Sunday, December 31, 2006

New Year's Eve

2006 has been a year of great personal joy and trauma for me. So many events have happened to effect my perception of time and space. The delay in trying to process, that is to modify my life to fit certain preconceived notions of what is acceptable behavior has really drawn me so far apart from the person I am-- I feel the tendency to hibernate is the best option. I always have too many books or films on my plate to investigate anyway; at least that hasn't changed. My thoughts keep racing ahead, trying to construct lines, following a particular path that will lead me back to some kind of comfort, some kind of productive activity. Perhaps it is part of human nature to always return to certain fundamental ideas and work forward from them.

Expect better things in 2007 -- watch this space.

To all my friends and acquaintances:
I miss you when I'm not with you.

Have a Happy and Healthy New Year!

Friday, December 29, 2006

radio reminder

I will be on the air starting January 5, 2007, barring any unforseen events. Tonight enjoy Chris's last show of 2006.

My last playlist of 2006.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The Children of Men - Dir: Alfonso Cuarón

Earlier today I read this exchange between Richard Posner and David Cole about contemporary interpretations of American civil liberties. Then, this evening, I saw The Children of Men. It is currently only playing in one theater in Boston right now but deserves a much larger audience. As J. Hoberman points out in his Village Voice review, the film does not deserve this fate. It says so much about our time that I am still trying to process it all. The film is gorgeous to look at as the screen is filled with cool blues, greys and greens. It maintains this serious mood throughout the film, with little time for jokes (it was funny noticing the former political cartoonist's work as being actually done by Steve Bell, who does cartoons for the Guardian UK newspaper). The audience sat in silence through most of it and actually applauded the film at the end. I haven't seen that happen in a commercial theatre in quite a while. So many aspects of the film recall -- not specifically other films (with the exception, possibly, of Barry Hinds "Threads") but actual news stories, recent events. This is probably why there is little advance notice of this film here. So many images recall political demonstrations in the Middle East and the tortures of Abu Ghraib or Gitmo. The story serves as a sharp reminder of what a society with sharp curbs on civil liberties looks like. [in progress]

Note: Time Out London's interview with the director is quite illuminating.

recent articles of note - large update {ICA BOSTON, Political Animals}

Christopher Hawthorn comments on Boston's new ICA. It is the first American building by New York firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro (who will be at the ICA in early January to discuss the project.)

The Guardian UK looks at the political meaning of animated films featuring animals. The silenceof Bao Ninh. Mark Morford on America losing another war. The CBC looks at 2006: the year in books.
The Washington Post on Inequality. Eric Schlosser in the New York Times wonders if politics have diluted the food supply. Grayson Perry was interviewed in the Independent UK.
A.S. Byatt reviews Toril Moi's new book on Ibsen.
Art Historian Robert Rosenblum passed away [NYT]
Martin Nodell, The Creator of the Green Lantern, Passed Away [CBC]
Nigel Kneale, British Science Fiction teleplay writer, Passed Away [Guardian UK]
Canada's Top Ten films of 2006.
Jonathan Rosenbaum's Top Ten films of 2006.
New Wonders from the Deep [CBC] - Marine Census 2006

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Happy Christmas! Frohe Weihnachten! Joyeux Noël!

Best wishes in this holiday season.

The Children of Men Dir: Alfonso Cuarón - advance notice

Details: 2006, UK/USA/Rest of the world, Drama/Adventure/Thriller/Sci-fi, cert 15, 114 mins, Dir: Alfonso Cuarón
With: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Clive Owen, Julianne Moore, Michael Caine
Summary: London, 2027. The last human child was born 18 years ago and amid a race war, humankind's survival depends on protecting a woman who has become miraculously pregnant. (source material: novel by P.D. James)

I've anticipated this film since I read Guardian UK film reviewer, Peter Bradshaw's comment on it back in early September. In the opening paragraphs he references Barry Hines' "Threads" and the 70s TV programme "Survivors" (not to mention Roy Andersson's "Songs of the Seventh Floor")-- two of the more frightening and realistic interpretations of a post-apocalyptic future. The look and the content of "The Children of Men" are certainly bracing enough, as a depiction of present fears of society. Phillip French, in his review goes on to recall Volker Schlondorff's vision of Margaret Atwood's "The Handmaid's Tale", as scripted by Nobel laureate Harold Pinter. This can only be a good sign. I've been waiting for a film like this for quite a while. Something that will contextualize the direction Western society may go if current policies maintain. The only thing that's been out there apart from the many documentaries analyzing the problem, are torture films.

Official Sites: UK US

The US release date is December 25, 2006.

Wesley Morris wrote an excellent review in the Boston Globe.
J. Hoberman has thisto say.


Further reading on apocalyptic films should include the genius that is Kim Newman's book "Millenium Movies: End of the World Cinema".

22nd December 2006 - playlist - Happy Christmas Everyone.

Fri Dec 22nd 2006 7.00pm–10.00pm

Like everything else, times are approximate.

Swinging Buildings “praying for a cheaper christmas” from the ghosts of christmas past (Les Disques Du Crepuscule)
Pascal Comelade “Sequence 6” from Back to Schizo (1975-1983)
The Durutti Column “Silent Nite” from return of the sporadic recordings (Kooky)
Jay-jay Johanson “Breaking Glass” from THE LONG TERM PHYSICAL EFFECTS ARE NOT YET KNOWN (2006)
Paul Haig “Scottish Christmas” from Ghosts of Christmas Past
Matching Mole “Signed Curtain” from Matching Mole CD
John Foxx “the shadow of a woman's hand” from cathedral oceans III
The Pale Fountains “Benoit's Christmas”
Anne Laplantine “Keep Me Updated” from Nordheim
Cabaret Voltaire “Invocation” from Ghosts of Christmas Past
David Sylvian “A Fire In the Forest” from blemish
Marc Leclair “114e jour” from musique pour 3 femmes enceintes
Jay-jay Johanson “Time Will Show Me” from THE LONG TERM PHYSICAL EFFECTS ARE NOT YET KNOWN (2006)
Wim Mertens “As Hay In the Sun” from Jardin Clos CD
Yann Tiersen “Rue Des Cascades” CD ALBUM (Ici D'ailleurs)
Mika Vainio “night frost” from Kantamoinen CD ALBUM (Sahko)
Tuxedomoon “Weinachts rap” from ghosts of christmas past CD
Seigen Ono “Olive Tree (For Kosovo - dedicated to peace)” from SD- 2000 Songs CD ALBUM (Saidera)
Antena “noelle a hawai” from Antena EP (Les Disques Du Crepuscule
Arto Lindsay “My Mind is Going” from O Corpo Sutil
Jay-jay Johanson “Jay-Jay Johanson Again” from THE LONG TERM PHYSICAL EFFECTS ARE NOT YET KNOWN (2006)
Michael Nyman “cream or christians” from ghosts of christmas past
Hiroshi Fujiwara “Hard Boiled Dub” from In Dub Conference
Alpha “My Things” from My things
Philip Glass “secret agent”
Jay-jay Johanson “New Year's Eve” from THE LONG TERM PHYSICAL EFFECTS ARE NOT YET KNOWN (2006)
The Durutti Column “snowflakes” from the Ghosts of Christmas Past
Penguin Cafe Orchestra “air a danser” from preludes, airs & yodels
Laurie Anderson “the night flight from houston”
Moondog “bird's lament” from The Viking Of Sixth Avenue CD
Montgolfier Brothers “Journey's End” CD EP (Vespertine & Son)
Jay-jay Johanson “rocks in pockets” from THE LONG TERM PHYSICAL EFFECTS ARE NOT YET KNOWN (2006)
Mania D “Stille Nacht goes disco” from Ghosts of Christmas Past (Les Disques Du Crepuscule)
Brian Eno “How Many Worlds” from Another Day On Earth CD ALBUM (Rykodisc 2005)
The Village “childhood” from "the Village" (Elefant
Coldcut “Autumn Leaves” (BMG records (UK) 1993)
Francois De Roubaix “La Scoumoune” from Anthologie Vol. 1
BJ Nilsen “Gotland” from Touch 25
Tuxedomoon “You (Christmas Mix)” from Solve Et Coagula

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Jay-Jay Johanson - The Long Term Physical Effects Are Not Yet Known

Jay-Jay Johanson

1. She Doesn't Live Here Anymore
2. Time Will Show Me
3. Coffin
4. Rocks in Pockets
5. As Good As It Gets
6. Only For You
7. Jay-Jay Johanson Again
8. Breaking Glass
9. New Year's Eve
10. Tell Me When The Party's Over / Prequiem
11. Peculiar

The new work from Swedish crooner, Jay-Jay Johanson, is a welcome return to form. The premise here is loss and isolation. There is a rough aspect to all the songs that make this his most coherent album since Poison. This album is full of the fear and despair one feels in the absence of a loved one. Where Poison drew on elements of rock, electronica and hip-hop, the new album's closest references are jazz and movie soundtracks. Jay-Jay's new album has a very European-style cinematic feel, notions of Francois de Roubaix, Michel Legrand and Philippe Sarde's darker work are evoked. Jay-Jay was inspired to sing from listening to Chet Baker, then later the sound and success Portishead achieved provide two touchstones for his work.

The first song "She doesn't live here anymore", sets the tone for the rest of the album as it opens with the rhythmic sound of bells before a slow percussive march and John Barry-style bass guitar kicks in. The song chronicles a man's withdrawal and regression from society. It is breathtaking in its litany of despair. From this point on, a good part of the disc feels like the mental state of this man. "Time will show me" starts with a noisy Hammond organ sound before lapsing into a meditation on this period of separation. The next track "Coffin", one of the quieter songs, seems to take up the story from where the song "Escape" on the album Poison left off – he now contemplates digging a grave for himself as everything he does in life makes him feel worse. The mood changes slightly with "Rocks in Pockets". (rumored to be the next single) It is one of the more fully cinematic pieces. It starts with this bouncy, percussive beat and ominous strings which lay down a dense, atmospheric bed of sound, setting the scene for what is to come. Jay-Jay's voice rises above it all: 'Pack your bags – Keep it Quiet" – the first lines hang in the air and move on, barely having time to settle before the scene quickly shifts. This is a song of movement, it chronicles the thrill (and desire) of an escape. Most of the lyrics start with verbs, placing the motion of the journey on the ears of the listener. It is the story of two people who leave home on a mysterious mission. The song feels reminiscent of a dark thriller or possibly Alain Tanner's film "Messidor"—a destructive and desperate sense pervades the atmosphere. Following this, the mood turns light, and almost jazzy with "As Good As It Gets", perhaps the happiest song on the disc. It talks of memories of childhood, of being pushed from a great height and surviving. What could have ended in death becomes a recognition of life pushing one onwards. "Only For You" is quieter as its story gets darker, a person suppressing himself and his identity in order to prove his love. "Jay-Jay Johanson Again" is a wry tune about Jay-Jay's thoughts as he performs for the audience (it ends with the genius lines "look in my eyes, you'll recognize: Jay-Jay Johanson"). "Breaking Glass" (not a David Bowie cover) is another quieter track, that expresses the need to 'forget the past', musically it's interesting, he sings over a percussive beat formed by his own breath. "New Year's Eve" again talks of the absence and longing for a former love around that time of year, it is one of the saddest tracks I've heard on the subject. It is also perhaps the most real, as it address the loneliness many people commonly feel around that time. "Tell me when the party's over" is another quieter tune that slowly fades away into the brief coda that is "Prequiem"—a piece that ends with the sound of strings and helicopters. The final track on the album, "Peculiar", is almost like Jay-Jay Johanson does Tom Jobim, it has this odd bossa nova type quality to it. Jay-Jay sings about a girl called Peculiar—it's a funny little song and an irreverent ending to an album that is so moody.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

recent articles of note - large update

Alberto Manguel investigates libraries

Counterterrorism measures sometimes foiled in europe. A new German film fund has been set up. Christian-themed music sales are on the rise. The consequences of cultural imperialism as reported by Luis MartÍnez-FernÁndez may have little consequence at all. Canadian documentaries are suffering from their own kind of limitations. Emma Brockes interviews Turner Prize winner Tomma Abts. Anthony Lane gets into Disney's world. The Washington Post's recent expose on the Milk Lobby. Time Out New York's panel rates the critics.

Dirk Dirksen passed away – Los Angeles Times obituary

The Complaints Choir of Helsinki gives everyone something to sing about.

Remembrances - finding solid ground

O! Regret, O! Fantasy - I remember reading ghost stories with a loved one lying close to me. Its all in the past, will I ever escape such echoes at long last? The nearest memories are all about me. I try to be colder I try to impose less of myself here -- to mediate the emotion with some other form of expression, to keep it from decaying into pointless shouts and screaming. Its the holidays: I journey for marzipan-laden treats on warmer days, when I have time for a walk-- time to assess where I've been and where I'm going. I don't think I will ever entirely escape the past -- it will change, that is certain. My love is still there, suppressed, being pushed towards a different form, It won't die out. I spend my time reading most days, that or enjoying cinema or television programs on DVD from the UK or Canada. Anything that makes me smile is good at this point. My concerns, my ideas, my outlook will not go away. I felt such a strong bond with another in this past year, its hard for me to think about it all and what its become. Am I being intentionally obtuse, here? Perhaps. I'm not one to divulge everything, I've become trite enough already descussing my concerns. Still, it is good to write freely here in this arena. I doubt it is of much interest anyway. The other items that are posted here are the real attraction, the transmission of information about other cultural products. My own commentary and aggregation of thought is of little concern.

One last thing, my journeys home in the evening these past few weeks have been marked by the presence of various furry creatures. I saw an unusual animal as I departed Harvard Square once. At first I thought it was a cat coming out from under a parked car but it seemed considerably larger-- so I decided to follow it at that point to learn more. The animal, when it finally appeared in the evening light by the side of a building looked somewhat like a giant white rat with a similar tail and snout but was larger and furrier. I stood there and stared at it for a few minutes. I wanted to tell someone about it on my way home but didn't have anyone to phone. My guess is the unusually warm weather is responible for these occurences, either that or my imagination is really getting the best of me.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Das parfum by Patrick Süskind as directed by Tom Twyker

Coeli Carr from NYT reporting in IHT and also msnbc

I'm still not convinced it will make a good film. The story is compelling but seems inappropriate for the medium.

an edited extract from On Love and Death by Patrick Süskind appeared in the Guardian UK

a la lettre on the book (en francais) Leselust (auf Deutsch) and Wikipedia entry in English.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

on the air this Friday - WZBC - 1900-2200 EST

Expect to hear the old and the new, as well as seasonal treats:
"The Long Term Physical Effects are Not Yet Known" by Jay-Jay Johanson
"Ghosts of Christmas Past" - a Les Disques du Crepuscle compilation
and others...

Please listen.

radio - wzbc - "off the cuff" playlist from Nov. 17

This is the playlist from November 17, 2006.

John Foxx “kurfurstendamm” from Tiny Colour Movies CD ALBUM (Metamatic 2006)
Pan American “train station” from Personal Settings CD COMP (Quatermass)
Infantjoy “Composure (with ISAN)” from With (2006)
Mika Vainio “Winter Spirit” from Kantamoinen CD ALBUM (Sahko Recordings)
Chris Watson and BJ Nilsen “No Man's Land” from Storm CD ALBUM (Touch)
Epic 45 “August Passed Away Unnoticed” from Reckless Engineers
Jay-jay Johanson “Skeletal” from Whiskey CD ALBUM (BMG Sweden)
Jay-jay Johanson “I'm older now” from Whiskey CD ALBUM (BMG Sweden)
The Durutti Column “Snowflakes” from Lips that would kiss(FBN)
Infantjoy “Ghosts (With Populous)” from With (2006)
Harmonia “vamos companeros” from harmonia '76 CD ALBUM (Rykodisc)
July Skies “Countryside of 1938” from where the days go (make mine music)
Wally Van Middendorp “raving lunatic #1” from some of the interesting things you'll see on a long distance flight (Les Disques Du Crepuscule)
Richard Jobson “etiquette”
Richard Jobson “pavillion pole"
Francois De Roubaix from Anthologie Vol. 1 CD ALBUM (A-musik)
Bene Gesserit “kitchen music for kitchen people” from A High Happy Perverse and Cynical Cry of Joy (Insane Records)
The Montgolfier Brothers “une chanson du crepuscle” from seventeen stars (Vespertine)
Wim Mertens “Often a Bird” from Jardin Clos CD ALBUM (Les Disques Du Crepuscule)
Francois De Roubaix “Chapi Chapo” from Anthologie Vol. 1 CD
Felix Kubin “Psyko Billy” from Matki Wandalki (A Musik)
Felix Kubin “Hit me, provider” from Matki Wandalki (A Musik)
Steven Brown “la vie est belle” from composes pour le theatre et le cinema LP
Matching Mole “Signed Curtain” from Matching Mole CD ALBUM
Arthur Russell “See Through Love” from Another Thought CD ALBUM
David Kristian “Fragmaneted Skyway” from Sweet Bits CD ALBUM (monochrome)
Jay-jay Johanson “Only for You Remix” from She Doesn't Live Here Anymore(EMI Sweden)
Thomas Brinkmann “4” from rosa (Max Ernst)
Coti “Beben G.” from Lido/Lato CD ALBUM (Poeta Negra)
Janek Schaefer “between the two” from In the Last Hour CD ALBUM (Room 40)
Infantjoy “Without” from With (2006)
Mika Vainio “In Wind” from Kantamoinen CD ALBUM (Sahko)
Cluster “2” from Cluster '71 LP ALBUM (Sky 1983)
Chris Watson and BJ Nilsen “SIGWX” from Storm CD ALBUM (Touch)

Friday, December 01, 2006

Looking Back

The more I am isolated from others the more I feel the weight of my emotions. I don't want to refer to "Peeling Onions" or "The Onion Cellar" - as they've both been getting enough press -- but the concept is still the same looking back on one's past is a lot like peeling onions, there are many layers and as you get closer to the center, they make you cry. I've found a few years worth of old journals of mine from six years ago recently. It is funny what I said, in view of going through what I did at the time, and I wonder how long it will take. When will I stop treading over the same ground? Now, I lose myself in other stories, biographies, narrative fictions, the bliss of the creative mind. As the days go on, I miss so many people I have loved and lost.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Penguin Cafe Orchestra - Music For a Found Harmonium

Music for a Found Harmonium - South Bank Show 1987
(something to calm me down)
Also check - Perpetuum Mobile for more.

Disgust. - things that steal time -

I realize Elizabeth Kantor's book "The Politically Incorrect Guide to English and American Literature" is meant as a response to a perceived demographic, and a so-called editorial in a forum such as The Boston Globe is designed to infuriate certain members of the public however, I am moved to offer it up for discussion here.

There are so many problems with this editorial, I don't know where to begin. The original conclusion of the 'study' was in regard to civic awareness of American students. The implication of the conclusion of the study is that American high school students apparently learned more in high school about American history than college (the difference of actual knowledge learned about American history from incoming college freshmen to seniors is an negligable 1% according to the study - complete details here - note also the source of funding for the study etc). This woman's reactionary critique of so-called cultural deficiency uses this study as a springboard to then discuss American English departments and attack the perceived methods of their faculty. She mentions how good it is to glorify military acts (using the phrase "military virtue" a couple of times), as well as insisting on vague notions of self-government and appealing to a work of fiction, Milton's "Paradise Lost" as necessary because it is pro-religion and anti-enlightenment.

"CHIVALRY is less an institution than an ideal.
This fact is set forth clearly by Léon Gautier
in his distinguished book, La Chevalerie." - Chivalry in English Literature: Chaucer, Malory, Spenser, and Shakespeare by William Henry Schofield; Harvard University, 1912

Perhaps she should give Francis Wheen's book "How Mumbo-jumbo Conquered The World" a try. Then again, that will never happen as this book is published by Regnery. It is an odd enterprise: to publish a series of books like this that are largely based on ideology than anything else.

There is no Ministry of Culture in America and therefore no official culture per se. To argue that there is one coherent basis for Western (apparently exclusively English language according to Ms. Kantor) thought, that somehow modern academics are neglecting, is fallacious.

The Letters section of the Boston Globe echoes my response. As well as this set of letters.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

recent articles - late November

Plans for a green dance club in Rotterdam. Christopher Lee in the Washington Post reports on the USDA relaxing regulations on GMOs. Also in the Washington Post, Anthony Faiola talks about the recent crackdown on bad sushi. Doreen Carvajal in the International Herald Tribune discusses French youth radio expansion (yes, this is about Skyrock). James Vaznis in the Boston Globe reports on library attraction/expansion in the USA via cafe culture.
Kristin Downey in the Washington Post reports on Watters v Wachovia Bank, due to come before the US Supreme court.

Philippe Noiret passed away (From an early role in "La Pointe-Courte" under Agnes Varda's direction, to the Uncle in Louis Malle's "Zazie dans le metro" to a few of William Klein's films: as a reporter in "Qui êtes-vous, Polly Maggoo?" and as Moujik Man in "Mr. Freedom", as well as a few films directed by Marco Ferreri, several films directed by Bertrand Tavernier including "Coup de Torchon", and the murky conspiracy thriller "L'Attentat").

Midnight Eye interviews Satoshi Kon.

Wesley Yang writing in the Los Angeles Times reviews 'The Trouble With Diversity' by Walter Benn Michaels. Doug Harvey writing in LA Weekley looks at the spate of Streetsignism.
Recent looks at the Whitney's latest from Christopher Knight in the Los Angeles Times and Peter Schjeldahl in the New Yorker looks at Kiki Smith. Sarah Lyall in the New York Times reports on the London Review of Books obnoxious personals. In the Dallas Morning News Lawson Tattie, Theatre Critic and Tom Maurstad, Media Critic, discuss why so many contemporary playwrights are writing for television.

Rachel Cooke in last week's Observer UK had this to say about looking at art. Grayson Perry in the Times UK on recent concepts.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Absolute Wilson opening in Boston - December 1

From Landmark Theatre's website:

The legendary Robert Wilson (Einstein on the Beach, CIVIL warS, The Black Rider) is one of the most visionary theater artists of our time. Filmmaker Katharina Otto-Bernstein's richly provocative and moving portrait delivers a surprisingly candid look at Wilson's troubled and lonely childhood, his early learning disabilities and his fascination with the downtown New York avant-garde scene of the late '60s. What emerges is a life full of impressions, colors and rhythms, revealing how Wilson's early hardships ultimately shaped his groundbreaking aesthetic vision. Features a lively mix of interviews, including musician David Byrne, writer Susan Sontag, singer/songwriter Tom Waits, composer and collaborator Philip Glass and opera star Jessye Norman.

Director: Katharina Otto-Bernstein

Cast: Robert Wilson, Arnold Aronson, David Byrne, Robyn Brentano, William Burroughs, Andy De Groat, Maita Di Niscemi, Christophe de Menil, Charles Fabius, Felipe Fernandez, Philip Glass, Arthur Holmberg, George Klauber, Trudy Kramer, Stefan Lang, Harvey Lichtenstein, Cindy Lubar, Earl Mack, Carol Mullins, Jim Neu, Jessye Norman, Benedicte Pesle, John Rockwell, John Simon, Ines Somerella, Susan Sontag, Joseph Volpe, Tom Waits, Jorn Weisbrodt, Geoffrey Wexler, Suzanne Wilson

MPAA Rating: NR
Run Time: 1hr 45min
Release Year: 2006
Country Of Origin: USA

More details in my earlier post. I strongly recommend the Teddy Awards site as it has the full Q&A with Robert Wilson and Katharina Otto-Bernstein at the Berlin Film Festival.

This is what Jonathan Rosenbaum of the Chicago Reader had to say:
"Katharina Otto-Bernstein's documentary provides an excellent introduction to the singular vision of avant-garde stage director Robert Wilson. Its sketchy account of his career permits little insight into his ascent to mainstream venues over the past few decades, which hasn't always been felicitous (also true of his collaborator Philip Glass). But Otto-Bernstein gives a sharp sense of Wilson's comfortable Southern Baptist upbringing in Waco, Texas, and how his stuttering and learning disabilities shaped more radical aspects of his productions once he took on handicapped collaborators in works like Deafman's Glance and A Letter From Queen Victoria. Wilson, Glass, Susan Sontag, and David Byrne are among the more perceptive interviewees, and the film includes many fascinating samples of his work. 105 min. -- Jonathan Rosenbaum"

Check metacritic for more reviews.

Monday, November 20, 2006

recent articles

Robert Tait in Tehran writing for Guardian UK discusses Bestsellers Banned In Iran. Susan Brink in the Los Angeles Times discusses the portrayal of health and medicine on the small screen. Benedict Nightingale writes in the Times UK on the recent work of playwright Caryl Churchill. Marc Fisher in the Washington Post says the NEA thinks NPR is making a mistake. Debra Craine writing in the Times UK of an intersting collaboration of dance and architecture. Tim Page in the Washington Post discusses the plethora of Opera reissues. Robert Kyle reports in the Art Newspaper of the government seizing work made by New Deal artists. Diane Garrett writing in Variety reports the death of VHS. Nick Hasted writes in the Independent UK of a recent trend in films that treats recent German history with sympathy. Elizabeth Williamson in the Washington Post reports on the USDA's refusal to recognize American hunger.

The CBC reports on a rare case of Scotch.

Cafe Culture

Charlotte Ashby, research curator of the Vienna Cafe Project has an interesting comment in today's Guardian UK regarding the homogeneity of modern coffeehouses. A quick peek at Captain Espresso's blog shows that cafes are alive and well in some parts of Northern Europe (Sweden). My own views on the subject are partially told here. I do agree that there is a global monoculture that is acting to deter innovation and our imaginations. It will be interesting to follow the progress of the Vienna Cafe Project.

Lately I've been drinking Ravens Brew coffee.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

a sense of optimism

You have to be sure, you have to be absolutely positive that this is what you want. This isolation is quick to kill you. It must be avoided at all costs, that is if you want to have anything left that is worth preserving. Still I shudder, this room is always too cold, my actions are always too fast and misguided and out of step with the rest of the world. I am not in a reasonable pattern now. I doubt I ever will be. It is slightly cooler today and I am glad. Perhaps a winter-like feeling will finally arrive. Today feels like a blissful fall day, autumn leaves and bright sunshine, not too much wind – a crisp reminder of the joy that will come. I don’t know why I’ve introduced a sense of optimism, no matter how false it may be, here. It doesn’t belong, I feel nothing but coldness all around me. I don’t wish I could go back, I don’t wish for things to be as they were before those events. If I stay here, If I continue the rebuilding process, It will form the basis for a new construct, a new me more or less. Drawn out by the rocks and pathetic wisdom I’ve misused throughout the years. I trace the events in my mind far too often. Never with good results. I wish so much to be divorced from these concerns, to have them removed at all costs. I should deal in the practical, correct? The problems of architecture, time and space. Not this silly preoccupation with emotions and human relationships. Every kind of external contact is magnified in my head far too much, perhaps I am regressing, back to my schooldays. I have always been far to independent for these kinds of manufactured needs. I am coming to the conclusion that I should refrain from contact as much as possible, that I should stay here, within these parameters until my own little world is so formed that it is actually of use to others, that it is actually of consequence. Perhaps this means that I have to be as abrupt and annoying as possible to get as many products of my ego out there as I can. Perhaps that will give my life meaning. The only thing that is not as much of a let down and disappointment, (or at least some of the time, and even so—it can be controlled, it is a hermetic space) is film. I used to be quite vigilant about it. Lately for one reason or another (poor local programming, bad product, loss of motivation) I have not been as busy as I used to be with it. I have not been out to see so much. Tonight, hopefully, that will change. A new schedule will start and I will be able to heal and regain my life, little by little.

Friday, November 17, 2006

working again

I'll be on the air tonight from 19:00 to 22:00 EST. (WZBC) online listening is available.

It is rainy, grey and far too warm for November in Boston. While I don't mind the warmth, this time of year it is particularly unsettling. I plan to get back on a schedule this weekend and take in some films.

Growing Up: the Films of Hans Christian Schmid is on at the HFA. (German Films bio) That seems a good place to start. Also more new prints from the Janus Collection are at the Brattle Theatre with Cria Cuervos and Death of A Cyclist on Sunday.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

recent articles (due for expansion)

Clear Channel agrees to have its debt taken over. Dalkey Archive Press due to relocate. Hi-Tech Toys aren't worth the hype. Jonathan Glancey looks at real estate tax reforms.

Anthony Horowitz writes in the New Statesman on Junk Cinema. As Mark Kermode demands better Children's films in the Observer UK.

DJ Durutti has an excellent post on Deval Patrick's father and his work in Sun Ra's Arkestra.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

The Pervert's Guide to Cinema - in re: Slavoj Zizek

Liz Hoggard reports in the Independent UK about the three part documentary - file under enjoyment.

Full details on the project (official website).

Also check out the clip on Cinetrix

recent articles of note - large update

Mark Swed in the Los Angeles Times on the demise ofTower Records. In the Oberver Mary Warnock stresses the importance of learning a musical instrument. Jenni Russell, writing in the Guardian UK, says our children need to be taught basic social skills. A recent study shows American students know little of their country's history. Books, saving and your wallet in the New Yorker. A new online literary magazine discussed by John Marshall in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer (re: narrative). Carolyn Jack in The Plain Dealer from Cleveland discusses a Cigarette Tax for the arts. "Summer Night on the Beach" by Edvard Munch to be returned to Marina Mahler as reported in theNew York Times. Paul Lewis and Charlotte Higgins in the Guardian UK report that a Communist Party chair nets £20m in painting sale. Meanwhile, Jess Smee in Berlin talks of a theater group bringing Das Kapital to the stage.
The Boston Globe profiles the Harvard Film Archive's new director.

Grayson Perry has an excellent on class and the arts in the Time UK.
Christopher Kimball writing in the Boston Globe places the food industry in context.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

In case you were wondering...

I will be on the air this Friday (17th November).

In the meantime checkout this YouTube clip of the Penguin Cafe Orchestra on the Perpetuum Mobile blog.

recent articles of note from this past week

An excerpt from Al Gore's interview on the More4 channel's "Suspect Nation"- due to air 20th November. The L.A. Times editor was let go, Frank Ahrens discussesit . James Robinson on Vogue turning 90. Joseph P. Kahn looks at the work and life of Media Theorist Henry Jenkins. The French help to intellectualize Super Mario. As the French advertising world does "The Paris Shuffle".

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

November 3 - Playlist - WZBC (my last show as a 30 year old)

Fri Nov 3rd 2006 7.00pm–10.00pm
David Kristian “Kippering School” from Sweet Bits CD ALBUM
Oneironaut “nine inch army” from an evening in the company of vespertine (Vespertine)
July Skies “Swallows and Swifts” from where the days go (make mine music)
Nobukazu Takemura “wizard in circus” from child and magic (WEA 1997)
Gnac “can't get through to you”(Vespertine)
Winston Tong “Like the Others” from Like The Others CD ALBUM (LTM)
Francois De Roubaix “Commissaire Moulin - indicatif” from Anthologie Vol. 1
Eric Random “Dirty Bingo” from Subliminal 1980-1982 (LTM)
Ellen Allien “Funkenflug der traume” from stadtkind
Thomas Wylder & Toby Dammit “la fabbrica politica” from morphosa harmonia(Hit Thing)
Quigley “the hidden gem” from an evening in the company of vespertine (Vespertine)
Ant “not sleeping the same way” from brumario (Acuarela)
Tuxedomoon “East/Jinx/.../Music #1” from Desire CD ALBUM (Crammed Discs 1981)
Gnac “une chanson du crepuscle” (Vespertine)
Jay-jay Johanson “she doesn't live here anymore” (EMI Sweden 2006)
Transfiguration “voyage au bout de la nuit” (Vespertine)
Les Hurleurs “temps de pluie” from ciel d'encre
VitaminsforYou “luxury and hope” from Saturday Morning Empires (intr_version)
Lazerboy “the day the earth caught fire” (Vespertine)
White Noise “love without sound” from An Electric Storm
Air Wave “que vous avez de grands dents” (Vespertine)
The Durutti Column “Red Square” from Vini Reilly
Quigley “returning to the scene of the crime...” (Vespertine)
Hiroshi Fujiwara “Hard Boiled Dub” from In Dub Conference CD ALBUM
Penguin Cafe Orchestra “In a Sydney Motel” from music from the penguin cafe
Ryuichi Sakamoto “thatness and thereness”
Felt “mexican bandits”
At Swim Two Birds “Darling” from Quigley's Point CD ALBUM (Vespertine & Son)
Steven Brown “Decade” (LTM)
Wim Mertens “Hedgehog's Skin” from Jardin Clos CD ALBUM (Les Disques Du Crepuscule)
Coldcut “Autumn Leaves”
Coti “Amymoni P.” from Lido/Lato CD ALBUM (Poeta Negra 2004)

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Final Day

Another year had passed. It was a year of much joy and hope, of new friends and new experiences. I had more happiness and wonder than I've had in the past ten years. Now most of it is gone. "All I can think of is 'when are we leaving'." I know where I want to go, where I want to visit. Perhaps I will find myself again in travel. I've never been dependent on anyone for such a long time. Now all I feel is the absence of loved ones and the constant presence of death. Also, my room is in its usual state of disorder-- I have made improvements, mind you, but nothing that's immediately visible. I won't be on the air for another week or so. It is due to rain later. The sky is so terribly gray. I wonder what could bring me out of this ominous haze-- it is useless for me to worry about things I have no control over. How many hundreds of years of civilization results in this modern illness? I don't think the human race has advanced much. The boundless capacity to repeat past mistakes and failures never ceases. I feel like I'm condemned to trace the same pathways over and over again. Its not a pleasant thought. In America people vote today, they take some degree of pubic service and put it to work. Perhaps one should be optimistic for that, regardless of the cynicism that permeates so many things. I sit here and I wonder, I truly consider what keeps me alive -- the first that comes to mind is the ability to see, for that is the most immediate, to find pleasure in the richness of the colors around me and the depth of the landscape where the land meets the sea, and of course the ability to see words on the page -- to anticipate a book whether new or old with such relish, to partake in such solitary pleasures, the second would be to hear, to listen to the wind in the trees, the flow of water, the sounds the human body makes, the distinct variations of birdsong, also the ability to discover and appreciate music in all its many forms, anticipation for a new album or concert, these feelings prolong my life, third: taking the first and the second together the gesamtkunstwerk of the cinema, when done properly (or irresponsibly) can be a worthwhile experience. My senses push me forward they connect and let me experience the world. At midnight tonight, thirty years of this love and presence, thirty years of my being will come to an end.

Monday, November 06, 2006

2006 Prix Goncourt - Jonathan Littell, Les Bienveillantes

There's been so much buzz about this novel. It won't come out in English until next year at the earliest -- althought 2008 is your best bet.

The better links are in French for obvious reasons:
Les Bienveillantes,
Nouvel Obs,
International Herald Tribune (from October), La Lettrine blog,
buzz littéraires, Boston Globe (AP story).

The New York Times article.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Building Man

Its all come up now. I wouldn’t be here if I weren’t profoundly frightened. A good jolt sometimes acts well to ease the tension, to take one’s mind off things. A departure. Or some such loss, anything to take one’s mind off certain feelings, that’s what’s required. Anything, a sharp, strong wind to knock some sense into one’s being at last. At times its quiet, its there ever present of course just dormant, this rare period of bliss can make all the dark moments worthwhile. The sheer pressing need to communicate, to open up room for expression. The silence has been enough. I’ve caused enough damage from afar, I’ve lost too many people, friends I was close to for a while. I won’t interfere again—at least not now.

All that’s left is departure. I need to experience space again. To collect my resident knowledge and process it. That will certainly take some time, it will lead me out and away from this sadness, this strange away-time. I’ve been gone for far too long. A new plan will come about, building on the current foundation.

Building Man.

Playlist from October 20, 2006

I'll be on the air this Friday - 7-10pm EST (1900-2200) - Stay tuned.

Playlist from October 20, 2006.

Coti “Piccolo poema urbano” from [metamoria\> (vibrant music 2001)
David Kristian “Owl Howl with Hoots” from Sweet Bits CD
Legowelt “Chokolectrik” from Classics 1998 2003 CD (Bunker 2003)
Martial Canterel “ascent” from confusing outsides LP ALBUM (genetic music 2005)
Jimi Tenor “Sugardaddy” from Intervision CD ALBUM (Warp 1996)
Ellen Allien “stadtkind”
Ultravox “Hiroshima Mon Amour” from HA! HA! HA! CD ALBUM (Island 1977)
July Skies “Countryside of 1938” from OTC Radio Session CD (2004)
David Kristian “brief notes that wept red” from The City Without Windows / La Derniere Voix OST 12-INCH (Creme Organization 2004)
HYPO “relax max msp” from Random Veneziano CD ALBUM (Active Suspension 2004)
HYPO “the perfect kill” from Random Veneziano CD ALBUM (Active Suspension 2004)
Wim Mertens “4 Mains” from Vergessen LP ALBUM (Les Disques Du Crepuscule 1982)
Jay-jay Johanson “Only For You Remix” from She Doesn't Live Here Anymore CD SINGLE (EMI Sweden 2006)
Ryuichi Sakamoto “War & Peace” from CHASM CD ALBUM (Kab America 2004)
Arthur Russell “Keeping Up” from The World of Arthur Russell CD COMP (Soul Jazz 2004)
Steven Brown “Last Rendezvous” from searching for contact (LTM 2004)
David Kristian “I loved you” from The City Without Windows / La Derniere Voix OST 12-INCH (Creme Organization 2004)
Arbol “bright day” from dreams made of paper CD ALBUM (lejos discos/emilii records 2005)
The Vertical Smile) “a return to satisfy (opium tears mix)” from the tell tale signs of earworm (Earworm)
Felt “evergreen dazed” from Absolute Classic Masterpieces CD ALBUM (Cherry Red Records 1992)
Piano Magic “Artists' Rifles” CD ALBUM (Rocket Girl 2000)
July Skies “Learning with mother” from where the days go (make mine music)
Penguin Cafe Orchestra “air a danser” from Concert Program (Zopf 1995)
Emak Bakia “smile in your mind” from Jane CD ALBUM (Acuarela )
Francois De Roubaix “la scoumoune” from Anthologie Vol. 1 (Play-Time 1999)
Felix Kubin and Coolhaven “there is a garden” from Suppe fur die Nacht CD ALBUM (Brombron 2006)
Kohn “ohrosong” from Koen CD ALBUM ((K-RAA-K)3 2002)
Jay-jay Johanson “She Doesn't Live Here Anymore” CD SINGLE (EMI Sweden 2006)
Nini Raviolette “suis-je normale” from va: so young, so cold (Tigersushi
the Durutti Column "the Missing Boy"
Wio “i don't really like pies” from (K-RAA-K)3 Labelsampler CD COMP ((K-RAA-K)3 2001)
Bruce Gilbert “sliding off the world” from this way LP
Tuxedomoon “you (christmas mix)”
Mark Van Hoen “put my trust in you” from the last flowers from the darkness CD ALBUM (Touch 1997)

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Delicate Activity

I bought a new kettle over the weekend (cobalt blue). I am quite pleased with it. My original intention of course was to visit friends in New York City, attend the Procession of the Ghouls, and see Absolute Wilson. However, this never materialized primarily due to the manic weather we've been having. That's probably why I'm listening to The Associates right now. So many missed opportunities. Life pushes on-- oh yes, it is a force, regardless of morailty. How with the truth bear all this out. How will we appear to our children? Is there a future for us? Is there a future for them? I won't trouble you with these questions, it used to be a lot worse, you know. I remember being terribly depressed in Seventh grade-- to the extent that I'd sit and talk to no one for hours at a time. It took a while for me to realize that perhaps my methods were obsolete or just not appropritate for certain kinds of survival. What circumstances could provoke such a reaction? An overly sensitive child, someone who's interior life was sped up so much that he could barely bring himself to speak, because that would mean slowing down. High standards let to frustration, intolerance and incomprehension in equal degrees. It was barely rational and less than plesant. Childhood trauma, you ask? Perhaps. So many schisms early on in life, its hard to communicate, to come to the realization of what actually occurred. Its best to start with primary memories-- the moments in time one can recall immediately. The break from an early education at a private Montessori school to the sharp coldness of public school. I feel as though I've spent most of my life recovering from that break. There was a very definiate change that I am certainly still recovering from-- if I ever shall, I do not know. I think it is good to instill a child with the ability for him or her to think independently. This has to be an absolutely essential goal.

I could go on, however this is only a place for cursory remarks and not an essay-- at least not yet.

Please note: 50 years of Janus Films is currently playing at the Brattle Theatre in Harvard Square. Monday is Nic Roeg's film Walkabout, perhaps one of the greatest coming of age films ever made. Tuesday night is Masaki Kobayashi's Kwaidan -- what better way to spend your Halloween? My only other suggestion of course is The Haunted Looking Glass-- a first rate collection of classic ghost stories.


Friday, October 27, 2006

Soft Verdict - The Struggle for Pleasure

Soft Verdict "the Struggle for Pleasure"


I'll be on the air next Friday.


recent articles

Sy Hersh at McGill. [Montreal Mirror] While you're at it you might as well check out Rick Trembles' Motion Picture Purgatory on Kenneth Anger and Raf Katigback's Disko Akimbo. The only other item that had my attention at the moment is Jonathan Rosenbaum's review of the movie "Death of a President".

Thursday, October 26, 2006

recent articles

Come to Canada to see "Death of A Presdient". John Humphrys emphasizes the need for good grammar in the Telegraph UK. Jack Schofield gives DAB and other digital formats a good kicking in the Guardian UK. Anthony Tommasini laments the downfall of Tower Records and its classical music section in the New York Times.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

recent articles

The Washington Post weighs in on Deval Patrick. A Grocery Industry Conference in Toronto assesses the modern diet [CBC].
From the Guardian UK:
Julie Bindel explains why rape laws are still inadequate. Ohio may indeed go Democrat. Nicky Wire talks to Alexis Petridis about the joys of C86. Also discussion a new music show on the BBC. A tribute to Serge Gainsbourg at the Barbican. Adrian Searle looks at a collection of contemporary Eurpoean photography.

AVMotional 03

full details AVmotional.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

recent articles

Easing of media rules challenged [AP] - Women Turning Down Harvard's Offers [Inside Higher Ed]- Awards putting critical faculties to sleep [Guardian UK]

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Absolute Wilson

The new documentary Absolute Wilson directed by Katharina Otto-Bernstein. It won a Teddy Award earlier this year. It is a look at the life and work of the artist Robert Wilson.

Theatrical Trailer: Quicktime or WMV

Opens Theatrically in New York
on October 27, 2006
at Lincoln Plaza Cinemas

New York Times article of October 22, 2006 by Sylviane Gold

Deutsche Welle report

A biography by Katharina Otto-Bernstein about Robert Wilson is also available.

More information here:

German Films

design museum

Robert Wilson's 14 Stations at Mass MoCA.


If anyone knows when this is coming to the Boston area, please let me know.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Penguin Cafe Orchestra - Numbers 1-4

South Bank Show 1987

Also check - Perpetuum Mobile for more.

-- Expect some of this tonight-- amongst others.

Please listen.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

July Skies - "off the cuff" - premium gifts

A special signed CD of "Where the Days Go" - tune in to wzbc October 20th from 7-10pm (1900-2200) EST for details.

Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet

Danièle Huillet passed away recently. Obituaries: [Guardian UK] [Scotsman] [New York Times]

Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet statement at the Venice Film Festival.

Andy Rector's Kino Slang bloghas an excellent series of words and images about her.

Jonathan Rosenbaum in Senses of Cinema: Intense Materialism: Too Soon, Too Late.

A look at the book Landscapes of Resistance
The German Films of Danièle Huillet and Jean-Marie Straub
by Barton Byg.

articles of note

The most timely piece I've seen today concerns local political machinations is this piece by Joan Vennochi, Columnist for the Boston Globe. When politics trumps law its hard to be optimistic.

30 underappreciated books [Guardian UK]

The Greatest Film Composer of All Time? [Salon]
(too bad the Toru Takemitsu compilation referred to is out of print)

Arthur Marwick - Obituary [Guardian UK] [Scotsman] [Telegraph UK]- British Historian - His book "The Sixties" is one of the best histories of Counterculture during the 1960s to early 1970s.
For more information see:
The Sixties in Great Britain

The Second Law

Locus Solus (Map)

Emotion Washes Over Me

You can only sit and wonder about such things for so long. The world continues to shift around you. I feel all this emotion wash over me this morning. I don't know why my body reacts the way it does. Again, perhaps, its this imposition of warmth and meaning. The strong sense that there is so much to be done. My mind is still preoccupied with other thoughts, this I shouldn't focus on. Things, identites that need resolution. A quick way out? (The quick, neat, job - a Les Disques Du Crepuscule Western) Foreign makers. I keep my eye on the world, what little I know of it. I know there are other ways. I work simultaneously for benefit and loss-- unknowing the inertia consumes me. It only travels so far. There is laughter, of course and other private awakenings. I constantly seek connection and warmth to no avail. The only thing left, as the story goes, is to keep on moving. The struggle continues.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Comedy's release

The man behind this site tipped me off to this edited version of Armando Iannucci's Tate Britain lecture. Its an excellent look at the state of comedy today (on both sides of the Atlantic) and how it fills a significant gap. The key quote regarding the gap is that: "This has come about for three reasons: politicians have stopped speaking to us properly, the media has stopped examining their actions in anything like a forensic way, and broadcast culture has become so watered down, so scared of fact, that people are less inclined to turn to anything other than entertainment for information." His lecture significantly discusses the anarchic spirit of comedy and the reason its presence is so widely felt in modern society.

Armando Iannucci is a comedy writer who has worked on such shows for British Television as The Day Today and I'm Alan Partridge. You can find his CV here. He occasionally writes articles for the Guardian UK and the Daily Telegraph. Some time last year one of his Guardian UK columns tipped me off to the genius that is Sean Lock and his amazing television programme15 Storeys High.

Monday, October 16, 2006

environmental - food blogs and articles of note

A few favorites:

US Food Policy

Accidental Hedonist

Tree Hugger

from Red Tomato

good reads:

Diet for a Dead Planet by Christopher D. Cook.
and of course Diet for a Small Planet by Frances Moore Lappé.

Focus on Elizabeth May in NYT.

Three Voices: What Fair Trade Means to Farmers
New England Speakers Tour Oct 23-28, 2006

Monday, Oct 23 Burlington, VT

Tuesday, Oct 24 Tufts University, Medford, MA
Fair Trade Banana Banquet, Haley House, Roxbury, MA

Wednesday, Oct 25 Smith College, Amherst, MA

Thursday, Oct 26 Harvard University, Boston, MA

Friday, Oct 27 Putney, VT

”A banana farmer from Ecuador, a watermelon and vegetable farmer from Georgia, and an apple grower from New England may seem worlds apart, but they share common challenges as small farmers trying to make it in a global food system.

Join us for this rare opportunity to hear three real-life farmers from three very different farms talk about their struggles to stay on the land, their experiences in the market, and the impact of consumer support for fair trade and family farms. The program will tour New England Oct. 22-28, 2006, and is presented by Oke USA and Red Tomato, with support from Equal Exchange.

Celebrate this ‘fair trade fruit salad’ with fresh fruit tastings, fair trade chocolate fondue, tossed together with the provocative and inspiring stories of three farmers.”

Friday, October 13, 2006

Recent Articles (Vinyl, Wobby, Comedy, Volvo)

Success with Vinyl[Telegraph UK]

Starbucks Gets Wobbly[in these times]

Iraqi Comedy [Seattle Times]

Volvo Estates are the Best[Ananova]

Thursday, October 12, 2006

on the air in one week - watch this space - wzbc 90.3 fm

My show is postponed until next week due to the broadcast of a sporting event. However, stay tuned next week as the station will be in the midst of its fundraiser. Watch this space as well, I will post photos of the special premium items I've managed to acquire for your listening pleasure.


Monday, October 09, 2006

in the living room

October 9, 2006 - 5:12pm
in the living room at 86 B--

I hope to conduct this without further interruption. If I am interrupted, the problem will most likely come from me and not the other way around. Lately, my diet has not been particularly good. It certainly is not on the same page as others'. Of course that's a silly mistake to make. Its always this and never that, every one conducting themselves in a hopefully appropriate manner. The argument for and against superlatives. That's the shocking place I'm at right now. What could be better? That's exactly right, exactly it. I've started reading Jill Tweedie's book about Sexual Desire-- my understanding, at least from the introduction, is that relationships should not be predicated on a need but rather the simple result that each person be happy. This is no small task. Individuals have so much to offer and so much to be. One can only get around another 'I' so much. Psychological states and self-defense mechanisms are the trick. In themselves - it is, oh I want to say it is a confrontational technique. For me so many conditions have to be met before there is any kind of true, meaningful dialogue, and even then, people can change their minds. Sometimes it is incredibly easy and other times, the struggle just isn't worth it. I want to move forward, I want to eliminate these sad preoccupations. I need to find the direction, the proper vessel for all these ideas and concepts I have arranged here. The proper medium is out there. Perhaps this is it. I have been waiting too long, postponing or dissuading myself from any kind of creation-- acting from the assumption that investing myself in a good constructive meaningful relationship is the key. I know it is more than that, It is forever a changing cycle of discovery and wonder. I wish I weren't taken to task now for so many things. I punish myself so much for the littlest of things, another kind of worry to blot out the rest can only lead to further questions and anxiety. I attempt to sit still but I am forever curious. I hope, as I have always tried to justify, my so-called 'distractions', so-called time spent doing 'nothing' will actually add up to something. All these hours spent observing human life-- looking for ways out, something that I can square with my foolish ideals. (interruption)

Thursday, October 05, 2006

She Doesn't Live Here Anymore - new Jay Jay Johanson

On the air this Friday night 7-10pm EST(1800-2200) 90.3fm WZBC - also online.


Tuesday, October 03, 2006

James Tiptree, Jr.: The Double Life of Alice B. Sheldon by Julie Phillips

At the end of the summer, I finished reading Julie Phillips's excellent biography of Alice Sheldon's life. I remember being fascinated by some of her late work, stories collected in "Tales of the Quintana Roo", when I was younger. At the time, I didn't know that James Tiptree, Jr. was actually the pen name of Alice B. Sheldon, I only felt that in reading her stories, I connected with a very intelligent mind. Julie Phillips' biography of Alice's fascinating life is recommended to any reader who is excited by a person filled with boundless curiosity. It is certainly not strictly for Science Fiction readers-- the book doesn't get to the actually stories until its final third. Alice did not start writing as Tiptree until she was 51 years old. She was born to an author Mother and an attorney Father, who invested wisely in real estate in Chicago. Her family's wealth led them to go on Safari-- Alice's first Safari took place when she was six years old. The wonder and devastation she saw there marked her life forever. By the time she was 11, she had already traveled extensively in Africa during three different Safaris. This kind of exposure to other parts of the world transformed her experience of 'ordinary' American life. She certainly could not relate to other children her age-- Phillips describes a scene where Alice's elementary school teacher is discussing Africa and cannot get Alice to sit still because she had already been there. Experiences like this provoked her and frustrated her formative years. She was also marked throughout her life by her Mother's success in writing stories for national magazines and books. Alice later went on to join the Women's Army Corps, where she-- taking a little initiative-- ended up in military intelligence by the end of World War Two. This job later became part of a new government agency after the war--the CIA. She stuck with it for three years and then left to pursue writing. Her husband worked for the Agency for the rest of his life. All of these experiences were later drawn upon to create the persona of James Tiptree, Jr. The stories by James Tiptree, Jr. are fascinating as they have an inherent skepticism regarding the nature of human progress. Phillips constantly reminds the reader at the end of most chapters how Alice's memories contributed to the substance of her stories, and how Alice's own reality exposed her larger psychological problems. Alice witnessed first hand how the United States treated women as second class citizens after World War Two. This experience made her cynically view later feminist movements in the 1970s. Throughout her life she was a witness to human violence and cruelty, whether it was in colonial Africa or in the United States of America. All of this fed into her Science Fiction stories. Tiptree was something that started as a joke for her and then became almost an emotional release at times. She was able to correspond with so many fans, publishers and other authors under this persona, that Tiptree literally provided her with a second life. Tiptree was an elaborate game for her; his actions helped her through so many depressive moods. Unfortunately, the game only led so far, by the end of the 1970s Alice was taking numerous prescription drugs and was addicted to Dexadrine (something that started when she worked for the CIA). Her quick mind could only see one way out and she entered into a death pact with her husband. Finally in 1987, she shot her husband as he slept then herself. At that point she could not deal with growing old and losing her sensibilities in a world that grew colder. Julie Phillips new biography illuminates through a thorough study of all of Alice's stories and correspondence the life of a truly remarkable woman.

For a more detailed look at this biography, I highly recommend Carter Scholz's review of it in Bookforum.


The Screwfly Solutionby Raccoona Sheldon

Beam Us Home by James Tiptree, Jr.

The Women Men Don't See by James Tiptree, Jr.

suggested links:

The official site of Julie Phillips regarding the book in question, author interviews, excerpts, praise etc.

The Tiptree Award

Congo Journey - John le Carré writing in the Nation

Fantastic Fiction Uk bio

Publisher of "Her Smoke Rose Up Forever" tachyon

Alice's professor at Sarah Lawrence College and life long friend Rudolf Arnheim

Bioneers by the Bay: Connecting for Change

From the Chelsea Green publishing newsletter:

Eight Chelsea Green authors will speak and lead workshops at the Second Annual Bioneers by the Bay: Connecting for Change conference presented by the Marion Institute on the campus of UMASS Dartmouth, October 20 to 22. Bioneers by the Bay: Connecting for Change is an internationally acclaimed annual gathering of environmental, industry and social justice innovators who have demonstrated visionary and practical models for restoring the Earth and its inhabitants.

Participating CGP Authors
John Abrams, The Company We Keep
Dale Bell and Harry Wiland, Edens Lost & Found
Stephan Harding, Animate Earth
John Lash, Not in His Image
Lynn Margulis, Luminous Fish (Spring 2007 title)
Gunter Pauli, Upsizing and Zeri Fables
Jessica Prentice, Full Moon Feast
Matthew Sleeth, Serve God, Save the Planet
Eric Toensmeier, Edible Forest Gardens and Perennial Vegetables (Spring 2007 title)
Tim Traver, Sippewissett

Recent Articles

Fish farms kill wild salmon, study finds [CBC News] (Full Story)

Infamous French Art Thief to release memoir [CBC News] (Full Story)

Author J.G.Ballard's influence on Music [CBC News] (Full Story)

STEPHEN H. BURRINGTON, A new path for state park system [Boston Globe] (Full Story)

Friday, September 29, 2006

"off the cuff" - on hiatus this week

Chris is covering the No Commercial Potential I time slot tonight from 7-10pm EST on WZBC 90.3fm in the Boston Area. Listen in -- it should be good.

Also of note, Mike Cronin who used to do the Widow's Walk programme on WZBC (prior to my arrival) will be stopping by this Monday afternoon to contribute to The Kraft-o-Matic Bed o' Nails
its described as "A weekly program of music designed to be highly adjustable,
though not guaranteed to be comfortable."
Mondays 5-7 PM on WZBC 90.3 FM in Boston


Thursday, September 28, 2006

recent articles

The German Chancellor Warns Against Self-Censorship (CBC Article).

The FCC Censors PBS (New York Observer Article)

Super 8 is on the way out (Guardian UK Article)

John O’Mahony wonders about the effectiveness of dance to describe humanity’s cruel acts.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Sven Nykvist, Ingmar Bergman's Cinematographer passed away at the age of 83.

Sven Nykvist - one of the greatest cinematographers of the 20th century passed away.

Futher details can be found here:


Obituary in the Guardian UK -- accompanied by a nice slideshow of his work.

imdb list of films he worked on

Chris Fujiwara's article on the series at the Harvard Film Archive circa 2000.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Deval Patrick: a primer

A friend in Brooklyn just asked me for some information about the man who just won the Democratic Party's nomination for Governor in the State of Massachusetts.

The basic information is at his website, which has a comprehensive biography.

Deval has been a lot of places the other canidates haven't.
He was the only candidate to attend this meeting.

John Nichols reporting in the Nation weighs in here.

An article in the Boston Globe is referenced on Daily Kos.

Friday, September 15, 2006

take some time out

Ok ok. They asked for something of substance here something raw and personal. You get that every once and awhile. I suppose upon cursory examination its all there, exposed in the moonlight -- all you have to do is look. Perhaps you do. Then again, its so easy to make judgments, so easy to laugh at it all, without processing a damn thing. People have said it for ages: it is really about time, space, and memory. The three things you cannot escape, no matter how hard you try. This all ends in some cold, emotional truth-- best expressed in the transience of life. Best expressed in the wryness of her smile, one that I hope is true, that I have to believe is of some index, some touch of happiness in the moment. I read and I learn and I persevere as much as I can-- without sitting straight and producing something. Excitement? Content? A coherent passage into reality. I sit here pulling out the maps of prior memories, hopes, wishes and dreams. They are all I have left, as you'd imagine I'd say. A sick, perverse, bitter conformity to the whims of the present. You could say this at any age, if you were simplistic about it. This point, this irrational moment occurred a few months ago and haunts me still. Memories, especially ones relating to unexplainable incidents have a way of doing that -- of deteriorating all our senses by feeding them informaiton they cannot process. That is what happened to me. I am still recovering from the bruises and burns in my psyche. Funny how I have to go through this everytime, to cut through it all before I can start thinking clearly, before I can start writing.

Hej hej. Excellent Article on Labrador Records

The wonders of Swedish indie-pop in today's Guardian UK - Jude Rogers on The Stockholm Syndrome. Perhaps Sofia Coppola's new film, Marie-Antoinette, will have an effect as well, The Radio Dept has three songs on its soundtrack. I really just want to see them play live at a small venue before a tidal wave of hype takes over.

Monday, September 04, 2006

The Seducer (Forføreren) by Jan Kjærstad

The Seducer (Forføreren) by Norwegian author, Jan Kjærstad, was finally published in English translation in the United States this summer. It is the first book in a trilogy of his that was originally written in the mid-1990s. The book concerns the activities of television documentary producer, Jonas Wergeland. It positions itself as somewhere in between biography and fiction, or at least, that's the book's primary conceit as its language and methods exist wholly in the territory of fiction. However, the enormous presence of all the characters in the book lend it to the idea of biography, they are vivid and many times larger than life. In the beginning, in a chapter called "The Big Bang", the one event that starts the book's mechanism occurs, Jonas comes home after working on his television programme abroad, Jonas comes to his apartment in Oslo to find his wife dead on their living room floor. It is from this event that Jonas Wergeland's universe is blown apart. The book from here on in consists of past reflections, memories of childhood, family interactions, and sexual encounters in his life. These events are bracketed by chapters dealing with the subject's television programme "Thinking Big", a documentary series that focusses on an event in a famous Norwegian's life (such as Ole Bull, Fridtjof Nansen, Gustav Vigeland, Armauer Hansen, Per Spook and Knut Hamsun) and uses this to ruminate upon Norway's place in the world; it looks at the world through the prism of Norway. The seemingly omniscient narrator (and as yet, unknown) is quite critical of Norwegian life and has some startling insight into contempoary history. If you know very little of the History of Norway, The Seducer is certainly a fun and exciting way to educate oneself. It is a book full of active learning and responses to contempoary and past events. As Jonas drifts into his past, considering who could have been responsible for his wife's grisly end, his actions speak to the reader as the sign of a man with an active imagination, one who is able to examine history by his sheer contrary stance to it. Time and again, Jonas' life is marked by his conscious decision to be different, to shake things up by doing things contrary to the zeitgeist. It is usually during these moments that the narrator is able to make comments about the single-mindedness of Norwegian culture and its resistence to certain kinds of change. I found these moments of the book quite fascinating. This is not to say that the book is all history and politics-- it is the tale of a Seducer, after all. Jonas Weregeland is a seducer of the Norwegian public in watching and loving his programme and he is also a lover of women. That is to say he is the great lover of women, he does nothing to entice them to stay with him, he merely has to look in their direction, they sense his presence and must have him. This is the way numerous sexual events are described during his adolescence. Jonas is able to have intimate knowledge with the most wonderful and bizzare women (each with last name abbreviated), who in later years become experts in their fields and great champions of Norway. All of these events form a mosaic in the life of a man, a man who is bound up in his identity as a Norwegian and as a citizen of the world, at the same time that he sets himself apart from his homeland, he also illustrates that he can never escape it. This book is a charming and exciting read from start to finish. Jan Kjærstad is an author of enormous skill, his tale of Jonas Wergeland raises many questions, it makes me thirst for the second book in the trilogy.

Further information:

the Complete Review

Odin Trends in Contemporary Norwegian Literature

Publisher's information:

Overlook Press

H. Aschehoug & Co

Arcadia Books

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Birds fly by flapping their wings

Its true, I thought, or at least it was at the time. The perpetual human struggle, the need to cope with the transitory nature of life. It is the most troubling thing to deal with. At all times and for every time. I feel it shake me awake, I cannot sleep early in the morning I shiver from the morning coldness. This strange chill never leaves me. I can feel each link of my icy vertebrae. My skin barely covers my bonees anymore. It hangs there limply, signifying nothing. After all these years, I have only succeeded in alienating myself from old and new friends and family alike. What comes natural to me is perceived as sickness to them. It is rude, perhaps even egotistical to present myself as the perpetual outsider, not even comfortable in his own skin. I stick to certain rules, certain modes of being that I hope would have helped-- to form forever strenghtening bonds. This is not so. A handful of friends and acquaintences keep me afloat. The one aching vessel I construct for myself lasts slightly over a year. Perhaps this is through no fault of my own. Perhaps people are guided by ther libidos more than anything else. I am either too consumed by fear or self-defeat to make much of myself. The moments when something good happens, I am too pushy or emotionally ignorant -- or both or neither for that matter. The waves drift over me still, I long to be swept out to sea, to feel my body surrounded by water. I don't want to see patterns anymore, to trace certain histories to their supposed endpoints. This is the final point, this is the conclusion I am faced with, a troubling icy state from which I will never be released. The only thing that takes my mind off it is space, that is to say, bucolic landscapes, expanses of green with trees and animals existing peacefully. The indiviual out in the world, at once bringing the world to others through the prisim of his or her being. This unkempt arrangement of ideas and facts places one in the gulfstream of everyday life. I seek to provoke and to champion the unknown, to unearth hidden desires and perspectives, to find individual personalities wrapped up in the larger picture. I study and take notes on my own self-prescribed course of learning as I have since I was born. I read constantly and occasionally see films. I haven't been listening to as much music as I'd like to-- although I really have to be in the mood to do that as it can be very distracting at times. Its just a question of sitting down and piecing together these ideas as best I can. To elicit a forceful reaction, the strenghth of persective tells a story. The individual perpetually alone in the world, for ever and for always, nothing makes sense until you define it on your own terms. Get the subject to admit or better, to evade his or her flaws. Admit that we are all shallow to a certain extent, that we all lack the substance we have occation to dream about. I persist now, actions born of habit and the need to explore what's left of this world. Then again, I insist upon 'persistence' in this moment, in the next I may just as easily be consumed by despair, by a flood of superflous desire, by the futility of ever 'persisting' forward to tomorrow.