Tag Archives: sex with robots

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

Teach Me How to Boogie #5: DJ Chipman

by Chris Randle

My family’s elderly dog died this week, which hasn’t allowed me much time to post, so here’s a brief edition of Teach Me How to Boogie. The music in the clip above was made by DJ Chipman, a Florida producer I know almost nothing about beyond the fact that he’s working in a booty-laden Miami bass context.

I like the wall of speakers and the kid who coyly shoves his pants in his pockets before getting down, but the most interesting thing about this style is how little the dancers’ legs shift around. Perhaps it’s the choreographic equivalent of improvising over a steady groove, a bodily inversion of bounce moves. The participants resemble malfunctioning robots. I also like that they apparently shot this in a random playground, no big deal: of the club but not in it.

(Via Dave Quam)

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Filed under chris randle, dance, music

Yesterday’s Tomorrow: Metropolis, by Fritz Lang (1927/2010)

by Chris Randle

Last week, I watched the almost-fully-restored new print of Metropolis. It was my first exposure to Fritz Lang’s monumental spectacle, but in truth I had seen large chunks of the film already, filtered through the homages, reinterpretations and outright swipes of eight decades. If you can sample people, these are sampled images.

The sinuously designed, poorly named Machine-Man, iconic after five minutes of screentime; a vast cityscape filling the sky while machines churn below; the precise clockwork movements of those hellbound proles, both anticipating music-video choreography and recalling Marx’s words: “It is not the workman that employs the instruments of labour, but the instruments of labour that employ the workman.” Even the final showdown atop a cathedral seemed familiar, because Tim Burton borrowed it for Batman. As we left the theatre, my friend Catherine said: “That movie had everything!”

Squint for meticulous order in a horn of plenty and you’ll be disappointed. Those aforementioned workers, for example, are shown toiling on one machine with a massive wall of dials and no apparent purpose. For its ludicrous dream that enough coaxing could move labour and capital to literally shake hands and make peace, Metropolis is sometimes called proto-fascist, but it’s hard to picture Mussolini bellowing Lang’s epigram: “The mediator between brain and hands must be the heart.” The film wedges religious allegory and industrial-relations homilies into the structure of a fairy tale, rebellious heir and all; I’m grateful for what little coherence it has.

Some of the politics are so confused that it begins to seem intentional. Brigitte Helm, just 18 years old during filming, plays both saintly Maria (champion of the downtrodden, love interest) and her android doppelganger. The plutocrat Joh Fredersen has the former’s likeness grafted onto the latter, scheming to incite a rebellious prole-frenzy with her jerky gyrations. (When the sexy psy-ops plan actually works, he sends in the security forces does nothing.)

The movie’s juxtaposition of demure protector and Evil Robot Slut is not subtle. But Helm is so obviously delighted by the sheer carnality of her character, vamping it up in Babylonian drag, that I started to think of the original as “False Maria.” She urges the revolution to devour its children with lip-smacking glee. No wonder that android keeps winking.

The new restoration job is impressive – the print’s only missing one major scene. I can’t imagine how earlier versions hung together, though I still have a perverse desire to see the Giorgio Moroder/Freddie Mercury/Pat Benatar cut. The new/old footage is projected at a smaller scale than the rest, and its flickering scratches are a humbling reminder that even radical modernist artworks can become worn and fragile.

Much of the rescued material involves various subplots. One features Fredersen’s creepily fastidious underling, the Thin Man, his face as sharp and toothy as a shark’s. Another fleshes out the mad scientist Rotwang, explaining why he plots to betray his hated master (there was a girl). I was struck by the fact that, in a city split between heavenly towers and industrial caverns, his lair seems far older than either, a snug little church for your next black mass. If the film has a great sight gag, it’s the shot of him fidgeting in a tuxedo at False Maria’s debauched unveiling. Rotwang is on neither side of the class struggle; maybe that’s why he turns out to be the real villain? (In this and other ways, he reminds me of a more oblique Bat-parallel: “I am the hole in things, the piece that can never fit.”)

After nearly a century of allusive references and unconscious transmission, Metropolis retains a strange power. Restored or not, the film can still inspire longing; Owen Hatherley once argued that its soaring skywalks are an example of the better tomorrow we’ve been denied. Though there are minor consolations. On the walk home post-screening I realized that my first glimpse of the movie wasn’t its famous expressionist poster, or a particular filmmaker’s tribute, or even some knockoff robot – it was this animated GIF. (Scions of capital all like to watch, apparently.) I’m not sure the monocled Mr. Lang would approve, but it’s the future we got.

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Filed under chris randle, movies