Home     About     Contact     

Shun-kin

A production of Complicite and Setagaya Public Theater, Radar LA Festival 2013 Based on the writings of Jun’ichiro Tanizaki  [A Portrait of Shun-kin] — “...perhaps we may be allowed at least one mansion where we can turn off the electric lights and see what it is like without them.” —  In Praise of Shadows by Jun’ichiro Tanizaki The totally darkened stage is  the heart of theater, with the audience stilled, as though in a womb or a closet, in silence, breathing, waiting. The rest is what you must hear because you can’t suffer silence, what you must see because you cannot bear to remain in the dark.  In the formal training of a masochist,  the darkened closet and the blindfold are essential. Darkness is the ground of illumination or … [Read more...]

Sole Man

As we march towards the Ready To Wear Spring 2014 fashion extravaganzas, beginning in New York this September 5th and then moving to London, Milan and Paris, here is a look at one of the summer's knock out fashion exhibitions, Christian Louboutin at Toronto's Design Exchange. Christian Louboutin was working at the Folies Berger in Paris, shoeing the showgirls, when he made the acquaintance of the Princess of Monaco, who was in dire need, so the legend goes, of new shoes. Once he fitted her into a pair of his stunningly wacky heels, all the other princesses wanted some too. Sort of a reverse Cinderella story. He has always been this radical feminist’s favorite shoe designer, even though I have not a single pair of his shoes in my … [Read more...]

Life Could Be a Dream: Relax and Rolex

 “The Act of Killing”, directed by Joshua Oppenheimer, 2012 — The death squad captain swaggers out of his local bar still humming ‘My Way’, while his victims rot in the river and the cleaning ladies toil through the night mopping up the blood. Subtract the victims and the stench, the toil and the blood from the scenario:  the killing and the killer remain. Filmmaker Joshua Oppenheimer’s The Act of Killing recasts the Indonesian mass killings of the mid 1960’s as a personal narrative told in lush dramatic reenactments conceived and directed, ostensibly, by the perpetrators.  It’s a film that quotes Bollywood gleefully. It also may seem to owe much to Bataille, Genet, and Pasolini, although all of them were responding in a historically … [Read more...]

The Ultimate Date Movie

Amour (2012), written and directed by Michael Haneke — You are sitting at breakfast with your partner of fifty or so years and suddenly notice she is staring blankly not at you (perhaps nothing new) and then her cereal begins to dribble from the corner of her mouth. A stream of urine runs down the chair leg to the floor. You speak, even loudly, but there is no response. Death has come to join you for breakfast, insinuating itself between your tea and the morning news, interrupting the habitual comfort of daily routine. This death is not violent or abrupt, it is like a very long sonata which has begun and must play out. Michael Haneke approaches his aged couple, George and Anne (Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva) with … [Read more...]

A Breed Apart

Old Dog (2011), written and directed by Pema Tseden, produced by Zhang Xianmin  – Westerners hear very little about Tibet, and much of the media doesn’t even called it Tibet anymore, they call it China, for Tibet has been destroyed, eradicated and reshaped in the model of the typical imperially dominated country. To us who are unfamiliar with the current state of things in Tibet a film like Old Dog seems subtly coded—a narrative that depicts the disabling of the traditional nomadic way of life in terms that are archly metaphoric. That this film has a Chinese producer was a bit surprising, but Zhang Xianmin has an interesting and socially progressive record as intellectual, cultural critic and producer. Pema Tseden, a Tibetan, refers to … [Read more...]

Blowing Down The Barracks

THE INVISIBLE WAR (2012), directed by Kirby Dick, produced by Amy Ziering – With an aesthetic that is strategically subservient to its goal of creating policy change, The Invisible War's human drama rolls out in a perfectly calibrated series of emotional interviews of survivors of military sexual assault (MSA), their advocates and therapists.The antagonists, director Kirby Dick makes clear, are not the violent criminals masquerading as soldiers, officers or heroes; but the systemic judicial dysfunction of the nation's armed services, which manifests as stonewalling, intransigence and incompetence. The prologue to the film is a series of filmed recruitment ads aimed at women—presenting the public relations campaign the … [Read more...]

Go Ask Alice, I Think She’ll Know.

Notes on The Gospel According to The Other Mary by John Adams, libretto by Peter Sellars – Having been offered tickets to the World Premiere by a westsider who couldn't make it downtown through rush hour traffic, it was by surprise I found myself last Thursday night in the auditorium of Disney Hall listening to Deborah Borda discuss the future of a Major Work of Art, the new oratorio by John Adams and Peter Sellars, …a radically feminist political take(!) on the traditionally religious theme of the Passion of Christ: here, the Christ of Orozco, who chops down his own cross and crushes his mother with the stone he rolls away from his own tomb, rips her stained scarf from beneath it, ties it round his hip and goes sachaying off toward … [Read more...]

Mike Kelley, In Memoriam

I’ll always think of Mike as a beautifully raging genius who was a protean artist, great dancer, and highly skilled in dismantling all manner of bullshit. With fondness always. —Rita Valencia PRESS RELEASE Subject: Mike Kelley, artist, passes away Date:    Weds. February 1, 2012 From:   Kelley Studio and Friends Contact: Studio: 323 257 7853 John C. Welchman:  323 258 8957 ********************************* Our dear friend the artist Mike Kelley (born 1954 in Detroit) has passed away. Unstintingly passionate, habitually outspoken and immeasurably creative in every genre or material with which he took up—and that was most of them, from performance and sculpture to painting, installation and video, from experimental … [Read more...]

Heaven is in Your Eyes

Thinking about Lars Von Trier's Melancholia –  Behold the bride Justine, her name plucked from a novel by de Sade, her body bedecked in crinoline, lace, satin, and bone stiffeners. Her voluptuous skin pillows at the edges of her wedding garment, which squeezes her bosom tightly and blossoms open below the waist. She is a vision in white as she runs across the neatly cropped lawn, dragging ragged rope chains behind her. A cumbersome sort of froth envelopes her, marks her as special and sets her apart from the herd of onlookers, the wedding guests who watch, each regarding her with his/her own form of desire. To shun their desire, one after the other, is the project of Lars Von Trier's "melancholy" bride, played by Kirsten Dunst … [Read more...]

Homies on the Range

Revisiting the World of EASY RIDER –  I vividly remember paying not a shred of attention to Easy Rider in 1969. Whatever it was about, it wasn't Ours, but was pretending to be. The idea of re-presenting the present out from under Us was still too new. It was a given that Hollywood wouldn't, couldn't ever "get it", that the portrayals of sixties youth culture would always fall flat. People from the Hollywood establishment were untrustworthy observers: too old, too embedded in cliché and conventionalism for even the best of intentions to salvage them. This went for movie stars too, even "hip" ones like Dennis Hopper, who was, at  34, trying to play a 20-something in this film. Nobody with the wherewithal to mass market, on … [Read more...]