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The Public Blogging of Pomosexuality, Homotextuality, Homophobiaphilia, and Drear Theory (aka Career Theory) [aka Gay4Pay]. We also read the Corner and OpJournal so the right buttock will be punished as well.
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Everybody here know about the French novelist Michel Houellebecq who's on trial in Paris for slandering the muslim religion?..... I'll take that silence as a maybe.
I haven't read any Michel H. yet but even the negative reviews of his books make me want to. I'll get around to him soon--he's not going anywhere for a while. In the meantime I learned from soft core blogger Emmanuelle that M. Houllenbecq has also made a record. And she's right, it sounds quite good. It's a spoken word/ ambient/ triphoppy thing--the kind of pop music the French do pretty well. Not the kind of thing you can play too easily on a harmonica in prison however. There are .ram snips of Michel's soothing yammer (I call him the velvet frog) at the link above that tell you all you need to know. He should rechristen himself Becq and give up the scribbling game.
I found our next musical item in the blog of Mr Emmanuelle. I think he is her mister anyway, might have my bloglines confused. Read along as a LA music scene reporter tries to figure out why the Mexican dudes love English Angeleno, Morrissey. Scroll down towards the end of her column. I think the key is the redundancy in my "English Angeleno" tag. It's a convocation of the higher order angels.
This program of shorts about NYC is really good. Sundance has it scheduled several times this month. I missed the Pennebaker film that opens it but the Helen Levitt film of street kids at play in the 40's (looked earlier than the 40's to me) is a revelation. The Jem Cohen movie is terrific BUT for the lost/found notebook narration that it's built around. The images are so good though I put up with voiceover. Not that he doesn't say some interesting things it's just the pictures are so much stronger than the words.
Joseph Cornell would seem to be the unseen presence in this film but Jem C. tips his hat to Walter "arcades" Benjamin instead. Stick with Joe, Jem, he walked those very streets with eyes tuned to the same frequencies as yours.. Excellent music in the abstract "Grand Central" short by someone named Shay Lynch who works with this band.
I could watch The Helen Levitt section, "In the Street", 10 more times. Right now. What a gift to time to document these kids. But what the hell is that game they are playing. Game probably the wrong word. Some sort of organized madness. It looks like they have socks filled with flour which they then proceed to use to knock each other silly--or to tears. They attack each other full force in running battles. Must have been the skateboarding of its day. It reminded me of a weird advertisng poster I came across while strolling through the great Library of Congress web ephemera collection. Some childish things have their day and are gone forever.
Seems like the thing for lads to do circa 1865 was to harness up their pals and drive them around the neighborhood. With bells attached. Used to be that Hollywood would set the scene for a slice of 19th century americana by having a kid push his scooter through a scene or roll his hoop with a stick. Scooters have lost their time stamp, every street in the USA looks like there's been a major time leak, 2002 or 1902? Rolling hoops have yet to catch a new generation's imagination. Doubt boy's reins will make a comeback any Christmas soon either.
Maybe you can still get them here though. Tell them Agenda Bender sent you and we get 10% of the sale.
I love to hear tales of wealth arising from some storied endeavor ending up in unlikely places. I've come across two good ones this past week to add to my collection. The first comes by way of a book review in the New York Times.
DH Lawrence, ambisexual sickly son of a north English collier, spends his life and life force in a restless quest of health and art. He never finds the good health but he manages to bang out a good deal of art in his frantic 45 years. A legacy that has certainly produced wealth for Lawrence's heirs though his books provided Lawrence only meagre returns in his lifetime. A glimpse into Lawrence's predicament near the end of his life:
"Here I am, forty-two, with rather bad health: and a wife who is by no means the soul of patience ... a stray individual with not much health and not much money"
Who are Lawrence's heirs? The Italian children (and certainly by now their children and grandchildren) of Frieda Lawrence's third husband. Frieda, the widow-lady Lawrence of course, outlived DH by 26 years and one more husband (her final total=3, she left her first husband for DH). Her autumn love match was one Angelo Ravagli who survived Frieda and became the heir to the DH Lawrence estate. Ravagli in turn bequeathed Lawrence's by then very valuable copyrights to his children when he died in 1976. So the tubercular, impoverished British coal miner's son is today a household saint in several Italian villas, I'm guessing.
Our second tale is less sunny. It comes to us from the Gaytimes of London. A brief story of a life in shambles, the headline says it all, "Vicar Jailed After Thefts for Gay Lover." The paragragh that concerns us:
"Philip Hendry, 53, vicar of St Andrew's in Croydon, who met Carl Poweley, 42, in a soho gay bar in 1995, stole money from the church spire collection fund as well as 21,000 pounds from a bequest to his church from the estate of the Edwardian artist Cicely Barker, author and illustrator of the Flower Fairies books. Hendry also gave Powely use of his credit cards."
Mr Poweley it seems had a ferocious cocaine habit. The vicar's defense was rather novel. The Gaytimes reports that he told the court "his calling made it impossible to turn his back on a man who turned to the Church for Salvation." Oh, I bet he turned his back now and then.
But it's the Flower Fairies cash that makes this story collectible. The embezzled church spire fund money has a certain magic and romance all its own.
If I prayed I'd remember the vicar in my prayers. If you pray mention him for me.
Thursday, September 19, 2002
She's Only Human
"Never the rose, without the prick".
-Tom Verlaine, "Guiding Light"
The clips Foxnews is showing from Rosie O'Donnell's checkers speech have me craving every psychodramtic minute of it. I must see it all. Congratulations to Rosie on the new do, too. The ThompsonTwins/Human League angular slash bang look works for her. Always thought it was a new wave riff on the undulating forehead shores of Veronica Lake. Pop modernism hammering out Deco's curves.
I think Rosie's Caine Mutiny moment will be her greatest lasting contribution to the culture. Her retelling of the horror of finding out that a Rosie Magazine staff meeting had been called in her absence and held "in my personal office, in MY PERSONAL office" has already made this a good year for me.
Reuters continues to shame itself. Their photo of Rosie's razor cut obscures the details.
Update: It occurs to me that my checkers speech anaology is inexact. Which is to say flat out wrong. The checkers speech was a variation of the save my ass /poor mouth pity me gambit. It's really the California farewell "You won't have Dick Nixon to kick around anymore" that has more of the flavor I was trying to convey. Ungracious, bitchy goodbyes to be precise. The "I'm too smart for this
campaign" speech of Cuomo the younger from a couple weeks back is another recent and excellent example of the genre. (I still do love the fact that the tale of Checkers and Pat's cloth coat has been broken down into individual acts and transformed into wav files for leisure listening.)
Wednesday, September 18, 2002
Jonah, Rod and Artem
I love the sweet and sour idea. From the sauna to the frozen lake. The way the upper east side melts into spanish harlem. Sad words to happy music. Juxtaposition as a way of life. Like reading the corner then immediately going here. I just wish these guys had a blog.
Blogscratching aka Blog Soixante-Neuf aka Blogrolling is the whole of the law in Blogtown. I haven't done much of it but I'm a stranger here in town myself.
I bookmarked Julian Sanchez a couple weeks ago on Mr. Sullivan's suggestion but my bitterness at not being among the suggested myself prevented me from reading him till this past weekend when my bitterness reached low tide. I was lolling in the ocean when I decided to let go of my rage and hurt. I visualized it seeping into the water around me. It worked. There is now a self-pity slick stretching from Maine to Florida. I would advise you to stay out of the Atlantic for a couple weeks until the global currents disperse it somewhat. Crawling back on land like our ambitious amphibian ancestors I resolved to visit Mr Sanchez's page. So glad I did. I'm working my way through the archives.
Lady Eve Tushnet has mentioned this blog in a friendly way. I'd prefer an enemy blog site, so much more material there, but despite her approval I'm reading E.T. regularly now too. I wish she would print her book itinerary for the next 2 years instead of teasing us hints of its existence but no details. I can read book lists for hours on end. I could survive entirely on a diet of lists of the best unknown/forgotten books.
Hey, I like to take pictures too. Especially since the digital rev, you can mess around with some parameters in photoshop or whatever and make striking prints in no time. I like to think I can take a flat, affectless shot of some beautifully banal scene with the best of them. But I don't fool myself that photography really rates as a creative art. Call me a puritan drudge (you'd be the first) but it is just TOO easy to take a good picture. Magnitudes easier than writing a good story, composing a good song, or drawing a passable sketch (just to keep my counter-examples on the smallish side too).
I was struck again by the absurdity of considering photography as an equivalent artfrom by those thumbnail pictures they print in the New York Times Book Review every Sunday. The ones in the back where they do the recaps of previoulsy reviewed books that have just been republished. Every week there are 3 or 4 passport quality postage stamp pics of authors whose books are mentioned opposite and under every one of these photo booth headshots is a PHOTOGRAPHER CREDIT. As John Wayne memorably said (though HE wouldn't have remembered it- the fat white duke was toasted and buttered at the time) at some school commencement, "it's getting to be rigoddamndiculous".
Why not design credits for every ad, layout credits for every page? Why not a developer's credit and a lighting credit for the tiny pics too? I'm all for photography credits for photos that really entail some effort or craft on the photographer's part but those you most often won't find in the Times. The war, riot and famine shutterbugs are usually anonymous. Their agencies get a picture credit but unless they are staff photographers for the Times it is only those bravos who once stared down Eudora Welty at 10 paces who get the photo-byline.
Latter day Brassais and Weegees are not to be found on Martha's Vineyard exposing a roll of film to get just the one, true image of Anna Quindlen. Or the light falling softly on Michael Moore. Or harshly on Sean Hannity.