Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Monday, December 22, 2008
"DECEMBER 22, 1992, NEW YORK: Anthony Robbins publishes the bestselling success manual Awaken the Giant Within, in which he encourages personal and spiritual growth via guided meditation, deep-breathing techniques, firewalking and, most controversially, the ritualistic “molting” of one’s human skin to reveal the gigantic Anthony Robbins clone that lives inside all of us. To date, according to the book, only Robbins himself has been able to achieve this final step."
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Monday, December 15, 2008
Sunday, December 14, 2008
scroll to the bottom and use "day/date" menu at top and "next" button to move through the days/screening times.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
knowing what i know about the logistics of staging the festival, this seems at least one reasonable move, and perhaps one of the only reasonable moves festival leadership might make in light of the timeline (the festival is less than 2 months away). and, as i've said before, Sundance is not the enemy of gay people; queer cinema has found and continues to find a great deal of its momentum via Sundance.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
so but enjoy:
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Words alone cannot do justice to the beauty of these places, but they do capture the absurdity of the Bush plan. Oil and gas drilling in Desolation Canyon? Industrial development along the meandering Green River? The thought makes one wince.
speaking of clunky rhetoric: a few days ago, i saw a woman getting in to her car at the Sam's Club parking lot. she had a bumper sticker that read "DRILL HERE. DRILL NOW. PAY LESS!" it made me sad. you might say that it hurt my feelings. because, i mean, i can be as Darwinian as the next guy, but come on. there are limits to my greed (i like to think). and is it so easy to declare one's contempt for unspeakable beauty, and, oh, the future? i suppose that when you're driving away, it is.
but so, learning about the obnoxious move to pass drilling legislation that bypasses environmental protections and the National Park Service and the Endangered Species Act and basic human decency (i've seen this before -- upper adminsitration makes Big Ugly Move during Summer months, when faculty are away), i'm sadder.
but so now, to contact my representatives.
Monday, November 24, 2008
Sunday, November 23, 2008
when i watch PSH, i think that i have no business believing that i can or ever will act. that's a pretty dark assessment and it's a lot of negativity to associate with a person i admire, but there you go. "sublime," he is, as an actor.
i am not a serious fan of martial arts films, and war sagas often leave me depressed and at the same time empty, abmivalent. but Wong Kar Wai makes such aesthetically moving films -- they work almost beyond content, and as i watch this trailer, i kind of want to get lost in this film.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
from a New York Times article by Micheline Maynard, we don't hear much about GM's earlier electric car (and its untimely "death"), except for this:
G.M. reportedly spent about $1 billion in the 1990s to develop the EV1, which it dropped after saying it could not make money on the cars. The EV1, which was available only in lease deals, sold for the equivalent of up to $44,000 but cost G.M. about $80,000 apiece to make [...]
... which might have us believe that GM simply pulled the plug (sigh) because of simple corporate economics. it wasn't making any money on the car; it was losing money on the car. but the documentary, Who Killed the Electric Car? explores the question in a tougher journalistic mood, so i'm promoting it, here (although it's doing fine on its own and enjoys a certain following).
i don't see much criticism of this tentativeness coming from automakers regarding the "availability" of technologies capable of generating an electric or otherwise non-combustible engine car. maybe director Chris Paine will get, (is currently?) after it. we do have the blog, Revenge of the Electric Car, which seems promising. what is not so encouraging is that in the context of talks for govenrmental "salvation" of the Big 3 automakers, what we hear about the combustible engine and oil dependency (foreign or otherwise) is so frequentrly tempered by a sort of grandfatherly "wisdom" that would have us believe that we simply cannot do what we have already done. what i mean to say is that, yes, it's all very complicated. but to portray a timeline for production of a "plug in" car as a long and difficult road (ugh. sorry) seems like a pretty clunky rhetorical trick, the kind of move that is reserved for election politicking. still, documentarian Paine is optimistic and supportive of GM's current moves, with only a tiny hint of (articulated) reservation.
so but until the new electric car movie is made/comes out, enjoy this clip from Chris Paine's 2006 documentary, Who Killed the Electric Car? ...
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Friday, November 14, 2008
yes, Sundance is in Utah. and yes, the LDS (Mormon) Church, which is centrally located in Utah, does seem to have been quite persuasive in the California vote for Proposition 8. but just as sweeping and derogatory claims about gay people (and their fitness for marriage) are wrong-headed, so too is it rather clunky to plot a boycott of the Sundance Film Festival by virtue of its location in Utah. not everyone in Utah is a member of the Mormon Church (i dare say that many SFF staff and volunteers are not). and well but so as with any religion, there exists a complicated spectrum from absolutism to ambivalence regarding the degrees to which members believe in and adhere to Church dogma. and then beyond the relative "size" of the Church in terms of this complex spectrum of belief and buy-in, pointing at an entire region as a way of categorizing a people is just silly (although i admit that prior to my move here i envisioned bonnets and dour faces and was instead pleasantly surprised to see difference and diversity). so look, Utah's a big state. lots going on. lots, and much of it far beyond the devious orchestration of an LDSified campaign for Proposition 8.
i must also tell you, dear would-be boycotters-who-likely-believe-that-you-are-united-in-a- holy-type-struggle, it is similarly unreasonable to boycott the festival because some SFF films are shown in Cinemark Theaters (only 4 Park City venues out of the 14 total SFF venues, which are located in Park City, Salt Lake City, Sundance Resort in Provo Canyon, and Ogden). True, Cinemark's Chief Executive may indeed have contributed a large sum to the campaign to pass Prop 8, but he did so as a private citizen and not as a representative of Cinemark. but so i'm pretty sure that your plans to boycott Sundance because of location and the donations of one individual are not well reasoned.
think it through. in fact, if you study the films that Sundance routinely supports, you will find that Sundance (the Institute, the Festival) is and has always been remarkably, paradigm-shatteringly supportive of independent queer cinema. i'm just saying.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
so but now that i'm a little filmmaker, i see the jingle as prescient and telling and wonderfully sophisticated (for kids in the '70's? "makin' things with light"??!). here:
Thursday, November 6, 2008
my sister says it makes her brain hurt, but i like it for its comprehensive representation-value. it's a document containing several models of a different kind of electoral map. see the full document via the link, but to get a sense of what you'll find, the map above "represent[s] the effects of the electoral college by scaling the sizes of states to be proportional to their number of electoral votes." nice.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Monday, October 27, 2008
one year, Brad and i had to literally kneel down on the floor and hold parts of our then-faltering projector in place during an entire screening. it was a great upper body workout but also exhausting and ridiculous, one of those freakish independent film festival scenarios you hear about. i wouldn't have known what to do, but Brad did. and sure, the solution was makeshift and awkward and physically painful, but it worked.
also, i'll never forget when we were having some Big Time trouble with 1.) 2 angry directors who were not at all pleased with a tiny technical flaw at the start of the screening of their film (no one in the audience noticed, we were later told), and 2.) some patrons who were not going to get in to a screening and made our Theater Managing lives a little bit of hell while we tried to both solve the problem and do some delightful customer service-type-representing-the-Spirit-of-Sundance good works. but so Brad said, calmly but boldly, "[colorful terms] . . . you're the Theater Manager. It's your theater." nice. simple. validating.
also, just after my first little stint doing extra work at the labs (my first work on a film set, ever), Brad came outside and sat down on the grass beside me and asked, "so, how do you like acting in film?" . . . and he seemed to be asking so sincerely, as if to validate my choice rather than to fuel my already existing insecurities about the decision to go there at all (that is, not to question this as something silly and mundane). it was a lovely moment. i will never forget it.
but so this is a lot of homage. it's not like he isn't coming back (he says he is. the absence is just for '09). so but we will miss you in '09, Brad.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
"here, bonnie. see? this is why you borrowed that term: it is the lens, the way, if you will allow me the sentimental gesture. you have been following the wrong path. oh, sure, it's a lovely path. useful. may take you places. but here. now. this way."
i KNOW. what a big goofball. but that's how it happened (absent voice of ultra-affected muse). so i have a shift in method. i was always going to go (t)here, but now i know why and how and that it is actually the origin rather than the destination. actually, it's both, which is truly fabulous.
Friday, October 17, 2008
a cell phone film i made in DC on New Years Day (thus, the post-apocalyptic feeling of no bodies). i've just joined vimeo and am working it out. i realize the need to enlarge the frame, so if you really want watch this now, i'd go full screen. i'll continue to use this little film to experiment with sizing things up in the frame. i'm still disappionted at my Kairos publication; it is so tiny! . . . hear Michel Gondry's "tiny", or better yet, watch (the real filmmaker):
(n.b., i love the grainy quality of cell phone films, so it's no accident that my film looks kind of dark and moody and slightly unfocused . . . well, not completely).
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Burns does a fantastic job of seeing Warhol as an artist with a history that shaped his art (duh), rather than simply a Fab New Thing who pops onto the scene from out of nowhere and is all about The Now and commercial culture.
i'm amazed at how much i have not known about Andy (jeez w/ my ego!). and although some readings of Warhol's personal history reach a bit to get after what his art is about, it's hard to ignore those readings in light of Andy's long history as a commercial artist and his studies of fine(r) art, all combined with his aching desire for fame as a "real" artist. in Burns' portrayal, Andy finally discovers (after many failed attempts at hanging with Jasper Johns, et al; they rejected him because of his commerical past [come on. that's funny] and because of his gayness, although Johns and Rauschenberg were quietly lovers) . . . so but Andy sees that fame isn't always or necessarily manipulated into being (although . . .) but rather evolves organically as an artist (re)cognizes and deploys in the most straightforward manner his self, his personal history, his ways of seeing and the circumstances that shape them, and etc. , etc.
so but back to my response to the first 1/2 of Burns' film and picking up on Warhol's art as more than merely snarky commentary on commercialism: even if, say, the soup can and the cow trace to Andy's personal history and a time of deep personal difficulty and struggle and the life-altering emergence of shame (over his looks, marred by a childhood case of St. Vitus Dance), we see also that Andy's refinement of the images were about more than personal memory or projecting from within, as the Abstract Expressionists who'd dominated the just-prior art scene had allegedly (i mean, it's the quick-and-dirty reading of Abstract Expressionism) done. we see that Warhol's processes of refining his iconic images were about craft, experience, and a skilled awareness of how to design a page/frame/object in terms of line, proportion, color, and etc., etc.
so but this is an interesting and exhaustively detailed documentary. i do have questions about some of the hindsighted observations, but i'm nevertheless intrigued and pretty much see this film as necessary viewing. because the one thing we keep hearing from the many voices in the film is that Andy is the most important artist of the post-war period, and although later Rothko is my guy, i have to go there re: Andy, as well.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
many of us loved the puppets from a few years back; these bits remain among the most popular. here are my 2 favorites from that year (n.b. as a Theater Manager, i always have a question at the ready in the case of what you see in the 2nd clip):
so but i'm looking forward to what they'll design for Sundance 2009.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
and a more detailed trailer . . .
fwiw: the stories that moved me most are, first, Mark Pierpont's (slobbering tears and chest noises. full-on dry-heave-type crying), and Mark Salzman's (i usually don't do this, but, omg).
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
-- bonnie, still working out that public/private persona thing.
Monday, October 6, 2008
so i'm thinking about Palin via a theory of desire, which is to say, by way of Spinoza, a theory of joy, which is in a way a theory of affect (i'm playing loose; it's all the rage in politics). that is to say, people want, especially now, to feel that living in America means what it has often wanted to mean, that they can feel their desires and act upon them in ways that seem productive. they want that desiring joy – “the passion one experiences in the transition to an increased power to strive”-- Spinoza’s definition of desire.
what is worrying me is that regardless of the outcome of the election (oboy), all Sarah Palin need do is look like she does (not my version of "pretty" or "sexy," but it's working for many, that iconic sexy librarian thing) -- and so but this is not a great moment for women and power, despite what everyone wants to be saying about this (even
so but i'm thinking that this is about how images argue and how they do so effectively even (especially?) when they radiate their meanings absent contextualizing discourse (despite what the linguists and many rhetoricians say). to be clear and more accurate, let's say that in Governor Palin's case, her image argues absent "rational" contextualizing discourse.
to complicate the question of whether or not images argue absent contextualizing written or verbal discourse, say, an essay that explains their meaning, [or a speech that demonstrates leaderly power-potential] i turn to iconologist WJT Mitchell. Creating distinctions between “pictures” and “images,” Mitchell argues for the somewhat easy comprehension of the rhetoricity of pictures because of how they support or contain images (images relate most essentially, for Mitchell, to icons). with regard to pictures, we might discuss line, angle, lighting, proximity, and other design elements as a way of getting at what an agent is after in the framing of the image(s) within a picture. but, for Mitchell, images are far more dynamic, as they possess the potential to seduce us into consuming and reproducing them; they have the distinctive ability to “go on before us,” (105) [sic] as if they possess some vital force that exceeds an obvious rhetoricity. Mitchell moves us beyond “what can I teach?" and "what do I need to do to prepare myself to teach it?” to wondering about “the question of images and value [that] cannot be settled by arriving at a set of values and then proceeding to the evaluation of images”. Rather, Mitchell argues that “[i]mages are active players in the game of establishing and changing values. They are capable of introducing new values into the world and thus of threatening old ones”(105). images themselves seem to possess agency, for Mitchell, and to divorce that agency from the image by intervening with a verbal rendering of the image’s meaning seems somehow wrong [or at least, ineffective. i mean to recognize that it really doesn't matter what Gov. Palin says or omits or blunders, as long as the image "goes on before us," and this is rather terrifying but also evidence in support of images' rhetorical power]. we might be especially struck by the reductive expectation for an image’s accompanying verbal or written discourse because, here and now, new media technologies (and old ones too, a can of hairspray, a sexy librarian ensemble) enable us to produce not only “pictures” but, with artful or perhaps even chance juxtapositions and playful tensions, “images.”
image pleasure is, to be sure, disorienting and paradoxical. on the one hand, images are impotent because they lay beneath our pedagogical concern -- why worry them at all? so, Sarah Palin's appearance is not worth considering. i'd like to be able to say that this is so, but it is, according to my thinking here, really the only thing that people are considering . . . the image is sufficient. it speaks, in the magical manner of icons that generate cultural worship, ritual, and identification with What Has Been, which is so comforting to so many Americans, especially in the terrifying present. on the other hand, we recognize the widely-resonating power of images -- they are powerful because we place them beneath us, as though to do away with or desacralize them, perhaps fearing their power because of how they reveal our own lack (who's this Palin nobody?). this paradoxical (im)potence underscores the nature of images’ enigmatic power and makes image work important for rhetorical pedagogies. Mitchell explains that:
[f]or better or for worse, human beings establish their collective, historical identity by creating around them a second nature composed of images which do not merely reflect the values consciously intended by their makers, [as with the rhetoricity of pictures] but radiate new forms of value formed in the collective, political unconscious of their beholders. As objects of surplus value, of simultaneous over-and underestimation, [… images] stand at the interface of the most fundamental social conflicts. (106)
in particular, Mitchell sees images in terms of their rhetorical agency; they
are phantasmatic, immaterial entities that, when incarnated into the world, seem to possess agency, aura, a “mind of their own,” which is a projection of a collective desire that is necessarily obscure to those who find themselves […] celebrating around or inside an image. (105-6)
for many, the obscure nature of the mutual desire of images seems to be what pedagogies of the visual (where i can find what i'm calling "image pleasure," although image pleasure exceeds pedagogy) might be after. that is, images “radiate” cultural values and desires; we respond to the desire of the image as we discern a will to engage with and participate with and in images. “Celebrating around or inside an image” seems to suggest unwitting participation (as w/ the golden calf), and here we may find space to imagine image work as an endorsement of an uncritical disposition. this is not the endorsement many of my colleagueas in Rhetoric and Composition bring to image work. regrettably, however, it seems to be working for Governor Palin.
 Blair qualifies by calling for a few key design elements (see George for summary or Blair in Visual Rhetoric in a Digital Age.
 for several drafts, I had used “articulate” over the more appropriate “radiate”; we have so normalized our ekphrastic hopes and conventional pedagogies.
Friday, October 3, 2008
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
i had hoped to be filming this september, but our schedule got complicated when his schedule became complicated due to requests for his presence at various venues internationalé. he's quite in demand, so i'm very lucky that he's agreed to work with me and especially to grant me some time during the holiday season. at all.
and, well, MLA can be fabulous, but there are also certain MLA experiences that are less-than-ideally enchanting. so it will be nice to have
plus, did i mention The Westin? seriously.
as usual, i'll try to keep you updated on my 2009 Sundance Film Festival experience. as i write, Victor Vitanza is hard at work preparing my little essay on my Sundance 2007 experience (including some film reviews which are surprisingly still relevant, especially given that Charles Ferguson has released No End In Sight on YouTube, where it will screen until Nov. 4). the piece will appear in PRE/TEXT. other films i reviewed may possibly at this point be found on DVD. don't miss Protagonist, if you get the chance to see it. i had thought it would be laugh-out-loud funny. but i was. seriously. wrong. instead, it was moving beyond words. see it. (and if you need some advance information, read my essay. or, use the link above to read several other reviews from far more established film review-type writers).
but so generally look here for posts on festival preparations, cool films and events, and my own personal take on all things SFF 2009.
n.b. -- honestly, i'm not sure that everyone at Sundance loves that i write publicly about SFF, but so far, there have been no "cease and desist orders." and but i generally love -- and make clear that i love -- the whole hot mess of it.
also n.b. -- i "borrowed" this image from an email that was sent to SFF alumni volunteers; hopefully, this is cool, but if i disappear the image, you'll know that it wasn't. i sort of love its steampunk aesthetic, a vibe i happily find radiating often from Sundance promotional materials.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
but so anyhow, what brings me back to these concepts? my recent exchange with the subject of my documentary, who is back in communication with me after a very brief and tiny and respectful-of-his-time-and-creative genius-type sensitivity period of silence. so we're developing a cleaner method of proceeding, one that doesn't overwhelm us (i do tend to become nerve-janglingly excited about my film projects, and although that affect feels to me like a tiny jolt of heaven, i realize that it can also be read as simply annoying). so but. yay.
image: yu-cheng chou, "emotions"
Monday, September 22, 2008
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
and please, national media. stop making Sarah Palin an issue. i'm talking to you, Entertainment Tonight and Access Hollywood (without actually admitting to being a regular viewer, of course, because i'm an elitist fan of the liberal media. ha) . . . sorry you, with your sad and embarrassing "How YOU Can Get Sarah Palin's Style" (style?!). seriously, show's producers . . . how much fiery hell can you ask your mouthpieces to withstand in the name of job security? oh wait. the economy's so bad, i guess you can just go there and compel them to fabricate a version of liberal sexism (snort) against Palin and fall in line with the Republicans' newly hatched scheme to force upon us this concept of a "backlash," suggesting that the phantom "liberal media" hate on her and to keep and eye on that because, they say, this increases the likelihood that American voters will further (?) embrace her.
it's so desperate and sad and embarrassing and insulting, these arguments.
point to the war. point to the depression (i'm moving past "recession" 'cause, come on . . .). point to civil liberties. point to Palin's absolute ignorance (she has never heard of the Bush Doctrine??? oboy). and don't get me started on what that embarrassing Republican pundit kept insisting about election year debates, that the moderator always *explains* (?!) what the concepts at the heart of the questions are before inviting repsonses, as though the candidates require an explanation; this, by way of suggesting that Charlie Gibson simply "attacked" Palin by asking her to comment on the Bush Doctrine. at this point in the act of spectation, i was writhing about in frustration and ready to go (back) into my default mode, which is to simply watch the E! channel because. well. seriously. i wanted to STRANGLE the panel for failing to point out that the moderator does this (explains the concepts) NOT for the candidate but for the AUDIENCE watching at home!! argh.
(note: you now have my apologies for all the childish caps. see, no one is immune from the childishness that this kind of "discussion" surfaces, which is not to say that i am rarely childish. but. oboy).
and it's all just a mess because this kind of adversarial rhetoric doesn't go anywhere except (in terms of victory) to the status quo.
but so today, i go to campus to watch my colleague, who 3 years ago lost her only son to a cave-diving accident. she will present on the experience of her recent year-long stay in Amman. she went to talk with women living in refugee camps, women who have lost children, fathers, husbands . . . this woman who took her grief and transformed it into a project of bravery and compassion. so really, none of this other stuff matters (except that it still does). i do wish we could see the Obama campaign stay on track with what matters, humanizing the platform by discussing the effects of the past 8 years, the current situation, and the feigned naivete we get from McCain (the economy's "fundamentals" are strong? really?) and avoiding the invitation to stumble over fabricated conceptualizations of elitism (ha!) and sexism (ha!) and racism (seriously?).
* wait for the page to fully load. sorry, i could not find a way to embed the video.
Monday, September 15, 2008
so but i love reading old scholarly articles aimed at improving students' writing and reading skills and all around appreciation for All Things Worthy (early scholarship *really* goes on about the latter). what i think i love most is that style is an option. a real, true, serious option. i'd even go so far as to say that there is a kind of urgency about style in the scholarly works i'm reading. a competition. i mean, evolving out of the Literary traditions is no small accomplishment, and it's done with traces of its primordial material(s). so. style. some of what i am reading, in its style and lax rhetorical standards (is there a causal relationship here?) is downright h-i-l-a-r-i-o-u-s, but most all of it is purposeful and seemingly compelled into print by a sense of urgency that we still find in contemporary scholarly texts. actually, they are the same arguments (relatively speaking):
* keep up with the world
* compel our work to radiate beyond an elitist domain
* try the new, even if it scares or seems beneath you
* problematize the high/low binary, especially regarding academic/popular culture
* kill -- or at least problematize -- your idols, esp if they block production (essentially, this is about the hermeneutic/generative binary)
so it's the same series of arguments, but it's done with a greater concern for style and a less-than-ideally emphatic concern for reasons, evidence, qualification, and etc., etc.
in many ways, i want to say that this stylish concern is a symptom or rhetorical manifestation of affect. essentially, it is this -- i'm working on working this out in my book. it's key, central, my attention to affect(s) in discourses on film in the field. still, the book takes up other concepts as it manifests a dialogue between historical discourses and more contemporary theories and practices regarding film in Rhetoric and Composition.
so there's your bookish update. voilà.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
from Christopher John Farley's May 31, 2008 Wall Street Journal interview with David Foster Wallace, on DFW's reworking of a 2000 essay on John McCain into the book, McCain's Promise: Aboard the Straight Talk Express with John McCain and a Whole Bunch of Actual Reporters, Thinking About Hope :
WSJ: You write that John McCain, in 2000, had become "the great populist hope of American politics." What parallels do you see between McCain in 2000 and Barack Obama in 2008?
Mr. Wallace: There are some similarities—the ability to attract new voters, Independents; the ability to raise serious money in a grassroots way via the Web. But there are also lots of differences, many too obvious to need pointing out. Obama is an orator, for one thing—a rhetorician of the old school. To me, that seems more classically populist than McCain, who's not a good speechmaker and whose great strengths are Q&As and small-group press confabs. But there's a bigger [reason]. The truth—as I see it—is that the previous seven years and four months of the Bush Administration have been such an unmitigated horror show of rapacity, hubris, incompetence, mendacity, corruption, cynicism and contempt for the electorate* that it's very difficult to imagine how a self-identified Republican could try to position himself as a populist.
and but so in addition we have the obvious-to-the-point-of-redundancy fact that nothing could be more narcissistic than crying one's eyes out over the death of a beloved artist. maybe it was because it was suicide that i am so mucus-splattered and sad.
but so clearly it's more. hideously egocentric, i imagine that i knew David Foster Wallace and he knew me (that teen belief in transcendent communications of the soul). it's a massive cliche, the belief that we "connect" with an artist we admire to the point of imitating/posturing/desiring well beyond simple fandom . . . to the point of rendering the ability to "separate posture from pose, desire from supplication" unavailable for Serious Mental Work.
but so feeding that teenaged longing to connect are the facts. yesterday, i watched and sprouted Big Fat tears of sadness and disbelief over Sean Fine and Andrea Nix Fine's amazing documentary, Wardance, about a Ugandan refugee camp and the children from it who enter The National Singing Competition (we see this, after spending most of the film following the preparation along with the backstories of 3 featured children). the film speaks magically of the transcendent nature of art (and it's so obvious, even from my brief summary, that i won't bore you by going into detail. just think about it). so but now i wake to find this f*cked up news and wonder how a writer as talented as DFW -- a writer who so clearly processed his life experience and unthinkably agile and sharply critical mind through his characters and stories -- finds himself unable to tap that magic . . . and i admit with some feelings of Stupidity that i start to feel sort of vulnerable because hey who doesn't have a dark moment and wonder about offing oneself but comes back from the edge for whatever reason -- fear, pain, passion for a tiny window of Other Things that moves one beyond the pain? and but so DFW was 46. i'm 45. i know. i know. my Big Ugly Ego again but it can't be stopped. i should stop.
i don't know how to write a proper homage. i am sad beyond words.
* from "Westward the Course of Empire Takes its Way" (Girl With Curious Hair).
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Sunday, September 7, 2008
O'Reilly's dismissive nature, his smackdown tactics, and (but primarily) his right/wrong demeanor is a serious grossout (that. is the only word. i have).
apparently, O'Reilly is doling out the interview in parts (because if Rupert Murdoch himself brokered the interview, you know someone is desperate for ratings -- and a whiff of validity or respectability or maybe just a glimmer off of Obama's shining star). so here is part one:
note: i probably should not post videos that i have not seen. i need to admit that i could only stomach through 5:45 of this 7:40 video. O'Reilly's desire to compel Obama to use the words "right" and "wrong" smells bad and hurts my feelings. so, you have my apologies if it gets worse or even more objectionable past the 5:45 mark.
i reviewed the film some time ago, for a piece in PRE/TEXT (that issue is still in "upcoming" mode). but so by now it may seem irelevant to read it there as a way of enticing you to see the film. instead, go watch it on YouTube with my recommendation and this (my) brief review:
* the film is the recipient of several notable Best Documentary awards,
including a Sundance 2007 Documentary Special Jury Prize.
Saturday, September 6, 2008
Monday, September 1, 2008
"Get out of here and move forward. This never happened," he tells Peggy, who thinks she might be imagining him at first. "It will shock you how much it never happened."
holy all things brief and to the point, is this the best scene written for television ever?! and Jon Hamm's delivery set me aright (and did a whole *lot* of other things to my own personal self).
nice work, Matt.
Saturday, August 30, 2008
INT. OFFICE - DAY
Friday, August 29, 2008
the visual rhetorical elements are simple and masterful at the same time. like, Marjane's hairline. the hairline is key -- women are required to keep it covered and when it isn't, as when M pulls her scarf just a bit back, she is/the women are challenged and sometimes threatened. so the hairline is key. in the Iran of Satrapi's story, the hairline marks a place on a woman's body where power disputes are foregrounded, where they play out visually and display (or conceal) a woman's identity and her power(lessness).
and, . . . FABULOUS from the feminist perspective is when M marries. the visual apparatus used to create the narrative structure shifts from moving animation to a series of static, framed photo album shots, as if to foreground the constructed nature of the conventional rituals of marriage rather than to "animate" them.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
i've been patching away at this for a couple of years, sort of ethnographically working out my theses as a filmmaker and writing/reflecting as i go. today, i reviewed earlier versions of my introduction as well as drafts of the proposal i hope to complete soon. both the intros and the proposals seem fairly useful; i won't be deleting much, more like refining. generally, i'm tracing a history of discourses on film in Composition. i am creating a dialogue between these historical discourses and more contemporary discourses and practices.
1.) most of our historical engagment w/ film has emerged from our hermeneutic traditions (analysis trumps production; here, i have to note that i just came across a 1970 annual "roundup"-type College English piece ("Counciletter: Charting Our Course") within which, in the notes section, we find this:
Canadian Council of Teachers of English
but we were still debating taste, how to teach morals, values, taste (did i mention taste?), narrative, and other analytical practices. go figure.
2.) our discourses on film register powerful affective engagements with/distancing from film. that is to say, few are "neutral" in their linguistic attempts to register readings of, pedagogies involving, . . . really, any and everything to do with film. this notion supports work i want to do with contemporary theories of affect. i am especially eager to explore "the primacy of affect in image reception" (Massumi), theories on affect and/vs. emotion, etc.
3.) they seem to connect us to existing academic discourses (i.e., taste, morals, narrative, gender). i see very little in the earlier discourses on film that is ideationally speculative or rhetorically generative (beyond said ties -- so, yes, speculation on how film V teaches narrative strategy X, but not so much on how we might make film Y say Z).
currently, i've done most of my research on early discourses, beginning in the late 1930's and up until 1970. i'll update as i go (and as i can imagine taking breaks to do so or if some Genius New Idea presents itself. wait! they are all Genius ideas. right. remember that).
* we sing and dance and drink mead
** a term i've borrowed from André Bazin
i'm always a little shocked to learn that i have an audience beyond my particular circle of friends, family, and academics. And i am especially delighted to hear from readers beyond that circle, readers who comment, agree, disagree, and in some way perhaps take issue with my comments, coming as they are from my limited perspective. More specifically, though, i'm happy that we're talking about this documentary because i am currently planning a course in documentary filmmaking; i find this recent exchange incredibly telling regarding the always already complicated nature and fluidity of documentary films, the various ways of reading them. i mean, as a rhetorician, it's all the usual suspects -- purpose, audience, context . . . and but then, in a more cultural studies-oriented rhetorical
i am grateful to Vladimir and Marika for engaging with me in this conversation. i encourage you to see the film and join us. below are a few clips, serializing bits of the film. YouTube user, "DAXUREvsPUTIN," who appears to be Georgian, posted several, under the heading "Why Democracy -- Russia's Village of Fools"; i will post the first 2 (with brief comments) .
clip #1. i love seeing Morozov swimming (one lap) and enjoying zucchini (cucumbers?) and the whole morning ritual, all presumable just before we meet Oleg. i find Oleg's arrival and the story that evolves around it it especially moving. as a filmmaker, i can't imagine how honored Kirtadze must have felt for being able to capture that footage. she and i discussed it. it was not planned; she was simply there at the time, the documentarian's good fortune. also, if i recall correctly, Kirtadze said that Oleg later left the village. In my attempts to confirm this memory, i searched for information on Oleg and found at least 3 different livejournal pages from what appear to be his account. i get the following message:
This journal has been suspended.
clip #2. Here, i am especially interested in the attempt at establishing of authority through images -- Morozov proudly shares pictures of himself and his colleagues on the Board of Trustees. We witness/hear a phone call in which a member of Parliament proudly reminds Morozov of the very same pictures. In many ways beyond but including studies in the use of visual rhetoric toward establishing and maintaing authority, the scenes are priceless, if unnerving. Later in this clip, toward the end of the featured meeting, Morozov instructs the people on the kinds of questions they should be asking, given his authority (i.e., "have i understood this correctly?" which obviously leads to a "yes" or "no" answer from the authority figure and then possibly a corrective lecture -- watch until the end for just such a lecture on hierarchical authority vs. democracy). After Morozov offers his corrective advice on the nature of acceptable inquiry, he "invites" more questions. an unbearably tense silence follows until
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Thursday, August 21, 2008
It's awards show Sunday, so i'm giving Margot. I'm through with the wishfulness and angst and regret, and Margot, more than an...
from Matter and Memory , by Henri Bergson , with and against whom Gilles Deleuze works his Cinema theories. I'm making my way through ...
It's awards show Sunday, so i'm giving Margot. I'm through with the wishfulness and angst and regret, and Margot, more than an...