Monday, June 12, 2023

In Memoria: Michael Snow. Christine Laurent. Paul Vecchiali. Andy Rourke. Tina Turner. Kenneth Anger. Cynthia Weil. Jacques Rozier. Françoise Gilot. The Iron Sheik.

If there are some missing here, it's either my mistake, or they haven't meant too much to me, or I'll make it up in a later post, so don't judge — but let's see how many are mentioned by the Academy or other In Memoriam outlets. 

Michael Snow


One of the most brilliant of filmmakers. Canadian. Made <---->Presents, La région centrale, *Corpus Callosum, and many other masterpieces. I saw Wavelength at Cornell three times on film under the tutelage of the late and great Don Fredericksen. Characterized as an 'avant-garde' or 'experimental' filmmaker — except there's no such thing. Only cinema filmmakers. Narrative pervades all, or else remains absent sometimes in presence of sheer sensation and cerebral highlights like lightning flashes in clouds, warnings of precipitations.


Christine Laurent


Among the finest screenwriters in history, in collaboration with Pascal Bonitzer and Jacques Rivette on the projects of the latter's films from La bande des quatre to his final work 36 vues du pic Saint Loup. Director and actress, — we mostly know her in America for her writing accomplishments, and nothing for her other undertakings, which must be corrected.


Paul Vecchiali


Director, producer, critic-writer, actor. Largely unknown in America outside of devoutly cinephilic circles. Auteur of over fifty films, hero of gay themes/rights, fighter of the AIDS epidemic that holocausted millions from the late '70s ('visibly' from then onward; likely stretching decades before pre-en-masse) through the '80s and '90s forward. In 2010 published L'encinéclopédie, his two-volume personal history of the cinema from the 1930s plus; A-K, then L-Z: 884 pages.


Andy Rourke


Ultimate musician master bass-guitarist. Bassist for The Smiths, the most powerful band in the world, 1982-1987, among the three most meaningful bands in the world, 1982-present. Dead of pancreatic cancer. Johnny Marr and Mike Joyce have written beautiful tributes to him, but I'd like to quote Morrissey's in whole:

"BEAM OF LIGHT — Sometimes one of the most radical things you can do is to speak clearly. When someone dies, out come the usual blandishments ... as if their death is there to be used. I'm not prepared to do this with Andy. I just hope ... wherever Andy has gone ... that he's OK. He will never die as long as his music is heard. He didn't ever know his own power, and nothing that he played had been played by someone else. His distinction was so terrific and unconventional and he proved it could be done. He was also very, very funny and very happy, and post-Smiths, he kept a steady identity — never any manufactured moves. I suppose, at the end of it all, we hope to feel that we were valued. Andy need not worry about that. —MORRISSEY"

I would recommend you listen to such immortal songs as "Barbarism Begins at Home", or "The Queen Is Dead", or "Interesting Drug", or "November Spawned a Monster." May you rest painlessly Andy Rourke: you remain perhaps my favorite bassist aside from Paul McCartney. And Colin Greenwood, Carol Kane, Paul Simonon. Maybe cheesy Alex James.


Tina Turner


Another note from Morrissey, posted days after his eulogy of Andy Rourke:

"LIFE IS A PIGSTY. Tina Turner — you die, we die."

Tina, I don't believe you ever forgave Ike, and I don't think you ever should have. I don't think Ronnie Spector should ever have forgiven Phil. In some unforecasted comet-crash, you all came together. Phil Spector at one point, probably 1966, thought he'd reached his production-songwriting-zenith with "River Deep – Mountain High." The single wasn't an immediate hit, but it lives among his greatest (cf. "Be My Baby" / "And He Kissed Me" / "This Could Be the Night") but Tina it is yours, celestially. Your electric orgasmic performance drives me wild but I'm too bald to shake hair and shoot sweat: it must remain internal. You shall remain eternal. "You die, we die"... in some way, way beyond.


Kenneth Anger


Dearest Kenneth, — not my place to say, as when New York women once began correspondence, "Dearest Philip..." — your films mean the world to me. Someone recently said on Twitter that Anger was one of the only people who understood cinema as ritual. Each picture of his was a spellcast. There exists this strange idea deemed "avant-garde" or "experimental" cinema — but isn't any film worth its reels the same? Or likewise, any "experimental" film also a narrative? "To win friends and influence [its] uncle"? All good films occult — cf. Part 8 of Twin Peaks: The Return. Much talk about Anger inventing the music video, especially with regard to Scorpio Rising — would that were the case! Dubious. A friend of mine once told me that Aleister Crowley (pronounced "cro-ly" I recently learned) should be taken seriously, and that most people 'invoke' him as a byword or crutch or perfect rumor-mongered monster; said friend has read many of his works, and one of these days I'll catch up. Anger was certainly up to speed. By the way, the image above comes from Anger's Skype-appearance on Ghost Adventures a few years back.


Cynthia Weil


The songwriter empress co-auteur with Barry Mann and Phil Spector behind "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling," "Uptown,""Walking in the Rain,etc. Also the show-tune "On Broadway" — not my thing, that one. (If she lived on the West Coast, perhaps we would have had "Sonoma! Sonora! Sedona!".) One of a kind, from a bygone era; see also Leiber & Stoller, Goffin & King, and so on. Sorely missed.


Jacques Rozier


Director of Adieu Philippine, Maine Océan, Threatened in his 90s with eviction in the new wave of landlords. Will be writing more on him in this space. Keep your eyes appealed and applied.


Françoise Gilot


Painter. Writer. The most beautiful of Picasso's muses — apologies to contextualize her within her one-time partner-lovers. Let's allow the work to speak for itself. (The very good Times obituary is here.) Images from my friend Nicolas Lasnibat.


The Iron Sheik (born Hossein Khosrow Ali Vaziri)


No words. My favorite professional wrestler of all time. He aged like a fine wine. My friend Jeff said, "The best, and the most evil." He made some questionable remarks; don't we all? And yet comedy trumps political correctness. I guide you to his Howard Stern interviews. A master of Twitter — who would have thought? The first image comes from remarks by the great Ed Grant. Rest in peace to all of these folks, for real.


Tuesday, June 06, 2023

Censorship on the Part of Disney, Apple, and Others' Streaming Services

Last straw, and this was predictable: Disney has begun censoring their assets from Splash to Toy Story 2 to a file of The French Connection which they disseminated across various licensing digital platforms, including the here-unwitting Criterion Channel who stands against all of this. I am violently opposed to censorship of artwork and speech and thought on every level and I give no consideration to fake grey areas. I will be cancelling all my streaming services immediately, with the exception of The Criterion Channel and PBS. I barely ever use these services (CC and PBS excluded), and don't care about 99% of their series. I have and continue to accumulate a library of movies on disc, as many do vinyl albums (myself included), and they will last me a lifetime. They're the equivalents of physical books, of which I also have a certain library, and are my most valued possessions, not in the least because of all my ink underlinings and notes that have accumulated over first readings and re-readings throughout the years. I urge you to consider my position on this note — which is written in solidarity with the Writers' Guild union's demands, the Directors' Guild Union, and SAG-AFTRA. All of the above represents something I will die for by grisly fixed bayonet — the hill I will die upon to sleep the sleep of the just. Please share if  you're willing.


Saturday, June 03, 2023

Hannah Gadsby and Pablo Picasso

"All the Lazy Dykes" (Morrissey), or: Stranger to a Train of Thought

Where to begin? Where to begin at, looking intensely at Picasso's supreme masterpiece "Les demoiselles d'Avignon"? Perhaps at the weird spread cunt? Which, in a sense, leads us to Hannah Gadsby, who, 'in a sense,' is one with the subject-matter of Picasso's complex and profound canvas, which, 'in a sense,' is but a projection screen to the gross Gadsby.

For those not in the "If You Know You Know" demographic, Gadsby is an Ozzie-demimonde "comedienne" — or rather, as she would likely approve being termed, a "storyteller." Which is one way to characterize, as per uzh, a deeply sado-masochistic unfunny lecture-scold. (Malus.) Let's take a moment to think about this unusual and much-fêted modern term: "storytelling," parallel to "my truth" or "our truth," which always reminds me of the British term "our kid" (e.g., Liam Gallagher) or Morrissey's great "Our Frank". ("Our frank and open, deep conversations... / ...I'm gonna be sick all over / Your frankly vulgar / Red pull-over / Oh see how the two colours blend..."). There's either the truth, or there isn't: "your" truth connotes hallucination. Picasso told the truth. Hannah Gadsby, on the other hand, possesses "her truth," which is total hallucination. Hence storytelling. A few years ago, a cabal of groupthinkers decided to brand the phrase "storytelling," (Spielberg, not Solondz) (Malus.) as the ultimate goal of cinema and, I don't know, probably dance too, to leave themselves open to offers for episodic television work and the occasional Max toss-off. Stories have always been a component of cinema — not the re-fried goooooaaaaalllllll, much to the chagrin of football/soccer fans all too willing to genuflect on the sod (cf. Soderbergh) of Soder-berg. And thus, God is a spider.

Life is hard, said my good friend Marianna the other day. A cliché, but the truth. It reminded me of an Instagram story I saw from an acquaintance recently, a quote by (the still underrated) Aldous Huxley: something to the effect of, after all these years of living, the deepest advice one can give is to be kinder to one another. I am charged and guilty. I make stupid remarks sometimes and unthinkingly insult my friends and nearest. "Sometimes I get over-charged..." (Radiohead). I am the zombified cliché: a "work in progress," and "a walking disaster" (Radiohead). The stars are alienated and arrange in strange positions.

For Hannah Gadsby, life is blacker and whiter, a tornadic Michael Curtiz film shot like a Burroughs Lawrence pumpkin. High contrast! She was gifted the gimmick of a "present" Brooklyn Museum exhibition called "It's Pablo-Matic," in which neither the artist nor the curator is present. The title of the exhibit (actually, "exhibition" above was both poor diction yet tellingly ironic) is moronic, a mongoloidal mixup of Gadsby's knee-jerk automatism, in which the automat becomes the essential metaphor for "the people," as outlined in Jason Farago's crucial review in The New York Times, available to read here. The farrago is Gadsby's, and that's being far too generous. She has never exhibited any clear sense of art appreciation or understanding, and why would she? But why, then, should she be granted museum hours? Hers is a practical special-affect (unpack it) of provocateuse-ism. And, like so much similar jissom, her cognizance of what makes art Art is aimed at the lowest common denominator of "train your vague eyes at this and move on," a podcast earbud wave-through with no ending but men-ding. Throw your pretty white body down, son (Morrissey). Loveless, she hates herself, and has a grievance "whilst" in search of every lost dime.

Let me tell you about Picasso's painting posted above. Two of the women share the features of Picasso's face, specifically his eyes, where he presents in caricature his earlier work in which his eyes highlight their very own prominent feature. He is two at once, and he projects himself onto his own canvas, valid property, and eminent domain. Picasso possessed, as Richardson noted, the power of "ocular rape." The raping gaze. Voilà or as it's always misspelled, "Viol-a." "Two of Us"? Maybe one last tango-round. (Malus.)

So 'in a sense' Gadsby and Picasso are united forever. She did it to herself. Just the easy cue for a humorless hussy caught in the web of a superior genius. Inescapable, his "right back atcha, bitch" — for Fräulein G. has run amok. I hope she goes to Switzerland.