Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Swamp buggy bad ass.

I want one. But since I'm not Laurie Anderson, and neither are you, we'll have to settle on watching this spectacular Drum Buddy demo. Be amazed.

here. now.

Kunst your self.

"Anyway, people don't make literature, architecture and art--the culture makes those things. We make books, buildings, and objects. We do our crummy little shit, and the culture assigns value to it."

[Dave Hickey, as interviewed in The Believer]

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

"Time is fast, and space is slow."

"Public space is the air space between bodies and information and other bodies; public space is a mix of electronic current and sexual magnetism. So much information fills the air, and so many things and so many bodies, that you can trust and love any one of them 'only for the time being'; there's no danger of being a true believer, no danger of being a husband or a wife--you're playing the electronic field, you're on the move and on the make...

...The model for a new public art is pop music. Music is time and not space; music has no place, so it doesn't have to keep its place, it fills the air and doesn't take up space. Its mode of existence is to be in the middle of things; you can do other things while you're in the middle of it. You're not in front of it, and you don't go around it, or through it; the music goes through you, and stays inside you. It's a song you can't get out of your head. But there are so many voices, too many songs to keep in your head at once; you walk down the street and hear one song from the soundbox you carry with you, another song blaring out of an audio speaker in front of a store, one more through an open bedroom window, yet another coming off the radio in a car that speeds by another car with still one more, and then another, as the driver changes stations. This mix of musics presents a mix of cultures; of course pop music exploits minority cultures, but at the same time it 'discovers' and uncovers them, so that they become born again to sneak into and under the dominant culture. The music of the 70s was punk; the music of the 80s was rap. Each of these types is music that says: you can do it, too. You don't need a professional recording studio, anybody can do it themselves, in the garage and in the house. The message of punk was: do what you can do and do it over and over, until everybody else is driven crazy. The message of rap is: if something has been done better by somebody else, who had the means to do it, then steal it, and re-mix it, tape is cheap and air-space is free. The message of punk and rap together is: actions speak louder only because of words, so speak up and talk fast and keep your hands free and your eyes wide open and your ear to the ground and be quick on your feet and rock a body but don't forget to rock a culture, too."

[Vito Acconci, from Public Space in a Private Time, 1990]

Monday, October 1, 2007

Perfection in advertising

A little slice (or, stash) of perfection in a found advertisement. NY Times, 1976.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Rebekah's new studio

Early in the week I went over to my friend Rebekah's new studio in Greenpoint to check the place out, have a little wine, and watch her work. Dave and I sat for her, and as usual, we talked suspiciously of popular culture. Divine.

To do: read Middlemarch, write (a sitcom?).

All the Variations of an Incomplete Dog

"All the Variations of an Incomplete Dog," courtesy Sebastijan.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Playboy at the bike shop

So today I go into the bike shop to get my bike fixed for the katrillionth time this week, and lo and behold, there was a gentleman in his 80s who started chatting me up (this is the kind of luck I'm having with guys lately). He pulled several interesting things out of his pockets to show me (including a Viagra keychain with two grimy old pills inside, just in case), but here he's showing off a picture of Hugh Hefner flanked by a bunch of playmates, only Hef's face has been replaced with a photo of himself.

After telling me a bunch of dirty jokes, he said he had to go run an errand for his wife.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Complicated Life

New Orleans at its best: a bike ride on a hot day to the accompaniment of swelling horns and little kids swinging from lampposts. Yeah, you right.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Kids Aren't All Right

From a 2005 article by Aaron Rose in the LA Weekly:

"From the creative side, art theory has begun to play such a dominant role in art school that I feel it has lobotomized many young creative minds. Young MFAs are required to read endless texts, many written more than 20 years ago by stuffy Frenchmen with navel-gazing theories holding little or no relevance to life in Bush’s America. They are then asked to somehow relate their work to these deconstructionist theories and then be judged by how successfully they do this.

The primary problem with this kind of education is that by diving deeper and deeper into the theoretical and self-referential, artists lose touch with their public. As a result, the public, particularly the young public, often feels alienated from art. Intentionally or not, people have been made to feel inferior to the art intelligentsia. What inevitably follows is that art becomes simply something to be bought, sold and understood by a very small sector of the population and it loses its urgent role as a means of communication or as a catalyst for social or cultural change.

On more than one occasion I have felt the urge to spray-paint “Mike Kelley is the Enemy” on walls around the city. Nothing against Kelley; his early work in particular was a big inspiration and holds great meaning for me. Rather, I want to do this as a statement to young artists that they need to kill their heroes to discover themselves...

...The point of all this is that if young artists had the courage and the encouragement to focus more on their art than the “art business,” there would be even more inspiring work to see and less distance between art and the public.Maybe all it takes is a little less thinking and a lot more feeling. If we could open our hearts amazing things could happen."

Kitty Porn

It's not every day that one comes home to a cat sleeping on a potato.

But a little back Monkeyface, with whom I have a short but spotted past. I generally detest cats' smugness, the way their every elegant, perfect, grace-filled gesture seems to accuse of your imperfection and fallibility. At first when I moved in, Monkey seemed generally mistrustful of me, taking every spare opportunity to look me up and down with a disdainful eye. I had been warned of Monkey's rough upbringing, and so I chose to persevere, blaming the early baggage for her standoffishness. Ultimately we were able to cultivate a friendship of sorts (in which Monkeyface calls all of the shots, and I do not pet unless approached). Now, when I watch her kneading my comforter with her razor-sharp talons and customary overeager fervor, or trying to distract me by urgently battering into whatever reading material I may be holding at the time, I wonder if Monkey and I have more in common than I originally thought.

Why, you may ask, is there a potato sitting atop my bureau? Well, so, the other night I went to this performance called "One Million Forgotten Moments," which was essentially an old storefront turned theater, where some really snazzy street theater was staged.

Among one of the sketches was a group of folks jumping up and down, preaching the relative benefits of giving potatoes to loved ones as an alternative to giving flowers. "But why give someone you love flowers when they're just going to die?!?!? Why not give them something that will keep growing, something that isn't ephemeral? And think of all of the wonderful things that can be done with potatoes! You can even make a battery out of a potato!" And so forth and so on.

After which, the folks in the sketch dispersed among the audience, bestowing their potatoes with utter generosity on several chosen onlookers, of which I was one.

Monkeyface understands, I think.

But I still don't sleep on potatoes.

Monday, September 17, 2007

A macrobiotic's dream, realized

There's something vile and yet terrifyingly alluring about this chocolate Vito brought back from Korea for us. Maybe it's the seaweed factor....or maybe it's just that it's real.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Best NY Times Headline Ever

The Old Williamsburg

The New Williamsburg

Spotted at the site of an impending riverfront development.
Indie bands + stone countertops = Williamsburg? Who knew.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Reason #832 to love Brooklyn

Looking out of one's window in the morning to be presented with this glorious tableau: three of my neighbors put a TV on the sidewalk to simultaneously watch a show and wash a car (note ShopVac to the left). Amazing.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The skin of The Thing.

Today is the two-year anniversary of The Thing with a K.

This weekend I saw a piece by Takashi Horisaki (who, it turns out, I've met before) at the Socrates Sculpture Garden in Long Island City. By casting the interior and exterior walls of a flooded New Orleans home in latex, the artist made a record of the textures, layers of old paint, waterlogged siding, and reportedly even a fish that had come in through the window after the flood. It's a taxidermied New Orleans shotgun, skin strung up on PVC pipe, sagging with its own weight.

Made me think of Bachelard, as follows (from The Poetics of Space):
"And so, faced with the bestial hostility of the storm and the hurricane, the house's virtues of protection and resistance are transposed into human virtues. The house acquires the physical and moral energy of a human body. It braces itself to receive the downpour, it girds its loins. When forced to do so, it bends with the blast, confident that it will right itself again in time, while continuing to deny any temporary defeats. Such a house as this invites mankind to heroism of cosmic proportions. It is an instrument with which to confront the cosmos. And the metaphysical systems according to which man is "cast into the world" might mediate concretely upon the house that is cast into the hurricane, defying the anger of heaven itself. Come what may the house helps us to say: I will be an inhabitant of the world, in spite of the world."

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Purple in the sky with diamonds.

The thing about New York is, there's just not enough purple in the sky. Yesterday when I got off the train coming home after work, there was a couple standing on the platform taking a photo of the sunset, over the old Williamsburgh Savings Bank building and the bridge in the distance. I agreed with them; it looked good, but as good as it looked it still felt a little hokey, reminiscent of a million bad Christian greeting cards.

Sometimes I just miss that good old southern light, winking at you over the New Orleans rooftops, presenting itself so easily and often that it rarely seemed an occasion for a photograph (See the one exception, above).