August 24, 2007

So Long, Snarky -- UPDATE: Nevermind!

Snarky changed her mind, returning with the following in another brilliant post (click on image to enlarge):

Pillbox by LeahPeah.

August 20, 2007

A Sea of Humanity: the Tokyo Summerland Wave Pool

. . . shortly after they announced it had been fixed. (If you start to feel sea-sick, you won't miss much by stopping after the first pan back to the right.)

(Thanks, snarky!)

August 19, 2007

On Iraq, the Patraeus Report, and the 2008 Elections: Three Things to Remember

One. How our Congressional reps. voted on the resolution giving Bush authority to invade Iraq is likely to come up (as it should) during the run-up to the next elections. When your candidates try to justify their vote by saying, "everyone thought Hussein had WMD's," please point out: that wasn't the issue (though it turned out he didn't have them). The issue was, was the threat that he'd use them against us not only so real but also so imminent that we could not afford even to let the U.N. inspectors complete their work? I mean, like, Hussein had to have had the ability and desire to drop a major WMD on us within months, not years.

Whatever the evidence of WMD's (and plenty of us recognized it as tenuous at best), no one ever presented credible evidence that Hussein would have the capability, let alone the desire, to deliver that kind of attack any time soon.

I supported Kerry in the last election, but since then I've realized, it simply is not plausible that he or other Dem leaders were actually hoodwinked by the Bush Admin. I don't know what they thought they were doing, but they failed in what may have been the most important decision of their career.

So for me, it's a litmus test: any candidate who voted for the authorization should be fired, and certainly should not be promoted. This alone disqualifies Biden, Clinton, Dodd, and Edwards.

Two. We will soon have General Patraeus's report on the results of the surge. No one expects the Admin. to admit it's not working. The alleged "success," such as it is, will be attributed in part to Petraeus's new strategy of trying to win over the hearts and minds of the Iraqis by showing them that we are there only to protect them from the insurgents (such insurgents being described by the General, as quoted in The New York Post, as "foreign" and "al Qaeda"). While this approach has to be better than what came before, I wonder how effective the implementation will be so long as we insist on controlling Iraqi oil.

A new Iraqi law being pushed through notwithstanding opposition from the majority of Iraqis "would transform Iraq's oil system from [the existing] nationalized model [, which is] all-but-closed to U.S. oil companies, to a commercialized model, all-but-fully privatized and opened to U.S. corporate control. . . . As a result of the invasion, . . . U.S. oil companies will emerge as the corporate front-runners in line for contracts giving them control over the vast majority of Iraq's oil under some of the most corporate-friendly terms in the world for twenty to thirty-five years" (per HuffPo).

Not to mention that under our watch, by the most conservative U.S. estimate as reported on May 12, 2007 in The New York Times, at least 146,000,000 barrels worth at least $7,300,000,000 have simply vanished, without any benefit to the Iraqis (not to mention the U.S. taxpayers, despite Bush Admin. suggestions that Iraqi oil would pay for this war).

Three. Whatever the report says, it'll also have to support the argument that we can't leave any time soon. But the fact is, we have no hope of "winning" in even the most limited sense unless we stay there at least ten more years. And by all accounts, our supply of soldiers is too broken to continue the job past this spring. Will they reinstitute the draft? They won't talk about any of that any sooner than we force them to.

Some say "the campaign to keep us in Iraq is . . . linked to the campaign to justify a war with Iran . . ."

Re- the Patti Smith/Jem Cohen Cover of "Teen Spirit" - Part . . . Uhh, Moved It.

My analysis of the Smith/Cohen cover and Nirvana music videos has been moved here.

If you're interested in Patti Smith or Robert Mapplethorpe, don't miss the excellent documentary by James Crump on Wagstaff and Robert Mapplethorpe, Black White + Gray; website here.

August 13, 2007

Strike/Protest on September 11, 2007

Do you feel guilty about missing work or school?

Maybe it's time to rethink what it means to be responsible.

Take one day to strike from shopping, work, and school in order to stand up to an administration that's wrought more devastation than any other in our nation's history -- decimating our fundamental human rights, our financial well-being, and our children's future; lying us into a war that's killed thousands of Americans and hundreds of thousand of Iraqis; etc. etc. (article here).

The material below is a quick n' dirty reconstitution of a post at -- thanks to the inestimable AUTORANK.

GENERAL STRIKE on 9/11, 2007

“No School * No Work * No Shopping
Hit the Streets”

Michael Collins
Scoop Independent Media
Washington, D.C.

A general strike is proposed for the United States on September 11, 2007, the sixth anniversary of the 9/11/2001 attacks on New York City and Arlington, Virginia. The general strike movement has no clearly named leadership. It’s described as an Internet viral effort.

* * * * *

General strikes, more common in Europe, are events that shut down the normal operations of a city, state, or nation for a period of time. These strikes aim to force awareness and action on a single issue or broader set of concerns.

The 9/11/07 General Strike has a central location on the Internet, which is linked to and reproduced on a variety of other internet sites. The site states the rationale for the effort:

"The General Strike is a national call to action, from citizens to other citizens. It is not about a single issue. It is not an anti-war protest, a civil rights protest, an election fraud protest. It is not about torture, surveillance, corporate media, the 9/11 coverup, or the environment. This strike is about all these issues and more.

"We all have different concerns, but we all have the same concern: we are being lied to and this government does not represent us. Join other Americans in demanding truth, justice, and accountability.

"This is our country.
"And our world.
"We just have to stand up.

"A National Call to Action: Tuesday, September 11th, 2007
No school. No work. Buy nothing. Hit the streets
[* * * * *]"

LOCK-DOWN USA -- NO Answers (to anything)
The strike targets key issues facing the American public, issues that have not been addressed in any meaningful way by any branch of government. These include enduring questions and inconsistencies about 911, the Iraq War; violations of civil rights; and election fraud. As the statement above indicates, one key means of the coverup is the corporate media.

* * * * *

Reflecting the disquiet of the American public, Bush popularity is in free fall. As low as 26% approval in recent polls, his decline has been steady and unending since the peak after the 9/11 attacks (with an odd spike on Election Day 2004).

The strike campaign argues that these and other issues rarely covered in any depth by nearly all of the corporate media leave only one move for citizens -- a general strike to protest the policies plus the lack of recognition and response.

Call to action: We just have to stand up.

Flyer from here (flyer number 5)

Standing up includes no work or school on September 11, 2007. It also includes “no shopping;” a suspension of all purchasing during the strike. One strike web site claims that this can have a substantial impact even with just a small percentage of the population participating.

The general strike calls for participants to “Hit the Streets.” Significant activity is expected to focus on New York and Washington, DC but, in the viral spirit, the venues of protest can’t be predicted.

August 8, 2007

The Jem Cohen/Patti Smith Cover of "Smells Like Teen Spirit" – Soon

Me: "Do you ever become completely obsessed with something that's really beautiful, I don't mean pretty, I mean like really meaningful or powerful, like a work of art or music, and you just want to consume it, over and over and over and over, you want to live it, and then you want to share it, and after all that you're still not tired of it?"

Ben: "You mean like every morning when I look in the mirror?"

Please go here for an analysis of the Patti Smith/Jem Cohen cover and Nirvana music videos.

August 2, 2007

Updates on the 20th Dallas Video Festival

Here are some videos from Day Two, i.e., Wed., August 1, featuring Ben Britt, Laura Neitzel, A.C. Abbott, Katie Giminez, Katie & Andy Colvin, Mark Birnbaum, Bart Weiss, Cynthia Salzman Mondell, Meharvan, and Alex Karpovski. I'd been lucky enough to see Viva previously (which I loved), so I skipped that to see Karpovsky's excellent The Hole Story, which might be roughly described as a "slackers" update of Moby Dick. Can't wait to see more from this director.

Here are some videos and a pic from Day Three, i.e., Thurs., August 2, featuring Ben Britt, Danette Dufilho, Dee Mitchell (obscurely), and Bart Weiss. A Pervert's Guide to Cinema was fascinating; hope to see it again somehow; but I missed El Automóvil Gris (The Grey Automobile), which I hear was brilliant, and most of the I Am/Am Not My Job Compilation, which I also heard was wonderful.

Here are some vidis and pics from Day Four, i.e., Fri., August 3, featuring Kevin Nash, Festival merch, Wendy Golman, Katie Giminez, Nathan, Dee Mitchell, Mike Henderson, Lisa Taylor, Tammy Mcnary, the men's restroom at KHT, & work by Adam Bork. (Thanks to Ben Britt for some of the photos.) Saw again and still loved the Tech-Art Activism stuff -- thanks for turning out! Missed most of We Are the Strange -- hope to see the whole thing somehow; and the Guy Maddin, damn!; saw and loved the David Lynch shorts. I missed Jan Baxter's Graphic Activism Compilation, my sig. other loved it, hope to see that somehow, too; and everyone loved Bork's installation at the after-party (pic above right).

Several people have asked, where can I find out how to make the stuff in the Tech-Art Activism Compilation? The Graffiti Research Lab website has lots more videos, many showing how to DIY. Another resource I just came across is Gearbox's free-media toolkit, co-authored by Mediashed and Eyebeam.

Here are some vidis and pics from Day Five, Sat., Aug. 4, featuring Andy Streitfeld, Jerod Costa, Albert Maysles, Manny Mendoza, Allen Mondell, and Paul Slocum. Thanks for turning out for Idiot Joy Showland! Smells Like Teen Spirit, Black White + Gray, and A Walk Into the Sea were all wonderful and led from one to the next beautifully; and I really enjoyed Hell on Wheels, not just because grrls' roller derby rocks, but also for its portrayal of the grrls' initiative and the process of their maturation as neo-feminist businesswomen.

Here are some vidis and pics from Day Six, Sun., Aug. 5, featuring Deven James Langston, Tom Sime, Brad Ford Smith, Tim Evans, Tina Syring, Barry Whistler, Wendy Golman, Jin Ya Huang, Sheryl Ingram, Katja Straub, Mary Hestand & Alan Tubbs, and a few shots of the Festival crew during the closing nite thanks. Air Guitar Nation was totally fun; I enjoyed Daydream Nation featuring animations from Sweden and loved Bill Daniel's amazing Who is Texas Bozino?; and I heard DFW Punk was great.

I want to cry as I confirm what many of you already know: Laura Neitzel is leaving VAD, after doing a truly tremendous job for nine years. At The Texas Show, Bart and Andy Streitfeld gave eloquent thanks, but they clearly felt as we all do that nothing can thank her adequately for all she's given us.

In conjunction with the Festival, an installation by Bob Paris entitled Disturbance was exhibited at Conduit Gallery. Three monitors in a severely darkened room displayed highly-choreographed, manipulated clips from a single tape of television footage haphazardly recorded by the artist over a two-day period during the L.A. riots -- complete with violence, newscasts, Bush Sr.'s Presidential comments, and commercials.

Here's my previous post on DVF 20, with my original recommendations for the art-oriented plus a link to the full schedule.