October 31, 2009

Gene Elder Declares July, 2010 "Political Art Month"

Elder describes himself an "artist, businessman, Texan, American, Defender of the Faith, and Homoiousian." He is also Director of the HAPPY Foundation archives and the suspected founder of the MUD Underground, which he bills as "Artists hell bent on taking over the world" and "Where the demarcation lines between politics, religion, espionage, high finance, art, and nudity begin to dissolve," and which I believe should be credited for the Alamo Cam (below); and he's also founder of the Wedding Cake Liberation Front.

When Elder organized a peace demonstration to take place in front of the Alamo Cam, he claimed to have sent the police a letter:
Dear Chief McManus and Officer Birney,
I am letting you know that there will be a gathering of people on Alamo Plaza . . . to send a message to Congress about our dissatisfaction over Bush's War.

* * * * *
. . . . we would appreciate the presence of police . . . so if anything such as the throwing of water balloons at us or yelling obscene remarks you will be there ready to catch their sorry asses and hog tie them and drag them to jail where they will be held as terrorists under the new and improved Neo-Con Patriot Act where they can not see a lawyer and can be kept in jail indefinitely.

In Peace and Love

Gene Elder
Re- Political Art Month, he writes, "Our goal [among others] is to alert all galleries across America to devote some thought and time to either political, social or religious subject matter for July. . . . Join us now and add your name to the national list and start planning what [your city] will be exhibiting."

[If you'd like to be listed, please let me know in a comment and I'll get your info to Elder.]

The image above usually refreshes every 30 seconds, but you may need to reload this page to get newer images. You're likely to see glare at dawn and dusk and little detail after dark.

UPDATE: Gene reports The Yes Men have said "yes" to PAM!

And b.t.w., if you haven't already, check out Glasstire's Top Ten List: Art Activism.

October 29, 2009

Amazon Patent$ Method to $ystematically Maim Text$

Per Slashdot, Amazon's method calls for "'programmatically substituting synonyms into . . . books, short stories, . . . reviews, news articles, editorial articles, technical papers, scholastic papers, and so on' in an effort to uniquely identify customers who redistribute material. In its description . . . Amazon also touts the use of 'alternative misspellings for selected words' as a way to provide 'evidence of copyright infringement in a legal action.'"

October 26, 2009

PAC-WE Performance/Action in Dallas

Dallas arts professionals and supporters gathered yesterday to participate in a performance action organized by Greg Metz in support of health insurance reform.

Participants included Noah Simblist, Dean Terry, Claude Albritton, Sarah Jane Semrad, Nancy Whitenack, Danette Dufilho, Charissa Terranova, Anne Lawrence, Bart Weiss, John Pomara, Raphael Parry, and many more.

Find more visuals here, PAC-WE's website here, and Dean Terry's interview of Metz here.

UPDATE: Here's a series of aerial photos by Harrison Evans showing the formation of the "Pac-We."

October 24, 2009

Not an Alternative

Not an Alternative Product from Not an Alternative on Vimeo.

More great stuff at The Change You Want to See.

How quickly the search results for the same query change . . .

Last time I checked the internets, "educated populace prerequisite democracy" (w/o quotation marks) turned up Jefferson. (If you can confirm an original source for a succinct statement of this concept, please let me know!)

Jefferson thought we must provide good, public education as a support to democracy.

Tonite, the same search yields a host of hits contending that most voters shouldn't vote. See, e.g., americanthinker, newswithviews, the rationalargumentator ("argumentator"?).

Here's some of what Jefferson wrote:
"I have indeed two great measures at heart, without which no republic can maintain itself in strength: 1. That of general education, to enable every man to judge for himself what will secure or endanger his freedom. 2. To divide every county into hundreds, of such size that all the children of each will be within reach of a central school in it." --Thomas Jefferson to John Tyler, 1810. ME 12:393

"The less wealthy people,... by the bill for a general education, would be qualified to understand their rights, to maintain them, and to exercise with intelligence their parts in self-government; and all this would be effected without the violation of a single natural right of any one individual citizen." --Thomas Jefferson: Autobiography, 1821. ME 1:73

"I think by far the most important bill in our whole code, is that for the diffusion of knowledge among the people. No other sure foundation can be devised for the preservation of freedom and happiness... The tax which will be paid for this purpose is not more than the thousandth part of what will be paid to kings, priests and nobles who will rise up among us if we leave the people in ignorance."

"The present consideration of a national establishment for education, particularly, is rendered proper by this circumstance also, that if Congress, approving the proposition, shall yet think it more eligible to found it on a donation of lands, they have it now in their power to endow it with those which will be among the earliest to produce the necessary income. The foundation would have the advantage of being independent on war, which may suspend other improvements by requiring for its own purposes the resources destined for them." --Thomas Jefferson: 6th Annual Message, 1806. ME 3:424

"The reading in the first stage, where [the people] will receive their whole education, is proposed... to be chiefly historical. History by apprising them of the past will enable them to judge of the future; it will avail them of the experience of other times and other nations; it will qualify them as judges of the actions and designs of men; it will enable them to know ambition under every disguise it may assume; and knowing it, to defeat its views." --Thomas Jefferson: Notes on Virginia Q.XIV, 1782. ME 2:106

"Education is here placed among the articles of public care, not that it would be proposed to take its ordinary branches out of the hands of private enterprise, which manages so much better all the concerns to which it is equal; but a public institution can alone supply those sciences which, though rarely called for, are yet necessary to complete the circle, all the parts of which contribute to the improvement of the country, and some of them to its preservation." --Thomas Jefferson: 6th Annual Message, 1806. ME 3:423
(Emphasis supplied.) Quotations assembled by Eyler Robert Coates, Sr. at the U. of VA.

Plutocracy Reborn: Re-Creating the Gap that Gave Us the Great Depression

The title sums it up pretty well, but The Nation's got lovely charts, plus other details.

The gap's less extreme in Germany; nonetheless, per the BBC, "[a] group of rich Germans has launched a petition calling for the government to make wealthy people pay higher taxes."

Patti Smith: Tribute to Jim Carroll

Thanks to ArtLyst:

Beneath the Southern Cross

to be
not anyone
this maze of being
to cry
not any cry
so mournful that
the dove just laughs
the steadfast gasps

to owe
not anyone
to be
not here
but here
equatorial bliss
who walked through
the callow mist
dressed in scraps
who walked
the curve of the world
whose bone scraped
whose flesh unfurled
who grieves not
anyone gone
to greet lame
the inspired sky
amazed to stumble
where gods get lost
the southern cross

October 22, 2009

Dallas VideoFest 2009 Chronological Schedule

You can download a PDF of the chron schedule below here. You can also "build your own" or download the complete programme at the VideoFest's site. I just find the chron format easiest to deal with.

I have not filled in the descriptions of all the individual videos in compilations, but sometimes randomly picked up one or two to get a feel for what they might be like. Yellow-highlighted items are rec'd because either I've seen them and liked them, I've seen and liked the artist's other work, or the piece happens to sound interesting to me, given my peculiar interests (so yeah, the yellow's pretty random).

Need I say, video's now fully, forcefully, shaping our lives; but opportunities to see the best of it remain scarce.

All programs are at the Angelika Dallas – hope to see you there!


7:00 PM
American Casino

Leslie Cockburn
Documentary | 89 min.
It was a subprime mortgage gamble and the working-class were unwitting chips on the table. This debut feature gets to the guts of the matter by explaining how $8 trillion vanished into the American Casino. We hear from a teacher, a banker who sold us out, a mortgage salesman who inflated incomes to justify loans, and a billionaire who won a $500 million bet that people would lose their homes. We see the casinos endgame: Riverside, California a foreclosure wasteland of rats and meth labs, where mosquitoes breed in stagnant swimming pools of yesterday’s dreams.
Angelika - Screen 1

7:00 PM
Dangerous Places Compilation

Video Art | 52 min.
plays with...
* Space Ghost | Laurie Jo Reynolds
* Nashi | Daya Cahen
Angelika - Video Café

7:00 PM
* The Tale of Nicolai and the Law of Return | David Ofek
Documentary | 54 min.
After the collapse of communism, Nicolai (who plays himself in this true story) leaves his tiny, remote village in Romania to seek his fortune overseas. For three years he worked and was exploited as a guest laborer in Israel. When Nicolai fled his employer and became an 'illegal' he was sent to prison, but suddenly his life took an abrupt turn. If he can find the proof he's Jewish, he can become an israeli citizen.
. . . playing with
* A Dallas Jewish Journey | Cynthia Salzman Mondell, Allen Mondell
Step back in time to experience the rich history of our Dallas Jewish
Community! A Dallas Jewish Journey takes you from the first Jew in Dallas,
Alex Simon, to Soviet Jewry’s flight for freedom—and beyond.

* 4 Questions For A Rabbi | Jay Rosenblatt, Stacy Ross 2008
Angelika - Screen 2

8:00 PM
Getting Oriented Compilation

Video Art | 22 min.
plays with...
* Home Movie | Reinhilde Condin, Martin Bruch
* Dropping Furniture | Paul Horn, Harald Hund
* In Transit | Lida Abdul
* Orientation Video | Gregory Gutenko 2008
Angelika - Video Café

8:30 PM
Gogol Bordello - Non Stop

Margarita Jimeno | Documentary | 90 min.
Gogol Bordello is a multi-ethnic Gypsy punk band from the Lower East Side of New York City known for its theatrical stage shows. Much of the band's sound is inspired by Gypsy music, as its core members are immigrants from Eastern Europe. The documentary film follows the band's rise from underground legends to international fame from 2001 to 2007.
Angelika - Screen 2

9:00 PM
Orgasm Inc.

Liz Canner | Documentary | 80 min.
In this documentary Liz Canner takes a job editing erotic videos for a pharmaceutical company that is developing a drug to treat Female Sexual Dysfunction. But Liz begins to suspect that her employer, along with a cadre of other medical companies, might be trying to take advantage of women, potentially endangering their health, in pursuit of billion dollar profits. The race for the Female Viagra is on!
Angelika - Screen 1

9:00 PM
Vistas Compilation

Experimental Video | 65 min.
plays with...
* Set In Solitude | Malak Quota
* Chicago Corner | Bill Brown
* Postcard to Owen Sound | Jen Di Cresce
* Scenes from a rooftop | Paul johannessen
* Sitting | Leighton Pierce
* Stone Moss | Leighton Pierce
* The Nightgardener | Jennifer Hardacker
* Wax And Wane | Cassandra C Jones
* West Texas | Colby Allen
Angelika - Video Café

10:00 PM
There is Never a Reference Point

Thomas Riccio | Documentary | 66 min.
A performance installation inspired by the journal writings and watercolors of Jamie Dakis, a woman diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder, commonly known as multiple personality disorder. The performance will take the form of an immersive, interactive “walk-through” presentation where “visitors” explore and experience each of Jamie’s personalities.
Angelika - Screen 2

10:30 PM
Elektra And The Vampire

Edward Rankus | Experimental | 31 min.
Chicago video artist Edward Rankus's work is masterfully edited and deeply ironic, and he is able to wring drama from mundane subjects. The play of symbols is very important in his work, which in some ways approaches still-life painting in its juxtapositioning of essential elements to create moods and meanings.
Angelika - Video Café


7:00 PM
Legend Of The Dot Race - Chuck Morgan

Talk | 90 min.
Chuck Morgan is the Auteur of Stadium Entertainment. Anyone who has been to a Texas Rangers game knows that the music, video and everything about the presentation is great night after night and perhaps has more consistency than any baseball team. We are happy to pay tribute to a man who brings the art of video to the people every night . Presented by Ben and Skin.
Angelika - Screen 1

7:00 PM
Guts & Glory

Live Show
[I think this is the results of the film version of the 24-hour Video Race.]
Angelika - Screen 2

7:00 PM

Sufjan Stevens | Experimental | 50 min.
Singer, songwriter Sufjan Stevens presents a symphonic and cinematic exploration of New York City’s infamous Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. The critically applauded performance features 36 performers including a band, a wind and brass ensemble, string players, a horn section, projected film footage of the expressway and five hula hoopers.
Angelika - Video Café

8:00 PM
Beaches Of Agnes

Agnes Varda | Documentary | 110 min.
Beaches have always struck a chord for Agnès Varda. She visits coastlines that correspond to chapters in her life, from the Mediterranean port of Sète, of her first film, La Pointe-courte, to Venice Beach, representing the years she spent in California with her husband, the late Jacques Demy. This film can be enjoyed simply for its touching, eloquent reflections on life.
Angelika - Screen 2

8:00 PM
The Toe Tactic

Emily Hubley | Animation | 86 min.
In this hybrid of live-action and animation, a young woman grieves for her father while unaware of the magical world around her.
Angelika - Video Café

8:30 PM
The Art Guys Retrospective: 1984-2008

The Art Guys | Video Art | 90 min.
Best known for their numerous staged performances and public spectacles, The Art Guys have presented their work in grocery stores, movie theaters, airports, restaurants, sports arenas, and other non-traditional venues for experiencing art while also exploiting mass media and entertainment to explore contemporary society and issues. Both artists will be in attendance. So who knows what could happen.
Angelika - Screen 1

9:30 PM

Luc Lemaitre | Narrative Fiction | 97 min.
A huge comet is heading for earth threatening global destruction. In a secret hide-out the governments of the world decide not to inform the general public. Meanwhile, in Belgium, Desire, 40 years old and still living with his parents, is unaware that the comet is heading straight for his head.
Angelika - Video Café

10:00 PM
R.E.M : This is not a show

Vincent Moon | Documentary | 60 min.
Ventures back to July 2007 when R.E.M. set up in Dublin, Ireland for five nights and tested new material before fired-up crowds. Documenting a self-described "experiment in terror" for the band, French filmmakers Vincent Moon and Jeremiah provide a fascinating up-close look at these ambitious live rehearsals.
Angelika - Screen 1

10:00 PM
Odd Stories Worth Staying Up For Compilation

Narrative Fiction | 58 min.
plays with...
* Killer | Adam Leon, Jack Pettibone Riccobono
A 17-year-old is consumed by an intense, dangerous game called KILLER (based on a real game). The film provides a glimpse into an urban rite of passage as it follows him and his group of friends in their hunt for their opponents across the five boroughs of 1989 New York.
* ChickenShit | Ricky Gluski 2009
* The Sheep And The Ranch Hand | Loretta Hintz 2009
* The Spam Job | Padraic Culham
Paddy was class clown, Casanova, and attention-hound. In the summer of 1997, his friends hatched a plan to feed Paddy a taste of his own eclectic medicine. What follows is an epic mystery that starts with the theft of Paddy's most prized treasure, spanned years of clandestine taunting from across the globe, and finally culminates in the fate of America's most honored and ridiculous canned food.
* Too Bare or Too Bush | Shannon Silva
Angelika - Screen 2


12:00 PM
Surface Of The Pixel Compilation

Video Art | 75 min.
plays with...
* Oscilator Color | Sabine Gruffat
* Before Departure | Jason Klorfein
* Gravity | Nicolas Provost
* Lossless 2 | Douglas Goodwin, Rebecca Baron
* Lossless 5 | Rebecca Baron, Douglas Goodwin
* Nanosporin AI | Stephen Hal Fishman
* R+B+G | Gregory Gutenko 2008
* The Divers | Nicolas Provost
* The Sky Socialist Stratified | Ken Jacobs
* Untitled (2 axes) | Timothy McConville
Angelika - Video Café

12:00 PM
The Name of God

Jon Racinskas | Narrative Fiction | 103 min.
The son of a prominent evangelist in the midst of searching for a personal identity, ventures into a mosque to pray. He is met with wariness by the Muslim community and hostility from his own congregation. When his mother is diagnosed with terminal cancer, she tries to communicate that God goes by many different names, but the most important one is "Love."
Angelika - Screen 2

12:00 PM
Siggraph 2009

Multiple | Animation | 123 min.
Angelika - Screen 1

1:00 PM
Student Animation Showcase

Animation | 45 min.
Angelika - Screen 1

1:15 PM
Chinese Ghost Story

Documentary | 29 min.
The 17th century Chinese ghost tale placed alongside a retelling of the Chinese participation in the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad establishes two parallel tracks, intersecting at the horizon of one immigrant’s story of his sixty-year separation from his family in the mainland. Chinese Ghost Story is a poetic essay in which history and landscape converge along the undisturbed railroad grade.
Angelika - Video Café

1:45 PM
Stephen Vitiello: Soundtracks

Video Art | 57 min.
plays with...
* Balance Inquiry | Andrew Deutsch
* Buoy Remix | Seoungho Cho
* Cinema | Eder Santos, Stephen Vitiello
* Green Tunnel | Kevin Gallagher
* Trifornix. (Take Two) | Nic DeSantis
* Imago Dei | Matt Flowers
Angelika - Video Café

1:45 PM
Lover or Logo

DeeDee Halleck | Documentary, Satire | 28 min.
“Lover or Logo” features the Church of Stop Shopping Gospel Choir and Reverend Billy. It was produced by Big Noise Films in collaboration with FSTV and the Church.
Angelika - Screen 2

1:45 PM
London International Awards

Advertising | 143 min.
Angelika - Screen 1

2:15 PM
Tales from Pakistan Compilation

plays with...
* Color of the Sand | Amar Mahboob
* Emergency PLUS | Gulab & Afifa
* Essential Rag
* In the Name of Honor | M. Waseem
* Let Them Meet | Beena Sarwar
* Mitt da Bawa
* Music and the Message | Umbreen Butt
* Putting the Police in Order | Maheen Aiz
* Small Camera: A Heart in Exile
* The Miseducation of Pakistan | Syed ali Nasir
Angelika - Screen 2

2:45 PM
The Gruen Transfer

Mark Fitzgerald | TV Entertainment Show | 30 min.
The Gruen Transfer deconstructs advertising. A panel of industry experts analyses commercials - what works and what doesn't, and what techniques the advertisers are using to make us, the consumers, buy their product. Its light hearted and interesting and at times is reveals something about human nature.
Angelika - Screen 1

3:15 PM
Landeplage: Take On Me

Nick Ingman | Documentary | 30 min.
[No description yet.]
Angelika - Screen 1

3:15 PM
24hr Film Race Winners

24hr race | 90 min.
plays with...
* Pixelvision 1: Landdolphins
* Pixelvision 2: Digital Death
* Pixelvision 3: Team Swine
* Futurevision 1: Shoot or Die
* Futurevision 2: Siloencer Films
* Futurevision 3: View Finder Productions
* Auteur 1: Elephant & Castle Productions
* Auteur 2: Blocknaw Productions
* Auteur 3: Original Dub Master
* Guerilla 1: Monochromatic Productions
* Guerilla 2: Curtis Needs a Ride
* Guerilla 3: GuD Films | director
* Hollywood 1: Brownian Motion (tie)
* Hollywood 1: Whispering Eye (tie)
* Hollywood 2: Palatia Motion Picture Group
Angelika - Screen 2

3:15 PM
Texas Filmmakers Showcase Compilation

Shorts | 90 min.
plays with...
* Color By Number | Marshall Rimmer
* Fury | Van Blumreich
* Skip and Lester: Here's The Stapler If You Need It | Lance Myers
* It's For Her | Travis Johns
* My Mom Smokes Weed | Clay Liford
* Quarter To Noon | Kat Candler
* Smokey | Scott Thurman, Billy Loftin 2008
Angelika - Video Café

3:45 PM
A Sea Change

Barbara Ettinger | Documentary | 83 min.
In this documentary about climate change we see the long-term effects of ocean acidification. Excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is dissolving into seawater and changing the pH, making seawater more acidic. This water is dissolving the shells of certain shellfish and coral reefs. The effects are working their way up the food chain and into your home.
Angelika - Screen 1

4:45 PM
14 Americans

Michael Blackwood, Nancy Rosen | Documentary | 91 min.
Making art after the end of illusionism led 14 artists in the 1970’s including Laurie Andersen, Alice Aycock, and Chuck Close to create performances, sculptures, earthworks, tableaux, furniture, shaped canvases, and more using unusual materials. They explore the process of making forms and giving meanings to those forms. In this idea art, their focus is as often social and psychological as artistic.
Angelika - Screen 2

5:30 PM

Michael Addis | Documentary | 79 min.
When Jamie Kennedy moved from stand-up comic to actor, he encountered a new breed of heckler -- the on-line film critic. Heckler features interviews with a number of comics and musicians discussing their experiences with loud-mouthed spectators (including Bill Maher, Rob Zombie and David Allen Grier), but Kennedy goes a step further, confronting writers who've bad-mouthed his work.
Angelika - Screen 1

6:00 PM
Lost Faces

Massimo Monacelli| Narrative Fiction | 27 min.
A story of a person who, during a dream, has visions of his previous and past lives.
Angelika - Video Café

6:15 PM
Animated Shorts Compilation

Animation | 38 min.
plays with...
* Set Set Spike | Emily Hubley
* I am so proud of you | Don Hertzfeldt
* Lezzieflick | Nana Swiczinsky
* Missed Aches | Joanna Priestley
Angelika - Screen 2

6:30 PM
Wednesday Morning 2 AM

Lewis Klahr | Video Art/ Animation | 30 min.
Wednesday Morning Two A.M. is a film of a new series entitled “Couplets”. These generally, but not exclusively, organize themselves around the pairing of various pop songs and just as in these songs lyrics, the theme of love.
Angelika - Video Café

7:00 PM
Life Stories Compilation

Narrative Fiction | 32 min.
plays with...
* Umbrella | Ryan Kline 2008
* Hot Route | Casey Gooden
* Words Unspoken | Renee O Conner
Angelika - Screen 2

7:00 PM
Writing with Pictures: The Emerging Art of The Video Essay

Matt Zoller Seitz, Kevin B. Lee and Steven Boone | 90 min.
A discussion about film criticism changing from something you read in a scholarly book to something you download on your computer. Matt Zollar Seitz will show and speak about his video essays and the work of Kevin B. Lee and Steven Boone. It’s a new world where the critic of a medium uses the tools of that medium as a response.
Angelika - Screen 1

7:15 PM
Blank City

Celine Danhier | Documentary | 106 min.
A tribute to unique individuals during the mid 70s No Wave movement of retreating art away from the establishment. Filmmakers Amos Poe, Nick Zedd and Jim Jarmusch describe how someone in the Village came into a bunch of cameras and sold them to locals inspiring many to take up filmmaking. The films are raw and the cameras hand held. Look for a young Vincent Gallo, Julian Schnabel and Steve Buscemi, also Fab Five Freddy, Warhol, and Basquiat whose success killed the movement.
Angelika - Video Café

7:30 PM
Life Cycle Compilation

Experimental Video | 102 min.
plays with...
* Overlays | Justin Lincoln
* Remember | Jane Terry
* She Used To See Him Most Weekends | Penny Lane
* Young | David Lawrence
* For Memories' Sake | Ashley Maynor 2009
* Annie Lloyd | Cecelia Condit
* False Aging | Lewis Klahr
* Forget My Name | Julia Kots 2008
* Frankie | Darren Thornton
Angelika - Screen 2

8:30 PM
Albert Maysles Presents:

Albert Maysles | Documentary | 105 min.
plays with...
* Muhammad and Larry | Albert Maysles
* Get Your Ya-Ya's Out | Albert Maysles
Angelika - Screen 1

9:00 PM

Liz Laser | Installation | 20 min.
Nine professional actors perform their assigned roles in branch locations of their respective banks. The play’s cycle extended over the course of a month as she collaborated on a daily basis with the actors. Their videotaped activities attempt to rearticulate a physical and verbal relationship with these bank spaces and their inhabitants.
Angelika - Video Café

9:15 PM
Died Young Stayed Pretty

Eileen Yaghoobian | Documentary | 95 min.
A movie about Rock Posters that are both vulgar and intensely visceral onto the gnarled surfaces of the urban landscape. The film gives us intimate look at some of the giants of this modern subculture. These indie graphic artists have created their own visual language for describing the underbelly of western civilization. Along the way, they create posters that are obscene, blasphemous and often quite beautiful.
Angelika - Screen 2

9:30 PM
72 Musicians

Robert Moczydlowsky | Documentary | 72 min.
Sometimes success and failure is the same thing especially with independent bands. Tour schedules, unemployment, day care, divorce; drinking... it’s the 23 hours you’re not on stage that’s the hard part. Shot on one stage, in one club, during four days, this documentary empowers every almost-made-it musician to speak with a single, honest, anonymous, resonant voice. And it’s funny.
Angelika - Video Café

10:15 PM

BBC | TV Show | 45 min.
When a group of seemingly unrelated strangers all receive a note stating, "I know what you did," it sends their lives into a downward spiral. They include a birthing coach nurse who believes her practice doll is a real baby; an alcoholic, one-handed clown; a telekinetic dwarf; and a miserly old man with the world's biggest Beanie Baby collection.
Angelika - Screen 1


12:00 PM
To My Great Chagrin

Jeff Sumerel | Documentary | 67 min.
Sumerel along with collaborator Jeter Rhodes, have completed a 3 year journey to create a most compelling and exhilarating account of the remarkable history and career of a man known as “Brother Theodore”. Theodore’s television appearances spanned from Jack Paar to Johnny Carson to Merv Griffin to David Letterman. His diverse movie experiences joined him with Alfred Hitchcock, Orson Welles, and Tom Hanks.
Angelika - Video Café

12:00 PM
A Reason To Live
Allen Mondel, Cynthia Salzman Mondell | Documentary | 52 min.
This poignant documentary adds a personal perspective to a major public health crisis, highlighting that while there is a need for suicide prevention and intervention, current treatments for depression are promising and offer hope.
Angelika - Screen 1

12:00 PM
Click Play: One Billion Times a Day

[I believe this is a curated selection of YouTube videos.]
Event | 60 min.
Angelika - Screen 2

1:00 PM
Birds And Other Creatures Compilation

Musical Comedy | 40 min.
plays with...
* Gillface | David Mcginnis 2008
A true fish-out-of-water story, this musical follows Gil, a lakeman (or "Aquatic-American"), as he encounters prejudice and bigotry at his desk job in the city, where he falls for the new girl in the office.
* The Three Ravens | Bobby Abate
* Silent Among Us | Dana Levy
* The Commoners | Penny Lane
A short story about growing up, a certain love song, and the apocryphal memories of childhood. Simple animations create a picture book whose story is scrambled by time and loss. Penny Lane creates an imaginative look at childhood memories and how what we remember can be completely subjective. Simple animation is used to create a black and white storybook.
Angelika - Screen 2

1:15 PM
Radical Disciple: The Story of Father Pfleger

Bob Hercules | Documentary | 58 min.
Mike Pfleger is a white priest in a nearly all-black parish, an outspoken maverick in a rigidly conservative arch-diocese, a preacher whose sermons are more akin in style and tone to Black Baptist traditions than White Catholic. Pfleger has transformed a dying parish into one of Chicago's most vibrant.
Angelika - Video Café

1:15 PM
How I Am

Ingrid Demetz | Documentary | 49 min.
Set in a small, Italian mountain town, and using only Patrick's words, this beautifully filmed documentary reveals how painfully lonely life can be for a teen with autism. At school and at home, his inability to communicate and lack of social skills make it nearly impossible for Patrick to build relationships, yet he remains optimistic for the future.
Angelika - Screen 1

2:00 PM

Christopher Noice | Documentary | 60 min.
The film chronicles a year in the life of Cleveland couple Ron and Betty Manolio as they prepare their annual Eggshelland display--a unique, inspiring, and downright quirky suburban celebration of Easter, Spring, and life. It's a beautiful, funny, strange and poignant story of the never-ending joy of childhood and the inspiring legacy of one man's dream.
Angelika - Screen 2

2:15 PM
Open House

Diane Nerwen | Documentary | 31 min.
Documents the brutal nature of the development spree that has occurred in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. With images of a neighborhood being literally torn apart by developers capitalizing on a frenzied housing market, and property owners desperate to cash in before the market collapsed, 'Open House' chronicles the re-branding of Williamsburg from working class/warehouse/artist into 'cutting edge' cosmopolitan.
Angelika - Video Café

2:15 PM
The Glass House

Hamid Rahmanian | Documentary | 92 min.
With a virtually invisible camera, The Glass House takes us on a never-before-seen tour of the underclass of Iran. This groundbreaking documentary reflects a side of Iran few have access to. It introduces us to a group of courageous women working to instill a sense of empowerment and hope into the lives of otherwise discarded teenage girls.
Angelika - Screen 1

2:45 PM
Urban Dance Compilation

Shorts | 20 min.
plays with...
* Proverbial Wisdom | Jan Roberts Breslin
* Body Trail | Michael Palm, Willi Dorner [documents Bodies in Urban Spaces]
* Hero | Skip Blumberg
* Waterfront Access? | Floanne Ankah
Angelika - Video Café

3:15 PM
Migration: A Bi-Cultural Experience Compilation

Shorts | 60 min.
plays with...
* Es Como Morirse | Jan Suter 2008
* Return to Stolowicze | Marek Dojs 2008
* Pak'aal: An Orange About to Fall | Roberto Kameta 2008
* Skateborder | Ernesto Rosas 2008
* No Ward | Terence Nance 2008
Angelika - Video Café

3:30 PM
Outsider's Stories Compilation

Narrative Fiction | 86 min.
plays with...
* Igbo Kwenu! | Chinonye Chukwu
A comedic drama about what means to be a part of a second generation in America. At her cousin's wedding 18-year-old Ngozi stumbles through her journey within both worlds. But when she and her childhood acquaintance realize they have feelings for each other, Ngozi's family has other plans that interrupt the tender moment.
* Crescendo | Pierre Terrade 2009
Steph, a young mother, lives in precarious conditions with JB, her abusive boyfriend. How will she get out of this nightmare drifting her towards violence?
* Hide | Robert Shelby
* In the Land of Opportunity | Joey Sylvester 2009
* Start A band | Daniel Laabs
Angelika - Screen 2

3:45 PM
Nollywood Lady

Dorothee Wenner | Documentary | 52 min.
Peace Anyiam-Fibresima of Lagos, Nigeria is an impresario of showbiz and an impassioned spokeswoman for the thriving and innovative African film industry. She is “Nollywood Lady,” an ex-lawyer, producer, filmmaker, and the founder and CEO of the influential African Academy of Motion Pictures. And she is reshaping the way Africans see themselves—and how the world sees Africans.
Angelika - Screen 1

4:15 PM
Bubblegum Music Is The Naked Truth

Kier-La Janisse | Documentary
[No description]
Angelika - Video Café

4:45 PM
Burma VJ

Anders Østergaard | Documentary | 85 min.
Armed with video cameras, Burmese reporters expose the repressive regime controlling their country. In 2007, after decades of silence, Burma became headline news when peaceful Buddhist monks led a massive rebellion. Foreign news crews were banned, the Internet was shut down, and Burma was closed to the outside world. So how did we witness these events? Enter the Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB), aka the Burma VJs.
Angelika - Screen 1

5:00 PM
Speaking In Code

Amy Lee Grill | Documentary | 89 min.
Speaking in Code is an intimate account of people who are completely lost in music. A heartbreaking and lighthearted documentary, it's a glimpse into the world of techno. Captivating and entertaining, the film takes you around the world, following the people who make electronic music, their lives.
Angelika - Screen 2

6:00 PM
Performance Compilation

Experimental | 127 min.
plays with...
* Burning Palace | Mara Mattuschka, Chris Haring
* City of Noise | Mitch Barany
* The Weird Turn Pro | Chip Lord
* Tijuana Hercules - 'Down in the Bottom Lines' | Shawn Brennan
* White Piano | Timothy McConville
Angelika - Video Café

6:15 PM

Eric Metzgar | Documentary | 90 min.
The documentary chronicles New York Times journalist Nick Kristof's 2007 trip to cover the genocidal war raging in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. The film includes interviews with Congolese rebel leader Laurent Nkunda and other key players in a brutal clash of militias. It highlights the importance of real news gathering in illuminating a world in chaos.
Angelika - Screen 1

6:45 PM
Evening's Civil Twilight in Empires Of Tin

Jem Cohen | Music | 100 min.
The video document of a live orchestral performance written by Jem Cohen played for projected films.
Angelika - Screen 2

8:00 PM
Texas Show [Compilation]

Shorts | 64 min.
[An independently juried selection of the videos that have a Texas connection.]
plays with...
* Love Bug | Kat Candler
* Change | Ya'ke smith
* Cold calls | Jack Daniel Stanley
* Dig Deep | Mark Birnbaum
* Jimmy Kuehnle's Big Red and Walking Fish | Mark Walley, Angela Guerra 2009
* Lambs | Stephen Huff 2009
* Sleet/Snow | Daniel Laabs
* Western Brothers’ Adventure Story
* Weight of the World | Jenny Goddard
* Trash Day | Sam Lerma
* Unbelievable 4 | Sukwon Shin
* Uprush | Kim Hall

Urs Fischer at the New Museum

He's taking the whole place over, at monumental effort and expense. "The great thing about art," says the curator, "is that the result should not be proportional to the effort."

Check it out at The WSJ; it actually sounds like a great exhibition.

"Dreadful" Hirst Paintings Draw Record Crowds

Per The Telegraph, the exhibition, No Love Lost, Blue Paintings, a collection of 25 new paintings by Hirst at The Wallace Collection, is expected to draw more than twice the museum's previous record. The show has been described by critics as "deadly dull and amateurish", "dreadful" and "not worth looking at".

Of course that makes me want badly to like them.

"Hirst . . . has said that he now wishes to be recognised as a 'painter... above either artist or sculptor' and recently admitted that 'paintings are easier to shift – even in a recession people like paintings'."

Slideshow here.

Concert & Exhibition at Bitforms: Tristan Perich

1-Bit Symphony is an electronic composition in five movements that "explores the polyphonic potential of audio reduced to binary form." It "literally 'performs' its music live when turned on. A complete electronic circuit – programmed by the artist and packaged into a standard CD jewel case – plays the music through a headphone jack mounted into the case itself."

"By reducing sound into primary units of digital measure, Perich's musical compositions offer critique to overly produced and recorded media. Rather than use data to produce a representation of analogue phenomena, raw electrical pulses in these works create pitch and rhythm when played through a speaker-creating music that is, at its essence, electronic."

"Perich's visual compositions also explore texture, noise and order using recursive logic. Woven from geometric structures, his drawings contain layers of choreographed linear repetition. Executed with a pen connected to a machine, line in these images gives way to densely packed surfaces and planes."

As part of the show, a "pre-premiere" of Dual Synthesis for harpsichord and 1-bit electronics will take place in a benefit concert, Oct. 27, 6:30 PM. $100; tickets here. Exhibition Oct. 28 - Nov. 7, 200; all at bitforms, 529 W. 20th St., 2d flr.

What to Do on a Date

Now I see what I was doing wrong.

October 21, 2009

Wall of Toilets

Couldn't resist this. Per boingboing, it was part of a "ceramics festival" in China. (Thanks, Ben!)

Anonymous asks, and the wall of toilet paper is where . . . ?

Dept. of FB Apps

Should you have the right to know who commissioned the creation of the Facebook quizzes you take? At All Facebook, you can't see who commissioned them, but at least you can see which developer made them – except that in some cases, even that info's left blank. E.g., "Who is your one true love," "How annoying are you," "Which member of the 'Scooby Doo' gang are you?," "Do you know yourself [in German]," etc.

I heard the gummint has a Dept. . . . . (just kidding; but I wouldn't rule it out).

October 20, 2009

Views You Can Use from Assume Vivid Astro Focus

From a show at the National Museum Oslo, 2008:

Love the backing-into-things part.

Action Alert: Join Artists in Demo for Health Insurance Reform

PAC-WE is organizing an artists' performance action Sun., Oct. 25, 11am - noon at the Morton Meyerson Symphony Hall, Dallas, TX, and you're invited! Just bring yourself and your friends; everything else will be supplied. More details here or in my previous post, here.

Click on the image, right, for a larger version. Even larger version (for printing posters or flyers) available here.

And tell your friends!

To get you in the mood, here's a video created by Ben Jones of Paper Rad to celebrate Pac-Man's 25th anniversary and the launch of the Pac-Man Inspired Music Series:

October 19, 2009

Speaking of Obama's Choices,

For much of 2005, an embattled Democratic Party fought Pres. G.W. Bush's initiative to privatize Social Security. The plan was defeated, but (Halloween surprise!) the brains behind Bush's initiative are being implanted in the Obama admin. – by Obama, who's nominated Chuck Blahouse to one of two public trustee slots on the Social Security Board.

Blahous was a deputy director of the Bush National Economic Council and executive director of Bush’s Commission to Strengthen Social Security. That commission was tasked to draft the policy recommendations for maintaining Social Security solvency, in part through partial privatization.

More at The Wall Street Journal; more on Obama's personnel picks here.

UPDATE: Speaking of changealiciousness, Obama has given Shell a conditional green light to drill for oil and gas "in the environmentally sensitive Beaufort Sea." "Rebecca Noblin, an Alaskan specialist with the conservation group the Centre for Biological Diversity, said: 'We're disappointed to see the Obama administration taking decisions that will threaten the Arctic. It might as well have been the Bush administration.'" Details at the UK Guardian.

October 18, 2009

Ansen Seale's "The Corn Crib"

is a permanent installation at The Land Heritage Institute, in San Antonio, TX.

Gene [Elder]: ". . . [Y]ou put photos in an old rock shed.

[Seale]: My only instructions were that the piece had to be about the land and that it had to contain photography. With those wide-open parameters in mind, Penny Boyer, Michael Mehl and I went scouting around looking for a location and a project.

[Elder]: I came. I saw. It was a long walk to the corn crib.

[Seale]: Yes. On this 1200 acres are several human habitation sites that vary in age from 10,000 years old to the mid 1970's when it ceased operations as a farm. One of the complexes of buildings was constructed in the 1850s using the stacked-stone method of construction. Most of the buildings have fallen to ruin, but the one that remains was a place where corn was stored in the winter to feed animals (and perhaps humans as well). . . .
[Elder]: Unusual site. I expect there won't be that many people that come to see it.

[Seale]: Unusual indeed. And that's exactly the point. The viewer must travel and experience the land in order to gain the fullest appreciation of the art. This place was perfect for the installation because it provides protection from the weather. Photography is an inherently fragile medium and until recently, its place in public art installations has been limited. So I was thrilled when I realized that this small structure would protect the photos, and the photos would protect the building, both by keeping people from touching the walls and, in a larger sense, by giving the building a purpose.

The photos are back-lit – they're the only light-source in the space – and powered by solar panels. (Click on the images for larger versions – the image at left is esp. amazing.)

Thanks to Elder for his interview; more at San Antonio Current. Best collection of pics plus more work by Seale on his site, here. Review at Glasstire

October 17, 2009

Obama's Choices in Art for the White House

. . . seem slightly more progressive than his picks in personnel. Click on the images for larger versions; see artnet for more of Obama's art choices.

Best Health Insurance Reform Etc. Debate Yet

Maher can't keep up; give him credit for enjoying the challenge (he doesn't get many).

October 16, 2009

No Gimmicks

This 1986 tv ad stars Glenn Beck, Tim Hattrick, and Zippy the Chimp:

(Thanks, Julie!)

October 14, 2009

The Fun Theory

Man cannot live by bread alone.

And artists are, among other things, funmongers.

(Thanks, Ben!)

October 13, 2009

Chinati Open House Weekend '09, Marfa, TX

Another great weekend in the tiny town in a big landscape.

Attendance was the lowest I think I've seen since Open House '03; good in some ways, not in others. Speculation was, it resulted from the cutbacks on perqs for artists (esp. in '08), combined with the ongoing "recession."

The Book Company's given up some space, but it still has the gallery, which was occupied by a great show of small press books. The Pizza Foundation was open again. And there's a new "Shade Structure" next to the RR tracks; now you can stay cool while chewing Shark, plus the structure served as a concert venue.

Chinati's programs centered on the re-opening of Donald Judd's freestanding works in concrete.

Apart from Chinati's and the Judd Foundation's more or less permanent installations, the art generally struck me as somewhat less spectacular this year than in some past; but then, I didn't see everything.

But I'd like to mention a couple of items. Perhaps most interesting to me was the free Dan Deacon concert. As the concert began, the crowd was tightly packed around Deacon's performance area, which was level with the crowd. Here's his opening assay, as best I can transcribe it (video here):
Everyone raise your right hand. Now ever so slowly, start raising our index finger straight up in the air, pointing straight up. And now we'll slowly start bending at the wrist, so our finger that was pointing proudly up at the heavens is pointing down to the ground [audience laughs {picture the gesture}]. Now let's put our left foot a little bit in front of our right foot, and start bobbing up and down at the knees, that's good. Now let's slowly bend at the knees, taking one knee down to the ground, really slowly. Now let's look around the space and find someone who's not doing this [audience roars]. But that's ok; don't be afraid! You've made a choice to remain different and that's alright. But now let's point directly at somebody who's not doing this, point directly at them [audience roars again]. We're not judging them in any capacity [audience laughs]. We're just pointing right at their mouth. Now open up the palm of your hand, look at the palm of your hand. Now back at their mouth. Now back at the palm of your hand. Now back at their mouth, where your eyes will stay as your hand moves closer and closer to your own mouth. Closer and closer still until you give your hand a kiss while looking at that mouth. Now, don't turn away, don't stop looking at that same person but reach and put that kiss on someone else's face. Plant it right there; then put your hands on the ground, and let's start to dance, let's do it.
At this point, the music began in earnest.

Deacon clearly raised the possibility of ostracizing those who don't go along with the crowd's relatively blind obedience to at least initially nonsensical directions. If my transcription is correct, the few who don't go along not only get singled out and pointed at but also get it rubbed in their faces that they're not being kissed and everyone else is – a relatively mild form of ostracization, but for some of us, sufficient perhaps to stir a few pangs. The initial, "rock concert" context evidently provides a set of conditions in which the crowd is prepared to suspend whatever autonomy they might otherwise exercise and collaborate with a leader in order to achieve their own entertainment – and they know not what all else. Though it was all in fun, there were a number of moments at which things could have taken, or indeed did take, a disturbing turn.

The music was techno-jungle, a driving droning, mostly in major scales, and was accompanied visually by goofy, strobe-flashing skulls and video featuring crisply geometric, crudely amorphous, or Wolfram-esquely psychedelic patterns. To me, the visuals though fitting seemed unspectacular, at least by contemporary standards, and I wondered if they rather served as part of the contextual "concert" set-up for the relational experiments that were to transpire.

Deacon suggested more than once that people should put their cameras away, presumably because they tend to remove the shooter from emotional immersion in the action.

In the next exercise, Deacon directed the crowd to form a large circle and designated two team leaders who selected others, who in turn selected others, all to compete in a dance contest. Clearly, for a good and unforgettable time, nothing beats actually DIY'ing it, esp. in front of a lot of other people. In the next experiment, Deacon selected one fellow from the crowd and directed everyone else to mimic him in a giant "Simon Says," thus establishing that the crowd would blindly obey not just Deacon but anyone he might designate. The scene was distinctly tribal; the video here gives a sense of that.

In the next exercise, Deacon directed the crowd to form a human tunnel, with people at the back end running through it to add themselves to the tunnel at the front, so as to gradually extend the tunnel out the front of the Shade Structure and across the street to a building housing the Judd Foundation on the other side. As this action played out, the street was obstructed. A car pulled up, blocked; then two more with cops and flashing lights – though as I understand, Marfa only has one police officer; but presumably they'd mustered others from surrounding towns (the nearest being a half hour away).

It was a demonstration of the power of the crowd, for good or ill, even against the police; though the latter seemed merely amused, if not actually complicit.

The concert functioned as a participatory, relational art performance very much concerned with how individuals and perhaps esp. crowds react when under certain conditions directed to carry out certain protocols. Most of the attendees had a fun, perhaps heart-warming or even uplifting experience; for me, the implications seemed a bit more complex and even ambivalent. Organized into concerted effort, we're all but invincible; but we also have a disturbing proclivity to suspend not just our disbelief but our critical faculties, and the collective can be deployed to discourage independence.

I also liked Adam Bork's installation (right), at El Cosmico; more pics and vidis of all that starting here.

You can find more visuals of more works, and links to more info, starting here.

October 8, 2009

Affordable Healthcare for ALL (Even Artists)

Sun., Oct. 25, 11 - 12:00: PAC-WE "flash mob" convenes at the Morton Meyerson Symphony Hall, Dallas, TX, under the Mark di Suvero sculpture (the big orange-ish - red, x-ish, pendulum thing).

Many if not most artists and art professionals are independent contractors who must either pay dearly for health insurance or go without. PAC-WE is being organized in order to demonstrate in support of the meaningful health insurance reform so many of us badly need. As I understand, yellow ponchos will be provided in return for a very small donation, for participants to wear. The organizers write,

PAC-WE: An ACTION by and for the North Texas Art Community calling for health care reform.

PAC – WHAT? The Professional Artist Coalition is a ‘flash mob action’ creating a bright public yellow signal for health care reform. A first for Dallas, and this cause.

PAC - WHO? The North Texas art community. This includes thousands of citizens daily engaged in the visual, performing, literary, media, and commercial arts.

PAC- WHERE? Morton Meyerson Symphony Hall- convene under the di Suvero Sculpture ‘Proverb/ Pendulum for preparation of happening.

PAC- HOW? Show up and bring your friends, your coffee and donuts.

PAC- WHY? Because artists of any kind stand with the American people to demand a change to the status quo of a broken health care system. Because artists are unique victims of the health care status quo. Most are independent contractors, uninsured or underinsured. Because artists are fed up with other PAC's (Political Action Committees) funded by insurance and drug companies that are fighting to care for profits instead of health. Because the North Texas art community realizes that at the very moment that Dallas is celebrating its new PAC (Performing Arts Center), with architects and programming imported from elsewhere, it has no plan to sustain its own creative community. Because artists have been silent and invisible for too long when it comes to the health and care of our society.

PAC WE - The Origin of the Concept. PAC MAN is a sign of consumption. We often consume health care and culture without thinking about its wider context. We don't ask why healthcare costs so much or why so many are left without it.

We also don't ask about the livelihoods and healthcare of the artists that are seen as culture providers. Since the cuts in arts funding on a national and local level (most notably during the culture wars of the 1990s) artists have been cultural workers who contribute to our communities with little or no support in return.

But PAC MAN is also a sign of the earliest glimmer of technology and its promise for the future. When it was invented in the 1980's we would never have guessed that the internet would create a world that was so connected and empowered by the access to information. These qualities drive this event by connecting us and empowering us, based on our access to information that is so condemning of the status quo. These qualities bring us together on this day for this action.

We use the yellow color of PAC MAN as a sign of wisdom, optimism, clarity and awareness.
At left is a map of the location/route (click on the image for a larger version). See PAC-WE's facebook page, and more details soon at PAC-WE.

ALSO, MoveOn is holding a "Whose side are you on?" rally at noon on Wed., Oct. 14, at Senator John Cornyn's Office in north Dallas at 5001 Spring Valley Rd., Dallas (map).