Monthly Archives: September 2011

Tea With Chris: New Job

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:

Chris: Thought Catalog is the worst website and the best punching bag: “Can You Believe I Was Born in 1992?”

It’s not like superhero comics are generally progressive where gender and sexuality are concerned, but the stiffly written attempts at “sexy” that Laura Hudson decimates here look even more awful than usual.

Via Jami Attenberg, an outer-borough enigma: “It is possible there is some larger lesson for ailing newspaper sales in the sudden good fortune of The Suffolk Times and The Riverhead News-Review, two modest Long Island weeklies that saw an unprecedented sales spike last week as mysterious buyers swooped in to buy every copy they could.

Or more likely, newspaper officials guess, the lesson is very local: Either someone really, really wanted people to be able to read that week’s newspaper, or someone really, really did not.

The papers, which originally printed a combined 8,620 copies for newsstand sales, had to print 5,500 more to keep up with the demand, which seemed to come almost entirely from two customers buying up every available copy at $1.50 each from 7-Eleven stores and bagel shops from Calverton to Shelter Island…”

New Tune-Yards song! I was at this Pop Montreal show (and the one she played in Toronto a few days later), but the packed Ukranian Federation was hot enough to melt stamps off hands, so it’s nice to hear the track in a state of repose.

Margaux: I haven’t looked into the programming for Nuit Blanche yet, but I know a few of my favourite Toronto artists have projects happening. Ulysses Castellanos is doing something with fellow artists Malgorzata Nowacka and Margaret Krawecka called Hansel and Gretel at 99 Sudburry St. And the always hilarious and dead-on Life of Craphead (Amy C Lam and Jon McCurley) is doing something across from the Xbox store.

This seems important. Movie brains. (thanks to Matt Smif)

Whippersnapper Gallery, an interesting Toronto art space for young artists (under 30),  is currently accepting “project proposals” for exhibitions in their street level project gallery, as well as project proposals for a special summer series of curated public installations.

I turned on the Canadian radio at lunch and Don McKellar was hosting the Q program. Happy day.

It’s Toronto’s (unofficial) mayor’s birthday today – happy birthday Maggie MacDonald! Let’s listen to her song “New Job” (just like the old one) or watch her sing “El Dorado”.

Maggie MacDonald. Photo by Peter Mohideen

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Friday Pictures – from Carl Jung’s “Red Book”





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Little Boxes #61

(from Pussey, by Daniel Clowes, 1995)

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Friday Pictures – Ergül Cengiz






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Little Boxes #60

(from 2000 AD #227, script by John Wagner and art by Brian Bolland, 1981)

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Tea With Chris: Extended Shelf Life

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:

Chris: There’s a kind of cosmic logic to someone named Dr. Chevalier Jackson bequeathing a 2000-piece collection of “Foreign Bodies Removed from the Food and Air Passages.”

I haven’t linked to a great K-pop music video for two whole months, and everything but the bridge in this one definitely qualifies, so here you go:

At the Cold War’s height, the very jowly Canadian prime minister John Diefenbaker authorized a series of nuclear bunkers, meant to house the last remnants of government after ballistic missiles started flying. Someone on Tumblr recently linked to a set of contemporary photos taken inside one of the preserved facilities:

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Livid (Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo, 2011)

by Chris Randle

As the directors said themselves before its TIFF screening, Livid is very different from the Maury/Bustillo debut Inside, a film that ratchets tension inexorably upwards until it becomes almost unbearable. I saw that one at midnight several film festivals ago, and I can’t think of many cinematic experiences that have been more intense (someone threw up in the aisles). It was less due to the considerable gore than the precise, farce-like pacing; as visitors continued showing up at the suburban Paris house where Inside’s hugely pregnant protagonist was fighting off a mysterious stalker, complications multiplied at nerve-destroying speed.

Livid develops far more slowly, spending its first half-hour setting a mood of eerie aimlessness. Unfortunately, Maury and Bustillo also decided to fill their expressionistic fairy tale with awkward exposition, dialogue along the lines of: “So my heretofore unmentioned partner is moving in with us. I know, I know, but your mother killed herself eight whole months ago! Also it’s Halloween, though the directors will forget about that after the following scene.” I kind of wish they’d abandoned coherent narrative entirely. But the creaky plot machinations do convince young Bowie-eyed Lucie and two accomplices to rob a necrotic, extremely creepy mansion, at which point things duly go all Suspiria.

What follows struck me hardest as a series of memorable images: veiled child-mummies, bodies filled with clockwork, a tea party populated by taxidermied animals. There’s this sublime sequence where a vampiric ballerina stumbles nonplussed from the house and out into the wider world, blood running down her chin. Maury and Bustillo seem to be fixated on images of femininity; they’ve only made two films, but the men are all either distant authority figures or fatally arrogant clods. (The greatest contrivance here: smart, fierce Lucie keeping her doomed asshole boyfriend around, though he does have good cheekbones.) Even their favourite weapon, the vicious-looking pair of scissors, is rather hermaphroditic as deadly phallic objects go. Playing another monstrous maternal figure for the duo, cruel dance instructor Mme. Jessel, Beatrice Dalle actually disturbed me more than her character’s ghoulishly made-up incarnation.

Also, Livid’s initial juxtaposition of desolate seaside vistas with missing-children posters weirdly recalls the ending of The Folding Star? No underwear fetishism or Belgian symbolist painters here, though.

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Little Boxes #59

(cover of Walt Disney’s Comics #69, by Carl Barks, 1946)

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Tea With Chris: Mysteriously Enormous

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:

Chris: I’m covering the Toronto International Film Festival for the first time right now, and it feels a little like this:

So brevity is better. Via batarde, the only television appearance Georges Bataille ever made:

A D.C. consulting firm is building an unpopulated “test city” in the New Mexico desert.

When he’s hosting the long-running Toronto lecture series Trampoline Hall, our friend Misha Glouberman begins every night with a perpetually witty spiel about how to ask good questions. The New York Times just published a written version of it: “Pay attention to your mental images as the question is occurring to you. When you picture yourself asking the question, are you mysteriously enormous? Are you made of gold? These are signs that you may possibly have a bad question.”

A Luc Sante essay devoted to his uncontrollable library is obviously going to be great, but his nuanced speculation on the physical medium’s future surprised me; he praises Google’s systematic digitization of literature and seems curious about the various e-readers, yet remains eloquently concerned for printed matter: “Many books are screwy, a great many are dull, some are irredeemable, and there are way too many of them, probably, in the world. I hate all the fetishistic twaddle about books promoted by the chain stores and the book clubs, which make books seem as cozy and unthreatening as teacups, instead of the often disputatious and sometimes frightening things they are…I realize that books are not the entire world, even if they sometimes seem to contain it. But I need the stupid things.”

Carl: This book seems screwy, dull, disputatious and the entire world all at once. Of the recent spate of “things” books, though, maybe the most intriguing: The idea that there was once a popular genre of “it narratives” related by inanimate objects, body parts and animals is so delightful; the prose in which it seems to be told looks much less so on quick perusal but I am willing to give it a more slow-paced chance: The Things Things Say is a cool title.

On a similar level this video is too long & not as funny as it wishes but I agree so much with its thesis that I can’t help but endorse it.

Best music journalism on the web of late: Geeta Dayal’s extensive piece on German performance/noise artist and synth-pop (Tangerine Dream, Cluster/Kluster) innovator Conrad Schnitzler; and two less-than-reverent considerations of the intersections of music with 9/11: Maura Johnston and Chris Weingarten’s list of the worst Sept. 11 response songs (which nervily includes both “Empire State of Mind” and a Xiu Xiu song – agreed, and I love Xiu Xiu – along with the usual suspects, – though I would stand up for Alan Jackson’s “Where Were You” despite the wince-worthy Iraq/Iran line, for turning to Christian love as opposed to biblical vengeance as the value it wants to defend); and Hua Hsu’s subtle memoir about how he had an overdue record review that day, which ends up being a sidelong meditation on several virtues that can bring you through trials more reliably than the recent American predilection for demonstrative emotion.

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Friday Pictures – Kent Monkman


Icon for a New Empire


The Emergence of a Legend 3/5


Charged Particles in Motion


Parlour Pillow


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