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Martin Amis’ Money

Martin Amis is known for many things. His father, Kingsley. His penchant for attracting the media. His friendships. And it seems, at times, his writing. And while I’m one of those detractors that think his best work was published two decades ago, it doesn’t mean those books of yore are any less relevant today than they were those many years ago.

Alix Cleo Roubaud: Alix’s Journal

Reading Alix Cleo Roubaud’s journal is like standing in a pitch-dark room and flicking on the light for a split second. The flash of illumination reveals only an impression of the furniture but forbids a thorough appreciation. The photographer recorded her thoughts, aspirations, and, most especially, her fears (she attempted suicide multiple times…)

Vendela Vida: The Lovers

What do I want of summer books? In general, I want affirmative books: books that affirm genre conventions, books that affirm common sense, books that affirm my instincts about how to live. There are also practical considerations to keep in mind. I want books that I won’t feel guilty about dripping ice cream on or dirtying with sand and saltwater (or grimy subway hands).

Kevin Dunn: No Great Lost; Songs 1979-1985

I’ve never quite understood how the term “art-damaged” became a rock-critical commonplace, but if I had to explain it, I might play my interlocutor Kevin Dunn’s “Nadine.” The 1979 seven-inch makes creased, crushed junk-sculpture out of a 1963 Chuck Berry song, with Dunn’s treated guitar and Tom Grey’s synths holding a blowtorch to the familiar boogie-barrelhouse interplay…

Eighteen Great Kurt Vonnegut Quotes

Kurt Vonnegut’s message was beautiful. He treated all of his characters equally and not one of his novels had a villain. He believed that society minored the hierarchy created by authors in epic make believe stories. He sought to remedy that. His black humor and dedication to honesty present the read with two options: to laugh or cry.

Beryl Bainbridge: 1932 – 2010

She lived a hard life – smoking incessantly and downing plenty of her favorite scotch. She was a party girl, the delight of other guests with her madcap behavior and outlandish stories. In her Victorian manse in Camden Town, a life-sized stuffed water buffalo greeted visitors in the foyer. In her bedroom, an imposing, life-sized male mannequin with a Hitler moustache dominated one corner…

That Oil Mess Issue

What to do, What to do? BP should turn the Gulf and the Mississippi River into “organic gas stations.” Just let people pull up to the beach and riverfront with their cars, go-carts, what have you – and let em’ fill up! They could spin it as a green initiative, an innovative undertaking

Three Movies I Liked

The next scene shows people saying things like “did you wear a bag over your head?” and other people saying “no, I did not.” The girl says something like “well, somebody wearing Kevin’s clothes came into my room last night wearing a bag over their head, and they saw me naked.” Then the trailer said the movie was called Baghead. I was laughing almost uncontrollably…

The Melodrama of Miley Cyrus

But, in a world that craves and covets pretty babies like Miley, is it indeed so very wrong for little girls in the limelight to exploit their big-girl sex-appeal for pay? Is it fair for their kiddie-careers to be so picked-on and politicized?

Antonella Arismendi – “Kling Summer”

Antonella Arismendi is a self-taught fashion photographer and art director based in Buenos Aires, Argentina. In her latest shoot, for the Spanish brand Kling, Arismendi captures the beauty of summer with a tinge of nostalgia and hint of something almost otherworldly.

Phillip Morris: “My Life, My Death, My Choice”

Phillip Morris graced San Francisco with a new piece of colossal art (aka: a billboard) on Howard at Van Ness. The minimalist ad, created in conjunction with the West Hollywood, CA based creative agency the Billboard Liberation Front, simply states “My Life, My Death, My Choice.”

All Work and No Rest Makes Everyone Dull

Rest is free, and according to brain specialists like Devanchi, it’s also good for you. So drink up as much as you can. At the very least, taking a few minutes every day to reflect peacefully can remind us we still have our own thoughts, our own goals unrelated to work, and that we do have control over our lives, even when times are shitty.

Jay Z vs. Katy Perry, East vs. West

When you put “Gurls” and “Empire” next door to each other, you get the age-old stereotypes about the East coast versus the West coast. Everybody thinks New Yorkers are arrogant, fast, impatient, elitist, wear black, whereas L.A. people are virtually busting at the seams with Botox, candy, implants, and sex. Pick your poison!

Singular Music: The Necks Live (The Barbican: 06.26.10)

There should be no doubt of the level of musicianship on display, but The Necks’ genius is in removing themselves mentally from the process of the music’s creation. By being tremendously gifted at playing their instruments but not allowing ideas of ‘musicality’ to interfere with the directions the sound will take, they are able to create something truly unique.

What is Good for Fiona Apple is Bad for Fiona Apple’s Fans

If a track released earlier this month is any indication, it’s entirely unlikely that 32-year old Fiona Apple will ever give us another full-length album. “So Sleepy,” recorded as part of a project for Dave Eggers’ literacy nonprofit (826), was written by children in a songwriting workshop. “I’m a gummy bear/ I stand up on the chair/ Then I start to dance / to dance/ to dance / dance…”

Adrien Field: Social Climber

Adrien Field was born in Moorestown, NJ and moved to New York City in the mid-2000s to attend Gallatin School of Individualized Study at NYU where he contemplated concentrating in “Social Climbing” before he dropped out. He runs, a popular fashion and life style blog, and is a contributor to the print and web edition of Vibe Magazine, the urban quarterly founded by Quincy Jones.

Norman Mailer: “An Agreeable Proposal”

The hours I’d spent working as a waiter through the years had driven me to nearly detest their every moment. I had become consumed by a growing dislike of strangers and an even deeper revulsion at taking their food orders. I was weary with pretending to care if they liked their dinner or not. This surprise invitation from Mr. Mailer might, I thought, turn out to be a significant avenue away from it all.

Lazy Tuesday: A Timeline of Thoughts and Events

On the subway, trying to decide whether or not to go. Decide to go because I have nothing else to do, why not? But ultimately really decide to go because I figure I could write something on it. Then change my mind thinking I don’t really have the wherewithal to write anything on it. Decide to just write the article right now on my Blackberry. I’m on the E, going uptown to my bank, going to cash some checks.

Maile Chapman: Your Presence is Requested at Suvanto

Maile Chapman’s Your Presence is Requested at Suvanto contains all the ingredients for a splendid gothic mystery. It features a cast of strange and secretive characters, a setting of chilly natural beauty (the story takes place in rural Finland) and an air of implicit violence. It is too bad, then, that the book snuffs out every whiff of suspense hinted at in its premise, offering instead a plodding narrative punctuated by missed opportunities.

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.

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…

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