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.

Friday, September 01, 2006

PAN SONIC in Boston this Thursday!

From the press release:

Thursday, September 7th, 2006. 9:00pm.

Non-Event Presents:

PAN SONIC (Rare US appearance)

with Keith Fullerton Whitman (Hrvatski)
and Jason Lescalleet

Great Scott
1222 Commonwealth Avenue
Allston, MA
$10.00 at the door. 18+

Non-Event is proud to present the first Boston appearance in many
years by legendary electronica outfit Pan Sonic - the duo of Mika
Vainio and Ilpo Väisänen - who are making a rare and brief US tour
this September.

"There is no theory for PAN SONIC. We have no plan. We just make the
music." - Mika Vainio

Finnish minimalist techno group Pan sonic are among the most active
and well-known artists from that country's tiny experimental techno
underground, and the first to reach acclaim at an international level.
Pursuing the jagged edges of minimal techno and hardcore, the group
have earned an enduring association with industrial and noise music
through their incorporation of antiseptic production techniques and
power-tool electronics, landing them in 1995 on the English Mute
label's experimental subsidiary Blast First! (most of their catalog to
date has since appeared there). The affinity lay more at the surface,
however, as Pan sonic are better understood as a collision between
Jeff Mills and Mike Ink; dance-based electronic music with a maximum
of impact, realized through a minimum of extraneous detail. Known for
junking together studio equipment from spare parts and ancient analog
debris, Pan sonic's search for the untried in techno is their
compositional M.O., placing them closer to the music's Detroit roots
than is often understood.

"[Pan Sonic are] the only band taking our idea further" - Alan Vega of



9.9.06 :: Rhys Chatham's Essentialist with Heathen Shame :: MassArt (North