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Thursday, February 21, 2008

Today in Outsider Art

posted by on February 21 at 10:40 AM

I'm out sick today, and the only thing that makes me feel better is whining and watching competitive performance videos by high-school show choirs.

For those unfamilar with show choir, it's a thrilling combination of choir, cheerleading, karaoke, and an acid flashback, in which large groups of teenagers don glitzy costumes and jazz hands to interpret popular songs, often via medley.

Lucky for me, there's a whole blog devoted "to the magic that is the American amateur show choir," under the swoon-worthy title Auschglitz!

Here's Eau Claire, Wisconsin's Old Abe Show Choir, with an invigorating Prince medley.

Thank you, Auschglitz!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Re: The Once-Mighty Home Key

posted by on February 15 at 10:18 AM

You, Jen Graves!, know as well as me that the only music better than the race record underground circa 1951 is the experimental white weirdoes underground circa 1950. They too had no use for the home key.

However, you also know, while its disappearance was wonderful for a while, it has now returned. Gloriously. Csharp, Dsharp, Esharp, Fsharp, Gsharp, Asharp, Bsharp, Csharp, for example, is a great home key that today's kids use that the Brahms kids didn't use so much.

And so, I look forward to the return of the home key in new and different ways.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Roméo et Juliette

posted by on February 7 at 10:42 AM

You have five more chances to see Pacific Northwest Ballet's Roméo et Juliette, a West Coast premiere of the mid-nineties production by Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo, choreography by Jean-Christophe Maillot. I don't recommend Saturday at 2 pm, because you should be caucusing at that hour--that leaves four performances. Dépêche-toi!

Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet is perhaps his least verbal tragedy. There are iconic speeches, but many come off as slightly frivolous ("Wherefore art thou Romeo?") or even self-mocking ("Why, then, O brawling love! O loving hate!/O any thing, of nothing first create!/O heavy lightness! serious vanity!/Mis-shapen chaos of well-seeming forms!/Feather of lead, bright smoke, cold fire, sick health!/Still-waking sleep, that is not what it is!/This love feel I, that feel no love in this./Dost thou not laugh?"). Exclamatory ardor, wah wah wah. The story's the thing: Pyramus and Thisbe, seeking forbidden love, find death has taken its place.

Without the fancy language—which you always sort of suspected was distracting you from the essentially embarrassing subject matter—you can really get into the story. This ballet is about nothing but teenage hormones. Brilliant!

Lucien Postlewaite and Noelani Pantastico

Continue reading "Roméo et Juliette" »

Monday, February 4, 2008

"Frozen New York"

posted by on February 4 at 9:35 AM

Performance-art populists Improv Everywhere stage a frozen moment in NYC's Grand Central Station.

The onlookers are the stars. (Thanks, Towleroad.)

Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Sleepytime Express

posted by on January 31 at 12:02 PM

Around 50 arts nerds drove to Olympia yesterday for the hearing on state senate bill 6638, aka the hotel/motel tax bill, which funds arts in King County.

(Just writing that sentence made me a little drowsy. One group named its capital-bound van the "The Sleepytime Express.")

Spoiler alert: The bill is gonna pass.

(Sort-of briefly: In 1989, the legislature started a 2% hotel-motel tax in King County to help pay down Kingdome debt. Some of the excess revenue goes towards arts funding, but only until 2012. Bill 6638 extends the arts funding past 2012 and specifies how it will be distributed. The tax is important—it is the primary source of funding for 4Culture and is listed on the donor wall of the Seattle Rep, up there with Eve Alvord and the Benyaroyas, as if "hotel/motel tax" were a generous person.)

Anyway, Olympia: It's a weird little campus down there. It feels like a theme park, with its neo-classical buildings, well-tended lawns and hedges, and school groups running around. The capitol dome wants a gravitron:


Clutches of special-interest groups loitered around, waiting for their moment: leather-faced cowboys smoking in the drizzle, wearing hide jackets and "Backcountry Horsemen of America" patches; a group of people with Down syndrome eating in the cafeteria; and, crowded into hearing room four, the art people.

Some of them, like Jim Kelly of 4Culture, wore suits. Others, like Jen Zeyl, wore jeans. Seventeen art people signed up to testify for the bill, zero against.

"We don't have time to hear 17 people testify," said committee chair Margarita Prentice. "But, like they say in the theater, always leave your audience wanting more."

A few people—including Ed Murray—said some nice things about the bill. Prentice asked those who had come to support the bill to stand. Seventy-five percent of the crowd stood up.

"Well, that was boring," a guy said on the ride back to Seattle. "No controversy, no opposition."

"No it wasn't," a lady countered. "Look at all the people who showed up to support the arts. Put that in the good news category."

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Josh Roman Has Quit the Seattle Symphony

posted by on January 30 at 2:52 PM

Here's the letter he just sent out:

Dear Friends and Family,

I am writing to let you know of my decision to leave the Seattle Symphony following the current 07-08 season. I informed the orchestra management of this decision yesterday. I thought it would be nice to tell all of you myself, instead of you hearing the news from others. This email was the best way I could come up with. In any case:

This decision comes at an exciting time for me. I have had so many opportunities since I came to the Seattle Symphony, and lately I have been taking more solo and chamber engagements here and elsewhere. I really appreciate the willingness of the Seattle Symphony to have placed so much faith in me at this critical point in my career.

I will miss many of the friends that I have made here, including two of the musicians that I sit next to almost every week; my stand partner, Susan Williams, and the charming man who sits next to me in the violins, John Weller. There are many more in the cello section, orchestra, staff, and around the city that I will remember fondly. My sincere hope is that our relationships will be lasting and flourish no matter where our roads take us.

As much as I have loved my time in Seattle, it is very important for me to keep a strong focus and commitment to my goals, and the foremost musical goal I have is to become the best cellist I can be. To that end, I will be doing tons of traveling over the next years, listening to many great musicians, practicing hard, performing a lot, and doing other cool stuff too. I plan to return to Seattle frequently and I already have several engagements here next season. Seattle is like a home to me; I love this place and the people I've met here!

I thank all of you for your support, especially my family, who has always thought that I was a bit nuts to want this life, but has supported me in everything nonetheless. It is because of this support that I am able to carry on and I hope to make the best of every opportunity and trust I am given.

All the best to all of you-

Joshua Roman

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Curious Mail

posted by on January 22 at 11:24 AM

Yesterday an envelope arrived in the mail. I knew something was up because my address at The Stranger was reprinted in the upper left-hand corner as the return address. Like so:


I opened the envelope and found a card inside, with this on its front:


I opened the card and found this printed inside:


In case you can't read that, it says: "We would like to kindly ask that you stay away from the Rendezvous Jewel Box Theater on the evening of January 28th. Thank You."

Apparently Seattle School has something to do with this. I've never wanted to go to the Rendezvous Jewel Box Theater more.

The Death of Whimsy

posted by on January 22 at 11:12 AM

New public art along the nearly completed Fire Station 10.
Why is this art weak? Because it is whimsical. Whimsical in the sense that it is playful. It plays with the idea of a race of fire hydrants. This red race is much like the human race--it is has kids, mothers, father figures, and so on.

So, what is wrong with whimsy? Elsewhere I have advanced the concept of an art criticism that must find its foundation in Tardian sociology (people/mind/body as social, as associations, as a network of clusters, pathways, and patterns). To expose the history and truth of this funny race of fire hydrants, however, one only needs basic Marxist tools. What these tools help us to see is that whimsy once had its place in what Marx and Engels called the "bad side"--the side that is opposed to power, to a ruling order. In the case of whimsy, the opposition was the rigid regime of the business elite, of profit calculations, charts, statistics, Taylorism in the factories, organization men in the office--the science of capitalism. Whimsy was to the order of scientific capitalism what romanticism was to the order of Newtonian enlightenment. In Seattle, the capital of whimsy was (and still is) Fremont--the defining locus for artists who found in whimsy a weapon against the ruling determinations and aesthetic of the business elite.

Today, whimsy is far from revolutionary. It has been absorbed by the order it originally opposed. Once a weapon for change, it is now a tool of control. For example, the videos that dominate commercial enterprises like MySpace and YouTube are whimsical--a dog on a surfboard, a homemade catapult, a drunk doing something drunk. Whimsy has no power because it has no enemy. It is now nothing more than a form of mindless distraction, a form that is not on the bad side of business interests.

The main reason the sculptures in front of the Fire Station 10 are weak is they reproduce and enforce the regime of whimsy.

-11.jpg This stone sculpture, also in front of the fire station, at least has the honesty of being heavy.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Props for Reggie Watts (and Amy O'Neal!) in the NYT

posted by on January 18 at 9:47 AM


Former Seattleite Reggie Watts (and current Seattlelite Amy O'Neal) earn some good ink in the New York Times, for Watts' show Distortion, running in the Public Theater's Under the Radar fest.

DISINFORMATION Public Theater Through Sunday

“Some of you are time travelers. Welcome,” the absurdist comedian Reggie Watts says by way of introduction. “Please don’t give anything away.” In “Disinformation,” a sharp, wry and elusive entertainment, Mr. Watts, a man comfortably at home in the world of the ridiculous, transforms himself as quickly as a couch potato changes channels. He moves seamlessly from skits to songs to off-kilter stand-up, while talking in a subway train full of accents. He also occasionally mispronounces words for no particular reason: “bed” and “grandfather” become “bead” and “grainfather.” It’s a jittery, fractured show seemingly built to appeal to those with attention deficit disorder. You can try to keep up with this gifted performer, but don’t bother making sense of him.

Mr. Watts, who straddles the lines between comedy, music and theater, has a look as striking as his style: large tufts of hair sprout from the top and bottom of his sizable head. There’s a hint of a smirk during his cockeyed one-liners (“I was attending a conference on conferences”), but when he breaks into a James Brown-like song or a human beat box, he turns deadpan, putting his nimble baritone to great use.

He’s assisted by a team of good-looking, young performers including a flirty singer named Orianna Herrman and an astounding hip-hop dancer, Amy O’Neal, so magnetically creative on her feet that for a few minutes she manages to steal the focus away from Mr. Watts. JASON ZINOMAN

Hurrah! Please perform it here soon.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Interview with a Landlord

posted by on January 17 at 12:43 PM

It should’ve been a shitstorm, but it wasn’t.

Over one hundred people congregated at the Capitol Hill Arts Center last night (yesterday's Slog post about it here) to talk about how artists are being squeezed out of Capitol Hill—and, sometimes, out of existence—by the city’s overheated real estate market.

All the combustibles were there: aggrieved artists and theater companies, Nick Licata (city council), Susan Shannon (Mayor’s Office of Economic Development), Michael Killoren (Mayor’s Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs), Charlie Rathbun (4Culture), and Ted Schroth, the commercial developer who just bought Oddfellows Hall.


(A brief history: Oddfellows has been an incubator for low-rent arts organizations for decades. Since its sale a few weeks ago to Schroth, current arts tenants—Velocity Dance Center, Freehold Theater, the Century Ballroom—have said the developer's proposed rent increases will displace them. And that Oddfellows Hall will, most likely, become all offices and retail.)

Before the meeting began, artists huddled, muttering darkly and drinking beer.

Shitstorm, right? But no.

The discussion was occasionally heated, but predictable. Artists blamed the city (“give us money”), city officials gently chided the artists (“make a fuss, give us a reason”), and the landlord said nothing—nobody asked him. Nobody asked about Oddfellows Hall, or what anybody could do to keep developers from kicking artists out of buildings.

So, after the meeting ended, I asked Schroth.

“Of course arts are important,” he said. “A lot of people are angry that Oddfellows sold, but the owners wanted to sell and we paid ten times as much as they did for the building. Now I have a mortgage and partners to pay and I can’t operate at a loss.”

So you have to raise rents.

“Look, landlords are easy targets. I’ve got a bulls-eye on my chest. But there’s a new economic reality [for the Oddfellows Hall and, one gathers, for the city]. I don’t want to sound like a victim, because I’m not, but I can’t afford to subsidize the arts.”

So if we could wave a magic wand and invent a plan that would help you keep arts organizations in the building, what would it be?

“Government incentives to bridge the gap between what the artists can pay and the economic reality, property tax breaks like the ones for 501(c)3s, and more from the end user: Hallie [the proprietress of the Century Ballroom] charges $5 for people to dance—pretty cheap. If her patrons value the arts, they should pay $12 instead of $5.”

(Which recalls a quote from Lucky Jim: “If one man’s got ten buns and another’s got two, and a bun has got to be given up by one of them, then surely you take it from the man with ten buns.”)

It seemed like a depressing evening, but today Licata is all excited about it: “That was a tremendous turnout! The next step is to have something like that in city hall, in front of council members. Then the council needs to devote its resources, and maybe a new dedicated staff member, to help identify buildings that need to be saved and help broker the deals between artists and developers.”

This could, he said, be the beginning of something good.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Tonight: Save Oddfellows Hall

posted by on January 16 at 12:09 PM


Remember back when Ted Schroth bought Oddfellows Hall (read about it here)?

Remember when everybody was freaking out and some people (like me) said: We don't know what's going to happen, so let's not freak out yet?

Looks like it might be time to freak out.

Rumor says Schroth is raising the rents and demanding minimum five-year leases, meaning Freehold is out, Velocity is probably out, and the Century Ballroom is trying to negotiate a deal to stay for a couple of years, but will eventually probably be out.

Matthew Kwatinetz, of the Capitol Hill Arts Center has organized a meeting tonight to discuss the future of Oddfellows Hall. (Technically, it's a Chamber of Commerce/CHAC/Creative Conversations meeting about real estate and the arts, but all anyone will want to talk about is Oddfellows Hall.)

Likely to attend: Jim Kelly and Charlie Rathbun (4 Culture), Susan Shannon (Mayor's Office of Economic Development), Michael Killoren (Mayor's Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs), Nick Licata (city council), and a pack of bunged-up artists.

Likely topics of discussion: Arts spaces, government subsidies for arts spaces, non-profits that are rumored to want to buy Oddfellows back from Schroth, people's memories of and affections for Oddfellows Hall, and the Save the Oddfellows group, whose website is here.

5:30. CHAC. Be there.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Attention Salon of Shame Fans

posted by on January 8 at 2:33 PM


If you don't already know, the Salon of Shame is a one of Seattle's best reading series. Officially labelled "Seattle’s bimonthly reading series featuring your worst teenaged writing," the Salon is described by its creators thusly:

The idea is simple: Seattleites stand before you and read their middle school diary passages, high school poetry, unsent letters, and other bits of horribly shameful, and inadvertently hilarious adolescent writing. Founded in 2005, the Salon is cathartic for readers and hilarious for listeners. Everybody wins when it comes to embarrassment!

(I have attended and I agree.)

However, the Salon of Shame is also one of Seattle's most popular reading series, with all seats in CHAC's small downstairs space typically selling out in minutes.

Which brings us to today's good news: Thanks to a scheduling mix-up, tonight's Salon will take place NOT in CHAC's small downstairs space but in their HUGE UPSTAIRS SPACE, meaning there are suddenly a whole bunch of seats up for grabs.

If you've ever wanted to check out the Salon of Shame (or have been frozen out of a sold-out Salon), tonight's your night. For ticket info, go here.

Friday, January 4, 2008

#1 on My "Bucket List"

posted by on January 4 at 11:50 AM

Watch Morgan Freeman sing while taking a bath in a casket.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Seattle Opera 2008/2009 Productions & Photos

posted by on January 3 at 1:29 PM

Seattle Opera sent over the official press release on their 2008/2009 season, of which I gave a preview yesterday (updated with more cast info). It was a lot of text, but now I can give some visuals to get you hyped and answer some questions we had about the productions. Click any of the photos, as they may have larger popups with a detailed view. UPDATE: Seattle Opera has the season up on their site now; you can take "Visual Tours" for each of the operas.

aida2.jpgThe 1992 Aïda will not be revived or revamped. Instead, a traditional production from Tony award winner Michael Yeargan that had its debut at San Diego in 1996 and was seen there in 2001 but still looks sharp and fresh:

Photos © 1996 Ken Howard, San Diego Opera.

More photos and spec sheet at the San Diego Opera Scenic Studio page.

bluebeard03.jpgThe Stranger's "The Score" columnist Chris DeLaurenti says in the comments "I hope the Bluebeard/Ewartung double bill is the Robert Lepage production that was so dazzling in Vancouver back in '99." You're in luck, Chris. The acclaimed production, originally for Toronto Canadian Opera Company, has travelled extensively since its premiere in 1992. Stage director François Racine, who has worked the production in every one of its previous appearances and will be Seattle's director, told La Scena a bit about the production's inspiration and concept:

The success of this production comes from the brilliant way it blends together the expressionist sense of emotional breakdown with powerful visual images. Michael Levine… designed this huge frame around the set that suggests a painting by Klimt.


The space of Bluebeard is very closed and dark, giving a powerful sense of physical claustrophobia, with the doors just providing a glimpse of what is outside. Erwartung, by contrast, is a very open space, with just one wall, and a lot of light, but the piece still conveys a sense of mental claustrophobia. The woman's hallucinations encroach upon her. This theme of enclosure, physical in the first, internal in the second, is very important to the production.


Photos 1995 © Michael Cooper, Canadian Opera Company.

Intrigued? Me too. Elektra and Pearl Fishers under the cut:

Continue reading "Seattle Opera 2008/2009 Productions & Photos" »

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Seattle Opera Upcoming Seasons

posted by on January 2 at 12:13 AM

Hello. Welcome to a long-assed post that probably three people will read.

Even though it hasn't been made officially, totally public yet, here's a look at Seattle Opera's very, very exciting and ambitious upcoming season (and a bit beyond). Via Opera-L, from the Seattle Opera 2008-2009 subscription brochure.

2008/2009 Season
Aïda, August 2-23, 2008
Aïda: Andrea Gruber/Lisa Daltirus
Radames: Antonello Palombi/Rosario La Spina
Amneris: Stephanie Blythe/Luretta Bybee
Amonasro: Charles Taylor/Richard Paul Fink
Ramfis: Luiz-Ottariva Faria/Carsten Wittmoser
King of Egypt: Joseph Rawley
High Priestess: Priti Gandhi
Messenger: Karl Reyes
Conductor: Riccardo Frizza
Set Designer: Michael Yeargan
Costume Designer: Peter J. Hall

I could really do without Andrea Gruber in anything ever, and I'm curious to know what they're going to do for the Aïda, whose last production—new, at that time—was apparently booed and panned. Apparently the production concept was that the whole thing was set in an antiquities museum, where, instead of a Triumphal March, there was, like, an offloading of pallettes of Ptah statuettes. Will they revive it? Revamp it?

Elektra, October 18-31, November 1, 2008
Elektra: Janice Baird/Jayne Casselman
Chrysothemis: Irmgard Vilsmaier/Carolyn Betty
Klytemnestra: Rosalind Plowright/Luretta Bybee
Aegisthus: Richard Margison/Thomas Harper
Orestes: Alfred Walker
Young Servant: Simeon Esper
Overseer: Mary McLaughlin
Conductor: Lawrence Renes
Director: Chris Alexander
Set Designer: Wolfram Skalicki

I don't know much about the alternate cast, but the main cast ought to be pretty amazing. I don't love any of their voices, but with the exception of Chrysothemis, none of the voices need to be pretty; hell, they can be downright scary—and there's a good bit of that here. Oh, hay: you can actually listen to Janice Baird sing the monlogue here (part 1, "Allein! Weh, ganz allein") and here (part 2, "Vater! Agamemnon").

Les Pêcheurs des Perles, January 10-24, 2009
Leila: Mary Dunleavy/Larissa Yudina
Nadir: William Burden/John Osborn
Zurga: Christopher Feigum/David Adam Moore
Nourabad: Patrick Carfizzi
Conductor: Gerard Schwarz
Director: Kay Walker Castaldo
Set Designer: Boyd Ostroff
Costume Designer: Richard St. Clair

If I'm not mistaken, this is a production where the men are often scantily clad and covered in green body paint. If I am mistaken, then Seattle Opera needs to get on that tip. Mary Dunleavy's the fucking bomb; I'm surprised she got casted. I loved William Burden L'Italiana and Iphigénie, and he's perfect for Nadir. I don't know Christopher Feigum. I don't need to tell you about Gerard Schwarz, but if I did, I'd probably make a "limp baton" joke.

Bluebeard's Castle and Erwartung, February 21-28, March 1-7, 2009
Bluebeard: John Relyea
Judith: Malgorzata Walewska
The Narrator: Arthur Woodley
The Woman: Susan Pierson
Conductor: Vjekoslav Sutej
Production: Rober Lepage
Director: François Racine
Set & Costume Designer: Michael Levine

Psychological drama double bill! This will be the hot ticket of the season. John Relyea was hands-down the best thing in SO's Tales of Hoffmann a few seasons back. He's handsome, magnetic, and has hell of a voice (which recently I've heard being pushed a bit, to his detriment, but still). And Erwartung?!? Whoa. A one-act monologue by Schoenberg and his first big atonal piece. Stream-of-consciousness text, possible links to a Freud case. There a few recordings of it, but get your ass on the Jessye Norman train because it's the only one that Goes There.

Le Nozze di Figaro, May 2-16, 2009
Figaro: Oren Gradus/Nicolas Cvallier
Count Almaviva: Mariusz Kwiecien/Johannes Mannov
Countess Almaviva: Twyla Robinson/Jessica Jones
Susanna: Christine Brandes/Elizabeth Caballero
Cherubino: Daniela Sindram/Sarah Castle
Marcellina: Joyce Castle
Dr. Bartolo: Arthur Woodley
Don Basilio/Don Curzio: Ted Schmitz
Antonio: Barry Johnson
Conductor: Dean Williamson
Director: Peter Kazaras
Set Designer: Curtis Wallin

This will totally be a big ole sex romp, with gratuitous chest baring for Kwiecien, who's Seattle Opera's resident barihunk, and damn, he can sing. Gradus's voice is decent, if a bit clumsy and driven. Speight Jenkins is clueless as ever about female voices, but it doesn't even matter because the real battle is getting enough energy and interest in the staging that people will be able to sit there for four hours. And Seattle Opera's really good at that, so.

Ben Heppner/Ascher Fisch, August 14, 2008
International Wagner Competition, August 16, 2008


August 2009
The Ring Cycle

Let's not.

Beyond this, I've got bits and pieces. Some of these productions and dates are tentative and speculative, but they're based on real information from real interviews, biographies, and schedules of the individual singers. After the jump...

Continue reading "Seattle Opera Upcoming Seasons" »

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Anticipation City

posted by on January 1 at 10:44 AM


dylank2.jpg(both by Dylan Koutsky)

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Look of Life

posted by on December 26 at 3:01 PM

hannah_starkey_may.jpg The struggle we face in life is to find a way to overcome this trap, this loop or looks, this locked arrangement of gazes. Youth looks at itself; the old looks at youth; no one looks at the old.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Velocity to Leave the Odd Fellows Hall

posted by on December 22 at 3:01 PM

An email from Velocity executive director Kara O'Toole regarding the purchase of Odd Fellows Hall and the future of the center:

Dear Friends,

As many of you know, the Odd Fellows Hall - Velocity’s current home - has been sold to a commercial real estate developer. Many of you have contacted us expressing your concern, which has been a powerful reminder of how important Velocity is to this community.

We are currently negotiating to stay at this location for as long as we can while we look for a permanent home where Velocity can have more control over its destiny. We’ll know more details in the new year and will keep you updated.

The best thing you can do to keep Velocity strong is what you always do: take classes, come to performances and consider making a donation to our year-end campaign by going to and clicking on the “Donate Now” icon.

We are very close to our goal of raising $10,000 before the end of the year! A generous anonymous donor will match every dollar we receive up to $2,500 before the end of the year. Please consider making a contribution today.

Dance on!

Kara O’Toole, Executive Director

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Santas in Chaps: Christmas-Themed Dating Site Delights

posted by on December 20 at 9:51 AM


Along with this week's feature—Mistress Matisse's The Whore on Christmas—comes a most beguiling and upsetting web-extra slideshow: Santas in Chaps: Christmas-Themed Dating Site Delights, which is exactly what it says it is.

It's weird. And gay. And NSFW. Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

"Cheap Lousy Faggot"

posted by on December 18 at 9:14 AM

"Fairy Tale of New York" has been banned by the BBC in Britain...

Says the Telegraph...

The BBC has censored a popular Christmas song amid fears the lyrics will upset homosexuals. "Fairytale of New York," by The Pogues featuring Kirsty MacColl, has been re-released for the festive period and is a contender for the coveted Christmas number one slot.

It tells the story of two lovers who trade insults on Christmas Eve and one verse ends with the memorable line: "You scumbag, you maggot, you cheap lousy faggot, Happy Christmas your arse I pray God It's our last."

Speaking for all faggots everywhere--I am their self-appointed spokesman, after all--we don't find this song offensive in the least. In fact, it's on the Christmas music compilation CD my boyfriend made. We listen to it, oh, seven or eight thousand times every year. Lighten up, BBC.

Monday, December 17, 2007

The Year in Arts from the News Desk

posted by on December 17 at 2:43 PM

Best book I read in 2007:
Only Yesterday: An Informal History of the 1920s by Frederick Lewis Allen. Written in 1931.

Best book I read in 2007 that came out in 2007:
The Rest is Noise: Listening to the 20th Century by Alex Ross.

Best Music I heard in 2007:
It's a 3-way tie: Muddy Waters Juke Box Hits 1948-1952; Van Morrison and Them two studio albums 1964 and 1965; and Shostakovich's 7 Songs, Op. 127.

Best Music I heard in 2007 that came out in 2007:
Chris DeLaurenti's Favorite Intermissions. Yes, he's a Stranger writer, so this is a conflict of interest, but the real world liked it too.

Best Movie I saw in 2007:
I'm having a hard time remembering everything I saw. And the year's not over yet, and I think I'm seeing Red River this week, and I'm still dying to see The Godless Girl, which Annie says features a teenage riot beyond Ziggy Stardust dimensions (hand over that DVD, Brendan.)

But when it comes to new movies I'd have to say Dance Party USA by director Aaron Katz, which came out in 2006 actually. So, maybe Superbad? Nah. It was good, but the cop duo got boring.

For old movies that I'd never seen until this year: Peter Whitehead's The Fall.

Also saw some great stuff on YouTube: The 1976 triple overtime NBA finals game between the Phoenix Suns and the Boston Celtics, the 1965 Who playing I Can't Explain on teen beat TV, and actual footage of Anne Frank leaning out of her second story window.

French Horns and Razor Blades

posted by on December 17 at 11:05 AM

If you're looking for a comprehensive primer on the internal battles that have been screwing up the Seattle Symphony for the past few years, start here, in the Sunday NYT.

There isn't much new information, but the article covers all the bad bits, including Schwarz purported incompetence and cronyism, including rigging his friend John Cerminaro, a French horn player, into the orchestra:

Normally orchestral openings are subject to rigorous blind auditions, but Mr. Cerminaro was invited to substitute for a player on leave. He eventually auditioned for a permanent job, but an orchestra committee rejected him by a vote of 9 to 1. Mr. Schwarz appointed him anyway. A number of players continued to oppose Mr. Cerminaro; he and Mr. Schwarz attribute that to jealousy or personality conflicts. “Success is the only unpardonable sin with these people,” Mr. Cerminaro said in an interview.

(That quote's not going to make Cerminaro any friends.)

And it doesn't neglect the anti-Schwarz revolts at his other conducting jobs:

Mr. Schwarz also faced trouble elsewhere. Friction built at the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra in England, where he had become principal conductor in 2001. Malcolm Stewart, the orchestra’s concertmaster of 24 years, quit in 2003. And in 2004, 40 of the 65 musicians cast an anti-Schwarz vote.

So how does he survive? Rich people like him. He's a charmer, a money-magnet, the man who built Benaroya Hall. Too bad his musicians don't think much of his conducting.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Alex Schweder's Four-Ton Ice Sculpture, Snow Storm

posted by on December 14 at 9:30 AM

Alex Schweder, the Stranger's Visual Art Genius this year and someone with whom you can tour a moldy building for charity, is now doing this:

What: Seattle artist Alex Schweder will create an ice sculpture on the steps and plaza of Tacoma Art Museum. Using 7,800 pounds—nearly four tons—of ice, a team of art installers will carve and shape blocks with a chainsaw to create the temporary installation, which is only on view until it melts. This is the first sculptural installation on view on Tacoma Art Museum’s front plaza. Inside the museum, a video will be projected onto snow falling in the center of the lobby. The two installations are called Melting Instructions and are being created for Snowbound, Tacoma Art Museum’s new winter festival.

When: Sunday, December 16, Snowbound Community Festival, 12 – 5 pm (Snow in the lobby with video projection: 3–4:45 pm)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Sweeney Todd's London

posted by on December 13 at 4:30 PM


Tim Burton's new film has few minor problems in the historical accuracy department. Londoners have noted that Big Ben, pictured in the above publicity still, wasn't constructed until 1856. Which would be roughly fifty years after Tim Burton's new film is set. But Big Ben isn't in the film, just this one publicity image, which was pulled after the the inaccuracy was brought to the attention of the filmmakers.

But the film opens with a shot of a ship sailing up (or down?) the River Thames--right under a "not fully finished" Tower Bridge, according to the book about the film. Construction didn't begin on Tower Bridge until 1886, and it wasn't finished in 1894, which would be somewhere between eighty or ninety years after the Sweeney Todd is set.

The ship moves past Tower Bridge and toward St. Paul's cathedral--anyone know if that's the direction a ship sailing into London would take on its way into town?

Seattle in Miami 2007

posted by on December 13 at 2:50 PM

It used to be that the story of Seattle galleries and artists at Art Basel Miami Beach was simple: Underdog prevails.

Now, the plot has twisted.

It all began three Decembers ago. Frustrated that the Northwest was invisible at the major annual art fair in Miami—the biggest fair in the country—Seattle artists Jaq Chartier and Dirk Park decided to start their own. They found an open-air motel called Aqua across the street from the beach, and turned it into Aqua Art Miami during the run of the main fair at the nearby convention center.

The first year, 2005, was an innocent thrill: We're here! There were only a handful of satellite fairs like Aqua.

By the second year, Miami was a cash cow for some Seattle galleries as well as the fuel behind a new sense of national and international ambition for Seattle artists. (The connections artists and dealers make in Miami can be as important as the sales.) Here's my report from the front.

But there was a dark side: The number of satellite fairs had risen to more than 12 and it was next to impossible to see everything, let alone for everybody to come away with sales.

And then, the franchise exploded.

More Seattle galleries than ever went to Miami to sell art last week: 10.

Aqua itself doubled, spinning off another satellite from its original hotel satellite, this one called Aqua Wynwood and held in a high-ceilinged warehouse where booths with permanent walls could house art better than a series of hotel rooms.

And the number of satellite fairs rose to a totally unmanageable 21.

Not everybody came away satisfied this time around.

The greatest discrepancy between this year and last happened at Lawrimore Project. Last year, LP sold more than $100,000 of art in a matter of hours and, over the four days, placed seven pieces by four artists in museum collections.

This year, "it was dramatically different," dealer Lawrimore said.

It was supposed to be dramatic: Lawrimore moved from the hotel to the large loading dock area in the Aqua warehouse fair, and hauled several of his artists down to Miami in order to make large new installations for the occasion.

At the Lawrimore Project booth: LED screen by Sabrina Raaf, wire sculpture in mid-air by Lead Pencil Studio, floor sculptures by Cris Bruch, blinking neon sign by Anne Mathern, photographs by Liz Cohen (left) and Susan Robb (right), "black box" area at back right with work by Tivon Rice, Susie Lee, and Charles LaBelle.

At the Lawrimore Project booth: Alex Schweder's "snowball" doorway with horse cops.

The gamble didn't pay off. Technical difficulties riddled the most prominent of the new works, by Alex Schweder, and another piece, a gravitron by Sami Ben Larbi, was very loud and required loads of electricity. "I just didn't make any friends whatsoever," Lawrimore said of the Aqua organizers and the other dealers in the warehouse.

Lawrimore Project made a few sales, including Lead Pencil Studio's 4 Corners and Susan Robb's Toobs (and an Isaac Layman photograph to SF dealer Rena Bransten), but he lost money and made a fraction as many connections as he'd hoped for.

He blames it on a lack of traffic at the new Aqua Wynwood, and says he won't be working with Aqua organizers Chartier and Dirk again: "Next year I feel like we either have to get into the big fair, Pulse, or NADA, or nothing."

Chartier said she's aware that Aqua Wynwood didn't get enough foot traffic, but that next year will be better. There were other problems, too, said Carrie E.A. Scott of James Harris Gallery, another Seattle venue that showed at Aqua Wynwood this year—the warehouse was hard to find and a lack of signs made things worse. Plus, the fair didn't have a swanky opening party to announce itself.

But James Harris Gallery fared better than last year, selling artists across the board and placing work internationally, Scott said.

At the James Harris Gallery booth: works by (clockwise starting at lower left) Tania Kitchell, Marcelino Goncalves, Scott Foldesi, Mary Ann Peters, Steve Davis, Claude Zervas, and Rashid Johsnon.

"We sold more than last year, and we loved the fair, and we thought it was a huge success," she said. "If I'm perfectly honest, it was quiet. There were moments where we needed critical mass, and it wasn't there. Aqua knows that and they know what they need to do to fix that. But I think that they will next year. The buzz that was built by that program—it was a kickass building. It really was a clever buildout."

James Harris wants to return to Aqua Wynwood next year, Scott said.

Portland's Elizabeth Leach Gallery was also at Aqua Wynwood. Gallery director Daniel Peabody said sales were parallel to last year, when the gallery was at the Aqua hotel fair. He echoed the concerns of the other dealers about the lack of foot traffic ("there was not much parking, and not much signage"), but said, "Our experience was good this year; we anticipate it being great next year." Elizabeth Leach wants to return to Aqua Wynwood.

Where Seattle galleries were once housed exclusively at Aqua, now they've become scattered. The Aqua hotel still hosted four Seattle galleries this year: Howard House and Platform, returning, and Roq La Rue and G. Gibson, first-timers to Miami.

It was an unmitigated success for Howard House, said dealer Billy Howard. "It was better than last year. I can not tell you how happy I am. It felt good, and people were really happy, and everybody we took we did really well with," he said.

Aside from sales of work by Gretchen Bennett, Mark Miller, Robert Yoder, and John Haddock, a trustee of the New Museum of Contemporary Art bought a Cat Clifford piece.

Outside the Howard House room at Aqua: work by Lauren Grossman and Oscar Tuazon and Eli Hansen.

"The hotel fair at Aqua is a true Miami fair—it's about art and about being in Miami," Howard said. "After the first, like, three hours, I went down and told Jaq that I wanted to come back next year because things had been flying off the walls."

Platform sold a Scott Fife sculpture within five minutes of opening, and also sold several works by almost all of the gallery's other artists, a lineup that included Jesse Burke, Carlee Fernandez, Matt Sellars, Marc Dombrosky, and William Powhida.

But "I just think that the saturation point was reached with so many fairs," said Platform co-director Stephen Lyons. "In terms of overall sales, it was less than last year."

Platform is not sure yet whether it will return to the hotel next year. "We'd like to check in with other dealers," Lyons said. "See how Pulse did, how (Aqua) Wynwood did."

Greg Kucera Gallery and Winston Wächter Fine Art found themselves at Art Miami, a fair formerly held in January but moved to coincide with Basel, and targeting blue-chip dealers.

At the Greg Kucera Gallery booth: Greg Kucera standing, with works by (l-r) Margie Livingston, Dan Webb, Chris Engman (photograph), Jack Daws (penny), Peter Millett (sculpture above).

Kucera said this year was a total success. The gallery sold works by Deborah Butterworth, Margie Livingston, Marie Watt, Whiting Tennis, and others. The floor was a little lumpy because the fair was built on an empty lot, but it didn't bother Kucera much, he said. For next year, he plans to stick with Art Miami. "That's the fair that has the most to gain, because there's a lot of dealers who want to find a venue that will really compete head-to-head with Art Basel," Kucera said.

Winston Wächter, which has locations in New York and Seattle, was in both Art Miami and a fair called Flow, and "we were very pleased," said Seattle director Stacey Winston-Levitan. "We made money plus a lot of contacts." Susan Dory and Betsy Eby were the only artists from Seattle that the gallery represented in Miami.

Roq La Rue and G. Gibson, also at the Aqua hotel, both want to return to Miami for a second time next year. Both made profits and connections, just as they'd hoped. "They say if you break even, it's a good fair; if you make money, it's a great fair; and we made money, so it was a great fair," said Gail Gibson. "It's like paying for a great big advertisement."

Two more Seattle galleries—Miami first-timers—could be found at the new hotel fair Art Now, another spinoff of a spinoff.

There, Viveza Art Experience made only one sale but hopes to do it again next year. "It's freeing not having to worry about making local sales or focusing on the first-time buyer market as we have," Viveza director Michael Rivera-Dirks wrote in an email. "It's really exciting to be developing our aesthetic and receiving confirmation from national perspectives that we are on the right track."

Patricia Cameron Fine Art also plans to return to Miami. "All my artists received incredible attention," Cameron said. "We met some very important curators, so that was exciting to me."

Ironically, all four of the Seattle galleries new to Miami this year—in addition to the veterans—complained that the fair was far too crowded. Several people said they thought this was the breaking point.

Nobody said they were staying away next year.

A Blart for You

posted by on December 13 at 9:30 AM


What it is:
Christ Town, Quincy, FL (2006, ultra-chrome ink jet print, by M. Laine Wyatt)
Where it is:
Punch Gallery

This is a sneaky, sneaky photograph. At first it looks like a randomly disheveled scene. But is it? In the folksy mural of John the Baptist and Christ, the reflection of light on the ripple of the water around Christ's waist is painted on. But there's also a lamp set up in front of it that confuses things visually and symbolically. The lamp appears to be clamped to an aluminum tub that may or may not hold a little body of water itself. Four levels of greenery are visible, maybe five: real plants outdoors, fake plants indoors (real plants indoors?), painted trees, and the shadows of trees cast by light coming from the window at left and from an invisible source seen obliquely in a ray on the right wall. The ray points to the hands of the two men, which point at two different versions of the lamp—John's hand toward the real lamp and Christ's hand toward the shadow lamp. The shadow lamp points to the pew, which zigzags in a gesture unmistakably directed right at you.

I recommend.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

In/Visible Is Up: Dandelion in America

posted by on December 12 at 9:30 AM

Webb01.jpgSeattle-based sculptor Dan Webb's problem is that he can make anything with his hands. He could build a perfect monument, but he doesn't believe in perfect monuments. So he builds things that warp and disintegrate, that survive with compromises.

Twice he's been on the Stranger Genius Award shortlist (2003 and 2007) and his new installation Little Cuts immediately became a part of the regional canon when it was first shown last December. It's up now—just until December 21—at Western Bridge, in a terrific group show with work by Martin Creed, Jordan Wolfson, Anthony McCall, Jeppe Hein, Rachel Harrison, Alex Schweder, Neil Goldberg, Julia Schmidt, and Roger Hiorns. (Northwest readers: Miss it at risk of serious regret.)

Little Cuts (pictured above, at right) is the process of Webb carving a man's head out of a block of wood. In a series of 40 photographs, the man's face emerges from the wood and then grows old; his flesh decomposes leaving only his skull, and then even his bones wither to dust. The dust—all the sawdust from the carving—is encased in a Plexiglas box, set on a pedestal in the center of the room, with the 40 photographs hung on the walls around it.

Next month, Webb has a solo show at Acuna Hansen Gallery in LA. I caught up with Webb in his unheated studio for a peek at the work that will be in that show.

web-1.jpgThe show is titled Dandelion, in a play on the artist's name (though the down-to-earth sculptor is neither really dandy nor lion), and on his most common theme through the years, survival in sculpture. At left is his floor installation, Dandelion in America. In it, a weed made from the pages of old issues of art magazines like Art in America sprouts up from a pile of the magazines, as if in homage to all the now-forgotten names inside the periodicals.

web.jpgAt right, Rubber Dandelion is a cast-rubber dandelion held up by a bronze wire armature. It will be set on the floor on a platform with springs. Whenever anyone walks near it, the rubber will wobble, invoking the tough malleability of weeds but also, thanks to the wire maze, the appearance of limbs gone slack and on life support.

Listen to the artist talk about these and other dandelions, made of bronze, paper, and Sculpy—and about the chopped-off finger of Galileo, on this week's In/Visible.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

English and Arabic

posted by on December 11 at 12:55 PM

I. Abu Dhabi.


According to a 2003 United Nations report into human development in the Arab world, more books are translated into Spanish each year - 10,000 - than have been translated into Arabic in the previous 10 centuries. Now this situation is being rectified by the sheikhdom of Abu Dhabi, one of the seven Muslim United Arab Emirates, which last month officially revealed its plans to translate 100 epochal foreign-language texts into Arabic by the end of next year.

Among the first to be translated: Stephen Hawking, Jurgan Habermas, Umberto Eco, and Murakami. Right now, translators are hunched over desks, working on volumes by Milton, Galileo, and co-decipherer of DNA, James D. Watson.

II. England.

Over the last three years, it has been possible to catch the "Chewing Gum Man" at work somewhere in London, crouched on a pavement. From a distance, he could be homeless or a drunk - his coat is spattered with paint - but as you near, you see that he is painting in enamels, with great delicacy, a picture on the discarded gum that litters urban pavements.


Arrested and charged with criminal damage in front of a crowd of horrified tourists, he ended up being punched and dragged across a police cell.

England's got issues:

Absurd recent examples of how far these [policing] powers stretch include a drunken Oxford student who said a police horse was gay and ended up with an £80 fixed-penalty fine. And the penalty fines handed to wearers of a "Bollocks to Blair" T-shirt. The most egregious instance of this new civic conformity was Tony Blair's measure to ban political protests within a mile of Westminster.

Back to the artist:

Once at the station, he was told they wanted a DNA sample, which under a 2004 amendment, the police are entitled to take from everyone accused of a recordable offence. Even if the person is never convicted, or even charged, the DNA sits in a national database until they die, or their hundredth birthday. Wilson balked at this invasion of his privacy; he tried to reason with the police, and ended up on the floor being punched, as six or so hairs were taken for the DNA sample. Charges of obstructing police in the course of their duty, and criminal damage, were brought against him and then dropped.

Monday, December 10, 2007


posted by on December 10 at 10:36 AM

After looking at Seattle artist Claude Zervas's Miamiblog, I have the distinct feeling that if he were narrating my life, it would be much more fun.

Friday, December 7, 2007

This Was Handed to Me on Broadway

posted by on December 7 at 9:45 AM

The hander was a twenty-something "burner"-styled female standing in front of American Apparel. She had a large stack of copies and handed one to each person that passed.


First, the list contains a few entries not visible on the above scan. Films 31-36 are Capturing the Friedman's (sic), Shattered Glass, The New World, A Civil Action, Capote, and The Bourne Identity, respectively. Films 68-70 are The Last King of Scotland, Seraphim Falls, and High Heels and Low Lives, respectively.

Second, what the fuck? Every attempt to make sense of this list makes my brain hurt, and I'm beginning to think that's the intended effect.

Is it an art project exposing the arbitrary nature of such year-ending lists? Or is it just the new project of the Broadway flyer-hander-outers who spent the '90s trying to convince me all dentists were murderers?

Who knows, but I'm impressed.

Also, it's true: The Holiday is the third best movie. Not fourth, not second. Third.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Party at Gary Hill's House

posted by on December 6 at 10:33 AM

Check out the unMiami get-together over on Modern Art Notes, where I've been writing in addition to Slog this week. (I also spent a little time there yesterday loving up the Nelson Rockefeller collection in my hometown of Albany, New York.)


And—do you know about the multitudinous, multidimensional genius of this Seattle man?


It goes way beyond the fact of his relation to this guy.


"Art and the Average American"

posted by on December 6 at 9:30 AM

In a comment on yesterday's Seattle at Sotheby's post, Will in Seattle complained of "art that is worth maybe 40 to 50 dollars to the average American, but is sold at auctions for ridiculous sums ..."

It's a throwaway line, like most of the art-related comments on Slog, but it points to a popular misconception that the economics of art are the same as the economics of just about everything else.

Unlike just about everything else, art often ends up owned essentially by everybody and nobody, by museums and galleries that hold the art but put it on free or cheap public view. It's disingenuous to imply that art that's expensive is inaccessible "to the average American."

In fact, if those paintings are worth $40 or $50 to the average American, then they'd be a cut-rate bargain at the Seattle Art Museum, where they'd go on view for a suggested donation—suggested donation—of $15.

For cheap, righteous classism, almost any target will do better than art.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Hooked on Paper: In/Visible Is Up and There's a Performance TONIGHT!

posted by on December 5 at 4:52 PM

Alison Knowles, performing tonight (December 5 at 7:30 pm at Good Sheperd Chapel in Wallingford—thanks to the inspired programming of Steve Peters’ series Nonsequitur and Robert Mittenthal’s Subtext Reading Series), is a pioneering sound/visual/performance artist. She made prints with Marcel Duchamp. She was pivotal in early Fluxus. She turns making a salad into a work of art.

And this is the first time she has ever performed in Seattle. Do not miss it. But if you do, at least you can hear her talk, and hear her playing some of her “instruments” from the performance, on In/Visible, the Stranger's weekly conversation with people in art.

For more information on Knowles, the artist's web site is here.

(My sincere apologies for the late notice—Knowles just got into town yesterday for our interview, and the Slog blackout earlier today kept me from doing this sooner!)

Seattle at Sotheby's

posted by on December 5 at 1:47 PM

A week ago today, I went to an auction of American drawing, painting, and sculpture at Sotheby's in New York. It was my first Sotheby's auction. Quite what you'd expect: Bidding wars across the room, phone bidders jumping in at the last second, Norman Rockwell selling for a lot of money, and a handful of older men whose baseball caps and sneakers could not disguise the hale good looks of their wealthy lives. It was great.

I eyed the room for Seattle buyers, since Seattle Art Museum is known to be beefing up its American collection, and since Tom Barwick, a leading American collector, lives in Seattle. I didn't see anybody, but that's because I had to stand in the back, not in among the seated bidders up front.

But they were there. SAM confirmed that American curator Patti Junker was at the sale, and that other Seattle collectors were there, too. SAM wouldn't say whether Junker bought anything.

The sale was not a roaring success for Sotheby's, but it came in within estimates.

I have no idea what Junker et al might have been on the hunt for (she was also at a Christie's American sale last week—a record-breaking sale there), and these are not meant as guesses, just playful imaginings.

Here are a few of the things sold at Sotheby's last week that could conceivably come to SAM someday:

Milton Avery's The Reader and the Listener, which sold for $2.505 million, breaking the artist's record of $992,000.

John Singer Sargent's 1901 portrait of John Ridgely Carter, sold for $1.833 million.

Charles Burchfield, another record, for $1.329 million.

Thomas Hart Benton, $575,000

Albert Bierstadt, $103,000

Well, maybe not this one for the museum, but it went for the most money that day so I figured I'd picture it: Norman Rockwell's Gary Cooper as 'The Texan', $5.921 million.

Full auction list, with results, here.

(Sadly, the lone Morris Graves in the sale, Ecstatic Gander from 1952, was passed by at a bid of $65,000, $15,000 shy of the low estimate.)

The Undeniable Attractiveness of Plush Novelty Meat

posted by on December 5 at 12:53 PM


Earlier today, I illustrated a Slog post—about the phrase "pork chop"'s status as a racial slur—with a photo of an adorable stuffed chop.

Since then, a couple people have asked where such a thing came from and how might they get one?

The answer: Sweet Meats, creator and supplier of the stuffed pork chop and hambone above. They also traffic in plush hot links, beef heart, and rack o' ribs. Check 'em out here.

Seattle Team Wins All at 48 Hour Film Project

posted by on December 5 at 12:30 PM

The quick-turn filmmaking competition 48 Hour Film Project (sort of like SIFF's Fly Films, except younger and hungrier and coordinated on a national scale) has anointed its Fall Shootout winner: Seattle's own Team Juicebox.

Lethal Cotillion

Team Juicebox gets to have its winning entry, Lethal Cotillion, screened at Cannes. You can watch the movie here. (Love the "bad guy sisters," Scot, but I'm afraid that's not a monkey. Steve is an ape.) Congratulations anyway to director Cory Kelley and writer Scot Augustson.

Question of the Day

posted by on December 5 at 10:09 AM

Have you always longed to see a transgendered woman dressed entirely in taxidermied rats?

If so, go here.

If not, don't go there.

Thank you, MetaFilter.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

The Domain of Dancers

posted by on December 4 at 3:29 PM

What does this short video make abundantly clear? Men should entirely give up on dancing. We are naturally bad it. We look ridiculous when we move our bodies to a beat. Men, even beautiful men, should never go beyond the nodding of the head or the clapping of the hands. That is the best we can do.

Seasonal Affective Disorder

posted by on December 4 at 2:22 PM

Jordan Wolfson's Nostalgia Is Fear and Rodney Graham's Rheinmetall/Victoria 8 both combine two old technologies to make a new work.

Wolfson01smaller-793025.jpgIn Wolfson's piece from 2004, which is here in Seattle through December 21, the technologies are radio and pre-computerized car.

Graham%2038282.jpgIn Graham's piece from 2003, the technologies are the noisy old Victoria 8 film projector in the room combined with the 35-mm film appearing on the screen, and the 1930s typewriter that's the subject of the film.

But what they really have in common, the thing that fuels the engine of recollection, is snow. It's pouring out, patently falsely and fantastically, and all I can think about, when I'm not Shop-Vac-ing my flooded basement today, is that the rain just doesn't have the same a(e)ffect.

The New Nature

posted by on December 4 at 11:43 AM

It will happen:

Thinking of this Nabokovian insect, how in the world did our ancestors pull the word "butterfly" out of the Old English word "flutterbye"? The original word for the insect makes sense; the current one, butterfly, makes no sense. I suspect dyslexia is behind this terrible change, this terrible loss of a great word, "flutterbye."