Monthly Archives: March 2013

Margaux’s Friday Pictures – Jay DeFeo’s The Rose (1958–66)


Jay defeo_the-rose_e1000_150_567



Jay DeFeo _movingtherose



Jay DeFeo The-Rose

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Filed under Friday Pictures, margaux williamson, visual art

Carl’s Tuesday Musics (belated): Jim Guthrie, “The Rest Is Yet to Come” (2013) (Animation by Dan Berry)

From the upcoming album Takes Time.

“Fire all the hired guns –
I know I’m not the only one.”

Dan Berry on vimeo.

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Filed under carl wilson, music, Tuesday Musics, TV/video

Little Boxes #131: Comics Win Again


(from “The Shit Eaters,” by Gilbert Hernandez, 1995)

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Filed under chris randle, comics

Tea With Chris: Isn’t Not

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

Chris: “In this light, the selfie isn’t about empowerment. But it also isn’t not about empowerment. Empowerment, or lack thereof, is not part of the picture. Neither is narcissism, as either a personal or a cultural moral failure. And the selfie isn’t about the male gaze. The selfie, in the end is about the gendered labour of young girls under capitalism.”

There is a certain virtue in directness, and the new (very, very not-safe-for-work) blog Gay Manga! makes a point of it, punctuation and all. The Tumblr partly serves to preview The Passion of Gengoroh Tagame, an unprecedented English-language collection of work by the eponymous XXX manga master, forthcoming from art-comics publisher Picturebox in May. But it’s full of explicit selections by like-minded cartoonists as well, and there’s historical/theoretical background material to contextualize the smut. (I came across the blog while doing some research on Tagame himself.)

Here, for example, is Tagame explaining his preference for burly Tom of Finland figures: “It is easy for heterosexuals – who never experience anything that is homosexual – to understand if gays are attracted to men who are ‘as beautiful as women’ or ‘with beauty beyond sexual differences.’ I have no intention to deny it, but it is merely the result of viewing homosexuals or gays from the outside, or the result of surmising abstractly. However, the reality of gay sexuality is far more diverse.” And Gay Manga! abounds with body hair and male bulk, if either of those happen to be your things.

One might assume that macho aesthetic places these comics at an opposite extreme from yaoi, the genre of male-male romance manga more familiar in the West, which is drawn primarily by women for women and whose protagonists stereotypically look somewhat androgynous, even feminine. But as the blog’s programmer Graham Kolbeins notes, the two traditions are hardly alien to each other, with artists and readers increasingly venturing between genres. If literary taxonomy isn’t the subject that immediately fascinates you here, though, he also posted this jingoistic poster from the Russo-Japanese War, employing a propaganda technique I can’t say I’ve ever seen before.

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

Can We All Get Along!? (By Steve Kado)

Margaux Williamson: Steve Kado is one of my favourite artist people in town – who is sometimes not in town. He has startled and delighted me while standing on stage with a microphone and he is also very fun to talk to while not on stage.  He doesn’t write often and I asked if he would write something for Back to the World. He sent a post from L.A.




By Steve Kado

My friends and I were driving from Los Angeles to Tijuana to go to an art opening. Everyone in the car was involved in art to different degrees. One of our number was actually in the show we were going down to see. Three were from Australia and New Zealand; I was/am from Toronto. In San Diego we picked up Scott, a genuine American, who was in town visiting his mom – normally he lives in the desert where he builds his own house and designs books. At the same time, that weekend, there was a massive manhunt on for Christopher Dorner, the disgruntled victim of discrimination and racism within the LAPD who had had enough and gone on a cop-killing shooting spree. Confusingly, he did not exclusively kill cops, but also family members of cops.

Being that everyone in the car was from the arts, news-awareness was not always a strong point. Also, some people were travelling in America, not residents or even one-time-residents, and we all know how hard it is to keep up with the news when you’re on vacation. Unable, somehow, to bear listening to any news on the radio, we heard no broadcasts or music and tried to discuss the issue amongst ourselves. Earlier I had read that manifesto Dorner wrote. I would say that it was very easy to be sympathetic to him until he got to the killing part, and especially when he broadened the killing part to include family members of cops.

We were fuzzy on the excesses of the LAPD reaction. We had all heard something to the effect that they had shot up several (one? two? three?) different trucks, all because they feared Dorner was inside. In every case they had been wrong – Dorner was not in either of the vehicles they did in fact shoot at, neither vehicle was the make, model or colour of Dorner’s, and in one case the occupants were not even the right gender or number, being instead two Latina women doing a paper route. The asymmetrical and seemingly random armed response by the police force towards “trucks” as a category did, regrettably, seem to support aspects of Dorner’s manifesto.

Reflecting on it all now, one must also say that the silence about what happened to the police officers who reacted so excessively towards widely varying vehicles and people (at least in the news I’m getting) leads one to believe that perhaps nothing has really changed since the Rodney King and Rampart division scandals that Dorner mentions in his screed.

The mantra-like repetition of the phrase “cop killer” by others in conversation, before the car trip and during, led to the first attempt to hear music – Amy put John Maus’ Cop Killer on her phone. Playing out of the tinny speakers, all we could hear over road noise was the incessant repetition of the phrase “cop killer.” Scott put on the Body Count song of the same title but somehow it didn’t stick, despite arguably being more relevant to the specific situation and police force in question. All that night and the next day we would gloomily intone, a la John Maus, those two words.

After the opening we went to a very democratic dancing area. All types, ages and sizes were out there, giving it to the parquet flooring. We got very drunk. Then, around 2 am, a group of men with camouflage balaclavas, assault rifles and (perversely) GoPro cameras strapped to their heads trooped in. Taking one look at our half-antipodean gang the armed men (who seemed to be police) decided that we were of no consequence to them. They proceeded to ignore us while many of the other patrons in the bar were spread out against the walls, searched, forced to empty their pockets and line everything they owned up in neat lines on the ground and other such things. Finding nothing of interest, the armed men left, the music came on again a bit louder than before and things continued as if nothing had happened.

Back in LA, days later, Travis and I are walking from the Gold Line up to his house on a hill in Lincoln Heights. Every yard on the street he lives on is fenced in and contains between 2-4 dogs. These dogs are never walked, vary widely in size and do nothing but run in their yards and bark. The first day I arrived and woke up at Travis’, the first living animal I saw was the chihuahua across the street vigorously humping the terrier across the street. Choral waves of barking follow the passage of anything human or mechanical up or down the street. Acoustically, it is close, for me, to hell. Tonight, however, the dogs are quiet. “Cop killer,” we confide to each other, awed by the night’s silence. Almost immediately, a slow moving police car cruises by, checking us out with its search light. Neither of us match the profile of Christopher Dorner: Travis is a six-foot-something white beanpole and I am a less tall half-Asian person wearing a large backpack with huge glasses. Neither of us is an ex-reservist, neither of us seems interested in killing cops. The cops drive off but then circle back a minute later, just to make sure that we haven’t somehow merged Voltron-style into a cop-killing ex-reservist.

Later that week, the entire saga came to an end. Dorner was killed in a fire started by incendiary smoke grenades lobbed into the mountain cabin that he was hiding out in. He shot at and killed some more police before the fire got him. This was, more or less, how we all expected this to end. Watching CNN’s coverage of the minute details of one of Dorner’s police victims’ funerals in a Vietnamese restaurant, Travis and I try and make sense of a military ritual where a horse is led around with a pair of boots lodged backwards in the stirrups. It looks like someone had been riding a horse backwards and then vanished, leaving their boots behind. Neither of us can hear the CNN anchors explaining this over the din of noodles and slurping that fill the air. Everything from the emergence of a disgruntled ex-cop on a killing spree to the excessive reaction of the police once threatened and the inevitable Waco-like showdown felt grimly pre-recorded. But no one told us about the boot-thing that would happen at the end.

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Filed under events, guest post, music, other, TV/video, visual art

Carl’s Tuesday Musics: Captain Beefheart & the Magic Band, “Hot Head” & “Ashtray Heart” (SNL 1980)

by Carl Wilson

For un-b2tw reasons last week I was looking for Captain Beefheart’s appearances on David Letterman in the early ’80s but then wondered if I could dig up this even rarer clip. Via a misleading for-devotees-only pitch-dark live clip, I landed here. Shhh. Both from Doc at the Radar Station, which unfashionably might be my favourite Beefheart record, no doubt just because it’s got the new/no-wave-vertical-horizontal-flip-nervy-shakes that are my personal national rhythm. And maybe a lyrical economy compared to what he was doing in the previous decade.

For those who don’t know Capt. Beefheart, maybe it just sounds perfectly banal by now, and not like something illegal is happening on your TV.

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Little Boxes #130: New Old McCarthyism

strange days

(from Strange Days #1, by Brendan McCarthy, 1984)

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Filed under chris randle, comics

Margaux’s Friday Pictures – Luc Tuymans


Luc Tuymans 2008-TUYLU0330NEW-100-600x389 (1)

Against the Day I & II



Luc Tuymans

G.I. Joe



Luc Tuymans _tracing




Luc Tuymans 1994-TUYLU0244.200-600x483


Luc Tuymans 2000-TUYLU0277-352x600




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