Friday, August 31, 2007

francesca woodman

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From House series, Providence, Rhode Island, 1976 by Francesca Woodman

A person, scattered in space and time, is no longer a woman but a series of events on which we can throw no light, a series of insoluble problems. - Marcel Proust, La Prisonniere (1923)

I spent the bulk of last night sifting through and reading the essays in my Phaidon-published monograph on the young visionary photographer, Francesca Woodman.

It's difficult to speak of her after ingesting so much text that strives to dissect her work and persona, but there are a few words that are thrown around enough that can describe her work: gothic, haunting, surreal, feminist. There is also a lot to be said of the story of her life in relation to her work. She grew up in an artistic family--her mother was a ceramic sculptor, her father a painter and photographer, and her brother an aspiring video-artist. She grew up between the U.S. and Italy, where her parents kept a house while they were working on university fellowships. She spent her collegiate years in Providence, Rome, and New York, where she finally ended her life at the mere age of 22.

I like how Chris Townsend compares her to Penelope, the wife of the mythical Odysseus: "always, endlessly, remaking and deconstructing her tapestries." There's a lot to say about her work. Right now, I'm interested in how she uses the female body-her own body, in space--the ideas of presence and absence, with photographic manipulation like double and long exposures. She does, in fact, always appear to be more of an apparition than a person in her photographs.

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Untitled, Rome, 1977-78 by Francesca Woodman

Thursday, August 30, 2007

new photo sites

in all the chaos of these past few weeks, with the end of summer dawning upon us and all, i sneakily managed to add two new photo sites to your "places to go" and now it's time for me to announce them:

two neighborhood photographers, danny weiss (going by his full name, daniel eric weiss) and john roman, have both given august births to new websites which feature their awesome black & white street photography. both also do fun, frequent updates, so check them out and check them frequently.

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Chess by Danny Weiss

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Jake Sitting by John Roman

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

easy riders

On my birthday, I finally made it over to Yancey Richardson in Chelsea where the current group show, "Easy Rider: Road Trips Through America", is in its final 2 weeks. Here are some personal favorites from the show:

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Lee Friedlander, Haverstraw, NY, 1966.

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Todd Hido , #2424B, 1999.

and my boyfriend's favorite, which must be seen in person since this tiny image doesn't do it justice:

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Joel Sternfeld, The Eagles Kayenta Junior High School at Football Practice, Kayenta, Arizona, Najavo Nation, August, 1986/ 2003.

The show ends September 8th. Check out the press release for more information.

Bausch and Le Sacre du Printemps

Charles Mee has got me thinking of the German modern dance choreographer Pina Bausch, whose company, the Pina Bausch Tanztheater Wuppertal, is based in Wuppertal, Germany.

The following their unbelievable staging of Le Sacre du Printemps, The Rite of Spring.

iphigenia 2.0

The playwright Chuck Mee, who makes all his work publicly available on his website, has kicked off a season of his own with the the Signature Theater Company with his adaption of an original Euripides text, Iphigenia 2.0. the show is directed by Tina Landau, member of Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre Company.

In a blurb on his website, Mee says of this play:

The play by Euripides, set in the world today, in which a great imperial power steps into the world to go to war--taking an action so wrong that it sets the empire on the road to complete self-destruction. Proving, as Agamemnon himself says on the brink of the Trojan war, "we see from the histories of empires that none will last forever and all are brought down finally not by others but by themselves."

In Hilton Als' review for the New Yorker, he gives a nice, condensed understanding of Mee's work:
But one can tell that Mee is equally excited by the works of the director Elizabeth LeCompte and the Wooster Group and of the German choreographer Pina Bausch. Like them, he adapts historical texts to reflect the world as it is now: a fragmented place, torn apart by war, by the disintegration of the family, and by politicians who offer a canned performance of authority while disavowing all responsibility.

With the recent media attention Nina Berman's show Purple Hearts has been getting (which has now been extended at the jB gallery until September 8th), the Signature Theater's production of Mee's play has arrived at the most opportune time for a discussion on the present-day war in Iraq.

Iphigenia 2.0 will run until September 30th. Another of Mee's play, Hotel Cassiopeia presented by the SITI Company, will be on view at BAM for a few brief days in October.

Friday, August 24, 2007

it's my birthday

that's right. i little to say. i am here mainly to proudly announce that it's my birthday. and i can cry if i want to.

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i love that picture.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Hey, Hot Shot! winners announced

Summer HHS! Winner: Dan Boardman
home project 1 by Summer '07 HS winner Dan Boardman

Yesterday we announced the winners of the Summer edition of Hey, Hot Shot!. Check them out! The above photo is by one of the winners I posted about awhile back, Dan Boardman.

Congratulations to all the winners!

Friday, August 17, 2007

cafe cortadito

last night i went to dinner with some friends at the new cuban spot over on avenue b, cafe cortadito, which had a featured review in last week's new york magazine. i was really excited to go, not only because i love new restaurants and cuban food, but because the review promised that it was small, cheap, and BYOB.

if there ever was a place more appropriate to BYOB, it's cafe cortadito. we got there to discover a 20-minute wait, but, luckily, we had a six pack of corona light with us, which the hostess kindly offered to open for us. we hung out outside, drinking our beer along with all the other eager new customers. we got seated after our first beer in a rather tight table, but we didn't mind--we were hungry. the staff took the rest of our beers to refrigerate them as we took to the menu. although we were pretty enchanted with the option of fritas Cubanas (fried sliders), we decided to pass since we were about to get heavy meat dishes. we started with two salads, an avocado salad with watercress, red onion, and tomato, topped with balsamic vinegar, and another one called guancajo, or something--it had watercress, avocado, pineapple, tropical cheese, and red onion. both were delicious and refreshing.

then came the second course, which unfortunately took a really long time, close to 30-40 minutes to arrive. however, we were so pleased with the meal that we had no cause to complain. at our table we had to orders of the vaca frita, which was pan-fried shredded beef and onion topped with a mojo sauce. it was amazing--the beef was crispy and infused with the tangy mojo sauce. we also got two orders of the churrasco, which was recommended by new york mag. it was a thick slab of skirt steak alongside the best chimichurri i've ever had--better than at an argentinian restaurant. also, everything was accompanied by rice and beans. the food was remarkable and the atmosphere was fun and intimate. unfortunately, i could barely move after the meal. seriously, my legs were kind of frozen from all that meat. it was well-priced and apparently they serve a delicious brunch for only $6.95!

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(photo from new york magazine)

Thursday, August 16, 2007

shakespeare in the... parking lot?

via the wonderful cultural information i get from flavorpill, i just found out about a theatrical event occuring this evening that is, well, in the neighborhood. in a parking lot. on ludlow and broome. it's a series called "shakespeare in the parking lot", and it's put up by the drilling company. tonight's performance is free and is set to begin at 8 (bring your own chairs) and the players will be performing much ado about nothing.

you can read a review about their last parking lot appearance with romeo and juliet (aptly rivaling the other "shakespeare in the...") here.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

michel gondry, i love you

"i'm not there" soundtrack released

i just found out via the yellow stereo that the soundtrack for todd hayne's bob dylan biopic i'm not there has just been released:

“All Along The Watchtower” :: Eddie Vedder & The Million Dollar Bashers
“As I Went Out One Morning” :: Mira Billotte
“Ballad Of A Thin Man” :: Stephen Malkmus & The Million Dollar Bashers
“Billy” :: Los Lobos
“Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window” :: The Hold Steady
“Can’t Leave Her Behind” :: Stephen Malkmus & Lee Ranaldo
“Cold Irons Bound” :: Tom Verlaine & The Million Dollar Bashers
“Dark Eyes” :: Iron & Wine & Calexico
“Fourth Time Around” :: Yo La Tengo
“Goin’ To Acapulco” :: Jim James & Calexico
“Highway 61 Revisited” :: Karen O & The Million Dollar Bashers
“I Wanna Be Your Lover” :: Yo La Tengo
“I’m Not There” :: Bob Dylan
“I’m Not There” :: Sonic Youth
“Just Like A Woman” :: Charlotte Gainsbourg & Calexico
“Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues” :: Ramblin’ Jack Elliot
“Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” :: Antony & The Johnsons
“The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll” :: Mason Jennings
“Maggie’s Farm” :: Stephen Malkmus & The Million Dollar Bashers
“Mama You’ve Been On My Mind” :: Jack Johnson
“The Man In The Long Black Coat” :: Mark Lanegan
“Moonshiner” :: Bob Forrest
“One More Cup Of Coffee” :: Roger McGuinn & Calexico
“Pressing On” :: John Doe
“Ring Them Bells” :: Sufjan Stevens
“Señor (Tales Of Yankee Power)” :: Willie Nelson & Calexico
“Simple Twist Of Fate” :: Jeff Tweedy
“Stuck Inside Of Mobile With Memphis Blues Again” :: Cat Power
“The Times They Are A Changin’” :: Mason Jennings
“Tombstone Blues” :: Richie Havens
“When The Ship Comes In” :: Marcus Carl Franklin
“Wicked Messenger” :: The Black Keys
“You Ain’t Goin ‘Nowhere” :: Glen Hansard & Markéta Irglová

joanna newsom hates bears

In the current edition of Purple Fashion Magazine, which I finally bought for myself, there is an unbelievably quirky "piece" on one of my favorite folkies, Ms. Joanna Newsom, written by another favorite of mine, Miranda July. The piece was so quirky that I felt the need to share it with everyone, and since it's not available online, I will make it available here:

True or False: When Joanna Newsom takes out the trash, she clangs the trash can lids loudly to scare away any bears that might be in the area.

True or false: Joanna Newsom takes out the trash.

True or false: Bears.

When Joanna plays with the London Symphony Orchestra next year she will wear:
a) Jeans.
b) A real nice vintage gown.
c) You, gutted. (Your friends will be amazed to see you up there, playing the harp so hypnotically. They didn't even know your were musical.)

True or false: You.

Now then. Are Joanna's skin, hair, and eyes basically all variations on the same color, and is that color the color of a deer, and is that deer standing by a river, very still, listening?

No, the deer is crashing through the woods, at breakneck speed, but not in fear.

It runs past death and insults and caring.

It keeps on going.

It's gone. She's the color of a gone deer.

When she sings that part about "filling her long ears with beads," "long ears" is a metaphor for
a) A vagina
b) A vagina
c) A vagina

Or, is she saying bees? Long ears with bees. That's probably it. Nevermind the previous question.

In any case, my God. My word. My oh my.

True or false: Stunning.

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lady collages

Amy Ross, a Boston-based artist who recently had a show at the jb, just posted a new batch of her collages. I love them.

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Saturday, August 11, 2007

louise brooks vs.

just saw this beautiful photo of louise brooks over on the sartorialist:

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he asks who would pit versus louise brooks. i say clara bow.

Monday, August 6, 2007

groping in the dark

just saw this manifesto on the rvca anp quarterly blog in a post entitled "movies, bruises, dogs, manifestos and fireworks" by aaron rose.

the below content is from a document entitled "humans manifesto 03" that was hanging on the door of mike mills' studio:

1. Be more positive. 2. Try to stop anthropomorphizing the animals I know, or at least do it less. 3. Play games that require abandon. 4. Get better at maintaining relationships with friends. 5. Look at how I'm not fully conscious of my real like, admit that I'm groping in the dark, overwhelmed by the consequences of my acts and that at every moment I'm faced with outcomes I did not intend.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

grey gardens

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i finally saw the maysles brothers' grey gardens, which is one of the creepiest films i've seen in a really long time. i'm trying to figure out what its about. i understand the incentive in making the film, which was the early 70s scandal regarding the estate's destitution. the house was falling apart, there were diseased cats roaming everywhere, and suffolk county was ready to tear down the house. however, jackie o (the beales' first cousin), put up the money to have the house repaired.

anyway, i watched the entire film, in which nothing happens except a ton of funny conversation between the two eccentric beales, edith bouvier beale and her daughter "little edie", still little at 52. however, i don't know what came out of it. to me, it seems like a portrait of two eccentrics, almost in the same way that a photographer does a portrait sitting, except with a moving camera. i spoke with someone about the film who says that he thought it was about getting old. i think that reading is valid, however, i think the situation of these two women is unique and is not really representative of aging. these are unmarried, unoccupied women, who spend their lives singing, dancing, and eating in a filthy house with cats shitting in every corner. i'm honestly still perplexed by the film, but i liked it. its beautiful to watch and its essentially very sad--its a portrait of loneliness, if anything, of these two women bound together by interminable loneliness.

There is a ton of material about the film and the beales online, like the criterion collection essay, "notes on grey gardens" by hilton als. there is also a wild article from new york magazine by gail sheehy recalling an encounter with little edie.

now, the grey gardens musical. i gotta see it.

melrose trading post

its 8:59 in the AM here in foggy L.A. and what am i doing up?

i am on my way to the melrose trading post, which should be opening up just about now. that's where i find all those cute dresses i own. i won't reveal to you my choice of vendors, however just show up if you're in town. its pretty small (compared to the rose bowl, at least) and you're sure to find something to your liking. show up early, though, to avoid the crowds of high school girls fawning over ever single thing you like.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

the sound and the fury

just started reading "the sound and the fury" by faulkner yesterday. the beginning is extremely perplexing and the stream of consciousness is as challenging as reading faulkner, but having to decipher a story and invest effort into it is fun. that's why i picked it up. i am a big fan of "as i lay dying".

anyway, curiosity got the best of me and i had to look up what the title referred to. turns out its from a macbeth soliloquy, from act 5, scene 5:

"To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
''Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing..."

P.S. Why are so many goth-y type bands named after Faulkner novels? A google search on both of the aforementioned books led me to multiple same-named band websites...

these are a few of my favorite things

there is one moviehouse in los angeles that overwhelms all other moviehouses in all aspects of greatness. i once heard that this theater was the sole strictly retrograde theater in the entire united states. and even better, it is right around the corner from my parents' house in hancock park--it's an anomaly how close it is to me, since i don't even have to drive there.

anyway, it called the new beverly cinema and its on beverly blvd. and detroit, one block away from la brea blvd. every show there is a double feature and runs for 2-3 days. for the past 30 years, they have been showing the best in independent, foreign, classic, and cult cinema. it's a ritual for me to check their schedule every time i come home. and the theater is straight out of another era, with crickety, wooden seats, and an intimate, non-corporate sized screen.

unfortunately, when i just went on to their website, i came across this sad article in the l.a. times, about the sudden death of cinema owner sherman torgan at the age of 63.

From the time "the Beverly" opened in 1978 with a Marlon Brando double bill — "A Streetcar Named Desire" and "Last Tango in Paris" — Torgan did everything from plan the programs to work the box office.

His limited budget didn't allow for flashy decor. He said he would rather keep ticket prices down than redecorate. Currently, general admission is $7, less for students and senior citizens.

When Torgan took over the theater, he and friends tore out the runway that had been used for erotic dance acts and replaced it with seats. Over time all of the theater's 300 seats became battered, and the projection room was "held together by spit and glue," said Rosen, who sometimes was the theater's projectionist. Torgan acknowledged that the place was "a little rough around the edges."
-- from the l.a. times article

good morning l.a.

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just woke up in l.a. to breakfast made by my sleepy mother and the table set by my silly little brother. i'm finally here for the weekend after a horrendous flying experience with delta. it was surreal. at one point, i was convinced i was on the set of a lynch film--maybe an episode of twin peaks. i left my apartment at 5:30 pm and, after being delayed one hour and then another three hours while on board due to thunderstorms, i finally arrived in los angeles at approximately 2:30 am (5:30 am ny time), amounting my journey to a total of 12 hours.

anyway, i have a few exciting things in store for the weekend that you might get to hear about here, like a possible trip to see pee wee's big adventure, a visit to view the new collection at the awesome l.a. version of opening ceremony, and return to some of my favorite restaurants out here, like chef hiroji's hirozen, quite la brea spot puran's, or maybe my neighborhood staple campanile.