17 June 2010

Deep into Paris

Heading to the City of Light next week.

16 June 2010

Northern Ireland - Christine Spengler

Photos by Christine Spengler, via

14 June 2010

Home movies

From COPS, the television show where you get to see lives ruined right in front of your eyes. It's cool, though, for the economy of how emotions are lived. Even though there are some histrionics, it never goes down the way it would in movieland.

(Personally, I feel really only a few steps up the rung from a few of those guys.)

The main problem with the show is that the police are always portrayed as sane, benevolent men and women, sort of a thin blue line idea, rather than the more complicated people they are off camera. The contrast with the people they're busting on camera, helps, too.

Now, a show that documented police getting busted for lying, bribe-taking, brutality and torture would probably not be as flashy, but a whole lot more fun to watch. I can imagine some buzz-cut thug-with-a-badge getting hauled off at 3:00 AM would be quieter, more stoic, less operatic, but still. . . pure viewing pleasure.

Etienne! the Hamster Movie

One for T to see.

13 June 2010


I am an anarchist and a revolutionary myself, and I took part in the activities of the revolutionary peoples of the Ukraine. The Ukrainians are a people who grasp instinctively the meaning of the anarchist ideas and who act them out. They suffered incredible hardship, but have never ceased to talk of their freedom and freedom in their form of life. I often made tactical errors on this difficult path, as I was often weak and unable to make judgements. But because I correctly understood the goal towards which I and my brothers were working and Iwas able to observe the effect of living anarchism during the struggle for freedom and independence. I remain convinced on the grounds of my practical fighting experience that anarchism is as revolutionary, as diverse, and as sublime in every facet as is human life itself. . . The more awake a man is, the deeper his thoughts about his situation are. He will recognize his state of slavery and the anarchistic and revolutionary spirit within him will wake and show itself in his thoughts and actions. It is the same for every man and woman, even if they could never have heard of it.
From the very rich Nestor Makhno Archive

See also Letters from Moscow

Delia by Blind Willie McTell

11 June 2010

Going Like 50

 Self Portrait, Lucian Freud

As the fiftieth birthday approaches, you get the sense that your life is thinning out, and will continue to thin out, until it thins out into nothing. And you sometimes say to yourself: That went a bit quick. That went a bit quick. In certain moods, you may want to put it rather more forcefully. As in: OY!! THAT went a BIT FUCKING QUICK!!!… Then fifty comes and goes, and fifty-one, and fifty-two. And life thickens out again. Because there is now an enormous and unsuspected presence within your being, like an undiscovered continent. This is the past.
  - Martin Amis

10 June 2010

The most dangerous thing in the world . . .

Trust me, a beautiful young woman having anything to do with The Bell Jar is the handmaiden of doom.
Run, do not walk, away.
Right now.
C'mon, you heard me.

Poem, James Joyce

Tutto è Sciolto

by James Joyce

A birdless heaven, sea-dusk and a star
Sad in the west;
And thou, poor heart, love’s image, fond and far,

Her silent eyes and her soft foam-white brow
And fragrant hair,
Falling as in the silence falleth now
Dusk from the air.

Ah, why wilt thou remember these, or why,
Poor heart, repine,
If the sweet love she yielded with a sigh
Was never thine?

09 June 2010

Crasses et Voluptés Is Back and Flithier and More Voluptuous Than Ever

I'm happy to report that Crasses et Voluptés is back among the active blogs.
More pulp, more music and more great writing.

Check it out.

The Way We Become More Human by Mark Scott

The Way We Become More Human

We are an environment exposed to, of, our brains.
They print us out on it, in large part. How can we
Not do what they were evolved to do? They squirt
With their dopamine when we flinch at incoming.
We invite incoming. We eat it and fuck it all.
We don’t have anything to do but ourselves,
To do but today, as Stephen Stills said. If we
Hated technology, we’d be hating our brains.
When a tunnel slips over us as we move, we are
Dead to ourselves—and we are the world
Our head was meant to keep everything in.
I balance this computer I type on with tennis,
teaching, flirting, reading—for example. Don’t
balance; try to. Nothing I do is like doing anything,
So I do. I try to campaign about holding the center.

Before Cisco welcomed us to the human network,
we sat grooming each other in groups of about fifty.
Talking then came together like an orange and proved
More efficient. Our lives became more interesting
Than grooming. We set grooming off over there
And learned to charge for it by taking time
Off for it. As we pulled hair, we started to
Listen to what we were saying and repeat said
Things to our next clients. We invented tradition
With a scissors and a comb. Instead of cutting
Each other’s throats, a mess, we swept up
Hair and made wigs. But nothing proved
More engaging than talking for most of us,
And so that’s what most of us do most of.

We found out we couldn’t exhaust each other,
No matter how many hours of each other
We consumed, taking each other in like
Pudding. We didn’t have to keep each other
In our heads. We were each other, we were
Nothing but our heads, no matter how hard
We tried to materialize. What did we need
To live? Telling, chopsticks, and pallets.
Samples of each of those kinds of thing
in solution uniform as egg-white served,
With thumb and index to pick out the shell
Fragments—elusive bass line, major finding,
Anomalous set members, etc. That etcetera

Kept skirting the pincer movement,
But we didn’t have time to stop and produce
An exhaustive accounting, studies showed.
For a brief period, we took those students
Who conducted those studies at their own
Measure. They were central. But they had
Displaced so much to get their catch in
That we had to conclude they’d likely mistaken
Their leading edge for the mass of momentum.
We abandoned them to their confine of margin.
But we can’t help reaching out to them, wonderers
To wonderers, to see if they might have guidance
For the ocean according to us. We sight them
In down-time. Their single-tasking looks
Comical and subjective. They miss so much
By their divisions and controls, but we long
Sometimes to be students again, told what to ignore.

On the whole, though, they’re irrelevant bits,
Like a nearby lion. Their debate doesn’t seem
Vibrant to us. Most of us don’t even know
We’re talking and listening, we do it so effortlessly.
We’re just not that worried about other people.
They say we can be unaware of our own habits,
as if this were news. It feels like togetherness, their
Insignificant deviations and our biased intensity.
“It changes the mood of everything when everybody
Is present,” one of ours said the other day. Hit us
like a bomb, the reach of its touchless reference.
But it was only another item in the trunk show.
“There went that,” someone didn’t even say.

08 June 2010

One for JL and TM

 photo by Ольга Шелегеда

“You don’t have to signal a social conscience by looking like a frump.  Lace knickers won’t hasten the holocaust, you can ban the bomb in a feather boa just as well as without, and a mild interest in the length of hemlines doesn’t necessarily disqualify you from reading Das Kapital and agreeing with every word.”

~Elizabeth Bibesco


05 June 2010

In Love's Service

In love's service only wounded 
soldiers can serve.

Thornton Wilder,  The Angel that Troubled the Waters

03 June 2010

RIP, part two: Dennis Hopper

photo by Dennis Hopper

Yeah, I'm a little late on this one.

Here's my small offering to the conversation. A woman I directed, Kestrel, worked with Hopper on a tv series not too long ago. The series, "Crash," was nothing very special -- believe me -- a melodramatic serial riff on the not-so-great movie of the same name.  Kes played a slightly insane devotee of a Manson-like cult leader. Hopper's character confronts the psychopathic son of a bitch.
But here's the deal. Hopper took the director aside, and said we're missing something with these lines. Let me add something. See, I knew people who were killed by Manson -- let me use that.
The director agreed, and Hopper had a nice moment.

Now, as I said, Crash is pretty much a sequence of tripe. A lesser actor could've just accepted the lines as written or the scene as set up, hit the marks and collect the paycheck. Hopper himself could have coasted -- he's turned in so many extraordinary performances that he could just dial it in, and be content to relax with his Cohibas and art collection at day's end.
Instead, he's working -- hard -- on every line in the script, every scene in the series, always looking for ways to make it meaningful, better, more full of life.

In the public mind, I think he became a kind of caricature of two of his roles, Frank Booth and  the Hoosiers guy -- the wacko weirdo who'd done too many drugs and drifted off into lunacy.
But that was only and always an act.

Check him out in this interview from the Actor's Studio

He's completely lucid, eloquent and instructive about his main art, acting. I think is work as a director is underrated -- the Hot Spot is a terrific neo-noir with a perfectly cast Don Johnson as a sleazy drifter who you know would fuck your wife given half a chance -- along with a smoldering and very sexy Virginia Madsen. Colors, too, was a fine movie, maybe too earnest, but a way into dealing with the gang violence in LA.

I'm glad his photos are making it on to the Net.

Not to say he wasn't crazy -- if half the stories in Easy Riders, Raging Bulls are true . . . .whew. If he drank a tenth or did a fraction of the drugs,  he's some kind of superman to come through the other side.

But it's his acting that ruled over his other gifts. Frank Booth -- man, he was the perfect embodiment of every scary, shit-kicking redneck motherfucker, a true nightmare figure. He became David Lynch's small town mean ass sadist in the frightening flesh.

So, I salute you. I hope to see you on the other side, man.

RIP, part one

I'm sorry to report that one of my favorite blogs has gone dark. Crasses et voluptés went under. I miss it a lot already.
Pat Caza is a brilliant writer who offered up hunks of text the way a butcher slaps down hunks of fine, juicy steaks -- with abandon, with richness, with passion, and with the inside understanding that something there is going to nourish you right down to the toes.
Plus it was a great curatorial site, reminding you of the power of the blues and the icons that rule over our shabby little gutter.
I salute your work. I wish I'd taken the time to honor it more than with a mention on my blog roll.
I hope Caza will be back, too.