Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Neon Bible, Endless Summer

Arcade Fire's Neon Bible and the reissue of Fennesz's Endless Summer reviewed in the latest Pulse.

In his current New Yorker column, Sasha Frere-Jones gives Arcade Fire the feature treatment.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Water and Feathers Out the Window of a Moving Car

In a recent interview with Amanda Petrusich, Tom Waits shared these entries from his notebook:

"In Los Angeles, it's illegal for a man to beat his wife unless he's on the courthouse steps. In Tulsa, it's against the law to open a soda bottle without the supervision of a licensed engineer. In Texas, the Encyclopedia Britannica is banned because it contains the formula for making home brew. In Claradon, Texas, it's illegal to dust any public building with a feather duster. In Washington, it's illegal to paint polka dots on the American flag. There are only two things you can throw out the window of a moving car, legally. Do you know what they are?"

Petrusich: "Um..."

Waits: "Water. And feathers. Everything else you can get in trouble for."

The interview, in its entirety, can be found here.

Broken Flowers

You may have heard:
Vincent fell from our loft-bedroom last night.

First off, he's doing okay. His fall caused him to break his tail bone, wich makes it very hard for him to walk. And he can't sit at the moment. Other than that, no major head or spine injuries.

It'll be much more informative if he tells the story:

Yes, I got my ass whooped last night, literally.

If you've been in our apartment, you know it has a loft bedroom about 10 or s0 feet above the living room floor. There's a ladder made of two by fours leading up to it. The ladder isn't secured. But we'd been using it without any problems since we moved in. That is, until last night.

I had stepped onto the top rung to come down, facing forward with my back to the ladder, when I felt it slip out from under me and fall to the floor. A second later my tailbone came down hard on one of the rungs. I soon found myself sprawled out face-down beside the ladder, groaning, unable to move.

This left Kiko stranded on the loft without a phone to call for help. It didn't help matters much that when I tried to walk a bolt of lightning shot up my back, dropping me instantly.

After fifteen minutes of squirming, I reached the coffee table and felt around for my cell. Once I found it, the flame in my tail burned too bad for me to turn over and throw it up to Kiko. So she rigged one of the paper umbrellas we'd been storing upstairs since the wedding, and lowered it down to me.

Seconds later Jackson shot through the door with Grace in tow. They were followed soon after by a team of EMTs who, helpful though they were, failed to match Jackson's eagerness.

Thanks to a bottle of hydrocodone and some muscle relaxers, I am now in a position to chuckle about all this. So far, I have learned at least two things from this accident: it's foolish not to secure a loft ladder; and Jackson's first name should be Action.

Monday, February 26, 2007

The Lovely Spectacle

"Roland Barthes posited that when a professional wrestler enters the ring, he's stepping into a role in a grandiloquent drama of suffering, defeat, and justice: "Even hidden in the most squalid Parisian halls, wrestling partakes of the nature of the great solar spectacles, Greek drama and bullfights: in both, a light without shadow generates an emotion without reserve." For a comparable appreciation of the Ultimate Fighting Championship—the interdisciplinary martial-arts league that broadcasts matches regularly by pay-per-view and, irregularly, on the cable channel Spike—we must turn to that noted semiotician from the great state of Arizona, John McCain: "a cockfight, only we're using human beings." The senator definitely beats Barthes for both pithiness and understatement."

from: "Enter the Octagon: The Lovely Spectacle of Ultimate Fighting," by Troy Patterson.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

History From Below: Carrie Mae Weems

Recently, I visited the Hunter to do a review for the Pulse on an exhibit by Carrie Mae Weems. I did a fair amount of research on the American artist (above) before my visit. I also viewed dozens of her film stills and photographs on-line. None of this adequately prepared me for the way I felt upon leaving the Hunter.

Weems’ photographs, especially when placed alongside their accompanying pieces in the context of an exhibit, are visually stunning; they hold their own as fine art. As social commentary, her visual messages are conscience-searing: Weems’ work makes an ethical appeal that goes straight for the jugular.

In this, Weems stands on equal ground with her contemporaries. Over the last year, my wife has helped me to see the power of the work of Barbara Kruger and Cindy Sherman in a new light. Few visual artists working today produce images that are as direct and challenging as Kruger’s and Sherman’s.

Weems’ work often packs a similar punch; but there are some things that seem to set it apart. Weems' responses to injustice typically convey a sense of anger that seems pure and sincere in a way I can trust. Her images seem free of what I would call “subversiveness for subversiveness’ sake”—a symptom that, in my opinion, hinders much modern protest art by compromising the authenticity of its sense of urgency.

Weems is a true cynic. If she’s bitter, she makes her reasons plain and, as I see it, persuasive. Her cultural critiques go beyond self-righteous complacency or mockery. She asks the tough questions with bold renunciation, dismantling the foundations of social stereotypes, racial epithets, and misunderstood American tragedies with the rigor of a new historicist, and the pathos of a skilled artist. The beauty of her work, as I see it, rests in the obvious sense of courage and compassion it conveys. She boldly asks her viewers to rethink their assumptions about America’s past, while positing a compelling voice for those people whose voices have been overlooked by those assumptions. You might call Weems' work “History from Below,” to quote Stephen Greenblatt.

In 2003, Tulane University's Newcomb Gallery commissioned Weems to do a photography-based exhibit commemorating the bicentennial of the Louisianna Purchase. Weems called her entry The Louisianna Project. Among other things, the exhibit gave visual examples of how the city's social elite have marginalized the voice and presence of the largely black lower class: the billboard ad in the above photo shows a group of young black men beside a door that reads, "Board of Directors;" the slogan beneath the men reads, "Here's to the other 9-5." Weems finds it interesting how one of the city's few nods to the black lower class consists of a beer ad. Another set of images featured in the exhibit seems to address one of that class's main malcontents with its elected officials (see below). A recent New Yorker article looks at how these two issues have come to a head in a post-Katrina New Orleans.

If you've ever had moments where you've realized you might be a midnight vulture, a drunken dialer, a has-been, or simply a man or woman who's come into some hard times, Weems is also speaking for you--black, white or otherwise:

Weems is also particularly adept at comitragedy and tragicomedy:

The Louisianna Project and From Here I Saw What Happened And I Cried (the three red photos above are excerpts from the latter) is a dual exhibit of Weems' work that will be at the Hunter until mid April.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

A puppy looking for a home.

For now, my name is "Maybe".
John and Kristine found me shivering on the side of the road.
Maybe you find me to be adorable.
Maybe you can be my new mommy and/or daddy.

Maybe you can love me, I promise I'll love you back,
there's no 'maybe' to that.
Maybe we can take naps together.

Maybe you can hold me close like this.
Definitely, Maybe.

(For anyone interested in taking this puppy,
John or Kristine may be contacted.
If you do not know them, please comment.
I will get back to you w/ their contact information.)

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Rags of Our Fathers

Dad once modeled for Carhart. Or was it Levi's? Maybe Walls. Czeslaw Milosz, in his poem "Should, Should Not," says, "A man should not love the moon/ An axe should not lose weight in his hand." The sun on the fence behind him and the chopped branches beneath his boots prove Dad was getting off to a bright start. Milosz, had he by some strange twist of fate been watching this sight from the kitchen window, would have raised his owl brows, and puffed his pipe in approval. I can also imagine Milosz throwing open the window and yelling at Dad to get back to work. "Should, Should Not," in its entirety, appears below:

A man should not love the moon.
An axe should not lose weight in his hand.
His garden should smell of rotting apples
And grow a fair amount of nettles.
A man when he talks should not use words that are dear
to him,
Or split open a seed to find out what is inside it.
He should not drop a crumb of bread, or spit in the fire
(So at least I was taught in Lithuania).
When he steps on marble stairs,
He may, that boor, try to chip them with his boot
As a reminder that the stairs will not last forever.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Falling Chocolate Cake

The men in our small group cooked for the women
on Valentines day.
The food was excellent, and in my book, it was the most enjoyable
Valentines dinner.

Many thanks to the no particular order:


John Simpson planned the main menue.

He prepared the dessert...falling chocolate cake!!!
So So good.

We, the girls just sat and watched while men
worked hard in the kitchen.

Here it is: The delicious dinner.

and last but not least: the dessert!
EVERY thing was from scratch...dinner to dessert.

It was the most fun Valentines... I got roses...
(and lots of other gifts) can never go wrong with roses.

Monday, February 12, 2007


Reviewed by Vincent

9 minutes of dissapointment

If you have nine minutes to is a clip for you.
Justin Timberlake: "What Goes Around...Comes Around"
(I just wasted 9 min. and plus some, to watch it and to post about it.)

Saturday, February 10, 2007

My father-in-law

This post goes out to 'dad' (and Aunt Kate).

Happy Birthday, 'dad'!!!