I’m all for a big sign that says “Happy Solstice”, but if atheists are just boring blowhards with no design skills, they will surely perish. I will design anti-myth anti-Christmas displays for these people next year for a nominal fee and I might actually believe in a higher power and I am totally okay with “Myth”. You can hate on lapsed, ambivalent Roman Catholics all you want, but we know how to make shit look cool. This crazy lady protesting your display is 50 X more compelling to look at than the lame display she’s standing next to —And she knows it! Let’s bring a little of what she’s got back into this Season of Nothing Special Except Shorter Days and Longer Nights that you guys (don’t) celebrate. Whaddayasay?
I can see if you hate museums you’re gonna hate museums (and I can definitely see hating those Jason Schwartzman/Baldessari things), but being mad at Pacific Standard Time simply for existing to me seems weird, like getting mad at Elektra for releasing Forever Changes on CD in the ‘90’s instead of just leaving it on vinyl for eternity or something. Are we really too important to appreciate good old things in a non-mildew-covered format? You tell me—-write one thousand comments below…
I went to a Simon Reynolds lecture last night at CalArts. Technically, I left a little early because he was more or less paraphrasing an enormous essay in front of everyone and it got a little redundant. His subject? Copying stuff. More specifically, he was investigating further into the realm of unoriginality on the heels of the release of his book Retromania. Apparently other people don’t see “Pop culture’s addiction to its own past” as such a bad thing, and in fact a lot of people consider the very idea of originality inherently false! Well, the hyper-conceptualized-postmodernbotted students of CalArts don’t necessarily need to be told that the eleven billionth time, but I guess this is news to Reynolds. Fair enough! Anyway, he referenced a recent piece by Ubu web guru and WFMU D.J. and Poet-in-his-own-right Kenneth Goldsmith, and I happened to stumble upon that piece this morning in my regular rounds of internetting. It’s good stuff! Concise and well considered and not a manifesto, more like a vouching for an approach to writing that jives more appropriately with the contemporary landscape. Check it out here.
One of my favorite songs by The Move also happens to be completely racist. The chorus says it all “I could find a good-time girl in Chinatown” and “See the Eastern Ladies walk in Chinatown!” Good times indeed. I guess this guy wants a taste of “the orient” to supplement the tea and biscuits he’s getting at home. This fucking song starts with a gong hit. Lots of exoticization here, including “maybe I’ll drink your jasmine tea, then I’ll hurry home…” Slide guitar is employed to evoke Chinese classical music, and some “authentic” cloppy percussion is also discernible. At around the halfway point there’s an extremely cringe-worthy “Neehowawaaa” backup vocal happening. Despite all of that, it’s got a really good beat and for all the corny ignorance of the sonic pastiche, it makes the music pretty interesting to listen to. Makes me appreciate George Harrison’s restraint at not writing stuff like “I could find a a happy hooker in old Bombaaay!!” for the Sgt. Pepper album.
I missed all the live events at High Desert Test Sites yesterday, but I think there’s one more today at 2pm. I will probably miss that too. I will be lucky to see maybe two of the pieces in HDTS this year if I leave in the next ten minutes. I missed all the cool parties and events. Don’t care. Being in your thirties and being of no significance has its advantages, like useful apathy. Having said all that, I am still going. I’m going, goddamnit. I’ll report on my findings later.
So I was at MOCA a lot this week. Checked out one of three parts of Liz Glynn’s Engagement Party project. It was epic and a little dangerous, as is the way of Liz Glynn. This was not as terrifying as the culmination of IIII wherein Glynn assembled a pyramid out of shipping palettes, lit sacrificial credit cards and other stuff on fire in the center of it, then disassembled the pyramid with the help of all innocent bystanders Egyptian-slave-style on the side of a very steep hill in Lincoln Heights. At no point was I concerned someone might die. But there was some fear that someone might get an eye injury, as the evening culminated with Glynn smashing tinted shatter-glass with a firehose nozzle. At the end of the evening there was to be waltzing on the broken shatter-glass, and all were meant to participate, but general shyness and MOCA’s need to evade litigation curbed some of the vibe, as the smashed stuff was stanchioned off and no one knows how to waltz. The music was excellent. Weirdly, some kind of child prodigy w/ long hair and a metal t-shirt was cajoled by his dad to lay down some junior maestro shit after the waltz idea was shelved, and a weird dude parked a jeep that was blasting Michael Jackson in the loading space directly in front of the museum, came out carrying what appeared to be fruit in plastic bags, carried a Bible around, and knelt and prayed before the child prodigy playing piano in what I’m assuming was a combination tongue-in-cheek-insurrection/acting-out-of-schizophrenic-tendencies. Then he drove away again as abruptly as he appeared. In general, this was good art, either despite or because of these extraneous performances impinging on Liz Glynn’s otherwise fairly elegant design. Here’s more on this piece, it’s pretty complicated: http://www.moca.org/party/lizglynn/
Hey guess what? Even before I did that, I checked out Under the Big Top of the Big Black Black Hole Sun at MOCA Geffen and it’s an excellent show. My favorite thing was “Big Wrench” by Chris Burden, wherein he explains his process of rationalizing the insane purchase of a big rig truck that doesn’t work, his various sick power fantasies involving the truck, and his eventual liberation from what turned out to be an evil, cursed vehicle.
Dear Lord, did I make a THIRD trip to MOCA in the past 10 days? Damn straight. To catch the last day of the Lynda Benglis show. This show featured The Amazing Bow Wow , a 30 minute video that is definitely NOT about a child rapper. I saw this video a couple of years ago and found it incredibly discomfiting and perversely inspiring. Otherwise, my friend Brian reviewed the show in a text message to me this afternoon: “Blobs and dildos”. If you’ve been in Los Angeles, hunkering for blobs and dildos in plastic and bronze, you missed your big chance! I will say this, stuff that was day-glo in the ‘70’s does not stay that way for 40 years. Much of the work in this show looked like if you were in Brobdignag, checking out the melted wad of Play-Doh a 13 foot toddler left under the 30 foot radiator.
That’s my MOCA adventure for the month! I shan’t be back for awhile. My only other two cents: Black Flag is overrepresented in the MOCA Geffen gift shop.