February 2005 Archives

February 28, 2005

Edited For Content

So we finally caught Sideways, twice, on the plane back from Amsterdam. The fat white trash sex scene was edited out, of course, and the PG dubbing was awkward [how can they not say "get you laid"? It's the characters' whole point.] with one exception: they replaced "a**hole" with "Ashcroft" which, at least in the first occurrence, just sounded like Oscar-worthy writing.

Meanwhile, on the other channel, Alfie was so full of humping, naked birds and profanity, it would've been outrageously offensive--if anyone could've been bothered to watch it.

[update: Slate linked to this Thursday WashPost report of the Ashcroft thing. Airline movies run for a month, but presumably, it didn't raise any eyebrows until now.]

In the magazine header, image: newyorker.com
Issue of 2005-03-07
Posted 2004-02-28

COMMENT/ BELIEVER/ Louis Menand on the life and death of Hunter S. Thompson.
ON TOUR/ DR. JUICE/ Ben McGrath attends a Jose Canseco book signing.
AWARDS SEASON/ THE POLLIES/ Adam Green on a proud night for political consultants.
GIZMOS/ TWO PENS/ Tad Friend on recent advances in ink dispensation.
SUMATRA POSTCARD/ OUR MAN IN MEDAN/ Dan Baum meets an American diplomat in post-tsunami Sumatra.

THE POLITICAL SCENE/ Jeffrey Toobin/ Blowing Up the Senate/ Extreme tactics in the fight to confirm judges.
FICTION/ Umberto Eco/ "The Gorge"
THE BACK PAGE/ Paul Rudnick/ "Further Proof That Lincoln Was Gay"

BOOKS/ Adam Gopnik/ Voltaire's Garden/ The philosopher as a campaigner for human rights.
ON TELEVISION/ Nancy Franklin/ Vision Quest/ The mind of the married medium.
THE ART WORLD/ Peter Schjeldahl/ Drawing Lines/ Cy Twombly at the Whitney.
POP MUSIC/ Sasha Frere-Jones/ Ring My Bell/ The expensive pleasures of the ringtone.
THE CURRENT CINEMA/ David Denby/ Devilment/ "Be Cool," "Constantine."

LETTER FROM WASHINGTON/ Richard H. Rovere/ January 8, 1959/ A description of the political maneuverings surrounding a filibuster against civil-rights legislation./ Issue of 1959-01-17

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So while he is taping himself for "his talk show on skates," Tony Danza runs into The Gates and falls flat on his face. I don't know how to unpack this little gem of a story, though:

  • Danza, Schmanza, is that Sony VX2100 alright?
  • Who's got that tape?
  • I'm supposed to believe there were really two paparazzi following Tony Danza around?
  • A "talk show on skates"?

    Tony Danza Crash photo sequence [via Forward Retreat]
    Sony VX2100 Buy a [new] Sony VX2100 at Amazon for $2,349.88 [amazon]
    The Tony Danza Show [why? and why do they still use go.com? go.com]

  • Holy smokes, the IFP awards were a total dogpile on Sideways. I can't remember all my votes, but even though I'm a Payne/Taylor fan, I spread the love around a little bit more.

    Yeah, and on that Oscar, too. We just flew back from Amsterdam, and not just our arms are tired. I was banished from the (TV-equipped) bedroom, so I "watched" the Academy Awards on Gothamist and Defamer [who got the NYT to sponsor their 10-month anniversary party, complete with a gift, um, sac from Fred Durst, you know, the one on Rodeo?]

    20th IFP Independent Spirit Awards Winners

    February 23, 2005

    How Bambi Fought The Viet Cong

    The story of Donnie Dunagan, the child actor who was the voice of Bambi and went on to fight in Vietnam and to lose his most of his savings in the Enron collapse.

    I'm a kottke.org micropatron. Are you?

    [2/23 update: for Jason's sake, I hope having thousands of micropatrons is not the same as having thousands of microbosses: "Eyy, get to work, Kottke, it's 9:30 already! I wanna see some posts!"]

    February 21, 2005

    NFS: Art You Can't Buy

    keith_tyson_puzzle.jpgTangentially related to both preparations for my upcoming talks on the art market in Rotterdam and to The Gates being rather showily not for sale, I've been thinking about art you can't buy or sell.

  • e-flux's Do It! exhibition is full of artworks you create or complete by following the artist's instructions. Sometimes a museum paid the artist to let them keep these originally temporary works, but the museum can't sell them. And you can't buy or sell them. [You CAN buy the handbook-size catalogue, though.]
  • The other night in SoHo, I saw a dealer whose collection I visited way back when. My favorite piece was an edition, a foot-long steel bar by either Walter deMaria or Michael Heizer [anyone know?] which was stamped, "may not be sold for more than $100." Since it'd be "worth" far more today, no one'll sell the thing the only way the artist permits it to be sold. [Of course, all those Earth Art guys were originally trying to subvert the market/gallery system. Yeah, how'd that work out?]
  • We have some prints by Gabriel Orozco that I picked up at agnes b. gallery in Paris way back when. They were free then, the way ephemera and art books are. I've been offered nice money for them, even though they say "ne peut etre vendu" on the bottom. Crazy people.
  • At Frieze art fair last fall, Keith Tyson had a large sculpture at his gallery's booth, which was not for sale. He would only give the piece away to the first person who could decipher the multi-part puzzle that was incorporated within it. [In Le Monde, Tyson says a collector who wanted to buy it said, "no problem, I'll just buy it from the guy who solves it."]

    The Times of London has Tyson's full puzzle [timesonline.co.uk]

  • Shameless plug first: I'm speaking and participating in two panel discussions at Art Rotterdam this week. Thursday at 2000 hours [when is that? someone please tell me.] I'm talking about the effects on art and artists of the art market's global dynamic. That's at Het Wilde Weten, an alternative art space in Rotterdam, where the other panelists include: artists Jeanne van Heeswijk and Joep van Lieshout; Mondriaan Foundation director Gitta Luiten; journalist Marc Spiegler; and Amsterdam gallery owner Maurice van Valen.

    Then on Friday afternoon at 1500 hours, I'm on a panel about private funding of art and museums. The other folks are Peggy Guggenheim Collection's special events officer Claudia Rech; Rainald Schumacher, Director Goetz Sammlung; Kees van Twist, Director Groningermuseum; and
    Frank Lubbers, deputy-director Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven. The moderator is Prof. Dr. Arjo Klamer of Erasmus University.

    In the magazine header, image: newyorker.com
    Issue of 2005-02-28
    Posted 2004-02-21

    COMMENT/ NEWSHOUNDS/ Hendrik Hertzberg on the White House press-corps pets.
    HERE TODAY DEPT/ GATED/ Peter Schjeldahl on what Christo and Jeanne-Claude did to Central Park.
    THE PICTURES/ ONE BILLION/ Daniel Radosh wonders how many people watch the Oscars.
    STRIPES DEPT./ NIGHT AT THE OPERA/ Rebecca Mead at the Met with West Point cadets.
    POSTSCRIPT/ MISS GOULD/ David Remnick remembers the New Yorker grammarian.

    LETTER FROM BASRA/ George Packer/ Testing Ground/ Religion, division, and hope on Election Day.
    SHOUTS & MURMURS/ Ian Frazier/ Here to Tell You
    FICTION/ Aleksandar Hemon/"The Conductor

    A CRITIC AT LARGE/ Tim Holt/ Time Bandits/ What were Einstein and G–del talking about?
    BOOKS/ Francine du Plessix Gray/ Dirty Dancing/ The rise and fall of American striptease.
    THE THEATRE/ Hilton Als/ Performance Anxiety/ Three Off Broadway plays.
    MUSICAL EVENTS/ Alex Ross/ Four Hands/ Piano performances by Radu Lupu and Piotr Anderszewski.
    THE CURRENT CINEMA/ Anthony Lane/ Oral Values/ "Inside Deep Throat."

    A REPORTER AT LARGE/ The Great Foreigner/ by NiccolÚ Tucci/ Recounting an afternoon with Albert Einstein/ Issue of 1947-11-22

    Subscribe to the New Yorker via Amazon

    I just made myself a little batch of "apprentice of nothing" t-shirts, which should be here in about 10 days. I'm taking a couple, and the rest are available--first come, first served--for $20, domestic shipping included. [mon. night update: they're gone.] They're American Apparel superfine jersey, not fitted (L, XL) and come in just one style: white text screened on saffron.

    [limited edition apprentice of nothing t-shirt]

    [update: in the spirit of transparency, I thought it best to lay out the budget and revenue projections for MY saffron-colored project:

    Printer: Customink.com [highly recommended]
    Batch size: 12 shirts
    Total unit cost: $13.75
    Shipping expense: free for standard delivery
    Total cost: $165.00

    Unit sales price: $20
    Gross margin: $6.25
    (less postage) $1.85
    (less envelopes) $0.50
    Unit contribution: $3.85
    Total units available for sale: 10
    Total contribution: $38.50
    (less cost of 2 shirts): $27.50
    Project Operating Profit: $11.00
    (less design expense, $450/hr): $900
    (less managment expense, $$900/hr): $1,800
    Net profit (loss): ($2,689)

    You're welcome.

    To: greg.org
    From: someone using the name of a recognizable artist of Christo's generation
    Date: 2/20/05, 22:06
    Subject: the blog of greg allen!

    Allen, the fastidious analysis of Christo's project you make, the stupid remarks and investigations over his car, his plates, his parties and his private parts [?? -g.o] make you look a moronic paparazzo searching for the Olsen Twins for a cover in "Daily News" or any other tabloid of your choice. Now, you should say that this art is a waste of money, the artists are rich and they should give the money to charity. You really have a lot of free time or either you don't know to write about art, so waste your time in freaky painstaking accounts of other's money and stolen photos. Pathetic, laughable, useless, pointless. Shameful and childish. Get a life and write something interesting, you ridiculous apprentice of nothing.
    And I thought the Claymates were sensitive.

    Just to clarify a couple of points: the Christos' $350,000 Maybach is not part of the $20 million; in fact, it's not even theirs. It's being
    made available to them by their friend--in the Maybach marketing department. Maybach's Leon Hustinx, coincidentally, purchased two C&J-C works related to The Gates, which he has graciously made available to the Daimler Chrysler Art Collection.

    The Christos' do not accept donations or sponsors for their projects, preferring to pay for everything themselves. While the Christos' Maybach 62 is the extra-long version, it was not custom manufactured in any way; it's safe to call it a common Maybach. Maybach, you may be interested to know, is German for "people's car."

    Maybach involved in art project [daimlerchrysler.com]
    Christo's Maybach on flickr with the NJ dealer plate obscured, how thoughtful [flickr.com]

    February 16, 2005

    Converting to The Believer

    I was an initial, albeit paying skeptic, then a non-practicant, then I bought the last issue of The Believer magazine primarily on the promise of its accompanying DVD filled with short films.

    That promise has not yet been filled--I have only watched Mike Mills' Deformer, the unassumingly homoerotic tale of the iconoclastic painter/skateboarding star Ed Templeton and his subject/wife from Huntington Beach, and I couldn't really get started on any others yet--but the interview subjects seem rather interesting. And the latest issue, just out, features long interviews with Todd Solondz and Eve Sussman.

    Then, on the The Believer website, they have this idea for the taking, which I believe has been tried, but not lately:

    Someone should produce a short-film quarterly, published on a DVD. It would include short films by independent filmmakers. Each issue could have a central theme or genreódocumentary, gender issues, cold medicine abuse, etc. A subscription would be cheap and the packaging would be tasteful and recyclable.
    My faith in The Believer may still be weak, but for now, my wallet is willing.

    The Believer Magazine

    No doubt after a euphoric and joyous walk through the park yesterday morning, and a group hug with the world, Daily Show writer Rob Kutner got back to work--making Gates jokes.

    My favorite is above: "Shut UP Jen. I'm totally at The Gates."

    The Gates A Photo Essay By Rob Kutner [supermasterpiece.com]

    February 13, 2005

    The Gates Bill

    Andy Towle captured the Maybach and The Gates, image: towleroad.com

    Don't get me wrong; I'm just as giddy as the next schoolgirl [sic] about The Gates, I just can't see how they cost $20 million. That's what the Christos say they cost, and it's a figure which is dutifully reported in every story, but it's something which I've never seen examined or analyzed.

    Most discussion of The Gates focuses on their populism; this is not just public art, but an artistic experience given to the people. The back seat of a Maybach seems an unlikely spot from which to promote "art for Everyman," [to use Michael Kimmelman's phrase and Andy Towle's picture] but for underlining the noblesse that comes with your self-proclaimed noblesse oblige, it's just about perfect [even if it is borrowed].

    I don't think it's being ungrateful to take a closer look at this $20 million figure. We don't consider it an act of magnanimity when Paramount ponies up $200 million to provide us with the grand collective experience of Titanic. In fact, I believe the Christos' consider the budget to be an important aspect of their work. The artists themselves make a big deal about how much their projects cost, how they don't accept government financing, donations or sponsorships, and how they pay for everything themselves by selling related drawings, models and ephemera.

    They also consider the sometimes decades-long process--materials testing and procurement, engineering studies, bureaucratic navigation and and political negotiations--as intrinsic to their work. Their website is full of factoids on fabric, hardware, topographic studies, and the corporate machinery and machinations that underpin their projects. [To see an example, scan developments for Over The River, a project-in-progress.]

    Using the Christos' own descriptions and published reports of the installation, I priced out The Gates. Let me just say that to get to $20 million requires some rather creative--maybe even artistic--accounting. Whatever else they may accomplish, Christo and Jeanne-Claude may have also created a unique approach to the subjective and often arbitrary exercise of valuing a work of art.

    Art in General's hosting a screening of Tarnation at 3, and Jonathan Caouette will be entertaining your questions while you all drink their wine at around 6.

    Whatever you can get him to do in that mystical hour or so between when the movie ends and the reception begins remains to be seen.

    3-6 PM Tarnation Screening
    Jonathan Caouette interrogations (dress: Basic Instinct)

    Art in General
    79 Walker Street
    East of Broadway somewhere, on the SE corner of some street

    Art in General video program [artingeneral.org]

    February 12, 2005

    Christo Party

    Jason's got his photos of The Gates up, I'm sure the rest of the camera-equipped world will follow.

    Albert Maysles talks on WPS1 about the 25+year-long process of making his film about The Gates, The Gates. Maysles is making this film with collaborator Antonio Ferrera for HBO, but he also made other Christo and Jeanne-Claude films over the years. [Actually, a lot of them at the time were just Christo films. I'll let the gender studies art historians figure that one out. Ask Coosje van Bruggen about it, too.]

    Maysles has switched to DV lately, and revels in being able to be even less obtrusive and more flexible than 16mm used to let them be.

    Kottke-gate [kottke.org]
    Maysles-gate [wps1.org]

    Jason interviewed David Bernal, aka Elsewhere, the popping dancer who recreated Gene Kelly's Singin' in The Rain dance scene for a recent British VW GTi commercial: "...they had us watch the original Singing in the Rain scene so many times that I started unconsciously moving a bit like Gene Kelly. The director at one point even told me that I was moving too much like Gene and I needed to move more like me."

    Golf GTi Commercial and Elsewhere [kottke.org]
    previously: Definition of "to be Jar-Jarred"
    VW commercial shot on the same soundstage as Oliver!
    Musical, Re-animated, with Xanadu references

    February 11, 2005

    Advertisers and Links Of Note

    First, I'd like to welcome and give a passionate cry to new greg.org advertiser Kinsey, an American Experience documentary airing Monday, February 14th on PBS. Psst, even though Kinsey's work is half a century old, don't tell the Secretary of Education.

    Meanwhile, Daddy Types may sound like something Kinsey would've been into, but it's actually a site for new dads. Check that one out, too.

  • Art world news I shouldn't have had to find out for myself: Damien Hirst works were damaged during a paparazzi scuffle at the Imitation of Christ show at Lever House? Naturally, an Olsen twin is involved. David Rimanelli could give a rat's ass in Artforum.

  • Completely unrelated: Curator/fashionista/much-taller-than-an-Olsen twin Thelma Golden was appointed director of The Studio Museum of Harlem, rather righteous. [via artnet]

  • Lynne Cooke has a thoughtful, brainy elegy to Agnes Martin in Artforum. Cooke curated the Dia:Beacon show of Martin's earlier paintings. For what turned out to be her last exhibition--at Pace Wildenstein in 2004--Martin showed works that harkened back to her earliest, formative paintings.

  • jost_vermeer.jpgI can't quite say why, but I had a pretty intense Jon Jost phase when I first moved to New York. I saw his All The Vermeers In New York several times, lured in by the title, but kept there by the film's demanding and precise construction, and its underlying art-vs-money themes. [That said, I don't remember it too well; better add it to the rental queue.]

    Anyway, I'm sure--pretty sure. kind of sure. hoping--that when the Whitney Museum put then-Vivendi/Universal chairman Jean-Marie Messier on its board in the late 1990's, it was NOT it in the hope of adding one more Vermeer to New York City's collection.

    FBI looking at Messier as part of its investigation of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum theft, which netted someone a Vermeer and some Rembrandts [bostonherald.com]
    All The Vermeers In New York[imdb.com, amazon]
    FYI, New York's Vermeers are at the Met [5] and the Frick [3]

    February 10, 2005

    I Dare You

    new_york_doll_still_sm.jpgI admit, a lot of Sundance went by me in a blur. No one I knew I knew was showing anything this year, and I knew non-film work would conspire to keep me out of Park City, so maybe I'm the only person who DIDN'T know about New York Doll. Well, in the last week, I've heard about it from three different people, each of whom called it one of the top films at the festival.

    Greg Whiteley started shooting a documentary about his friend from church, Arthur Kane, when Morissey called [?!] and asked if his old band, the New York Dolls, would reunite and play for the first time in 30 years at the 2004 Meltdown Festival in London.

    Turns out Brother Kane, who may be more familiar to rock fans as Killer Kane, joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in the late 80's, and when Morissey called, he was working in the genealogy library near the LA temple on Santa Monica. Imagining Kane fitting in in the Mormon Church, Blondie drummer Clem Burke said, "It would be like Donny Osmond becoming a New York Doll."

    It also turns out--and this is less of a surprise to music fans--that the New York Dolls were possibly the single greatest influence on glam-rock and punk in the early seventies, and were a key inspiration for everyone from Morissey to Blondie to the Ramones to the Sex Pistols. I'm not giving anything of the film away to point out that the Meltdown reunion--for which Kane dressed, not in feathery glam drag, but in a ruffled shirt inspired by the 19th c. Mormon prophet Joseph Smith, and which featured the three band members who hadn't died of punk-lifestyle-related causes--was a star-filled, exuberant success. Additional tour dates were hastily set, then just days later, Kane died two hours after being diagnosed with leukemia.

    The film includes interviews with the musicians who were inspired by the dolls as well as Kane's bishop, who talked about the joy Kane was deriving from the upcoming reunion. Whiteley showed some of his rough footage at Kane's funeral, then edited like crazy to get the film ready for the Sundance screenings last month.

    As of right now, the film's distribution is not decided.

    Official Sundance info for New York Doll [sundance.org]
    IndieWIRE email interview with director Greg Whiteley [indiewire.com]
    Film details Mormon's final wish: to reunite punk band [reno journal]
    New York Dolls play SENSATIONAL comeback show at Meltdown [nme.com]
    Arthur Kane, Punk Rock Bassist for New York Dolls, dies at 55 [NYT, via mills.edu]

    sony_hdrfx1.jpgIn the NY Times today, David Pogue reviews Sony's new prosumer (i.e., sub-$4,000) 3-chip, high definition camera, the FX1. Net net, it gets pretty high marks. It's got a stunning, true 16:9 CCD, which can shoot HD30 or film's 24 frames per second. One feature I'm eager to see in person is the pre-programmable settings with which you can automate changes in exposure and focus to match the changes in a shot--moving from a bright exterior to a dimly lit interior, for example.

    Eeven so, it's still saddled with one of Sony's persistently annoying dumb-downs--no XLR sound inputs--meant only to protect the far more expensive professional market. They did this with their first 3-chip camera, the VX1000 as well, making people use add-on XLR adaptors until the PD-150 was introduced several years later.

    Anyway, if you think you're ready to shoot HD, the FX1 is for sale at Amazon. I'm probably not supposed to tell you the price, but I will say that if Amazon paid me a 10% commission--which they won't--I'd earn $334 off of each one of you budding, shopping filmmakers.

    Buy the Sony HDRFX1 High Def Camera at Amazon
    Home Video Made To Watch on High Definition TV [NYT]

    February 9, 2005

    Waiting For Halo

    Microsoft has commissioned Alex Garland (28 Days Later, um, The Beach, but we don't talk about that) to write a script for Halo--a v1.0, if you will--which will be offered to producers along with with the game's film rights as a "turnkey" package.

    This is a brilliant, precedent-setting move for a multitude of reasons:

  • As any software veteran knows, v1.0 is always the best.
  • Producers love nothing more than buying a script that's ready to shoot--and for only $1mm!
  • The script could be customized, possibly through the use of a set-up wizard or an animated paperclip [note to self: that guy doesn't have much backstory either; are his rights available?]
  • If some rewrites are needed, Microsoft is really good at being corrected and taking advice.
  • I don't know what they think they know about "buying rights" and "doing deals" up in Seattle, but I'm pretty sure when Hollywood's through with'em, those pencil-protectin' geeks'll be lucky if they still own the IP to the shirts on their backs.
  • Seriously, can you name just one movie based on a video game that sucked? Just one? I didn't think so.

    But seriously, folks, I hope they call it Red vs Blue.

    Halo, Hollywood [variety.com, via TMN]
    Ridley Scott to direct Halo movie? [11/04, ign.com: "because Halo's like Alien, and Halo 2's so much like Aliens"--directed by James Cameron, yo.]
    more games-to-film news at filmforce [ign.com]

  • Artforum's gossip columnist Rhonda Lieberman wasn't on the list for artfully poseurish artworld duo [Yvonne Force-Villareal and Sandra Hamburg] Mother, Inc.'s recent Fendi-sponsored CD listening party, so she traded a blowjob for entry. At least that's how it reads.

    A little context: Mother, Inc. started as backup singers for Fischerspooner. The title quote above comes from the oh-so-vigilant guards watching the sponsor's display case.

    Hot Commodities [artforum scene & herd]

    You know how, for whatever reason, some ideas that once seemed like slam-dunks take so long to come to fruition, they fizzle out and disappear because the country's media parade has already passed by? Garfield: The Movie's a good example. Jeez, my heart goes out to those folks.

    Well, for a moment this morning, I worried that the same fate would surely befall C4's new TV special, "The Guant·namo Guidebook," which tells the true story of seven strangers, picked to live in a [tricked out east London ware]house and have their lives taped, and find out what happens when people stop being polite and start getting REAL. The Real World! tortured the way the US government is doing at Gitmo, using the techniques described in declassified military intelligence documents and first-hand accounts. Did I say torture? Sorry, don't want to overpromise. The producers and documents actually call it "torture lite."

    Then I find out there's a book, too: The Torture Papers, which Michiko Kakutani compares to the greats of the genre:

    Justice Department and Defense Department memos on this subject make for chilling reading, and they transport the reader from the sunlit world of "democracy" and "freedom" and "human rights" frequently invoked by the president to a dark place located somewhere in the nether latitudes between Orwell's Animal Farm the Godfather movies and one of Joseph Heller's or Kurt Vonnegut's black comedies.
    I hear "comedy" and automatically think, "I see Will Ferrell as Bush," but then I realize, I see Bush as Bush. And Gonzalez as Gonzalez. And Rumsfeld as Rumsfeld. All the principals are still in town, available and working together. They may be broken and covered with cigarette burns, but torture has legs. It's now a solid franchise, like Star Trek or James Bond. Far from missing their hook, "The Guant·namo Guidebook" and The Torture Papers are just great, behind-the-scenes bonus features on a Special Collector's Edition DVD. So if you thought Lord of The Rings went on too long, brace yourself. You ain't seen nothin' yet.

    C4 lines up Guant·namo-style torture show [media guardian, reg req, via mediabistro]
    Following a Paper Trail to the Roots of Torture [nyt]
    Buy The Torture Papers at amazon

    February 8, 2005

    Design Observer on La JetÈe

    At Design Observer, Bill Drenttel has a nice rumination on Chris Marker's classic short film, La JetÈe.

    Chris Marker's La JetÈe [designobserver.com]
    La JetÈe is on this DVD collection of shorts

    What is it about bunnies and short films? First, the NY Times has a hi-larious, yet thoughtfully insightful interview with Jennifer Shiman, the creator of 30-Second Bunny Theatre. Then Chris Harding's 50's instructional film-style short for Hallmark features a hutchful of retro bunnies flogging greeting cards.

    Spielbunny [NYT, oh wait, I wrote that. Not that that taints my judgment or anything...]
    Classic films, re-enacted in 30 seconds by bunnies [angryalien.com]
    Make Mine Shoebox corporate video [chrisharding.net]

    February 7, 2005

    Need To Know: Nobody Knows

    Tony Scott gave Hirokazu Kore-eda and his latest film, Nobody Knows, a strong review:

    Nobody Knows is not for the faint of heart, though it has no scenes of overt violence, and barely a tear is shed. It is also strangely thrilling, not only because of the quiet assurance of Mr. Kore-eda's direction, but also because of his alert, humane sense of sympathy. He is neither an optimist nor a sentimentalist - like his previous films, Maborosi, After Life, and Distance, this one presents a fairly bleak view of the modern world - but he does keep an eye out for manifestations of decency, bravery and solidarity. These tend to be small and fleeting, and therefore all the more valuable and worth clinging to when his patient, meticulous eye uncovers them.
    I found Distance--only available as a Region 2 DVD--to be so carefully hands-off as to be almost boring. And what Scott calls "impending doom," Jonathan Marlow, reporting from Rotterdam for GreenCine, calls "relatively predictable." And "unnecessarily long." Maybe it's a good thing Kore-eda's doing a jidai-geki (period drama) next.

    Abandoned Children Stow Away At Home [nyt]
    GreenCine at IFFR [daily.greencine.com]
    Also: Filmbrain's take on the film, an IndieWIRE's interview with Kore-eda, and an IFP article and the film's production notes.
    Previously: Kore-eda on greg.org [I mean, greg.org on Kore-eda]

    In the magazine header, image: newyorker.com
    Issue of 2005-02-14
    Posted 2004-02-07

    COMMENT/ LANDMARKS/ Hendrik Hertzberg on what successful Iraqi elections mean.
    STREET LIFE/ TOO MUCH INFORMATION/ Adam Gopnik on the new rash of signage in the city.
    OFF THE RUNWAY/ LET THEM EAT CAKES/ Rebecca Mead attends a Fashion Week party at the Carlyle Hotel.
    E.U. POSTCARD/ PIGS MUST PLAY/ Anthony Lane on the odd boundaries of Europe.
    THE FINANCIAL PAGE/ THE CUSTOMER IS KING/ James Surowiecki on the power brokers of price wars.

    PERSONAL HISTORY/ Roger Angell/ Andy/ At home with E. B. White.
    SHOUTS & MURMURS/ John Kenney/ Your Table Is Ready
    THE WAYWARD PRESS/ Nicholas Lemann/ Fear and Favor/ The mainstream media under attack.
    PORTFOLIO/ Mystery Man/ Who is Eustace Tilley?
    FICTION/ Charles D'Ambrosio/ "Up North"

    BOOKS/ Joan Acocella/ Becoming the Emperor/ How Marguerite Yourcenar reinvented the past.
    MUSICAL EVENTS/ Alex Ross/ Osmosis/ Osmo V”nsk”, the latest Finnish phenomenon. [Osmo Vanska is the more Googlable, umlaut-less version.]
    THE THEATRE/ John Lahr/ Prisoners of Envy/ Donald Margulies and David Rabe on the not-so-sweet smell of success.
    THE CURRENT CINEMA/ David Denby/ Back in the Bunker/ "Downfall."

    AUDIO Q&A/ Roger Angell talks to David Remnick about his writing and his years covering baseball. From the 2003 New Yorker Festival

    When I saw Amazon's A9 Local yellow pages feature, the first thing I thought of was Ed Ruscha's 1966 artist book, Every Building on The Sunset Strip. It was the first Ruscha book I bought, and it makes me laugh to remember how I thought I paid too much for it way back when (it's easily 10 times as expensive now).

    Anyway, using Mikel Maron's A9 whole-street-grabbing script, I tried all through that weekend to re-create Ruscha's Sunset Strip. The result was a lot of technical annoyance.

    First, starting from a given address, Maron's script grabs an entire street--a damn big proposition in the case of Sunset Blvd. (Technically, The Strip itself is only a fragment, the section from Doheny to Crescent Heights, from Gil's Liquors to the Virgin Megastore.)

    Trying to save the giant series created some odd results: one seemingly random image would intersperse itself all the way along. After trying to edit this one out, the resulting series were suddenly non-continuous. Something odd was happening when I saved the series and then reconstituted it.

    I hadn't yet cropped the image series at the appropriate intersections, so I didn't get to try knitting them together into two long panoramas. Actually, I found the A9 images' redundancy kind of nice; the periodic picture-taking indirectly revealed the (non)movement of the traffic along the Strip.

    Anyway, then I saw Jason pointing to Eric Etheridge's discussion of Every Building, and I think, better to throw this out to the lazyweb and see if someone can tell me how to figure this out, or just do it and make their own selves net-famous.

    In the magazine header, image: newyorker.com
    Issue of 2005-02-07
    Posted 2004-01-31

    COMMENT/ HOMELAND INSECURITY/ William Finnegan on whatís missing at the mammoth government agency.
    DEPT. OF PREDICTION/ THREE TO FIVE/ Ben McGrath on how long it takes to fix a subway line.
    HAPPY RETURNS/ KOONS AT FIFTY/ Calvin Tomkins at a birthday party for the boy king of the art world.
    HOMECOMING DEPT./ FOLLOW THAT CAB/ John Lahr on why ìTaxicab Confessionsî came back to New York.
    POSTSCRIPT/ JOHNNY CARSON/ Nancy Franklin says good night to the late comedian.

    LETTER FROM THE INDIAN OCEAN/ Dan Baum/ Mission to Sumatra/ A Marine landing in a devastated region.
    SHOUTS & MURMURS/ Paul Rudnick/ Prince Harry: The Royal Excerpts
    POSTSCRIPT/ Paul Goldberger/ Philip Johnson
    FICTION/ John Updike/ "The Roads of Home"

    A CRITIC AT LARGE/ Louis Menand/ Gross Points/ Is the blockbuster the end of cinema?
    BOOKS/ Briefly Noted/ Prep, by Curtis Sittenfeld; Voices of Italian America, by Martino Marazzi; Pol Pot, by Philip Short; Maharanis, by Lucy Moore.
    THE ART WORLD/ Peter Schjeldahl/ Rubenessence/ The making of a successful style.
    THE CURRENT CINEMA/ Anthony Lane/ Guilt and Innocents/ "Nobody Knows" and "Turtles Can Fly."
    POP MUSIC/ Sasha Frere-Jones/ New Morning/ Indie rock's reigning poet-prince.

    THE TALK OF THE TOWN/ Social Notes/ Paul Goldberger writes about architect Philip Johnson's return to The Four Seasons restaurant--which he designed--after recovering from heart surgery./ Issue of 1997-10-13
    PROFILES/ Forms Under Light/ Calvin Tomkins/ a profile of architect Philip Johnson/ Issue of 1977-05-23

    February 6, 2005

    Czech Republic, $@#! Yeah!

    North Korea's ambassador in Prague has demanded that Team America World Police be banned from the Czech Republic; it depicts Kim Jong Il consorting with Alec Baldwin, which, he says, would totally NEVER happen.

    Replies Foreign Ministry spokesman Vit Kolar, "We told them it's an unrealistic wish. Obviously, it's absurd to demand that in a democratic country. And anyway, Alec Baldwin is still better than Vin Diesel."

    N. Korea Wants Czech Ban of Team America [guardian]

    February 5, 2005


    No one rips off quicker than window dressers. They take next week's ideas from last week's paper, or they stop by the magazine stand on the way to Home Depot.

    One Monday morning, I passed by Bergdorf's on my way to work just as they were unveiling the new windows. I stopped dead in my tracks as, unbelievably, two artist friends' works were ripped off at once: the backdrops were Stephen Hendee's crystalline architectural forms made of foamcore and black tape, and the designers' names were printed in the perspectival receding typeface of Ricci Albenda's paintings. By no coincidence, both artists had been featured in a cover story in art/text magazine that had hit the stands just days before. I called both artists and their dealers that morning, and the whole shebang was gone by the next day.

    So I'm a little less shocked, shocked, than Todd is to find out Saks Fifth Avenue windows are decorated with "Dan Flavin" fluorescent lights. I'm also sure that Flavin'd be rolling over in his grave, if only the last work he completed before he died wasn't a Christmas light installation in the windows of the then-new Calvin Klein boutique on Madison.

    Flavin on Fifth Avenue [fromthefloor]
    Weird. Why have I written almost the exact phrase three times now? [google: "dan flavin" "calvin klein"]

    February 4, 2005

    Rags To Riches To Jail

    Finally, the business model for the ostensibly-aspiring-to-a- Subway-sized-franchise-empire rice pudding boutique on Spring St, Rice To Riches, is explained in a way even an MBA like me can understand: it was founded with proceeds from a $21 million sports gambling operation and used to launder the ring's money.

    [update: Amy at newyorkology spotted Rice to Riches as a location in Hitch, which may have been the shoot Lockhart Steele saw last May.]

    Rice To Riches (and back to rice, I'm betting) [NYPost via TMN]
    Lockhart Steele, the longtime Eliot Ness of Rice To Riches [google]

    February 4, 2005

    Nerd Fight!

    American Dad sounds like The Family Guy newly converted to Atkins.

    Making lemonade out of an assignment to review Fox's lame-sounding new series, Alessandra Stanley decides to start throwing concussion grenades into the world of animated comedy she apparently knows nothing about, just to watch the nerds scramble out and attack:

  • Is there any crueller insult to a comic than, "It was funnier the first hundred times Leno did it"?
  • About The Simpsons: "in its 16th year and still as fresh and manically witty as ever."
  • American Dad's jokes are dated, unlike the Simpsons' new parody of...The Passion Of The Christ.
  • And the kicker, in case any animaniacs are still lurking on the sidelines, she says of American Dad, "it is to The Simpsons what Japanese anime is to Disney's Fantasia: fashionable, but crude and cheaply drawn in comparison."

    Dad Is a C.I.A. Operative, the Kids Have a Weird Pet [nyt]

  • Blair Erickson writes about his experience working with director Uwe Boll on an early treatment and script for the Tara Reid vehicle [sic] Alone In The Dark.

    Even if it IS the Worst Movie Ever Of The Century Of The Week, it sure has generated a lot of ancillary entertainment opportunities.

    Blair Erickson - Behind the Scenes: Uwe Boll and Uwe Boll's "Alone In the Dark" [somethingawful.com]
    Bad Review Revue: Alone in the Dark, funny funny funny [defectiveyeti.com]

    The exhibition that Choire Sicha curated which inexplicably included me, Regarding Clementine, is closing this evening.

    There's a swanky beer bust [sic] from 6-8, a closing party, to which the less stalker-ish among you are definitely invited.

    Clementine Gallery
    526 W 26th St, Chelsea Arts Bldg, 2nd Floor

    [note: For the more stalkerish, the address is 526 East 26th st, and it starts at midnight.]

    February 3, 2005

    Madrid 11M: The Short Films

    From the English press kit for Madrid 11M: Todos Ibamos en Ese Tren/Madrid M11: We Were All On That Train, a compilation of 27 short films produced by DocusMadrid, a non-profit organization which supports Spanish documentary films:

    On March 11th, 2004, Madrid suffered a chain of terrorist attacks on trains en route to the central station, killing nearly two hundred people and destroying or altering the future of thousands who were affected directly by the tragedy.

    A group of film directors had the intention of going deeper than the usual news coverage and wanted to contribute a plurality of viewpoints, resulting in a collective film in memory of the victims of the M11 attacks, in solidarity with them and their relatives, in repudiation of the violence of terrorism and with the will to defend democratic values and the freedom to coexist.

    Among the points of view told: the account of a blind survivor of the blasts; a family fearing their father is dead, only to spot him later on television helping with rescue efforts; people with birthdays on March 11th; "invisible" victims like the illegal immigrants and the closeted man who lost his lover but couldn't come forward. The synopses for all 27 segments is posted after the jump.

    What's not reproduced: the oddly official-sounding bureaucratese of this originally impromptu project's sponsoring organizations.

    Madrid 11M site, mostly in Spanish

    After all, Eric Steel didn't say he wasn't going to film the jumpers off the Golden Gate Bridge when he applied for a permit to shoot the bridge all day, every day, for a year. According to the federal officials who issued him the permit, he described his project as, variously, "a day in the life" of the bridge or "a powerful and spectacular interaction between the monument and nature."

    Steel captured 19 jumpers on film, plus "hundreds" of unsuccessful attempts, including some that were thwarted by his crew's alerts to authorities. Then he went to interview people affected.

    If Tad Friend's excellent, disturbing 2003 New Yorker piece is to be believed, bridge officials and politicians are rather warily pre-occupied with its reputation as a suicide spot. Which makes their protestations that they were shocked, shocked at the director's "true intentions" ring a little hollow. Friend's article is pretty damning of the bridge's managing board, which adamantly opposes installing suicide-preventing fences.

    When you tire of reading self-righteous condemnations from implicated public figures, there are plenty of snap judgments from utterly uninvolved people on Metafilter.

    Film captures suicides on Golden Gate Bridge; Angry officials say moviemaker misled them [sfgate.com]
    Suicide Documentary Angers Golden Gate Bridge Officials [ktvu.com]
    LETTER FROM CALIFORNIA/ Tad Friend/ Jumpers/ The fatal grandeur of the Golden Gate Bridge/ Issue of 2003-10-13 [newyorker.com]
    The GGB Suicide Documentary [mefi]
    Related: Bureau of Inverse Technology's conceptual(-only) art project, "Suicide Box," which was shown at the Whitney Biennial [bureauit.org]

    February 2, 2005

    Gene Kelly: The Phantom Edit

    Update update: Just extrapolated this new definition from a Defective Yeti post about the horribly horrible X-box-game-turned-movie, Alone in The Dark:

    Jar-Jar: vt. to oh-so-wrongly insert a performer or performance into a (exploitative of children? stultifyingly boring? crassly commercial? help me here) work, either through editing or the use of digital image manipulation and/or computer graphics techniques. [Jar-Jar into]

    alt. To Be Jar-Jarred [Ex.: "And until I hear otherwise, I'm going to assume that Ben Kingsley was digitally Jar-Jarred into this film without his permission."]

    Also, as Wayne Bremser might say: "VW Jar-Jarred a long-since-dead and once-revered Gene Kelly into a soulless euro techno music video disguised as an endearing homage advert."


    In theGuardian, Steven Brook puffs the Gene Kelly VW ad and provides a very little background, like that Kelly's widow had to approve of the ad, as did Turner and EMI, who control the elements of the movie scene. [See, I guess at the heart of my idea of who'd decide this stuff for my dead self is that I don't want only people with commerical interest in the outcome to make the decisions.]

    Anyway, there's an Access Hollywood-level description of the CG process, where they reshot the original scene and masked Kelly's face over the dancer. Irrelevant press packet factoid: the ad was shot on the same Shepperton soundstage as Oliver! [what, it's been mothballed for 40 years just waiting for a worthy freakin' car ad to come along?]

    Also, "an interactive version of the advert will launch in late February. Its content will include a video of the car, footage of the making of the ad, and the song." Interactive? Does that mean we can all take the controls in our own version of Being Gene Kelly? Not bloody likely. "People will be able use the interactive advert to request a test drive of the car."

    Blingin' In The Rain [guardian, via tmn]

    "'We've been given the mandate to compete on a more aggressive level,' says [Paramount Classics co-pres David] Dinerstein, who also helped orchestrate the reported $2 million purchase of Mad Hot Ballroom, a Slamdance documentary widely described as Spellbound meets Strictly Ballroom."

    1) One of the odd, still-annoys-me things was that Strictly Ballroom was vaguely a documentary, too. The early scenes were all "talking-head-and-captions," and then it just disappeared. Weird, edgy, or sloppy, whatever, it got him to Romeo+Juliet.
    2) Every group with more than five adolescent dorks in it should get an agent, or at least look up "life rights" on Google before the cameras descend. Drill teamers, pep clubbers, band members, chess clubbers, debaters, science fair entrants, video gamers, D&D/RPG players, and incessant IM'ers, this means you.

    Strictly Business
    [Village Voice]

    Assuming they don't close down all discussions of art, film, and culture before I get there, I'll be in Rotterdam, participating in a couple of panel discussions around the upcoming Art Rotterdam fair.

    In one debate on Feb. 25, Saskia Bos, director of De Appel in Amsterdam, will moderate as we discuss private and public funding for the arts, particularly for museums. [I'm there to discuss my work at MoMA with the Junior Associates.]

    Also on the panel:
    Claudia Rech, Head of development Guggenheim Collection, Venice, Italy
    Rainald Schumacher, Director Goetz Collection, Munich, Germany
    Kees van Twist, Director Groninger Museum, Groningen, NL
    Frank Lubbers, Vice-Director Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, NL

    The other one is still gelling, but I hope it doesn't involve Islamic fundamentalists. More details soon.

    Art Rotterdam 2005

    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 February 2005, in reverse chronological order

    Older: January 2005

    Newer March 2005

    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
    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