Stock photography as interactive art

Here’s a really cool piece of interactive Flash Art. Drill down into the picture by clicking on it. Then keep on going down … it’s kinda hypnotizing. Can you find the rugby players, or the naked man holding the neon hula hoop? The pictures that are made of pictures of themselves are kinda trippy too … it’s easy to find “loops”.

Maybe Getty Images could advertise their wares this way? Update: they do.

Your pinkish pal that’s fun to play with!

At long last, GenPets are here! Once you unwrap this bioengineered critter from its plastic packaging, it makes for a fun and low-maintenance, if rather ugly, companion.  Genes from hibernating creatures keep it fresh on the store shelf until activated.  How cool is that!?  Finally, Bonsai Kittens have some competition … and I’m sure snopes will be on the case soon.

Who put this list together?

Harold Bloom?

The New York Times is set to release it list of the best books of American fiction published in the last 25 years. And although they rated Toni Morrison’s Beloved as number 1 (with which I heartily disagree), of the remaining 24 runners up, there is only one woman (Marilynne Robinson for Housekeeping, which I haven’t read and can’t comment on). Further, the rest of the list reads like the white pages of northeastern Connecticut, with multiple entries for Philip Roth (with 7 of the 24), John Updike (4 entries) and Don Delillo (3), supported by individual nominations for Richard Ford, Mark Helprin, and Raymond Carver. In a nod to the west, Cormac McCarthy got 4 nominations as well.

Uhm, does anyone else see a pattern. This list looks like the modern American version of everyone’s favorite misogynist Harold Bloom’s irritatingly white male Western Canon. Now I’ll go with Underworld as the first runner up. In fact, I’ll say that probably should have been the winner. But having about half of those books, some of them very good, I can’t agree that they are that much better than everything else written since 1980. A few examples:

  • I would recommend Myla Goldberg’s Bee Season over A Confederacy of Dunces any day.
  • Jhumpa Lahiri’s Interpreter of Maladies, which I’m reading now. Sure, it’s short stories, but it beats the socks off anything Mark Helprin ever wrote.
  • The Shipping News, anyone? Charming Billy? The Color Purple?
  • Susan Sontag? Ever hear of Marget Atwood? Carol Shields? Ann Tyler? Joan Didion?
  • And on the male writer front, I would have expected to see maybe some William Styron, Larry McMurtry, maybe an entry from a younger writer like Jonathan Lethem or Jonathan Franzen.
  • I definitely would have put Leif Enger’s Peace Like A River on that list. Like at the number 2 spot after Underword.

Sure. The list is subjective, but it is so undiverse, so full of the same names of white men of about similar ages and narrative outlooks, and is surprising considering the very wide range of writers who voted, so many of them people who desserve to be on the list themselves.




Jane Says

Dress and Serve Greens

“In a series of narrative images ­ a sexy game of cards, a scantily clad lawn mowing seductress looming over a lawn-chair lounging TV dad, Richlovsky explores how desires for excessive consumer goods ­ a suburban house, a nuclear family ­ are in essence sexual desires. In constructions inspired by magazine advertisements from the 1950¹s, she attaches rectangles of painted patterns to the images. The abstract patterns contradict, reinforce, or parody the content and formal qualities of the ambiguous narratives with which they are paired.”

Anyhow, that’s how her press release reads.You maybe don’t even need to know all that to know that you should go see her show. What you should know is that she is an amazing painter. Just go.

Ballard Fetherston Gallery
818 E. Pike Street, Seattle, WA 98122
Gallery Hours:11:00a.m. ­ 5:00p.m.
Tuesday-Saturday and by Appointment

Exhibition dates: April 7th -May 6th
New Paintings by Jane Richlovsky
Artist Reception: Friday April 7th 5-7pm
Artist Gallery Lecture Thursday April 20th 6pm

Adam Gopnik on C. S. Lewis

It seemed like an odd kind of conversion…

For any of you contemplating going to see the Narnia movie:

I was just reading Adam Gopnik’s bit on C. S. Lewis in a recent New Yorker and wanted to share. He had just discussed the fact that C. S. Lewis converted to being a fervent Anglican mid-life when he writes:

It seemed like an odd conversion to other peple then, and it still does. It is perfectly possible, after all, to have a rich romantic and imaginative view of existence–to believe that the world is not exhausted by our physical descriptions of it, that the stories we make up about the world are an important part of the life of that world– without becoming an Anglican. In fact, it seems much easier to believe in the power of the Romantic numinous if you do not take a controversial incident in Jewish religious history as the pivot point of all existence, and a still more controversial one in British royal history as the pivot point of your daily practice… Lewis insists that the Anglican creed isn’t one spiritual path among others but the single cosmic truth that extends from the farthest reach of the universe to the house next door. He is never troubled by the funny coincidence that this one staggering cosmic truth also happens to be the established religion of his own tribe, supported by every institution of the state, and reinforced by the university he works in, the “God-fearing and God-sustaining University of Oxford,” as Gladstone called it.

Probably the Best Album of December

“Every so often an idea comes along that sounds so great on paper that it can’t possibly be wrong. Praise be then that this is one of those rare times, for American Laundromat Records and Face Down Records have jointly dreamt up a concept so disgustingly cool that it can only be a triumph”. Alan Pedder (U.K. Music Journalist)

Shameless promotion of a friend’s indie label… and a “disgustingly” good idea.

“Every so often an idea comes along that sounds so great on paper that it can’t possibly be wrong. Praise be then that this is one of those rare times, for American Laundromat Records and Face Down Records have jointly dreamt up a concept so disgustingly cool that it can only be a triumph”. Alan Pedder (U.K. Music Journalist)

HIGH SCHOOL REUNION features some of our favorite indie artists covering songs from the 80’s most popular teen films. Frank Black, Matthew Sweet, Lori McKenna, John P. Strohm (The Blake Babies), Kristin Hersh (Throwing Muses), and the Dresden Dolls are just several of the great artists covering tracks from films like Pretty in Pink, Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Say Anything, Valley Girl, Repo Man, and more.

The 80’s were unique. There were so many important films that spoke to us as teenagers. The soundtracks were exceptional, and the stories & characters unforgettable. We wanted to tribute these films and songs as a small thank you.

Spin and Billboard have done articles about this little comp. I’ve heard some of the songs on the myspace page and I gotta tell you… they are awesome. American Laundromat Records is already working on another, different but equally genious compilation but I imagine a High School Reunion Vol. 2 won’t be too far behind.
It started shipping today. You can order now.

Good Night and Good Luck

I won’t fill this post with spoilers other than to say that the “romantic” subplot doesn’t really make sense. I will say that it’s a gorgeous film that makes me wish I did the kind of work where I got to sit in a newsroom with a typewriter while George Clooney slouches on a beat up leather sofa nearby, tumbler of scotch in hand.

Here are the questions I asked myself walking away from Good Night and Good Luck:

1. Are the times we’re in now as paranoid as the McCarthy era?
2. Was it a gradual shift, or is there a specific historial moment when TV news became useless twaddle?
3. What would happen if a news anchor or a reporter all of a sudden got a backbone? Does anyone remember seeing that happen in the last 10 years?
4. When is the last time I saw something truly controversial on the evening newsfotainment?
5. Now that Bill Moyers is off the air, who’s doing real news? The News Hour is still on, but increasingly, that seems to be going to the talk show format. You get one pundit on the left, one on the right, and they duke it out. There’s no real reporting. Now is a shadow of its former self. And if I see the trailers for one more Dateline about some marrying guy with 9 wives, well, where’s the news, already?

There were more.

I vote yes for a thought provoking movie. Plus, George Clooney appears to be entering his Robert Redford years – I’m an actor and a producer and a screenplay writer! – and that just makes him hotter.

I don’t know much about opera…

…but I know what I like. And I like Black Box Opera Theater. They’re just getting off the ground as an ensemble, but they’re all pros. Last time, all the hair stood up on my arms and I broke out in goosebumps when their tenor sang; it was that incredible. I finally GOT it. “Oh! THIS is why people like opera! OH!”

The company is having another open house, this time at the Columbia City Theatre. I have’t been down there yet, but it’s supposed to be a remarkable old place. The recital is Sunday the 16th, 2-4, but come at 1:30 for a bite to eat. There’s more information here.

Disclaimer: Carolyn, the mezzo-soprana, is a good friend of mine. In spite of the fact that I’m an opera philistine, she still invites me to her events.