Tuesday, September 30, 2008

D.C. With Uncle G.

The Watergate complex was developed by the Italian firm Società Generale Immobiliare, which purchased the 10 acres which constitute the plot of land on the defunct Chesapeake and Ohio Canal in the early 1960s for 10 million US Dollars. Italian architect Luigi Moretti designed the six buildings on the site: a hotel, two office buildings, three apartment buildings and a retail center. The name of the complex was derived from the terraced step area to the west of the Lincoln Memorial that leads down to the Potomac River. The steps used to face a floating performance stage on the Potomac River, creating an amphitheater. This area was originally planned as the official reception area for all dignitaries arriving in Washington, D.C. by water.

I want to stay in the Watergate Hotel sometime. It is such a cool building. There is a shopping complex with a Safeway grocery store where Uncle G. got his snacks. Uncle G. is going to be upset I filmed him in his robe! We had such a good visit with him and I rarely get a chance to tease him...click on his name to see a serious picture of him...

Monday, September 29, 2008

Great Website For Juxtapoz Magazine

The Buddha of Distraction by Stephen Ives. Juxtapoz is one of our favourite magazines and they have an awesome website. Clic the yellow text.

Nathan Spoor's acrylic painting, Citizen's of the War.

Video of Emol working on a large installation in Brazil.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Kill The Messenger

Angels must have been singing when Chris Rock was born he is so good. His new HBO special Kill The Messenger is brilliant, as usual! This clip is from the other night on Letterman following Clinton.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

What Are You Crazy? The Fall Will Probably Kill You

Paul Newman, R.I.P. What a beautiful actor. I love him.

Montage from Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid

Banjo scene in Cool Hand Luke

And a Canadian fixture...Slapshot

"Put that fucking stick in his side. Let him know you're there. Put that lumber in his teeth. Let him know you're there."

Friday, September 26, 2008

No Country For Old Bunnies

Thanks Canuck Hockey Girl!

No Country For Old Bunnies

Screwing The Pooch

These are some little bits of clips I took this summer. Check out the one with Stagg, it's all existentialish (it's over on his blog...click yellow text)

I always wanted my own Buster Keaton...

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Shanghai Surprise: 13 Things About Architects and Buildings In Skyline

Atkins has won an international competition to design a five-star resort hotel set within a beautiful water-filled quarry in the Songjiang district close to Shanghai in China. Its stunning concept designs inspired by the natural water and landscape features of the quarry captured the imagination of judges to quash competition from two other international firms. Atkins Design. Atkins Home

3) Shanghai skyline.

4) photos from here and 5) here

6) A small luxury hotel originally designed as an iconic masterpiece of art deco and neo-classic architecture by renowned architect Li Pan in the 1930s, and was once named "The Third Largest Hotel in the Far East".

7) The United Arab Emirates Pavilion,/li> : Shanghai Expo 2010 Foster + Partners (London based architects) has designed the concept for the United Arab Emirates Pavilion at Shanghai’s Expo 2010. Devised to relate to the theme ‘Better Cities, Better Lives’, the pavilion is inspired by the principles of traditional Arab city planning. It integrates the latest technologies to maximise both the passive and active environmental profile to illustrate the essential principles of a humane city that captures the spirit of the UAE and articulates its commitment to a more sustainable urban vision for the future.
8) Come to Shanghai, now! No, this is not a travel industry advertisement, nor a paid promotion of any kind. It is a warning, and those who don’t heed it soon will forever miss what has made this arguably Asia’s greatest city, as its leaders gird to complete a breakneck and all-but- declared bid for the title of the world’s greatest.

The remaking of this city, which is well under way, ranks as one of history’s greatest urban transformations. With 4,000 already, it has nearly double the number of skyscrapers as New York, and another 1,000 are due to rise within the next 10 years - all within a single generation.

The overall result is sure to be stunning. “The future Shanghai will have smooth transportation, a beautiful central city, with charming historical and cultural depth, but it also needs to be energetic,” said Tang Zhiping, a senior city planner.

In another era, Shanghai was China’s one international city, its window on the world, and its principal port. In many ways, it remains the country’s showcase, outshining even Beijing - although officials here find it impolitic to come right out and say it - which is undergoing a massive transformation of its own.

The reason you must come to Shanghai now, if cities remotely interest you, is that the work here not only constitutes one of the world’s great urban transformations, it also involves one of history’s great disappearing acts. An old city of organic communities, with intimate, walk-up buildings and extraordinarily rich street life, is being replaced, almost in the blink of an eye, by a new city of expensive high-rises, underground parking garages, and lifestyles based on sheltered, closed-door individualism.
From Howard French in NYT's.

9) The Shanghai Museum was designed by a local architect, the new museum building is designed in the shape of an ancient, bronze, tripod cooking vessel called a ding. It is said that the inspiration for the design was specifically provided by the Da Ke Ding, now on exhibit in the museum. The building has round top and a square base, symbolising the ancient Chinese perception of the world as "round sky, square earth"

Shanghai Center is going to be 127 floors high.
9) Gensler is a global design firm headquartered in San Francisco with offices in New York, Los Angeles, Washington, Chicago, London, Dubai, Shanghai and other cities. The firm was founded by Art Gensler, Jim Follett, and Drue Gensler in 1965 originally focusing on corporate interiors. Gensler is credited for establishing the profession of corporate office design as distinct from the practice of architecture and interior decoration.
Today, Gensler is the largest architecture firm in the United States and in the world, as well as the most profitable[1], employing over 3,000 people in 34 offices worldwide. The firm specializes in multiple practices including: Commercial Office Buildings, Workplace, Retail, Airports, Hospitality, Education, Mixed-use & entertainment, planning and urban design, brand strategy, Mission Critical facilities and others. from HERE.

10) Designed by designed by Jia Huan Cheng of the Shanghai Modern Architectural Design Co. Ltd. Construction began in 1991 and the tower was completed in 1995. At 468 m (1,535 feet) high, it is the tallest completed tower in Asia, and the third tallest tower in the world.
11) The Oriental Pearl Tower features 11 spheres, big and small. The two biggest spheres, along the length of the tower, have diameters of 50 m (164 ft) for the lower and 45 m (148 ft) for the upper. They are linked by three columns, each 9 m (30 ft) in diameter. The highest sphere is 14 m (46 ft) in diameter.
The entire building is supported by three enormous columns that start underground.

12) Designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, an international architectural firm located in New York City.

13) The building is located near the Lujiazui metro station and was built at an estimated cost of 530 million USD. It was designed by the Chicago office of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. Its postmodern form, whose complexity rises as it ascends, draws on traditional Chinese architecture such as the tiered pagoda, gently stepping back to create a rhythmic pattern as it rises.
Related Links:
Pictures Shanghai Architecture
The Art of Contemporary Shanghai Architecture

Click on Mister Linky icon to link your blog, visitors and Thursday Thirteeners.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


This is one of the coolest movies EVER! It is also the most bootlegged movie ever made. It was in bootleg circulation for years before it had it's official release. Not only is the making of this movie interesting, the bootleg history...it is a gorgeous looking movie with a strong emotional and violent narrative.

A few months ago we picked up a shitload of dvds. We do that every now and then when we see a movie store with a sale. I like to collect movies. It's really the only thing I collect anymore. I used to collect all kinds of things...decal glasses (I used to make Mister Anchovy pull over his car for garage sales...my collecting addiction was so strong).

Stagg and I both love action and gangster movies so we have quite a few of them. One of my favourite movies is an old Jamaican classic called Rockers and when I heard of Shottas I knew I had to get it because it sounded like it would be a good double bill with my old beloved movie Rockers. I am also a huge fan of Scarface by De Palma (I love the Howard Hawks one too). Actually, a lot of people might not know this...but long before rap culture picked up on Scarface the goth and punk scene was really into the movie. I often went to pals houses and not only would they have punk stuff, they often had a poster of Al Pacino's role as Scarface. I have owned two video versions and a dvd version...and worn them all out. Somewhere I have a commenorative box set of Scarface. Sometimes after a night of clubbing friends would come back to my place (I had to let the babysitter go home) and we would watch movies all night...a fave being Scarface.

Shottas is powerful and frightening. Jamaica and Miami are the setting and the movie stars one of Bob Marley's sons., Ky-Mani Marley and takes the title from Jamaican term for "gangstas". Two teen boys rob a soda pop truck in Jamaica, partly because they are tired of eating "sardine sandwiches" and they purchase visas with their booty and become major players in the underground scene in Miami crime. Marley is very strong in this role and I immedately was bonded with his character. All of these guys are monsters though, make no mistake, because they know it too.

The cast is awesome with a fellow Stagg and I really like. He played a similar role in the movie Belly and he is fantastic but I can't find anything much about him on the internet...(hhhmmm?) Wyclef Jean makes an appearance (from The Roots), and Spragga Benz and Paul Campbell are very good, with just enough melodrama to keep the movie rooted in it's "B" traditions. This genre of film has a rich history with soundtrack and the soundtrack here is dead on. Another endearing aspect of this genre of film is language. The patois, the jargon and vernacular is part of the joy of this film. But it is not for the squeamish: it is for "Blood Clots" only. There are moments of reall cool in the cinematography. I particularly liked two scenes. One in a mans' washroom in a night club. It is a shoot out done in slo-mo and it really grabbed me. The other is in the hot tub of Louie Rankin's gangster Miami crib backyard. The lighting is incredible and feels both monolithic and exploitive. The effect is brilliant. I am so glad we own this one and the extras really pull it all together. Even the history behind the movie seems to be a bit of a rags to riches story...and not fully revealed. And the good news? There is going to be a sequel.


Damian Marley - Welcome to Jamrock
Barry Brown - Far East
Nitty Gritty - Trial and Sticks
Little John - In the ghetto
Bob Marley - Coming from the cold
Bounty Killer - Dead this time
Hawkeye - long Bad time
Spragga Benz & Lady Saw - Backshot
Damian Marley - Catch a Fire
Big Yard Allstars - Gangsta Story
Tonto Irie - It a ring
Ky-mani Marley - Fire
Junior Cat - Would A Let You Go
Pinchers - Bandelero
John Wayne - Call the police Me
Nicky Seizure - Quench the fire
Ky-mani Marley - I Believe
Ky-Enie - Rain
Inner Circle - Discipline child
Nicky Seizure - Revelation time
Ky-mani Marley - The March
Kenneth Milligan - Shottas

Monday, September 22, 2008

I Am Shiva The God Of Death

Michael Clayton is one of those movies that as soon as it was over I wanted to stay in the theatre and watch the whole thing again.

A movie like that seems to happen for all kinds of reasons, maybe independant of plot, atmosphere or action but it is often, for me, because of some reinventing or pushing those things that a movie might make me want to see it again right away. The Usual Suspects, Indiana Jones, Klute, The Cotton Club, Total Recall, The Terminator, Tootsie, Groundhog Day and The Matrix are all movies I stayed in my seat for another showing or went back the next day. All for different reasons. Michael Clayton isn't a big fast plot twist movie but it had me so tense I was like that guy in the horror film screentalking "don't go in the basement!". I was as frightened in this movie as any slasher film.

Yet...this movie was slow. Languidly filmed exploring of the human face and sparse outdoor landscapes. A contrast between interiors soft and warm with corporate stark areas seemed to add to my sense of suspense. George Clooney plays a salvage operator for a huge law firm working in the void between law and order. His family has it's corruptions: he is loyal and resentful. His family mirrors the ingroup/loyalty of the corporate litigation legal complex where Clooney moves like a spirit in the machine. The mise en scene is stark for much of the movie. There is little space and the actors seem to be able to speak without oxygen as there are feelings of congestion and stifling. Fantastic. We follow the characters and yearn to watch their faces as they move in board rooms, huge empty parking lots, hotel bars, cold designer cars. An early scene touched me because a tv is turned off to snow at the same time a character is on the phone asking "how much snow fell in Detroit" and the motif of snow falling, fuzz and corruption seems to be recurring.

I felt so much for the dynamics in Michale Claytons' family. The human heart is wandering through an ethereal snow. How do we bring into focus our ethics in a blur of corruption and temptation? Clooney as Clayton does so at a high cost to his ego. I loved his son who adds a layer of gallantry to this warrior story. Clayton's son is immersed in a role playing game and the movie carries subtley the images of boys sword fighting, tapestries (traditionally associated with quest romances?) navajo spirit work, vision quests and heroes fighting through a book called "Realm and Conquest" but not over the top remindig us of good versus evil.

There are so many little details that made this a movie to see again including the magical Tilda Swinton. She is one of the most fascinating people in the world, and I'm glad she got an Oscar for this role. I hope she gets a lot more work. She is always "memorizing her lines" to project a corporate ice queen in total control. We hear voice overs and see flashbacks throughout the story with her...one is perfect. Her voice is saying "the package you have in front of you" while discussing a settlement litigation case the edit takes us to her in front of a mirror...working on her own self package. We also see her gently rubbing something off her suit. (hard not to think of "out spot out!")

This movie gave me hope that maybe there are still heroes in the world. Do we all have the power of life or death by seeing through the blur of contemporary life that blinds us to corruption?

The writer/director is someone to continue watch for...after writing the crazy excellent story for Jason Bourne, it's amazing he could change pace and direct this suspense story in such a different style and flavour. I'll be watching for Tony Gilroy's next movies for sure. And of course, Tom Wilkinson continues to blow all stereotypes of what an actor can do or look like, he rocks my world. Pure alchemy all around.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Smothers and Rickles

“It’s hard for me to stay silent when I keep hearing that peace is only attainable through war. And there’s nothing more scary than watching ignorance in action,” he said, dedicating his award to “all people who feel compelled to speak out, and are not afraid to speak to power, and won’t shut up and refuse to be silenced.” Tommy Smothers

Steve Martin presented a commemorative emmy award for writing to Tommy Smothers. It was a great moment .Smothers had insisted he not be listed as a writer (keep focus on the staff) back in the 60's when Martin wrote for their tv show...the show won an Emmy and Tommy Smothers didn't get one.

Tom Smothers played guitar on John Lennon's recording of his single "Give Peace a Chance".

Don Rickles Documentary got an Emmy Award...and happily so did Don Rickles. This documentary Mr. Warmth is really fantastic.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Mythos Grid

Get Stupid!

Corporate assholes have always been the stereotyped patron of the S&M business. This video has the recurring Dominatirix motif strictly warning time is running out for social issues and the environment.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Some Great Articles and Dedications

I can't remember when I was so particularly sad when an artist died or a celebrity. My feeling of loss has been all week and is up there with my mourning for Kurt Cobain and Princess Di.

Columnist Mike Morford at the San Francisco Chronicle posted a group of save-worthy links about David Foster Wallace.

Click around.

Here is Time magazine.

Here is the Guardian UK.

Here is DFW's delightful 2006 New York Times piece on Roger Federer

and also "Host," his fantastic 2005 piece about right-wing hate radio, from the Atlantic.

Here is Wallace interviewed on Charlie Rose from about ten years ago.

And here is a huge obit roundup on the DFW fan site, Howling Fantods.

This one is tough...McSweeney's has a terrific page of memories and tributes from fellow writers and former students of Wallace's from Pomona College.

DFW's now-portentous 2005 commencement address at Ohio's Kenyon College is being re-posted everywhere, and is just terrifically worthy of your time, if you're so inclined.

Finally, Harper's magazine has graciously posted every DFW piece they ever ran, in PDF, including the famed "Shipping Out." Reading it again now, the reality seems even truer, even more heartbreaking, than ever: The world of words just won't be the same without him.

Election Time Reminder

"The establishment came down with a constitutional package which they put to a national referendum. The package included distinct society status for Quebec and some other changes, including some that would just horrify you, putting universal Medicare in our constitution, and feminist rights, and a whole bunch of other things."

- Conservative leader Stephen Harper, then vice-president of the National Citizens Coalition, in a June 1997 Montreal meeting of the Council for National Policy, a right-wing American think tank.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Men Need Men's Approval

As alpha male playwright David Mamet notes, "Women have, in men's minds, such a low place on the social ladder ... that it's useless to define yourself in terms of a woman. What men need is men's approval."

Imagine a world where you can't express your feelings. Where women are treated as objects or bargaining chips, and alcoholism and drug abuse are the norm. Where you must reject your own mother, and your father will rebuff you. You'll belong to a kind of cult that demands that you ostracize anyone who doesn't follow the group's twisted values. This cult may pressure you into physically and sexually abusing someone incapable of fighting back. If you're an American guy age 16-26, congratulations. You probably live there already.

"We need to develop a pedagogy of resilience," he says. Boys need a "charismatic adult," he proposes, "a person with whom they can identify and from whom they gather strength." The latter seems obvious, the old "role model" solution, but the pervasiveness and dominance of Guyland's values, which are essentially racism and sexism lite, demand a more sweeping response that directly addresses the schoolyard premises on which they're based.

The world of adolescent white males that Kimmel describes puts macho boys in a curious double-bind. "The most common put-down in American high schools today is 'that's so gay,' or calling someone a 'fag,'" he tells us. "The average high school student in Des Moines, Iowa, hears an anti-gay comment every seven minutes -- and teachers intervene only about 3 percent of the time."
From Salon Magazine book review called "Dude, Where's My Manhood"

All my guy friends are really hip and don't tend to insist on "boys only" activities even if their wives don't watch quite as much hockey as they do, heh heh. I've know a lot of young men between the author's age group...16-26 and they tend to want ANYBODY's approval and are very female oriented. My daughters friends and my friends tend to be more gender bending. Maybe that's because we tend to come from punk music, my daughters boyfriend is very open and artsy...our family has a lot of gay people in it and lots of gay friends. Is this a Canadian thing? Is it an art crowd thing? I think Stagg would say this is a Candian thing and an art thing. I hope he pipes in here later on...as he hasn't seen this article but it's something we love talking about...I don't think men needing men's approval is a bad thing. It would be negative if it was the only voice men respected though. I don't think that's true. But I do think sometimes any sub group of folks, women included get high strung with each other and get a lot of pleasure out of feeling free to talk about their hobbies without having to justify them. I think this happens with all specialized behaviour from manicures to hockey to fishing to shopping.

I know J.K Rowling said she made "harry Potter" a boy because girls would read about a boy main character but boys don't tend to read about a girl main character...hmm...is David Mamet correct?

About five years ago I was without a place to live and landed up moving into a place with customers at one of my jobs. Yep, I lived in a house with four 25 year old guys. The decor was "contemporary beer" and calzones or rice krispie treats were the meal of the day. It was a really great experience for me (I am not sure why they tolerated an old lady living with them...oh right, money ha!). I did not experience any of the kind of angst suggested by the Salon article...but I don't doubt it's heft though. I just think I tend to be attracted to a certain kind of urban openmindedness. I also used to hang out with lots of musicians (now you be quiet Mister Anchovy!) and have seena lot of "boy stuff"...but always it's been good clean fun. I feel lucky as a woman to have been a "tom boy" and able to see the other side of a "booty call". It's just what you might think it looks like, 20 beer later, boxer shorts and a long list of cell phone numbers!!!

Do you think we have long gotten rid of gender wars? Is David Mamet correct "that women are so low on the social ladder"? Is the battle between sexes passe? Is observing the difference between the way men and women move in the world and talk a "tired" area of exploration? Is pointing out the difference between men and women's needs unenlightened?

Related Links:
Harper Collins
Oprah Asked The Question: "Why Do Men Cheat?" The answer? "They need approval and attention".
"The Cheating Gene" at Huffington Post (thanks Uncle Steve!)
Gail Sheehy on Men's Passages
STIFFED by Susan Faludi
Man Trouble
Masculinity Crisis

13 Things About Foster+Partners

1) After 4 years the Beijing Airport -currently the biggest one in the world- is finished, just in time for the 2008 Olympics. The airport, designed by Foster + Partners, turned out to be a very efficient building in terms of in terms of operational efficiency, passenger comfort, sustainability and access to natural light.

2) As an interpretation of traditional chinese culture the roof of the airport has a dragon-like form. According to Norman Foster [...] this is a building borne of its context. It communicates a uniquely Chinese sense of place and will be a true gateway to the nation. This is expressed in its dragon-like form and the drama of the soaring roof that is a blaze of ‘traditional’ Chinese colours – imperial reds merge into golden yellows. As you proceed along the central axis, view of the red columns stretching ahead into the far distance evokes images of a Chinese temple. 3) Some really cool photos...click on yellow text...
4) 1967 Foster and Wendy Cheeseman founded Foster Associates, which later became Foster and Partners. 1968 saw the beginning of a long period of collaboration with American architect Richard Buckminster Fuller, which continued until Fuller's death in 1983, on several projects that became catalysts in the development of an environmentally sensitive approach to design - including the Samuel Beckett Theatre project.

5) The Hearst Tower, New York City. 6) The new building is built on top of a pre-existing base built in 1928 by Joseph Urban.

7) Expo MRT Station, Singapore.
8)The group of Foster+Partners based and inspired by Norman Foster who was born in the Reddish area of Stockport, England, to a working-class family. He was naturally gifted and performed well at school and took an interest in architecture, particularly in the works of Frank Lloyd Wright, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Le Corbusier.

9) The U2 Tower is a proposed landmark skyscraper due to be constructed in Dublin. The site is in the South Docklands (SODO) campshires, at the corner of Sir John Rogerson's Quay and Britain Quay, by the confluence of the River Liffey, the River Dodder, and the Grand Canal. The design announced on October 12 2007 is by Foster and Partners. Its height has been reported at 120 metres or 180 metres, either of which would make it the tallest building on the island of Ireland.
10) It will be an apartment building, with a recording studio owned by the rock group U2 in a "pod" at the top. Construction is to begin in 2008 and end in 2011, at a cost of €200m

11) 30 St. Mary Axe, 2004.

12) Commerzbank Tower, Frankfurt, 1997.

13) City Hall, London, 2002.

Related Links:

Thursday Thirteen and other visitors can link on Mister Linky.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Painting, Actually

This is something I don't usually do...make a specific painting for a specific person. I made this small painting this past summer for a friends new baby. (photo below)I had a lot of fun making this...especially adding the pom poms at the end. I bought them right away and knew I wanted pom poms...but then as I was making the painting...I thought, maybe the pom poms are a dumb idea. But then now...I am glad I kept the original idea.

This painting I made last month for a friend's 16 year old son. (photo below) I feel really good about this painting...it's kind of all over the place and stays true to me but I had a teen in mind when I made it. I kind of hope he likes it and takes to his dorm room when he goes off for college.

Stagg and I have been slowly working on a children's book. The book concept looks nothing like these paintings, it features a dog...and some of the artwork is styled like realism. I am a terrible slow poke...Stagg already has made several basic drawing ideas but me...I am so slow. I hope now that I made this post...I kick myself in the butt and get it going on.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

See Ya Later Decorator!

I love the tv reality game show Top Design. I tune in just as much to see what Kelly Wearstler is wearing (above) as to see what design disasters or masterpieces will occur. I loved it when Jonathan Adler shakes his naked foot in loafers and when he says "See Ya Later Decorator" (it seems he isn't going to say it this season). I also record the episodes for Mister Anchovy and Tuffy P. I think we can learn a lot about the human condition by studying the arts, and the arts for me includes interior design. I love decorating and I love decorating magazines. It seems art critic Jed Perl sees some value in reflecting on interior design too.

I had no idea that Edgar Allen Poe had written an essay called The Philosophy of Furniture. How delightful! I found this out in last months article on design by Jed Perl. His article discusses designers Jean-Michel Frank (Anne's relative!) and Thomas Hope. I posted some pics here in case you take the time to read his fascinating article. It's long but so interesting.

Among nineteenth-century art critics, there was a fascination with painters such as Vermeer, de Hooch, and the Le Nain brothers, whose interest in the details of everyday life prefigured contemporary realism, with its emphasis on social and psychological dynamics. The studies of models in the studio that Corot painted in the 1850s, and a great many of the figures of Degas, Vuillard, Sickert, and Bonnard, are as much portraits of interiors as they are portraits of people. With Sickert, Vuillard, and Bonnard, the interior is often regarded as a new kind of physiognomy, with curtains and carpets and chairs observed as closely as the wrinkles on a forehead or the color of a person's eyes. Similar arguments can be made about certain earlier works, notably the interest in quotidian experience in Renaissance paintings of the Virgin at home or of Saint Jerome and Saint Augustine in their studies. And one can even look further back, remembering that many of Thomas Hope's ideas about Greek furniture, of which almost nothing survives, were derived from representations of interiors on ancient vases. But the long history of symbolic interiors notwithstanding, the representation of rooms certainly became more psychologically fraught as time went on. Renaissance and Baroque interiors tend to function allegorically, while in the modern era interiors are almost invariably infused with a private mental weather.

Two pieces designed by Jean-Michel Frank. Wow, you can really see how we are still having this sensibility either of these might be found flavoured in IKEA.

Thomas Hope at the Victoria and Albert Museum.

"Egyptian Room" The Egyptian Room was one of the most inventive interiors of its date in Europe. Here Hope displayed his belief in the importance of the ancient Egyptians to the origins of western culture.

Mingling genuine pieces of Egyptian sculpture with exotic furniture designed by himself in an Egyptian manner, he also exploited his novel colour theories. The walls and furniture, he explained, were in the 'pale yellow and bluish green of the Egyptian pigments, relieved by masses of black and of gold.'

Designed after a Thomas Hope style.

Perhaps it is not surprising that novelists, working in what is the most open-ended and fluid of literary forms, should be drawn to interior designers, whose work is almost diabolically difficult to define. Like the novelist, the decorator can be a poet, a portraitist, a historian, a psychologist, a social critic--and sometimes all at once. Balzac, let us not forget, was a manic collector who lovingly described the room where Cousin Pons, the insatiable collector in the novel of that name, kept the Old Master paintings that he had discovered in junk shops and bought for a song. Writers who are sensitive to the environments in which people live will quite naturally take an interest in the work of interior decorators, who weave a sort of fiction out of curtains and rugs and chairs and couches--a fiction in which people then proceed to live their real lives. The work that Hope and Frank did was at once insistently personal and strangely utopian, both realistic and romantic. In their way, they too were weaving a kind of fiction. To look at the wildly over-the-top eclecticism of Hope's "Egyptian" chair or the ascetic severity of Frank's living room for Nancy Cunard is to see design as a speculative enterprise: not a study of things as they are but a search for the way that things ought to be. After their own fashion, both Thomas Hope and Jean-Michel Frank were asking the biggest question of all: how should we live?

Related Links:
The New Republic article by Jed Perl
All home owners would be well served to read Home :A Short History of An Idea by Witold Rybczynski
City Life is another wonderful exploration.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Bra Shopping And Other Blood Clot Clusterfucks

This post is dedicated to Gardenia, Wandering Coyote, Red and Canuck Hockey Girl who have shared the pain. Also, most of you all know Stagg and I never seem to do things the "normal" or "easy" way. When we aren't putting our foots in our mouths or missing planes we are at the whim of Murphy's Law. Or FUBAR. Heh heh. Sometimes we wonder how we ever get anything done and the only thing worse than being at the mercy of a confederacy of dunces...is when you feel like one of the dunces.

The clerk at Sears forgot to remove the security tag from my new bras. Apparently using a hammer on a porcelain sink to remove tag not only cracks said sink beyond repair it sends red ink all over the place.

I've got the sales receipts. I could have gone to the store and got tags removed by the retail staff. But. I had just spent a grueling Friday evening trying on bras in flourescent lighting (enough said) and I had to hurry to meet an appointment for some clothing fitting. This visit with a seamstress was exactly WHY I had to buy a special new bra and needed it for use NOW. I already was feeling excited and nervous and strained for time. So not making the extra trip to the department store and instead trying to McGyver the tag off domestically seemed like a pragmatic decision. I had also had a very rigid two weeks of actually writing down every blood clot calorie I had eaten all day long in order to get my previous-to -living-with-a-boy waistline returned. So I was feeling the effects of my own self-tyranny and I expect my judgement was compromised. Heh heh. Faint with hunger, Yeah right.


Anyways. Being a firm believer in "lila"...I decided to cancel the costume fittings and besides...I still haven't figured out a way to get this red ink off my arms, neck and hands. I didn't feel like trying to explain to either the Sears staff or the seamstress how I didn't steal a bra but was just the poor sod who hears the universe saying "not today!"

Ten Years Later...Do The Evolution

Testing testing testingHey, kewl...I'm posting this froma friends blackberry I am not even at my blog. FUN! This sure makes a bus ride a lot more interesting.

YIELD sits on my desktop and I often give it a listen (in fact, writing this answer gave me an excuse to play it again). A teacher once told me that even though he wasn’t teaching ISHMAEL or the material in ISHMAEL, the book had changed the WAY he teaches. This pleased me more than if he’d said he was teaching my ideas. Another went to a lot of trouble to try to capture all the ideas in my books in a ninety-minute “motivational” speech. I told him he shouldn’t just try to capture my ideas in his words, he had to go BEYOND my ideas to find his OWN ideas, his OWN way of motivating people. This is what Eddie Vedder has done. He hasn’t tried to express my ideas in his songs. Changed by reading my work, he’s written songs he wouldn’t have written two years ago—but his own songs, not any songs I would ever write (if I were a song-writer). Inspiration is very different from recapitulation. The credits of he movie INSTINCT say it was “inspired” by ISHMAEL, but it makes no effort to recapitulate ISHMAEL. Of the songs in YIELD, “Do the Evolution” comes closest to being an expression of my ideas, but I suspect Vedder would find many other, more subtle connections. Two or three writers have changed my life forever in works I haven’t read for decades. I’m certainly not writing anything they would write---but the “inspiration” they gave me never goes away. Daniel Quinn 1998.

Im ahead, Im a man
Im the first mammal to wear pants, yeah
Im at peace with my lust
I can kill cause in God I trust, yeah
Its evolution, baby

Im at piece, Im the man
Buying stocks on the day of the crash
On the loose, Im a truck
All the rolling hills, Ill flatten em out, yeah
Its herd behavior, uh huh
Its evolution, baby

Admire me, admire my home
Admire my song, heres my coat
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
This land is mine, this land is free
Ill do what I want but irresponsibly
Its evolution, baby

Im a thief, Im a liar
Theres my church, I sing in the choir:
(hallelujah hallelujah)

Admire me, admire my home
Admire my song, admire my clothes
cause we know, appetite for a nightly feast
Those ignorant indians got nothin on me
Nothin, why?
Because, its evolution, baby!

I am ahead, I am advanced
I am the first mammal to make plans, yeah
I crawled the earth, but now Im higher
Twenty-ten, watch it go to fire
Its evolution, baby (2x)
Do the evolution
Come on, come on, come on

Canada's No-Brainer Vote And Why

We need to be involved with a potential new government by pressuring them to hire (or read) people like Thomas Homer Dixon, David Suzuki and Naomi Klein to help work out social issues and financial issues.

We have incredible urban and social analysts in Canada. We need to demand that our politicians either read their work or hire them to work for Canada and use their experience and research to guide Canadian policy.

If you care about your country you should read the books in this post. You don't have to like them. You don't have to think they are "well written" or not. You don't have to agree with them. But you should read them.

I've met many politicians and one of the first things I ask them is about specific books. I ask them, have you read this or that? And depending on their response I follow up with e-mail and/or letters reminding them of my reading list demands!

Books a politician should read:

Ishmael by Daniel Quinn
The Story of B by Daniel Quinn
Collapse by Jared Diamond
The Ingenuity Gap by Thomas Homer Dixon
Environment, Scarcity and Violence by Thomas Homer-Dixon
The Upside of Down by Homer-Dixon.
The Rise and Fall of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs (still holds up half a century later!)
One River by Wade Davis
Water by Marq de Villiers
The Other Side of Eden by Hugh Brody

Actually, the last time I ran into a bunch of Green Party members having an informal gathering at a local restaurant...all 8 of the people at the table had read the above list of books! I was really impressed! Jack Layton has been pretty good at reading when I've run into him.

We get very disappointed with politicians, but yet we seldom research into books on culture or then ask and demand our representatives read these same books. How can they represent us if we don't tell them what we read? How can they represent us if we don't tell them what we think and more importantly...what we feel?

We need to think for ourselves! We need to think and read and discuss. Then...ask..How can we understand policies and world challenges if we aren't at least reading some of these innovative thinkers like Thomas Homer-Dixon or Wade Davis or Jared Diamond? (Jared Diamond wrote "The Worst Mistake in Human History" in 1987 click here on yellow text to read it).

We need to educate and challenge ourselves at least as much as we do politicians. Then stand up and challenge our representatives.

Basically Elizabeth May is a Liberal Party member...but that's okay. She is leader of the Green Party in Canada. The Green Party in Canada is a hiding place for people who couldn't make it in the two or three main political parties in Canada. Jim Green former Green Party leader was major right winger who didn't get very far in the Conservative party ranks who moved to the Green Party in order to get a position in power. I couldn't stand the guy. I'm glad he is gone.

The good news, is that both May and Green do have a history of interest and activism in environmental issues. In fact, May used to be the Pres of the Sierra Club and participated in activist and protest actions in her past.

Canada needs to have a couple of people who are from a background of solving puzzles and helping the working class and getting rid of big-business politicians in leadership positions. NOW. In order to get rid of these right wing, big-business politicians like Stephen Harper we need to vote for Jack Layton and hopefully...he will make Elizabeth May his Minister of the Environment. Unfortunately, there aren't that many good choices for this election. In many ways, although I admire much of Jack Laytons policies research and xperience...he is a choice that is better than either the Liberal party or Conservaive party leaders.

No politician is perfect. But we can and should help them be more informed. Jack Layton has made mistakes I have been so upset by...but at least he listens to his constituents like the other day when he agreed to share debates with Elizabeth May. Elizabeth May is against abortion...but at least she is pro-choice. She doesn't want to control the personal lives of her other female citizens.

You need to communicate with these politicians and tell them how you feel and think!

And the richest two per cent of the world’s people own over half the world’s wealth. It’s hard to believe, but it’s true.

Ordinary Canadians and Quebeckers want this to change. A poll released last year by Leger and Leger clearly shows that Canadians identify the gap between rich and poor as the world’s number one problem.

In 1968, Lester Pearson chaired a commission on international development. He recommended that wealthy countries contribute 0.7% of their Gross National Income toward Overseas Development Assistance. Pearson’s recommendation was endorsed by the World Bank, the OECD and the United Nations.

Forty years have passed since that time. So how are we doing? In 2007, Canada is contributing 0.3% of our GNI. That’s less than half of what Lester Pearson called for.
Jack Layton, 2007.

Some Policies of Jack Laytons:

1) The fight against global poverty.
2) Re-visiting the North American Free Trade Act. As it stands right now, Canada loses money as it loses resources.
3) To protect and make new jobs by having businesses and trades return labour to Canada, not outsource.
4) The efforts to make and keep peace in the world.
5) Tackling climate change
6) Return of troops from Afghanistan now.
7) On June 3, 2008, Jack Layton voted to implement a program which would “allow conscientious objectors…to a war not sanctioned by the United Nations…to…remain in Canada.
8) Political and emotional amendments with Native Canadians
9) Champion of universal health care
10) Supports pioneer environmental innovations like deep lake-water cooling systems and wind power.
11) Decriminalization and possible legalization of marijuana
12) Strong stand on anti-violence and gun control. (no domestic ownership of automatic weapons)

Related Links:
Jack Layton speech
Wikipedia bio
Elizabeth May Wiki bio

Now...go write Jack Layton and Elizabeth May and ask them if they have read your recommended reading material! Demand an answer!

Here are their contact e-mail addresses:


Riding Association.
316 Riverdale Ave
Toronto, ON
M4J 1A2



Elizabeth May
Leader of the Green Party of Canada
Green Party of Canada
PO Box 997, Station B
Ottawa, Ontario
K1P 5R1
(613) 562-4916

David Foster Wallace-R.I.P.

Oh I am so sad.

I loved Wallace's book Infinite Jest. When the book first came out it was one of those wonderful exciting things. There was whole buzz around it, kind of like a William Burroughs book, or when Generation X was first published. It was so exciting to read a peers novel right in it's own time.

1 hour ago
CLAREMONT, Calif. (AP) — David Foster Wallace, the author best known for his 1996 novel "Infinite Jest," was found dead in his home, according to police.
Wallace's wife found her husband had hanged himself when she returned home about 9:30 p.m. Friday, said Jackie Morales, a records clerk with the Claremont Police Department.

It's so weird...I was thinking about him all this week. I was thinking about his novel...and something else. On one of my online book clubs last year, I had misquoted something about David Foster Wallace...and one of his agents came online and corrected my misquote. I always thought that was so cool and so efficient. I felt like an idiot, but I also thought how wonderful he has this person looking out for his reputation and legacy....

The novel Infinite Jest is a book I highly recommend and it is an amazing reading experience. I am sure like a few other amazing novels, one could spend a long studying the characters and juxtapositions. We have lost an incredible artist. Shit, that just sucks. And even mre admirable than being an inventive writer...it seems as if Wallace was good teacher. Shit this sucks.

In 2002 he was named the first Roy E. Disney professor of creative writing at Pomona College.

Gary Kates, the college's dean, called Wallace's death "an incredible loss."

"He was a fabulous teacher," Kates said Saturday. "He was hands-on with his students. He cared deeply about them. . . . He was a jewel on the faculty, and we deeply appreciated everything he gave to the college."

From Salon Magazine: David Foster Wallace's low-key, bookish appearance flatly
contradicts the unshaven, bandanna-capped image advanced by his
publicity photos. But then, even a hipster novelist would have to
be a serious, disciplined writer to produce a 1,079-page book in
three years. "Infinite Jest," Wallace's mammoth second novel,
juxtaposes life in an elite tennis academy with the struggles of
the residents of a nearby halfway house, all against a near-future
background in which the US, Canada and Mexico have merged,
Northern New England has become a vast toxic waste dump and
everything from private automobiles to the very years themselves
are sponsored by corporate advertisers. Slangy, ambitious and
occasionally over-enamored with the prodigious intellect of its author,
"Infinite Jest" nevertheless has enough solid emotional ballast to keep
it from capsizing. And there's something rare and exhilarating about a
contemporary author who aims to capture the spirit of his age.

Los Angeles Times Obituary
Infinite Jest at Wiki
Interview between Salon Magazine and David Foster Wallace

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Why Do People Vote Republican?

I know a lot of people in other countries do not understand why U.S. citizens vote Republican. The link to this article is a very apt description of what people hear when a Republican speaks...it's not just the words, it's the feeling. I highly recommend Democrats and people in England, visitors form around the world, and here in Canada to read the article linked in this post. An ol buddy brought this article to attention, and I appreciate that. I liked that this writer mentions several people whose work I have been following for ages, E.O Wilson and Frans DeWaal. These two are some of my GODS! (both on my World Peace Reading List). Special thanks to Greg S. for his thoughtful insight into human nature, politics and giving heads up about the hilarious, spot on, Paglia article at Salon Magazine. (I didn't know she was still writing there. I wish you had a blog! I could link you!)

Who knew the Democrats would screw up yet again? Why are they so seemingly self-destructive? How can they blow this election once again? How could the Obama campaign manage to lose the incredible momentum of the past few months?

Why do the democrats focus on trashing Sarah Palin? This woman is greatly underestimated by most people especially liberals. Sarah Palin is absolutely fascinating...agree with her or not, like her or not, Sarah Palin is one compelling persona...and the democrats look like babies.

Conservative though she may be, I felt that Palin represented an explosion of a brand new style of muscular American feminism. At her startling debut on that day, she was combining male and female qualities in ways that I have never seen before. And she was somehow able to seem simultaneously reassuringly traditional and gung-ho futurist. In terms of redefining the persona for female authority and leadership, Palin has made the biggest step forward in feminism since Madonna channeled the dominatrix persona of high-glam Marlene Dietrich and rammed pro-sex, pro-beauty feminism down the throats of the prissy, victim-mongering, philistine feminist establishment. (Camille Paglia, linked below) The gun-toting Sarah Palin is like Annie Oakley, a brash ambassador from America's pioneer past. She immediately reminded me of the frontier women of the Western states, which first granted women the right to vote after the Civil War -- long before the federal amendment guaranteeing universal woman suffrage was passed in 1919. Frontier women faced the same harsh challenges and had to tackle the same chores as men did -- which is why men could regard them as equals, unlike the genteel, corseted ladies of the Eastern seaboard, which fought granting women the vote right to the bitter end.

It is nonsensical and counterproductive for Democrats to imagine that pro-life values can be defeated by maliciously destroying their proponents. And it is equally foolish to expect that feminism must for all time be inextricably wed to the pro-choice agenda. There is plenty of room in modern thought for a pro-life feminism -- one in fact that would have far more appeal to third-world cultures where motherhood is still honored and where the Western model of the hard-driving, self-absorbed career woman is less admired.

But the one fundamental precept that Democrats must stand for is independent thought and speech. When they become baying bloodhounds of rigid dogma, Democrats have committed political suicide.

Why? Why are the democrats so out of touch with people?

...the second rule of moral psychology is that morality is not just about how we treat each other (as most liberals think); it is also about binding groups together, supporting essential institutions, and living in a sanctified and noble way. When Republicans say that Democrats "just don't get it," this is the "it" to which they refer.

If Democrats want to understand what makes people vote Republican, they must first understand the full spectrum of American moral concerns. They should then consider whether they can use more of that spectrum themselves. The Democrats would lose their souls if they ever abandoned their commitment to social justice, but social justice is about getting fair relationships among the parts of the nation. This often divisive struggle among the parts must be balanced by a clear and oft-repeated commitment to guarding the precious coherence of the whole. America lacks the long history, small size, ethnic homogeneity, and soccer mania that holds many other nations together, so our flag, our founding fathers, our military, and our common language take on a moral importance that many liberals find hard to fathom.

Unity is not the great need of the hour, it is the eternal struggle of our immigrant nation. The three Durkheimian foundations of ingroup, authority, and purity are powerful tools in that struggle. Until Democrats understand this point, they will be vulnerable to the seductive but false belief that Americans vote for Republicans primarily because they have been duped into doing so.

Why do people vote republican?

... is an article by Jonathan Haidt found here (click the yellow text)

I photocopied this article and have put it in the mail to Jack Layton, Rahm Emanuel, Barack Obama, and Stagg's dad. (Stagg's dad we have just discovered is really interested in talking about these kinds of articles with his friends every morning over bagels and coffee...so I mailed him a few copies, for his buddies. How cute!)

Related Links:

Emile Durkheim and his philosophy
moral psychology
The Misunderstanding of religion
Frans DeWaal Answers Your Primate Questions...at Freakonomics!
E.O.Wilson Foundation
profile E.O.Wilson
Jonathan Haidt's home page
Feminism's Greatest Leap Forward Since Madonna...by Camille Paglia
definition of Consilience

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A House Is A Machine For Living In: 13 Things About Le Corbusier

House at Weissenhof, by Le Corbusier, at Stuttgart, Germany, 1927

Shodan House, at Ahmedabad, India, 1956
1) He was born Charles-Edouard Jeanneret in Switzerland in 1887. When he was 29, he went to Paris, where he soon after adopted his maternal grandfather's name, Le Corbusier, as his pseudonym. Jeanneret had been a small-town architect; Le Corbusier was a visionary. He believed that architecture had lost its way. Art Nouveau, all curves and sinuous decorations, had burned itself out in a brilliant burst of exuberance; the seductive Art Deco style promised to do the same. The Arts and Crafts movement had adherents all over Europe, but as the name implies, it was hardly representative of an industrial age. Le Corbusier maintained that this new age deserved a brand-new architecture. "We must start again from zero," he proclaimed.

The new architecture came to be known as the International Style. Of its many partisans — among them Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Walter Gropius in Germany, Theo van Doesburg in Holland — none was better known than Le Corbusier. He was a tireless proselytizer, addressing the public in manifestos, pamphlets, exhibitions and his own magazine.

2) Le Corbusier loved Manhattan. He loved its newness, he loved its Cartesian regularity, above all he loved its tall buildings. He had only one reservation, which he revealed on landing in New York City in 1935. The next day, a headline in the Herald Tribune informed its readers that the celebrated architect finds American skyscrapers much too small. Le Corbusier always thought big. He once proposed replacing a large part of the center of Paris with 18 sixty-story towers; that made headlines too. Witold Rybcynski

Le Corbusier shows his work Sculpture, in wood and iron, that is part of an exhibition at the Modern Arts Museum in Paris in 1953
Just as Descartes avoided any reference to previous thinkers in his pursuit of truth, so the rationally planned city pays no heed to the structures that preceded it. L'Enfant's plan for Washington, New York City's grid, Le Corbusier's boxes in the sky—these ordered visions are all the products, in Kingwell's view, of a hyper-rational "Cartesian" way of thinking. Even more troubling to him is the way that urban planners design their projects without taking ordinary citizens into consideration.From book review here.
3) International Style of architecture usually includes:
Square or rectangular footprint
Simple cubic "extruded rectangle" form
Windows running in broken horizontal rows forming a grid
All facade angles are 90 degrees.
4) The International style was a major architectural style of the 1920s and 1930s. The term usually refers to the buildings and architects of the formative decades of Modernism, before World War II. The term had its origin from the name of a book by Henry-Russell Hitchcock and Philip Johnson written to record the International Exhibition of Modern Architecture held at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City in 1932 which identified, categorised and expanded upon characteristics common to Modernism across the world. As a result, the focus was more on the stylistic aspects of Modernism. Hitchcock's and Johnson's aims were to define a style of the time, which would encapsulate this modern architecture. They identified three different principles: the expression of volume rather than mass, balance rather than preconceived symmetry and the expulsion of applied ornament. All the works which were displayed as part of the exhibition were carefully selected, as only works which strictly followed the set of rules were displayed.

National Museum of Western Art in Tokyo, Japan, completed March 1959.
5) "Unlike the confined urban locations of most of Le Corbusier's earlier houses, the openness of the Poissy site permitted a freestanding building and the full realization of his five-point program. Essentially the house comprises two contrasting, sharply defined, yet interpenetrating external aspects. The dominant element is the square single-storied box, a pure, sleek, geometric envelope lifted buoyantly above slender pilotis, its taut skin slit for narrow ribbon windows that run unbroken from corner to corner (but not over them, thus preserving the integrity of the sides of the square)."—Marvin Trachtenberg and Isabelle Hyman. Architecture: from Prehistory to Post-Modernism

Le Corbusier described five guiding principles in his design:
6) Freestanding support pillars
7) Open floor plan independent from the supports
8) Vertical facade that is free from the supports
9) Long horizontal sliding windows
10) Roof gardens

11) United Nations Headquarters is one of my favourite areas in NYC. The complex was designed as a colaborative affair including board consisted of N.D. Bassov of the Soviet Union, Gaston Brunfaut (Belgium), Ernest Cormier (Canada), Le Corbusier (France/Switzerland), Liang Ssu-cheng (China), Sven Markelius (Sweden), Oscar Niemeyer (Brazil), Howard Robertson (United Kingdom), G.A. Soilleux (Australia), and Julio Villamajo (Uruguay).

12) "The museum is on pilotis through which the building is entered into an open court from which a ramp, similarly opened to the sky, leads to the exhibition levels. One enters the main level in a nave of spiral squares 14 metres wide, consisting of 7x7 m structural bays. All precautions are taken against the excessive temperature of the day. It is assumed that visits to the museum will be made particularly in the evening and night-time; they will wind up on the roof which will offer a wonderfully flowered surface formed by more than 45 basins, of 50 square meters each, all filled with water to a depth of 40 cm."
— Hans Girsberger, ed. Le Corbusier 1910-60

13) Le Corbusier was one of the 20th century's most important architects, whose cerebral and provocative designs are still poorly understood by most non-architects. In his effort to shape a better social order through functionalist forms and techniques, he didn't often make room for organized religion. He designed only three religious structures, all in France, and just two of these were realized: the pilgrimage chapel at Ronchamp and the monastic college of La Tourette.

The church of Saint-Pierre de Firminy, celebrated its topping out ceremony April 2005, more than 40 years after its conception. The last of Le Corbusier's unfinished projects is finally taking shape.
From NYT's here

Related Links:

Great Building
International Style

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