Saturday, July 16, 2005

illustrations from Ladybird Books

(much more at I like)

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junior phenom Julia Mayhew on the Wimbledon final--


One day on July 2nd
Venus played against Lindsay
Davenport. Venus was secretly
related to William Carlos
Williams and friends of the goddess Venus. During
the end of the game Venus
hypnotized Lindsay Davenport
with the love of poetry.
Lindsay was related to Jeremy
Davenport, a trumpet player and
tried to distract Venus with
very soft music but
Venus won anyway." Posted by Picasa
good pieces on Pynchon and Vollman & c. up at the BOOKFORUM site

Friday, July 15, 2005

British-born bombers: not so shocking

"There is a growing sense of atomisation and alienation in the West, not only among immigrants but across society. Homesick Arabs and British-born Muslims in West Yorkshire might feel it more acutely, but it affects everyone in British, American and European societies, in the growth of disillusionment with public institutions and disenfranchisement from the political process. Could it be that the new terrorism, which we consider so awful and alien, is in fact a product of the same corrosive forces that impact on the rest of us? Could it be that those four alienated Asian kids from Leeds were expressing the same angst and disillusionment, in a much more violent way, as anti-globalist campaigners express when they smash up a McDonald's and others of us express in our pissed-off-ness with political and public life?"

Thursday, July 14, 2005

though I disagree with him about 90 per cent of the time Armond White is with me on declaring "Kung Fu Hustle" & "The War of the Worlds" the best this year so far...

"War of the Worlds is Steven Spielberg's equivalent to Jean-Luc Godard's Weekend. It's an apocalyptic vision based in how we live today, amidst worldwide trauma, but every astonishing sequence demonstrates the hard psychic work of civilized man forced to rehumanize himself. This challenge to good-time filmgoers' expectations is the latest example of the 70s modernist urge to revise genre in order to face life more knowledgably. Weekend was based in theoretical political disillusionment; Spielberg's road movie has the taste of bitter experience." Posted by Picasa

why not take a quick five & check out the five new Quicktimes at

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Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Is anyone else freaked out by The Daily Show' s new studio set?

"I don't have the graphic-design vocabulary to describe this accurately, but let's just say that you can no longer watch The Daily Show without struggling to block out two constant, and competing, written reminders that you are, indeed, watching The Daily Show. On its own, the continuous blue scroll might have been forgivable, though it does give the studio a more claustrophobic feel than before. But those radiating white caps are just maddening. It's as if Stewart's head is actually producing the letters, like promotional dandruff. "
more Lee Siegel here--

"Imagine an Orwellian fable that had all the mass media of American society silenced--or mute with complacence--and confined to a kind of internment camp, with the exception of television, which for some reason escaped the censor's attention. It's up to television to save the country! It tries. It makes brave attempts--developing twelve new 'Law & Order' franchises, for example. It ascends to ever-higher levels of innovation and originality. But it can't.

This is a medium that people watch in their underwear, for goodness sake. Who's going to rush out of the house wearing his Calvin Klein briefs into an advancing wall of shields and truncheons? Ouch. You're going to give up that late-night mango sorbet and go out there and pile up furniture on Fifth Avenue to try and slow down the tanks? I don't think so. Why, I bet even if Jon Stewart, the Danton of cable television, called for a revolution in the face of the most horrendous injustice--say, you could no longer wear your favorite baseball cap while eating in a nice restaurant--not a single one of his ardent followers would leave their dormitory rooms to fight for what was right. "

What makes Lee Friedlander's pictures good? illustrated Flash essay by Slate's Lee Siegel-- Posted by Picasa
good demystification of Che Guevara

"By 1961, Guevara was having to give embarrassing explanations to the workers at the office: 'Our technical comrades at the companies have made a toothpaste ... which is as good as the previous one; it cleans just the same, though after a while it turns to stone.' "

The Collected Poems of Ted Berrigan due out soon!

"Wrong Train

Here comes the man! He's talking a lot
I'm sitting, by myself. I've got
A ticket to ride. Outside is, "Out to lunch."
It's no great pleasure, being on the make.
Well, who is? Or, well everyone is, tho.
"I'm laying there, & some guy comes up
& hits me with a billyclub!" A fat guy
Says. Shut up. & like that we cross a river
Into the Afterlife. Everything goes on as before
But never does any single experience make total use
Of you. You are always slightly ahead,
Slightly behind. It merely baffles, it doesn't hurt.
It's total pain & it breaks your heart
In a less than interesting way. Every day
Is payday. Never enough pay. A deja-vu
That lasts. It's no big thing, anyway.
A lukewarm greasy hamburger, ice-cold pepsi
that hurts your teeth."

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Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Carny Lingo Posted by Picasa

despite their hipster (Cornelius, High Llamas) cred I had sadly never heard until very recently of 60's "sunshine pop" group The Free Design who are just fantastically great--their song "Rhonda Go Round" (from their kids album) has not left my head for weeks now... Posted by Picasa

Monday, July 11, 2005

James Wolcott

" When all of these 'terror experts'--many of them affiliated with rightwing think tanks--pontificate and speculate (based on no real information) about who the perpetrators were and the nature of the long struggle we're in, they look and sound keyed-up, keen with anticipation, eager to entertain the worst. Look how little time it took for CNN to point the finger of suspicion at al-Zarqawi as mastermind of the attacks--al-Zarqawi, the all-purpose shadowy villain, here, there, everywhere, and nowhere. Visually, this scare talk complemented with commando porn images of security patrols packing enough firepower to retake Stalingrad. What are those weapons for? It's not as if terrorists engage in running gun battles in the West. They plant explosives, and once those explosives go off, guys standing around with machine guns looking like an army of Bernie Keriks don't make a whole lot of difference. "
Eric Hobsbawm

"Even those who do not share the views of the old generals and proconsuls of the US world empire (which were those of Democratic as well as Republican administrations) will agree that there can be no rational justification of current Washington policy in terms of the interests of America's imperial ambitions or, for that matter, the global interests of US capitalism.

It may be that it makes sense only in terms of the calculations, electoral or otherwise, of American domestic policy. It may be a symptom of a more profound crisis within US society. It may be that it represents the - one hopes short-lived - colonisation of Washington power by a group of quasi-revolutionary doctrinaires. (At least one passionate ex-Marxist supporter of Bush has told me, only half in jest: 'After all, this is the only chance of supporting world revolution that looks like coming my way.') Such questions cannot yet be answered. "

Sunday, July 10, 2005

enjoyed the fine character actor Tobin Bell doing wonders with not-much-on-the-page as the snowy-haired killer "Nordic Man" last night in Sydney Pollack's "The Firm", a not great movie but with an abundance of great character work by Holly Hunter, Gene Hackman, Gary Busey etc etc... & in a handful of scenes in the second feature a bearded Viggo Mortensen made a fine Lucifer to Christopher Walken's Gabriel in "The Prophecy"... Posted by Picasa

(Larry Rivers looks on while Frank O'Hara ripens a metaphor)

Mel Bochner in a review of Donald Judd's writing--

"A good many of the reviewers of that time came from literary backgrounds, usually the New York School of poetry, which showed up in their exaggerated claims and overripe metaphors. In art school in the late '50s, we played a game, reading reviews aloud from the latest issue of Art News and trying to guess who the subject was. I can still remember one: 'X dumps live chunks of landscape steaming hot into the gallery.' (Give up? Helen Frankenthaler.) What changed this situation? Artists started writing. (I'll leave it to someone else to answer the question 'What changed it back?') Why let the critics speak for you when you are perfectly capable of speaking for yourself?"

No names of course, not even for his "remembered" example. But the reflexive condescension displayed for "literary backgrounds" (as opposed to the rigour of art school, say!) and the "New York School of Poetry" certainly help explain why Tim Davis neglected to inform readers about his poetry in last month's Artforum "Top 10", why Frank O'Hara's crucial early support of Pollock has been all but erased from the record, and why the visual art and poetry communities in New York--to the detriment of both--have drifted so far apart.

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