Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The Cross

Tag Gallagher on Carl Dreyer.

The complete masterpiece.

Friday, October 9, 2015

The Dream Killers

Where have Drive-Ins, Revival Houses, Movie Palaces, and Independent Cinema gone?

Monday, October 5, 2015

The Way We Live Now

When the great Robert Hughes died in 2012, he left behind a body of criticism unmatched by any other English-language art critic of the 20th- (or 21st-) century: in print (The Fatal Shore, Nothing If Not Critical, Barcelona, American Visions, Things I Didn't Know); in lectures; on screen (The Shock of the New, American Visions, Goya). His love and understanding of hundreds of years of Western creation were exceeded only by his genius at putting us inside that love. And by his despair. Hughes's first and perhaps greatest masterpiece was the 1979-80 book and television series The Shock of the New. Even in those early days Hughes fears and warns us about what is to come: the commodification of not only all forms of human art, but all forms of human life. He saw it coming; and it came, worse than Hughes or anyone else could have imagined. And it broke his heart.

2008's The Mona Lisa Curse was his swan song, a hymn of despair for all that had been lost: a faith in the power of art to make things better, to change the world, to change men's souls, to heal and to sooth, to take us out of ourselves rather than to drive us back into separation and confusion, art's desire to know and to tell the truth, its unremitting earnestness. As it would turn out, Hughes would tilt at capitalist windmills the whole of his marvelous career, because even in 79-80 (before Reagan!) all these things were already going, going from our hearts, paving the way for the Time of the Assassins: Koons, Schnabel, Basquiat, Richard Prince, Salle, Baudrillard, Damien Hirst, Mapplethorpe, Longo, the Whitney. Worse was to come, of course, yet Robert Hughes kept tilting for us, kept reminding us.
Forty or even thirty years ago anyone, amateur or expert, could spend an hour or two in a museum without wondering what this Tiepolo, this Rembrandt, this de Kooning might cost at auction. Thanks to the unrelenting propaganda of the art market this is no longer the case, and the imagery of money has been so crudely riveted onto the face of museum-quality art by events outside the museum that its unhappy confusion between price and value will never again be resolved. It is like the bind in the fairy tale: At the bottom of the meadow a treasure lies buried. It can be dug up -- under one condition: that while digging, you do not think of a white horse.

Thursday, October 1, 2015


And on a scale of 1 to 100, this episode pretty much reaches the top: "One Hundred Terrible Hours" from 5/5/65.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Every Tuesday Morning

The Great Black Hope, every Tuesday in the White House:

Easily the strongest and most complex American fiction film on the corporate-vampire cesspool from which 9/11 was born, there's not a chance in hell that Stephen Gaghan and George Clooney's Syriana (2005) would be considered for production in the Land of the Drone Killer, a one-eyed land where fascist midgets such as Christopher Nolan, Kathryn Bigelow, Beau Willimon (ooh la la), Seth MacFarlane, D.B. Weiss and David Benioff stand tall. George Clooney (George Clooney!) now begs for financing. And the immensely talented (and brave) Stephen Gaghan? Hasn't made a movie since.

From the Golden Age of Bush/Cheney, Syriana.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Unto Others

One of 1000s of extreme human moments from The Wire:

Human moments. Not House Negro greasy-pole climbing moments featured in Orange is the New Black. (Four Emmy nominations in 2015 while even the show title is worthy of a Fashionista.) And surely no "How to Be a Hedge Fund Hipster" lessons, for all the office-operator mediocrities out there, bellowed about in Game of Drones. (Twenty-four 2015 Emmy nominations, a dozen wins, including Best TV Drama. Yuck yuck.)

David Simon's The Wire ran from 2002 to 2008. Number of Emmy nominations: two. Numbers of wins: zero.


Friday, September 25, 2015

St. Francis

Who could have imagine it, prayed for it? More than 50 years after the death of Pope John XXIII (all three Witnesses for Peace in 1963 -- John XXIII, Nikita Khrushchev, John F. Kennedy -- would be dead or deposed within a year), 50 years of Paul VI's rollback of Pacem in Terris, the murder of John Paul I, John Paul II (the CIA Pope) and his support (née silence) regarding all things Reagan/Thatcher, all things corporatist and privatized, and fascist altar-boy Joseph Ratzinger ~ we have Jorge Mario Bergoglio. Pope Francis.

Who was it who said "the enemy of my enemy is my friend"? Look at the pile-on as Francis tours the world: over here we have Leftoids & Femoids bleating about sexual abuse of parishioners, gays, the separation of Church and State, gays, abortion, divorce, gays, and female ordinations. Over there we see Donald Tramp and the Fox News baboons howling about sexual abuse of parishioners, the separation of Church and State (from US reactionaries, no less!), abortion, divorce, and the Holiest of Holies: The Free Market. Yet to define the Catholic Church by the likes of its more recent Popes and their fellow pederasts is like defining togetherness along the lines of the Manson Family. In the face of virulent attacks from Rome (most of them directed by Ratzinger), the magnificent socialist liberations across Central and South America flow from Liberation Theology as does the continuing model of the Cuban Revolution.

The timing of the original attacks on the Church, ignited by the child abuse scandals, has always smelled. One thinks of Chomsky's defense of government: "There's a lot of things wrong with government, but what the US Elites hate about it is what is right: that government is reachable and controllable by the people, that it is the only weapon available against increasing privatization and inequality." The attempt to destroy the public face of the Catholic Church -- a jihad coincidentally began under the most extreme WASP war administration in US history -- emerged to destroy what is right with the Church: its remaining preference for the poor, its involvement with anti-war, anti-globalist, anti-capitalist movements across the world.

As far as is known, no part of the Catholic Church is currently engaged in the destruction of Palestinian and other Middle Eastern cultures, homes, women, children or old men. Nor is the Church part of the Holy WASP Capitalist Crusade against the world in places like Iran, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Syria, Pakistan or Afghanistan. (Or Greece.) Let's face it, the buggery of children has gone on forever in the hallowed halls of:

Yale Skull & Bones
The Council on Foreign Relations
The TriLateral Commission
Sullivan and Cromwell
The Carlyle Group
Lutherans, Calvinists, and Presbyterians
Methodists, Anabaptists, and Anglicans

And all the other WASP bloodsuckers who have caused the deaths of billions of people over the past centuries.

So who could have hoped for someone like this Pope, a man who speaks of tenderness and modesty, the end of capitalism and corporatism, who embraces once again Liberation Theology and the Church's preference for the poor, who prays for the destruction of the "altar of money" and a return to a love of the earth.

Let us embrace him and pray for his safety and for the safety of all those he embraces.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Trane at 89

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Atone This

Jeffrey St. Clair with more deep background.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Money Makes the World (Trade Center) Go Down

And yet another week of grease, lice, halitosis, body odor, shit, piss, bed bugs, scum, vomit, and how po' widdle us was attacked because of all we have; because of how jealous the low-life darkies of the world are of it.

Actually. . . .

Sunday, September 13, 2015

A Taste of Honey

Anne Francis. Better yet. Anne Francis in a full-body black silk leotard, high-heeled black boots, and black leather gloves, kicking the tar out of all the bad guys; and one of the great erotic experiences of the 1960s. . .

The premiere episode of Honey West from September of '65: "The Swingin' Mrs. Jones"

Friday, September 11, 2015

Abby is Back

More beautiful and righteous than ever.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Then and Now

First Day of Elementary School, September 2010.

First Day of Middle School, September 2015.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Time of the Assassins

"The one thing they did not want to hear about was that life is indestructible. Was not their precious new world reared on the destruction of the innocent, on rape and plunder and torture and devastation? Both continents North and South had been violated; both had been stripped and plundered of all that was precious -- in things. No greater humiliation was meted out to any man than to Montezuma; no race was ever more ruthlessly exterminated than the American Indian; no land was ever raped in the foul and bloody way that California was raped by the gold-diggers. I blush to think of our origins -- our hands are steeped in blood and crime. And there is no let-up to the slaughter and the pillage. Down to the closest friend every American is a potential murderer. Often it wasn't necessary to bring out the gun or the lasso or the branding iron -- they had found subtler and more devilish ways of torturing and killing their own. For me the most excruciating agony was to have the word annihilated before it had even left my mouth. I learned by bitter experience to hold my tongue; I learned to sit in silence, and smile, when actually I was foaming at the mouth. I learned to shake hands and say how do you do to all these innocent-looking fiends who were only waiting for me to sit down in order to suck my blood." -- Henry Miller

Thursday, September 3, 2015