Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Xavier: Renegade Angel

xavier is deeply disturbed infected mushroom

Xavier Renegade Angel and Infected Mushroom heavyweight

Xavier: Renegade Angel is an absurdist computer animated fantasy television series created by John Lee, Vernon Chatman, Alyson Levy and Jim Tozzi. Lee and Chatman are also the creators of Wonder Showzen. The show is produced by PFFR, with animation by Cinematico. It premiered at midnight on November 4, 2007 on Adult Swim, and November 1, 2007 on
The show follows Xavier (a Native American-influenced faun-like wanderer/seeker with a snake hand, backwards knees, a beak, heterochromic eyes, and six nipples), who is traveling across America to find out the truth about his mysterious and uncertain origin, and uncover his parents' murderer. Occasional flashbacks to his past show that he himself killed his parents after starting an accidental fire in their home, but on the rare occasions when he is presented with the truth, he subconsciously rejects it.
Each episode begins with Xavier walking through the desert, musing on the themes of that episode, before entering a town, where he will usually meet someone whom he thinks needs his help. His attempts to help, however, are hamstrung by his own abject incompetence, and many episodes are based purely around Xavier trying to limit the damage that he has caused. Most episodes end with him walking back into the desert, thinking that he has managed to do some good, when he usually has not

Monday, January 28, 2008

The State of Rhetoric

If Barack Obama does not become President of the United States he could always teach rhetoric. I have seen several very good oratories by Obama, but this last one; the victory speech in South Carolina is the best so far. This man knows how to use words and how to deliver them. I wonder who writes his speeches as they are damn good at it.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Tender is the Prey


In the hot summer of 1988-89 I was spending my holidays from university working as an assistant nurse in the local mental hospital. Large parts of Baillie Henderson Hospital or the Toowoomba Lunatic Asylum were built in 1890, long verandas framed two or three stories red brick buildings with heavy doors and barred windows. Some of the older patients still referred to me as ‘Warden’. There had once been 3000 patients living at Baillie Henderson, with a farm, dairy, book bindery, bakery and stable. Now it was a huge complex of active wards, abandoned buildings, grassy lawns and giant trees. Around 700 people called it home.
I was working in a locked ward in Ridley House where 4 beds were bolted to the floor and I sat watching from a chair and table, also bolted to the floor. I was doing night shift from 11pm till 7 am with an agitated schizophrenic. He was going through opiate and alcohol withdrawal. He had been judged a suicide risk so I had to sit with him through the night and make sure he made it to breakfast. One wall of the constant surveillance room was inch thick clear plastic reaching from floor to ceiling. In the middle of the wall was a door and it led to an exercise area just outside that was framed by a 10 meter high fence. We sat, he and I, through the night and it was the first time I heard the album Tender Prey by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.

It began when they come took me from my home
And put me in Dead Row,
Of which I am nearly wholly innocent, you know.
And I'll say it again

He had many problems. He lived with his mother and loved heroin being two of the main ones. He cut himself, burnt his flesh with cigarettes and often passed out, waking up in strange places and situations. Once he had awoken in bed with a man he did not recognise, both of them naked. This event was constructed as significant in his chart history, but he did not remember a thing. As the shadows of the huge bunya pines outside played against the whitewash 4 meter high walls we listened to Nick Cave croon and scream of Deanna.

We will eat out of their pantries
And their parlours
Ashy leaving in their beds
And we'll unload into their heads
On this mean season
This little angel that I squeezin'
She ain't been mean to me

He cried sometimes. We listened to Tender Prey all night, over and over again, he did not sleep and I was not allowed to. He smoked hand rolled cigarettes constantly and turned the tape over with fingers stained yellow with broken nails. We talked about books and films, music and the underworld. He knew Rimbaud and the others. He dreamed in colours. Wrote poems too and would I like to hear some. So while the masses fled to the City of Refuge he gave me psychic horse whispers from his tattered note book.

You stand before your maker
In a state of shame
Because your robes are covered in mud
While your kneel at the feet
Of a woman of the street
The gutters will run with blood
They will run with blood!

Home made tattoos slipped out blue from beneath the frayed cuffs and collar of his arrangement. Strange insects and scripts seeking the light. His watery eyes held me for a few seconds at a time. Never one to hold a glance his thin voice blew over me like a cold breeze from the swamp that had once been at the bottom of the hill, but had been drained by the settlers after they had killed all the blacks. We raged on until morning. Every 25 minutes I had to make a physical estimation of his condition, including what he was doing at the time, his mood and behaviour. Often he was just lying on the bed talking about how fucked everything was. Occasionally he was crying as he mumbled about how he needed some Hammer and would do anything to get it. Or it was how disappointed his mother was in him. All made worse by the lack of sedatives and lack of attention his medicinal need was receiving from the staff. My shift finished as porridge of Government Issue was brought in to him. He was not hungry and as I left the room the final sounds came from Tender Prey which I would buy later that week.

One morn I awakened
A new sun was shining
The sky was a Kingdom
All covered in blood
The moon and the stars
Where the troops that
lay conquered
Like fruit left to wither
Poor spiritual food.

The sun rose over the hoop pines of the car park as I pulled out from the hospital. For over a hundred years the bad apples of my home town were kept at Baillie Henderson. It came to the slow phasing out of the seclusion for the delusional. I would later come to share bar space with him in the outside world as he bled his legend around town. Falling over and getting up again. He would come to use the toilets in my father’s tiny bookshop to shoot up in. I wonder where he is today……

Friday, January 25, 2008

Cartoon to Learn Communism

Manifestoon - The Communist Manifesto illustrated by Disney like characters.
Manifestoon is an homage to the latent subversiveness of cartoons. Though U.S. cartoons are usually thought of as conveyors of capitalist ideologies of consumerism and individualism, Drew observes: "Somehow as an avid childhood fan of cartoons, these ideas were secondary to a more important lesson—that of the 'trickster' nature of many characters as they mocked, outwitted and defeated their more powerful adversaries. In the classic cartoon, brute strength and heavy artillery are no match for wit and humor, and justice always prevails. For me, it was natural to link my own childhood concept of subversion with an established, more articulate version [Marx and Engels' Communist Manifesto]. Mickey running over the globe has new meaning in today's mediascape, in which Disney controls one of the largest concentrations of media

Friday, January 18, 2008

Two Films by James Whitney

Yantra - James Whitney (1957)

Lapis - James Whitney (1966)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Senster (1970)

Edward Ihnatowicz was a Cybernetic Sculptor active in the UK in the late 1960's and early 1970's. His ground-breaking sculptures explored the interaction between his robotic works and the audience, and reached their height with The Senster, a large (15 feet long), hydraulic robot commissioned by the electronics giant, Philips, in Eindhoven, Holland in 1970. The sculpture used sound and movement sensors to react to the behaviour of the visitors. It was one of the first computer controlled interactive robotic works of art.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

I-Be Area

I-Be Area, with I-Be Parts: Out Of Order, One of many and Civil War

“I-Be Area” is so giddy, so different. But it’s also just plain strange, which is part of the larger appeal of today’s video art. It represents a possible way out of something, out of the renewed tyranny of the precious object, out from under a boutique art market that has amassed grotesque wealth and power while making art itself seem small and utterly dispensable.
Mr. Trecartin, born in Texas in 1981, produces work of its moment in others ways too; it is the natural product of a generation that grew up on television and grew into the Internet. At the same time a segment of this generation wants to get away from cellphones, the Web and instant, nonstop information. So Mr. Trecartin and, even more decisively, some of his peers are using very basic digital tools to create a highly personal narrative art, almost a kind of folk art.
It is an art that adheres to the market-sanctioned genius model. Mr. Trecartin directs his videos, writes the script, designs the costumes and takes several leading roles. But he also describes his art as a collective project very much shaped by a circle of family and longtime friends. One of these friends, Lizzie Fitch, he lists as a collaborator; she is almost as prominent in the videos as Mr. Trecartin himself.
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Thursday, January 10, 2008

The New Rulers of the World

Award-winning journalist, John Pilger, investigates the realities of globalization by taking a close look at Indonesia.

In order to examine the true effects of globalization, Pilger turns the spotlight on Indonesia, a country described by the World Bank as a model pupil until its globalized economy collapsed in 1998. The film examines the use of sweatshop factories by famous brand names, and asks some penetrating questions. Who are the real beneficiaries of the globalized economy? Who really rules the world now? Is it governments or a handful of huge companies? The Ford Motor Company alone is bigger than the economy of South Africa. Enormously rich men, like Bill Gates, have a wealth greater than all of Africa.

Pilger goes behind the hype of the new global economy and reveals that the divisions between the rich and poor have never been greater -- two thirds of the world's children live in poverty -- and the gulf is widening like never before.

The film looks at the new rulers of the world -- the great multinationals and the governments and institutions that back them -- the IMF and the World Bank. Under IMF rules, millions of people throughout the world lose their jobs and livelihood. The reality behind much of modern shopping and the famous brands is a sweatshop economy, which is being duplicated in country after country.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

HWY: An American Pastoral (1969)

HWY: An American Pastoral was made by the singer songwriter Jim Morrison of the famous late 60s Los Angeles band The Doors and his friends, drinking buddies and drug pals. As a film HWY is a fairly boring way to spend 51 minutes and 7 seconds. It is, as Morrison himself said, not really about anything. It features the familar image of Morrison waking up in the semi-desert (Charlie Manson style) beside a lively stream, he stumbles over the rocks with the grace of a wounded armadillo and then makes his way to the city by hitchiking. At 22 mins a dying dog is encountered on the highway by Morrison who is so moved by its howls he steals a car and drinks a beer (or has he killed a person..hard to know). Screaming as he drives away.
As a historical document it is today interesting. HWY embodies the late 1960s loose, counter culture with its chauvenistic masculinity, romantic naturism, car worship, flavored with visual appreciation of landscapes and the perceived freedoms of the open road. The sound track is a good with some nice remixes present, including Morrison's spoken words that later were used on the An American Prayer album. The film itself has a remix feel to it with random sequences shot as Jim and his firends drive through the desert towards LA, stopping as gas stations and taking in the views, graffiti and general decay and extreams of the city. Late hippie flowers baking in the sun.

HWY: An American Pastoral, a project he started in 1969. Morrison financed the venture and formed his own production company in order to maintain complete control of the project. Paul Ferrara, Frank Lisciandro and Babe Hill assisted with the project. Morrison played the main character, a hitchhiker turned killer/car thief. Morrison asked his friend, composer/pianist Fred Myrow, to select the soundtrack for the film. Wikipedia

I must confess here that when I was 19 I was a Doors fan. That was long time ago, although I still listen to them now and then.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Japanorama - Gyaru

Ganguro is an alternative fashion trend among young Japanese women which peaked in popularity around the year 2000, but remains evident today. The Shibuya and Ikebukuro districts of Tokyo are the center of ganguro fashion.

In ganguro fashion, a deep tan is combined with hair dyed in shades of orange to blonde, or a silver gray known as "high bleached". Black ink is used as eyeliner and white concealer is used as lipstick and eyeshadow. False eyelashes, plastic facial gems, and pearl powder are often added to this. Platform shoes and brightly-colored outfits complete the ganguro look. Also typical of ganguro fashion are tie-dyed sarongs, miniskirts, and lots of bracelets, rings, and necklaces.

The deep ganguro tan is in direct conflict with traditional Japanese ideas of feminine beauty. Due to this, as well as their use of slang, unconventional fashion sense, and perceived lack of hygiene, ganguro gals are almost always portrayed negatively by the Japanese media.

Fashion magazines like Egg and Cawaii have had a direct influence on the ganguro. Other popular ganguro magazines include Popteen and Ego System. The ganguro culture has evolved its own synchronized dances, called Para Para. Participants do predetermined moves at the same time, usually as accompaniment to J-pop music. Para Para events are held by ganguro circles, and involve either going to clubs to perform Para Para or gathering to learn new dances.

People generally associate the ganguro look with the old style. The newer style consists of a mid tan, natural makeup, long white to brown hair, with curls or straightened and backcombed. Current clothing trends include mini shorts, knee socks, and tanktops.

One of the most famous early ganguro girls was known as Buriteri, nicknamed after the black soy sauce used to flavor yellowtail fish in teriyaki cooking. Egg made her a star by frequently featuring her in its pages during the height of the ganguro craze. After modeling and advertising for the Shibuya tanning salon "Blacky", social pressure and negative press convinced Buriteri to retire from the ganguro lifestyle

Yamanba is a newer term often used to describe extreme practitioners of ganguro fashion. Yamanba feature darker tans and add white lipstick, pastel eye makeup, tiny metallic or glittery adhesives below the eyes, brightly-colored contact lenses, plastic dayglo-colored clothing, and incongruous accessories to the ganguro look. Some yamanba wear stuffed animals as decorations. The male equivalent is called a "center guy" (Sentaagai?, Center Street), a pun on the name of a pedestrian shopping street near Shibuya Station in Tokyo where yamanba and center guys are often seen.

Friday, January 04, 2008

The making of 'The Proposition'

The making of 'the proposition', a film written by nick cave and directed by john hillcoat with guy pearce, ray winstone. italian subtitles.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Demokracy by Abjeez

Dub reggae from Iran by Abjeez

abjee (aab.gee)

Persian slang for sister ... and that’s just what they are - Safoura and Melody Safavi.

Backed by a colorful crew of musicians, the two abjee’s present their own original brand of Persian world pop!

Their lyrics, often humorous and sometimes rebellious, are written in Farsi, but the expressive groove of the music and the abjees’ dramatic delivery break down all language barriers to create a new synthesis of cultures.