Category Archives: margaux williamson

Margaux’s Friday Pictures – Brad Phillips, 1984-1987, 1997, 2013

 

Brad phillips 1984-1987-1997-2013

 

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Movie Stars and Buffy the Vampire Slayer – A Summary

by Margaux Williamson

My friend Sheila send me this link this morning, with the subject header “this is kinda fascinating (a TINY bit)”.

It’s a “news” clip that attempts to make a story about a rivalry between two serious young female movie stars.

Then she sent me another one with the subject header “and then this”.


It made me think of the end of the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Knowing my friend hadn’t seen the show and probably never would, I emailed her a summary which I’ll post below. If you are saving Buffy the Vampire Slayer television for the future,  NOTHING BUT SPOILERS AHEAD.
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The hole of Hell (in California) is getting too big and all the hell creatures are coming out. It’s too much for Buffy (the vampire slayer) to handle alone. If she can’t handle it, the Earth will turn to Hell.

She uses a magical device to meet with the ancient men who gave the first young girl (the first One True Slayer) all the power to fight evil. The ancient men initiate a ritual that will give Buffy more demonic power. She’s in chains I think. She’s so mad at the men. She’s mad that they made her the slayer, ’cause she never wanted to be. She’s mad that she has to fight and that she’s lonely ’cause no one’s like her. She’s distrustful of the men. She doesn’t want to lose more of her humanity. Her temper makes her lose the vision and abruptly stop the ritual.

Back at home, her and her friends try to be positive: “It’s okay, Buffy, we’ll find another way.” But everyone, including herself, suspects they blew the one chance of  getting enough power. A few episodes go by. People are miserable, there’s fighting, no one’s trusting Buffy and she’s starting to hate everyone.

During this time, they have gathered as many of the “potential slayers” together that they could find (15 year old girls who are not powerful but could be someday if Buffy dies) and they’re all (with Buffy’s crew) staying at Buffy’s house. The “potential slayers” are there because the people who want hell on earth had started to kill them one by one to ensure the end of the line for these ONE TRUE SLAYERs that keep the earth from turning into hell. The potential slayers are kind of useless and they don’t like Buffy since she’s never around and is kind of miserable and bossy.

The Hellmouth is getting bigger and will open fully in two days. Buffy and her friend Willow, who is a witch, have a plan. Willow will override the original spell that the ancient men cast and attempt to give the power to all the latent slayers. They don’t think about it too much other than that if those girls also have power, they might be able to stop hell. No one wants them to do this, to override the ancient laws laid down by these men, but it’s their  only chance and they have nothing to lose. Everyone is leaving town, normal people and demons alike. No one wants to be near the Hellmouth.

Willow casts the spell just as Buffy and the potential slayers and their friends all enter the Hellmouth. It works: the potential slayers become powerful and strong enough together to fight the Hellmouth and stop it from becoming big enough to devour Earth.

The side effect of Willow’s spell is that all the potential slayers all over the world are suddenly woken up and given power  – the ones that they couldn’t find or didn’t know about, hundreds of girls. The characters don’t know about this side effect, but the camera shows all these girls all over the world “waking  up.”
They win and ride away in a school bus with their town collapsed like under a meteorite. And Buffy’s lonely problem of being completely alienated from others because she is so strong is gone too. All (the ones who survived) her equals around her.

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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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Margaux’s Friday Pictures – Kate Wilson

 

kate-wilson_cold_drive_scenic_route_2009_d2_xl

 

 

kate-wilson_cold_drive_scenic_route_2009_d1_xl

 

 

kate wilson_still image from animated film a primer of small stars

 

 

kate wilson_a primer of small stars

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Margaux’s Friday Pictures – Clare Grill

 

clare grill_when-you-get-that-old

When you get that old

 

 

Clare Grill 12_slip

Slip

 

 

Clare Grill_frannie_v2

Frannie

 
Clare Grill 12_afternoon

Afternoon

 

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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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Margaux’s Friday Pictures – The Porter Family

 

The Porter Family_black leopard

 

the porter family_ baby seal in snow

 

the porter family_ snowleopard

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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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We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011) – Directed by Lynn Ramsay, starring Tilda Swinton

by Margaux Williamson

WeNeedtoTalkAboutKevinTomatina

Kevin is a high school student who kills many of his classmates with a bow and arrow in a nightmarish lock-down at the local high school. The movie is mostly about his mother, Eva.

The movie is seductive and strange. Sometimes it seems like a regular indie-drama and sometimes it seems like a horror movie. Part of the narrative is told through non-sequential  flashbacks. These mostly focus on the relationship between Kevin and Eva. The scenes skip around from the morning of the killings to Kevin’s conception to the family’s breakfast table.

There is one scene with Eva participating in a tomato festival somewhere far away. It’s one of the few flashbacks where she is without her family. She’s alone, in a mob, covered, along with the rest of the mob, in the bloody mush of tomatoes. She looks euphoric. It’s a very unusual image – Eva covered in the red pulp, limp and being lifted by strangers. It suggests something sacred – or sinister. It echoes the high school massacre in colour and confusion.

The rest of the scenes take place after the massacre. They mostly involve Eva being villainized by herself and by her community for the horrendous crimes of her son. She doesn’t defend herself; she accepts the assumed punishment – straight to hell.

It still seems to be the most condoned form of misogyny to blame the mother for the sins and deficiencies of ourselves and others. And though it is becoming less fashionable to argue that nurture trumps nature, to defend Freud’s traditional psychotherapy, or to assume woman as the primary nurturers in a family, we, in the early 21st century audience, still understand that it would be outrageous if the mother tried to defend herself. We, and Eva, know there is absolutely no room for that.

So, Eva, ostracized, villainized and terrorized by her community, survives and lives and carries on.

The very exciting part of this movie is that instead of an eventual redemption offered by the arc of a traditional narrative, we are instead offered a more absolute redemption in the form of shifting perspective. It’s as though the director, Lynn Ramsay, managed to create a Gestalt-like optical illusion here in movie form.

In one moment, you are watching a intelligent indie-drama about a mother-son relationship gone terribly wrong; in another, you see a horror movie about a child born evil.

It’s not even that the movie moves back and forth between two different genres – it is just our own eyes deciding which way to see things at any particular moment. In either direction, the vision comes fully formed. The clues for both perspectives are in every scene: an ever-present bottle of wine next to Eva at the dinner table – the dinner table where Kevin gazes at his mother with sadistic eyes that he only lets her see.

As we watch the indie-drama, we see a mother who might have gotten some things wrong, or who might have some wrong things inside herself. As we watch the horror movie, we feel the thrill of the “bad seed” trope being used in the service of a reckless feminist fantasy – or, at least, a counter-misogynistic one: Some babies are just born bad, let us all marvel at the evil, let us remove our persistent gaze from the mother. Lynn Ramsay is the master of the bold and reckless feminist fantasy movie.

The scene of Eva alone at the tomato festival is an interesting one for these alternating visions. When you see the horror movie, you see a successful travel writer’s euphoric connection with the world outside the family – a scene far from trouble and pain.

When your eyes adjust to the indie-drama, you see a woman covered in red, engaged in a bizarre act of self-indulgence or abandon, or an act that maybe comes out of some need, small and twisted inside of her, that makes her seek such unusual forms of euphoria so far away from home; an act that foreshadows, in colour and perversity, her sons horrific crimes.

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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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