Tag Archives: Kanye West

Tea With Chris: Be Not Content

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: Rudy Rucker has reissued a lost classic of ’60s acidhead lit, William Craddock’s Be Not Content, as an ebook. On the strength of his introduction, I bought it immediately – just six bucks!

I’ve been waiting for great country-soul-rock interpreter Kelly Hogan’s new album for 11 years. Like, actively waiting, pacing around and around my living room, looking at my watch. And as of today I can hear a preview on NPR of I Like to Keep Myself in Pain, featuring songs by Stephin Merritt, Vic Chesnutt, Jon Langford, Robbie Fulks, Catherine Irwin and more. And Booker T. on organ. Start listening, no excuses.

Thinking about copyright just keeps getting smarter and smarter, doesn’t it? Sigh. (Nice headline there, though, from my employer.)

Likewise, Jessica Cripin surveys the sorry state of men’s writing about masculinity. Luckily there are still novelists to read on the subject. And not just the obvious, like Chandler or Carver or some other Raymond. (Well, this one probably wouldn’t help much.) I spent the first couple of days of this week reading the Hunger Games trilogy straight through, and someone should write an analysis of how, for instance, the growth and near-destruction of the Peeta character (that name! phallic with the feminine ending) represents a voyage of negotiating masculinity and risking the boomerang-into-misogyny effect Crispin talks about. I’d go on but some of you haven’t read it yet – trust me, you’re missing out on a dozen hours of great wallowing in teenage dystopian head-trip adventure, not just sidelong gender studies.

If all of that was too grim, please let this fix it. And anything else that troubles you, ever:

Margaux: My great friend and collaborator Ryan Kamstra has launched an Indigogo campaign to help him finish his beautifully titled book, System’s Children. I am really excited about this book, and look! a painting of mine is the future cover. Your prize options for donating include an album, a book or A LIBRARY.

These two videos arrived separately in my inbox today. One regarding Canada’s WRONG-O move on Bill 78 followed by Canada’s WELL PLAYED Montreal! pots & pans action. The other, just another good day from Kanye and Jay-Z. They are best viewed as companions.

Chris: Alain Badiou, who recently published a new book about ~love~, articulates my main objection to online dating: “For me these [French dating site] posters destroy the poetry of existence. They try to suppress the adventure of love. Their idea is you calculate who has the same tastes, the same fantasies, the same holidays, wants the same number of children. [The sites] try to go back to organized marriages – not by parents but by the lovers themselves.”

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

Art things I thought about this year, that I can remember today, in order of remembrance.

by Margaux Williamson

1. The best movie I saw that I didn’t write about this year – Rocky

I had never seen any of the Rocky movies. It was recommended to me after a conversation about sports movies with my friend Lucas Rebick. I was surprised at how unfake the aesthetic was. It looked like Philedelphia in 1976.. and kind of like Toronto in 2010. I was surprised at how much I related to it. I related to Rocky and to all of the women he talks to.

“Hey Rocky” the loan shark’s driver hollers out of a car window. “Yeah?” Rocky asks. The loan shark’s driver – “You should take your girl to the zoo. I hear retarded people like the zoo.” Rocky flinches, “Fuck you, man!” Rocky shouts back,  “She ain’t retarded, she’s just shy.”

2. The other best movie I saw this year and didn’t write about – My Man Godfrey


My friend Gracie has a favourite romantic comedy from every decade. My Man Godfrey is her tops for the 30′s (1936).  Carole Lombard plays a rich socialite who falls in love with her butler. It was pretty interesting to see how rich people were portrayed as such silly and thoughtlessly cruel individuals (as in every situation, the beautiful, charming ones escape total condemnation). Rich people have enjoyed a much better and enduring reputation since all the communists were kicked out of Hollywood. It reminded me of how quickly things can change and how very long they can stay the same.

My favourite part came when the family needed to talk about money – the matriarch of the rich family looked horrified and cried  “Money is dreadful! We can’t talk about money, it upsets Carlo!” (Carlo is the artist that they support). At this point Carlo turns away, towards the fire, upset and shuddering like an angel. Luckily, the cheese sandwiches come in just as things are about to get awk-ward.

3. Thick of It

I really couldn’t get enough of this British TV show from 2005 about the inner workings of the modern British Government. Sample text (if I am remembering correctly) – “Terry, do you know why they call him the Fucker?”

“Is it .. is it.. because he’s.. a bit of a fucker?”

4. Work of Art: America’s Next Great Artist and what people wrote about it.

This new reality TV show premiered in the summer. Contestants, from across the U.S., compete in an art competition with a jury of professional critics and artists. It was just like any other reality TV show. It was strange. And people wrote about it.

Art Fag City covered it like white on rice, Lynn Crosbie had some good points for the artists and Jerry Saltz (an art critic who was a judge on the show) wrote an article for each episode after first participating in and then watching the episodes. Jerry Saltz’s articles were, hands down, the best art to come out of the show. The articles were written to an audience that included the show’s participants, viewers and art-insiders. He wrote about the art, judging the art and judging himself judging the art. It was strange and good.

Some art-insider critiques of the show sounded an awful lot like a reversal of the old art-outsider stereotype – “my kid could paint that”. The  equivalent turns out to be –  “my friend down the street from me, in Brooklyn, could paint that a lot better”. Sucks to be on the outside.

Though there didn’t feel like there was too much at stake (America’s next great artist-wise),  the beginning of some hilariously awkward public conversations (involving critics, artists and audience) about what art is felt stupid-smart, meaningful and full of potential.

The only “unreality” part was at the end when there were only three contestants left. One would get the bank and the others nothing. Maybe it’s just my world, but every artist I know would have been more than happy to split a hundred thousand dollars 3 ways and then gone about their business. But I guess reality TV without winners or losers is just the NFB.

5. Websites about videos

I know about these two websites, Ryeberg Curated Video and 2 Pause: Freezing Music Video Culture, because I contributed to them. But they’re both really interesting and I’m sure there’s a lot more of these websites out there – websites that are figuring out how to talk about or organize the massive amounts of videos out there. Ryeberg has contributors write short essays on Youtube videos and 2 Pause collects interesting music videos and puts them into categories like these: Lo/No Budget (that is where I am and this nice one from Antony and Boy George), Netherclips, Stop Motion, Electric Cinema (I didn’t watch them all but found this nice one from Foals and Chris Sweeney) and French Wave. I would like to see the categories that everyone has for their videos.

6. Artists Using and Sharing

I really liked that Erykah Badu made this video by borrowing the idea from Matt and Kim. She credits them in the beginning of the video. The structure of her video is identical, but the feel and meaning are completely different and more to my interests. The borrowing and added art reminds me of this article about Jeff Wall from a while ago.

Olaf Breuning’s work (consisting of performance based art video) has always looked really interesting but I assumed that he, like a lot of artists, didn’t put all of his work on-line. I only just saw one of his videos recently when Jon Davies screened it at the Cinecycle. It was great. Then I went home, looked him up and discovered that all of his videos are available on his website. Thank you Jon Davies for reminding me of Olaf Breuning and thank you Olaf Breuning for sharing. SO much better that way.

7. Moral/ art lessons from popular music videos

LCD Soundsystem and Spike Jonze reminds us that drunk people, whom are often beautiful and fun, can also be really fucking annoying.  The video, featuring the band being abused by people dressed as pandas, is as good as Spike Jonze’s videos always are. And Lady Gaga and Beyoncé remind you again that it’s a bad idea to disrespect the people who serve your food. And Kanye West, who likes a lot of the same things I like ( naked ladies, revolution, ballet, Beyoncé, Takashi Murakami) reminds us to take paintings seriously.

8. Luc Tuyman’s painting Turtle

I really loved this painting this year,  from 2007.

I also really love this painting from Brad Phillips.

9. A brief LIFE OF A CRAPHEAD performance I saw at Double Double Land

The performances from Toronto’s LIFE OF A CRAPHEAD (Amy C. Lam and Jon McCurley)  feel so good on your brain. They go right to the part  that understands but doesn’t share with the other parts of your brain – the parts that could explain what is happening. But then those parts start understanding something else and then, somehow, every part of your brain is being massaged by a fire in-the-know and then it is over. It can feel like good drugs, but really, it’s more like spinach.

10. SUM: Forty Tales from the Afterlives by David Eagleman

David Eagleman, a neuroscientist, wrote this strange book comprised of brief scenarios of the afterlife. More about life than after.

11. Missing Objects

Is it too late for a really, really long Arrested Developement movie?

Also, I would like an audio book of Jack Hitt’s articles. I would buy two. While we wait, we can read his Mighty White of You: Racial preferences color America’s oldest skulls and bones and listen to his Act 5, the 52 minute long audio documentary about a group of prisoners at the Missouri Eastern Correctional Center who are rehearsing and staging a production of Hamlet. It’s great.

12. Golden Gate Park in San Francisco

Nice work William Hammond Hall and John McLaren.

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Filed under margaux williamson, movies, visual art

Tea With Chris: The Dance of the Junk

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: My pot overfloweth with Tea this week, a sign that I was frequently distracted and losing track of time. (For one thing, I have a double-toothache.) My post last week was several days late and this week’s a day-plus late. So I had to read this article by Annalee Newitz that explains, in neurological terms, how you know what time it is. Unfortunately her two-fold answer for the pathologically tardy seems pretty obvious: Stop being so distracted. And wear a watch. (Do you find a phone won’t do? I’m coming to that conclusion.) But she has an interesting time getting there.

From another blogger on that distracting website, io9, there’s further temporally themed (and, warning, highly “spoiler”-ish) word of the upcoming new film from Andrew Niccol, my (and apparently their) favourite director of middle-brow dystopias, such as The Truman Show and Gattaca. It’s great enough that Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried are starring together. But this also comes with a typical Niccolian one-stop-zeitgeist metaphor – in this case, a future world where time literally is money: Being rich means being almost immortal, being poor means you’re going to die tomorrow, unless you find a way to scrounge some more time. “The cops are called Timekeepers because they keep people from stealing time.” Of course this is an allegory about wealth gaps, a neat bit of anti-life-extension polemic and a parable about “living for today” and such. Plus, opportunity for sexytimes. Or could be, if it doesn’t turn out to be a total timesuck.

The best thing I read this week, though, has to be this post by Tavia Nyong’o, a (quoth Wikipedia) “Kenyan-American cultural critic, historian and performance studies scholar” whom I know through the EMP Pop Conference. (By the way, congratulations to Chris and me, among other friends, for having our proposals for the 2011 Pop Conf in L.A. accepted this week.) Tavia takes two unpromising, too-talked-about subjects of the week, Kanye West and “don’t touch my junk” fever (in which, as one editorial cartoon I saw pointed out, people who dismissed waterboarding as “not much more than a frat prank” are responding to security patdowns by crying rape). And then he synthesizes them via Jacques Lacan’s “discourse of the hysteric” into a complex consideration of the dance of authority, resistance and paranoia in contemporary American culture. Forget the intellectual chops that takes, and appreciate the effort to make them useful to everybody else – while never missing where the funny is.

By comparison this last bag of tea is an indulgence, a cup too far, but two young women in Toronto who are Halbwahrerfreunde of mine just launched a new web magazine of sumptuous pictures of their own friends creating beautiful things, or just being beautiful, and that’s a beautiful way to waste some precious time.

Chris: Sheila Fitzpatrick, a highlight of my university’s Soviet Cultural History course, wrote this London Review of Books essay describing her experiences as a young researcher in 1960s Moscow. (Europe’s endemic spy-paranoia back then makes one wonder how much of Harry Mathews’ ludicrous non-memoir My Life in CIA was actually made up.) She befriends an irreverent Jewish Bolshevik named Igor who somehow managed to outlive Stalin: “The best option in time of purges, according to Igor, was simply to vanish without telling anyone where you were going, like the friend who went south, got himself arrested for stealing chickens and sat out the Great Purges safely in jail. But Igor himself had sat them out in Moscow, keeping his head down. It was a great relief when the Second World War came and he could volunteer for active service, hoping (as I gathered) to be killed.” Fitzpatrick’s article includes a vintage photo of them. She looks girlish, chic, excited about everything; he seems to be bemused by the fact that he’s still alive.

Confidential to Kat: “My morning began with the fascinating story of Kurt, a forgotten Nazi weather station installed on the coast of Labrador during World War II that was only rediscovered in 1981.”

Margaux: I just read this article “The Countertraffickers” by William Finnegan that looks at the people who fight for those tricked or captured and sold as slaves – a more gentle entry into this topic than normal. The article mentions the movie Lilya-4-Ever. Lilya-4-Ever, based on a true story, is just as good as the article but it has less information and is more painful.

On this Wikipedia page, you can see a world map of the countries around the world who comply with the “Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children” guidelines established by the UN in 2000 and those who don’t.

Not sure what to do now. Micro-credit loans for Christmas presents?

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Friday Pictures – Takashi Murakami

 

Takashi Murakami at Chateau de Versailles / fall of 2010

 

Takashi Murakami

 

Takashi Murakami

 

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