45 years ago, Jackie Shane, a 1960’s transgender soulstress, walked away not only from her career but from the public spotlight, not to be heard from again. Until now. A reluctant Ms. Shane is back with a two-disc retrospective titled Any Other Way, set to be released on October 20. Below is the title track from the new release, as well as an electrifying performance of Shane singing “Walking the Dog,” from 1965:
Nixon has been demonized, and rightfully so. But to compare him to Trump, who is no less than a Demon, is far too easy. What can at least be said of Nixon is that he was thoughtful, that he was a contemplative man. This, obviously, cannot be said of Trump. Imagine Trump ever giving consideration to anything but his own small-hand syndrome, which has its own impressively large orbit of satellite syndromes; imagine Trump ever in good faith reaching out to another human being, let alone to the other side of the so-called aisle. This of Nixon we cannot disclaim, as this video hightlights, and it is this quality alone that sets him high above the lowly cretan currently in office.
An extract from “China Is Laughing About This Situation,” The Global Politico/Susan Glasser interview with Ai Weiwei.
Ai Weiwei is making a strong case for himself as America’s leading dissident of the Trump era.
Never mind that he’s Chinese, or that he lives in Berlin in de facto exile these days.
The legendary artist, who has long embraced political themes in his work, has gone full-out activist in a new feature-length documentary film about the global refugee crisis, called Human Flow and released in theaters across the U.S. Friday, and in a new, New York City-wide public art exhibit of 300 works in dozens of locations called “Good Walls Make Good Neighbors.”
Both are explicit rebuttals of the nationalistic, America-First-fueled policies espoused by Trump, from his proposed Mexican border wall to his curbs on immigration that include admitting the smallest number of refugees to the U.S. in decades. [Read more…]
For years, Rudy North woke up at 9 a.m. and read the Las Vegas Review-Journal while eating a piece of toast. Then he read a novel—he liked James Patterson and Clive Cussler—or, if he was feeling more ambitious, Freud. On scraps of paper and legal notepads, he jotted down thoughts sparked by his reading. “Deep below the rational part of our brain is an underground ocean where strange things swim,” he wrote on one notepad. On another, “Life: the longer it cooks, the better it tastes.” [Read more…]
–from the October 2017 issue of Harper’s Magazine
Camilla Grudova’s story collection The Doll’s Alphabet, was published earlier this year in England, and it has already garnered comparisons to Angela Carter, Margaret Atwood, Leonora Carrington, Ben Marcus, and Franz Kafka. To this list let me add another name: George Orwell. Not the dystopian Orwell of 1984 or the allegorical Orwell of Animal Farm but the down-and-out, grubby-oilcloth Orwell of The Road to Wigan Pier and Keep the Aspidistra Flying. Grudova does mermaids and magic, but she also does moldy, dingy, scratch-and-sniff interiors that reek of cabbage and old shoes. [Read more…]
To mark the 50th anniversary of his October 8, 1967 death by assassination, Alci Rengifo looks at the figure of Che as enduring myth, media icon and indomitable commodity here in the capitalist, revolutionless West. Below is a 1964 interview with the actual man:
King Krule’s (aka Archy Marshall) new single, Dum Surfer, “is about as demonic as [things] can get. [Krule’s] voice, especially, is so tart and poisonous, that it’ll surely pucker one’s face. It’s as if in preparation for The Ooz [Krule’s new album] he was eating a box of nails and puffing at a pack of cigarettes every single day to get his vocals just right. The violent, bodily imagery of his lyrics, perfectly match this acerbic mood: he sings about his brains resembling “potato mash” and puking on a sidewalk. His backing band adds a dash of color to this bleak picture, with slinky guitar riffs and wiggly saxophone. In spite of all the doom and gloom, Marshall and his band have an innate groove. The accompanying music video breathes life in the sickly world Marshall imagines.” — Pitchfork Magazine
An extract from “What Is the Critic’s Job?” in the September 28th issue of The New York Review of Books. In his review, Mendelson also addresses two other critical works: This Thing We Call Literature, by Arthur Krystal, and Mimesis: The Representation of Reality in Western Literature, by Erich Auerbach, translated from the German by Willard R. Trask, with an introduction by Edward W. Said.
Two lucid and intelligent books, A.O. Scott’s Better Living Through Criticism and Arthur Krystal’s This Thing We Call Literature, explore the same complex theme: criticism as a public art and a public service, performed, however, by critics who speak for themselves, addressing individual readers, not a collective public. Both books draw maps of the disputed border between popular and elite culture and find ways to cross it without pretending it doesn’t exist. [Read more…]
The first time I visited Japan I fell hard for the highly abstract, ritualized form of musical drama called Noh. My Japanese friends found this a little puzzling, since I couldn’t understand the dialogue, and there was no simultaneous translation such as one finds at the opera. Even they didn’t understand the arcane Japanese dialect from hundreds of years earlier. There were synopses of the plays, of course—usually just a few lines in a mimeographed program. My traveling companion and I were often the only Westerners at these performances, which were held in the late afternoon, adding to the oddness of the experience. The atmosphere was very different from the more popular Kabuki. No beer. No cheering, no talking in the house at all. Pretty soon, as the intricate rhythms and the rising and falling pitch of the atonal chanting start to work on your brain, you begin to get a feeling for the dramatic arcs. [Read more…]
David Lynch chats with Harry Dean Stanton:
American Women (dismantling the border) II (48″x60″) depicts the U.S. Mexico wall being dismantled by American Indigenous women (Comanche, Navajo, on the U.S. side; Aztec, Miztec, Mayan, on the Mexican side). Most borders which define Nation States — topics of such heated debate — were only recently built, created by Colonial conquest, and are false constructs: hastily drawn lines etching across and carving up lands inhabited for millennia by Indigenous peoples. Thus, it is the right of the Indigenous to dismantle the oppressive walls and artificial distinctions of the world: walls that slice through the heart of communities and ecosystems, the only function of which is fear based exclusion. [Read more…]
Soon after the start of “Paris, Texas,” Harry Dean Stanton appears in an astonishing gorge called the Devil’s Graveyard. He’s playing a lost soul, Travis, who will spend the rest of the film getting found. Right now, though, surrounded by rock formations that evoke the westerns of John Ford, Travis is an enigma. On foot and wholly alone save for a watchful eagle, wearing a red cap and an inexplicable double-breasted suit, Travis looks like a former cowboy or maybe a businessman who took a wrong turn. He looks like someone Dorothea Lange might have photographed during the Great Depression. He looks like the American West, all sinew, dust and resolve. [Read more…]