Glen Rubsamen’s paintings of locales around the Los Angeles region, which are selected using a conceptual schema based on virtual mapping, combine idealized images of landscapes pared down to essentials, and a sense of detached irony. Visually reminiscent of Ed Ruscha’s paintings of Los Angeles and the West—but without the conceptual text-based play or the monumentality and horizontal scale, they rely on clichés of Los Angeles to reproduce a kind of iconography that is familiar and, like Ruscha’s, cinematic: palm trees (and the occasional eucalyptus) and vast expanses of sky, rendered in heightened, lozenge colored hues. Rubsamen’s paintings, exhibited at Christopher Grimes Gallery this summer under the title “The Disguise Was Almost Perfect,” are accompanied by a poster sized map, available as take-away, adapted from a hand-drawn 1915 Automobile Club map of the region, on which the artist has overlaid graphics of his paintings push-pinned to their correlated location. [Read more…]
by C von Hassett
The new Twin Peaks: The Return (2017) finds David Lynch working in fresh and sublimely haunting domains, ones that pleasurably flirt or unnervingly skirt the spectral drop-offs of some charged and sinister abyss. This seems no visional or evolutional change of tack, nor does it appear, at least in these early episodes, Lynch is newly surveying unmapped terrains. Rather, there is something more elevated in this late-career landscape, and something far more intimate as well. One senses, when viewing this new series, particularly his excursions into Lynchian Other-Realms, that his articulation of these doppelgänging worlds feel more experiential than conceptual, more occupied than conceptualized.
Less dream (or dreamy) than earlier movements into surrealist expression, the first quarter of Episode 3, for instance, shows Lynch, in an extraordinary way, to be as clear-eyed and sure-footed as he’s ever been in these ghostly yet thoroughly gripping realms. It’s as if, rather than imagining, some doppelgänger of himself now inhabits these realms, sending in return faint coordinates and word; or Lynch, figuratively, has set foot in them himself, excursioned through them in a near-corporeal way, and now with intimate familiarity he is able to speak cinematically to their airy constructions, and he does this with such nuance that they feel like alternate extents of consciousness and being: expansive, elusive, wholly mercurial states of mind-borne self.
Thanks to such dazzling and deeply dark films as Oldboy, Lady Vengeance, Mother, and I Saw The Devil, South Korean thrillers make cinephiles worldwide drool in anticipation of stories as twisted and electrifying as they are gut-wrenching. It’s an intimidatingly high bar, but writer/director Jung Byung-gil deftly clears it with The Villainess, a revenge thriller that chases a fascinating female assassin through fragile love and shattering heartbreaks. [Read more…]
The new kid on the block is the The Marciano Art Foundation, which showcases the art collection (some 1,500 pieces strong) that the brothers Paul and Maurice have collected since 1980. Instead of building a new structure, the Marciano brothers (of Guess fame) chose to buy and remodel the striking Scottish Rite Masonic Temple on Wilshire, which was designed by Millard Sheets. [Read more…]
Elle Reeve’s excellent reportage for HBO’s Vice News. Below is her interview with Christopher Cantwell, a self-described white nationalist, and her coverage of the events in Charlottesville as they tragically unfolded. Plus, a little sweet to help suck down the sour: Christopher Cantwell buckles, sheds tears (for himself) and, praise Jesus, prattles out his own private phone number (third clip), should anyone want to speak with him personally: [Read more…]
Excerpts from an ABC News Special Report that aired at 11:00-11:29 a.m. EST on Monday, Feb. 26, 1979 as the last total solar eclipse for North America until August 21, 2017 swept across the Pacific Northwest.
The violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, left many shocked at the state of extremism in America. Peter Simi, a sociology professor and expert on far-right extremism, explains the factors that compel a person to become a white supremacist.
Ernest Hemingway: A Biography by Mary V. Dearborn Reviewed by John Biscello
Can I believe myself as others believe me to be? Here is where these lines become a confession in the presence of my unknown and unknowable to me, unknown and unknowable for myself. Here is where I create the legend wherein I must bury myself. — Miguel de Unamuno.
Perhaps no other 20th century writer has invited more scorn, worship, lampooning, lionization, and soapbox scrutiny than Ernest Hemingway. Or rather the “legend” of Ernest Hemingway. His name became not only synonymous with American literature, and a laconic style of writing, but also with a specific he-man persona that wore its balls on its torn sleeve. [Read more…]
August 15, 2017
The drama of Trump Times threatens to consume us in fire and fury.
The President found the right words when threatening North Korea, but he put them in the wrong context. With his penchant for violence made worse by illiteracy in his own native tongue, Trump moves the country to hell in a handbasket while the apparently sane seek salvation in the wrong places.
We need recognize the times in which we live and articulate a vision that moves us beyond not just this present, but also that past which got us here. [Read more…]
by Aphrohead & Clarian
Imagine a world where a seemingly all-powerful political party has seized control of America, upending our democratic system of checks and balances. A malevolent dictator slowly strips the rights away from underserved and marginalized groups, particularly women and people of color, under the guise of providing “stability” for the nation as a whole. And radical protest groups led primarily by Black women march through the streets, broadcast over the radio waves, and find themselves harassed, wrongfully detained, and even murdered by police. [Read more…]
In further tribute to the great Denis Johnson, who died late May, an excerpt from Jesus’ Son:
I’d been working in the emergency room for about three weeks, I guess. This was in 1973, before the summer ended. With nothing to do on the overnight shift but batch the insurance reports from the daytime shifts, I just started wandering around, over to the coronary-care unit, down to the cafeteria, et cetera, looking for Georgie, the orderly, a pretty good friend of mine. He often stole pills from the cabinets.
He was running over the tiled floor of the operating room with a mop. “Are you still doing that?” I said.
“Jesus, there’s a lot of blood here,” he complained.
“Where?” The floor looked clean enough to me.
“What the hell were they doing in here?” he asked me.
“They were performing surgery, Georgie,” I told him.
“There’s so much goop inside of us, man,” he said, “and it all wants to get out.” He leaned his mop against a cabinet.
“What are you crying for?” I didn’t understand. [Read more…]
The legendary Glen Campbell died today at age 81 following a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. He will be missed.
Here he is on an old TNN special with a room full of country music legends, including Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Roy Clarke, Chet Aikins, Ray Stevens, Tammy Wynette and Crystal Gayle:
In a somewhat combative 1957 interview, a flinty and surprisingly conventional Mike Wallace interrogates an unwavering yet ever-thoughtful Frank Lloyd Wright.
In his New York Review of Books commentary, excerpted below, Martin Filler speaks to the wealth of new material out on Frank Lloyd Wright, including two current exhibitions and four new books. You can read the full review in the August 17 issue, or read it on site at nybooks.com
Few things are more satisfying in the arts than unjustly forgotten figures at last accorded a rightful place in the canon, as has happened in recent decades with such neglected but worthy twentieth-century architects as the Slovenian Jože Plečnik, the Austrian Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky, the Austrian-Swedish Josef Frank, and the Italian-Brazilian Lina Bo Bardi, among others. Then there are the perennially celebrated artists who are so important that they must be presented anew to each successive generation, a daunting task for museums, especially encyclopedic ones that are expected to revisit the major masters over and over again while finding fresh reasons for their relevance. [Read more…]
While most of the republic’s cinema-goers flock to local theaters to indulge in the new incarnation of Stephen King’s It, your local RedBox is harboring a deliciously wicked and original work of cinematic viscera, Julia Ducournau’s Raw (2016). This cannibal parable created quite the stir at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival, where audience members were reported to have fainted due to the movie’s bloody moments. As with most movies of this type, the gore doesn’t do justice to the hype. The film’s power resides in what it has to say as opposed to what it wants to show. Like all good satire, it knows that showing too much ruins the effect. Like American Psycho, Raw gets under your skin by casting a mirror. Ducournau is essentially putting on display a civilization eating itself, like Goya’s painting “Saturno devorando a su hijo (Saturn Devouring His Son).” Raw is art as splatter, capturing in its own special way those moments when youth, sexual awakening and finding one’s place in the social labyrinth all crash together. [Read more…]