Supergirl and Suds: Keane's Williamsburg Art Crawl

I was on the ole’ shitter reading an essay by Peter Plagens the other day about the role of critics. He basically lumped them into three groups; goalies, cartographers, and evangelists. As I stared in vain at his concepts, I got thinking about a comment I read on this very site one afternoon. Some angry creative type was bitching about how the music reviews were garbage because they just tore down the ‘hard work’ of the artists. He even recalled the thrill of walking through an undergraduate studio and feeling the surge of power that accompanied saying something like ‘this blows’ about all the crap on the walls. Besides the fact that the shit a hungoverpriviledgedtwentyyear old is bound to be bad, the main problem is, and this is the really hard part that makes people quit being artists and move to suburbia, that all the fucking hard work and effort in the world doesn’t mean anything.
Our fearless leader refers to war as ‘hard work’. Hard work, talent, facility, intelligence, and seriousness are not prerequisites for art. It’s tough to admit that someone who devotes their life to making objects for public consideration may end up with absolutely nothing for their efforts. No cookie, no reviews, no money, no fame. They might very well continue to work very hard within a set of received ideas, a space totally devoid of originality, have a couple of shows and even sell some work. Some won’t even get that far. Just because a young artist just discovered lyrical abstraction for themselves doesn’t make it anymore interesting than it was in the 60’s, unless they figured out how to mess with the rules.

[Read more…]

Rule Change Lets C.I.A. Freely Send Suspects Abroad to be Tortured

The Social Security debate has been a nice smokescreen for Bush in recent weeks. Everyday new evidence surfaces about the outsourcing of torture:

From NYTimes:

“The Bush administration’s secret program to transfer suspected terrorists to foreign countries for interrogation has been carried out by the Central Intelligence Agency under broad authority that has allowed it to act without case-by-case approval from the White House or the State or Justice Departments, according to current and former government officials.
The unusually expansive authority for the C.I.A. to operate independently was provided by the White House under a still-classified directive signed by President Bush within days of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the officials said.
The process, known as rendition, has been central in the government’s efforts to disrupt terrorism, but has been bitterly criticized by human rights groups on grounds that the practice has violated the Bush administration’s public pledge to provide safeguards against torture.

[Read more…]

Will Oldham's Weekend Mini-Tour and the LES Pageant

In support of their great new record:
The Matt Sweeney & Bonnie “Prince” Billy — Superwolf free instore tour of New York.
and don’t forget:
The 5th Annual L.E.S. Pageant
featuring Pontani Sisters & a panel of celebrity judges including Michael Musto, Mike Albo, Linda Simpson, Wau-Wau Sisters, and JD Samson from LeTigre!
The Miss Lower East Side Pageant is one of the East Village’s leading achievement programs and the world’s largest provider of scholarship assistance for young women by providing unlimited drink tickets, a plastic tiara from the 99 cent store, and $100 cash in singles to the winner. The Miss L.E.S. (which also can be pronounced “lez” signifying gay women) Organization provides young women with a vehicle to further their personal and professional goals and instills a spirit of community service, and gives these gals the opportunity to wear sashes rather than Dickies and Trucker Hats for a change.
Click here for info

Bush names Stephen Johnson new EPA [dick]head

In January 2004 interview, a Japanese newspaper asked Johnson, “Is there any possibility that the Bush administration will come back to the Kyoto Protocol?” He responded, “That question is easy, and it’s no.”
Read the rest of his track record here.

March 2004 Movie Preview

Gunner Palace
Ever since they moved “Kung-Fu Hustle” out of this month, a lot of the pizzazz has just left. Still, the addition of “Oldboy” should satisfy my badass Asian cinema fix. As for the rest, well, um, it’s better than February!
M A R C H 4
Vin Diesel goes all “Kindergarten Cop” in an attempt to revive his career. Can a “Jingle All the Way” remake be far behind? Sindbad’s available!
You know, it’s about time we put together the director of “Bringing Down the House” with the writers from “Taxi” (movie, not acclaimed TV series). So, yeah, it’s gonna suck. As if the presence of Vin wasn’t enough of a hint. You know what else? There used to be a time (“Boiler Room,” “Pitch Black,” “Iron Giant”) when Diesel’s presence was a good sign. Sigh.
The previous week “Man of the House” is going to be a bit of an issue. Even more of an issue will be “Robots” the following week. Still, this doesn’t have any direct competition when it opens, so the curse of Diesel shouldn’t be too prevalent. $58mil.
Sequel to Elmore Leonard Yarn cum-Vehicle-for-Travolta-to-Capitalize-on-Pulp-Fiction-Persona “Get Shorty.” Chili Palmer goes hip-hop.
First of all, take a look at the cast: John Travolta, Uma Thurman, The Gay Rock, Andre 3000, Cedric the Entertainer, Vince Vaughan, and Harvey Keitel. Now look at the director. No, really look at him. Look into his soul. Actually, I just want to point out that F. Gary Gray has made some good movies (“The Italian Job,” “The Negotiator”.well, it wasn’t good so much as it didn’t particularly suck) and has all sorts of connections to the world of hip hop so should bring a distinct POV to the material.
None of that changes the fact that the script comes from the guy who wrote “Analyze That.” Seriously. Why would you bother bringing together a cast like this with a halfway decent director and then throw in the writer from “Analyze That” (not even “Analyze This”!)? That’s like building a Ferrari body and putting in the engine from a Gremlin.

[Read more…]

Gang of Four Announce Tour Dates

05-01 Indio, CA – Coachella Music and Arts Festival
05-02 San Francisco, CA – The Fillmore
05-03 San Francisco, CA – The Fillmore
05-05 Portland, OR – Roseland
05-06 Seattle, WA – Showbox
05-07 Vancouver, British Columbia – Commodore
05-10 Minneapolis, MN – Quest
05-11 Chicago, IL – Metro
05-12 Chicago, IL – Metro
05-14 Toronto, Ontario – Phoenix
05-16 Boston, MA – Avalon
05-17 New York City, NY – Irving Plaza
05-18 New York City, NY – Irving Plaza
05-20 Washington, DC – 9:30 Club
05-21 Philadelphia, PA – TBA

On a silly matter like Justice and the Supreme Court, who needs Democracy?

Definition of the so-called “Nuclear Option”:
[I]n an extended debate over a judicial nominee a senator could raise a point of order that “any further debate is dilatory and not in order.” If the Presiding Officer of the Senate‚ÄîVice-President Dick Cheney‚Äîsustained the point of order…. “he would set a new, binding Senate precedent allowing Senators to cut off debate.
Read the New Yorker article on the Nuclear Option

M83 – Before the Dawn Heals Us Review

Before the Dawn Heals Us
Mute Records

Review by Monte Holman
In the latest effort from M83, we understand why recently Sofia Coppola was fond of Kevin Shields — this overpowering wall-of-sound electro rock ignites images of dizzying neon signs and the mutterings of constant, distant chatter. Music with narrative inclination. Though more synthy than My Bloody Valentine, M83 certainly dip into the rock soundscape aesthetic with similar vigor. But there’s more — samples, hair band riffs, battle themes sonically pitting human against machine, and many elements of what we all would consider downright emo. Before The Dawn Heals Us comes off somewhere between an alternate soundtrack to The Never Ending Story and straight-up Omaha-based emotive rock and roll.
But due to the album’s alluring otherworldliness, we can’t fault the now-solo Anthony Gonzalez for injecting some cliché Oberstian (dear God) introspection into these tender tracks. The shoe-gazing “Safe” remarks, “Falling stars exploding on the sea, god it’s beautiful.I am so alone.” And before the song fades into the sound of fireworks and crowd noise, a dramatic instrumental section is prefaced by a couple lines of spoken-word. Maybe Gonzalez is a romantic; maybe he’s being Euro-cheeky. It doesn’t matter. It’s a beautiful song, a beautiful record.

[Read more…]