Friday, March 23, 2012

It's that time again...PAPER TIME

With about 85 pages to write, 4 presentations to give, and many hundreds of pages to read in the next three weeks, I will be more or less absent. But I'll give you a taste of what I'm working on, which, right now, is the art and interventions of Gabriel Orozco. Watch this excellent PBS segment, and enjoy!

Watch Loss & Desire on PBS. See more from ART:21.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Poetry Wednesday

Memory Foam

They knew of no shores,
but still
they washed up
expelled by the sea with such tenderness
that they slept,
and She,
dreaming of an old horse and He,
the boat they had named for it
when it lay on the barn floor in winter

there was no barn
there was no horse and the quiet sea
held no boat.

Annnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnd something not-mine that I love:

by Elaine Terranova

In the heat, in the high grass
their knees touched as they sat
crosslegged facing each other,
a lightness and a brittleness
in their bodies. They touched
like shells. How odd

that I should watch them say goodbye.
What did it have to do with me?

There was my own stillness
and the wasps and the tiny flies
for a long time taking stitches
in the surrounding air and

a comfort I felt, as the wind
tore through, to find the trees
miraculously regaining their balance.

Wanderlust: Vacate/Shunning

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Ballad of Jack and Rose

I've been on a Daniel Day-Lewis kick lately, which eventually led me to watch 2005's The Ballad of Jack and Rose, written and directed by Lewis's wife, Rebecca Miller. Thank goodness. The film is lyrical and gorgeous, and unlike anything else I've ever seen.

The film takes place in the 1980s and  tells the story of Jack Slavin (Daniel Day-Lewis), an environmentally-conscious ex-hippy educated in Scotland and nostalgic for a simpler way of life. He lives in the ruins of a commune off the southeast coast of the United States with his daughter Rose (Camilla Belle), whom he has long sheltered from the corrupt influences of the outside world. When he sickens and begins to die, however, he attempts to introduce her to life beyond the island, and, as her little  world crumbles, so does Rose.

I've read reviews that peg this film as an indulgent, voyeuristic look at an incestuous father/daughter relationship, but I think such judgment entirely misses the nuances of the story.  As cracks form in Rose's universe, she clings to the only real human connection she has. Sickness and an older woman (who, for Rose, can only be a stranger) threaten to take her father from her, and she reacts in the only way she knows. She confuses one kind of love for another, having had only one gauge for it in her memory.

Everything about this film is rich and heady. The colors, the symbolism, the pacing. The soundtrack is perfect. Daniel Day-Lewis is, of course, mesmerizing, but I was also pleasantly surprised by Camilla Belle. Having only ever seen her in 2009's Push and a little Disney made-for-TV movie called Rip Girls way back in 2000, I was skeptical. But she does a nice job here, oscillating between the angelical and the dangerous with ease.


My favorite scene was one at the tail end of the film. Jack has passed away, and Rose sets fire to their Utopic home, intending (as she's been saying throughout the film), to die with him. At the last minute, she changes her mind. It's a gorgeous scene, and one that seems impossible to find (in decent form) on the internet. You can watch here, just ignore the thunderous Thai dubbing after the fade-out:

My only wish is that it had ended with that fade-out (when she's in the boat). I like the ambiguity there., which reminded me very much of the famous final freeze-frame of Les quatre cents coups (1959).

The Brooklyn Beekeeper

This documentary short is positively mesmerizing. Is it too late to divert my art history career and get into beekeeping? Yes? Oh darn.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Little Town, Big Hearts

I'll admit it, I couldn't wait to get out of my home town. Tooooooo small for this kid. But the first weekend in March is better in South Glens Falls than anywhere else. For 35 years, my little high school has been marathon-dancing its way to almost three million dollars, which goes to sick local children, halfway houses, families in need, and so many others. Last year we raised over $326,000. This year, I have a feeling it will be even more. Check it out the website, make a donation, and watch the live video feed here. And read CNN's coverage here.


And the grand total is..... $395,352.19

Way to go Bulldogs!