Sunday, December 31, 2006

The Pursuit of Happyness got me thinking: what would I do if I had no money, no friends or family to lean on for support, and a little boy to take care of? My answer: I have no idea. Honestly, it's nearly impossible to even imagine myself in such a situation. Just watching the events unfold on screen was mentally crippling. Yet somehow this guy pulled it off, which wouldn't be such a big deal if this were merely a make-believe Hollywood feel-good flick, but it's not. It's based on a true story. So when the end comes, and Will Smith's eyes fill up with tears, my eyes empathetically mirrored his because even though his reality is so far removed from mine that it should be as hard to relate with as a sci-fi flick, even though I may be a privileged member of the middle class with a strong network of friends and family who would be there to ensure that a similar fate never happened to me, the emotions still resonate powerfully. Every step of the way, I was right there with him.

This film isn't a great cinematic achievement by any means, but it did get me thinking, and both the two leads (Smith and his real-life son) are fantastic. If you're in the mood to watch a triumph of will, no pun intended, or if you just feel like crying, check it out.

Friday, December 29, 2006

My girlfriend and I just finished watching Little Miss Sunshine and I liked it so much I had to post a recommendation straight away.

From the heroin addicted grandfather, to the Nietzsche-worshiping son who's taken a vow of silence, to the uncle who's recently attempted suicide (and happens to be the premier Proust scholar in America), to the average-looking little girl with dreams of winning a beauty pageant, to the unemployed father attempting to market a motivational program, to the mother who's just trying to hold everything together, this family drama is truly compelling and engaging from start to finish.

I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I think you will, too.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

First, the work of self-taught NYC artist Lori Field:

Renaissance Woman

Eastern Bonnet

Next, Bo Culpepper, who got his MFA in painting at East Carolina University:

Untitled Drawing 4

Untitled Drawing 7

And lastly, check out this Jonathan Lethem article on the late James Brown.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Thanks to ONETOKENBLACKGUY for putting me onto this beautiful Death Cab video, "I Will Follow You Into the Dark":

Let’s begin with The Clayton Brothers (Rob & Christian). One was born in Ohio, the other in Colorado, and now they both reside in California:


Note From the Staff

My brother put it perfectly when he turned to me while the credits were rolling and said, "De Palma could have made a really interesting movie about The Black Dahlia; but he didn't."

As a die-hard fan of the old De Palma classics from the 80s, it breaks my heart to report that his new flick is a cinematic tragedy. Simply put, the De Palma of old is gone daddy gone. No more jaw-dropping camera work, no more edge-of-your-seat suspense. Now all we're left with is a plain-looking, two and a half hour borefest.

My advice: skip this picture and rent Body Double instead. We must always remember that contrary to his last few disasters, De Palma was once a true auteur.

In closing, check out the zany Dutch artists Persijn Broersen & Margit Lukacs:

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Check out Square America, a gallery of vintage snapshots & vernacular photography:

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Today I give you two Californian artists.

The first is Nintendo-inspired Bob Dob:

Some Things Never Change

Rough Night Out

The second is Martha Rich:

Freedomwig 1

The One

Freedom Puffs

Friday, December 22, 2006

Born in England and raised in Nigeria, Yinka Shonibare currently lives and works in London:

Scramble for Africa

The Swing (after Fragonard)

Scientists in Liverpool have concluded that Shakespearean language excites positive brain activity. In other words, reading his stuff really does make you smarter. Click here to read the article.

The Economist says Postmodernism is the new black.

Here is a site with loads of sweet essays and lectures by the likes of Zizek, Agamben, and Deleuze, among others, including this cool Columbia lecture where Zizek says: "Democracy" means that whatever electoral manipulation took place, every political agent will unconditionally respect the results.

Click here to listen to Miles Davis Radio.

Rheim Alkadhi, the daughter of an American mother and an Iraqi father, lived in the Middle East throughout the 1970s and now lives in Los Angeles. These images are from her project entitled My Lover in Unequal Parts: A Found Photo Project:

I Think to Ask

I Stand in the Street

And finally, check out this super cool Peter, Bjorn & John video for their tune Young Folks:

Thursday, December 21, 2006

The Pitchfork Top 50 Albums of 2006 is outright laughable. Seriously. The Knife (Silent Shout) as #1 Album of 2006? Really? Has someone sliced their collective medulla oblongata? No offense, but the best thing on that album sounds like the intro music to Coast to Coast AM with George Noory. I’m no aficionado, but anyone with ears can tell you that there’s something genuinely wrong with those Pitchfork people.

To counteract their foul list, I feel obliged to share my top 10 favorite albums of 2006.

But before the actual list, I should site two albums that are wild cards: two I've just recently started listening to, both of which are mesmerizing:

Joanna Newsom


number TEN

Gnarls Barkley
St. Elsewhere

number NINE

Margot & the Nuclear So and So's
The Dust of Retreat

number EIGHT

number SEVEN

Juana Molina

number SIX

The Mountain Goats
Get Lonely

number FIVE

number FOUR

Jenny Lewis with The Watson Twins
Rabbit Fur Coat

number THREE

number TWO

Grizzly Bear
Yellow House

number ONE

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Check out the pretty Lumini Mattia Digital Art Gallery:

So Far

Need to Think

In preparation for the nationally televised Lakers game on Christmas day, check out this sweet compilation of Kobe’s game winning highlights.

Click here to listen to Zizek’s excellent Master Class on Jacques Lacan: A Lateral Introduction.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

You owe it to yourself to watch this video of a guitar virtuoso named Andy McKee:

While traveling to visit my girlfriend’s folks in Pennsylvania this past weekend, I listened to a couple books-on-tape: Jeanette Winterson’s Weight, and Sarah Vowell’s Assassination Vacation.

Susie Breck and Dick Hill nearly destroy Winterson's gorgeous prose with their horrific voices. Seriously. Were I not a diehard Winterson fan, I would have never finished listening. Aside from the ear-wrenching irritation from exposure to those two over-actors droning on in the most pretentious locutions, I truly felt a sharp twinge of embarrassment for Winterson. She could hardly be proud of what they've done to her lovely book. If it were my novel that they butchered, I would sue them and demand the publisher burn every existing copy. It doesn't make sense why Winterson just didn't read it herself, with her elegant British accent. A wordsmith of her caliber should never entrust her words to such disgusting amateurs. Luckily, even the most hideous of voices is no match for the splendor of Winterson's language. She is a literary gem. Her sentences are like ice cold sweet tea on the hottest day of summer. Here's an example:

"All the stories are here, silt-packed and fossil-stored. The book of the world opens anywhere, chronology is one method only and not the best. Clocks are not time. Even radioactive rock-clocks, even gut-spun DNA, can only tell time like a story."

If you’re in the mood for a retelling of the Atlas myth, you should certainly check out this slim volume; but under no circumstances should you listen to the audio recording!

You really can’t go wrong with an opening like, “One night last summer, all the killers in my head assembled on a stage in Massachusetts to sing show tunes.” Vowell is another writer who crafts choice sentences, which is especially important when attempting to make a book about the first three presidential assassinations interesting. I, for one, had little interest in the death of Lincoln, Garfield, or McKinley; but with her enthusiasm and artistry, Vowell pulled me into her obsession. Another good thing about this recording is that the author did it herself, which saves her from the destruction of Breck and Hill. Alongside Vowell’s little-girl voice, there are guest appearances by John Stewart, Conan O’Brian, Catherine Keener, Eric Bogosian, and loads of other people, who give life to these historical characters. As opposed to the Winterson, I would highly recommend this audio recording.

German artist Sonja Feldmeier gathered various people of different age, background, cultural and social affiliation, and asked them to describe the face of someone famous that they admired, for a new collection entitled Phantom OO. Using the same software that Criminal Investigation Departments use to produce composite sketches, she created these images:

Elvis Presley, Musician

Marylin Monroe, Actress

Captain Picard, Star Fleet Captain

Johnny Depp, Actor