Wednesday, July 20, 2005

The CBC has an interesting archive of great interviews. This morning I checked out a haunting 1977 interview with Iggy Pop...haunting not because of anything Iggy says, necessarily, but because of the long silences, the "dead air" time, which seems so alien to my experience of television. No producer or talk show host today would tolerate such silence, which is a shame, because the silence, the gaps where Iggy searches for words, though possibly an act, are the most compelling parts of this interview.

Friday, July 15, 2005

My city worries me. The iconic, Disney-sponsored, Grand Avenue version of the Champs-Elysees is on its way to city-center. Frank Gehry will design a 40- or 50-story skyscraper next to his Walt Disney Concert Hall, and also design parts of a retail and commercial corridor.

L.A.’s Skyline to Get Gehry Touch

"He's provocative, he's controversial and unafraid," they say. "He is a visionary, and he needs to execute that."

Los Angeles has a long history of executions, as the lost communities of Chavez Ravine and Bunker Hill instruct us. Though the only communities currently threatened by this latest putsch, as far as I know, are parking lots and older retail buildings, the idea of a new engineered commercial corridor (mark that: commercial, not public) in downtown Los Angeles makes me edgy. Gehry is no Haussmann; after all, the redesign will compromise only several square blocks downtown, not the entire city. Then again, the entire city will be affected: a new skyline, new traffic flow, environmental factors. I’ve seen the horrors of The Grove and Universal City Walk and do not wish to see them cloned downtown. I presume at least the architecture will be better.

Moving sideways, Mike Davis describes one possible future for Los Angeles in present-day Dubai.

Sinister Paradise

Be sure to check out the artificial archipelago of The World and the future tallest building in the world, Burj Dubai.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Last night, re-reading Don Delillo’s White Noise, I note the quote:

All plots tend to move deathward. This is the nature of plots. Political plots, terrorist plots, lovers’ plots, narrative plots, plots that are part of children’s games. We edge nearer death every time we plot. It is like a contract that all must sign, the plotters as well as those who are the targets of the plot.

And rise this morning to the terrible news from London. What comes next?

Genome Circle Plots

Meanwhile, googling “murderous innovation” (don’t ask) I come across strange gambling pages strung with oddly compelling phrases like, “A global cager rejoices” and “sometimes a cowgirl related to The Parisian hibernates” and “the harpullia is incontestable”. Who is the Parisian?

I believe these are spam pages filled with nonsense sentences designed to attract wayward searchers like myself. Though I could be wrong.

Elsewhere, Jane Dark analyzes the chilling picture of the day.

~ ~ ~

Candyland : Big Rock Candy Mountain


A) NAFTA : The Tennis Court Oath

B) Ray Harryhausen : 9/11

C) Benny Hill : Romeo Montague

D) Mark David Chapman : Captain Ahab

Friday, July 01, 2005

Reading Frank Kermode's review (the article is not on-line) of John Carey's What Good Are the Arts? in the London Review of Books, I came across this:

A long final chapter on literature proclaims its superiority over all other arts. It is the only one capable of reasoning and the only one that can ‘criticise itself’ or indeed criticise anything; it is also the only art capable of moralising.

Is this true? Granted, I haven't read the book, and this paraphrase may depend on missing context, but as it stands it seems outrageously false. Most visual art from the post-war period to the present has been engaged in an ongoing critique of its own practices and assumptions (viz. minimalism, institutional critique, conceptual art), and one could make a case that Jean-Luc Godard's entire oeuvre is critical of other films as well as the medium of film itself.