I suppose I have had it all my life but I first remember it - the sudden tracing of electricity along the skin, hair raising as the charge passes through every capillary, every goosebump discernible – arriving as I finished One Hundred Years of Solitude and that magnificent last paragraph or two that snaps the book tight. I was, I guess, seventeen or eighteen, and it was summer and I was sitting in the living room on the old green couch, the midday sun bright on the floor. My response, a reflex, didn’t strike me as odd at the time. A few years ago I learned that not only was I not alone but that this response has a name, Stendhal Syndrome (or Effect), named after the author and his aesthetic madness from being in Florence.*
The next time I can clearly recall an incident is when I saw Prospero’s Books, though I am almost positive that it happened during the opening scene of A Zed and Two Noughts and the trailer for Diva. It hit much harder in a scene I recall as taking place at the pool, and it was mainly the woman’s voice, a tone that rolled up my spine and sparked in my brain and everything got a little brighter and harder edged and I cried. It reminded then of how I had reacted similarly to ’I Don’t Know How to Love Him’ from Jesus Christ Superstar and ‘Cabaret’ sung by Liza Minelli when the singers build and then curl up over themselves and release the wave in a phrase and it washes over me. It is unpredictable, even if it sometimes involves music.
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It’s about time Todd Haynes came to television: his melodramatic ways seem so suited to the form and with Fassbender – another Sirk fan – having had his way with the form, Haynes’s arrival is natural. It will be fantastic to see him spread his meandering yet dense style out over a long time. And the project? A James M. Cain novel, Mildred Pierce. And the cast? Kate Winslet, Guy Pierce, and Melissa Leo. Welcome the return of that late 70′s tagline, ‘a mini-series event’.
Safe, that great horror film of creeping, suburban dread – and one of the best films of that decade - was what, 14 years ago? Velvet Goldmine was a bit of a misstep. And I’m Not There? – maybe another viewing. So returning to what he knows best, women and repressive society - Far From Heaven - bodes well.
Edward Lachman, who did Far from Heaven and I’m Not There, shot at least episode 1. This will be one of the few things I devote the time and bandwidth to downloading in HD (if HBO were available, I would pay just to watch this) because you just know it’s going to be gorgeous and detailed. The trailer bears this out.
Perhaps the only filmmaker to be arrested at one of his own screenings, Toronto filmmaker John Greyson‘s work is committed, provocative, and queer as fuck. With a history of activism that reaches back to queer anti-apartheid solidarity in the 80′s, most of Greyson’s recent activist shorts have concentrated on the international call for a campaign of boycott, divestment, and sanctions against the rogue apartheid state of Israel (Greyson is a member of Queers Against Israeli Apartheid).
A cheeky, YouTube-savvy call to Elton John to cancel his concerts in Isreal, here’s one of Greyson’s films that screened for a packed house in downtown Montreal on Monday: “Hey Elton.”
Wadah Khanfar, Director General of the Al Jazeera news network discusses recent developments in North Africa and the Middle East, and the role that his organization has played in them. Underscored is how essential Al Jazeera has proven itself in recent months as a news outlet (the likes of CNN and BBC relying heavily on its coverage), as a witness, as a social and political force, and as an ambassador for the oft maligned and underestimated Arab peoples. That Al Jazeera is still virtually blacked out of all American cable markets is both pointless (hello, Internet) and a disgrace.
The latest crop of Web shows is up at Channel 101. Top of the heap this time is the pilot episode of The Sequence (below), a very funny take on the time-travel paradox that goes off on a sort of Sorcerer’s Apprentice nightmare tangent. Hard to see where they’ll go with episode 2, though.
Everything 14 contains the best screen sword fight since Rob Roy (think outtakes of Oliver Reed in The Three Musketeers). Meanwhile in episode 3 of the show formerly known as The Parent Experiment, Brett’s mom starts to feel the pressures of success, but still manages to work ‘negatron’ into a sentence. Copyright issues are apparently forcing a name change – I suggest Sh*t I Made My Mom Think Up. Gardening Warz continues to entertain, but will have to serve up more than broccoli before I get much out of Googy.
by Matthew Payne on March 1, 2011
So, the news is that Pulitzer Prize winning uber-journalist (My Lai and Abu Ghreb) Sy Hersh is talking about how a bunch of Brass in the Joint Spc’l Ops Command are into Dan Brown territory with Masonic handshakes and allegiances to the Knights of Malta. Two points seem to be in order.
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Forbes is reporting that Aaron Barr, master of counter-hackery, Anonymous foe, and level-80 Night Elf Druid (named Sevrynsten) is stepping down from his position as CEO of HBGary Federal, one of several
Pinkerton security firms recently exposed for concocting dirty tricks campaigns against WikiLeaks, Glenn Greenwald and others. Barr gave the usual reasons of wanting to spare HBGary Federal further grief, spend more time with the family, and, presumably, devote more attention to Sevrynsten’s Warcraft exploits.
Full credit goes to the Anonymous collective for exposing the whole sordid business, but the scalp goes to Stephen Colbert for applying the coup-de-grace on his February 24 broadcast (here, or here in Canada). If Barr’s ridicule at Colbert’s hands causes you to pity the former CEO, Nate Anderson’s full account of the details, both hilarious and chilling, will cure you of that.
Here Cenk Uygur lays out the story and discusses its implications with Glenn Greenwald, a correspondent targeted by the conspiracy for his columns and posts in defense of WikiLeaks.
Michael Winslow’s 21-minute recitation of the history of the typewriter from the 1890′s to the 1980′s. People are awesome.
(Hat tip to the great Nanaimo poet Peter Culley)
At a university in Qingdao (yes, city of beer) a few weeks ago, they decided to do away with traditional entrance exams. Those things are so hard to mark, and how can you fairly judge a student through just paper? What better way to choose who should be admitted than by examining potential students closely and measuring them? It’s an accurate methodology and allows officials to more easily choose which students they will select for special treatment.
You can see a gallery of shots from a newspaper here.
Errol Morris, the great documentary filmmaker and inventor of the interrotron, has an essay on another great, Frederick Wiseman, in the Paris Review.
Fred Wiseman has been my idol for a long time. In the 1970s it wasn’t all that easy to see his films. For a while I had seen only Basic Training (1971) and High School (1968). Nothing else. Titicut Follies (1967) was almost impossible to see because it was under a court injunction. Videocassettes had been introduced, but Wiseman’s films existed only on 16mm—ready to be slapped onto a projector or viewed on a flatbed. Until very recently, he was reluctant to transfer his films to DVD. I believe it was because that would have made them too easy to be seen.
Read the rest here.
If you like that, you’ll love this: a conversation between Morris and Werner Herzog, his old friend and loser of a legendary bet they made. Read that here.
At the Sofia in Madrid, one of the temporary exhibits, tucked up on a landing at the back, was from Spanish artist Efren Alvarez, who specializes in foul, scatological, hilarious illustrations of a decidedly socialist bent. The great catalogue for Economicos can be downloaded in a PDF here. You can get this and, oh, a lot more goodness from his site at www.goodgore.com. Guaranteed to offend a fair number without a sense of humour and even those with one.
Alvarez also enjoys animated GIFs. Click on the jiggling turd on the homepage to get to so much joy. This one is appropriate for a post-Oscar day.
And by way of the title, here are The Cramps singing one of my favourites of their songs, I ain’t nuthin’ but a Gorehound, from Smell of Female.
Video after the break.
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