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)