March 2005 Archives

March 30, 2005

The Pop Culture of 9/11

The Daily Show; Wag The Dog; Antonia Bird's film, The Hamburg Cell; William Basinski's albums, The Disintegration Loops I-IV; Iyer and Ladd's In What Language?, and more, all mapped against the relevant chapters of The 9/11 Commission Report.

At Pitchfork, Chris Dahlen has assembled a thoughtful, sometimes laughable, sometimes cringe-inducing list of pop cultural works where September 11th has figured prominently.

The Pop Culture of 9/11 [, via fimoculous]
previously: the 2004 launch of Iyer and Ladd's song cycle, In What Language?

...they appear uninvited, grab you by the throat, flood your senses and then shoot away in a microsecond, leaving few traces. Mr. Lelyveld explores some intriguing themes: How much do we really remember? Why do we forget? What would happen if we found documentary records or witnesses who could fill in missing pieces of our imagined family narrative? What hidden catastrophes would fly out?
from William Doyle's review of Omaha Blues: A Memory Loop, by Joseph Lelyveld A Journalist Investigates Memory, Family and Race []

They're Nos 1 & 2 on my list of "People I never imagined would live in New Jersey, ever." And yet, they do.

[via Liz Hoggard's interview with Bjork: "We miss you in London! Do you miss us? Hmm? Cuz we sure miss you." in the Observer (UK)]

Related: Bjork released a 2-disc DVD version of Medulla, with more acapella than ever and a making of documentary by Spike Jonze. It's only available in the rest of the world outside the US, the UK and Iceland. Wait, is that a trick question? Where else is there?

In the magazine header, image:
Issue of 2005-04-04
Posted 2005-03-28

COMMENT/ MATTERS OF LIFE/ Hendrik Hertzberg on the Terri Schiavo dilemma.
DEPT. OF TRANSPORTATION/ THE JOY OF TRAFFIC/ Nick Paumgarten joins a bumper-to-bumper race into town.
DEPT. OF ENTOMOLOGY/ NIGHT VISITORS/Mark Singer on an outbreak of bedbugs.
MOSCOW POSTCARD/ A NIGHT AT THE OPERA/ Masha Lipman on the latest from the notorious librettist Vladimir Sorokin.

MEDICAL DISPATCH/ Atul Gawande/ Piecework/ How doctors make their money.
SHOUTS & MURMURS/ Henry Alford/ My Exes: The Set Lists
FICTION/ Donald Antrim/ "Solace"

THE THEATRE/ Hilton Als/ Glass Houses/ A delicate reimagining of Tennessee Williams's classic.BOOKS/ Adam Gopnik/ Dining Out/ The food critic at table.
BOOKS/ Joyce Carol Oates/ Unforgettable/ A new thriller from an unheralded master of suspense.
DANCING/ Joan Acocella/ Class Act/ Matthew Bourne does Harold Pinter.
THE ART WORLD/ Peter Schjeldahl/ Young Fun/ Basquiat's best work.
THE CURRENT CINEMA/ David Denby/ Two Women/ "Look at Me" and "The Upside of Anger."

A REPORTER AT LARGE/ Jack Alexander/ A Day with LaGuardia/ A profile of New York City mayor Fiorello LaGuardia/ Issue of 1937-10-16

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Will Ferrell's last line in the trailer for Bewitched is, "How did this happen??!"

I was wondering the same thing when I found out the movie's not a remake of the TV series, it's about making a remake of the TV series.

Halfway through the trailer, you think you're watching When Harry Met Sam, and you are; Nora Ephron wrote the script. Actually, I think Meryl Streep is to blame somehow; she's played both Ephron (in Heartburn) AND Susan Orlean.

My nose is itching on this one, even with Steve Carell as Uncle Arthur.

Watch the Bewitched trailer if you dare, or just puzzle over the imdb entry.
[update: Thanks Travis, who pulled out the direct URL for the trailer, since Moviefone screws with Firefox.]

The artist is planning to speak about his work, including his awesome The Weather Project at the Tate Modern in 2003. What he needs to explain is who talked him into posing for that photo in Choire's NYT Guide.

Whoa. I had a looong post about the designs for the Flight 93 memorial competition for the site in Shanksville, PA, but I think I'll spare you. For a few reasons:

  • Lowered expectations. Since the WTC site debacles (or, if you're a Port Authority politico or a hack developer, roaring successes), any idealism or greater hopes that I held out for memorials have dissipated.
  • The designs themselves. Again, the WTC memorial competition shows that 1) 90+% of the entries are artifacts of their designers' own remembering and reworking process, little mini-memorials-of-one; 2) Land Art, refracted through the emotional/experiential prism of Maya Lin, remains the de facto official language of memorials, and this is even more apparent in the rural setting of the Flight 93 memorial; 3) individualism-uber-alles, as the 40 passengers and crew are remembered with 40 identical somethings [although one design, which recreates the plane's rows of seats, does divide them into coach and first class]; and 4) in a fit of information design-as-architecture, many designers simply reacted to the competition brief, accepting its arbitrary data as Important--the plane's angle of impact, the map's circular boundary around the debris/remains field--and translating them directly into the program.
  • Problematics of the Flight 93 story itself. In a Bizarro universe somewhere, the rapidly canonized "Let's roll" narrative of American heroes sacrificing themselves and successfully thwarting the terrorists' plans has already unraveled as a series of investigations and revelations showed that the plane was shot down on Dick Cheney's chain-of-command-ignoring orders. Of course, that'd never happen in this universe... [Yet there IS one design that unintentionally (?) hints at this of-course-there's-no-conspiracy. It's title: "40 Grassy Knolls."]

  • My own unacceptable idea is better. Sort of. I would build a runway for Flight 93. It would be an authentic and realistic landing strip, not metaphorical, as some competition entrants labeled their memorial paths. Mine would follow the rolling topography, though, so in addition to coming several years too late, it'd be unusable. Still, it'd evoke the thoughts that dance briefly across everyone's minds, "Could this have been averted? What if we could turn back time?"

    But then I realized that all three of my Sept. 11th memorial ideas--the one I submitted for the WTC site and the ersatz ideas I conjured for the Pentagon and Shanksville--arise from the same sentiment, a self-consciously futile nostalgia. And I don't know quite what that means.

    See the five finalists and all 1,059 entries at the Flight 93 Memorial Project site.

  • Is at the end of David Edelstein's all-too-kind Slate review of Miss Congeniality 2.

    Sandra Bullock rocked on The Daily Show, but not so hard that she can trick me into seeing a movie Manohla compares to a lagoon at a hog farm.

    I have to confess [or maybe I don't; just take a look back over the last couple weeks' posts], I've barely had a film-related thought or activity in far too long.

    It's to the point where I'm actually afraid to visit, where I'll be forced to acknowledge how much cinema is going on around me that I'm disconnected from.

    Then I read an intervew like Brad Bird's at ReadyMade, and it really charges my batteries.

    Brad Bird, How did you get that f*&%ing awesome job? [, via scrubbles]
    previously: Mike Mills, How did you get your f*&%ing awesome job?

    March 24, 2005

    Torqued Eclipse*

    "Ms. Luce gave the design team at Nissan a steel wall to hide works in progress."

    And then Mr Serra gave Ms. Luce and the design team at Nissan a good legal shellacking.

    Architecture and Carchitecture
    * I KNOW, it's Mitsubishi. Come up with a good hed using a Nissan model, and I'll change it.]

    Just because it was wrested from his control and altered beyond all recognition by the real powers-that-be in the redevelopment of the WTC site doesn't mean it's not a good idea.

    Daniel Libeskind has repurposed his ascending-spiral-in-the-skyline and atriums-in-the-sky motifs from his never-to-be-realized WTC master plan and adapted it for a 21-story condo development overlooking the Ohio River in Cincinnati.

    In addition to my overuse of hyphenated phrases, this reminds me of the Empire State Building's own mini-me, aka the RJ Reynolds headquarters in Winston-Salem, NC. Of course, that one was built first. [And by the same architects, btw, Shreve, Lamb & Harmon.]

    Riverside tower could make splash [, via archinect]

    [update: an eagle-eyed reader points out that Cincinnati has it's own ESB mini-me, the SL&H-designed Carey Tower. Word on the architectural history street is SL&H repurposed its Carey Tower drawings for the ESB. Cincinnati is a great world capital, just shrunk down to 1/3-scale.

    After all, there's that 300-foot Eiffel Tower at King's Island, too. Which, frankly, has always been enough for me; I've never felt the need to visit the real Eiffel Tower because I went to King's Island as a kid. When I was roughly 1/3 my present height.]

    In the magazine header, image:
    Issue of 2005-03-28
    Posted 2005-03-21


    UNTRUSTWORTHY/ Hendrik Hertzberg on the what the Social Security fund
    / SOFTBALL/ Ben McGrath attends the congressional
    hearings on steroids in baseball.
    STREETCAR UPDATE/ Lillian Ross on a Tennessee Williams
    / POPSTROLOGICALLY SPEAKING/ Nick Paumgarten tries out
    the newest personality indicators.
    / LOCAL ZEROES/ James Surowiecki on the rash of
    home-town boys gone bad.

    / Larry Doyle/ Disengagements
    / Ken Auletta/ THE NEW PITCH/ Do ads still work?
    David Gates/ "A Secret Station"

    John Updike/ Incommensurability/ A new biography of Kierkegaard.
    / John Lahr/ March Madness/ Monty Python takes on Broadway.
    Louis Menand/ Something About Kathy/ Ishiguro's quasi-science-fiction
    / Alex Ross/ Kafka Sings / Two new operas: Ruders's "Kafka's
    Trial," Adamo's "Lysistrata."
    / Anthony Lane/ Ghosts/ "The Ring Two" and "Oldboy."

    John McNulty/ The Sizzle/ A profile of the slogan-maker Elmer Wheeler/
    Issue of 1938-04-16

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    What about Nolan's Memento? Fellow Frenchman Gaspar NoÈ's controversial IrrÈversible? The UK Observer's Phillip French conjures a half-baked history of movie storytelling in flashback in order to create some context for his review of Francois Ozon's half-baked 5 x 2.

    I've remained a faithful fan of Ozon's work, which can be unsettling and brilliant at best. But after Sitcom, 8 Women Water Drops on Burning Rocks [granted, from Fassbinder's play] and now, apparently, 5 x 2, I'm giving up on expecting any significant, much less realistic, subtle, or nuanced treatment of human emotions, families, and relationships. Ozon's becoming the creepier version of the tired cliche of French auteurism.

    Flashback to the future

    For some reason, I can't get my idea for the memorial at the World Trade Center out of my head. I'll read about the intensifying folly that's engulfing redevelopment plans for the site; the dilution of the "winning" memorial design; the inexorable contortions the site plans undergo to meet the Port Authority's political and commercial objectives--those invisibly sacrosanct elements of the rebuilding process which were never open to question, as if what the terrorists really hated was our 10 million square foot program--and I see the people who were killed going missing all over again. And I feel a quixotic [or is it sisyphean?] obligation to do something about it.


    From my friends Michael Elmgreen & Ingar Dragset comes a show, er, a work that could be titled, Untitled (Hah, made you look!). Right before they left town--and after the opening of their installation at the Bohen Foundation--the artists installed a piece at The Wrong Gallery, Maurizio Cattelan, Mass Gioni, and Ali Subotnick's foot-deep-gallery-in-a-doorway, next to Andrew Kreps.

    They dressed a Mini with all the paraphrenalia of a long trip abandoned--maps, lotion, crumbs and change on the floor--and a sleeping baby in the backseat. The car's been collecting parking tickets all week; I guess the show will end whenever DOT decides to tow it.

    Or else... It just occurred to me that there's a women's prison on the corner. Maybe the baby mama is in there doing some firm--if not hard--time.

    Elmgreen & Dragset at the Bohen Foundation

    [update: Someone apparently called 911 on the baby in the car, because NYPD come to investigate this afternoon.]


    Fed up with Hollywood's penchant for gut-grabbing, narrative logic-defying, lazy writer-emanating twist endings, David Edelstein asked readers for their nominations for the "most-idiotic-twist endings" in the movies.

    After all, he says, "For every The Sixth Sense, there is a correspondingówell, The Village." [Actually, the accounts of the sheer suckitude of The Village almost make me want to see it. Flight paths? Who knew? Oops, besides you, now.]

    And what would a column about surprise endings be without a surprise ending of its own, hilariously provided by Slate reader Charles Monagan: Oh, um, SPOILER ALERT !!!!

    "The Passion of the Christ
    He's not really dead!"
    Twist and Shout

    "Customers who bought this DVD also bought:

  • DVDs from The 21 Jump Street Series.
  • Full House - The Complete First Season DVD (Rate it)
  • DVDs from The Home Improvement Series.
  • Who's the Boss? - The Complete First Season DVD ~ Tony Danza (Rate it)"

    Meanwhile Kottke's not impressed: "Doogie Howser, M.D. Season One, quite possibly the most worthless DVD release ever" [For some reason, though, I can't picture Steven Bochco and David E. Kelly as Long Tail.]

  • "And with art, there are always boobs, liberated by liquor, out where they shouldn't be, pointing around at paintings they don't understand and could never afford."
    -The NY Observer's Rebecca Dana reporting from the opening of art dealer Jack Tilton's new East 76th Street gallery.

    Bottle Racket [Don't scroll down so fast you miss:
    -Some adman praising his own scripts for Dasani commercials, written "intending Wes Anderson to direct" [Coke spends $2bn/yr on ads, so of course, they got him, duh]--why do I find the idea of Wes directing Anderson-esque commercials written by Coke's agency laughably sad?
    -George Gurley accosting Catherine Deneuve in print and in the, um, flesh.]

    March 16, 2005

    Ad Love: Fun With Google

    With thanks to advertiser Doogie on DVD, a nod to NTK and Robot Wisdom who have the funnest with Google, and Neil Patrick Harris, who spends part of his "lost years" at my gym.

    March 16, 2005

    How To Draw My Attention

    I finally saw John Walter's entertaining and transfixing 2002 documentary, How To Draw A Bunny tonight on Sundance Channel. Walter--an editor-turned-director--collages together the incredible story of the artist's artist Ray Johnson, whose life, art, and elaborately contrived 1995 suicide in Sag Harbor were inextricably connected. It's that rarest of things--a good documentary about an artist.

    [Since then, Walter's done another doc, Some Assembly Required, which also aired on Sundance, about protestors at the Republican Convention. Unfortunately, when it aired around the holidays, its target audience was in a tense stupor about visiting their Republican families.]

    Almost as impressive and a definite surprise: Sundance Channel's awesome on-air identity system. For their program intros and bumpers, they anchor each show on an animated photo timeline that scrolls left across the screen. It's like a stylized Final Cut Pro sequence, or a storyboard; it rocks on both brand and context-setting fronts. Screencap and credits, anyone?

    Watch How Draw A Bunny four more times this month [3/19, 3/30] on Sundance, then either buy it on DVD, or rent it at GreenCine.
    FilmForum's HTDAB page, with good reviews and links

    "{Dimension Films exec Andrew] Rona is only too delighted to play the heavy and play it to the Mephistophelean hilt. In fact, when the studio doesn't get its way in the selection of a director, he signals that he will make that director's life a living hell."

    Sounds like a nice plot for a reality series.

    Since Project Greenlight started burning $1 million/film on the corner-cutting ghetto end of the Hollywood production system, fifty, a hundred, actually good films were made for even less money. One of these days, Greenlight should show someone spending the money smartly. Even though it'd mean less air time for Chris Moore.

    Making It, and Taking It on the Chin from a Studio Bigwig [nyt]
    Project Greelight site []

    [update: the timing and content of this post and the appearance of an ad for Reality Green Light's contest to find a winning reality series idea is pure coincidence. Obviously, if I'd known about the contest this morning, I wouldn'ta gone and blabbed my kick-ass idea, yo. Damn.]

    March 15, 2005

    Damien Who?

    From the Times:

    But, at first, the thought of painting in this Photo Realist manner intimidated him. When he began in earnest about three and a half years ago, he realized why.

    "I started out airbrushing," he said. "But the images looked flat, dead. For two years I didn't think it was going to work." Finally, he said, he disciplined himself to represent each image faithfully by hand.

    Still, he doesn't consider himself a serious painter. "I would feel uncomfortable putting myself in a category with other painters like Goya or Bacon," he said. "I'm more interested in the images than the painting."

    From Linda Yablonsky on
    Though many guests made the connection, Hirst may have thought he was avoiding comparisons to Jeff Koons by ordering hired hands to paint each piece in this chilling body of work rather badly. (One assistant was reportedly fired for painting too well.)
    But I hope he didn't think he was avoiding comparisons to another Damien who makes paintings "in photo-realist style from pictures in magazines and print ads": Damien Loeb.

    But my favorite quote from Yablonsky captures a whole swath of the art world's, "I'm here, so it must be important" sense of audacious self-consciousness, without a hint of self-awareness:

    At these prices [up to $2mm] it's difficult to understand how paintings that are not going to get any better with time can continue to acquire value. Though truth be elusive, let's just say that that is exactly Hirst's point: to empty art of meaning. In a market where money is so disposable, how can art transcend mere currency to become more than just a brand? If this is indeed Hirst's message, then he has issued a galling challenge to every other living artist. It will be interesting to see who takes it up.
    Or not. Because it's not like anyone's ever paid more than $2 million for a painting before, or even for a Hirst.

    As some smart aleck said in the NY Times, "Just because you've spent a lot of time and money on something doesn't mean it's very good."
    Taste for the Macabre but No Pickled Sharks [nyt]
    High and Dry, Linda Yablonsky []

    So let it be written, so let it be done.

    Many of the thousands of Ten Commandments statues gracing public parks, courthouses and city halls around the country--including the one whose constitutionality is being considered by the Supreme Court--were placed by Cecil B. DeMille and the Fraternal Order of Eagles as a promotion for the film. Charlton Heston, Yul Brynner, and Martha Scott attended many of the monument unveilings.

    Many Commandments monuments started out as movie promotion [dallas morning news, via mefi]

    The lingering after-effects of tragic loss are figuring into American feature films now. Some films are specifically--if obliquely--related to the September 11th attacks, but others can be attributed to a post-9/11 heightened sensitivity to the nuances of experiencing a loved one's death.

    Makes sense to me; I set my first short, Souvenir November 2001 in this aftermath, after the active, self-conscious mourning is past. People say that the hardest time is actually several months after the funeral of someone close, because people have usually stopped actively checking on you, and the reality of that person's absence really starts to sink in.
    9/11 Is Sneaking Onto a Screen Near You [nyt]

    In the magazine header, image:
    Issue of 2005-03-21
    Posted 2004-03-14

    COMMENT/ BOLTONISM/ Samantha Power on President Bushís next Ambassador to the United Nations.
    STATES' RITES/ YOU SAY TOMATO/ Ben McGrath on pride and produce in the Garden State.
    HERE TO THERE DEPT./ STITCHES/ Lauren Collins takes a ride on the Yarn Bus.
    DECISIONS DEPT./ CHECK, PLEASE!/ Rebecca Mead on naming your price at Babu, in the Village.
    U.K. POSTCARD/ WINDSORS IN TIGHTS/ Anthony Lane on a ballet about the people's Princess.

    FICTION/ William Trevor/ "Men of Ireland"
    LETTER FROM WASHINGTON/ Jeffrey Goldberg/ THE UNBRANDING/ Can the Democrats make themselves look tough?


    POP MUSIC/ Sasha Frere-Jones/ True Grime/ A genre's magic moment.
    BOOKS/ Joan Acocella/ The End of the World/ Interpreting the Plague.
    THE ART WORLD/ Peter Schjeldahl/ Looking Back/ Diane Arbus at the Met.
    THE THEATRE/ John Lahr/ Solos and Solitaries/ Telling it like it was and wasn't.
    THE CURRENT CINEMA/ David Denby/ Double Trouble/ Woody Allen's "Melinda and Melinda."

    PROFILE Michael Korda/ The King of the Deal/ A profile of legendary Hollywood agent Irving (Swifty) Lazar/ Issue of 1993-03-29
    Q&A/ Hollywood's Hustlers/ Tad Friend talks with Ben Greenman about his profile of Dave Wirtschafter, president of William Morris Agency, and the evolving nature of agents./ Issue of 2005-03-21
    Subscribe to the New Yorker via Amazon

    March 12, 2005

    Movie Theatre Rwanda

    The awesome Haitian director Raoul Peck's new HBO film about the Rwandan genocide, Sometimes in April, was the first film shot in Rwanda, and so he promised to debut it there as well.

    Writer Melanie Thernstrom writes about attending the packed, tense screening, which was held in a giant stadium in Kigali.

    A View To A Killing Field
    Sometime in April premiers on HBO Mar. 19 []
    Related: Thernstrom's book, Halfway Heaven, about the violent deaths of two immigrant students at Harvard, and an article about Adrian Nicole LeBlanc's 2003 epic novel-like reporting in Random Family: Love, Drugs, Trouble, and Coming of Age in the Bronx [nymag]

    So you mean this whole "HBS rejects applicants who 'hacked' into admissions site" hubbub is about people seeing what happens if they truncate the URL for their account?

    I guess they've got a brand image to protect as the home of the utterly and irrationally technology-ignorant executive of tomorrow. IT people--hell, people who know how to change their default browser settings--everywhere are shaking their heads.

    Business schools redefine hacking to "stuff that a 7-year-old could do" [phil greenspun]

    March 10, 2005

    Nice, Minnesota

    Several years ago, at the opening dinner of a sculptor friend's debut 2-person show, I found myself playing the oh-so-sophisticated New York collector at a giant round table in a Chinese restaurant for a mix of folks, including the other artist's parents.

    I offhandedly pronounced Minneapolis to be the most Canadian of American cities: not just because of the freakin' weather, but because of public radio. First, there's Garrison Keillor, and besides, everyone--including every immigrant taxi driver I met--listened to public radio.

    Well, the other artist's mother said, we're from Minneapolis. Apparently, calling a Minnesotan Canadian is almost as bad as calling a Quebecker Canadian, except the Minnesotans are too nice to say anything; they just keep it all inside. And of course, they're so hardy, they didn't need a jacket for the chill that blew over the table. My recovery attempt--"I meant Canadian in a good way. As It Happens is one of my favorite CBC shows!"--was unwelcome, and the table split into two conversational crescents for the rest of the night.

    Anyway, I was reminded of this this morning when Rex pointed out that "Live in Canada" is one of Minneapolissers Minneapolitans' most popular goals. [of course, since in the two days since he posted it, it's dropped from #11 to #18, so they must still be very self-conscious about it.]

    [update: and they're quick to correct. I didn't really think it was Minneapolisser, but I figured--rightly--that someone'd clue me in real fast. Thanks, Jason.]

    March 9, 2005

    This Explains A Lot

    AND at The National Gallery? I'd love to hear how it's installed in Ando's (probably) more sympathetic building.

    Huh. They call The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth "The Modern".

    The BFI's National Film Theatre is running a complete Tarkovsky retrospective through March 30. It includes new prints of both Solaris and Stalker. And who can pass up seeing Andrei Rublev on the big screen? [I know everyone in NYC passed up seeing it on video; I bought an utterly unused copy, fresh from the newly dead, on ebay a few years back.]

    NFT: Andrei Tarkovsky [, via kultureflash]

    March 8, 2005

    Ed Halter has a interesting take on how two Iraq documentaries may rehabilitate the image of the much-criticized embedding process as a means for creating accurate historical documents of the war. [Of course, that that's not at all how it worked out with the TV news embeds is also just fine with the Pentagon.]

    Gunner Palace's making-of experience is better known now, although Tucker has been rather specific in saying he and his crew were not officially embedded with the military unit they covered.

    Ian Olds' and Garrett Scott's crew for Occupation: Dreamland, however, was embedded with a unit in Fallujah; it was just slacker oversight because of the timing and the distance from Baghdad's bureaucracy. Anyway, two Dreamland-related quotes jump out at me:

    the film slogs through time alongside them, in resolute vÈritÈ scenes of you-are-there surrealism.


    "When we looked at what we shot," Olds recalls, "we realized that it looked like anything from the news, if you just took one moment at a time. So making the documentary was really this process of creating a context. Because the images we had were essentially the same images, but they played out longer, so you were given the context, and you knew the people involved. And all of a sudden, it seems like something that you've never seen."

    Over There: Documentarians bring the real war back home [vv]
    Occupation: Dreamland screens next week at SXSW []

    In the magazine header, image:
    Issue of 2005-03-14
    Posted 2004-03-07

    COMMENT/ NUKE íEM/ Hendrik Hertzberg on the sharp double edge of the Senate filibuster.
    DEPT. OF CALCULATION/ CRED/ Ben McGrath on a group of undercover homeless decoys.
    DEPT. OF AMPLIFICATION/ REPRIEVE/ Jeffrey Toobin follows up with a death-row inmate.
    TAXONOMY/ MONKEY BIDNESS/ Mark Singer on the naming of a new primate species.
    THE FINANCIAL PAGE/ NET WORTH/ James Surowiecki on the struggle between management and talent.

    FICTION/ Anne Enright/ "Della"
    ANNALS OF INNOVATION/ Chandler Burr/ The Scent of the Nile/ A master perfumer goes into the lab.
    BACKSTAGE NOTES/ John Seabrook/ Hands and Eyes/ Where Dolce stops and Gabbana begins.

    THE BACK PAGE/ Paul Rudnick/ "Royal Wedding Day Schedule for H.M. Queen Elizabeth"

    BOOKS/ Adam Kirsch/ Smashed/ The pulp poetry of Charles Bukowski.
    BOOKS/ John Updike/ Mixed Messages/ "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close."
    ON TELEVISION/ Nancy Franklin/ Model Citizens/ Tyra Banks lines up the future of fashion.
    THE THEATRE/ John Lahr/ Scoundrel Time/ Trials and tribulations on Broadway and Off.
    THE CURRENT CINEMA/ Anthony Lane/ Beginnings/ "Head On."

    PROFILE/ Hippolyta, aka Janet Flanner/ Perfume and Politics/ A profile of perfumer FranÁois Coty./ Issue of 1930-05-03

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    Poss. alt. title: reads the NYT to you.

  • The Short Film, an Art Deserving a Longer Life [nyt]: After watching the Oscar nominees, Margo Jefferson finds short films to be highly concentrated joys. Even the worst short is better than a film, she says, because it'll be over sooner. [Related? Or the exception that proves the rule?: Amazon is hosting a short film competition in association with Tribeca Film Festival. To win, your <7 min. short film must be rated highest by random Amazon surfer/shoppers. Good luck with that.]
  • Is a Cinema Studies Degree the New M.B.A.? [nyt]: English majors don't teach English, either. Is this ascendance of media literacy substantively different from the classic ideal of a liberal education? For the corollary, though, I think people entering something as economically irrational as moviemaking should take business classes. Of course, an MBA would think that.
  • The Making of Gunner Palace: Maybe basic training is the new MBA? I've been stoked waiting for Gunner Palace since Tucker first emailed about it last summer. Congratulations and good luck. [via kottke]
  • Editing god Walter Murch explores the power and meaning of sound on Murch never stops to amaze and inspire me. Clear, insightful, and never condescending in his explanations of his work. [previously: Murch on] [via Lawrence Wechsler at Design Observer]
  • Enough About 'Gates' as Art; Let's Talk About That Price Tag [nyt]: By all means. The MBA in me wants to get back into the "Apprentice of Nothing" T-shirt business. [previously: The Gates Bill; on the Christos' Maybach]

  • it's already too late, they're not. If only the movie were as well done as Mahnola Dargis's review.

    added bonus:, HTML hand-coded, just for you: ",em>This film is rated PG-13"

    Manohla Dargis's review of Be Cool [nyt]

    March 4, 2005

    On Demand

    The other night Thomas Demand offhandedly described some of the insane details of the production of Clearing, the massive photograph of a forest which is now built into The Modern at MoMA. The photograph was laminated onto two sheets of architectural safety glass that were so large, they had to use satellite-curing ovens at ESA, the European Space Agency--at night--to fabricate it. When the request for the work, Thomas said, "no one quite knew what they were getting."

    [On an irrelevant note, the lifesize set for Clearing happened to be in Demand's studio during a MoMA Jr Associates visit I set up. It was so stunning, the trustees quickly added the studio to their Berlin itinerary, and curator Kynaston McShine suggested the Modern acquire the work. And I still can't get a reservation.]

    I mention this--obviously I mention the studio story for self-aggrandizement, but remember the tagline of this site, yo--because not quite knowing what you're getting seems like one of the underlying currents of Demand's work.

    Walking through the show, I tried to recall the portentous actual setting that was obscured behind each photograph's generic title: Kitchen was Saddam's, Archive was Riefenstahl's, etc., but I kept remembering them wrong, which made me load all kinds of historical baggage onto each image; turns out only some of the bags actually matched. Barn was Pollock's, not Kaczynski's; the cluttered desk was L. Ron Hubbard's, not Bill Gates'. The Bauhaus-style stairway was from Demand's middle school, but it turns out even he remembered it wrong.

    Thomas Demand opens today at MoMA
    Michael Kimmelman calls it "hypnotic" [nyt]
    No one goes to The Modern; it's too crowded

    Rex's mention of Interpol's new video reminded me of the short film contest they threw last year for the release of their album, Antic. Winners got $1000 to make an Interpol-inspired film, not a music video. In fact, it didn't have to have music at all. They even used the phrase "think outside the box." [By which they meant, they explained, that "Black is not the only color."]

    Seven of the ten winners are on Interpol's site
    . For some reason, I thought it'd be nice if someone besides a Matador intern saw the concept I submitted.

    I took the idea from the blog post where I read about the contest, which just happened to include headlines about Moby making a Joy Division movie and an ex-boy band member getting busted for soliciting a prostitute. Enjoy.

    Unrelated Story by Gregory Allen
    Cruising the city late at night on his moped, a down-on-his luck former boyband member gets arrested for soliciting sex from an undercover police officer.

    The film is shot in voyeuristic paparazzi- and COPS-style documentary video, and only Interpol lyrics are used for the spoken dialogue.

    March 3, 2005

    I'm Your Puppet

    evil_interpol_puppet.jpgInterpol's video for "Evil" from their recent album "Antic" was directed by the artist/CG animator Charlie White. It features an Interpol-ish puppet--"pale, thin, with dark hair and a boyish-man quality"--that looks like White's trademark alien/troll figures in human drag. has some press junket-level technical details of the making of.
    Interpol's 'Evil' Is More Like 'Creepy' [, via fimoculous]
    Previously: on Interpol

    Since it was opened, the polished stainless steel roof on Frank Gehry's Disney Concert Hall in LA has been throwing off so much glare, people are getting baked alive in the neighboring condominiums. And on the street, fuggedaboutit. They're frying eggs and dog's brains on the sidewalk.

    The result: the County Board of Supervisors has ordered a bunch of workers with hand sanders to climb up there and dull the thing down a bit. Meanwhile, some tourist from New Jersey, 3,000 miles away, thinks they should leave it alone.

    Disney Concert Hall to lose some luster [LAT, via BoingBoing]

    Related: Frank Lloyd Wright's Ennis-Brown house was "red-tagged," meaning no one can enter it, after a inspectors noticed a rainsoaking-related shift in a retaining wall. [LAT, via archinect]

    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

    about this archive

    Posts from March 2005, in reverse chronological order

    Older: February 2005

    Newer April 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