Tag Archives: video

October mixture

I hope that you and your loved ones emerged from Sandy unscathed, and that you’re not reading this while plugged in to the first working street lamp or dangling set of twinkly lights you encountered in midtown. (I’ve heard those are popular sources of power for my fellow New Yorkers as of late). I’ve been high and dry in Lunar Camel Co. Towers the whole time, baking bread and watching nature documentaries and whatnot. Friends from Evacuation Zone A have been coming and going and will continue to be welcomed, even my friend Jim, who graciously informed me in advance that he “only sleep[s] in the nude.” Anyone who can’t squeeze in on the sofa with Jim and has to stay downtown will soon be on the receiving end of as many warm chocolate chip cookies as can fit in the storage compartments of a Vespa.

I hope you’re having a happy Halloween too, or will have a happy one whenever you get around to celebrating it. My neighborhood, as you can see below, has been getting ready for some time now, but the storm complicated things. If you’re in need of an extremely last-minute costume for a postponed or fashionably late-night party, I posted a few ideas last year, and if you’re in need of some candy-eating music, I posted some good stuff on my food blog a few years back, along with a vegetarian, pumpkin-centric dinner recipe.

Harlem's bikers are ready for Halloween.

Madison Ave. near 120th St., Oct. 5th.

I’ve been a delinquent blogger lately and I’ve scarcely had time to feel bad about how shabby my rattletrap urls were looking — I’ve been alternating between working sixty-hour weeks and getting out of town. I’ve also been preoccupied with a few little projects, one of which I’ll tell you about very soon.

Deep River-20121006-02100

Applemania is coming soon on my food blog, though it’s not the little project I meant.

sweater scan

I’ve also taken up knitting html sweaters for my blogs,
but that’s not the little project I meant either.

I’ve been reading a lot too, though far more fitfully than is usual for me. I’m generally a one- or two-books-at-a-time woman but there are five or six I’m dipping into at the moment. Among them:

Love is a Pie cover

Love is a Pie by Maude Hutchins has been on my shelf for many years and I’m just getting around to it now. I’m not deeply engaged with it at the moment such that I have a lot to say about it yet, but I wanted to show you the cover, which I love. It’s the New Directions 1952 edition designed by Andy Warhol. (There’s a tiny bit more about his work for them here). I think I paid about $7 for it, partly because hardly anyone knows who Hutchins is, and partly because Warhol isn’t credited for the illustration anywhere in it. The NYRB blog describes Hutchins as the author of “peculiar psycho-sexual novels,” among other things, but Love is a Pie is a collection of short stories and plays, eminently suitable for reading a few pages at a time. My experience with it so far is that it is also peculiar and psycho-sexual. Five of the stories (“The Missing Papers of an Extra Man”) are narrated from the point of view of a bachelor, who wonders, at one point, whether “there [are] gastric juices in the brain?” There’s an interesting essay about Hutchins over at the LRB here, by Terry Castle, whose essay collection Boss Ladies, Watch Out! is also on my bed-side table. I was moved to buy it after reading her review of Lisa Cohen’s All We Know: Three Lives — a biography of three obscure and under-rated lesbians — and I’m really digging it.

I’ve also been haphazardly delving into vintage sci-fi. Doubtlessly this is influenced by an ex-boyfriend who often reads at random. Or what appears to be at random, but in actuality reflects a practiced and discerning eye for strangeness. He used to teach critical reading, actually, but (or “and”?) many of his books are ones he found on the street or in the cardboard box at his gym. After close observation I decided this is a worthwhile manner of reading, but I’m not sure I’ve gotten the hang of it yet. I’m still a bit too purposeful. I picked up the two below because both feature R. A. Lafferty and he was recommended to me years ago. I’ve never been a sci-fi person in the slightest but I sort of like the idea of becoming one. I could definitely get into the illustrations, at least, whether they’re good, terrible, or merely really weird. Plus it seems like a good time, with Singularity & Co., for example, pointing the way towards some of the more interesting bits of the genre, and the rest of the internet readily coughing up oddities.

Alpha 3 cover   Alpha 3 table of contents

Alpha Three (ed. Robert Silverberg, Ballantine Books 1972).
Click on either image to enlarge.
I don’t always buy books with no idea whether I’ll like them or not, but when they’re cheap and have interesting covers, sometimes I do.

if sci fi cover 1961   if table of contents

if Science Fiction (ed. H. L. Gold, Digest Productions, Jan. 1961),
with its table of contents apparently signed by Phyllis Gotlieb. And apparently she ranked all the other stories in order of . . . quality? Or suggested reading order?

Semi-relatedly, a selection of some of the titles I’ve seen on that ex-boyfriend’s shelves / floor / desk:

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Mafia. I idly flipped through this one morning but there wasn’t much that held my attention. A few weeks later I happened to read a fascinating article in the Independent about a supposedly-elusive mafia tradition whereby two men in the same crime family will promise not to snitch on each other by sharing a passionate kiss. I asked D. whether this was covered in the Guide and he said yes of course, there is an entire chapter on it. So there you have it: Some of those idiotic-looking idiot guides are well-researched and worthwhile reads.

mafia kiss

a mafia-style kiss from the Independent, June 10, 2011

How to Draw Dynamic Hands. Actually I borrowed this one and now it’s sitting on my floor. I keep meaning to scan a few pages from it for a draft blog post that doesn’t really have anything to do with hands but needs some imagery. I’m hoping to learn something from it too because my drawing skills are not what anyone would call “dynamic.”

The Stain Bible. I remember we were both disappointed that this does not explain how to remove stains from that green kombucha that looks like pond scum. It’s one of the best flavors but also one of the most explosive, and its stains are not the same as grass stains.

Hide Your Assets and Disappear: A Step-by-Step Guide to Vanishing Without a Trace. I realize that for some people, seeing this in a man’s bookcase might be a red flag. But aren’t you curious to read it too now that you know it exists? I should maybe point out that it was surrounded by some really good stuff, like Flaubert’s Sentimental Education and The Lyrics of Leonard Cohen.

• Menander’s Dyskolos. Wikipedia tells me that this title is translated from Ancient Greek “as The Grouch, The Misanthrope, The Curmudgeon, The Bad-tempered Man or Old Cantankerous.” It’s a comedy, though.

Anyhow. Now that the storm has left us it’s a fine time for music from a wonky magic carpet, don’t you think? Here’s Manolo Sanlucar, “Diálogos.”

Michele Redolfi is perhaps more grounded: he’s been performing underwater concerts for years. Specifically, he composes, manipulates, and records experimental music and sounds under water, in pools and natural settings. The immersed participants listen through their bones, as explained by a knowledgable commenter over at Lunar Atrium. I was reminded of him recently when Connie Hockaday posted her underwater wrestling video. Here’s his “Grand Nocturne de Musique Subaquatique” at Grenoble in 2008.

In terms of everyday listening, I’m still pretty into wan and melancholic French synth pop / electro-yéyé. Long-time readers will remember that I was enthusing about Elli et Jacno in my very first post at Lunar Camel Co., and I still love them. (These days I only love them for about twenty minutes every three weeks or so, but still, it’s serious).

Main dans la main

Elli et Jacno “Main dans la main” single

Not related, but seasonally appropriate: the Mo-dettes cover of “Paint it Black”:

While we are on the subject of music, you should try to get to the Metropolitan Opera to see Thomas Adès’s adaptation of “The Tempest.” I’m basically poor people, but I know someone who knows someone and I managed to get in to a dress rehearsal. It was pretty spectacular! I used to go to the opera more often than I do now and it was lovely just to go again, but I came away thinking this was one of the more effective productions I’ve ever seen. I say that as someone who made sure to get herself to that Peter Greenaway one about Vermeer with actual rain and live cows in it. I do love a spectacle, but “The Tempest” was compelling in a character-driven way as well, and the music possessed more subtleties than I could ever hope to intelligently discuss after a single performance. It’s gotten very mixed reviews (WQXR said “eh”, while the Times gave it at least two very positive write-ups), but I say you should go if you can.

Manhattan-20121019-02148

Another recommendation, this one straight out of my superstorm playlists: The birds of Papua New Guinea are sublime. The mating dances they do are too bonkers for words, and there’s one that can make a sort of satellite dish with the feathers on his head and neck to pick up chicks, a satellite of bird love. Here, this short film from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology has some terrific-looking birds in it.

If you’ve got more time to devote to bird-viewing, seek out “Nature: Birds of the Gods.” It’s about the same birds but it’s with David Attenborough and it’s about an hour long.

This and that No. 4

Billy Monk photos. From a nightclub in Capetown in the mid-60s.

Billy Monk, The Catacombs, 23 February 1968

Billy Monk, The Catacombs, 23 February 1968 at Michael Stevenson Gallery.

Billy Monk, The Catacombs, 1967

Billy Monk, The Catacombs, 1967 at Michael Stevenson Gallery.

Billy Monk, The Catacombs, 1967

Billy Monk, The Catacombs, 1967 at Michael Stevenson Gallery.

They’re silver gelatin prints. Via The Guardian and a commenter there. Very much worth reading; he sounds like an interesting guy. It’s a review of a new book, Billy Monk:

De Villiers dubs Monk ‘the seedy eye of the 1960s’, but he was more than that. He had an eye for the revealing, the intimate as well as the brazen, and he often caught both in the same instant. A bleached-blonde woman in a white trouser suit, holding a bottle of brandy in each hand, shouts or sings across the room, while beside her a sad-looking man sits in quiet contemplation. Another woman, a love bite visible on her neck, gazes lovingly at the bottles of brandy and coke on an adjacent table, while her escort slumbers blissfully on her shoulder. Bottles of brandy and coke are a constant in his photographs, as are short dresses, cheap suits and comatose customers. Monk’s relentlessly intimate reportage often captures the edginess of the hard-drinking life: the steely-eyed gaze of a punter who resents his camera’s intrusion, the defiant stare of a woman baring her breasts for the punters – and Monk’s camera.

This is a glimpse here, too, of another South Africa, an underground scene in which the taboo of inter-racial sex is flaunted. Ultimately, though, Monk’s brilliant snapshot aesthetic adds up to a portrait of wild people having a wild – though not always a good – time. His job, and his reputation as a bruiser, gave Monk the freedom to poke his camera where he wanted, but his eye for the revealing moment was extraordinary. In a short foreword, Goldblatt notes: ‘Monk’s non-judgmental, even cool-eyed awareness of the photographic possibilities of the bizarre pervades the work, and yet this awareness is never denigratingly exploitative.’

*****

Sally Cruikshank, “Quasi’s Cabaret” trailer, 1980. Described on YouTube as: “Nightclub of the future with live alligators and a tipsy train that serves drinks.” So exciting it’ll make you dizzy! First encountered in an animation class I took in college.

This and that No. 3 is here.

No. 2 is here.

And No. 1 is here.

Christmas stocking blog post

 

Click on the pudding for the first treat.

click on the pudding for a treat!

x-mas pudding via the NYPL digital image gallery

 

I won’t make you unwrap the next one. It’s Ben Hinds’s “All I Want For Christmas (Is A Go-Go Girl).”

 

Santa and his reindeer are all tripping their faces off! Click on the Santa below for an interesting article on how “many of the symbols and icons we associate with Christmas celebrations are actually derived from the shamanistic traditions of the tribal peoples of pre-Christian Northern Europe.”

Santa is a shaman

 

There, now you are ready for Mark E. Smith reading a Christmas ghost story by H.P. Lovecraft.

 

If you’re going to listen you should have a yule log going at the same time for maximum effect. Here is more than two hours of hot yule log action for you.



yule log via this helpful Gothamist post about NYC bars with fireplaces

 

English readers can go on spacing out in front of the yule log while this next one plays because it will probably be familiar. A small survey of Americans reveals that almost none of us have seen it. Slade doing “Merry Christmas Everybody” on Top of the Pops. A fascinating cultural hairdo artifact!

 

Semi-related inspiration for how to do your eyelashes for Christmas dinner: Carnaby Street at Christmas in the 60s:

Carnaby Street xmas

photo via Retro to Go

 

Are you baking a massive pile of cookies? I am. If you are too, you will be very pleased with the butter calculator I am going to show you. You can go from sticks to grams to ounces to tablespoons, etc., like a magical butter wizard. Click on the cookies below for the link.

xmas cookies

 

Bonus extra for New Yorker subscribers: “Tebic” by Sylvia Townsend Warner. They ran it in the March 1, 1958 issue but it’s quite Christmassy. Click on the issue below for the link.

New Yorker xmas

 

There’s one more thing at the bottom of the stocking: a psychadelic Korean Christmas album from 1969. I don’t think anyone has uploaded the whole album but if you click on the cover below you can listen to “Auld Lang Syne” over at Now-Again Records.

He 5 Christmas!

hunger and its objects

In college I took a philosophy class called Art and Its Objects. We read a lot of Wollheim, but what I really remember is going to my professor’s office, him propping up a Modigliani print on his desk and talking to me with it sat there. So I am going to prop up some things on my blog for you.

Hungry Russian cats in stereo. Haunted by thoughts of having to slog through these to get to the coffee in the morning. Necessity of cat-tending intern and cat-free bedroom with coffee apparatus in it. Potential necessity of rules for intern prohibiting them wearing only tightie whities, socks and plastic sandals.

Tarako Japanese Kewpie pasta sauce.

Walker Brothers Japanese commercial for Look chocolate.

Year Round lion

Lion soup by Milton Glaser, scanned by me from The Year-Round Holiday Cookbook.

Solo Covtina

Women eating hamburgers, from RossoPiceno’s Flickr.

Yuzu, Calamondin, Finger Lime

Yuzu, finger limes, calamondin from ktepi’s Flickr.

relentless feeling

Teen dancing op-art freak-out: Rita Pavone, “Il geghegè”. Via Ouno Design a long time ago.

Non-stop psychedelic something. “Fantasy” by Vince Collins.

Manic cat flays and eats toilet paper probably all day long.

The Fall, “Blindness” (Peel session).

YouTube allsorts

Wire meets Suzanne Somers, 1987.

It was Joan Rivers’s teevee show but she wasn’t hosting it that night, Suzanne Somers was hosting instead. She says she tried to sing along to “Drill” but sadly there are no cutaways to that. You should watch anyhow though.

Jean Painlevé

Jean Painlevé with his aquatic camera

Jean Painlevé photo from Wikipedia.

I’m going to stick with the oceanographic theme this blog has had lately because why not. Let’s watch some Jean Painlevé films. Do you know of him? He did a lot of things — he wrote, acted, translated, collaborated with surrealists, got involved in anarchist and communist stuff — but he is best known for his science and nature films, some of which he shot underwater using an aquatic camera like the one he’s holding above. There’s a very good essay by Jim Knox at Senses of Cinema here that captures what it is I like about his films:

Short works, almost exclusively documentaries devoted to natural history, his films were neither strictly intended as popular novelties nor as celluloid jargon for academic peers. This fragile balance of tone and method, so enchanting to an awestruck contemporary viewer, provides the clearest precedent for the work of an Anglophone documentarist like David Attenborough; Painlevé gives a fabulist’s account of the enchanted marginalia of animal life and behaviour.

Enchanted marginalia is exactly what I am perpetually on the lookout for. It doesn’t come off if the auteur holding up the frame around their chosen subject — the love life of octopuses, for example — has a cynical view of their audience, and unfortunately in my opinion most people who make films do. To maintain the fragile balance that Knox refers to requires something finer and stranger than empathy with one’s audience; it requires a sense that somewhere out there are people, some people at least, who will intuitively understand what is hilarious and touching about a crustacean waggling its antennae to plink-plonk music.

Here are excerpts from Amours de la pieuvre (Love life of the octopus) (1965), from The Criterion Collection’s DVD Science is Fiction: The Films of Jean Painlevé.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

If the video won’t play you can watch it here.

And here is an earlier one, Crabes et Crevettes, part I, 1929.

If you’d like to read more about Painlevé I recommend the Electric Sheep review of Science is Fiction here, and the Scott Macdonald essay here.

mid-week stationary field trip

First, we will spend three and a half minutes inside one of those Yayoi Kusama mirror rooms. (Gleaming Lights of the Souls, Liverpool Biennial, 2008).

Then a commercial break (Afri-Cola 1968)!

Then a music video (Kleenex, “Hedi’s Head,” 1978).

I’ve just noticed Rough Trade is reissuing Kleenex’s debut single on 7″ in July. Or you can watch them on Swiss teevee in 1979 right now here. Kleenex eventually became LiliPUT.

If you are taking the deluxe field trip, there is also a thirty-minute tour of Henry Miller’s bathroom. This is part 1 of 3.

The Hawks and the Sparrows

Earlier this week I started to watch Pasolini’s The Hawks and the Sparrows (Uccellacci e Uccellini), an allegorical 1966 film about a father and son who meet a talking crow. It was very interesting! Alas I was so sleepy that I paused it about a third of the way through and went to bed, and I don’t want to write much about it until I’ve seen the whole thing. In the meantime you should see the opening credits, which are incredibly simple, inventive, funny and utterly distinct.

The whole thing is very Pasolini. At the beginning of the movie the son dances with some boys outside of a grubby bar on the outskirts of Rome and runs off to visit his girlfriend, who is dressed like an angel for a pageant.

The Hawks and the Sparrows angel

He meets up with his father again, they walk some more, and they meet a talking crow who says he’s left-wing. The crow joins them (although they refuse to say where they’re going) and explains that he comes from far away, that his country is Ideology, that he lives in “the capital, the city of the future, on Karl Marx Street, number seventy times seven,” all of which the father and son find very funny.

The Hawks and the Sparrows laughing

The Hawks and the Sparrows laughing two

Later on the father is complaining about their poverty and the crow tells them they’re actually very lucky, they “walk like masters in the streets on the outskirts of the cities, and you enter the little cafés with the workers and the morning sun, and you kiss girls dressed as angels, and you discuss life and death with the words closest to hand, whereas I . . .” He’s a thoughtful crow. He’s portrayed by a well-trained actual crow, not a mechanical movie crow.

The Hawks and the Sparrows story

You might like it. I think I like it. I hope to find time to watch it again from the beginning and write more about it soon.

startin’ a rumor today

I’ve been emailing this video around this morning because I think these pointy boots are super fucking cool:

Tribal guaracho video via badassdigest.com.

One might wonder whether we can expect something similarly interesting to come out of Samoa thanks to the presence / influence of Earl Sweatshirt. I don’t follow him closely, but I’m not going to let that stop me from starting a rumor that rather than freeing Earl, the rest of his crew is heading out to Samoa for a fiafia. You heard it here first.