Monday, January 31, 2005
Sunday, January 30, 2005
Saturday, January 29, 2005
Many of the people I saw at the new MoMa (pictured) looked awfully smug. Not just the staff, but some of the patrons. Stereotypical New York art-world, young and beautiful, stylish and full of themselves. But at Participant, a tiny gallery in the Lower East Side, the staff was friendly and nice and actually smiled when they spoke to me.
I saw a write-up of Julie Tolentino's "For you" in both art (Time Out) and dance (Village Voice) listings. It was a one-woman show for an audience of one. And it was free. I made a phone reservation and showed up at the gallery a few minutes early. (On the way, I took a picture of mannequin heads posted on stakes; the elderly woman minding the store scowled at me.)
The doorway opens to a landing that gives a partial view of the gallery's upper and lower levels. The performance space is above, in an open room set off by a curtain of clear vinyl strips. I waited below. For the end of the piece, you can choose what song you want her to interpret. The list included indie rock, some Lou Reed, some Joni Mitchell, some vintage soul music. I picked a Cowboy Junkies cover of Neil Young's "Powderfinger."
When my turn came, a cat-eyed gallery grrl with a nice smile led me up to the performance space. It was a white room, maybe 20x10x10. Video was projected at the far right corner of the room, with images and occasional text ("Welcome," first).
The dancer wore pajamas and lay in a bed at the near end of the room. I was seated at her bedside, just inches away from her. Music plays, a mix of menacing electronic sounds. She doesn't see her patron at first - for the first few minutes I sat and watched her toss and turn, her eyes closed.
It felt like a hospital. One reviewer wrote that the client-performance set-up suggested prostitution. Either way, there is an intimacy and a distance. She doesn't entirely dance *for* you, but in such close quarters - much of the time she dances in arms's reach - there must be some level of interaction, if only in her reaction to whoever she finds sitting in front of her when her eyes open.
She gets out of bed, looking very tired. She sleepwalks to the other end of the room and is distressed by the projected images of headlights coming down a dark highway. These dream images are of open space and night, but she's trapped in her white room. She paces between the right and left walls of the room, pushing herself off each side. Then the video projects a text instruction for me to move to a chair along the left wall. She's awake, and approaches me - somewhere along this point, she sees me for the first time, but our eyes meet only briefly, and hers don't appear to react. For the last segment of the piece she took me by the hand to a folding chair on the right side of the room. The original music had ended, and she hit a CD player next to me to play my request. She performed her interpretation, walking towards and away from me and collapsing at one point into a fetal position at my feet.
I'm not sure what I think of the piece - I wasn't sure how to react, really - but I am still thinking about it.
(Dear reader, feel free to mentally edit the wandering verb tenses in this post.)
Wednesday, January 26, 2005
from the of mirror eye, folk and pop music of myanmar (burma). listen to "really strange and weird things." it's insane.
from 'buked and scorned, brian eno and the winkies perform "totalled," which would become "i'll come running" on another green world
Saturday, January 22, 2005
Tuesday, January 18, 2005
FOWLER -- It's 7 o'clock on a Sunday night. Tyler Bruner, 13, of Oxford, sits with two friends in the Fowler Theatre, waiting for The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie to begin.
'We don't have a show in Oxford. It would be cool if we did,' Bruner says. 'So every other weekend, I'm here.'
In most small towns, downtown is dead, or at least comatose, on a Sunday night. The local movie theater, unable to turn a profit, closed 25 or 30 years ago.
But Fowler, population 2,413, is a happy exception. Thanks to a not-for-profit organization and more than 320 volunteers, the historic Fowler Theatre features a new movie each Friday, Saturday and Sunday evening.
Sometimes, all 196 seats are filled. It's like a scene from 1957.
"I was possessed with an agonizing kind of self-consciousness where I felt my insides tightening into a knot, where my face and hands grew clammy, where I couldn't open my mouth, where I felt impelled to turn and run if I had to meet new people. When my parents had guests, I would run, get under the piano and hide there."
"Everything happened so fast. I was a sad character. I was sad because of myself. I didn't have any self-confidence. I didn't believe I had any talent. I didn't know how to have fun. I was afraid. I don't exactly know of what - of life, I guess."
Sunday, January 16, 2005
life in these united states
Originally uploaded by a nameless yeast.
I had a great time at the dentist last week. My hygienist rocks. I'll call her Ginny. She reminds me of Doris Day, and is always good for a story. I never believed the stories in my blog were true before thursday.
Last summer my dentist left her practice. Her replacement was Dr. V, a drop-dead gorgeous Finnish woman fresh out of dental school with raven hair and green eyes and dripping with bling. I would have let her do most anything to me. Except follow through. I was supposed to have a follow-up a few weeks later but the office had to cancel and I never rescheduled.
She didn't work out. Ginny told me Dr. V turned out to be something of a princess. She didn't respect the staff; she'd show up to work in tight skirts and high heels; she wouldn't wear a labcoat (and the spring line was especially fetching); she let her long silky raven locks flow down unrestrained. And that was her undoing, as a silky strand fell onto a little old lady's false teeth.
Ginny went on scraping my teeth. I lay supine, and after a few moments of silence, confessed, "I'm still thinking of Dr. V in a tight skirt and high heels." Ginny, the dear, waved her hands over my face and offered to hose me down.
That's when she told me about the thong. How could you tell? Dr. V had leaned over the receptionist's desk in such a way that you knew.
I have changed names and, I hope, enough details, to evade charges of libel. I'd be happy to refer readers to Dr. V. but she left no forwarding info. I can recommend a swell hygienist.
Friday, January 14, 2005
measure for measure
Originally uploaded by a nameless yeast.
memorial day weekend 2002
Among the saturday theatre listings in Time Out New York was a production of Measure for Measure at Show World, a former strip club .
On the way to the theatre I had to find a bathroom, and stopped in an Irish bar on 8th Ave. A bonnie lass welcomed me inside, where big Irish guys gathered around a bagpiper. The loo was downstairs. The floor above me shook with jigging. I was smaller than most and darker than all of the men. When I threaded the chanting crowd on my way out, a fat slob of an Irishman shouted at me: "WHO LET THE DOGS OUT! WHO LET THE DOGS OUT!" I shrugged. I met a few sympathetic Irish eyes who wondered what was up with this guy. When I walked out of the bar, I could hear O'Lardboy belting out "GOD BLESS AMERICAAAAA..."
Show World was a few doors down from the Port Authority. In the lobby, a ceramic monkey rode a ceramic tiger. In one of the spaces now used for legitimate theatre, such carousel beasts had once been straddled by live dancers. Parts of the ground floor and basement still operated as an adult bookstore, with video peep booths. One wall of the bookstore was lined with large synthetic phalluses, and synthetic orifices intended to represent the inner touch of various porn stars. How would you know?
This production of Measure for Measure was set in 1979 Times Square, when Koch was Mayor. But when the Duke brings down his decree against vice it's meant to reflect on Giuliani's [then-]reign. Granted, Giuliani's decree against live nude dancing (which still does exist around Times Square) is exactly what turned Show World into this alternative arts space.
When the house opened, the audience was led into a room the director called "Go-Go 1". "That's the way I like it" blared. Donna Summer too. The main stage was a runway/dance platform, flanked by smaller stages on both sides (which would reveal a confessional and a St. Sebastian convent), and a narrow walkway along the opposite wall. The ceiling and walls were lined with diamond-shaped glass tile decor, garish red and black color schemes. There was little mistaking the former purpose of this room.
The mood was set before the play started. Hookers alternately danced on stage and milled around the audience, along with a purple-jacketed pimp and barker, who encouraged patrons to buy a drink from the bar (cheap red wine and bottles of Russian beer in a bucket). Other street types srtutted: a statuesque madam in fishnet stockings; sailors; a doughy Irish cop, who scuffled with a black sailor. A curbside priest read scripture in condemnation of the iniquity. Three different actress-prostitutes [or prostitute-actresses] flirted with me. The first was a platinum blonde who wore only a bra and aqua gym shorts under her boa and pancake makeup. She stopped at my table and put her hand on my shoulder. We exchanged boilerplate: "I haven't seen you around here before." "This is my first time." "I hope you become a regular."
The pre-play atmosphere was already worth the price of admission (a cool $15). A beautiful black woman was next, cooing "Hi sailor." I asked if I could take her picture and she said sure, blowing a kiss at my lens as she walked away, blurring the shot. The actor who played the Duke came along and asked me not to take any more pix - there are "scantily clad" ladies around. [Above is the one good picture that came out of this session.] He did give me a fake dollar bill to give to one of same ladies. I left it on my table.
Next was the blonde-wigged woman with Sara Gilbert small eyes and thin lips. She was the bondage woman, writhing on stage with a whip. In the audience, she walked between me and a guy next to me, lifting herself past us with her hands on our shoulders. We smiled. Then I noticed the bruises on her arms.
The black goddess came back for my fake dollar. I wasn't sure how much was allowed here - does anybody get carried away during this part? Did I seem like somebody who wouldn't get carried away? Did I look safe? She said it's okay, go ahead, so I put the counterfeit bill in her panty string (which was on top of a somewhat less revealing undergarmnet), resisting the urge to, say, brush the back of my fingers against her creamy hips. "Stay in school," I told her as she left.
Then the play started. The set-up was so fascinating that I was distracted from the language, but aside from that it all worked great. The cast was inconsistent (Isabella was in high dudgeon throughout), but the Duke was terrific, powerful yet human. Other standouts were the slimy smooth-talking Aeschylus, and a transgendered (according to a conversation I overheard from his/her roommate) jailer who could have passed for a lost member of Los Lobos. In between acts, Elbow, the Irish cop, would come in and tell us to move on to the next stage - because of a gas leak, or because Mayor Koch had shut the place down. Act II was in Angelo's office; Acts II and IV were in a prison stage; the final act was in a strobe-lit red ballroom, the players in the round. As the Duke and Isabella come together, she takes off her frock to reveal a white lesiure suit - matching his. The lights dim, the strobe-light stars dance across the floor, and "Celebration" plays. It's the kind of thing that might have made me cringe, but it was oddly touching.
Wednesday, January 12, 2005
William Eggleston in the Real World. 2005. USA. Directed by Michael Almereyda. An intimate portrait of William Eggleston, who revolutionized color photography in the mid-1970s and who continues to conjure spellbinding images from the ordinariness of everyday life. "Peter Schjeldahl has written that Edward Hopper was ‘excited by the unguarded moment, the exposed innocence, of a person, a building, a place.' If you equate ‘innocence' with ‘mystery,' I think you can apply this to Eggleston, and to this movie about him" (Almereyda). 87 min.I am so there. [read my review here.]
Monday, January 17, 7:30. T2; Wednesday, January 19, 6:00. T1 (both introduced by Faggioni and Almereyda)
bedazzled is a polygamous mp3 blog which just this week has featured tracks of soft pop and psychedelic soundtrack I would have blogged had I thought about it; videos from serge gainsbourg; and more joe meek, including a scopitone from the tornados, random flakes and some good old Heinz dammit! just go and spend a few hours.
on a semi-related note, here's a fine webjay list: extreme lounge terror.
I'll never get any work done ever again.
photo by pat padua
from common dreams:
NEW ORLEANS -- January 1, 2005 -- On January 20, 2005, when George W. Bush is taking the oath of office to begin his second term as president, a "Jazz Funeral for Democracy" will parade through the streets of downtown New Orleans lead by the world famous Treme Brass Band to mourn the occasion...
...According to Buddy Spell, one of the archetects of the action, "While the rest of the country will be focused on the beginning of Bush's second term, our objective is to show the world that we are not in support of a continued war in Iraq, the torture and inhumane treatment of percieved enemies, record inflation, flagrant disregard for the constitutional rights of all citizens, state sponsored homophobia, government deception, and four more years of rule by a small group of wealthy, elite, corporate hacks. This will be a time to remind the president that he has a sworn obligation to represent and respect the rights and wishes of ALL Americans, including the 56 million people who voted against him."
Saturday, January 08, 2005
Sometime in the 70’s, Craig Huxley – a former child TV star who appeared briefly on the original Star Trek – created a truly remarkable musical instrument called the Blaster Beam. Basically, it was an 18 foot long piece of aluminum fitted with movable pickups and numerous strings which, when plucked, produced some seriously visceral bass tones. The Beam’s first 15 minutes of fame came when it was used to produce the signature theme for the sentient space probe in 1979’s “Star Trek: The Motion Picture”.
And that might have been the last of it, were it not for a 1990 concert in New York’s Central Park where "over a dozen women reported having intensely sexual feelings from the Beam sound, up to and including orgasm". And this experience wasn’t confined to live performances... Here's the testimonial of the owner of a synth with Beam settings who recently subjected a lady-friend to the resulting sounds:
“The expression on her face abruptly changed. When I asked her what was wrong, she blinked for a moment and said, "Please play that again. Louder." I did so, and had the odd experience of watching her eyes glaze over as she half fell into a chair breathing hard. "I...*like* that sound," she managed to get out in a whisper."
via rummage through the crevices
Friday, January 07, 2005
The Mission: Create for combat purposes a tape so wretched and foul that anyone who listens to it for 24 hours will never be able to think straight again...recommended: "I feel fine" by The Beatle Barkers.
Objective: Survive a full waking day (roughly 18 hours) of an opponent’s battle mix.
Wednesday, January 05, 2005
from authentic sound effects vol. 3
BODY FALLING DOWNSTAIRS, VICTIM GROANS
an unreissued sound from the Elektra lp series excerpted above, yet fallen silently downstairs through the memory hole of digitiania. please loop.
Tuesday, January 04, 2005
So at break this morning, who should be sitting at the cafe two tables over from us but Christian Coalition director Ralph Reed? I could find no way to discreetly alert my colleagues of the opportunity afforded, but fortuitously the conversation happened to turn on various injuries friends and loved ones and ourselves had sustained while drunk or stoned. One friend recounted a teenage time drunkenly snuckt back home, unaware that his hands, slashed by broken wine and beer containers, trailed blood all over the living room furniture and walls. "Honey, have you been hanging out with those Satanist kids again?" I helpfully suggested.
That'll show him!
Reed blabbed into his headset about some deadline two days from now, persuading his friend not to be caught "flatfooted" on "this". Hmm.
Sunday, January 02, 2005
The room, at once grand and intimate, is richly paneled in dark wood. Iron chandeliers and glass-shade table lamps give off a warm light. The walls, from parquet floor to molded ceiling, are lined with important old books, the upper ones reachable only by ladders.
The tone, as you might also expect, is serious and scholarly, the air heavy with history, the hush broken only by the whisper of turning pages.
All of which will leave you unprepared for the hairball.
Saturday, January 01, 2005
history of the photobook v. 1
eternal sunshine of the spotless mind
jesper just at perry rubenstein
belle and sebastian, "i'm a cuckoo"
ed ruscha and photography at the whitney
delays, "nearer than heaven"
ny dolls and stooges @ underground garage fest
mimi's piano bar on 52nd and 2nd
skye sweetnam, "tangled up in me"
opening night at artomatic with the picture is dead quartet and joey patina, talent
the new ennui
time of the wolf
an irish pub band playing sweet home alabama at the 4 p's in a sea of
nearly unbroken homogenity on new year's eve