Category Archives: linkblogging

Tea With Chris: Sous les pavés, le thé

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.

Carl: Well, I’m sure we’ll talk more about this in five years, or else when Mad Men deals with it, but it’s been 45 years since May ’68, and that deserves a little somethin’ somethin’. Enjoy Bomblog’s roundup of soixante-huitarded materials, including René Viénet’s detourned kung-fu action movie Can Dialectics Break Bricks? Then read David Graeber smashing some masonry with a Baffler essay that goes from the Bastille to Occupy and the Debt Jubilee via May ’68, A Practical Utopian’s Guide to the Coming CollapseAnd Rhizome does a “cavalier” interview with Situationist historian McKenzie Wark.

And speaking of movements that bowl over the essential logic of their social foundations: My new favourite podcast, Hardcore History with Dan Carlin, has a four-hour episode on the Anabaptist rebellion and the siege of Munster during the Protestant Reformation that makes fascinating listening, especially if you remember the parts of Greil Marcus’s Lipstick Traces about John of Leyden (not to be confused with John Lyden, unless you’re Greil Marcus of course).

The second (or millionth) time as farce: Radical feminism as horror villain in this ace Jezebel find.

By contrast, extraordinary clear-minded feminism from former kidnap victim Elizabeth Smart. I hope the women who were freed from sexual captivity in Cleveland this week get the chance to speak to her.

This story by a writer who tracked down the cast members of Harmony Korine and Larry Clark’s Kids twenty years later turned out to be one of the most compelling and moving things about chosen families, fame and loss.

I’ve never been as big a fan of webcomic artist Allie Brosh as many are, but her autobiographical post this week about depression is among the more powerful and illuminating things you could read on the subject. Many will identify. Many others might grasp for the first time how unhelpful it can be to say, “Why can’t you just make your fish alive again?”

But if we could make things alive again, I would like to nominate Taylor Mead.

Finally, it’s ridiculous how excited I am that friend of B2TW and scarily drily funny comedian David Heti has a podcast. I haven’t had a chance to listen to I Have a Problem, With David Heti yet and I am still recommending it to you. That’s excitertainment.

Chris: I’m deep into preparations for the Toronto Comic Arts Festival, so all I have for you this week is a looped Nate Dogg / Kyary mashup, which if not revolutionary will at least annoy any patriarchal figures around.

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Tea With Chris: Dead Stars

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:

Margaux: Here is a video of Agnes Varda and Susan Sontag being “interviewed” by Newsweek film critic Jack Kroll. Jack Kroll seems to insist on the position of being the devil’s advocate in opposition to whatever position Varda and Sontage happen to be in by their nature of existing – a position he seems to be taking both in defense of an imagined and offended American audience, and in condescension to one. Sometimes in playing the devil’s advocate,  you  help to make the devil real. (link thanks to movie maker Elisabeth Subrin)

Speaking of intellectual superstars – Janelle Monáe and Erykah Badu.

Speaking of men

Speaking of ghosts – I mean stars – here’s an image taken 600 years after the death of an unstable progenitor star.

Chris: Somebody built a brutalist edifice for nuns to live inside and then decided, you know what, that’s not quite unnerving enough, we’ll have to call it “Motherhouse.”

“What a ridiculous clusterfuck of totally uncool jokers.”

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Tea With Chris: Led Every Life

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: Half of this book is murals created by Sun Ra, half is photographs of Ra himself in Afrofuturist garb, another extra 10% or so is the introduction by Glenn Ligon, and I want to see all of them.

He may have written better songs (certainly more successful ones), but I can’t think of a finer document of George Jones’ voice than this early performance, recorded not long after he chose to abandon rockabilly. It was one of the few auspicious personal decisions he’d make for a long time. R.I.P. to a man who, as Carl put it elsewhere, “never seemed to know much peace.”

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Tea With Chris: Robin’s Egg Blue

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: As a Brad Paisley fan who took part in the rampant mockery of his fascinatingly ill-advised single “Accidental Racist,” I feel like I should mention Jody Rosen and Eric Weisbard’s attempts to figure out where the country star was coming from.

“It’s 2009. I should be getting over it by now, and I’m trying, I really am, but then my third book, Hell Is Other Parents, a collection of personal essays, is published with a pink cover and placed in the parenting section. Prior to publication, I try changing the color to robin’s egg blue, the classification to memoir, and the title to Screwing in the Marital Bed, the title of one of the essays, which I think better encapsulates the thrust of the book. I am told, for the third time, that I have no say in the matter.”

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Tea With Chris: The Avant-Garde Detective

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:

Margaux: Sad to hear about Roger Ebert. I always like reading his sincere reviews and was always impressed when he changed his mind about a movie – sometimes, years later. It’s a pretty rare trait for a critic, or for ANYONE, to say so easily that their first impression of a work might have been wrong or shortsighted. An easy man to like.

The HBO show Enlightened by Laura Dern and Mike White is really good. And is being cancelled – while other shows blossom like tumors on the televisions.

Speaking of shows that got cancelled. I was directed (by curator Tom McCormack) to ‘s video Art Tape: Live With / Think About – a 3 minute video of jovial art appreciation/justification  that opens with a clip from Law & Order: Criminal Intent.  The clip has two police detectives, played by Vincent D’Onofrio and Kathryn Erbe, standing together in a museum, presumably lead to the dirty side of the museum for a murder investigation. When questioned by his partner about what in the world could be redeeming about the art they were seeing, Vincent D’Onofrio explained he wouldn’t necessarily want to live with it, but he would like to think about it. If you haven’t watched Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Vincent D’Onofrio plays a murder detective that drags murder confessions out of people, not by threats or violence, but by making his subjects extremely uncomfortable. The avant garde detective.

Watching that video lead me not to more art, but to more Law & Order: Criminal Intent. I turned one episode on and half an hour later I was looking at Patti Smith’s beautiful face. And I was, what!?  So, yes! you can go to the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto right now to see Patti Smith’s exhibition Camera Solo, or you can go to Law & Order: Criminal Intent. Patti Smith must like that 3 minute video, or the avant garde detective, as much as I do.

Speaking of the AGO, ran into Carl and Chris there recently for the not-to-be-missed opening of Amy Lam and Jon McCurley’s Life of a Craphead Retrospective, an exhibition about all of the work they will ever make. Placards have never felt so true. The show is downstairs in the Education Gallery. The Education wing is always FREE.

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Also at the AGO tonight (April 5) – Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller opening – FREE. 

& a performance by Barbara Hammer – also AGO – NOT FREE.

followed up at TIFF Lightbox tomorrow night (April 6) by a screening of Barbara Hammer’s first feature-length film Nitrate Kisses. The wonderful Alexandra Tigchelaar (Sasha) will be interviewing her live after.

Who else is in the world? – here is everyone

Speaking of the world – Amelia Earhart on marriage

Speaking of leaving the world – a video on astronauts having to come to terms with the perspective developed after having seen Earth from really, really far away. Astronaut Edgar Mitchell on trying to make sense of his feelings – “There was nothing in the science books, nothing in the religious literature that I looked at. So i went to the local university and asked them to help me understand what I saw.” (thanks to Jean Marshall)

Chris: The most heartwarming thing I saw in the past week (aside from those photos of the racist EMT crying) was Danzig’s pro-gay-equality tweet. Henry…

If you never have, this would be a perfect weekend to watch Beyond the Valley of the Dolls:

Carl: In 20 short minutes, the Fits – the Vancouver “vaudeville duet” of Veda Hille and Patsy Klein – render all music equal and potentially infinite. This leg of the journey covers The Ladybug’s Picnic to The Sex Pistols, with stopovers at The Simpsons’ musical of Planet of the Apes (“I hate every ape I see, from chimpan-A to chimpan-Z”) blended with This Monkey’s Gone to Heaven, Springtime for Hitler blended with a Sound of Music medley, the Star Trek theme (now with lyrics!) and the greatest Electric Company ballad ever (“lower-case n”). Play it loud, we’re geeks and we’re proud.

RIP to Roger Ebert. One friend pointed out his elegant 2007 evisceration of Conrad Black. Another the humanity of his 2003 review of Bad Boys II (no kidding), which reminds me a bit of something Margaux would do.

RIP Maurice Silcoff, at 104. “He was one of the last remaining figures of a unique movement in Canadian history: The Jewish labour movement.” With sympathies to his granddaughter Mireille, a writer we know.

Let’s all go to the Getty Research Institute and look at Harry Smith’s stuff!

William Gaddis’s letters: “if you are a writer, they don’t want to buy and print yr writing, but rather a picture and what you eat for breakfast, &c. But then good God! that’s what the book’s about— It’s difficult not to strike a pose, for being ‘eccentric’ enough to try to get across that: What do they want of the man that they didn’t find in the work?”

Legendary California broadcaster Art Laboe on the birth of rock’n’roll and how to kiss on the radio.

Sixty people wish erstwhile jazz/improv enfant terrible John Zorn a happy 60th birthday, including many fellow musicians and composers, poets (“the imagination must keep track of the flesh responding … a slow progression/ it must be beautiful and it can’t be free”), curators, critics, directors, producers and artists and one Yoko Ono.

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Tea With Chris: Vazaleen for Every Stripe of Artistic Devadasi

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: Michael Comeau, who designed them, has begun uploading posters for Will Munro’s city-altering Vazaleen parties onto Tumblr every day (via). As DeForge says, essential Toronto archiving.

“Comics will break your heart.”

Carl: Whether or not your political align with his, Michael Lind did some useful work this week in his threepart series in Salon of breaking down the current language of economic populism on both sides of the ideological divide, and, one can only hope, restoring the term “rentier class” to our vocabularies.
In another analytical mode, Richard Nash provides a refreshing, historically deep examination of the state of literature and publishing that is an immense relief from the blah-blah-money-blah of the day-in-and-out digital-dread discourse. To spoil the ending for you: “Let’s restore to publishing its true reputation — not as a hedge against the future, not as a bulwark against radical change, not as a citadel amidst the barbarians, but rather as the future at hand, as the radical agent of change, as the barbarian. The business of literature is blowing shit up.”

In that spirit, Emily M. Keeler talks to former jail librarian and author Avi Steinberg about what writing means in prison.

Last week in TWC, I paid tribute to the late Jason Molina. This week his fellow songwriter and friend Will Johnson lays a beautiful mourning cloth over those bones.

This week it is the time to mourn Paul Williams of Crawdaddy! magazine fame, one of the inventors of rock criticism as the barbarian. He started when he was 17, and stopped too soon. May our own maverick wildings someday make up for his lost time.
Also in sequels, in this week’s Tuesday Musics, I presented some discoveries that came courtesy of a talk by Ian Nagoski. Here is one I alluded to but didn’t follow up, the Indian classical singer Kesarbai Kerkar, whose amazing story (itself an epic Indian tale of humiliation, pride, discipline, triumph and withdrawal)  is dwarfed by her actual art. (Thanks to Gabe Levine for the find.)

And for bonus points: Eraserhead-era David Lynch on new-wave public-access TV.

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Tea With Chris: Oh My God, They’re Killing Jan!

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: Out of every ignorant-white-dude-rap-writer moment some good may come: one prompted Julianne Escobedo Shepherd to reel off a veritable curriculum of critics from different backgrounds, old-school and new-school, many working outside the familiar journalistic venues.

Teen goth melodrama scored by Reversing Falls? I’m into it.

Carl: Some prankster friends of mine this week imagined what happened if a TEDx conference took place on the island where The Wicker Man was set. And then they simulated it in real time on Twitter. More than even the Twitter short-stories and other creative experiments I’ve seen there, this felt like it was in its native environment and breathing in the medium’s oxygen, via the collaborative creation of the illusion. (From what I can tell it didn’t set off any Orson Welles War of the World panics though.)

On a similar reality-or-simulation note, I wish I could be a member of this club. Or that anyone could have been a member of it. Up in the air, in beautiful balloons.

“America still had post-Mandingo dreams, no matter how it looked, which really weren’t getting met by Michael Jackson. I remember a lot of interviews when Prince started catching on where they asked people, ‘Why do you like Prince?,’ and they said, ‘Well, Michael Jackson’s cool, but Prince gives us more sex.’ ”: Questlove’s Prince master class.

Marie does Donny with a Steely Dan:

(Friend of B2TW Misha Glouberman commented: “I remember the 70’s. It was ALL LIKE THAT!”)

RIP Jason Molina.

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Tea With Chris: Giant Drag

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: Michael Deforge’s unsettling “Leather Space Men” strip now has a mix to accompany it, full of obscure Minneapolis Sound jams chosen with fetishistic care.

Carl: You may already have seen this mini-documentary that recently surfaced from the 1990s of 13-year-old “dirty girls” who don’t (mostly) give a fuck what the other kids fucking say. They are very pleasant to get to know and the camera is patient with them. I assume by now they’re less sad, or sad for different reasons.

The mean girls called them dirty girls but they called themselves riot grrls. People remember Bikini Kill and Sleater-Kinney but a lot of the associated bands had less aggressive sounds, like Tsunami, and actually asserted a different kind of gender rebellion that way – an ambiguity that (like some boy-fronted bands such as Beat Happening) didn’t submit to the idea that “heavier” (i.e. mas macho) was cooler. Giant Drag, who haven’t put a record out for a decade, was and is that kind of band. They just released a new one this week, Waking Up Is Hard to Do, and you can listen to it in full.

Kacey Musgraves is that kind of musician too, in her own way, but also not – as her album title has it, Same Trailer, Different Park. And you can listen to it as well, and read Ann Powers’ lovely appreciation, at NPR Music.

Meanwhile, as the NDP’s Thomas Mulcair whispers in Washington the things about pipelines he should be shouting at home, this story struck me as rich with Canadian historical contradiction, starting with the name “HudBay Minerals” alone.

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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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Tea With Chris: The Saddest Box In the World

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: Our occasional K-pop Korner returns with the new SHINee single. Song is a voltaic cloud of glancing falsettos, which, of course, but I’m especially taken with the music video, full of ridiculous outfits that I still want at least one piece of clothing from.

This Unicorn Kid remix of Sky Ferreira’s “Everything Is Everything” sounds like a rave taking place inside a Sega Genesis so obviously I have to share that too.

Carl: Quick hits, no interpreting.

“Pixar,” the saddest box in the world. (Or at least on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.)

When Kathy Acker met the Spice Girls.

Icky but possibly interesting to think about aka Charles Krafft.

Maria Bamford’s definitive answer to claims that women aren’t funny. (As if she were not a definitive enough answer.)

…Which led Becky to tell me about Girls Guitar Club.

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