email: my name at aol (dot) com.



• Text Post

Someone Else Has Laid Down

“I occasionally think that, in our heart of hearts, we all may be seeking situations … where our free will doesn’t apply and (almost) everything is determined by someone else, where each day must be lived according to the conditions that someone else has laid down. There are people who may already be living that sort of life, to a greater or lesser extent, without even knowing it … What interests me is trying to ferret out the identity that is so deftly concealed within the accumulation of such passive operations.”
—- Haruki Murakami on his new short story, “Scheherazade”.

• Photo Post

How Roger Ebert began his 2007 review of “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford” was this :

"Few things have earned me more grief from readers than my recent suggestion that in the sport of sex, Capt. Renault of "Casablanca" plays for both teams. I think I will get less disagreement when I focus on the homosexual undertones of [this film]. Jesse [James] is certainly not gay, but the Coward [Robert Ford] is so powerfully mesmerized by him that hero worship shades into lust. Since sex between them is out of the question, their relationship turns into a curiously erotic dance of death; it is clear to both of them (and to anyone reading the title) what must happen at the end, and they move together toward that event with almost trancelike inevitability."

I missed Andrew Dominik’s film when it came out and caught it by chance yesterday around 2 in the morning. Mesmerizing. How it was cut. The photography of Roger Dekins. I need to get the soundtrack and I need to watch it again, perhaps several more times to be sure, but it may be my most favorite western film, besting John Ford’s THE SEARCHERS.

I don’t even want to write words about it. Sometimes beauty is so spellbindingly quiet, words annoy.

• Text Post

Floating Somewhere Between Shoegaze White Out And The Icy Wash Of Black Metal

I’ve eaten up a ton of recent re-evaluations of REM’s fantastic bleeding-razor synthetic-grunge album MONSTER on the occasion of its 20th Anniversary, but Stewart Smith’s is The Best, published today, getting It with phrases like

"Grok that ingenious backwards solo on ‘What’s The Frequency Kenneth’; ecstatic rock release turning itself inside out."

and, “The (s)exception is the closing track ‘You’, an oddly powerful piece of sci-fi eroticism, with Buck’s layered guitars uncoiling around the red sodium light throb of Mill’s tremolo bass.”

and, “with Mills’ heavily processed guitar floating somewhere between shoegaze white out and the icy wash of black metal while Buck adds a high and lonesome Farfisa organ line.”

and, “The result is some kind of post-modern exercise in rock, ‘rock in inverted commas’ “

and, “Monster is REM’s queerest album … It’s also a very Los Angeles album, intoxicated by the city’s bright surfaces but wary of its darker side.”

• Photo Post

C. Chanel in 1931
(credit: George Hoyningen-Huene/Condé Nast Archive/Corbis)

“ ‘I…am an odious person,’ Coco Chanel declared. Not many would have begged to differ. Chanel’s tongue was quite as sharp as her shears and she treated everyone who worked for her harshly, playing one against the other. No one escaped her malice, not even a trusted friend like the poet Jean Cocteau, whom she described to one interviewer as nothing but a “snobbish little pederast who did nothing all his life but steal from people.” She held her own customers in contempt and said, “A woman equals envy plus vanity plus chatter plus a confused mind.” But no one ever built an empire by being nice, and Chanel, by simplifying, lightening, and eliminating the corset, invented a new way of dressing women.

"By so doing, she created both an empire and a legend. In the Thirties, she was the wealthiest woman in France …."

more on the new book about her

• Photo Post

Illustration by Julianna Brion
via The Paris Review

• Text Post

Raw Concrete

"It would be rash, however, to infer … that we are on the brink of The Great Brutalist Revival. Nonetheless, given that virtually every strain of modernism has been revisited and, if you like, plundered in the past two decades there seems to be every chance that raw concrete will once again have its day, or hour. It will of course be stripped of the meaning that was once attached to it."

more of Jonathan Meades’ current take on Brutalism

• Photo Post

"Hermes Fastening his Sandal" - 2 CE.
Purchased by Louis XIV of France for Versailles in 1685; the Louvre got it in 1797, where it remains today.

Hermes is a trip (pun intended). But that’s how all those crazy dieties run.