December 1976, the County Landmarks Commission in Sonoma designated Pole #7-33 as Historic Landmark #24, and installed a bronze plaque [above] that reads:

September 10 through September 21, 1976

A majestic work of art, 18 feet high 24-1/2 miles long, which extended east-west, near Freeway 101 at Cotati on private property of 59 ranches following the rolling hills, crossing 14 roads, through the town of Valley Ford, and dropping down into the Pacific Ocean at Bodega Bay. Conceived and financed by Christo, Running Fence was made of 165,000 yards of heavy woven nylon fabric cut into panels 18 feet wide by 68 feet long, hung from a steel cable strung between 2050 steel poles set 62 feet apart. Each pole was embedded 3 feet into the ground and braced laterally with guy wires and earth anchors. The lower edges of the fabric panels were secured to the bottom cable. All parts of the structure were designed for complete removal and novisible evidence of Running Fence remains on the hills of Sonoma and Marin Counties today. This pole #7-33 was erected permanently by Christo at the request of the citizens of Sonoma County to commemorate this historic event.

The County's landmark information lists the site as "containing steel pool [sic] from original art installation."


I believe this is it, next to the post office. Looks like it's presently being used as a flagpole.

Oh, the Bodega bay Heritage Gallery has a photo of the fancier plaque on the other side of the pole. Also, Running Fence was acquired by the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Remembering Running Fence was on view in 2010.

If moving it away from that mural didn't destroy its context, I would definitely replicate that, as is, stanchions, flag and all. Maybe a vinyl wallpaper photomural would work.

August 30, 2012

We Built It.


A photo I've been waiting to see from the RNC in Tampa, unidentified source via brian boucher

factchecking update: you know, I'm gonna go with: this debt clock photo is as true as this one.


Ooh, the party conventions are coming, Sforzian Fashion Week, and the NYTimes' advance team is reporting on the GOP advance team whose once-every-four-years job is to make the Republican candidate for president come across as a man of the people on TV. Here's Jeremy Peters:

The campaign aides are determined to overcome perceptions that Mr. Romney is stiff, aloof and distant. So they have built one of the most intricate set pieces ever designed for a convention -- a $2.5 million Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired theatrical stage. From its dark-wood finish to the brightly glowing high-resolution screens in the rafters that look like skylights, every aspect of the stage has been designed to convey warmth, approachability and openness.
Yes. OK.


This time, Samantha Stark reports in the Times video, the stage is now fronted by open, non-hierarchical stairs reaching down into the crowd. Which, yeah no, ask McCain, Bush, and Dole about that convention convention.


What is actually different is that the 13-screen video wall is now all asymmetrical and casual-like, with all the screens "framed in dark wood to give the feeling of looking into someone's living room."


Why, it's practically a Sforzian frame cluster, a slightly enlarged version of the one the Romneys have on the grand piano at Lake Winni.


If you can see any FLW, please let me know, because all I can see in Edward Linsmier's sexy still and video images is Herbert Bayer's all-encompassing field of vision [above]. Maybe a Bauhaus reference is too heady [or foreign] for Romneyvolken to cop to. Or maybe they're wary of acknowledging the importance of the fundamentally subjective viewing experience they're trying to manipulate.


Except, oh wait, that's the whole point of the show, the event, and the article: letting us know how it'll be just you and me, America, TV-hangin' living room to living room with our bestest, richest friends.


More than hang, though, Linsmier's images of the set's big, test-pattern-y bands of glowing color, stacked against each other like that, with silhouettes of roadies all around, make me want to paint. Crank out a whole $#)%ing frame cluster of to-scale paintings.


Stephen Prina meeting Olafur Eliasson at Liz Deschenes' place, with a cameo by Jeremy Blake.

Rainbow Panorama - Olafur Eliasson

Romney Campaign works feverishly to project relaxed image [nyt]

August 14, 2012

The New Sforzian Aesthetic


This is awesome. Someone flew a banner over a Paul Ryan event in Lakewood, Colorado, carrying a @PaulRyanGosling-esque quote, "Hey Girl, Choose me, lose choice." And though he didn't know what it was, CNBC reporter @EamonJavers tweeted a photo of it.

We're all Scott Sforzas now.

Banner Above Paul Ryan-Led Event: 'Hey Girl, Choose Me, Lose Choice--P. Ryan' [theatlantic via @alexismadrigal]

July 14, 2012

Sforzian Acoustics

One of Karl Rove's objectives for his Sforzian backdrops was "to set up picture so that if the television sound is turned down, that it gets across what it is the President wants."

With this new ad, "Firms," [direct YouTube link, in case you're seeing a freakin' Swedish bike helmet fashion show up there instead, which, #iframewtf?], the Obama campaign has turned Rove's formula on its head.

Sure, the sound-off visuals get the point across just fine: dolly shots of news stories of Romney's outsourcing and, apparently, job-destroying history set into depopulated locales: closed factories, empty conference rooms, and abandoned parking lots--and then headlines about his Cayman Islands accounts are tucked into shots of isolated beaches.

But the only sound is Mitt Romney himself singing "America the Beautiful." Which they've tweaked ever so slightly to match the ambient aural quality of each shot, giving the sense that Romney's singing in each place. Even without the visuals, you get a visceral feel of Romney wandering alone across a desolate America, singing to himself.

As a filmmaker/reader at Talking Points Memo describes the effect,

[P]lacing Romney's voice in the various locations builds the implication in the mind of the listener that Romney is present and witnessing it. It's almost like he's in America's front office, singing into a PA microphone while the building rots. This highlights another feature of sound design: it's a good way of giving people information in such a way that they don't even know how they know it. You see the ad and there's no cognitive speed bump to keep you from concluding that Romney was there in that empty factory, or there in the abandoned conference room, or there sipping Coronas on a beach in Grand Cayman.
Well, I know that's the ad it most resembles, but he probably wouldn't be sipping a Corona. But it's a good point. And I think I may have a new ringtone.


Nice hack. I didn't realize James Bridle made the awesome ALL HAIL SAURON placard at the The Shard laser show; I just thought he spotted it.

Anyway, Phil Gyford thinks placards could become a platform, a way to integrate protest into the fabric of everyday life. It'd be fresher, he argues, and less invisible than bumper stickers or t-shirts.

And as much as I'd love to see Barack Obama get met in the Oval Office by someone wearing a Katharine Hamnett-style STOP THE WAR ON DRUGS or STOP FRACKING t-shirt, I think it only underscores the point that such deployments are still rely on a media to make or preserve their contextual power.

I don't think that's what Gyford's suggesting, though; his placard-a-day proposal is speaking truth to power by everyone speaking truth to neighbors and people on the street.

Of course, imagine placards manage to catch on, and to survive the regulation and censorship that already befall t-shirt wearers and bumper sticker sporters, who've been kicked out of public [and privatized public] spaces and fired from their jobs and blurred out of reality TV shows. They'd get professionalized--in fact, they already are. The "it's not a billboard; it's a hapless guy with a sign!" free speech loophole is the advertising medium of choice for apartment complexes and suit outlets.

Or it used to be. Now it's public performance art and a highly evolved sport. Last year San Diego-based Aarow Advertising held the 1st Annual World Sign Spinning Championships. The company's founders, then 18-yo, say they invented signspinning in 2002 as a way to save themselves from what was "pretty much the worst job in the world," standing on a busy corner holding a sign.

image via noel y.c.

As for the rest of us, how many people would communicate anything different than the message of whatever corporate brand tribe pushes their buttons correctly? Placards would become shopping bags with worse ergonomics.


Which reminds me, I just found this OG Helmut Lang shopping bag in our storage unit. I would totally carry that into every Prada store in town. STOP PATRIZIO BERTELLI.

Placads for everyday life [gyford via dan phiffer's twitter]


The first thing I noticed about George W. Bush's official White House portrait unveiled yesterday was the way he stared off into space. Also in the painting. And the next thing was the painting-in-painting right over his shoulder. It was a western-style painting of men on horseback charging up a hill, and all I remembered about it was that it was Bush's favorite painting, and that's why he had it right next to him in the Oval Office.

Well, Christopher Knight has the almost too good to be true story of the painting, which was originally uncoverd by Jacob Weisberg in 2008. The work was commissioned from Wilhelm Heinrich Detlev Koerner in 1916 by the Saturday Evening Post, and it was apparently used to illustrate several entirely different stories over the years before finally acquiring the religious associations Bush fell in love with it for.

Knight goes into exquisite detail on them, but my favorite caption has to be from the painting's 1917 appearance, "Bandits Move About from Town to Town, Pillaging Whatever They Can Find." Bush said the posse reminded him of the people who served in his administrations, which, well.

[And if you're wondering, yes, having Chinese Paint Mill make one is the obvious thing to do, and hell no, I'm still not going to make a near-lifesized portrait of George W. Bush.]

George W. Bush's unusually frank portrait [latimes, image: Olivier Douliery, MCT via LAT]


Here is Mitt Romney deplaning in Las Vegas, where he met with Gingrich's bank, and where reality [sic] TV personality Donald Trump is hosting a fundraiser for him.

Suffice it to say, Romney is either actually courting the Trump Birther Faction, or his campaign has yet to master the stagecrafting subtleties of Sforzian backdrops. Either way, it's win-win for the wire service photographers. [AP via tpm]


Ooh, that is interesting. By covering themselves in paint, members of Occupy Frankfurt effectively inverted the crowd control technique where police use dye cannons to disperse protesters--and to tag them for easier identification and roundup later. Nice to see that painting's only detained, not dead. I wonder if this kind of painting project happens every May?

Police spraying protesters in Kampala, Uganda, May 10, 2011 [image james akena/reuters via]

Occupy Frankfurt protestor and German riot police photographed by Kai Pfaffenbach for Reuters [via boingboing]
Previously: May 16th: Police Action Painting

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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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Category: scott sforza, wh producer

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