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Introducing Apichatpong Weerasethakul

A story of unrequited love is suggested by a few conversations, but is never resolved or even clarified. A friendship with homosexual undertones between a dentist and a monk is alluded to as well. In the end, the narrative is almost insignificant, and it is more about the state Weerasethakul’s images and sounds incite in the viewer. His films resist easy readability and conventional plot structures, and they engage a spectatorial response that I’ve never quite felt before with any other film.

Katherine Mansfield’s Wild Ride

Mansfield fled to London again two years later, and would spend the rest of her life in Europe. As Joyce has suggested, a place is best written about once you’ve left it, and New Zealand and its environs remained a focus of her work, a way to come to grips with a heritage –– analyze it, critique it, memorialize it –– without having to perpetuate it.

Introducing the Sand Paper Press

Like Provincetown and Carmel, Key West has long been known as an artists’ retreat, a spectacularly beautiful geography haunted by abiding spirits. Associated with writers like Hemingway, Bishop, Dillard, and Stone, Key West flourishes today, a vibrant, diverse community of writers, painters, and artists of all sorts. It is also home to Sand Paper Press, an independent publishing venture founded in 2003, part of a continuing tradition of small presses passionately focused on the verbal arts, particularly poetry.

The United States of Tara: Bitch / Lover / Child / Mother

The show is carried by the actress Toni Collette, who plays “Tara,” a Kansas City mother and wife with a serious case of Dissociative Identity Disorder. That said, she is also “T,” a sex-minded teenage troublemaker; “Buck,” a lecherous Vietnam-vet; “Alice,” a prim and proper model of Stepfordesque matriarchy; “Gimme,” an Id-indulgent wild-thing; “Shoshana Schoenbaum,” a stuck-in-the-Seventies self-analyzing psychoanalyst; and “Chicken,” a reverie to the five-year-old Tara of yore.

Eizo X-Ray Pinup Calendar

The Eizo Nanao Group, a Japanese company in the sexy business of making medical imaging equipment, has released a pinup calendar as part of a new marketing effort crafted by the German ad firm Butter. It’s quite revealing, to say the least. When will the porn producers catch on?

Portland is a Place of the Escaped

I had been told that I could live in Portland without a car. That was largely false. Yes, I survived biking to work and back, a total of five miles ever yday. But I didn’t thrive. To live in America and not drive is to diminish your participation in the common culture. And this is no small sacrifice. You miss it. You miss the freedom a car provides. You feel as though the rest of the population has capabilities you lack.

A Conversation On Jake Lodwick’s “Past Capacity”

“I decided to pick up where the last season left off, with a “rhyming speech” about getting my shit together, and how even though I’ve corrected some of my bugs, other, more personal ones remain — and that I fully intend to overcome them… I am very eager to see how my art transforms as I fall into a productive groove as the series continues. I am eager to lose myself in my work.” – Jake Lodwick

Sam Brown: Interface Designer

Sam Brown was born in Edinburgh, Scotland and moved to Sydney, Australia to finish his early education at a Technology High School, then continued studying Multimedia Design at the Computer Graphics College Sydney and the Private SAE Institute before spending a year working at a boutique design house. Now, under the name Massive Blue, Brown runs an accomplished web design and development company from his hometown of Edinburgh, which serves clients from around the world.

Are the Internet Really Making Us More Stupidist?

Sadly, there’s not one person alive today who can tell us about the day the wheel was invented, but if that early discovery was anything like subsequent human inventions, you can be sure there was at least one person warning about the negative impact such a contraption would have on our early ancestors.Speaking out against technology may be a pastime for oddballs, but it is important to remember that moving forward isn’t always the same as progressing.

The Evolution of Mortal Kombat

Rebirth also seems a conscious effort to reinvigorate the franchise by intriguing lapsed audiences, most notably those who, like me, were introduced to the series as children…The whole thing is shot in a downbeat, neo-noir-ish, horror-thriller style, immediately setting it apart from the hyped-up, candy-colored, jittering madness of the earlier games and films. The general consensus from Internet prognosticators, once they figured out what the hell it was, was approval. I’m not so sure it works.

Bill Clegg: Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man

“It is never said, but it is clear that it is over, that our lives, bound together for so long, will now be lived apart. Everything that we were, the whole magical, horrible opera, is now over. We are only a table apart but we’re in different worlds. He seems less like a person and more like a fragment from a dream I once had, some nocturnal wonder I cannot revive after sleep, only remember.”

That Limp Sensation: Web Porn And The Architecture of Desire

And soon you have 20 browser windows open, each with its own promise, each satisfying this or that component of your manifold desire — a man being penetrated with a strap-on by a lovely co-ed; a Japanese AV star performing a nuru massage, a seaweed based lotion she covers the man in before licking every, and I mean every, part of his body; a homemade clip of a college couple enjoying oral copulation…

Bret Easton Ellis: Imperial Bedrooms

In Imperial Bedrooms, Clay buys two escorts –– a teenaged boy and girl –– and brings them to a house in Palm Springs. The boy is from down under, Australia. The girl from the Bible Belt, Memphis. At one point, Clay is “smeared in shit” and pushes his fist into the girl. She shrieks with shock until the boy stuffs her mouth with his cock, gagging her. Shortly thereafter, Clay tells us that “the devil was calling out to [the girl] but it didn’t scare her anymore because she wanted to talk to him.” All the while, in the background, a group of crickets buzz and hiss incessantly.

Sloane Crosley – How Did You Get This Number

The stories all have a Seinfeldian quality, in the best sense of that adjective. The humor is observational, the plots are subtly intricate, and each piece is populated by monsters masquerading as regular people. An anorexic and kleptomaniac roommate prompts Crosley to consider moving into a former brothel populated by the ghosts of dead hookers.

Nadia Moro – “Behind The Surface”

In 2008, Nadia Moro, an Italian photographer, best known for her work in the fashion and advertising industries, spent five consecutive days shooting a group of synchro swimmers and dancers underwater. The result was this series – “Behind the Surface” – a footloose, gravity-free ballet, a sequence of images challenging the ways we traditionally look at the human body, clothing, and movement.

Sloane Crosley: Writer-Publicist

Sloane Crosley graduated from Connecticut College in 2000 with a degree in creative writing. She took the literary world by storm in 2008 with her debut collection of essays, I Was Told There Would Be Cake,which became a New York Times bestseller and a finalist for the Thurber Prize of American Humor. Her follow-up book, How Did You Get this Number (Riverhead Books), will be released June 15th.

Stoic Warriors

We may exaggerate that identity and become obsessive in our care and cultivation of the body, but a healthy sense of self does not leave the body behind. Soldiers who return from war with bodies maimed and disfigured lose more than just a physical part of themselves. They sacrifice a fundamental part of what shapes their sense of self and good living – easy mobility, full and independent use of arms and hands, sightedness and…

Cheongdo, Korea: This is Not Hemingway’s Bullfight

As the fight reaches the 30-minute mark the bulls are exhausted. Their sides heave in and out. Time after time they break from the fight and stand looking to their owners for direction. The hide covering their polls is gouged and bleeding. Again the owners yell and again they thrust, digging with their front legs, their humps straining as they work new angles, trying to turn the other or drive him back.

Vincenzo Natali’s Splice

The audience laughed during Splice, as well, and that is part of what makes it a fun movie. Splice is self-conscious; it knows that at times it is asking us to really stretch our credulity, and it knows that it gets to be over the top. It seems to acknowledge that, at this point in the evolution of scary movies, a film that does nothing but frighten is no longer possible. Audiences are too aware of the conventions of horror for that to happen.

Initial Thoughts: Lady Gaga – “Alejandro”

The depressed mood, robotic dance moves and black clothes channel Janet Jackson and “Rhythm Nation” as well as Metropolis, the 1927 German sci-fi by Fritz Lang. That’s the thing about Gaga and her references: so many pop cultural references get scrambled into a single shot that she’s not “ripping off Madonna,” as so many other bloggers will say. She’s doing Ace of Base doing Madonna doing Janet Jackson doing Metropolis doing a gay porn film.

Model Actress Whatever

If nature doesn’t distribute talents evenly across the population, it would appear that culture tries to correct this by regulating the number of models (zero!) allowed to moonlight successfully as musicians. Yes, it’s difficult to concede that a person with a steep allotment of physical beauty might also, on top of it, wield separate talents. And also: models have a poor track record of transitioning from one field to the other, both in terms of merit and commercial success. Athlete-musicians are an analogous phenomenon…

Five Reasons to Love Lady Gaga

If Lady Gaga walked into the room you’re sitting in right now, what would you do? Maybe you’d sit there, idle, rolling your eyes so hard they got stuck. Or! Perhaps you’d strip off all your clothes and streak the room buck naked, back and forth, back and forth. I’d just sit there, wearing a head-to-toe black sequin body suit, purple Nina Ricci heels and a black chandelier on my head. When I saw her, I’d peel back the black diamond curtains and wink.

My Fetish Jealousy

I have the same jealousy of fetishists. They know exactly what they want, exactly what will sate them. Me, I am overwhelmed by the choices, the vast selection. I see women on the street and I can imagine myself, more or less, with all of them. And this stymies me, leaves me immobilized and wanting. Meanwhile, the guy who digs smoking chicks with tiny boobs knows just what his night will entail.

A Short History of the Long Take

Musically, OK Go and Erykah Baduh have little in common; the artists’ core audiences, even less. But their recent, much-discussed videos are cut from the same cloth. As anyone with an open browser knows, OK Go’s “This Too Shall Pass” records an elaborate, Rube Goldberg-style chain reaction, which unfolds in an unbroken sequence over the song’s four-minute length. What keeps you watching isn’t so much the mechanism’s can-do engineering as the knowledge that a single untripped wire or errant bowling ball would require starting from scratch.

Marina Abramović, “The Staring Woman at MoMA”

After doing things in the bar, someone’s apartment, another bar, a grocery store, White Castle (briefly, not eating anything), and my apartment it was ~6:00 AM and Thomas and I were each alone in our rooms, ~4 blocks from each other. I was stomachdown on my bed listening to music via earphones/iTunes. We were emailing each other. After ~8 emails I said something about MoMA. Thomas seemed immediately committed and excited.

Aaron Young: Bad Ass Art

Most people who’ve had an art history course, or who have ever been to a modern art museum, may remember Fountain (or one of its many iterations) and found themselves walking away from it thinking “if it was really art” in the first place. But what Fountain proposes, though, is not so much “is it art” and more “how bad ass can your art be.” But can anybody be a bad ass after Duchamp? I mean, how many more art pranks are left?

Sacha Heron – “Iceland”

There’s a lot more to Iceland than Eyjafjallajökull, the volcano which basically put a complete halt to air travel across western and northern Europe as of April. Sacha Heron, an emerging photographer living and working in Paris, captured another, less violent side of the country in his trip there in 2008. Heron cites the beauty of the landscapes as a crucial influence in his decision to quit his job…

American Friends of France: Specialites de la Maison

The list of contributors, some names long forgotten, others alive in legend, is as eccentric and eclectic as the recipes themselves: Elizabeth Arden, Christian Dior, Charlie Chaplin, Clare Boothe Luce, Laurence Olivier, Katherine Hepburn, Salvador Dali, Tallulah Bankhead. It’s a real early twentieth century celebrity parade.Specialites is more than just a fun book to read. It is an historical document of some content and value giving a real sense of the state of American cuisine before World War II…

Marc Lafia: Proliferating from What is Paradise

Marc Lafia is a prolific artist, filmmaker and information architect. His work has been exhibited internationally, including commissions for the Tate and Whitney museums and screenings at Rotterdam, the ICA Japan and Georges Pompidou. He also founded the award-winning ArtandCulture.com. Lafia’s most recent three films are love and art, Paradise and Revolution of Everyday Life. Philosophical questions arise from the everyday within the films – what is narrative, art and image?, and from the ordinary blossoms surprise and spontaneity…

Please Give: Nicole Holofcener’s Lorrie Moore-isms

After throwing a fit about the state of her skin and refusing to join the dinner, Abby emerges from her bedroom with a pair of panties over her face and sits down at the dinner table. When she lowers the underwear and exposes a monstrous blemish on her nose, she kindles an alliance with the otherwise loathesome Mary, who’s the only one willing to acknowledge that Abby’s skin looks awful.

On Mapping Kubrick

What is consistently inspiring about the films is their ability to move freely, uninhibited by convention. Often it seems they are structured and chaptered as novels, and they frequently suggest literary underpinnings. Behind the veil of his films are slow-moving cosmologies and ill-defined empires that only graze the aesthetic surface. For instance, when we watch Leonard Lawrence in Full Metal Jacket slowly alienated and punished for his faults, we are watching the roots of antagonism and subversiveness…

Abigail Solomon-Godeau et al. – Birgit Jürgenssen

The publication next month of a monograph on Birgit Jürgenssen marks the first in-depth consideration of the career of the Austrian artist published in English. The book arrives six years after her death and on the sixtieth anniversary of her birth—significant recognition for an artist many English-speaking audiences know little, if anything, about. Jürgenssen, like her better-known compatriot Valie Export, is part of the pioneering generation of feminist artists.

Why Modern Family Works So Well

But perhaps the fundamental reason is the underlying philosophy of the show, which is carefully inoffensive and thoroughly populist. The contradictory title of the show reminds us of this reality. It’s a progressive (modern) sitcom about conservative stuff (viz., family). It’s the show for fans of both Sarah Palin and Barack Obama.

In Praise of Serendipity and Beautiful Mistakes

In 1965, Arno Penzias and Robert Woodrow Wilson, two radio astronomers at Bell Labs, were looking for bird poo. That wasn’t what they’d planned to look for that day, but it was what they believed was getting in the way of them collecting meaningful data from their experiment. No matter which direction they pointed their antenna, there was a constant noise humming in the background…

Mark Twain Autobiography To Be Released After 100 Years

For reasons known only to the author himself, Mark Twain ordained that his complete autobiography – all five thousand pages of it – should not be printed in its entirety until one hundred years after his demise. Since he died in 1910, that makes 2010 the year for which many have been waiting so impatiently and for so long.

Eleanor Catton: The Rehearsal

Eleanor Catton’s first novel centers on an affair between a 17-year-old pupil at an all-girls school and her thirty-something male music teacher, but the novel is really about everyone else: the students, parents and teachers who help to turn the albeit taboo relationship into a scandal. The gossip extends beyond the perimeters of the campus of the school, Abbey Grange (which the girls call “Scabby Grange” or “Abbey Grunge”), into newspapers, homes…

Michelle Madonna: Vampire-Socialite

Michelle Madonna (real name) was born in Long Island, NY and after a short stint in Los Angeles settled in Manhattan on the Upper East Side. She describes herself as “vampire, camera whore, and wannabe socialite with terrible insomnia.” She is currently finishing a degree in Visual merchandising at Laboratory Institute of Merchandising. She also makes pop and dance music.

Jake Silverstein: Nothing Happened

When I found Nothing Happened on the new books table I was, I think, justifiably skeptical: the subtitle, “A Chronicle in Fact and Fiction,” immediately suggested a publishing industry gimmick; and the cover with two pictures creating a sequential narrative, one of a barren desert landscape, the second that same landscape now dotted with red balloons, suggested something unbearably corny.

One Snort

Then who were those teenage goons sent to frighten us wee children back in grade school with tales of life-ending catastrophe and humbling community service hours spent plucking trash, orange vested, from interstate onramps as a result of being tempted by that white dragon? Were they genuine drug casualties or had they merely gotten caught? Rumors circulated through junior high that with one snort you were addicted for life. One snort and your heart would explode.

Virginia Woolf: Bloomsbury Writer

The cult of glamour has done more damage to Virginia Woolf than her most virulent critics. She has not herself to blame, even if the photos supply “evidence,” since she had to be forced or tricked into posing for most of them. Not herself to blame for her image being stamped on everything from tea cozies to mouse pads to pencil cases.

LCD Soundsystem: This Is Happening

Despite the LCD’s heft as a singles act and DFA’s traffic with remix culture, Murphy remains, generationally and even temperamentally, a believer in the album form – not as pop music’s “highest” form, but as one of several, each with their own potentials and constraints – and, in context, even the half-baked tracks here serve the honorable function of cleansing the palate for the more satisfying courses.

Christofer Drew: Hippie Wunderkind

Christofer Drew (birth name: Christopher Drew Ingle) was born on February 11, 1991 in Joplin, Missouri. At the age of fifteen, he dropped out of high school to pursue his music and art full-time. This decision led to problems at home and financial difficulties as well. But Drew made it work and by the time he was eighteen he had already been on several high-profile tours with the likes of Dashboard Confessional and Gym Class Heroes and won the MTV Woddie Award for best new artist…

The Unsung Matthew Good

One explanation is that Good has been trying to run away from the mainstream, radio-ready music of his former band for years, and at the Ballroom, his behavior could be seen as apprehension; everyone was calling out for him to play “Apparitions,” unarguably the Matthew Good Band’s biggest hit. In the CBC interview he expressed his dread of fans “crowd-surfing to ‘Apparitions.’”

On The Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Series

Yes, let’s apply philosophy to a set of already predetermined, tightly controlled, and artificially influenced subjects. Not philosophy for philosophies sake but philosophy as an artificial device. A stand-in philosophy. The importance of the tool is dismissed for the insignificance of the object. It reeks of nihilism.

Network: Or How TV Kills Everything

All I know is first you’ve got to get mad. You’ve got to say, “I’m a human being goddammit. My life has value.” So I want you to get up now. I want you to get out of your chairs and go to the window. Right now. I want you to go to the window, open it, and stick your head out and yell. I want you to yell, “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!”

Paramount Pictures: Iron Man 2

The action scenes are all a beat or three too long, the jokes are just above that lowest common denominator range, and its presence as a product is transparent, no matter attempts at the self-aware bet-hedging—in fact, all those nods at the audience wind up like tics. For a film full of “confidence,” it sure seems to desire approval, just like its hero.

Matthew Vaughn’s Kick-Ass

Kick-Ass invites us into the world of Dave Lizewsk (Aaron Johnson); an average New York high school kid who, while chatting to his friends in their local comic-book-come-coffee-shop stumbles across an obvious question which will change his mundane life for good. “How come nobody’s ever tried to be superhero?” he asks.

Bret Easton Ellis’ Glamorama: An Appreciation

And now, Glamorama is one of my favorite books of all time. I love it for the writing, for the glamour, and for the sex. One of the things that always stood out to me about Glamorama, as well as in other Ellis novels, is that the boys have sex with boys, who still have sex with girls and it’s all fine. They’re not, like, g-a-y. It’s just sex, which is how I think it should be.

Barcelona Under Ash

But some, possibly missing funerals and birthdays and anniversaries, are instead crying to the agents at the tourism kiosk. Perhaps they have a plan, and this is it: tears are more likely to yield discounts, vouchers, free nights. “Don’t cry,” the agent tells the woman next to us, repeating the words until they sound like a command. The subtext of it might be, Why don’t you give my city a chance.

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