Sunday, December 28, 2008

they're foolish now

reading this article on licensing and music this is all i could think about.

the zagat history of my last relationship

by noah baumbach
september 30, 2002 (the new yorker)

Bring a “first date” to this “postage stamp”-size bistro. Tables are so close you’re practically “sitting in the laps” of the couple next to you, but the lush décor is “the color of love.” Discuss your respective “dysfunctional families” and tell her one of your “fail-safe” stories about your father’s “cheapness” and you’re certain to “get a laugh.” After the “to die for” soufflés, expect a good-night kiss, but don’t push for more, because if you play your cards right there’s a second date “right around the corner.”

“Ambience and then some” at this Jamaican-Norwegian hybrid. Service might be a “tad cool,” but the warmth you feel when you gaze into her baby blues will more than compensate for it. Conversation is “spicier than the jerk chicken,” and before you know it you’ll be back at her one-bedroom in the East Village, quite possibly “getting lucky.”

Perfect for breakfast “after sleeping together,” with “killer coffee” that will “help cure your seven-beer/three-aquavit hangover.” Not that you need it—your “amplified high spirits” after having had sex for the first time in “eight months” should do the trick.

So what if she thought the movie was “pretentious and contrived” and you felt it was a “masterpiece” and are dying to inform her that “she doesn’t know what she’s talking about”? Remember, you were looking for a woman who wouldn’t “yes” you all the time. And after one bite of chef Leonard Desarcina’s “duck manqué” and a sip of the “generous” gin Margaritas you’ll start to see that she might have a point.

Don’t be ashamed if you don’t know what wine to order with your seared minnow; the “incredibly knowledgeable” waiters will be more than pleased to assist. But if she makes fun of “the way you never make eye contact with people,” you might turn “snappish” and end up having your first “serious fight,” one where feelings are “hurt.”

“Bring your wallet,” say admirers of Louis Grenouille’s pan-Asian-Mexican-style fare, because it’s “so expensive you’ll start to wonder why she hasn’t yet picked up a tab.” The “celeb meter is high,” and “Peter Jennings” at the table next to yours might spark an “inane political argument” where you find yourself “irrationally defending Enron” and finally saying aloud, “You don’t know what you’re talking about!” Don’t let her “stuff herself,” as she might use that as an excuse to go to sleep “without doing it.”

At this Wall Street old boys’ club, don’t be surprised if you run into one of her “ex-boyfriends” who works in “finance.” Be prepared for his “power play,” when he sends over a pitcher of “the freshest-tasting sangria this side of Barcelona,” prompting her to visit his table for “ten minutes” and to come back “laughing” and suddenly critical of your “cravat.” The room is “snug,” to say the least, and it’s not the best place to say, full voice, “What the fuck were you thinking dating him?” But don’t overlook the “best paella in town” and a din “so loud” you won’t notice that neither of you is saying anything.

Prices so “steep” you might feel you made a serious “career gaffe” by taking the “high road” and being an academic rather than “selling out” like “every other asshole she’s gone out with.” The “plush seats” come in handy if she’s forty-five minutes late and arrives looking a little “preoccupied” and wearing “a sly smile.”

Be careful not to combine “four dry sakes” with your “creeping feeling of insecurity and dread,” or you might find yourself saying, “Wipe that damn grin off your face!” The bathrooms are “big and glamorous,” so you won’t mind spending an hour with your cheek pressed against the “cool tiled floor” after she “walks out.” And the hip East Village location can’t be beat, since her apartment is “within walking distance,” which makes it very convenient if you should choose to “lean on her buzzer for an hour” until she calls “the cops.”

This “out of the way,” “dirt cheap,” “near impossible to find,” “innocuous” diner is ideal for “eating solo” and insuring that you “won’t run into your ex, who has gone back to the bond trader.” The “mediocre at best” burgers and “soggy fries” will make you wish you “never existed” and wonder why you’re so “frustrated with your life” and unable to sustain a “normal,” “healthy” “relationship.” ♦


Monday, December 22, 2008

be well, do good work, and keep in touch

on this day in 1953 william faulkner was vacationing in st. moritz, switzerland. he wrote a letter to his mother:

Dear Moms —
This is right in the middle of the Alps, snow on them and moonlight, very beautiful, much ski-ing and bob-sledding, place full of American movie people, plus King Farouk of Egypt — Gregory Peck, Charles Feldman, my California agent, many others — actors, writers, etc. I don't like it. I am going to England then Paris for Xmas and New Year's, wish I was home which is the only place to spend Xmas. I love you all and miss you all.

a kind of pale sweet aura, a luminescence

having watched pi, irreversible, killing zoe, let the right one in, something wild, the decalogue (part iii), miroir noir and three episodes of summer heights high this weekend, this is still the best thing i've seen over the last three days.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

a grammar and ethics of seeing

the year in photographs lists are starting to appear. released part one of three today. below are some favorites. i'm not including any of the several harrowing images, but i highly recommend viewing the collection to see for yourself.

here's some more pics from that last image:

Kerby Brown Big Wave Awards Entry from Australia's Surfing Life on Vimeo.

...and relax

all the bands we listen to are snap bracelet bands

argh! pitchfork... you elusive beast! your coy release of 20 albums that won't be on the year-end top fifty has achieved what it undoubtedly set out to: befuddle me!

ok... so, as i am to understand it, jay reatard, quiet village and women's albums won't be making it onto tomorrow's post. fair enough, i suppose. but you're telling me that dodos - visiter won't be on there?! wait, what?! dept of eagles - in ear park isn't going to cut it?! both best new music? the latter undoubtedly one of the finest albums of the decade? and for what pitchfork? the sake of hipster cool?

pitchfork...if you end up touting some album that you've never even mentioned/reviewed by some band that doesn't technically exist yet as the best of the year...well, you'll be receiving a strongly worded letter.

ryan schreiber... like matthew weiner, you obfuscate for sport.

to convey my emotion i am including a clip from the Robert Culp 1973 classic: OUTRAGE

let's make a weird connection

Monday, December 15, 2008

with the right step they try their chances

a second ND top ten list seemed redundant (subtract vampire weekend and blitzen trapper from below, add muslims and deerhunter and you have my picks) so here is my year-end contribution:

MixwitMixwit make a mixtapeMixwit mixtapes

french TV site mange ta ville recorded owen pallet looping "the butcher":

benoit pioulard doesn't tour, but documents portland in lush polaroids:

the ultimate blogotheque

it is available

Sunday, December 14, 2008

so long, see you tomorrow

here's my contribution to the annual deluge of year end lists. enjoy.

Favorite Albums of 2008

1. Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes

2. Beach House - Devotion

3. The Walkmen -You & Me

4. Department of Eagles - In Ear Park

5. Little Joy - s/t

6. White Denim - Exposion

7. Crystal Stilts - Alight The Night

8. Megapuss - Surfing

9. Vampire Weekend - s/t

10. Blitzen Trapper - Furr

Favorite albums of 2008 not released in 2008:

John Fahey - Legend of Blind Joe Death

Sam Cooke - Live at the Harlem Square Club

Neutral Milk Hotel - King's Arm, New Zealand Feb 2001

Plants and Animals - With/Avec

The Feelies - Crazy Rhythms

Favorite Films of 2008
(i am yet to see Benjamin Button and Wendy and Lucy so I'm just gonna list eight and assume those two will slot in nicely somewhere below)
1. Snow Angels

2. Man On Wire

3. Reprise

4. Synechdoche, New York

5. Martyrs
I won't submit anyone to the trailer. Click here if you must.
6. Rachel Getting Married

7. Ballast

8. After School
Sadly couldn't embed this trailer. See here.

our bonfires for today

these images from where the wild things are test footage have been around for a while, cinematical just release some nice high res versions. needless to say this is at the top of the highly anticipated movies list.

rule no. 3: stick the landing

STELLA last night at the orpheum took comedy to a new level:

Friday, December 12, 2008

poupee de cire poupee de son

wes a. brad p. serge g. jacques t. i don't even know what to make of this.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

let's be strangers

the guard brothers came up today and i was reminded of their old short film (featuring some now big name talent) "round about five." it's pretty corny and a little too airy/li'l coppola-esque for its own good, but the cinematography is really fresh and the selected/throwback film stock helps the film transcend its basic story. you know when you see the primary color title cards these guys are aesthetes.

the doubtful ones

posting pitchfork videos always feels too obvious for comfort, but i loved the little joy show on sunday at the troubador (despite laist) and this video is a veritable who's who of the echo park modern hippie music scene with devendra, megapuss and nick valensi all making appearances. todd on bass is rocking a serious goerge harrison look which is a solid move and binki is tickling the ivories with all the charm we've grown so fond of. plus the video/retro style continues to work for me.

my favorite track off the album, a classic tune.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

rolo tony brown town

climb all you can, it’s a killer’s day

some great pitchfork top 40 videos of the year picks (passion pit!).

two particular faves from the year:

third culture kids

as a third culture kid myself, this article is an especially fascintating look at the obama staff.

Obama's 'Third Culture' Team
by Ruth E. Van Reken
From The Daily Beast
November 26, 2008 | 3:56pm

Obama has packed his staff with so-called “Third Culture Kids”—people who grew up outside the U.S. New research suggests this group shares common psychological traits that could shape his administration.

John Quincy Adams lived in France, and young Franklin Delano Roosevelt visited Europe often enough to master French and German, but Barack Obama is the first modern American president to have spent some of his formative years outside the United States. It is a trait he shares with several appointees to the new administration: White House advisor Valerie Jarrett was a child in Tehran and London, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner was raised in east Africa, India, Thailand, China and Japan as the son of a Ford Foundation executive, and National Security Advisor James L. Jones was raised in Paris. (Also, Bill Richardson, tipped as Secretary of Commerce, grew up in Mexico City.)

This is more than a trivial coincidence. So-called “Third Culture Kids”—and the adults they become—share certain emotional and psychological traits that may exert great influence in the new administration. According to a body of sociological literature devoted to children who spend a portion of their developmental years outside their “passport country,” the classic profile of a “TCK” is someone with a global perspective who is socially adaptable and intellectually flexible. He or she is quick to think outside the box and can appreciate and reconcile different points of view. Beyond whatever diversity in background or appearance a TCK may bring to the party, there is a diversity of thought as well.

“Third Culture Kids” share certain emotional and psychological traits that may exert great influence in the new administration.

But TCKs can also feel rootless and detached. The great challenge for maturing Third Culture Kids is to forge a sense of personal and cultural identity from the various environments to which they been exposed. Barack Obama’s memoir, Dreams of My Father, could serve as a textbook in the TCK syllabus, a classic search for self-definition, described in living color. Obama’s colleagues on the Harvard Law Review were among the first to note both his exceptional skill at mediating among competing arguments and the aloofness that made his own views hard to discern. That cool manner of seeming “above it all” is also a classic feature of the Third Culture Kid.

The TCKs’ identity struggles can be painful and difficult. The literature documents addictive behaviors, troubled marriages and fitful careers. But meeting this challenge can become a TCK’s greatest strength. Learning to take the positive pieces from a variety of experiences and create a strong sense of “This is who I am, no matter where I am” gives a steadiness when the world around is in flux or chaos”—which helps explain “no-drama Obama.”

Among those of us who study Third Culture Kids (almost always because we are TCKs), it has been both gratifying and frustrating to watch “one of us” run for the White House. We began obsessively pointing out to each other the telltale signifiers of the TCK that so often went unremarked in the mainstream press.

“I laughed when I heard a commentator call Barack exotic and elitist,” says Lois Bushong, an American who grew up in Costa Rica and now works a therapist for internationally mobile families. “How exotic or elitist can it be to go home to visit your grandmother, even if she lives in Hawaii? She’s still your grandma. This TV guy seemed to forget that the world many see ‘exotic’ is simply home for TCKs.”

But we also despaired when his opponents denigrated the importance of Obama’s childhood in Indonesia and Hawaii. “How can they say his international childhood doesn’t count when it comes to foreign affairs?” sputtered my friend and colleague, Paulette Bethel. “That’s just crazy. Barack’s been negotiating between cultural worlds since the day of his birth. No one will have to teach him this skill. It’s already second nature to him!”

Bethel feels vindicated by the collection of strong personalities that Obama has invited into the new administration. “He’s lived with so many differences around him in his lifetime, they don’t threaten him anymore,” she says.

In 1984, Dr. Ted Ward, then a sociologist at Michigan State University, called TCKs “the prototype citizens of the future,” anticipating a time when a childhood lived in various cultures would be the norm rather than the exception. It seems that time is now.

And the characteristics derived from an expat childhood may be well suited to the challenges facing the new administration. The economic crisis, for one, demonstrates how interdependent world cultures have become, and its solution will undoubtedly require the unconventional thinking that comes more easily to a Third Culture Kid. Even though Tim Geithner is not an economist by training, he apparently demonstrated such a keen problem-solving skills in the financial arena that the stock market jumped 500 points on the news of his appointment. Returning to Japan as an adult and speaking the language he learned as a child have given him an unusually deep understanding of the global economy.

As TCKs, we have had the joy, and the challenge, of being raised in many places and cultures. Now we get to see whether the values of the TCK can be a force for good on the world stage.

- Ruth E. Van Reken is a second generation adult TCK and mother of 3 ATCKs. She speaks nationally and internationally on issues related to global family living. She is co-founder of Families in Globlal Transition. In addition to other writing, Ruth is co-author of Third Culture Kids: The Experience of Growing Up Among Worlds

Monday, December 1, 2008

we left paris on a one way road

the camera arsenal grew at the end of summer and i recently uploaded a bunch of digital shots from this fall to the novel designs flickr site. a "best of" if you will. below are a few best of the best. can't take credit for all. a few (perhaps even the best of the best of the best) are taken by CAP. check out the site. they all look better in higher resolution.