Sunday, November 30, 2008

Perfectly Proportioned Chemical Compounds

I'm really not one to use the word "chemistry" very often, much less outside the context of physical science, which, let's face it, is not my preferred subject of discourse to begin with. Nevertheless, when I watched Aaron Eckhart and Helena Bonham Carter on screen last night, the thing that lingered in my mind as the closing credits crawled from the top to the bottom on my laptop was: great chemistry. Between the two lead characters that is.

I picked up the film, Conversation(s) with Other Women at the local branch of the New York Public Library. I never heard of it, and I suppose it wasn't an amazing film either. The dialogue was kind of lame at most, and the story quite weak, but the chemistry between the two - and I feel like such a cheezeball for saying it - was electric.

I'm beginning to appreciate the role of the one who chooses the cast for the film. Who is that anyhow?

Saturday, November 29, 2008

A Special Place

When I was in Copenhagen this summer, my friend Anne and I went for a walk in the Botanical Gardens, during which we came to speak of new feminist theory. While I hadn't kept updated on the newer feminist writings, Anne certainly had, and so she entertained me
with the titles of some new books, one of the most popular, if I remember correctly, being "Bitter-fissen", which translated into English means "the bitter pussy".

She also informed me of the quote "There is a special place in hell for women who don't help each other", which I absolutely love, not least because I miss-heard it at first as: "There is a special place in hell for women who help each other". I guess either way, that quote just holds so much (socially constructed) truth.

Anyhow, I have just learned today, that that quote was originally said out loud by the bright Madeleine Albright when she gave a talk in Stockholm back in 1994. And how did I found out?

Well, just this afternoon Al knocked on my door and handed over a big, heavy envelope sent all the way from Denmark, and in it I found a pretty little book given the title of Albright's quote - albeit translated into Swedish.

And it was Anne who sent it to me, and I love her to bits and pieces for thinking of me when she saw it. I simply can't wait to read it, and hopefully become better at helping even the beautiful and skinny representatives of my fellow sex.

The New Bourgeoisie

Speaking of the new arbiters of taste, how did it come about that John Waters, pervert of all perverts and outcast of all outcasts, the man who made people fuck on top of chickens and people eat dog poop, became the beloved star of Broadway? Not off-off-off Broadway, but Broadway plain and simple?

I'm still not cranky. I'm just puzzled.

Buy Nothing Day

It was so quiet in the East village yesterday, it completely escaped my attention that the day after Thanksgiving is commonly known as Black Friday - the day where all the big stores offer big sales, inviting hordes of people to participate in a shopping frenzy. Apparently a shop attendant at Walmart died after being trampled to death by eager shoppers, and although I realize that pointless deaths happen all the time, I feel so ashamed of humanity when it happens in the context of consumption.

I got an email from Nonsense NYC, from which I was invited to join "the Rude Mechanical Orchestra and Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping on the day after Thanksgiving to celebrate Buy Nothing Day, a response to the overconsumerism promoted by the retail industry of Black Friday". Apparently this has been celebrated every year since 1997 with a free dance party a Union Square.


For Johan.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Countercultural Goodwill

At first sight I found this little limited edition sculpture really cool, but at second thought I'm not really sure what exactly to make of it. It strikes me as:
a) a bit too easy
b) a tad distasteful
c) and perhaps a little hypocritical, too

Because of a paper I'm writing revolving around patronage of the arts and cultural philanthropy, it struck me that carrying out an artwork like this, in a limited edition, and selling each one for a large amount of money, is not that different from "the bourgeois" seeking cultural goodwill by donating money to the arts, and having their names engraved in a wall for the world to see.

This is the same, although dressed in different plumes. It's designed to bless its creator and owner with perhaps not cultural goodwill, but then perhaps counter-cultural goodwill, which, by the way, I suspect being pretty much one and the same thing - at least among my generation of arbiters of taste.

I wonder what other purpose it serves its creator and owner - and distributor, in this case The New Museum - beyond functioning as an emblem of liberalism, political awareness, and an eye for hip interior decoration.

It's basically no different that wearing a badge with a political statement, only this badge costs 2200 dollars, and I suspect none of that money goes towards lobbying for the trial of the prisoners of Guantanamo Base.

I'm not cranky. I'm just saying.

Inaugural Paper Dolls

There seems to be a lot of guessing and gossiping about what Michelle Obama will be wearing for the inaugural ball in January, and by coincidence I came across this little paper doll couple in a book I'm reading - Selling Culture, about "the new aristocracy of taste in Reagan's America".



Hurrah for random people having taken random photos with my camera.

Blurry Dinner Ambiance