Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Music Non Stop...

The man that hath no music in himself,
Nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds,
Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils;
The motions of his spirit are dull as night,
And his affections dark as Erebus.
Let no such man be trusted.

- William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice. Act. v. Sc. 1.


Tuesday, October 30, 2007


It's funny how the colors of the real world only seem really real when you viddie them on a screen.

- Alex DeLarge

(What am I looking at ???)

Monday, October 29, 2007

Ask a Frenchman!

Q: Excuse me are you from France?
A: Oui, bien sur...
Q: What do you think of America? Don't you just love it?!
A: Considering we invented it, no.
Q: Golly, that's a funny thing to say. What's your name mister?
A: Baudrillard, Jean Baudrillard...
Q: Now tell me Mister Bo... Mister, what do you really think of America?
A: A sociosphere of exhibitions of inhibitions in massive or homeopathic doses...: this is obscenity. All structures turned inside out and exhibited, all operations rendered visible. In America this goes all the way from the bewildering network of aerial telephone and electric wires ... to the concrete multiplication of all the bodily functions in the home, the litany of ingredients on the tiniest can of food, the exhibition of income or IQ.
Q: Good Golly! Those words!! What you are saying is like a blasphemy! Isn't it?
A: Apparently so. But one wonders what your founding fathers would make of your country if they saw it today. Would they call it a blasphemy too?

("Good Luck Assholes: Thomas Jefferson's Vision of Death" by Eric Beltz
- via Acuna Hansen Gallery)

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Dia de los Muertos...

I know the Day of the Dead is a few days off, but after yesterday's grand mort celebration in Hollywood Forever Cemetery, followed by a boozy tour of downtown art galleries and finally some faintly memorable house party in Los Feliz hosted by a lady in a very saggy wonderwoman costume, well, let's just say that today I can see ghosts rising from bodies all around me... time to reanimate with two tripple espressos and a vigorous workout. Viva resurrections!

Saturday, October 27, 2007


A very normal guy and author of my favorite play: "The Lady Who Loved Lightning."

Friday, October 26, 2007

IT guy...

Play it this way, play it that way, play it again and again. Spin it, twist it, stretch it, hide it, bury it. What childish fun! With all this spinning and playing we run very little risk of having to confront this "it" head on. Must be terrifying whatever "it" is...

Thursday, October 25, 2007

My challenge to automakers...

It's simple:

Beautiful, safe, affordable cars with zero environmental impact.

Scrap the current system, it's not working. (OK, Toyota, you get points for trying.) But I'd like to see what's happened to the bloated music industry happen to the petrified auto industry. Let the independents have a go. Bypass the greedy, controlling manufacturers. Or at least scare them into action. Look, we have a National Highway Safety Administration. It's there to prevent unsafe cars from driving on our roads. Let's use them. Get them on board this challenge (once we rethink their super-nerdy website/image, that is)

If the X-Prize Foundation was willing to host a high-profile competition in order to create a "practical" private spaceship (note that the contest attracted hundreds of millions of dollars of invaluable research and experimentation in pursuit of the $10,000,000 booty) can I challenge them to take the Gazpachot challenge as their next challenge? Certainly humanity can benefit more immediately and significantly from a new wave of safe, clean, and attractive autos. In the meantime, keep making those spaceships - we might need them to get out of here if we keep this up!

UPDATE: Gadzooks, It exists!!!
Well, I'd rather be a lazy editor than an angry dreamer...

(A 1938 Bugatti 57SC Atlantic that emits sunflowers)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


In which Frere Jacquespachot considers just how easy it would be for a terrorist to create havoc in a day with a pack a matches, simply by driving up the California coast lighting fires... The coverage on these fires has been very one noted. Virtually no explanation or investigation, just reports of evacuations and acres lost. Are we missing some detail?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Red Wind...

"Those hot dry winds that come down through the mountain passes and curl your hair and make your nerves jump and your skin itch. On nights like that every booze party ends in a fight. Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husbands' necks. Anything can happen.”
— Raymond Chandler on the Santa Ana's

Monday, October 22, 2007

Giant shoulders...

Historical cultures that today pride themselves on the accidental remains or achievements of their predecessors run the risk of becoming lazy and/or self-important. And it ain't just cultures, it's people too, with the blue bloods and the famous dead relatives and the dusty heirlooms. Oy! In order to really live, we must resist the temptation to borrow from lives that are not and should not be our own. What came before is there for us to marvel at and learn from. It is generally our fear of our own powers of creation and our own insignificance that cause us to use the past as a currency or a validator. Don't do it!

("Hercules, Vaux-le-Vicomte, France. 1998" by Michael Kenna)

Sunday, October 21, 2007

A failed attempt...

I'm not so sure that last night's "Lights Out" experiment was too successful here in LA. I would imagine that there was more compliance in San Francisco, where people not only talk about being green, they take action. Frere Pigatschmo was worried that the streets would be filled with "freaked out" citizens when suddenly the city shut down to total blackness. Scanning the landscape at around 8:30, there were a few dark patches, but things looked pretty much the same. Of course the giant skyscrapers downtown remained fully illuminated. I'm sure there were lots of hard working souls in them (on a Saturday night!)

As part of a new job I have, I go into huge office buildings with completely empty floors - like 10 - 20,000 square feet per floor - there's no carpeting, there's no toilets, but without fail, the a/c is blasting and the lights are all on 24/7. In some cases, not only is the a/c blasting, but you'll find open windows or doors cooling the air outside. Is this an attempt to bring the global temperature down? Genius! By the way, it's supposed to be 101 degrees in LA tomorrow, which I think has something to do with the Santa Ana's, but still, can we get Al Gore over here with some palm fronds and a bucket of wine coolers?

(satellite photo of 2003 blackout in Northeast)

Saturday, October 20, 2007

The Cage Girls of Bombay...

"Today the trade in voyeurism has been turned about. After the curious European visitor has inspected Bombay’s famed Towers of Silence, where the bodies of the Parsi dead are picked clean by vultures, he may then proceed to Bombay’s famed libidinous quarter – to streets with old Imperial names, Grand Road and Falkland Road, where Indian prostitutes solicit their clients from cages. Many of them are children, kidnapped or bought from Indian villages. Others are hijras, transvestites or eunuchs castrated shortly after birth. Prices are cheap the average in rupees is the equivalent of 20 pence but few Europeans who have come to scoff remain to pay, and trade is mainly plied with Indians of the lower middle-class. For the European, therefore, the common Bombay prostitute has remained merely a tourist curiosity, a beckoning unfortunate imprisoned in a cage."
{From a London Times Article, 1981}

Seems that everyone wants to get with a girl even if the girls are sometimes really boys. It doesn't seem to matter, femininity is the battleground of lust.

See more of Mary Ellen Mark's brilliant Falkland Road photo's here.

Snarky note to self: Formula for winning Best Documentary Oscar - take an old but great photography book that lots of people have, but have forgotten, make a cloyingly sweet documentary on the subject, put your concerned visage on screen a lot too, act like Audrey Hepburn in Kate Hepburn's hack-around slacks.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Leave the bubble at home...

People in LA, including me, complain of "the bubble" - the disconnectedness and isolation you can experience in such a sprawling megacity. It used to make me crazy, but now I accept that there will be periods of complete aloneness, even though my friends or some interesting distraction may only be a mile or so away. I enjoy these quiet times and use them to feed off of whatever I've got in me. (You'd be surprised at what you can find lying around in your psyche!) Then, of course, there are the fast and action-packed, super-social times where life becomes very sensorially oriented and time moves in a different way. Very little conscious production goes on here, it's all impulse and instinct. Errors are made. Time and space move like waves and so one's job, by default, becomes surfer extraordinaire. The worst is when you bring your bubble to the wave machine. Either your bubble's gonna crack and spill you on to the street like an egg yolk, or the world is going to seem more out of reach than ever.

(photo by Melvin Sokolsky)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

She knew where she was going...

Listening to the very sad and pretty new Radiohead song "House of Cards" and realizing, only in death, how much I liked the actress Deborah Kerr as her obituary tops the NY Times site this morning. Funnily, I'm just putting together a package for someone containing Night of the Iguana, a film in which she is excellent.

We come and we go.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

And the Anagrammy goes to...

"Vivian Darkbloom"


Tuesday, October 16, 2007


At the old place, we had rats in the pachysandra. I never saw them but others say they did. Oh sure you'd hear rustling and high pitched barks every now and then, and if something fell off the porch, it generally stayed off the porch. The dog's legs often had deep clotted bites on them. That corroborated the theory nicely. There was ivy on the house. The whole place was covered in god damned plants. We had to have a man come out and rip down the ivy because the tiny roots were getting into the bricks and the grout and letting water in. The house was getting soggy and might fall down said the man. I asked if he knew anything about rats. He laughed and said, I'll bet your pachysandra's full of them! That house was god damned ugly without the ivy. Now we live in an apartment. Noisy neighbors and ants everywhere. And rats climbing up the pipes outside the window.

(photo by Jason Evans)

Monday, October 15, 2007

Non-blind spots...

You spend your days chasing a vividness, on the cusp of something, groping in gray matter, for what you don't know. It seldom arrives, the arms flail, and you agonize over its arrival, which is actually a return, since you've held it before. Patience or madness or both.

(photo by Jason Evans)

Sunday, October 14, 2007


September 20, 1961 The White House...

The President was in excellent form - very lively, pungent, and vigorous. I was delighted to see that he was particularly concerned with the role of the business community. He began by saying that he was struck by the paradox that, while labor leaders individually were often mediocre and selfish, labor as a body took generally enlightened positions on the great issues; while businessmen were often enlightened as individuals but invariably took hopeless positions on public issues. He said several times that he now understood FDR's attitude toward the business community.

- From the journals of Arthur M. Schlesinger, White House Aid.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Why DID she cross the road?

Comedians have a tough job, but not as tough as the dramatist’s. The comedian experiences a significant instance of life, and in their utter fear of its depth, take it to the public square, where the instance is hog-tied and humiliated into nothingness before a crowd of rowdy and lazy-brained spectators. Comedians are the executioners of profundity and the diffusers of serious exploration. They are the purveyors of the eternal now and laughter as a sedative.

The dramatist is a determined interrogator. He or she spends long hours locked up with the significant instance, grilling it, rejecting its confessions, turning it over, slicing its innards, sucking out it’s blood drop by drop like a vampire. The dramatist is allowed to pass beyond superficial realms of the sensual present, through the Gates of Seriousness. In this place of advanced understanding colors are more vivid, words are more carefully chosen, emotions and ideas grow in complex chains, and the seconds of each minute are fuller and more nuanced. The suffering and wisdom of the ages floods the happy-go-lucky cartoon of the present and reveals an entirely new terrain.

OK, I go to extremes. But in adulthood, after our schooling, we are all left with a problem: How to balance our instinctual, infantalized, magical outlook with our probing, rationalized, learned behaviors? Without discipline, we tend to revert back to childhood, to the sensation of an immediate present, to the tonic of laughter, to magic. It's not a crime. But it's very worth recognizing the consequences of this.

(Featherless chicken created by genetics faculty at the Rehovot Agronomy Institute)

Friday, October 12, 2007

Dream robots are real... (but dead.)

I think it's great that Al Gore won the Nobel Prize and I'm guessing that he will probably quit while he's ahead. The cautious gambler who's lost big before rarely puts much on the table after a big win. But really, while it's nice to have a clean green planet and all, I honestly think that the world will be saved by dancing robots.

Seriously, I am intrigued by the idea of peppering society with robots who consistently display human virtues and talents as exemplars and reminders of our better selves. Sony's QRIO ("Quest for cuRIOsity") robosapien was slated to be available to the public in 2009, but alas they mysteriously killed the project last year. These unbelievably fluid little bots can carry on conversations, adapt to a multitude of environments and — most importantly — mimic human movements, including complex dance routines as seen here in Beck's "Hell Yes!" video.

There was a time when people thought robots would destroy the Earth. How nice, if instead, they could have taught us to put down our weapons and get funky. So thanks Sony for pulling the plug on a brighter future. You gave us Betamax and kept QRIO for yourselves. Lame!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Sky mower...

Ultra-vivid dreams of gleaming squadrons of good helicopters whose blades actually cut the pollution out of the sky in blue grass-like clippings which fell towards Earth in tiny fireballs. This crazy film will have to do as a substitute, since there is no service I know of that samples your nightly dreams and leaves crisp, representative images in your inbox.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

A great, fully-ripened power...

John Huston, whom I admire greatly, was probably an unbearably selfish prick at some level, but he had the good sense to live in an era where his charisma and talent cast a protective shield all around him. "The Night of the Iguana," though troubled, is such a fantastic collision of personality types, it crackles with life and profundity. Not to mention that these characters were animated by some of the largest egos on the planet in 1964. Talk about a critical mass. If you haven't seen it (recently) get thee to a Netflix!

I have been predicting a remake with Bill Murray in the Richard Burton role, Charlotte Gainsburg in the Deborah Kerr role, Selma Hayek in the Ava Gardner role, and someone new in the Sue Lyon role. Is someone on this? Or will I have to do it myself, like everything else around here... Sheesh.

Very cool "Night of the Iguana" documentary here and here (pt 1 & 2).

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Just do it...

"Fear of trying causes paralysis. Trying causes only trembling and sweating."

- Mason Cooley

("Capricho Maelouca" by Carlo Giovanni)

Monday, October 08, 2007

The Modern Condition (and a solution)...

Gadzooks! Dan Clowes really captures a type of alienation we all know in his Sunday NY Times Magazine comic Mr. Wonderful. (read it here) Many of us are guilty of living in our own heads, it is a natural response to the chaos and protocols of society.

At some point we discover that we can not control civilization, but we can exert some influence over the shape and direction of our inner life. This slide into mild solipcism can lead to an imbalance, an incompatibility, or a reality deficit. It's not a crime, and certainly much great art and thought is the result of renouncing the world. But it can definitely numb one to the "subtle nuances of human interaction." Which is a shame, since the quality of our short lives is inextricably linked to our contacts with other people and Nature itself.

So, if the modern condition dulls our social will and our reality interface, in short: our ability to act, what should we do about it? I've been working on a "Reality Boot Camp" concept for a while - sort of a summer camp for beleaguered adults. Remember in all those Bond movies where Q shows 007 around a secret elite forces training camp? Something like that...

The idea is to activate dormant skill sets - to unspool our snarled consciousness in real time and space, to re-confirm our existence and our power, to challenge memory, physical agility, problem solving, communication, emotions, the intellect, and the soul in an environment that is highly stimulating and rejuvinating at the same time. A place to sharpen the human apparatus and repair frayed nerve endings. What's the curriculum? I'm not going to get into it here. I've talked to a number of doctors and professors about this and have come up with what I think would be the greatest, most re-humanizing week-long vacation a person could ever have. If you're interested drop me a line.

If you're not interested in any of this, then may I at least direct your attentions to this outstanding article on squirrels?

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Heaven Limited...

Did you ever wake up and feel as though someone made a terrible clerical error and gave Wes Anderson your job?

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Wooden Mirror...

Daniel Rozin's wooden mirror is rather remarkable, woudn't you say? He's made many others, and I'm especially partial to the peg mirror. Mesmerizing!

Friday, October 05, 2007

Fall comes...

The sun was white and low now, not the radiant golden bath that shaped our days and nights just a few weeks ago. My skin felt different and I began to see flashes of my winter self in the mirror. A horror set in and, as usual, I repressed it.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Mirrors in orbit...

“When the flight is not high the fall is not heavy.”
– Chinese Proverb

Sputnik's launch struck fear in the hearts of men - with a Soviet satellite orbiting Earth the end was surely near. Fifty years later, we have sputnik to thank for laptop computers and iPods and warm winter clothes and perhaps the coolest technological show down our species has ever known...

In a sense, Sputnik was Stendhal's mirror (see Tuesday) writ large. Super large. Climb a tree, a hill, a mountain – height always brings us important new information about the world around us. That information, documented properly, can be used strategically for personal, political, and military gain, but it can also shed light on our collective place in a much larger mystery.

Happy birthday Sputnik. And a Happy World Animal Day too.

(apologies to Nick Brandt)

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Who says narcissistic reflection is about self-love?

Self-hatred fuels the whole techological effort to make the world over anew. People can't bear failing the world by their very existence, nor the world failing them. We've sown disorder everywhere, and in wishing to perfect the world, we end up failing ourselves. It's on this failing that all religions thrive. You have to pay. In the past, it was God who took the reprisals; now we do it. We have undertaken to inflict the worst upon ourselves, and to engineer our disappearance in an extremely complex and sophisticated way, in order to restore the world to the pure state it was in before we were in it.

- Jean Beaudrillard

("Metamorphosis of Narcissus" by Salvador Dali)

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Paper Mirror...

French author Marie-Henri Beyle, better known as Stendhal, famously summarized his craft this way: "A novel is a mirror carried along a high road." In other words, as readers we gaze into this mirror and see a reflection of a much larger world than we could possibly take in ourselves. A world in reverse.

Apropos to this, Stendhal Syndrome (named after the writer's overwhelming reaction to the city of Florence), is a psychosomatic illness that causes rapid heartbeat, dizziness, confusion and even hallucinations when an individual is exposed to extreme beauty, exceptional art, or aesthestically rich environments. I see it as a kind of nausea that arises upon the realization of how much non-beauty we endure in life as compared to how much beauty is capable of being collected and concentrated in creative endeavors.

Incidentally, I have a similar reaction to industrial-sized food containers. Nothing sends me into apoplexies of dementia like a 60 gallon drum of cocktail olives.

("Not to Be Reproduced/La Reproduction Interdit," by René Magritte, 1937)

Monday, October 01, 2007

The circles of life...

A comedy about depression.
A love about lust.
A drama about comedy.
A hate about love.
A depression about drama.
A lust about hate.
A comedy about comedy.
A love about love.