Archive for June 2002


Minding the Gap - My First Exquisite Corpse

June 21st, 2002 — 1:24pm

So it’s nice to see that my first exquis­ite corpse is com­plete, as I was won­der­ing how long it would be before I got to see the final result. What’s an exquis­ite corpse, you say? A sort of col­lage invented by the Sur­re­al­ists, wherein each per­son work­ing on a can­vas sees only a small por­tion of the work done before, and then passes on their con­tri­bu­tion to the next in line. Anony­mous col­lab­o­ra­tive processes always fas­ci­nate me, espe­cially when they expose how ten­u­ous con­text and mean­ing really are. I like the jux­ta­po­si­tion of irrel­e­vant ele­ments, the lunges for mean­ing across dis­con­ti­nu­ities, the idea of inter­rupted and altered mes­sages; there’s much to savor in a good corpse…
Here’s the link:

http://anexquisitecorpse.net/cadavre-exquise/crypt/000122.shtml

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Sartre's "The Age of Reason"

June 16th, 2002 — 12:46pm

Slow to begin, and very, very French, my imme­di­ate reac­tion to this open­ing novel in Sartre’s Roads to Free­dom tril­ogy is pos­i­tive. It is an oddly obvi­ously organic lan­guage, full of ref­er­ences to the flu­ids, flesh, smells, and tex­tures of human­ity; per­haps a con­se­quence of the trans­la­tion? The con­clu­sion took me by sur­prise, again per­haps an after effect of los­ing sub­tleties in the trans­la­tion — or the fact that most of my read­ing was done late at night while about to fall asleep.

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The Hives at The Roxy: Veni Vidi Vexatious

June 13th, 2002 — 10:26am

Instead of a fun and furi­ous live set from an up and com­ing retro Mod punk out­fit, this was a frankly dis­ap­point­ing exam­ple of the mis­for­tu­nate mis­match­ing that occurs when the media appa­ra­tus deter­mines what it wants us to like. Friends loaned me their sec­ond album just as the pub­lic­ity wave was crest­ing a few weeks ago, and I was mildly excited by the energy I heard on repeated lis­ten­ings; their live per­for­mance didn’t sus­tain the feel­ing, how­ever, and given what I saw Tues­day, I wouldn’t rec­om­mend that any­one hop­ing for as much from them on stage as on disc take the time or trou­ble.
The basic prob­lem? Bluntly — Howlin’ Pete Almqvist wouldn’t shut up. I know it’s a chal­lenge to play a full set when your cat­a­log is as brief as theirs, but there’s just no excuse for stop­ping after every two-minute song to chat­ter about how won­der­ful your band is, and how ter­ri­bly enter­tain­ing you just were; espe­cially when it takes you longer to chat­ter about your song than it did to play it in the first place. At it’s worst, this is like musi­cus inter­rup­tus — it demol­ishes the nat­ural cycle of build­ing and releas­ing ten­sion that any dra­matic per­for­mance in the West­ern world not explic­itly billed as exper­i­men­tal should fol­low. I’ve never been this gen­uinely annoyed with a head­line act. I’ll con­fess to feel­ing a bit fraz­zled before I set foot inside the club, as I’d flown up from Atlanta only an hour before the show, after two full days of user research at an engi­neer­ing con­fer­ence (the joys of prac­tic­ing IA on a tight bud­get…), but I wasn’t alone in feel­ing the inter­rup­tions and dis­lik­ing them. On my left was a table of five frus­trated concert-goers yelling the inevitable “You SUCK”, con­tin­u­ously. I’d say it was lack of expe­ri­ence, given their age and new­ness, but I know The Hives have toured for years, and it seemed that their refusal to engage was more capri­cious than acci­den­tal.
Oh, Mooney suzuki was there as well. What’s with the Snake? I didn’t mind their prod­uct (and it had those sly “we’re art school kids lark­ing about with the iden­tity of musi­cians” tim­ber), but the vocal­ist looked and acted too much like Nicholas Cage doing his best Mod impres­sion of Elvis to allow me to sim­ply immerse myself in the music. The drum­mer looked like one of the Nerds from Buffy the Vam­pire Slayer…

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