June 2006 Archives

From Hennessy & Papanek's classic 1973 hippie DIY book, Nomadic Furniture comes the "Resource Tower":

It organizes living space in a radically different way. Usually we put bookcases and storage walls all over the room's walls. We suggest [as shown in the lower plan] that getting it all together in the center of the room makes an interesting alternative.
Interesting indeed, especially after reading about the freestanding Aristo Pods, Luxo Pods, and Boho Pods being put into Jade, a new mid-block condo conversion in the Flatiron District.

The project is named after Jade Jagger and promised "Jade Living" [sic] at its finest. As Triple Mint explains the tiny galley kitchens, "These pods are a kind of tacit admission that many people in New York end up living like global nomads." Yeah, except that, back in the day, the nomads didn't buy their plywood pods already made and lacquered in Jade-picked colors; they built them their own damn nomadic selves.

Jade by Jagger [triple mint via curbed, whose commenter made the plywood call]
resource tower image via the exhaustively interesting The Legacy of The Urban Nomads

Wow, can you imagine Ronald Reagan as a bad guy? Here he is in The Killers getting punched by one of his henchmen, played by John Cassavettes. I-- wow.

Ronald Reagan John Cassavetes Duel [youtube via wmfublog via rw]
The Killers [imdb.com]

Amazingly, Hugh Hancock has been making Machinima--movies created inside video games--since 1997. [If by "Machinima," he means capturing playing sessions within user-created levels, core functions of the Doom game engine, then hasn't everybody been making Machinima since 1997? But I quibble.]

What Hancock and his peeps at Strange Company have done is produce BloodSpell, a feature-length machinima film, which they're releasing in 5-7 minute segments every week. There's a production blog [on livejournal, which explains why I never saw it], and now they've published some more expansive Making Of articles as well. Here's Hancock's discussion of the 6-month creation of the animatic:

At this point, we started what was probably the most controversial part of BloodSpell's development, and also the part that is, today, most crucial in ensuring we can meet our schedule - the creation of BloodSpell's animatic.

For the uninitiated, an animatic is a storyboard, scanned in and converted to a video file, with voice laid over the top at approximately the pace of the finished film. It's a handy tool to tell whether or not your film will work for your audience in its finished form.

In our case, our animatic was created by taking screenshots in Neverwinter Nights, based on a rough storyboard (and as you can see in the picture, I'm not kidding about the "rough" part - Ridley Scott I'm not). For each shot, we took either one or several shots of the expected action, then edited them together at about the pace of the film.

It was a mammoth project that rapidly gave us an idea of the scale we would be working at - the first draft of the animatic took from December 2004 to May 2005 to create, with either two or three people working from three to five days a week on it, as we created what essentially was a static version of the whole film.

In hindsight, I don't think BloodSpell would be half the film it is today without the animatic. We went from shooting half a page a day, maximum, to shooting four or five pages of script per day by the end of the animatic's production. It was through the animatic that we managed to find and iron out literally hundreds of problems with our sets and characters, and develop the toolset we use today to film. In addition, from the first draft of the animatic to the final shooting-ready draft, we added nearly 20 minutes of new plot, exposition, character development, and de-confusing.

BloodSpell: From Concept to Finished Scene Part 1 [via boingboing]

In August 2001, video gamers protested the cartoony feel of the new version of Zelda because "it would be nigh impossible to introduce a serious and epic plot and epic characters" into such a "childish environment."

It's not unlike that time, fellow old-school Zelda fan Jordan Barry, replied, when Robert Reed sent a memo to Sherwood Schwartz, expanding on his refusal to appear in episode 116 of The Brady Bunch:

There is a fundamental difference in theatre between:
6.Satire &

They require not only a difference in terms of construction, but also in presentation and, most explicitly, styles of acting. Their dramatis peronsae are noninterchangable. For example, Hamlet, archetypical of the dramatic character, could not be written into Midsummer Night's Dream and still retain his identity. Ophelia could not play a scene with Titania; Richard II could not be found in Twelfth Night. In other words, a character indigenous to one style of the theatre cannot function in any of the other styles. Obviously, the precept holds true for any period. Andy Hardy could not suddenly appear in Citizen Kane, or even closer in style, Andy Hardy could not appear in a Laurel and Hardy film. Andy Hardy is a "comedic" character, Laurel and Hardy are of the purest slapstick. The boundaries are rigid, and within the confines of one theatric piece the style must remain constant.


Teevision falls under exactly the same principle. What the networks in their oversimplification call "sitcoms" actually are quite diverse styles except where bastardized by carless writing or performing. For instance:

The Paul Lynde Show....Farce
Beverly Hillbillies.....Slapstick
I dream of Jeannie....Fantasy

Episode 116, by the way, was titled "The Hair-Brained Scheme." Here's a synopsis:
In the final episode, Bobby's hair tonic turns Greg's hair orange on graduation day. Robert Reed refused to appear in this episode. Oliver speaks the last dialogue of the series. And the word "sex" is used for the only time in the series.
Wow, protesting the last episode? That's really standing up for your Craft. Meanwhile, how'd Zelda turn out?

The Odyssey of Hyrule - Letter of the Month - August 200190- [via tmn]

I saw this on Coudal and thought it looked familiar--I'm as much of a Murch groupie as anyone, really--then I realized I'd posted about it last year on Daddy Types. [You know how it goes, come for the womb mentions, stay for the editing tips.]

Anyway, Walter Murch did an online companion piece to his lecture, "Dense Clarity - Clear Density," complete with sound and video clips, for Transom.org. There's also an essay called "Womb Tone," in which he talks about the in utero development of hearing and the shocking discovery a newborn baby makes upon leaving the womb: silence.

Always fascinating, that guy Murch.

The Transom Review: Walter Murch [transom.org]

William Egglestone
This is just a snapshot. I would not even have considered showing this. If you ware going to post pictures you need to make sure it is of something unusual or with a personal vision. Otherwise you are going to loose the interest of your audience. George Spelvin [Nikon D200, Nikon D70s backup, 17-35 f/2.8, 80-200 f/2.8, 4GB Microdrive (2), Photoshop CS, Epson 2200]
Great Photographers on the Internet [theonlinephotographer via kottke]

Drawing Restraint, the exhibition of Matthew Barney's complete series of works of the same name, opened this week at SFMOMA. It originated last summer at 21C Museum for Contemporary Art in Kanazawa, Japan, which was the occasion for the production of Drawing Restraint 9, Barney's latest film, a collaboration with Bjork.

SFMOMA is the only North American venue for the exhibit, which runs through Sept. 17th. Many of the DR9-related sculptures were presented this spring at Barbara Gladstone in New York, but most of the series hasn't been seen for quite a while, and definitely not all together.

As if that weren't enough, the show features a "Matthew Barney Learning Lounge" for deciphering the artist's work. There's also an audio tour, of course. But along with Acoustiguides and podcast/mp3 versions, SFMOMA has also made the Drawing Restraint audio tour available to visitors via cell phone.

So if you dial 408-794-2844...whaddya know, it works. Here's a little directory to the ten audio segments. To heighten the effect, immerse yourself in a vat of petroleum jelly while you listen.

20# Drawing Restraint intro, 4th fl landing, looking at DR14, created by scaling the walls of the museum, then worked his way under the bridge to draw, suspended.
21# DR1-6 videos, objects, and drawings. discussed by Nancy Spector, also videos of DR10-13
22# Path, Notes on Hypertrophy,, etc., drawings that followed the early studio DR works.
23# DR7, 1993, discussed by Nancy Spector
24# Ambergris, explained by Barney: "the idea that the diet of a whale contains things it can't digest."
dr90_cetacea_barney.jpg25# Holographic Entrypoint, based on a flensing deck of a whaling ship, discussed along with the Ise shrine by Benjamin Weil
26# Occidental Guest cast from a room used in DR9, with film spoilers by Barney.
27# Occidental Restraint, 1,600 gallons of molded-then-collapsed petroleum jelly, discussed by Nancy Spector, then Barney talking about the connections between whale oil, petroleum, and the cast plastic.
28# Cetacea [left], part of the Field Emblem, discussed by Benjamin Weil.
29# DR8, glass tables containing delicate drawings: "Look closely at those drawings. Quite a few are erotic in nature."

See exhibition details and download options for Drawing Restraint, which runs through Sept. 17 at SFMOMA [sfmoma.org, thanks to jason]
Ping Magazine covered the 21C Museum and has pictures of the Barney exhibition there. [pingmag]

Q. The Times could set a much needed precedent by creating a culture-news blog that profits from the eyes of an editor, rather than the current norm in blogdom, which is for semi-informed scribblers to post unedited ramblings, and often to claim bragging rights for scooping the dailies. An online column devoted to culture would bring the authority of the Times newsroom to the increasingly fast pace of the Internet. Such a feature could-- [&c. &c. and I relish the opportunity &c. &c. demonstrate my expertise &c. &c.make a meaningful contribution to your firm. &c. &c. Some examples of my work are can be found here. &c. &c. ] -Jason Edward Kaufman
If you'd like to pitch a job or story idea to NY Times culture editor Sam Sifton, send him an email at Talk to the Newsroom.

And you can ask him any questions you have about culture coverage in the paper [hey, self-informed scribbler Theresa Duncan got one!], too. The answer will be, "Um, we're already doing that like a junebug on a frying pan," but still, it's fun to ask.

June 22, 2006

Same As It Ever Was


Interesting. The Gutter does a quick handicap of the "winners" and "losers" in the new Frank Sciame-redesign of the WTC Memorial.

There's one overlooked/surprise winner: Santiago Calatrava, who, the gutter points out, got the Snohetta Freedom Center-turned-Information Center removed from the northeast corner of the Memorial Quadrant, where it had previously interfered with his own soaring crown roast of a train station. [Of course, that must've been a pretty short meeting, since Sciame is also working for Calatrava.]

The "winner" to no one's surprise at all, though, is the Port Authority. Another feature I haven't seen discussed is in the drawing above: something labeled "Memorial Plaza." That just happens to be the title of one of the six original rebuilding concepts the Port Authority commissioned from Beyer Blinder Belle way back in July 2002. It was the outcry against those six concepts, titled "Memorial [choose one: Plaza, Square, Triangle, Garden, Park, Promenade]." The original concepts and program can be seen here. Memorial Plaza is below. Look familiar?


Ouroussoff today lamented the lack of progress and vision in the WTC site rebuilding and in the Memorial design process both. But maybe we've been looking at this wrong from the start. If you're Port Authority, this whole thing looks to be moving along exactly as planned.

WTC Memorial 2.0: And the Winner Is... [gutter]
"Today the LMDC released its six concepts..." [greg.org, 7/16/02]
Six Plans for WTC Site Unveiled (7/16/02) [newyork.construction.com]

June 22, 2006

Strange As It Ever Was

"You may tell yourself: 'He's got some crazy dance moves.' And you may ask yourself: 'Toni Basil co-directed this?!'"
- Joe Tangari re Talking Heads 1981 video for "Once in a Lifetime," directed by Toni Basil and David Byrne.

YouTube, via Pitchfork staff's list 100 Awesome Music Videos (on YouTube)]

Fellow dadblogger sweetjuniper just posted the 18-minute version of Calder's Circus on YouTube. It was made in 1961 by Carlos Vilardebo, and it's been shown widely around the world--and in the lobby of the Whitney Museum--ever since. Since the Circus's actual figures are now too fragile to leave the Whitney, the film usually serves as a proxy, providing a window into this crucial, early body of Calder's work.

Calder's fascination with movement and working with wire led him first to create wire sculpture 'portraits,' and later informed his creation of mobiles. But the popularity of le Cirque Calder in 1920's and 1930's Paris helped Calder form relationships with artists like Miro and Mondrian who were themselves extremely influential on Calder's work.

Live performances lasted up to two hours and included twenty or more acts and an intermission. [The Calder Foundation's website rather irrelevantly points out that Circus performances predate so-called "performance art" by several decades. The work is important enough not to try to stretch it so far beyond its obvious theatrical and puppet show precedents.]

A note about distribution-uber-alles, the Vilardebo film is at least the second filmed version of the Calder Circus. In 1953, the pioneering science filmmaker Jean Painlevé made Cirque de Calder, which exists in both 40- and 60-minute versions. But it's Vilardebo's later film--and the shorter version of it--which has gained the biggest audience.

If anyone know more about Painlevé's version, or about the story behind the making of Vilardebo's film--which, after all, was shot much later, when the artist is an older man, and when the Circus had grown too large to be transported in a trunk back and forth between New York and Paris--please drop me a line.

MoMA curator James Sweeney's exhibition catalogue essay on Calder from 1951 gives an excellent explanation of the Circus in the context of Calder's career.]

A quote from Morton Feldman, reprinted in Alex Ross's excellent piece on the modernist composer:

My teacher Stefan Wolpe was a Marxist and he felt my music was too esoteric at the time. And he had his studio on a proletarian street, on Fourteenth Street and Sixth Avenue. . . . He was on the second floor and we were looking out the window, and he said, “What about the man on the street?” At that moment . . . Jackson Pollock was crossing the street. The crazy artist of my generation was crossing the street at that moment.
I came to Feldman's music through his association with John Cage; several Cage concert series over the last few years have included Feldman's work as well. But Ross's write up of "Rothko Chapel" makes me wish I lived near a 24-hour classical music CD store so I could listen to it right now.

AMERICAN SUBLIME Morton Feldman’s mysterious musical landscapes. [newyorker.com]
Morton Feldman: "Rothko Chapel; Why Patterns?" on New Albion [amazon.com]

June 13, 2006


I'm skipping Art Basel this year--got a trip to Iceland and all--with the result that I hear my foreigner neighbors watching TV all day across the courtyard. They may not be able to comply with a "reserved parking" sign, but they can sure cheer the hell out of a soccer game.

Anyway, I'm sad to be missing this art critic match-up tomorrow, which should be exciting, even if it ends 0-0. I know the concept of seeking out poor people--or critics, same thing--at Basel seems counter-intuitive, but take a chance on this one:

"Artworld Evolution, or Future Babylon?" A freeform conversation with art journalist Marc Spiegler and critic Jerry Saltz of the Village Voice.
Between a booming market, rapid internationalization and radical expansion, the artworld's border lines have become ever more ambiguous. But with collectors and artists curating shows, fairs functioning like biennials, gallery spaces playing kunsthalle, critics not criticizing, and auction houses hyping young stars, all the old roles and assumptions have gone wobbly. So, who will shape the future of art-making and who will shape the future of the art-market? And is there a difference between the two? Q&A follows.
Hmm, is the NYT liveblogging this?

June 14: Art Lobby, near the cafeteria in the Art Unlimited Hall, 17.30-19.00

June 11, 2006

Polygamist Slang, &c.

The Primer was compiled by the Utah State Attorney General as a resource for state agency personnel who deal with polygamist groups and individuals. It details the known polygamist groups in and around Utah and Arizona and provides background on the particulars of their beliefs, culture, practices, and terminology.

Most of my family's been Mormon for generations, and I have polygamist ancestors along many branches of my family tree, but in the modern Mormon culture, polygamy has been treated almost entirely as a long-past historical oddity. People who practice it today are not considered to have any relationship or relevance at all to the LDS Church, even though they often see things otherwise. And even though their culture and beliefs are almost always a derivative of mainstream Mormonism.

The result is, I have never heard or seen any of this stuff--except for one word, "polyg"--even if some of the religious terminology is familar, it usually means something different [and it's different between and even within contemporary polygamist communities.

Anyway, here is some polygamy-related slang:

  • Bleeding the Beast: An expression used by some fundamentalists as a rationale for accepting assistance (i.e., financial grants, WIC, TANF, food stamps, housing, medical assistance, etc.) from governmental agencies that may otherwise not be trusted. Occasionally, the same term may be used to justify abuse or exploitation of such systems. Within certain groups it is taught that “bleeding the beast” will assist God in destroying the “evil” U.S. government and is considered a righteous endeavor.
  • Creekers: Members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (FLDS) who live in Colorado City, AZ, and Hildale, UT are often called “Creekers.” The nickname “Creekers” began when this area was called Short Creek.
  • “Keep Sweet”: An admonition to be compliant and pleasant despite the circumstances.
  • Plyg (or Polyg): A highly offensive and demeaning term for those who practice polygamy. Care providers should be aware that this term is never acceptable and would hinder efforts to provide help.
  • Poofers: A slang term for girls who suddenly disappear from their community in order to take part in an arranged marriage. The girls are either kept hidden or moved to another state or country. This is most often used by the FLDS Church.
  • Second Ward or 2nd Warder: A derogatory slang term for families who left Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Arizona in the 1980’s to start their own community in Centennial Park. However, members of the Centennial Park community do not like this term because it suggests an association between the two groups. Members of the FLDS church in Hildale/Colorado City are also called “First-Warders.” [congregations in the mainstream LDS church are also called 'wards,' btw. -g.o]

    The Primer — Helping Victims of Domestic Violence and Child Abuse in Polygamous Communities [pdf, attorneygeneral.utah.gov via deseret news]

  • To watch McQueen and the other cars motor along the film's highways and byways without running into or over a single creature is to realize that, in his cheerful way, Mr. Lasseter has done Mr. Cameron [director of The Terminator] one better: instead of blowing the living world into smithereens, these machines have just gassed it with carbon monoxide.
    - from Manohla Dargis' NYT review of Matrix 4: Cars

    It just takes one or two photos to remind you that long before there was a Scott Sforza, the British monarchy was using elaborately staged pomp and ceremony to bedazzle its subjects and keep them line.

    On another note, whether you're a believer in karmic justice or just simply confounded by the crazytalk coming out of Prince Philip's piehole over the years, it's good to remember what he does all day. [via wmmna]

    carbon_copies.jpgFor the writer for whom a $20 Faber Blackwing pencil is just not stressful enough may I suggest Carbon Copies, "pencils made from the carbon produced during cremation. A lifetime supply of pencils can be made from one body of ash.

    "The sharpenings create a secondary ash and displace the pencils as they are used, transforming the pencil case over time, into an urn."

    Of course, having your notebooks bound in your dearly departed's skin simultaneously decreases the pencil supply by several years and increases the pressure to write Importantly.

    Carbon Copies, by Nadine Jarvis, exhibited at the 2006 Goldsmith College BA Design & Eco Design show in London [nadinejarvis.com via treehugger]

    brancusi-nortonsimon.jpegNickyskye on Metafilter:

    Joseph wrote me love letters in which he couched his sexual interest in metaphors. I was told he used the image of a bird for penis and nest for vagina. His letters were full of birds and nests.
    Just when you think there are no stones left to unturn in one woman's firsthand account of being used--as a child, by her mother--to procure art from the pedophilic Joseph Cornell, there's one more eye-popping anecdote. She took her only remaining Cornell to the art dealer, Richard Feigen, to sell, in order to finance a trip to India:
    Mr. Feigen said that he too had been in India, to meet with the Maharaja of Indore who owned several sculptures by Brancusi, including the elegantly simple, bronze one called Bird in Space. The Indian government would not allow the Maharaja to export this valuable piece of art, so Mr. Feigen took a risk and decided to package the sculpture as a brass lampstand so it could exit India, which it did. He said that it was his first major art deal and that the sculpture sold for one million dollars.
    The perfectly symmetrical irony, of course, is that Brancusi's Bird In Space was the subject of a famous court case when it was first exhibited in the US in 1926. Customs agents, not believing the work was art, had attempted to charge import duty on the machined metal object.

    In 2004, The Art Newspaper wrote about the Maharajah's Bird In Space:

    What happened to the Maharajah of Indore's Brancusi birds?

    In 1973 the Tate wanted to buy Brancusi's black marble "Bird in space" through dealer Richard Feigen. The sale fell through because the trustees believed the work had been "smuggled" out of India.

    Seems like the trustees were right. The National Gallery of Australia had no such qualms, because it bought two of the Maharajah's three versions of Bird In Space, even though "the original limestone bases had been destroyed in India." Brancusi, of course, considered the bases as integral to the works themselves.

    That brass lampstand, by the way, ended up at the Norton Simon Museum, a 1972 purchase.

    Flights of Fancy: Joseph Cornell and his muses [metafilter via tmn]

    What kind of tool do you use for value engineering a half billion dollars out of your terrorist attack memorial project? Well, if you're Kevin Rampe, you use a Sciame. [rimshot]

    The way Miss Representation sees it, Frank Sciame's busy doing a "leave no trace" rub-out on the key components of Michael Arad's original WTC memorial design. Naturally, the details, the process, and any sense of public accountability were the first casualties. But alas, it's a familiar tale:

    In reality, it is exactly what it looks like: the latest in a series of putative decision makers, people accustomed to conniving and obstruction to get their way when not in charge and who then morph into tinpot dictators when they are (because, like, they are so much more talented the those other pretenders) but fail miserably because everyone else is being as obstructionist and conniving as they can be, in hopes that they are given a shot to be the biggest idiot in the room.
    Meet Frank Sciame, architect of the WTC Memorial. [missrepresentation.com via curbed]


    Wow, if there was any doubt about where the contemporary art market is going, they were dispelled this morning at Christie's Baghdad, where the US Government paid a record-setting $286 billion--plus $240 for framing--for this portrait of the dead Jordanian terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. [Note: Sale price also does not include KBR's premium of 17.5% on the first $200 billion and 10% thereafter or the 2,485 US soldiers killed as of press time.]

    Congratulations, even though it's gotta suck a little bit; the Administration had been offered the portrait multiple times in 2002 at much lower cost [estimated in the low eight figures], but turned it down. Of course, at the time, the market was more intrested in Al Qaeda portraits, and Zarqawi was not connected to Al Qaeda. [thanks to matt for the pic]


    It's funny, I've never really found the worlds of art and flickr to have that much overlap. Just look at the number of photos posted after the Maker Faire 2006 [4,055] compared to those posted after, say, Art Basel [295].

    But it turns out some artists have a fairly deep presence on flickr--and by some artists, I mean Olafur Eliasson. There are over 600 photos referencing Olafur in either the tags or the text. [At Tropolism, Olafur posse member Chad posted about a particularly sweet photoset [above] from republish.org, which was taken at an opening last week in Berlin at Galery Aedes.]

    [An aside on the one-name thing: people drop single last names all the time in the art world, "Oh, I have some Gursky, some Richter, Demand..." But there are a few artists who get the first-name treatment--Maurizio, Olafur, and Felix come to mind--and it's funny how different the implications of intimacy make it sound. Whether it's actually there or not, there's a hint of friendship/confidance, like saying 'Marty' instead of 'Scorsese' or babbling about Bob at Sundance. This can obviously be both good and embarassingly tacky.]


    Anyway, it makes a certain sense that Olafur's work turns up as frequently as it does. First, it's pretty sexy, and it looks hard to take a bad picture of it. Second, the elements of spectacle he explores make people want to take pictures of it. But most importantly, I think, is the self-conscious experiential nature of the work itself: it is art about the experience of perceiving and seeing, not just art, but everything. And that's the sweet confluence with flickr, a site where people who pay attention to seeing--and photographing--the world as they experience it meet and mingle.

    mcleod_carey_lighthouse.jpgTaken even further, you could look at how Eliasson's own taxonomy/typology/experiential photography resonates with the tag-friendly world of flickr, as if flickr-ites' collective efforts are generating their own Eliasson-style photogrids of Icelandic landscapes, or waterfalls or geodesic domes. I love this one, for example, "F--- Off, Olafur Eliasson," [left] with the caption, "I was taking snaps of Icelandic Lighthouses long before that twat," which both hits and totally misses the point. [There are tools now for creating photogrids from flickr images, pal, so have at it.]

    Olafur himself seems to be adapting his work to account for this collective/collaborative element, and not just by making less photographic work [although that does seem to be the case, which bugs, because I still want me some, and it's getting harder and more expensive to come by]. At least three times, including in the 2004 The cubic structural evolution project , [on flickr here, of course] and his work in the 2005 Tirana Biennial, the artist put hundreds of pounds of white Lego blocks into the hands of the audience, who built utopian fantasy cityscapes with them.

    With flickr, then, it's Olafur Eliasson's world; we just live in it. And vice versa.

    Olafur Eliasson: Mediating Space - A Laboratory runs through July 20 at Aedes am Pfefferberg, Christinenstr.18/19, 10119 Berlin.

    Deborah Scranton got embedded reporter credentials, but her documentary, The War Tapes was largely shot by US soldiers in Iraq using camera equipment she provided. She did much of her directing remotely via IM and email reviews of Quicktime dailies. Here's 's a portion of 's discussion of a typical scene, where the troops guard a convoy of supplies being operated by Halliburton subsidiary KBR. The scene provides an indelible insight into the day-to-day situation the troops face, and the complexities that underlie every passing mention in the news about "IED's" and "convoys":

    KBR sells the swag to the government (meals, haircuts, styrofoam plates for $20+ bucks a pop) and to the troops. There's a great scene of soldiers packed into KBR's amply stocked commissary after a hard day of escorting. They're there to buy DVDs, Pringles, Becks beer, and soft drinks from KBR. Suddenly, you realize that every copy of "Armageddon" and every bottle of Mountain Dew was trucked in through the same hellish corridor as the cheese.

    "The War Tapes" doesn't tell us how the war is going, or speculate about the probability of success. Instead, it shows us how much blood and treasure is spent to deliver a single convoy of cheese to an American camp just a few miles outside of Baghdad. The implication is clear but unspoken: The Americans don't control the main roads around key bases. The fight to keep Camp Anaconda supplied is a war unto itself.

    Citizen soldiers, citizen media: The War Tapes [majikthise via robotwisdom]
    Two of the soldiers, Sgts Jack Bazzi and Stephen Pink, were on Fresh Air last Thursday [whyy.org]


    Now I like me some Japanese animation, and it's been a central element to the AYUAM [As Yet Unannounced Animated Musical} screenplay I've got kicking around. But when I first approached a couple of anime studios was shocked--but not, alas, surprised--at their kind of hidebound, orthodox view of the medium. There was not much interest, it seemed, in hybridization or redeployment of an anime aesthetic or even production process that didn't "fit" [I hate to use that word in this context] within the anime worldview.

    Maybe as a gaijin, even one who spoke Japanese, it was already a fait accompli that I was a consumer at best.

    So it's interesting to read about the experience of Gez Fry, a Japanese/British illustrator who, the legend goes, taught himself to draw in Japanese manga/anime style in "just" two years. Obviously, there's more to that miraculous achievement than comes out in the hagiographic interviews in Ping Mag and Pixelsurgeon.

    But the essentials are all there: the guy's very talented, and he didn't come up within the rigid, apprentice-y Japanese animation/illustration industry. AND, relatedly, he's viewed as something of an outsider who tends to work with companies and clients from outside the anime world, too.

    GezFry.com [gezfry.com]
    How Japanese style Illustration works [pingmag via coudal]
    Gez Fry interview [pixelsurgeon.com]

    On WETA, the DC public radio station, Sunday night, Mary Tripp, the reporter for a program called Out and About, interviewed some of the musicians who performed in Robert Altman's upcoming Prairie Home Companion.

    The band members are used to live performance and to studio recording, so their perspective is at once professional and distinct. And given the subject of the film, it's a relevant and interesting window Altman's work process and life on his set. Garrison Keillor actively bugs, but the rest of the cast--and Altman and PT Anderson--are enough for me to overcome my PHC antipathy and be stoked about the film.

    And even though they also wrongly bullied Rex over his Prairie Ho Companion t-shirts.

    You can listen to the June 4 episode of Out and About for at least this week at weta.org [weta.org]

    Has anyone ever asked Richard Linklater about the role A-Ha played in the development of Waking Life and Scanner Darkly. Just wonderin'

    A-Ha: Take On Me [youtube]

    update: I mean, I never thought I was very original to begin with, but still... And anyway, this is closer to Waking Life stylistically.

    So maybe the better question is, has anyone ever asked the Beastie Boys about the role of A-Ha in the development of "Shadrach"?

    Like many people who join cults, my route to Kieslowski fandom and membership in the Church of the Dekalog looks a little goofy in retrospect. I was clearly seduced by the romanticism of La Double Vie de Veronique, not just within the movie itself, though there's plenty there--but by the whole cinema-going experience:

    I'd stayed an extra day on a sudden, unexpected business trip to Paris, moving from my work hotel to a dumpy 2-star, the St. Andre, in St. Germain. La Double Vie, it turned out, was screening in a little theater on the corner, and so I went that night, blind [so to speak.] Of course, I got more from the first, Polish half of the film, because I could read the French subtitles, while the second half blew by me. I had to wait a year or more for the US release to find out why Veronique was talking to that kitschy puppeteer.

    But by then, I was hooked, and I joined the ranks of people who waited for Kieslowski's true masterpiece, the largely unseen, 10-hour Dekalog to turn up at some festival or college cinematheque or wherever. Comprised of 10 1-hour-or-so episodes, it's an easier moviewatching experience in some ways than the several-marathons-length films of Bela Tarr or Jacques Rivette, but it still meant reordering a couple of days' schedules around the screenings.

    Up until the back-to-back screening of The Cremaster Cycle at the Guggenheim, the longest films I'd watched were Sidney Lumet's classic Long Day's Journey Into Night, which I finally saw through twice after catching parts of it all week as I was running the projection booth at BYU. And that was only three hours [bah]...

    ...and Jacques Rivette's 1991 La Belle Noiseuse, which clocked in at four hours. Of course, a good portion of that four hours involved the nude artist's modelling talents of Emmanuelle Béart, so not as much watchchecking as the runtime might lead you to expect.

    Anyway, this is all by way of setup for a link to Dennis Lim's report of seeing the even more mythical Rivette film, the original 12.5-hr version of Out 1: Noli Me Tangere, which has only screened a handful of times since its 1971 debut. [the 4.5-hr cut, titled Out 1: Spectre, gets a little more play.] Save the date(s), because it's coming to the AMMI's Rivette retrospective in November.

    An Elusive All-Day Film and the Bug-Eyed Few Who Have Seen It [nyt]

    "D.C. at Low Risk of Attack, Federal Agency Says"
    - headline on the front page of today's print edition of the Washington Post, an article about why cutting DHS funds to DC and NYC by 40% is just fine.

    I already added X3 to the pile of sequel-sequels that I won't see [lessee, there's Matrix 3, Star Wars 3, Godfather 3, Police Academy 3...], but that doesn't mean I don't love reading the reviews.

    Take Walter Chaw's review, for example, at Film Freak Central: "...an example of what can happen when a homophobic, misogynistic, misanthropic moron wildly overcompensates...

    ...It's Michael Bay's Schindler's List..."

    X-Men: The Last Stand review by Walter Chaw [filmfreakcentral.net via goldenfiddle]

    there are still some bugs to be squashed, but in the mean time, please let me know if anything looks wildly out of whack...


    oh yeah, where are all the pictures?? brb

    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 June 2006, in reverse chronological order

    Older: May 2006

    Newer July 2006

    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