Talk Like A Venetian

Oh, the Biennale! So many people asking you what you saw! So many names you just read on the page, or the label, or the banner, without pronouncing!
I’ll be adding some Venice Biennial names to the official art world pronunciation guide. If you see or hear any good ones, send or tweet them along!
First up, starting at the top:
Curator Bice Curiger
BEE-cheh. Like the restaurant on 54th St. Did you know it’s short for Beatrice? Just imagine Che Guevara taking an interpretive dance class: “Be a tree, Che.” and then leave out the “a tree,” cuz you guys are tight.
Koo-REE-gare, rhymes with Care Bear [via youtube] answers is back answers, where I provide information you thought you’d find on my weblog but didn’t. Until now:
Q: “I am lonely.”
A: Not, technically, a question. Go watch Lost in Translation 20 more times. Sofia really understands you.
Q: “What movies did the Beatles make together?”
A: Yellow Submarine (1968); Magical Mystery Tour (1967); Reflections On Love (1966); “Beatles, The” (1965) TV Series; Help! (1965); Hard Day’s Night, A (1964).
Q: “everyone is making movies”
A: Again, not technically a question. What more proof do you want, besides this entire website?
Q: “tom ford girlfriend pregnant tom ford”
A: Girlfriend, your information is so wrong, I don’t know where to start.

Because You Keep Asking…

Search queries answered this edition:
Q: “The best This American Life
Q: “Buy Carambar online”
Q: “Simpsons conservative fansites”
Q: “David Gallagher Shirtless Pictures”

I give you the 2nd edition of answers, wherein I provide the information you thought you’d find on this site, but didn’t.
Q “The best This American Life ( Googlerank: 3rd of 4 results)
A I did answer that, last April (Conventions, with John Perry Barlow). But my weasely, equivocating prose (“perhaps the best TAL episode in my memory”) is about as slippery as, well, let’s just say “the case still needs to be made.”
Alex Gediman, Tom Jones impersonator, from the music episode, image: thislife.orgStill, “the best” is tricky. The TAL Staff give their favorites, which hasn’t been added to since 11/01, so we’re missing about 15 months of judgment calls.
When TAL won the Univ. of Georgia’s Peabody Award in 1996, the jurors cited three episodes from that year: The cruelty of children, When you talk about music, and From a distance. Ostensibly chosen to show TAL‘s range, these episodes–which include stories of gay teen anguish, a Tom Jones impersonator, and obsession with celebrity–actually reflect the “we’re the center of the universe!” ecstasy that overtook Georgia in 1996, when hometown girl, Ru-Paul, ruled the world.
You could always buy the CD. Lies, Sissies, and Fiascoes: The Best of This American Life has 12 stories on 2 discs. Until Ira Glass starts taking my calls again, that’s the best I can do.
Carambar, image: frenchfeast.comQ “Buy Carambar online”(Googlerank: 2 of 12)
A “Always popular, Carambar is a chewy caramel baton-shaped candy,” the French cash register equivalent of chocolatey Ice Cubes and crack pipes with little roses in them. Sure, Donald Rumsfeld dismisses Carambar as “Old Europe,” but isn’t that what you’d expect the ringleader of the global aspartame conspiracy to say?
Buy Carambar online from the excellent French Feast:
box of 200 (1750g) – $25.00
individual (8g) $0.15
Saint Flanders, Christianity Today - Feb 2001, image: christianitytoday.comQ “Simpsons conservative fansites” (Googlerank: 5th of 9 results)
A Since “Blessed Ned of Springfield” graced the cover of Christianity Today, the story practically wrote itself: Conservatives actually love The Simpsons. Clearly the article’s author, Mark Pinsky, is a fan; he wrote The Gospel According to The Simpsons. But he’s also a reporter for the Orlando Sentinel; are there any non-journalist fans?
Simplistically equating conservative and religious, I found Noah Gradofsky’s The Simpsons Talmud and JVibe’s “Hey man, don’t have a leavened bread!” site for Passover ritual, The Homer Counter.
Of course religious and conservative are not synonyms, unless you’re a godless communist. The #1 conservative Simpsons fan has to be National Review editor-at-large, Jonah Goldberg, who’s May 2000 article, “Homer Never Nods: The Importance of The Simpsons,” sets a thoughtful, hi-larious high bar for contemporary conservative writing. And UVA Professor Paul Cantor’s essay, The Simpsons: Atomistic Politics and the Nuclear Family” in Political Theory, provides the intellectual foundation for conservative Simpsons appreciation. Still, I’d have to count these as professional fans.
Q “David Gallagher Shirtless Pictures” (Googlerank: 106th of 376 results)
A Dude. Do you know who this is? I had to look it up. It’s the kid from 7th Heaven. Cold comfort that he turns 18 in less than two weeks; any shirtless pictures are from when he’s a kid.
I don’t know which is more disturbing, that you were looking for these pics in the first place, that you trawled through eleven increasingly irrelevant screens of Google search results before clicking on my site, or that what probably caught your attention on Google was the phrase, “shirtless Aryans,” (which I used in a discussion of contemporary art’s influence on film to describe the Bruce Weber-y American History X.)
I’ve had enough for now. Two other answers must wait, I’m afraid:
Q “eyeing each inert mien and artificial plan” (hint: it’s a quote from the Herbert Muschamp/Showgirls parody. I’m still looking.)
Q “Matthew Barney Cremaster on DVD” this is by far the most-asked search that goes unfound here at But don’t despair. I’m working on a very interesting answer for this one. Stay tuned.

Surely, Hordes of Showgirls-Googling Architects Can’t Be Wrong?

Queries attempted to answer in this edition:
Q: “Herbert Muschamp” +Showgirls


Welcome to Special Edition of answers, where I provide information you thought you’d find on my weblog but didn’t. Until now:
Q “Herbert Muschamp” +Showgirls
Honestly this had me stumped for most of the day. Then, at the bottom of this NY Post Page Six column (I was reading about my friend’s new publishing job, I swear.), I found a short article about “Just as I Expected, These Plans Suck,” a parody of the NY Times architecture critic’s writings on the WTC.
The opening line: “Striding down the row of design proposals for the WTC site, balefully eyeing each inert mien and artificially enhanced plan, I was reminded of the scene in Showgirls where the choreographer grimly surveys his topless charges.” The original press mention was in the LA Times; also, check out Michael Sorkin’s wickedly telling tabulation of recurring themes and pet architects in Muschamp’s columns. I’m working to get a copy of the actual parody. When I do, I’ll let you know, so stay tuned.
[Frankly, I’ve always seen Muschamp’s looong Times articles as a Fountainhead-size-novel-in-progress, which (if Sorkin’s analysis holds true) is about the madcap theoretical adventures of three architects–Rem, Diller, and Scofidio–as they turn Manhattan into a giant museum/store.]

Beyond +went+to+high+school+with+Ben+Affleck

Queries answered in this edition:
Q: “Why is Agnes Varda called ‘The Grandmother of the Nouvelle Vague‘?”
Q: “Matthew Barney Cremaster screening in Washington”
Q: “Greg’s Western Wear Online”
Q: “How much do producers spend making movies?”
Q: “In which films are the clocks stuck at 4.20?”
Q: “All Quiet on the Western Front symbols”

For a price, the small army of researchers and Jeopardy contestant manque‘s at Google Answers will answer your questions, things you just can’t find with Google the search engine.
In my site logs, I see your queries that bring you here. When what you’re searching for doesn’t immediately appear, sometimes it’s the search engine. but sometime it’s you. I’d certainly hope it’s not me. Along with fresh breath, customer satisfaction is a priority in my life. So I’m introducing answers, the information you thought you’d find on my weblog but didn’t. Until now. Let’s begin:

Q “Why is Agnes Varda called ‘The Grandmother of the Nouvelle Vague‘?”
A Because she tells you to, and you should generally do what great filmmakers tell you to do. From an Indiewire interview: “…because my first feature I made in ’54, five years before the New Wave, and I already had the freedom and the principles that they had. I hadn’t met with the Cahiers du Cinema. I never had any training. I wasn’t a cinebuff like they were. I wasn’t a film critic. So, they called me the Grandmother, because I started it, almost.”
Q “Matthew Barney Cremaster screening in Washington”
A It was Oct.31 and Nov. 1 at the Hirshhorn. You missed it, dude. Try London until Nov. 14, Paris, alongside the exhibit until Jan. 5. [I saw it, though, and all I got was this lousy t-shirt]
Q “Greg’s Western Wear Online”
A Greg’s Western Wear is a Central Florida western wear empire dedicated to “making wester wear shopping fun.”
Q “How much do producers spend making movies?”
A John Lee’s The Producer’s Business Handbook is a very useful reference for new or aspiring producers.
A The guys at Cyan Pictures clearly know how to spend money smartly, and it looks like they spent $42.5K on their nearly completed short film. I’ve spent a little more than half that on my short, Souvenir.
A How much you got?
Q “In which films are the clocks stuck at 4.20?” [from Yahoo UK, winner of the 2002 most proper search engine grammar prize]
A Huh. Uncharacteristically for an obscure topic related to smoking pot, there’s a looooong, excruciatingly detailed discursis about 420 on Phish’s site.
The rumor that the clocks in Pulp Fiction are all set to 4:20 is easily refuted. Only one is, apparently. (According to disinfo, Tarantino took his revenge on these baked rumormongers by killing each of the potsmokers in his next movie, Jackie Brown, at 4:20.
Anyway, disinfo also mentions a 4:20 clock appearance in Ingmar Bergman’s The Magician.
Q All Quiet on the Western Front symbols
A I’ll answer your questions, but I won’t do your homework for you. Watch the movie yourself. I hear there’s a book, too.