Friday, June 25, 2010

New Min

I tried to go to openings last night but it was rather hot and quite crowded. Easily thwarted, I decided to partake in that recent Twilight movie, New Moon. This attempt at immersion in a viable phenomenon was (pleasantly) interrupted midway, by a phone call from Bruce Benderson. We gabbed about hustlers and movies then I got back to Bella and that man with the chest. The Twilight movies do a very good job at world creation, I must say. Watching them, one embodies this alienated and disenfranchised ethos that is the heart of teen adolescence. For the cashcow that it is, it's really cheap looking. Those wolves are SO cg! I've got to think that it lends to the world creation in some way, as if the digital sheen that washes the film creates a membrane on the filmworld or something, that colors everything in that Pacific Northwestern town a hue more mysterious than ours. Actually, emergence of the wolves (at the Hour 1 marker!) was as far as I made it. Interrupted again by a text from d, I opted to go to Mattachine, PJ Deboy and John Cameron Mitchell's party at the wonderful bar, Julius. As I dressed for the outing I put on 'All the Lovers (Fear of Tigers Remix)' - perfection - and disocvered that the entirety of Kylie's new opus Aphrodite had lept out from its clamshell, onto the interweb.

'Get Outta My Way' made my soundtrack as I weaved the streets to the party. I 'Put [My] Hands Up' as I crossed 14th. Since there wasn't enough time to listen in full on my walk to the bar, I was understandably preoccupied; I excused myself to Adam from Butt by explaining that I had written a book about her, afterall. So, after a dance to Divine's 'Walk Like a Man' record, d and I raced home and engaged in a listening party, eating taco truck tacos in bed and writhing with euphoria (Okay, perhaps I was the only participant in the latter activity). d irked me a tad when he questioned Aphrodite's albumness. Calling it "12 stabs at a hit." While there's some very good stuff on there, when I woke up this morning, I lamented that there wasn't anything that felt like X's shining moment (for me, Kevin Killian disagrees, finding no charm in) 'The One': contender for lead single but released in a half-assed 4th position. I love 'The One' with its surging Italo beats. There's nothing quite as heavy on this album (strikingly minimal is perhaps a better way as describing it, since I think few would go so far as to call a moment on any Kylie album but Impossible Princess heavy).

Pop albums of this sort expand as they soundtrack your personal moments, collecting them like flystrips. And then you're hooked. Aphrodite is open enough for this. It's VERY consistant, perhaps too. (There's a perfect irony in my exposure to both Min's new opus and New Moon in the same evening, as these pop products are colored with a kind of austere gloss that crystalizes them.) After a couple run throughs already, I'm feeling 'Illusion' which sounds very much like a Fever album track (and I could bestow no greater compliment than this). d made me turn off the album, for its Hi NRG sound well into its second rotation (during the aptly named surger, 'Too Much'). Time for bed. It remains to be determined how well this album will hold up. Hype is such a beast to see through. But, just like the Richard X tune that closes the album, at present, I 'Cant' Beat the Feeling.'

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Thursday, June 24, 2010


I failed in both attempts at culture last night. A boy's got to get to events early here. Which is tricky when said event starts at 6pm! Missed: The Autobiography and Sex Life of Andy Warhol with panel by Brigid Berlin, Gerrard Malanga, Taylor Meade, Bibbi Hansen, and friends. Full capacity house. Actually the NYPL people graciously opened the doors for the hangers-on, but my other attendee was not game to peer through said frame (god knows I would have been - peering through an ajar door, what better way to attend to old sex gossip?). Alas, I suppose I'll have to read the book (it was a launch afterall). But no problem, cause I also wanted to see Brett Easton Ellis read from his new nihilism-fest in Brooklyn (I skipped the Manhattan Barnes and Noble reading because B&Ns make me wanna throw up). Hopped the train which got stuck in the tunnel. After passing some SERIOUSLY Bret Easton Ellis boys on a street bench outside the bookstore (foppish, immaculately coiffed, despondent, gorgeous), I discovered a gaggle of people so tightly packed into a small indie bookstore that there was no point in staying there. I was sure not to see anything and the whole space seemed ill-equipped with regards to PA systems. Missed: Brett Easton Ellis reading Less from Zero 2 (fine... Imperial Bedrooms).


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

On Being Made High

The new Kelis vid dropped last week and it's a swell one. It's a tad cheesy but in a really game and inclusive way. The rave lights move towards the end trigger surpressed and frightful highschool memories that would best be left untouched. Leave it to Kelis. I'll be publishing a lengthy Kelis over/review soon at The Fanzine, but what better way to tide you over than the thing, itself?

"...The highlight of the album is its new single, '4th of July (Fireworks)' which comes on like a mid-90s dance song in its use of repetition. It's surprising at first, but with precious few words [60] and a 6-minute length, this one really takes you in for a spin, if you let it. It's a ballsy move, being this formally futurist-retro as to quote from a format that defined a rather recent counter-cultre. But it pays off..."

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Pause for the Jet

I'm thinking about Kate Bush, lately. Contributing to a new piece that D was working on in a casual way - maybe it was laziness or disinterest, but don't many of the more interesting endeavors start off so flippantly? He's working on these new xerox pieces and this one was a whorl. Big and black, an amorphous cloud in the center of a frame. A text block was reserved for the as-of-yet determined text. I had put on the record for 'Hounds of Love' and it sat adjacent to D's work station. He asked me to dream up some copy for the box, and I sat blankly, attempting to come up with some "deracinated" language that refers back to its meaning construction - lends to the whorl in a way that creates tension in our understanding of this, that, and the Other. My eyes wandered from the screen and there she was with her hounds, peering out from her purple pool. I typed in "hounds of love" and he liked it.

I'm interested in Kate Bush. I'm interested because I know very little about her. In an effort to vary my endless project of fanatacism towards popular forms, I'm interested in Kate because there are those who have encyclopedic knowledge of her, she's one of these "hugely influentual" people that folks go gaga over and she's got a huge following. But I know precious little. What is Kate and why does she inspire this interest? I'm wanting to instigate a project around this disparity of knowledge, in lieu of my usual immersion. Traipse Kate, and the power that her conotations hold over others. Mention 'Hounds of Love' and you've got a terrific amount of baggage for some. It's a tidy tactic for harnessing feelings, cues that trigger responses. But this time, I'm keen on not having access to all of those tools. I'm interested in the economy.

(Kevin Killian's favorite Kate-inspired performance)

I don't even know the product of this project at present: this serves as initial notes and jottings. There's an interest in Kate because she's artful. She's Yoko Ono-y but arguably more successful (in her musical capacity, anyway). And then there's the matter of national pride. I think my interest in Kate arrives from how I feel the need for all of this contextualization in order to make sense of her career and output. The first time I saw the 'Wuthering Heights' video, someone put it on my Myspace wall and I though it was another clip from Stairway to Stardom, this Canadian public broadcast series that was popping up on youtube at the time, which I traced religiously. That this wild performance (which, I will admit, I found embarrassing without said context) would have ensnared a nation in 1974 is something that confounds me to this day. It's that narrative, that sell, perhaps that intersts me. There's this construction and understanding of the popular sound and song of the time. It seems like a really laborious thing to create now, a space that I have to fantasize harder at than someone like Bowie or The Supremes. Perhaps this challenge is what many find interesting in her work. (that German girl who won Eurovision pops up in my head in a really superficial way and I entertain a thesis about Europe and artfulness, challenge... But if there's anything I learned in Grad school, it's that the mention of a similarity between the UK and Europe results in a slap in the face).

Let the project commence. No easy answers so far... Be prepared.

Monday, June 14, 2010


Before I pieced together the various seedling articles that would become my book Fever Pitch, I had this “really good idea.” I wanted to pull together a collection of writings called Bad. ‘Bad’ would have collected my writings on films that most deem… well, bad. I don’t have the documents in front of me now, nor did I finish the article that would have capped off the collection (a treatise of a film that has somewhat slipped from my favor of not bad, but good: Cat People). I love “bad” films. But my fear now was that these essays would have partaken in the worst thing about bad movies: people like me who hold up these offerings as fetish objects of failure. There’s a ridicule in branding something “Camp”, which is the gesture I most loathe at rental shops. Basically, when they say camp, they really mean fail. Camp is very many things, indeed and, in part, something that does fail. But there’s something to believing in “bad” that I find much more freeing than giggling at something that falls down in front of you.

Last night I watched Boom! with my boyfriend. Boom!, for what we mean when we say it, is bad. Overly long, long winded and terrifically miscast, Boom! is a bit of a chore to sit through. Bless my boyfriend’s heart (mostly for having to live with my cinematic obsessions), but he gets bored in some of the older movies that I subject him to on a too regular basis. Not that 1968 is old compared to a Sternberg silent, but the leisure hours for which he allots “movie time” do not allow for much arduous viewing – and he makes terrifically oblique art! The true greatness of bad cinema is its offer of a counter-narrative or counter-format. Cause really, when we say “bad” we mean, something that “doesn’t align to the registers by which we define good taste.” Of course, this is problematic, too. In differing hands, Douglas Sirk is comedy to my tears. Jack Smith famously looked to Maria Montez and saw self-confidence and world-creation, where most saw bad acting and a bountiful girdle. I appreciate most films which create enough of a cinematic space (film scholars call this the diegesis) in which the traditionally “bad” elements can hold up. If there’s a sense to the nonsense, not only am I there, but I really appreciate the ride. Sometimes I get bored if the project is just “bad” as in it fails to do this, generate a new order (or chaos) but there are plenty of skilled craftsmen that forge projects too wild, too hair-brained, too contranormative to fit in the proper pecking order of things.

I got annoyed when D got bored with Boom! I was having fun. Some of that fun lies in an excitable viewer jouissance found in the excessive sets and lifestyle lavishes (monkeys, headdresses, 1968 intercom systems). These can be thrilling and add to the overall continuity of the piece, but it’s annoying to me when people forge “camp” readings solely on this kind of titillation. And so frequently, this betrays a nauseating impulse to maintain traditional ideologies (as with people who applaud a "bad" film for its abject failures). When a movie grows long and begins to feel drawn out, I hope it’s doing this for a reason, like replicating a blanched /drunk / near-death experience. It’s long and disastrous, but then, in the case of Boom!, so is the content. It’s about excess and indulgence and the lasting effects of this sort of existence, so why not let it fester and flow between scenes of tepid (and frequently pithy) dialogue. “Boom.” I give myself over to the turgid moments in the hopes that they convey something to me; my boredom is not coincidental, is, in fact, a kind of pathetic viewer feeling arrived at to correspond with the scene.

Sometimes it’s not that. But Boom! felt like a success in that way. To me.