| contact: drbenway at priest dot com
| blogging since Oct '01
This is Gordon Osse's blog.
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"He who does not at some time, with definite determination consent to the terribleness of life, or even exalt in it, never takes possession of the inexpressible fullness of the power of our existence."
all faces followers of
All colors, beams of
-- Akhenaton, "Hymn to the Sun"
Opt your children out of Pentagon harassment
WHO I WORK FOR: Mount Hope Wholesale
Wholesale nuts, grains, fruits and spices (and more) shipped from Cottonwood AZ
(Tell them you heard about them on Gordon's blog!)
WHAT I'VE SEEN LATELY:
(r) = re-viewing
God Told Me To (1976, Cohen)
Whispering City (1947, Otsep)
Times and Winds (2006, Erdem)
Dirty Money (Un flic) (1972, Melville)
10th District Court (2004, Depardon)
RFK Must Die: The Assassination of Bobby Kennedy (2007, O'Sullivan)
The Furies (1950, Mann)
In a Lonely Place (1950, Ray)(r)
The Adjuster (1991, Egoyan)(r)
Mad Men The Buddha of Suburbia Intelligence (2006, Haddock) Family Guy
SUGGESTED VIEWING: The Power of Nightmares: The Rise of the Politics of Fear (2004, Curtis) [available for streaming/download here]
Artist Mark Dion's work reminds me of the artwork on an old Art Bears (I think -- it was some Henry Cow or related) album cover, which mocked the science of archaeology
Anyway, Dion has a show in Hartford til the 9th if you're in the area, and he sounds intriguing.
A native of New Bedford, Mass., and graduate of the Hartford Art School, Dion has built his reputation in no small part with his installations based on unconventional "archaeological digs." Unearthing ordinary discarded objects in contemporary urban excavations, such as a trash heap in Fribourg, Switzerland ("History Trash Dig,"1995) and a drained Venetian canal ("XLVII Venice Biennale," 1997), the artist collects and displays his "artifacts" in a new context, re-creating the categorization and exhibition practices of museums.
Visually interesting, clever, provocative and ironic, his work - both the process and the result - often includes multiple layers of artistic and anthropological meaning, particularly in how he prods onlookers to rediscover the commonplace and understand how we make sense of the world.
It's certainly not the type of art that you would place above your sofa, as many of the 13 collaborations on view at the University of Hartford demonstrate. The exhibit includes a factory display of nurse uniforms that could fill a small room, a closet-size portable rain-forest diorama, a 28-minute pseudo-documentary on the subject of art restoration and a dogsled with expedition equipment, accompanied by historic images of polar expeditions.
According to Joseloff Gallery curator and event organizer Zina Davis, each installation consists of a unique narrative that combines factual evidence and fictitious possibility. "The works are meant to be viewed in the context of a story line, of a creative, sometimes pseudo-scientific, cultural experience," she says.
Henry Cow: I really liked Legend, and it remains more listenable than their later work, though you really wanted to like it, because they were such a nice change-of-pace from the progrock mainstream. But it was and is very challenging music, and too close to the Western classical tradition for me. That puritanical upright thing was never my bag, though I can appreciate it's complexity.
The other album I remember enjoying a lot was Fred Frith's first solo guitar record, which will be reissued with the other 2 albums as Guitar Solos. There is a track called "No Birds" which I can still feel the desolation behind.
I was lucky enough to catch Mr Frith performing solo at a church in West Philly in '80 or so. There were maybe 25 people (or less) there, which was all that could fit anyway.
He'd set up a guitar flat on a table with various kinds of string and wire etc. wound between the guitar strings. The performance consisted of his pulling the threads through at various speeds and angles, and occasionally pounding the guitar with a mallet.
He made it work, believe me. Absolutely mesmerizing. Best 5 bucks I ever spent on a concert.
Which backs up Chris Cutler's assertion that Henry Cow was never captured on record, and was chiefly a performing group. Their compositional intricacy and chilly earnestness was probably balanced well by their onstage enthusism and commitment.
In fact, I also saw his Skeleton Crew trio with Tom Cora and Zeena Parkins in the mid-80s at CBGB, which rocked the house in a very disturbed and wonderful way. The energy level was punk while their virtuosity was on the level of jazz professionals.
And nobody was there to drink beer.
Too bad their 2 CDs aren't around. I had A Country of Blinds on LP once. Again, not nearly as good as the performance.
I'm not one for ogling people's home spaces, but just the way soundtrack composer Carter Burwell and his wife re-did their Manhattan loft is a great story
The scrupulously spare 3,000-square-foot loft, which Mr. Burwell shares with his wife, Christine Sciulli, a lighting designer and video artist, is now also a contradiction in creative terms: it conceals more than five miles of analog and digital audio, video and Ethernet cable and 11 electronic patch boxes, which allow Mr. Burwell to compose in the peace of his own apartment -- anywhere from his studio to the bathtub.
As it happens, I generally like his scores too, particularly Miller's Crossing.
Fairly big spoiler, for those who aren't dyed-in-the-wool post-modernists, anyway. But if you're into Self (from what Mallon implies anyway), you probably are, right?
He said "into Self".
Like his precursor, Self has made the nature of wit one of his novel's themes. His Wotton defines a witticism as "merely the half-life of an emotion," and the AIDS-stricken Baz comes to think of epigram itself as a sort of disease: "He was being swept away by this snide cataract...with quipsters vying for opportunities to torpedo meaningful conversation." Wilde famously prefaced Dorian Gray with an assertion that would later play a part in sending him to prison: "There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. That is all." This is the Wotton position, but Wilde actually had his doubts.
Powers's previous novels have prepared us for this story's clever integration with theoretical physics and musical technique, but nothing in his oeuvre suggested that he could sustain such a complex network of characters, sweep across so broad a historical framework, or convey the experience of performing so beautifully. There isn't a false note or a slow passage in his entire blending of family and national experience. With this daring act of literary miscegenation, Powers has orchestrated a cast of characters rich enough to pose the most forbidden questions about race but sensitive enough to capture the most intimate struggle for identity.
I picked up Patrick Rosenkranz's Rebel Visions: The Underground Comix Revolution, 1963-1975 at the library (they surprise me sometimes) and I'll have to buy one. It's a cultural history of artists like Robert Crumb and Bill Griffith whose transgressive graphic art looks more interesting as time goes by.
I'm a fan of Crumb's work and I read Zippy every day, but I didn't follow this stuff when it was being done -- I was a bit too young first of all --and this appears to be a comprehensive labor-of-love retrospective. There are many strips included, but the text predominates. May be more than you want to know, but it's a valuable history of a time and ethos that we'll be glad to have.
I also found this DVD The Confessions of Robert Crumb from '87 which I hadn't heard of, and will get when I have a player. It's his own version of his life story, and looks like the perfect companion to Terry Zwigoff's film.
I've always tried to get into comix/graphic novels and rarely can. I like Chris Ware's Jimmy Corrigan and Daniel Clowes's work, but not much else appeals to me. I'm more of a word man where narrative is concerned.
But the underground work of the period in the Rosenkranz history has an over-the-top vitality and nothing-to-lose eccentricity that feels liberating even now.
While the hotshots at slashdot complain about low power, this eWeek article nails it on the head about the new $799 Lindows notebook -- if you're REALLY looking for a notebook and not a power PC in the shape of a notebook, this might be the ticket
I'd still wait for more reviews before I bought one though. And be sure that Lindows does what I need it to. Here's an article on it.
The slashdot page has some good points: there's no modem and no CD drive installed. And apparently you can get a Dell cheaper.
As always, it depends what you need it for, and how much you want to leave Micro$uck behind, in this case. This would also be a good way to acquaint yourself with Lindows without the partition business, which as less than an expert I feel a bit queasy about.
The eWeek article also answered a question I had about repair and maintenance being more costly on notebooks.
Not that I need a notebook right now, but compactness and portability have their advantages, when I do an upgrade. But for my needs, I think a desktop will always be my first choice.
1. 'Out from Out Where' by AMON TOBIN (Ninja Tune) 2. 'Three String Quartets' by GAVIN BRYARS (Black Box) 3. 'A Hundred Days Off' by UNDERWORLD (V2) 4. 'Field Recordings 1995:2002' by FENNESZ (Touch) 5. 'Whitney Biennial 2002' by Various artists (Whitney Museum) 6. 'Playthroughs' by KEITH FULLERTON WHITMAN (Kranky) 7. 'Plays' by EKKEHARD EHLERS (Staubgold) 8. 'Seed to Sun' by BOOM BIP (Lex) 9. 'Raw Digits' by SUPER COLLIDER (Rise Robots Rise) 10. 'Stoke' by PHILIP JECK (Touch)
I like the Amon Tobin and what I've heard of the Fennesz. Ehlers I've heard some of, though not this one -- not for me, though I'll listen to see if I like it better. A lot of people like his stuff.
If you have any interest in this kind of music, disquiet has an occasional email newsletter, archived on the website, both of which are worth checking out.
For some rougher, generally drier pieces that are downloadable, check the Snow Sky & No Ink comp at ogredung.org and the subcon sound museum mp3 EP by octopus inc. at Montreal's notype, which has loads of this here sound sculpture stuff (Canada seems to be a center for this kind of experimentation).
As far as full lengths go, I've been liking eu's Christmas Baubles and Their Strange Sounds, Ian Boddy & Robert Rich's Outpost, pretty much anything by Thomas Köner, to rococo rot's veiculo and Terre Thaemlitz's Soil lately.
David Thomas's and Johnny Dromette's Disastodrome!: Thomas's rogue opera with Van Dyke Parks & Frank Black, the reunion of Pere Ubu & Rocket from the Tombs (with Television's Richard Lloyd in place of Peter Laughner), and more in the spirit of Alfred Jarry and Jack Kerouac
Thomas might even do his cover of the Beach Boys' "Surf's Up."
I had my friend Cozy tape the 6 Kolchak: The Night Stalker episodes Trio ran in December, and they're the only ones I've gotten all the way through of the 6 series he taped for me (The others were United States, Gun, Action, The Ernie Kovacs Show, The Famous Teddy Z, and Now and Again). I'll finish Gun I'm sure, and it's nice to have the Kovacs, but the rest I may never get through, "brilliant" though they may have been.
Now I see that the Sci Fi channel is going to run what looks like the whole series, 5 at a time, starting this Tuesday at 12PM MST. The next installment is March 13th.
I always got a kick out of Darren McGavin, whose TV and film career dates back to 1945. I remember him from the TV series The Outsider mostly. It wasn't a great series, but the down-on-his-luck PI was a great character for him, and I loved at the time that a series star drove an old junker. I was only 12 at the time, so I'm not sure I'd be able to watch it now. But the noir-y vibe appealed to me then.
Also this week, TCM is running some films I've not seen that I want to:
The Black Cat (1934), the Edgar G Ulmer classic with Bela Lugosi (playing a good guy!) and Boris Karloff.
The Smiling Lieutenant, a pre-Code Lubitsch with Miriam Hopkins, Claudette Colbert, Maurice Chevelier and Charles Ruggles. Never seen this and it appears not to be on tape, so this is my Pick of the Week. Lubitsch has been a huge influence on anyone who's made a romantic comedy since 1930, especially Billy Wilder.
The Lady L (1965) a sleeper Peter Ustinov satire with Sophia Loren, Paul Newman and David Niven which some folks now adore. I may not get through it if it's too precious.
Lust for Life, the van Gogh bio with Kirk Douglas and Anthony Quinn. Apparently it's closer to the truth than the book it's based on, which is a first for me if it's true. Robert Altman's Vincent & Theo covers van Gogh's later years and is quite good too (Tim Roth plays the artist). Much cooler in tone than the Minelli/Cukor, natch.
I was about 100 pages in on September 10. I came back to it a couple of weeks later and realized that my character's backstory had ceased to exist, or diverged onto an alternate time track. It's the strangest experience I've ever had with a piece of fiction. [orlin grabbe]
"When I did read [Stephen Ambrose's popular history of the expedition, Undaunted Courage]," Hall says, "I was relieved to see that what seemed to interest him was not what interested me. It's a really good biography, but my feeling was that Ambrose wasn't as comfortable with some of the really interesting, unsettling questions about Lewis' personality. He likes to tell stories about achievement, success and heroism . . . and I find fascinating the backside of the tapestry, where you see all the loose threads. Our two sets of interests somewhat complement each other."
Schools test kids incessantly on math skills, Newtonian science basics and reading comprehension. They hammer kids with self-esteem exercises without investing a single moment in exploring who it is that the kid is supposed to esteem. We expect our children to comprehend a paragraph about the speed of a fly between two onrushing locomotives, but we teach them nothing at all about comprehending life or their place in it.
Her boyfriend, James, a struggling novelist who has finally finished his masterpiece, has left her a suicide note instructing her to send the book out to publishing houses and use money in their bank account for his funeral. Each click of the mouse explains the situation in a succinct, unsentimental way that a spoken discussion could barely attempt. It's just the first of many visual techniques employed by writer-director Lynne Ramsey, who has created from Alan Warner's novel a movie of wonder, chill, sadness and evolution that focuses on a singular character made well worthy of our attention by Morton's performance.
"For really the first time ever in this literary age of comics, publishers actually have good book trade distribution," says Fantagraphics publicist Eric Reynolds. "We've hooked up with W.W. Norton & Company, the oldest alternative distributor and publisher in the country. They gave us a certain amount of cachet and clout. Booksellers said, 'Oh, wow. You're with W.W. Norton?'"
Drawn & Quarterly took things a step further, cementing its new distribution ties with Chronicle Books by producing a beautifully illustrated manifesto called "Selling Graphic Novels in the Book Trade." Designed to help booksellers over the graphic novel learning curve, the manifesto encourages stores to create distinct graphic literature sections near contemporary literature or art book displays, rather than folding graphic novels into science fiction or humor sections. One bookstore manager told Publishers Weekly that the move "probably tripled" his sales of graphic literature.
A review by Philip Hensher that makes me want to read both Claire Tomalin's award-winning new biography of Samuel Pepys and his diary (at least this 300 page anthology -- The Shorter Pepys is nearly 1200 pages)
But I was dismayed at one of the etexts I found online -- it seems pretty tedious (not the best translation according to Hensher -- Latham/Matthews are his choice). Perhaps the bio would be best.
It often happens that I get taken in by a glowing, well-written review or article, only to get no satisfaction at all from the piece described -- book, movie, music. If it doesn't hit me immediately, it's no go.
Guess he's back in style. Saw him in um '79 I think, at Max's Kansas City. Scared the shit out of my friend Bill's date.
The Contortions were a seminal band at the time -- Adele Bertei, Pat Place and others were in the band at one point. They were tight/funky enough that the atonality was palatable. Well, for me anyway.
Mmmm. . . No New York, the Squat Theater, Defunkt, the original Lounge Lizards (with Arto Lindsay), Stranger Than Paradise (that was a bit later), Living Color, Laurie Anderson's United States, Frippertronics at the Kitchen, The Catherine Wheel.
Good times. The last time I was seriously into NYC music culture. By the mid-80s, nothing much was happening.
I was born in Ontario (the province) and lived in the US from the age of 5 -- though we visited my grandparents in Thunder Bay most summers, and I have fond memories of the Sleeping Giant, swimming in (at the time) remote Surprise Lake and the funny differences between the two countries.
Nowadays I think seriously about moving to Vancouver, for many reasons.
Anyway, a pretty good little article, comments from Canadian ex-pats and the pros and cons on both sides.
"Take away our playstations and we're a Third World nation"
Rob Breszny reviews the Not In Our Name benefit in the Bay area
About 3,000 poems disguised as people attended this Pep Rally for Pronoia. While there was plenty of creative anger expressed at the American government's dishonest and immoral rush towards war against Iraq, the predominant mood was embodied in the buoyant dance groove laid down by Michael Franti and Spearhead's celebratory song, "Power to the Peaceful." Three thousand of us leaped rhythmically into the air as we helped the band sing our new planet into existence.
Jim Derogatis interviews Lou Reed about The Raven, a new tribute to Poe with many collaborators [Orlin Grabbe (not for work)]
I hope that people have fun listening to this. It should be fun. And some of it is a little scary, but straight through it's got great electronic music, it's got rock, so it should be this great experience and a lot better than being forced to read "The Raven" in high school.
Stuart Maconie put together a jazzy little hour long bio of Brian Eno on BBC Radio2 recently
He talks to Eno and various collaborators like Phil Manzanera, Bowie, Bono, Robert Wyatt, etc. Nicely done, informative and accessible. Brings back memories: I used to annoy co-workers in the record store I worked in in the late 70s by playing stuff like Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy) over the stereo. Good Lord that's almost 30 years ago. Yikes.
Once you click on the link form the page linked above, it starts right up. I'm not sure what player is used.[Also from the Nerve Net list]
Another tidbit from the Nerve Net list: from a 3"CD assembled by Justin Bennett, 20 minutes of muezzins calling the faithful in Tangier compressed into a "binhexed stuffit file, high-quality mp3 (nine tracks)."
It's a 38.7MB file which unzips into a SIT file, whatever that is. Anyway, it's availble for download "for a limited time" here (direct link).
Very spacious, with ambient sounds. Susan got creeped out by it. I sense a strong energy. See what you think.
I got it to work on Winamp2, BTW. Not sure what else will play it, though I suppose it would play on most decent media players.
"I've kept company with music for a second only and now I no longer know what to think of suicide..."
Surrealism founder André Breton's art and effects to be auctioned off after family spends decades trying to get a museum sanctioned by the government
Though the "Pope of Surrealism" was a dick in many ways, his influence is undeniable and profound.
The French are up in arms about this, and they should be -- as should anyone with the slightest knowledge of 20th century art and culture. Surrealism had an effect far beyond the fine art world. Try to imagine the 20th century without Dalí!
The activity of our surrealist comrades in Belgium is closely allied with our own activity, and I am happy to be in their company this evening. Magritte, Mesens, Noug?, Scutenaire and Souris are among those whose revolutionary will -- outside of all consideration of their agreement or disagreement with us on particular points -- has been for us in Paris a constant reason for thinking that the surrealist project, beyond the limitations of space and time, can contribute to the efficacious reunification of all those who do not despair of the transformation of the world and who wish this transformation to be as radical as possible.
I am not afraid to say that this defeatism seems to be more relevant than ever. "New tremors are running through the intellectual atmosphere; it is only a matter of having the courage to face them." They are, in fact, always running through the intellectual atmosphere: the problem of their propagation and interpretation remains the same and, as far as we are concerned, remains to be solved. But, paraphrasing Lautr?amont, I cannot refrain from adding that at the hour in which I speak, old and mortal shivers are trying to substitute themselves for those which are the very shivers of knowledge and of life. They come to announce a frightful disease, a disease followed by the deprivation of all rights; it is only a matter of having the courage to face them also. This disease is called fascism.