“Misirlou,” 1963, from the film A Swinging Affair
“Misirlou,” 1963, from the film A Swinging Affair
For most people in Los Angeles, the rain is a blessing. For those who are homeless, it only makes a hard life that much tougher. [Read more…]
Revolutionary Cycles is an expansive two-year series of art showing at The 8th Floor, a New York exhibition space run by the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation. The series will feature different themes such as issues around surveillance, gender, and media. Curated by Sara Reisman, Revolution from Without kicks off the first installment of the series focused on the topic of resistance, with this exhibition featuring art from Tania Bruguera, Tony Cokes, Chto Delat, Raqs Media Collective, Kameelah Janan Rasheed, Dread Scott, and Mark Wallinger. [Read more…]
When I showed her the photo afterwards she said she didn’t realize she was holding up her hand. She asked me for change, and I didn’t have any, but I offered to buy her breakfast instead. She said, that’s alright and gave me a dime. [Read more…]
All hail Lupita Nyong’o, the Scream Queen of SXSW! On Opening Night, the Academy-Award winning actress shocked and awed the packed house at the Paramount Theater with Us. In dueling roles, she gracefully and ruthlessly filled the audience with tension and terror. The following day, she returned to the Paramount for a victory lap, fronting the outrageous zombie-comedy Little Monsters. It was a one-two punch that deftly establishes Nyong’o’s range as well as her status as modern-horror royalty.
To most, a slithering snake might inspire fear. But to Mara (Alice Englert), in the new film Them That Follow, these creatures are beautiful, strong, and hold deep ties to her faith. Mara is a snake handler, part of a Pentecostal sect rooted deep in the woods of Appalachia. Like the snakes they use in their worship, these people are fiercely loyal, keeping to their own on a remote mountain. Martial engagements are made within their church community, involving all in a proposal process that includes quilting, snake-hunting, and a public acceptance. They avoid outsiders, like the police who will snatch their snakes, as well as their members, whenever possible. And if one of their members should be bit, they reject modern medicine, seeing the bite not as a health concern but a God-ordained test of faith. This life is all Mara has ever known. But as she grows into womanhood, her faith is rattled. [Read more…]
Jerry lived through a shotgun blast point-blank to his face. It’s been a few years since I’ve seen him around, but he was extremely positive about life and his situation. [Read more…]
There’s something happening here
What it is ain’t exactly clear
There’s a man with a gun over there
Telling me I got to beware
–-Lyrics: Stephen Sills/Buffalo Springfield
“For What It’s Worth”
Annie Leibovitz has combed through her enormous archive of negatives to personally curate and print these 4,000 (yes, that’s right) mostly black and white photographs for this poignant and profound exhibition at Hauser & Wirth. The exhibition chronicles the turbulent late sixties, the “me decade” of the seventies and the beginning of the prosperous early eighties. Printed in various sizes with some as small as 3”x5” straight from a contact sheet to later work that is printed much larger with an irregular black border (that echoed both Diane Arbus and Richard Avedon, two photographers that she admired), they are push pinned to a hemp wall in a precise grid in a sometimes curiously casual looking installation meant to evoke a kind of walk-in scrap book. These pictures are truly an amazing visual history of the way we were, while clearly indicating where we were headed. [Read more…]
My first historical theater experience was at 16, when my mom took me to see Jason Robards star as Hickey in The Iceman Cometh, by Eugene O’Neil. The dialogue was deep, fast-paced, dramatic, the characters themselves characteristically downmarket. The play, in brief, revolves around a classic crew of bottom-of-the-barrel drunks, has-beens who never were, pimps who claimed they were bartenders and their sleazy whores in a bar at the bottom of a flophouse in lower Manhattan in 1907. Harry Hope, the benevolent proprietor of the Greenwich Village Saloon, had not been outside the establishment in the years since his sainted wife had met her maker. [Read more…]
“You can take pictures of him, but don’t pet him. He’s not here to be friendly.” The owner of this pit bull told me the dog listens well, but warned me not to get too close to him, either. This dog, like many of the dogs that live in Skid Row, has been trained to be a guard dog and to protect his owner. [Read more…]
The flavorful new single from Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever
on Sub Pop
From This Is How You Smile
on RVNG Intl.
Jordan Peele has done it again. In 2017, the comedian turned filmmaker with a blisteringly funny and soul-rattlingly scary directorial debut Get Out. The horror film was universally praised, instantly iconic, and went on to win Peele an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. So, anticipation has been through the roof for his follow-up, Us (2018). As SXSW’s Opening Night film, Us drew crowds that wrapped around the city blocks of downtown Austin. People lined up for 2 to 6 hours just in the hopes they’d get to be in the room for its world premiere. After over two hours in line, this critic barely made the cut. I was number 21 of the last 75 people who would gain entrance. As soon as I walked through the doors of the Paramount, the excitement in the air was electric. The whole theater throbbed with anticipation. When Peele took to the stage to introduce the film, the audience erupted in cheers and applause. Over the next two hours, we would gasp, scream, laugh, and pulse together with tension as Us barreled into a mind-bending third act. Which is to say, it was a huge hit with us. [Read more…]
Jordan Peele has done it again. In 2017, the comedian turned filmmaker with a blisteringly funny and soul-rattlingly scary directorial debut Get Out. The horror film was universally praised, instantly iconic, and went on to win Peele an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. So, anticipation has been through the roof for his follow-up, Us. As SXSW’s Opening Night film, Us drew crowds that wrapped around the city blocks of downtown Austin. People lined up for 2 to 6 hours just in the hopes they’d get to be in the room for its world premiere. After over two hours in line, this critic barely made the cut. I was number 21 of the last 75 people who would gain entrance. As soon as I walked through the doors of the Paramount, the excitement in the air was electric. The whole theater throbbed with anticipation. When Peele took to the stage to introduce the film, the audience erupted in cheers and applause. Over the next two hours, we would gasp, scream, laugh, and pulse together with tension as Us barreled into a mind-bending third act. Which is to say, it was a huge hit with us. [Read more…]
I have seen the future and it’s murder — Leonard Cohen, “The Future”
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. Death walks into a bar, wielding a scythe, which he intends to use in shaving God’s face. Death, in his wanderings, has been hearing rumors about the wooly burning bush that covers God’s face like topographical phenomena, and he has made it his self-directed duty and obligation to give God a clean shave. The thing is, Death doesn’t find God in the bar, so he begins using his scythe on all the people he encounters in the bar, and then continues his bloody shave-fest out in the real world, as he continues searching for God’s hairy, burning beast of a face. In the end, Death is a misguided barber, and God an absentee with bigtime street cred. To dance the razor’s edge between vaudeville and nightmare requires a certain sense of marvel and precision, a certain joie de vivre to keep one company while suspended over an abyss, and this is the sensibility that Yoko Tawada exacts with finesse and fluency in her satirical timebomb, The Emissary. [Read more…]
Hauser & Wirth’s exhibit, Dark Years, features three gallery floors of work from painter Luchita Hurtado. Venezuelan-born and Los Angeles-based, Hurtado is 98 years old and beyond deserving of the show and recognition. This is a real celebration story of a life-long artist finally getting her due, with many solo shows in the works for the coming years, including her upcoming exhibit at the Serpentine Gallery in London. [Read more…]
Last year, Jan Švankmajer, the great master of surrealist cinema, returned to his roots with another stop-motion film mixed with live footage in the same vein as his classics Alice (1988) and Faust (1994). Yet there is something that is immediately striking in Insects (2018), namely that it keeps breaking the fourth wall and working with meta-levels. There is, first, an introduction where Švankmajer speaks directly to the audience, offering cues to how the movie is supposed to be understood. Then, throughout the film we see how the practical and stop-motion effects were created; we witness various stage directions to the actors, who each talk about their dreams to the camera. Finally, as Insects is somewhat of an adaptation of a play by the brothers Čapek, we ourselves witness an amateur theatre group working on its adaptation. [Read more…]
Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, In Lieu of A Louder Love
at Jack Shainman Gallery, NYC
Wilmer Wilson IV, Slim…you don’t got the juice
at Susan Inglett Gallery, NYC (through March 16)
Lynette Yiadom-Boakye follows in the steps of late 19th century European masters, and makes no mystery about it. They favored the wet-on-wet application of paint, more poetically known as Alla Prima, that demands quick work in one sitting, or one day. When Dutch painters first invented it in the 1600s, the impossibility to render small, time consuming details such as luxurious fabrics and jewels, veered the focus to the sitter’s interior life. Instead of stressing status (rich, powerful, respectable), the protestant artists questioned what it means to be a human being. Manet reintroduced it to his followers in the late 19th century by using the technique to great effect. His work is also instantly recognizable for its deep, unctuous blacks. [Read more…]
Dear God who lives inside the stag’s head
even after the stag’s shot and lies slumped and abashed
on the forest floor. Protect him.
Even after he’s been heaved onto the car’s dark roof.
Forest Green. Or Pacific Blue. Nowhere he can see.
His body stiffens like a trellis above the driver.
Help him. Hold him in your sight. [Read more…]
Enduring Ideals: Rockwell, Roosevelt, & The Four Freedoms
A traveling exhibition, with Reimagining the Four Freedoms
currently at The George Washington University Museum and The Textile Museum, Washington, DC (through April 29)
Reviewed by Kevin Baker
Courtesy of Harper’s Magazine
The fight over which of our public monuments should remain where they are is as complicated as the American past they commemorate. For all the fighting over who and what we should not honor from our past, there is one vital element that has been missing from the argument: that is, what we should honor and aspire to now. [Read more…]