Monthly Archives: August 2011

Gone Fishin’

The Back to the World crew is taking a vacation for the next few weeks from our not-particularly-onerous duties here. We’ll be back after Labour Day. Enjoy your summers!

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Filed under carl wilson, chris randle, margaux williamson

Tea With Chris: The Trivialities of Haters

Tea With Chris is a roundup of recommended links, posted every Friday. Here are a few of our favourite things from the Internet this week:

Carl: While I make some fun of reunion tours and the like in my piece on the oxymoron of Gen X nostalgia in the NY Times Magazine this weekend, it’s not always a lazy, narcissistic or greedy thing for an artist or a group of artists to revisit their past work. For example, in the Summerworks theatre festival this month, Toronto-based company Small Wooden Shoe is remounting its first-ever show, called Perhaps in a Hundred Years, created six years ago. (Disclaimer: I’ve recently become a member of SWS’s board.)

They have a few reasons: First, they like it, and hardly anyone saw the show at the time, so now that they have a bigger reputation, they’d like to give it the exposure. Second, and more intriguingly, they wondered what it would be like to revisit the people they were then – to re-enact a show that was not-so-veiledly about their relationships and situations at the time, when all those relationships and situations have changed. They say it’s now “a period piece, only the period is 2005.” And third, that’s particularly funny because the show is science-fiction, ostensibly about the future. So is it then a period piece about the future, or is it the future now?

I’ve yet to see it but I’ve seen these three performers in many other contexts and they are always charming and brain-tickling, and sometimes quite a bit more. Here is a little promotional video.

It would have been hard to enjoy this interview with David Lynch very much more. It still doesn’t make me sure I want to listen to his first album of original music. But I would listen to him talk about the weather forever.

We recently celebrated Marshall McLuhan’s 100th birthday (what? you didn’t celebrate?). He would have enjoyed this story about telegraph operators texting, essentially, in 1890.

But the most beautiful and affecting thing I’ve seen this week was this gallery by photographer James Mollison (drawn from his new book), depicting “Where Children Sleep” – children from all over the world, from the spoiled-princess or chillingly unchildishly minimalist bedrooms of affluent American kids to an eight-year-old in Cambodia who lives in a dump. I could say more but it is better just to look. Look and see, see, see.

Chris: This month, New York’s Film Forum is finishing up its Essential Pre-Code series – that is, a series of hard-to-find movies released before the mid-’30s, when the Hays Code forced Hollywood to hide its racy red light beneath a bushel. Tragically, I’m not in New York, but at least I can read a critics’ guide and fantasize.

Any ’90s nostalgia on my part is kinda ersatz, but this single I found via the Singles Jukebox is doing the trick. Of course a drum solo known as the Amen break would eventually be resurrected.

Margaux: I saw and loved Werner Herzog’s 3-d feature “Cave of Forgotten Dreams”. I went to see it again the following week because I couldn’t think of what would be better to see. There was a really nice article about it by Larry Rohter in the New York Times.If you love (or are amused by) Werner Herzog, this is him at his best, if Werner Herzog drives you crazy, Werner Herzog will drive you crazy here.

Speaking of love and hate, I read a recent feature on Miranda July that discussed the intense love and intense hate directed at the artist and filmmaker. I read the article because I am looking forward to seeing July’s second feature which is not in theatres yet. The article was fair and nice, but the writer and even Miranda July herself seemed overly preoccupied about people hating July’s “preciousness” and “perceived hipster tendencies”. It’s awful to be hated by strangers but anyone who made such a pleasurable and meaningful first feature shouldn’t worry so much about the trivialities of haters – or at least the critics defending them shouldn’t try to patiently explain it away. I would have much preferred to read more about the depth in her work rather than a tepid defense of her most negatively targeted qualities. Enough of the world will find July’s movies and wait eagerly for each new feature – hopefully of which there will be many.

I’ve been listening to two songs this week. The last episode of HBO’s True Blood put my favourite Neko Case song to good use: making us feel drunken empathy for those mean old vampires who lost love, and glad for those mean old vampires who found it.

The other song on repeat is by Loudain Wainright III – his beautiful “ I Saw Your Name in the Paper”. I think he wrote the song in 1971 (maybe for Liza Minnelli?). He wrote it before he had children, but re releasing it on a 2008 album with two famous children out there in the world was a ballsy move. I love nothing more than when someone casts themselves, very subtly, as a villain in their own work – without sneaking in a wink or qualifiers to the audience. It can be more interesting to not know the creator’s intentions. It’s an honest position for a normal human and often a more useful and humorous one than singing about all the other hateful creatures out there.

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Filed under carl wilson, chris randle, linkblogging, margaux williamson

Friday Pictures – Louise Bourgeois


ten am is when you come to me



Arch of hysteria





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Filed under Friday Pictures, margaux williamson, visual art

Little Boxes #57

(from The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Century: 1969, script by Alan Moore and art by Kevin O’Neill, 2011)

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Filed under chris randle, comics