Friday, September 27, 2002
This excerpt from the new book of conversations between Michael Ondaatje and Walter Murch shows why this is one of my favorite kinds of books -- artists talking articulately about how they create
It's a stage in the process I call "editing with eyes half closed." You can't open your eyes completely, which is to say, you can't express your opinion unreservedly. You don't know enough yet. And you're only the editor. You have to give everything the benefit of the doubt. On the other hand, you can't be completely without opinion, otherwise nothing would ever get done. Putting a film together is all about having opinions: this not that, now not later, in or out. But exactly what the balance should be between neutrality and opinion is a very tricky question. The point is, if you squash this down, then you push the whole curve of the film down, whereas it might have righted itself by its own mysterious means. If you try to correct the film while putting it together, you end up chasing your own tail. . .
Actually, when you stop to think about it, it is amazing that film editing works at all. One moment we're at the top of Mauna Kea and -- cut! -- the next we're at the bottom of the Marianas trench. The instantaneous transition of the cut is nothing like what we experience as normal life, which seems to be one continuous shot from the moment we wake until we close our eyes at night. It wouldn't have been surprising if film editing had been tried and then abandoned when it was found to induce a kind of seasickness. But it doesn't: We happily endure, in fact even enjoy, these sudden transitions for which nothing in our evolutionary history seems to have prepared us.
11:49 PM - [Link] - Comments ()
Jason Little has published the last installment of the first Bee comic
If you haven't seen it, it's pretty good. There are 76 episodes.
The book version will be out on the 8th.
3:45 PM - [Link] - Comments ()
Thursday, September 26, 2002
Lamented Suck columnist Heather Havrilesky on blogging and audience [me-zine/Radio Free Blogistan]
I think that some people falsely believe that this is a conversation, or that I have a relationship with my audience. There's no real relationship there. Ultimately, neither party has any responsibility to the other. If my readers or I imagine a relationship, we're just looking for love in all the wrong places.
5:12 PM - [Link] - Comments ()
Classic Reader: "where you can read, search, and annotate great works of literature by authors such as Dickens, Tolstoy, Shakespeare, and many others."
Looks like a nice, well-designed site.
I'll post all the online text links I know of eventually.
10:12 AM - [Link] - Comments ()
Coen Bros., Hanks to do Ladykillers re-make
Might be good. If you haven't seen the original with Guinness and Sellers, do so immediately.
The tone of a movie like this is everything and they might pull it off, but . . .
12:29 AM - [Link] - Comments ()
Wednesday, September 25, 2002
Silence is golden for the John Cage estate
None of this has the least bit to do with the intention of Cage's piece, to my mind. The idea is, there is no such thing as silence: even in a soundproof room, you hear 2 tones, your bloodstream and your nervous system, if I remember correctly.
Listening changes consciousness.
11:54 PM - [Link] - Comments ()
Jim Kunstler's capsule movie reviews
Nice edge and a little more generous than me, which is just right for a reviewer, I think.
He still bothers to see them in the theatre, for instance.
8:11 AM - [Link] - Comments ()
Monday, September 23, 2002
Kazaa's deal with European broadband provider Tiscali SpA could be an interesting precedent in the MusicMobster/file-sharer debate
The deal also underscores the potential common interests of high-speed Internet access providers and organizations that deliver complex digital media. Internet providers, including Tiscali, have said that one way to persuade consumers to pay for more expensive high-speed access is to offer them content such as movies and music that takes more time - an often excruciating amount of time - to download via slower telephone dial-up connections.
Mario Mariani, senior vice president for access and media business of Tiscali, a public company based in Cagliari, Sardinia, that is listed on the Nuovo Mercato in Milan, said he hoped for "great success" in adding to Tiscali's modest base of 100,000 high-speed users. The rest of the company's customers reach the Internet through dial-up lines.
Mariani said he did not believe, as record companies assert, that Kazaa promotes music piracy and said, "We are really against piracy." He added that he believed that Kazaa and other music-swapping services would put pressure on major record companies to develop new forms of distribution and that the deal with Tiscali would help prompt such development.
9:56 PM - [Link] - Comments ()
Club-based forum for "people doing strange things with electricity."
4:25 PM - [Link] - Comments ()
e digital has an iPod competitor coming out this fall, the Odyssey (scroll down)
They promise the looks of an iPod, but with Mac or PC USB 2.0 connectivity and the addition of FM tuner, multiple format playback, voice navigation and voice recording. The Odyssey 1000 will sport all those features with a 20 gig drive in a tiny 2.87" x 4.3" x 0.9" package for around $350.So you need USB 2.0, but you can tell it what to play! Not sure about random playlists, but maybe that's a moot point.
Also appears to be completely PC- or Mac-compatible. More info here.
Damn. How much to upgrade to USB 2.0 . . .
12:42 PM - [Link] - Comments ()
Colin Newman on Wire now
I somehow missed that Wire had a new EP out in the spring.
The unexpected reunion happened when they were invited to play the Royal Festival Hall a while back, something usually conferred on classical musicians.
Newman's take on the tides of rock/electronica is funny and informative if you're not European.
"I can remember going to this Christmas party at the end of 2000, it was the parents of some friends of our son, and all the kids were upstairs--well, by kids I mean like fourteen-fifteen-sixteen--and all the grown-up music downstairs was really quite dreadful. All this seventies shit. I went upstairs and said, 'hey I have the Hives, anyone want to hear it?' And there was a fucking riot! They couldn't get it on quick enough. They were jumping on their beds, screaming." And even that represented a major shift in focus.
"Before that all those kids were into nu-metal, which I can see, since in this country there'd been all that kind of skateboarding-rock thing--very generational. Nu-metal has elements of hip-hop and elements of heavy rock. But then you get to something like the Hives, and that's just pure rock. There's no hip-hop or rapping of any kind."
Newman pauses for a moment before finishing. "Which, you know, thankfully saves us from fucking Fred Durst."
10:10 AM - [Link] - Comments ()
On transplanted -- and lauded -- Bosnian-now-Chicago-native author Aleksandar Hemon
Another author I don't click with so far. But many do -- he's the fellow who published a book of short stories (and was compared to Conrad and Nabokov) after living in the US and speaking English for 3 years. His new novel is Nowhere Man.
9:56 AM - [Link] - Comments ()
A book is a version of the world. If you do not like it, ignore it; or offer your own version in return. - Salman Rushdie
I like this quote from my A.Word.A.Day. This is why I've always loved books -- they allow for the most flexible and profoundly realized alternate realities.
This is also why people burn them.
9:01 AM - [Link] - Comments ()
Sunday, September 22, 2002
Downloadable "cuts & caps" [dollar short]
11:14 AM - [Link] - Comments ()
Alias Betty looks good
11:11 AM - [Link] - Comments ()
Thomas Hirschorn's homage to Bataille/community outreach center
11:09 AM - [Link] - Comments ()
Some books coming out this fall
10:59 AM - [Link] - Comments ()
Essential viewing even so:
A newly restored Metropolis is still only 80% of the original that premiered to a disinterested public for a couple weeks in 1927 before being cut from 12 reels to 7
Seventy-five years after its premiere, Metropolis has been given new life by a comprehensive restoration which brings the film startlingly into the present. Far from an exhumed artifact, this Metropolis feels like it was made yesterday. Though this version, combining all the existing elements and using text intertitles to represent missing sections, still represents just under 80 percent of the film's original length, it is, barring a miracle, as close as we will ever get -- and, indeed, as close as anyone who didn't see the film in those precious first few weeks has ever gotten. While sizeable sequences, including a lengthy visit to the pleasure palaces of Yoshiwara, remain lost, the film's overreaching scope is clearer than ever -- more than a parable, it's clear Lang had in mind an overarching social saga, a futurist recasting of Balzac.From a companion article:
Describing the bowdlerization of the film's plot, Koerber says, "What we've seen [before] is a kind of Frankenstein movie -- that's not what the movie is about at all. It's about all kinds of things, including Biblical myths, astrology and whatever." Similarly, the innumerable movies exhibited over the years as Metropolis are hybrid monsters cobbled together from leftover parts, smoothing over the gaps left by missing footage by excising plot threads with no end to be tied to.Wish I could see it in a theatre.
10:59 AM - [Link] - Comments ()
Pretty damn good bibliography of books and articles on US Foreign Intelligence since WWII
I've only started to look through this, but it's at least a good starting point for research. The collator (?) is an Intelligence veteran and administrator at Muskingum College in Ohio. There's a search engine for the site too.
I just picked up Jim Hougan's Spooks, Evan Hunter's The Very Best Men, and James Bamford's Body of Secrets this week since I found them all fairly cheap so I've taken it as a sign to find the best books on US Intelligence.
If anyone has any suggestions, please comment or email.
Since I posted this on my other blog, I've researched the site a bit more and found a number I want to read. Essential overviews:
Inside the CIA's Private World: Declassified Articles from the Agency's Internal Journal 1955-1992 by H. Bradford Westerfield
From the Shadows: The Ultimate Insider's Story of Five Presidents and How They Won the Cold War by Robert M. Gates
12:09 AM - [Link] - Comments ()