Saturday, September 16, 2006
Posted by Peter at 12:02 PM
Tough to find your center
in Seraing in the winter
as Vinegar Joe drones CNN
the sublet won't even let your hand in--
but all God's children get a handbasket
a task, a handcart, a pot to piss in
& maybe a glimpse of a river masking
the smell d'argent with the reek of its absence--
we're all neo-realists, all sleek & handsome,
except for the babies pawned or ransomed
for cellphones & a wagon pushed through the wind,
like a masterless cub sans sword to spend
each day in the open and each night in a hole,
the leafless damp canyons a kind of parole.
Posted by Peter at 9:38 AM
Friday, September 15, 2006
Thursday, September 14, 2006
"Then he began to think that if afew picked men should band themselves together; and if, to natural wit, and education, and money, they could join a fanaticism hot enough to fuse, as it were, all those separate forces into a single one, then the whole world would be at their feet. From that time forth, with a tremendous power of concentration, they could wield an occult power against which the organization of society would be helpless; a power which would push obstacles aside and defeat the will of others; and the diabolical power of all would be at the service of each. A hostile world apart within the world, admitting none of the ideas, recognizing none of the laws of the world; submitting only to the sense of
necessity, obedient only from devotion; acting all as one man in the
interests of the comrade who should claim the aid of the rest; a band
of buccaneers with carriages and yellow kid gloves; a close
confederacy of men of extraordinary power, of amused and cool
spectators of an artificial and petty world which they cursed with
smiling lips; conscious as they were that they could make all things
bend to their caprice, weave ingenious schemes of revenge, and live
with the life in thirteen hearts, to say nothing of the unfailing
pleasure of facing the world of men with a hidden misanthropy, a sense
that they were armed against their kind, and could retire into
themselves with one idea which the most remarkable men had not,--all
this constituted a religion of pleasure and egoism which made fanatics
of the Thirteen. The history of the Society of Jesus was repeated for
the Devil's benefit. It was hideous and sublime..."
from Balzac's introduction to The Thirteen ("The Girl With the Golden Eyes" is one of the stories)
Posted by Peter at 9:16 PM
My sole purchase from the shelves of the overstuffed junk store on Milton (where Sun-Glo Lumber used to be, around the corner from my "Gin & Lime" apartment on Hecate) was the 1946 Viking Portable Alexander Woollcott (that's him above with his best friend Harpo Marx) 700 pages of the most forgotten of the Algonquins (Parker stays in print but several of her best lines are his) but so far it looks pretty funny & there's a whole special set of morbid frissons to be found in the perusal of outmoded popular texts. The book--hard linen cover, smaller than Portables became, with really good paper for just postwar--is a discard from the North Cowichan Elementary School Library, an old old discard, done with so many precise but impenetrable ink erasures that the identity of the school is revealed only once, in a small spot the librarian must have missed. But at what point were the doings of Mrs. Astor & Billie Burke considered the proper province of young minds in North Cowichan? The book is limp with use at any rate, so perhaps it acted as inspiration for a hard-drinking, sarcastic junior mid-Island smart set in the early 50's. But at some point the pearls and cigarette holders weren't cutting it anymore & the discard stamp just confirmed what everybody knew...
Posted by Peter at 3:13 PM
certainly looking forward to seeing the North American premiere of Out 1: Noli me tangere...may need to dig out that Balzac first...
"Never before seen in North America and only screened once previously with English subtitles-at the British Film Institute this past April-Jacques Rivette's legendary phantom film has finally been let out of the vaults. If you'd like to tackle this epic in sections, Out 1 will screen again in its entirety at the Vancity Theatre during the Vancouver International Film Festival on September 30 and October 1, introduced at that time by film critic and Rivette expert Jonathan Rosenbaum. See the VIFF program guide for details. "A movie equivalent of reading Proust or watching the Ring cycle...In the annals of monumental cinema there are few objects more sacred than Mr. Rivette's 12 1/2-hour Out 1: Noli Me Tangere...Shot in the spring of 1970, this fabled colossus owes its stature not just to its immodest duration but also to its rarity. Commissioned and then rejected by French television, the film had its premiere on Sept. 9 and 10, 1971, at the Maison de la Culture in Le Havre before receding into obscurity. Hoping to salvage a version for theatrical release, Mr. Rivette, now 78, whittled down his eight-episode, 760-minute serial into a 255-minute alternate cut, which he called Out 1: Spectre. Spectre has been difficult but not impossible to see. [It will screen at a Pacific Cinematheque Rivette retrospective in March.] Noli Me Tangere, meanwhile, has become a true phantom film whose reputation rests on its unattainability. Its title (Latin for 'touch me not') seems to predict its fate: an apt one, given that many of Mr. Rivette's films are predicated on obsessive and perhaps futile quests... Among other things, Out 1 concerns the parallel efforts of two theater companies to put on Aeschylus plays. Two oddball loners (Jean-Pierre Leaud and Juliet Berto) separately circle the groups. Characters change names and reveal secret identities. Living Theaterish rehearsals go on for ages. Connective tissue fills in, only to fall away. Mr. Leaud's character is the thickening mystery's self-appointed detective, fixated on cryptic messages about a 13-member secret society, a subplot that Mr. Rivette borrowed from the Balzac suite of novellas History of the Thirteen. Building on his improvisational experiments of L'Amour Fou (1968), Mr. Rivette worked without a script, relying instead on a diagram that mapped the junctures at which members of his large ensemble cast would intersect. The actors came up with their dialogue; the only thing Mr. Rivette actually wrote were the enigmatic notes Mr. Leaud's character receives...Mr. Rivette's fondness for shadowy conspiracies and paranoid fantasies, which owes a debt to Balzac and the sinister daydreams of the silent-era serialist Louis Feuillade, dates to his first feature, Paris Belongs to Us (1960). With Out 1 he found the perfect match of form and content, an outsize canvas for a narrative too vast to apprehend. In a 1973 interview Mr. Rivette described the film's creep from quasi-documentary to drama in ominous terms: the fiction 'swallows everything up and finally auto-destructs.'" -Dennis Lim, The New York Times"
Posted by Peter at 12:34 PM
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Posted by Peter at 11:19 AM
a visit to the Kendal Mint Cake factory
"In theory a trip to a sweet factory is a dream for someone with a sweet tooth as prominent as mine but with menthol induced runny eyes, the Willy Wonka fantasy is somewhat clouded...
...New York customs barred Kendal Mint Cake on the grounds that products labelled 'cake' should have flour in them, and a ship load of the product was dumped in the Atlantic in the 1950�s...."
leading to a unexpected minty breeze over the Kill Van Kull...
Posted by Peter at 10:28 AM
thanks BF for pointing me to an online version of Walt Whitman disciple Horace Traubel's massive conversations-with-Goethe like "With Walt Whitman in Camden"--
from Sept 14th, 1889
"Harned mischievously questioned W.: "Are you not the friend of Unitarians, Walt?" For the instant W. misunderstood him--supposed he asked, "Are you Unitarian?""No--Tom--I don't know why I should ask or accept the name." But when T. explained, added: "O yes, that--why not? I am the friend of all. It was the Hegelian idea, principle, that all are needed--that all are part of the whole--and so I should insist, all belong in their places--none can be dismissed--Catholic, Quaker, Mormon, Freethinker--even the Unitarian! I cannot be this or that, but I can recognize this or that. I know of no school in this, our day,--not Gladstone's, Henry George's, any other--who offers anything adequate--anything that would land us at the goal, any more than the present system. We old fogies, in the absence of fire, health, solace ourselves with clinging to what is--with not making ventures any longer. Yet I like the sects--I feel of them as a doctor [does] of pimples on the face--it is better for them to come out than to be hidden underneath the exterior--a hundred percent better. Pimples are a thing we can fight, but insidious hidden processes defy battle." And again: "A great city--London, for instance--would typify our present condition--the prevailing tone, what-not--of our civilization--the religious aspect: London is not made up of one man but of several millions of men--so our universe--so religions. Some people see a decadence in the present troubles--what I call our intestinal troubles but then we do not--do not believe in decadence. It was Mrs. Gilchrist's favorite expression--when she looked out on this surging seething man--that we were all going somewhere--not only that, but somewhere good. And I believe it.""It is true there is plenty of bad in the human critter--we all agree to it--he is a bad lot, as Tennyson's farmer puts it--but that is not the whole of him: he is not all or only what Carlyle paints of him." Harned quoted Emerson, to the effect that to find a man trustworthy, you must trust him. W. said fervently: "That's it--that's the whole story. It's the story over again of my woman friend in Washington who complained that whereas her sister, who distrusted nobody, had no locks and keys for drawers, no mysteries, no securities, was never robbed, she, who was so careful, padlocked and keyed everything, was careful of all her goings and comings, was continually losing,--being robbed, taken advantage of." Again: "After all, I wish well to all reformers. And besides, there's no danger of a dearth of them in our age--our age, on the contrary is full of Henry Georges, temperance, other reformers--all with panaceas. And for an old fogy like me to doubt a little can do no harm. There is an embarrassment of riches in reform..."
Posted by Peter at 9:39 AM
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
nice to see Tony-nominated Amy Ryan--so memorable in A & E's "100 Centre St." a few years back as Alan Arkin's troubled daughter-- in the role of harbour cop Beatrice "Beadie" Russell in the second season of "The Wire". Also the feeling, watching that show, that if you see a good actor you can rest assured they'll be given something interesting to do...
Posted by Peter at 8:11 AM
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
Harold Innis: An Intellectual at the Edge of Empire (Mel Watkins)
"The colony, Canada, has no more than moved in formal terms from colony to nation, when Innis sees the dark side of it being turned, back, into a neo-colony. He fears that the increasing efficacy of modern metropolitan media is making indigenous intellectual creativity at the margin less possible. His vision, like George Grant's, foresees Canada's failed potential, and sees that fate as a manifestation of the increasing threat to the intellectual, not only in Canada but generally. At its darkest, he envisages the modern intellectual, as in the ancient aphorism, having "insight into much and power over nothing..." "
Posted by Peter at 9:41 AM
Monday, September 11, 2006
Posted by Peter at 6:20 PM
Brick Bradford & The Time Top
"As the title suggests, it involved a top-shaped vehicle vehicle that could travel in time--beating out Doc Wonmug's device in "Alley Oop" by more than four years, as the first regularly appearing time machine in comics. This series lasted only a couple of months but it wasn't forgotten--On Oct 17, 1937, the Time Top became a regular part of Brick's Sundat adventures. Whereas Oop's time travelling was limited to the past, Brick mostly visited the future. Thus, the entire cosmos became open to him..."
Posted by Peter at 6:17 PM
Posted by Peter at 5:10 PM
Posted by Peter at 5:05 PM
the late Jerry Pethick's magnificent, valedictory Time Top has landed in False Creek...
"It was Pethick's poetic conceit that the fictional Time Top was real and had been recovered from the ocean floor, a relic of both the past and the future. He was interested in using his sculpture to evoke a childlike sense of wonder by creating an enigmatic object that could transport its viewers into another realm of awareness. "The idea of form transmitting something other than material context encourages a fresh perception," he wrote."
Posted by Peter at 5:00 PM
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