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Mars, Music, Mayhem

"War of the Worlds" director Yuval Sharon, composer Annie Gosfield, LA Phil, Disney Hall —  From the late 1920s until the rise of television in the early 1950s, two relatively new inventions--motion pictures and radio-- truly united the United States. By the time of their broadest reach in the 30s and 40s, movies had an immensely popular draw; millions of people went to see them every week. For a quarter, you could enjoy two films, a newsreel, a comedy short and a bag of popcorn. Radio was an even more visceral unifier and when families owned one they felt connected to a wider world. The airwaves carried free sources of entertainment and information. Everybody listened to FDR's "fireside chats', popular music, Joe Louis … [Read more...]

Perpetration

Casting JonBenet (2017), Netflix, Directed by Kitty Green — ‘Can you know what your prayers have set in motion?’– CT Dreyer ‘Ordet’ ‘A real whore should be able to attract by what she’s reduced to being’ – Jean Genet ‘The Screens’ It was a crime that re-defined perfect. On Christmas night 1996, the most sacrosanct American values—home, family, children’s innocence—even Christmas—were all violated in a single obscene act. Not since Hickock and Smith had the country at large felt so unsure of itself as a free and trusting society. And like England in the era of Brady and Hindley, the murder of JonBenet Ramsey led many Americans to imagine something unimaginable to them: an impulse so selfish that a child’s life could be … [Read more...]

Death Defying

Sur Les Traces de Dinozard, Faustin Linyekula, Choreographer, September 29, REDCAT — To open its 2017-2018 season, REDCAT offered a dramatic dance/theatre/music presentation of the 90-minute performance of Sur Les Traces de Dinozard ("In Search of Dinozard"), choreographed, directed and danced by the award-winning Congolese artist, Faustin Linyekula. His troupe of seven male singer/dancers, known as Studios Kabako, mesmerized the audience with tableaux of death and survival, music and movement, memory and hope. Born out of more than a century of colonization, corruption and killing in Central Africa, the evening's words and images will haunt anyone who experienced them. REDCAT deserves continued praise for expanding … [Read more...]

Lean On Me

Hybrid-dharma and the Issue of Ownership — Sometimes late at night traveling with my father I'd wake up knowing nothing about where I was but feeling Steve McQueen close, as close as the black sky pressing in on the walls of the motel room. Lying back on the bed I’d imagine the surrounding area as I’d seen it in the headlights a few hours earlier—a landscape of industry and crime and V-8 engines charging out toward vast cobalt skies. I remember traveling through Vegas on one of those long trips, and though the city has been re-made several times since then I half expected, on a recent visit, to find the old flashing neon, and the long heavy cars still gliding through the night. At 5:00 AM in the morning I went looking for … [Read more...]

Pull It Sir

The Pulitzer At 100, Released by First Run Features, Directed by Kirk Simon — For the past century, some of the very best American artists—writers of plays, novels and poems, newspaper journalists and their editors, photographers, composers and even cartoonists--have been awarded the prestigious annual Pulitzer Prize. It is a notable achievement to win a Pulitzer, a recognized public tribute for outstanding work; judges for this honor have been criticized when finalists deemed worthy were overlooked. It's too bad that TV news readers, who usually mention a couple of each April's winners, cannot learn to correctly pronounce the name of the prize. It is not "PEW-lit-zer." The man whose very generous bequest created the award suggested … [Read more...]

Teen Age Lust and Far-from-Equilibrium Dynamics

The History of Timelessness — Related Posts: Money and the Time Suck, Toward an Experimental Politics of Nonviolence, Of Fargo, Dopamine and the Image of Nectar The first time I heard about Jeffrey Epstein it had to do with reading glasses. There was this rich guy, I heard, who had built a huge house not far from Santa Fe, I was told, and the staff had been instructed to stock each of the thirty plus rooms with two pairs of reading glasses, one for Epstein and one for his domestic partner. Epstein chose the location for its proximity to Santa Fe Institute (SFI), the influential think tank that had been founded in the 1980s by the physicist Murray Gell-Mann, a Nobel laureate. Epstein, you see, has a mad love for … [Read more...]

Art and Practice with The Heart Sutra

Toward Re-organization — Related Posts: The Aristotelian Detour, Field Mapping, Toward an Experimental Politics of Nonviolence Most of us spend our lives avoiding the Heart Sutra, but it pursues us anyway like a heat-seeking missile, even while also rising up around us like the petals of the famous lotus flower. Allow me to explain. Blossom of Inexhaustible Kindness, 2013, by Tom Wudl We tend to assume that, at least in principle, there is nothing we may not know. The idea that being born, say, in the second half of the twentieth century in the US of A might limit or shape what we may know seems odd to us, insulting almost. And yet periods of history are defined by styles of thinking, root ideas and … [Read more...]

Uneasy Landscapes – Part 5

Los Liones 3, Santa Ynez Canyon 5, Santa Ynez Canyon 4 — Photography by Brian Forrest Related Posts: Uneasy Landscapes — Part 1, Uneasy Landscapes — Part 2,  Uneasy Landscapes — Part 3, Uneasy Landscapes — Part 4 Los Liones 3 Santa Ynez Canyon 5 Santa Ynez Canyon 4 … [Read more...]

Uneasy Landscapes – Part 4

Santa Ynez Canyon 3, Decker Canyon, Polpis Woods — Photography by Brian Forrest Related Posts: Uneasy Landscapes — Part 1, Uneasy Landscapes — Part 2,  Uneasy Landscapes — Part 3, Uneasy Landscapes — Part 5 Santa Ynez Canyon 3 Decker Canyon Polpis Woods … [Read more...]

Uneasy Landscapes – Part 3

Masquetuck 1, Masquetuck 2, Windswept Bog — Photography by Brian Forrest Related Posts: Uneasy Landscapes — Part 1, Uneasy Landscapes — Part 2,  Uneasy Landscapes — Part 4, Uneasy Landscapes — Part 5 Masquetuck 1, 2013 Masquetuck 2, 2013 Windswept Bog, 2013 … [Read more...]