Tuesday, July 31, 2007

This is unbelievable, but sadly true: on the same day that Bergman died, so did Michelangelo Antonioni.

Click here to read the NYTimes obit.

Find out more about Antonioni here and here.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Today an enormous hole opened in the world, which can never be filled. Ingmar Bergman, one of the most influential artists in my life, has passed away.

In memory, Caitlin and I will dedicate this weekend to watching his films.

Read more about Bergman here and here.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

"Our sun is dying."

Danny Boyle strikes again. This time he takes us beyond the earthly domain of heroin addicts, beach bums, catholics, and zombies, to explore outer space.

I enjoyed Sunshine, despite the final act, which seems to ruin any chance of this film ever being considered a masterpiece. I blame Alex Garland, the writer, because the problem is most certainly not in the execution, but rather in a lame story turn toward the end. Also, the conclusion is way too Hollywood for a movie that spends two hours preparing us for an unhappy ending.

That being said, I literally lost my breath a few times due to the sheer intensity. It is delightfully unnerving in the same way as Cameron's The Abyss, and visually as captivating as Kubrick's 2001. All in all, I'd recommend seeing it in the theater; sure, the DVD will probably have a director's cut, which will eliminate the obviously studio enforced ending, but the magnitude of this film demands the big screen.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Megan Karlen lives and works in NYC:

UnderGround February 33

UnderGround April 11

Friday, July 27, 2007

Travis Louie got his BFA from the Pratt Institute:

Norman & Jenkins

Naven Overcomes His Spider Phobia

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

In Houston, Dan Havel and Dean Ruck created Inversion: Tunnel House Installation:

You can actually go through the house:

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Last night, Caitlin & I went to Borders at midnight to get the final Harry Potter book, and it was madness, simply madness. By my count there must have been in excess of five hundred people (given that everyone was issued a colored bracelet, 150 people per color, and there were at least four colors). To think, this was just one little bookstore in a city with a dozen more like it. Which got me thinking...what would life be like in a culture where the new Gary Lutz (which I just received a couple weeks ago) had such a following?

I like to imagine a parallel universe where writers like Lutz get the recognition they deserve. Where Lutz's former editor, Gordon Lish, is properly revered for his insight and contribution to literature. Where sentences are held in higher esteem than stories. Where other of Lish's writers: Ben Marcus, Amy Hempel, Barry Hannah, etc., are also enthusiastically championed by the masses.

This is not meant to take anything away from J.K. Rowling, who has done a wonderful thing by creating this world in which so many people find happiness. It's merely a thought I had as I waded through wizards and witches last night.

After you finish reading The Deathly Hallows, why not order a copy of Gary Lutz's newest minicollection, Partial List of People to Bleach, for only $6.00 from Future Tense Books? Then you could have the best of both worlds.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Dutch artist Theo Jansen creates what he calls Strandbeests -- autonomous, wind-powered plastic tube creatures, many the size of elephants or larger, that roam the beaches of Holland:

Click here to watch a video of Jansen speaking about his work.

Click here to read an interview.

Below is a sample video of his work. If you like it, click here to see more videos.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

British artist James Roper:

Cytherea explicates the enfolded

Death ball

The Ecstasy of Jenna Jameson

Monday, July 16, 2007

Lamar Peterson got his MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design:

The Painter


Death and the Maiden

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Friday, July 13, 2007

Thanks to my brother for giving me the heads up on these new Diesel ads, from the ever-interesting Swedish artist Johan Renck:

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Here's a sweet new video from RJD2, which showcases the phenomenal performance artist Bill Shannon:

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Check out Dan Witz's summer project, Do Not Enter, appearing on the streets of NYC:

Monday, July 09, 2007

Today I give you two great music videos.

The first is by an ambient musician named Matthew Cooper who produces under the moniker Eluvium - sharing the name of Julie's wonderful website. This particular video is for his track "Genius and the Thieves." My brother described it as "kinda haunting," and one fan on their myspace page quipped, "Your music could make the devil cry":

The second is a track called "A Secret Message to You" from a band called Devics. You can hear more from them here. Note the use of a typewriter in place of drums, as well as the sweet use of an accordion:

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Editorial Comment (by a devout Marksonist)

The New York Times Book Review today published a very thoughtful review of David Markson's newest book, The Last Novel. Reviewer Catherine Textier calls it "a real tour de force," and instead of bashing Markson or taking him to task for his innovative style, she instead celebrates it.

Reading this article on my front porch this morning, I got to thinking: in light of the recent newspaper trend of axing book review sections, this particular article is a prime example of why we desperately need to have more book reviews, not less.

Introducing people to, and getting people interested and excited about the work of David Markson: one of the most important living writers of our time, who Publishers Weekly called "The Best Novelist You've Never Read" is important not only for the overall betterment of our society, but also for the cause of advancing creativity amongst those of us who construct prose.

Enough celebration has been given to the Philip Roths and John Updikes of the world, which has in turn led to the creation of a disgusting abundance of similarly-minded prose. (Could this brand of monotony be one reason why I have dozens of students every quarter who complain about the boringness of reading?)

You see, we need book reviews to get the word out about work that typically gets trampled by the literary elephants, so that more fiction writers might begin to question the tedious paint-by-number style, which would translate into more interesting work being created and more interesting work would lead to more readers interested in reading interesting work.

Ultimately, more people reading Markson means more people thinking about challenging convention. Perhaps this may even trickle down to those institutions who grant degrees in creative writing, so that they might actually begin to promote "creative" writing instead of "conventional" writing.

At any rate, I encourage everyone to buy The Last Novel, read it twice, pass it on to a family member, and then start spreading the news.

Other reviews of Markson's The Last Novel can be found at The Quarterly Conversation, and Bookslut.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Overall, the Fall 2007 haute couture collections don't seem as exciting as the spring collections were, but there are certainly some fun ideas. Here are a few of my favorites:

& in closing, one strange piece from:

ps - New Line Cinema and HBO are now officially making “Sex and the City” into a movie.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Andrew Huang is a fine arts major and animation minor at USC. Below you will find his beautiful short film entitled "Doll Face," which is a feast of sadness, hope, desire, A Clockwork Orange, Chris Cunningham, Freud, Lacan, Orson Wells, consumerism, plasticity, Baudrillard, Marshall McLuhan, Pandora's Box, civilization, technology, advertising, manipulation, gender identity, raging epistemological and ontological questions, not to mention the entire cycle of life from birth to death, all under four and a half minutes.


Thursday, July 05, 2007

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Here's the trailer for Paul Thomas Anderson's new flick, There Will Be Blood, which is loosely based on Upton Sinclair's novel Oil!, and is due out in November:

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Last night I watched a spectacular extravaganza of lyrical filmmaking, Simon Pummell's Bodysong. This is an experimental documentary from 2003, in the tradition of Godfrey Reggio's groundbreaking Qatsi Trilogy, which attempts to trace humanity through a collage of found footage from all over the world.

Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood did the haunting soundtrack, which alone is worth the price of rental.

I kid you not when I say that I squeamishly watched this film from beginning to end -- I say squeamish because there are certainly uncomfortable moments in this picture -- then I turned right around and watched it again with the director's commentary. It's that good! I highly recommend it.


On a completely unrelated note, I read an article in the Sunday NYTimes about the French electro group Justice, who are being hailed as the new Daft Punk. Their freshest album is out next week; its title is the symbol of the cross, which sorta also looks like the monolith in Kubrick's 2001. Here are two of their videos:


Remix of Simian Mobile Disco's “We Are Your Friends,” credited as Simian Mobile Disco vs. Justice (thanks to CSP for his help on this one)

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Ladies and Germs,

The fresh issue of DIAGRAM, the fruit of their 2007 Innovative Fiction Contest, judged by Michael Martone, is now alive and kicking. It's full of sweet stuff, including new work from:

Elisabeth Benjamin
Clay Matthews
Megan Milks
JoAnna Novak
Katherine Satorius
Mattie Quesenberry Smith
Teresa Shen Swingler
Holly Tavel
Girija Tropp

& yours truly.

Holly Tavel won the contest, deservedly so, with a fantastic piece that incorporates spooky photos. The rest of us were finalists.

Click here to enjoy.