Saturday, October 30, 2004

Ill Logic...

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Nader's tactics have come to this. Innocuous? Perhaps. Funny? Maybe. Give him a hand for trying to be funny but just don't give him your vote.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Paintings...

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The 'low-brow' art of Scott Saw. Featured on the blahblah gallery.

Music...

Here are four CD's I'm listening to now.

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Something Old[er]
After seeing the documentary Dig! I had to buy a Brian Jonestown Massacre CD. Anton Newcombe may be disturbed but the guy writes great rock songs with good hooks.

Something New
Dogs Die in Hot Cars is a Scottish rock group that really has a good sound and enjoyable lyrics. Great driving music.

Something Borrowed
I borrowed this Joseph Arthur CD and it's searing and emotionally charged rock is so damn good that I'm trying to avoid giving it back for a few days. At least until I can burn it.

Something Blue
Blue Note that is.... Hank Moberley was one of the great Jazz tenor saxophonists of the 1960's. I love the laid back yet progressive sound of this CD.


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And here's an mp3 link to Eminem's latest: A political screed against Bush. [The video can be seen here but it takes a while to download]. It's not particularly good but the lyrics are worth a listen.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Concert Posters...

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Methane Studios Silkscreened handmade posters of some of today's hottest indie rock bands. [Via Exclamation Point]

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Civil War...

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Civil War Photos.net. Over 1000 photos from the Civil War era.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Photos...

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Marcus Doyle's color work

His images, which are shot during the twilight or evening hours, exhibit highly saturated colors and a formalism that hints of surrealism.

"I began travelling with my camera and became interested in the boundaries people create within a society and started to photograph examples of these using large format cameras.
[via Penny Dreadful]

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Comic Art...

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John Buscema was one of my favorite comic artists when I was a kid. His clean line drawings still bring back memories of comic collecting in the days when comics were 25 cents. He [arguably] drew Thor and The Silver Surfer as well as Jack the King Kirby.

Official Site here

Cool gallery here.
Song for Dick and Lynne Cheney.



In the spirit of such song writers as Mad Kane I was inspired last weekend to write a song for the Cheney's. It should be sung Bob-Dylan-style to the music of The Traveling Wilburys' song 'Congratulations'.

Fake indignation - you're breaking my heart
Fake indignation - when's your weeping going to start?
Fake indignation - you almost did succeed
Fake indignation - with your calculated screed

This morning I looked out my window and found
A Republican spinning but no one else was around
Your daughter's sexuality cannot be discussed
Except when it serves your particular purpose

Fake indignation -you're up to your tricks
Fake indignation - of playing dirty politics
Fake indignation – you're bringing us down
Fake indignation - we’d be better off without you around

I guess that I almost believed you when you called Kerry bad
But behind your scowls you were actually pretty glad
You had one more chance to distort the record again
Another disingenuous attack as a means to an end

Fake indignation - you're making use of hate
Fake indignation - I hope it's too late
Fake indignation – enough is enough
Fake indignation - let's hope the voters call your bluff

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Photos...

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5000 Days: Press Photography in a Changing World
370 of the best photos from the British Press Photographers' Association taken over the past couple of years have been put in a book titled "Five Thousand Days".

The act of photographers getting together to publish what they see as great photography is an attempt to show the world who we are and what we do now and what we all aspire to do.

The online gallery is small but the photos are stunning, disturbing, amusing and intriguing.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Talks and Shouts...

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Chait
"Meanwhile, Dick Cheney as a member of Congress from Wyoming voted to raise taxes 144 times. If 98 tax-hike votes make Kerry a far-out liberal, than Cheney would have to be placed somewhere in the ideological vicinity of Che Guevara."

Hersch
"It doesn't matter that Bush scares the hell out of me. What matters is that he scares the hell out of a lot of very important people in Washington who can't speak out, in the military, in the intelligence community. They know in ways that none of us know, the incredible gap between what is and what [Bush] thinks."

Speigelman
"I figured that until the election, I'd might as well be out talking with people, rather than home yelling at a television set. This is how I understand the election -- it's a choice between going to hell faster and going to hell at the usual speed."

Noah
"If you think of Red America as stubbornly self-reliant and Blue America as a drain on the Treasury, you've got it exactly backward....[L]ay off Massachusetts*, Mr. President. When you took the oath of office, you swore to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of all 50 United States, not just the ones that voted for you. We fought a war about this, and the secessionists lost."

*For every dollar it pays Uncle Sam in taxes, Massachusetts receives only 79 cents back in federal services and subsidies. That ranks it 44th among the 50 states in federal expenditures per dollar of taxes.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Vintage Post Cards...

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Antique Postcards of Dancers [Some are NSFW in the National Geographic sense]

Sunday, October 10, 2004

In Memorium...

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In memory of both Jacques Derrida and Janet Leigh I will attempt to deconstruct the shower sequence in Psycho.

Besides being one of the most famous montage scenes in film history it also became a part of popular culture.

The overall scene as Marion (Leigh) enters the bathroom starts at the 46:10 point of the movie, which is 1 hour and 48 minutes in length. This means it happens right about the end of the second act in most movies. The scene begins as Marion enters the bathroom and flushes paper that she has written a sum of money on. The flushing of the money twirls down the drain much as her own blood does down the shower drain after the stabbing scene.

Some trivial facts:
- The scene begins as 46:10 and ends at 49:36. In that period there are 57 shots.
- At 46:42 Marion closes the shower curtain thus signaling the end of the film's first act.
- The stabbing montage scene begins [act two] as the killer enters the bathroom at 47:02 and opens the curtain at 47:14.
- The scene ends as Marion's hand on the tiles at 47:42.
- The montage scene contains 35 shots in 40 seconds.
- Of the 35 shots 6 are out-of-focus. 4 are of Marion's body, one is of her hand and another is of the killer stabbing [although his hand does come into focus at the end of the shot]
- 8 times we see a front shot of the killer stabbing.
- There are 12 stab attempts.
- 8 stabs actually take effect.
- In 2 shots during the stabbing scene we see blood.
- 2 times we actually see the knife make contact; one on the stomach and once on the back. Although we don't see them penetrate the skin. This is part of the brilliance of the scene. It is brutal yet there is no gore and very little blood.
- The musical score for the scene lasts 54 seconds. It begins at 47:14 and ends at 48:08.
- Marion dies at 48:10
- 4 times we see the shower head [phalic symbol] spewing water.
- Between shot 54 and 55 there is a dissolve from the sink in the shower to a close-up of Marion's eye (a complex votex from whence things seen disappear). Then a brilliant single take from her death stare past the toilet to the next room with a shot of the newspaper which contains the money and out to a shot of Norman's house.
- The strongest shot in the scene is the close-up of Marions' mouth. Her mouth - like the toilet, like the shower drain and like her eye - are all receptical openings.

What does the scene mean? It's obviously psycho- sexual. But more importantly it combines the pleasure one feels in ultimate privacy with that of the unpleasantness of unimaginable brutality. Adding to this is the fact that the killer is a man dressed as a woman. But too Marion's death is a sort of punishment for her own crimes. Albeit at the hands of a much greater criminal. In this way Hitchcock has been accused of being mysogynistic and perhaps he had some pleasure in showing us the perverse death of a beautiful woman but I think he was stayng truer to the aesthetic of horror movies.

The next level worth considering is that it is a movie. More importantly perhaps is the cultural significance of the movie. Few movies change the way we think about and do things. If anything this scene shows us one of the worst ways to die. Hitchock understood this and exploited it to the fullest. Without question a whole lot of women (and men) started to lock the bathroom door after this and many began to consider baths over showers. It's possible he gave some killers an idea in how to murder but in some ways he possibly saved lives. There is no question that this movie helped spawn a whole bunch of imitators from Brian DePalma to Dario Argento. I guess it's too late to thank him.

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Bright Lights has a good reading of this scene.
At Saul Bass Net you can edit your own version of the scene.

*[Okay, I'll admit this isn't really a deconstruction as much as it is a close reading or an analysis. But even Derrida stayed away from the definition of deconstruction.]

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Monday, October 04, 2004

Simple Still Life...

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Scott Fraser is a contemporary realist who uses oil paint as his medium and everyday objects as his subject matter. Yet the longer you look at his paintings the more they reveal.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Singing the Body...

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Mona Kuhn's photos are at once commercial and artistic. [NTFW] [Sorry, meant NSFW]

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Richard Avedon 1923 - 2004

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A few quotes:

**Sometimes I think all my pictures are just pictures of me. My concern is...the human predicament; only what I consider the human predicament may simply be my own.

**I am a natural photographer. It is my language, I speak through my photographs more intricately, more deeply than with words.

**The moment an emotion or fact is transformed into a photograph it is no longer a fact but an opinion. There is no such thing as inaccuracy in a photograph. All photographs are accurate. None of them is the truth.

**My portraits are much more about me than they are about the people I photograph. I used to think that it was a collaboration, that it was something that happened as a result of what the subject wanted to project and what the photographer wanted to photograph. I no longer think it is that at all. The photographer has complete control, the issue is a moral one and it is complicated.

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Articles:

American Masters

Metropolitan Museum

Gallery of Image links


Friday, October 01, 2004

Watch this movie...

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Going Upriver opens todays in numerous theatres nationwide. If you want to know more about John Kerry and the numerous Veterans who came back and had the courage and conviction to voice their opposition to the Vietnam war then get yourself out to a movie theatre near you to watch it.


Read my review here.