February 07, 2008
January 22, 2008
October 08, 2007
September 19, 2007
September 07, 2007
So I'd been reading about the Sundance Film Festival for about 80 years and it only took me about 78 to realize where the name "Sundance" came from. In a parallel example of latent dumbnity, I was at the grocery store yesterday wasting time with the latest issue of Interview Magazine (website has everything but the interviews, the idiocy of which will become obvious in a moment) when I remembered this publication made their bones on pieces where two famous people chatted with each other. In, like, an interview. In a magazine called Interview.
June 29, 2007
I was lucky to catch Re:Art The Art of Re:Use, a recycled art show at the Market Street Gallery, before it closed today. I love trash, love discards and junk, and have a fair number of art pieces made from what we hurl in the dumpster every day. Which is why I'm in serious droll mode over the work of John Kuzich (particularly The Trust series. Hmmm mixed media) and Charles Stinson (who needs to handover one of his bronze sculptures before someone gets hurt).
The show was produced in conjunction with Scrap an organization that collects discarded materials for reuse in art projects and with the counsel of the Artist in Residence program at the San Francisco city dump, a revolutionary program that contracts artists to make work out of the dump's content.
This ain't such a bad art town after all.
November 23, 2006
From the NY Times...
The 1964 Disney movie “Mary Poppins,” for example, treated adulthood as if it should be another form of childhood. Mary Poppins’s job, after teaching the Banks children that any job can be fun if you pour enough sugar over it, is to teach their father that the right dose might even dissolve the job altogether. Mr. Banks learns that the British Empire, its banks and many other manifestations of authority should be undermined, or at least taken less seriously. Life would be better if parents allowed themselves to dance like chimney sweeps and fly kites in the park. They shouldn’t just pay more attention to their children; they should become more like them. The movie’s liberatory spirit is, of course, out of the heart of the 1960s.
(via AL Daily)
November 20, 2006
For no good reason, I once objected to reading or even acknowledging the existance of Gore Vidal. Actually, I had one lousy reason: I hated his name. I figured anyone with a name as precious and aristocratic as "Gore Vidal" (really, could you see yourself playing kickball with someone named "Gore"?) had nothing to share with me and my Midwestern-born, sneakers-wearing, Goonies-loving self.
About 10 years ago, I read his amazing introduction to the collected works of H.L. Mencken. Soon after I moved to the Bay Area, I began hearing his lethally acerbic radio commentaries. Just last week, I get a note from Truthdig.com that they've run a lenghty excerpt from his new memoir Point to Point Navigation which is getting a fair amount of hype.
None of really sunk in until I read this article in the New York Review of Books by Larry McMurtry. It begins like so...
In 1904, when Leonard Woolf steamed off eastward to become a cadet in the Ceylon Civil Service, he took with him seventy large and well-printed volumes of Voltaire, the edition of 1784, in Baskerville type. In Ceylon his duties were not light—from time to time it became necessary to hang a felon. Fortunately, in compensation, native women were available, and also, it appears, cheap. Very little more is heard from Leonard Woolf about Voltaire or the Baskerville type.
If I were planning to embark for a far place and stay for several years I think I'd take my forty-six volumes of the writings of Gore Vidal. (The forty-sixth, a collection of short fiction called Clouds and Eclipses, has just appeared. ) This count does not include the pseudonymous work, which would be for another essay. Given that print is smaller now, and margins meaner, I probably have about as much wordage of Gore Vidal's as Leonard Woolf had of Voltaire's; and the two men, Voltaire and Vidal, seem to me to have several things in common. Both were brilliant talkers; likewise brilliant satirists. Both initially needed money and worked very hard to get it. Both also needed courts: Where better to place their well-sharpened darts than in royal rumps?
Fortunately, they had courts: Voltaire the Versailles of Louis XV, as well as the Berlin of Frederick the Great and courts of lesser brilliance. Vidal had the Kennedy Camelot in Washington, D.C., as well as the courts of several emperors of the silver screen: Sam Spiegel, for example, and there is probably no better example.
I didn't need to read much further to be sold but I did. Vidal has let the kind of life I dream about: Writing great books, meeting amazing people and leading with his gift of gab. I have no idea if I'll be as envious after reading one of his books or if Vidal's adventures were simply a product of their time, a pre-Internet rarified society, impossible today. I'm willing to get in there and look.
Should I pass a good bookstore while on vacation, I will be buying a copy of Vidal's Palimpsest, his first memoir. If not, I'll be checking out of the library. Reading McMurtry's encomium not only make me excited to read Vidal but excited to read, period.
November 16, 2006
With friends like these, contemporary classical music performance is in big trouble. In an uninformed, whine titled "Come to the Aid of Music Journalism", Robert P. Commanday manages to be as unhelpful as he is regressive...
Pick any city, look at its newspaper, and you'll find attention to classical music diminished to the basic minimum. It will focus on the "big ticket" events — which, in the Bay Area, means the San Francisco Symphony, Opera, and Ballet, plus the most celebrated visiting artists. As is well-known to any person interested in classical music, such coverage just skims the surface.
Who's responsible? Newspaper publishers and their editors who have a hand in setting policy and then executing it. What to do about this downgrading of classical coverage? Go to the editors and lay it on. If you're representing a performing or presenting institution — say an orchestra or concert series — then get your board members to put on the pressure.
Mr. Commanday rattles on for a dozen more paragraphs without mentioning the Internet, blogging, The Long Tail and the decimation of arts programming in public schools. He ignores that we have raised a generation and a half, the older of which now assume leadership positions in local media, without adequate music education. In his universe, which begins and ends with daily newspaper coverage, not showing up on page D1 means your arts organizations doesn't exist.
Mr. Commanday, is it not 1957 anymore. The world of media of media is fractured, individualistic, and mircofocused. Daily newspapers face the greatest challenge in several decades of how to be all things to all readers and relevent to them as singular entities. They are doing their best and have a long way to go. I promise you that none of them have the time or the inclination to listen to symphony board members (which are still almost uniformly white, upper class, and middle-aged) "put the pressure on" so the newspaper can devote expensive column inches to their interests. The symphony board member may have once been the prize plum for a newspapers and its advertising team. But that was back when Eisenhower ran things. That prize plum now packs his kids' diapers in a messenger bag.
So instead of seeing newspapers as the cause of your troubles and the answer to your prayers, why notthink a little? Think about hyperlocal media like Yelp and the Gothamist chain. Think about classical music blogs. Think about innovative programming like partnering with other local arts organizations, having symphony happy hours and reimagining the classical music space as one of interaction instead of passive consumption.
Mr. Commanday, having this discussion through the eye of a needle is living in a dreamworld. Please release yourself from the tired old paradigm of classical music as something we should support and tranform it into something we want to support. No one owes you media coverage. How about instead demonstrating why you deserve it? (via Arts Journal)
November 01, 2006
Squirl comes at a fortunate time for me as I've been on the lookout for a database program to catalogue my art collection (really a pretentious way of saying a half dozen prints and some pottery) and most programs I've found are either Windows only or aimed at the yacht club market and hence, cost about $800. According to Ms. Dahl, the art collection template, is taggable and has the fields I'm looking for.
As soon as I can get my staff photographer to come over and shoot each piece, I'm going to give Squirl a try.
Practical Classics: 50 Reasons to Reread 50 Books You Haven't Touched Since High School
by Kevin Smokler
Bookmark Now: Writing in Unreaderly Times
edited by Kevin Smokler
The Customer Is Always Wrong: The Retail Chronicles
edited and compiled by Jeff Martin. Essay by me on page 45.