Friday, February 19, 2010



I realize I'm saying nothing new, but I want to voice my inner-certainty that the reason the snake is widely seen as one of the world's most creepy animals, if not the most creepy, is because it appears to be a partial object. Its singular elemental shape is key here, the most basic unit of all vertebrae, which are an interlinked mass of tubes and bones with nerve ganglia. The snake is a singular tube with the eyes on one end, that moves on its own, without legs, filia, or wings. It's almost as if it broke free from something larger than itself and became autonomous. This is truly why snakes are depicted as shape-shifters as far back as the bible.

This led me to think of John Carpenter's The Thing (1980), whose monster's scariness owed precisely to the partial object. I was surprised it was not brought up to illustrate the idea of the partial object in Cinema for Perverts, narrated by Slavoj Zizek.
It's streaming on Netflix if you haven't seen it. People should make films more like that one. I could watch hours and hours of it.

Thursday, February 18, 2010



Enrico Baj

He's a painter from from the early 60s. This one is going to auction at Christies. Pretty awesome.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Box (2009)


Richard Kelly takes himself very seriously. I mean this in a good way. If you saw his last film, Southland Tales (2005) and walked away thinking it was a train wreck, but a very interesting one, you will probably think The Box is too. Like Southland Tales, it has a panoply of hairpin turns in the plot. But in Southland the twists got out of control, resulting in so many meta-layers I had nothing to pivot on. I enjoyed this to an extent but didn't trust how it all added up. The Box follows a similar logic, but Kelly juggles the twists with confidence, like a seasoned tugboat captain. Still, yet, the utter seriousness of the film's tone, which is commendable, seemed out of step with the ridiculousness of the story. I can't tell yet whether this is just me not being used to it, or if it really doesn't quite work. Most films that build on preposterousness seem to do so with a wink, or treat it like a bunch of fancy bells and whistles to flaunt as if to say "Isn't this AMAZING!". The day-glow frisson of greatness still isn't 'there' yet for Kelly, but he's still one of the most interesting directors out there.

The Box is basically a morality tale in the cloak of horror and sci-fi. A young couple with a son, strapped for cash, are visited by a man with half his face missing. He presents them with a box with a button on top. If they press the button, they get one million dollars (it takes place in the 70s), but someone they don't know will die as a result. If they choose not to press the button, they don't receive the money and the box will be presented to someone else.
Simple enough, but throw in stuff about the first Mars Viking landing, free-will, morality, possible Martians, lightning, physical deformity, and CIA government conspiracy, things get out of hand very quickly.

It was an intriguing film and I hope you watch it.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

In Regards to "Weird Science" (1986)


I revisited this film and was reminded how much I loved it when I grew up. My peers and I would watch and quote it over and over again tirelessly. They don't make 'em like they used to.

I was amused at the overt symbolism in the latter half of the film. When the two boys try to impress their bullies by making them a girl with their computer, they instead accidentally summon a Persian missile to pierce their house from the ground up.

Their created "woman", played by Kelly LeBrock, who had a gentle-but-firm sort of sexiness unlike no other since, castigated them for the two boys' hubris in trying to make people like them for what they can do, not for who they are.

A huge, war-like phallus was their comeuppance. It's Ham-fisted genius on the part of John Hughes.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

A Bass Solo that shook Earth to its molten core.

Have you ever loved rock music so much that you grabbed the nearest object that could be mentally fashioned into a guitar——or bass——and air-guitar-ed in the mirror to your favorite song, even though you had no talent for actually playing said instrument?

Here's an example of someone who got bitten by the 'rock music bug' and somehow stumbled, in this case literally, into a world-class rock band. Best and Worst bass solo caught on tape here. FWD to 2:09 to skip past the whiskey chugging nonsense. Like whiskey too much to skip past this? No worries. His bass is literally a Jack Daniels bottle. In the words of a YouTube commenter: "More like a Jeff Daniels Whiskey bottle".

Addendum: an old acquaintance from college pointed this out about Mike Anthony on Facebook: "The sad thing is that I have read more than one article where Michael Anthony admitted that he filled the Jack Daniels bottles with iced tea so he's not even drunk when he does that. And that's the best he can come up with."

Rock showmanship at its finest. Emphasis on SHOW and AIR

Monday, February 8, 2010


Those of you not on Facebook, though familiar with the L.A. art world, might not get wind of this video. I usually hate insider art world jokes, but this is pretty clever. For every high-profile hiring, there is always some angry despot who feels shunned...