Category Archives: News

Recommendation of Aronofsky’s Mother!

Felt it may be useful to someone to strongly recommend seeing Aronofsky’s new film Mother!, and commend it for almost hitting true surrealism. Obviously I’m not a film critic, but this may be useful yet, as I consider Mother! not be popcorn, but art.

The film is essentially a critique of the Will, definitely in the nietzschean sense, and not so simply a plea for mother earth, et cetera, as some better-circulated critics have proposed. Javier Bardem is the artist husband of Jennifer Lawrence’s architect, the latter of whom has rebuilt the husband’s burnt-up huge country manor. We learn throughout the development of the plot that “life itself” is threatened by the cost of the will of humans to create according to their own perceptions and appetites. The reader may disregard the reportedly partly-intentional comparison to Rosemary’s Baby, a marketing ploy that was vulgar, off-point and doubtlessly made up under a deadline.

The house that the wife inhibits is her own skin, as she bloodily explores whenever unwanted guests cause little gashes to appear in it. Aronofsky takes us under her skin, into the scary cellar, and then pulls the scares right when the audience thinks it needs one, only to show us that what matters now is what happens above the skin. Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer deliver a hilarious metaphor for the disruption of one’s sense of safety, and the photography has the house darkening and yellowing with each disturbance, only clearing up to bright and white (the wife’s daylight bathroom is a sort of relief two thirds in) when the wife is pregnant and left alone.

Meanwhile the husband seems to nourish himself artistically from the chaos and destruction of the kitchen, but we all know that he suffers from a basic will to be needed and loved by his audience. Indeed one of the most effective elements of the film is that, when unwanted guests nightmarishly gain access to the house before the wife’s complaints, she is met with either incomprehension or rage, as if the universe did not contain a rule for ordering or understanding what she wants.

I commend the film highest, as mentioned, for coming close to surrealism. In the beginning, especially, I was getting huge hints of Gilman’s infinitely-interpretable Yellow Wallpaper, and until the end of the second act I was feeling the beating heart of Luis Buñuel’s long post-Mexico phase. I have no idea if Aronofsky intentionally reached out to grab hands with Buñuel and Lars von Trier, but if you’re going to get help, get help from the best, right? The dialogue and action effectively render the unconscious terror of having no privacy, of bearing alien responsibilities foisted upon us from nowhere, of being the stage for the will of others.

Lawrence has a lot of lifting to do, and she does it as quietly and wordlessly as possible, and I don’t blame her. Bardem works ultimately like an archetype, and that works. The real fun is in the hands of Pfeiffer and Harris, who stoke the insecurity of the two stars. Although Bardem’s character is the closest to a clef that the story is going to get, we are stuck in the film with Lawrence’s perspective, militantly photographed with her face at front and center, the plot elements beautifully whirling around her with a perfect balance of narrative force and the wife’s psychological echoes.

The film has rather a heavy shift in the third act; it’s not a tonal shift but rather a tonal acceleration, to put it synasthetically; some viewers may not go for unless in for some straightforward symbolism. For this reason I also caution the viewer not to spring for the Biblical reading, which simply is not enough nor any fun for the quality of this movie. The final scene elegantly closes the conceit about our will to have things as we imagine them, and what destruction it’s caused the world. I’ll leave the reader to figure out what it’s all modeled on.

Personally, I interpreted the incursion of the late-capitalist scarcity warzone into the couple’s house to be possibly an attempt by Aronofsky at a re-do of the somewhat awkward evolution-into-selfishness-equals-war riff at the finale of Noah, and I respect that. The final scene elegantly closes the conceit about our will to have things as we imagine them, and what destruction it’s caused the world. I’ll leave the reader to figure out what it’s all modeled on.

Ultimately I for one will give the film a lot of slack for some of its more decadent moments, because honestly I grew up watching Aronofsky, starting with Pi, I know how he works, and I’m a fan. But regardless, I encourage any lover of artistic effort to slide down to the cinema and keep the auteur in business, savoring the photography, the slices of film history and the wide variety of possible interpretations.

Advertisements

Sin Barras: To End Prisons

Need to repost this article. It’s got an excellent source, and it also reminds me to look up that Angela Davis book about prisons being obsolete. Read on and do something about it!

By Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee A response to the debate on abolition in Jacobin Magazine. The weekend of August 19 2017, amid the second nationwide inside/outside mass protest against prison slavery in as many years, Jacobin Magazine published an article against prison abolition entitled How to End Mass Incarceration by Roger Lancaster. Lancaster argued that returning to an […]

via Destroy All Prisons Tomorrow — Sin Barras

SF Zine Fest is Coming!

1501797646702

SF Zine Fest is coming this Sunday, the third of September, to Golden Gate Park’s county fair building. In its 16th year, the FREE Zine Fest is sure to be a party and full of more fun art and educational opportunities than you thought. Plus the burner dicks will be out of town, so it’s the perfect time to visit SF!

Those interested who have a Facebook can reply to the event here. My friends at Éxitos Gnosis will be nice enough to sell my stuff along with a bunch of other great art at their table, so look for them!

People of Seth: Bestial Caucasians with UV-inhibited Third Eyes

This blog has compelling scholarship as well as downright useful memes.

Interestingly, the ancient Egyptians recorded the Tamahu, which means created white people. Egyptian writings also refer to whites as Typhonians or People of Seth, both meaning “the devils.” After these “white devils” were first released into the Black community of the Near East 6000 years ago, they caused sever strife, thus the Africans rounded them […]

via From the Caucasus Mountains to America’s: Why They Still Love Savagery, Hate & Bestiality: DNA. — the4thangelsbowl

Acts I Loved at SJ Summer Jazz Fest 2017

Don’t know why it took me a week to publish this. The Jazz Fest this year will remain in my memory as starting with a raging, vacant-lot-squatting Friday, and as plagued by music-killing hour-late starts, but there were still several acts that I really liked. Here are the ones of whose sets I saw at least the majority proportion. See videos of all of them at SJ Jazz.

On Friday the standouts were Howard Wiley/Extra Nappy at the tiny boombox stage, and The Seshen at Stritch, where the drinks are overpriced and the ambience is perfect. What did we do downtown after Cactus Club and before Stritch?? It was great to have the Seshen to turn to when George Clinton’s band turned out not to be present. I don’t know what I expected, other than that they’d put some fire under it.

This below is the College Fund Street Band, as the sign says. From very little sister to dad, on bass, were singing pop songs. They had two gigs that I know of, this one Saturday in front of the Chinatown monument and one Sunday on the corner of San Fernando outside the art museum.

20170812_143025

They weren’t at all as thrilling, nevertheless, as the stumbling drunk guy sitting on the history table fifty paces away. His buddy says that it’s like babysitting today, they’re both drinking Mike’s God Damn White San José Men’s Obsession Lemonade, and he’s got a guitar on his belly. So I sez do a song about Mike’s Lemonade. He asks me for seventeen cents, or a dollar fifty nine or any amount within that, and I find a dollar for his drunk ass.

He stands up on the history table, almost falls on his face, slams down on his ass to play the guitar, still can’t hold steady, and then gets down on the paseo. He gives his buddy the guitar like, PLAY, and DON’T BREAK A STRING, then stops him tells him to play softer, and his buddy is mad and hisses never make me stop. Later I thought that’s not what she said. Finally with his friend holding the guitar he does the Homer Simpson pose, knees bent, ass out, huge belly forward, head back and belting the words MIKE’S HARD LEMONADE, and he picks up the pop tune that the College Fund Band are playing. I sez thanks and walk away and he calls after me (reading my shirt) EYY!! GET BACK HERE GIZDICH!!!

Saturday felt like kind of a wash because the damned shows kept going on late. But Ray Obiedo was awesome. He had fusiony unison heads on clean texmex guitar, soprano sax and steel pans. Hip! Also at the hotel was Kalil Wilson, whose standard croons put lots of young children to sleep. And of course half the fest is just the Salsa Stage, where I saw, amongst others, Conjunto Karabali and Carlitos Medrano y Sabor de mi Cuba. Never miss Cubans playing in your town! I wanted to see a lot more people, such as Millennium Sounds, but again the gad damn late starts killed it. Standout of Saturday Night was vocalist Kavita Shah and her bassist Francois, who were so good that we missed Chris Botti entirely. Darn!

20170813_141533

Above: Junior Dixieland Czech Republic, directed by Bedřich Smrčka. These kids got dragged all the way out in their school uniforms from the Czech Republic and made to play their stuff for us, and were incredulous when I told them how great it was and how much I loved the whole notion. I sed, it’s a shame when the Czech Republic across the world cares more about our awesome historical music than we do. The singer/washboard is probably 11 and the low banjo is probably 16, 17.20170812_221551

Above: Crowds were very warm for Jackie Gage, just happy to see a San José native making it and singing songs. Her bassist was very good. She did a shuffle version of Afro Blue, which was alright. Maceo Parker’s band was also pretty straight-ahead, but not as mechanical as George Clinton’s. Below is Sunday night’s Allan Harris, photographed as above at Jade Leaf, which remains way too small for the kinds of crowds at the Fest as long as they insist on seating, but sounds great. Harris’ high string licks were spot-on.20170813_171301

Lastly, can’t forget the “jazz noir” put on by Dmitri Matheny, who was so stoked to be there with his “bay area Wrecking Crew” of Ron Belcher, Leon Joyce and Matt Clark, that it was infectious.

I didn’t really see any acts that redefined my sense of music, such as Sonex ’15 and Miguel Zenón ’16, but it was still fun. I hope the organizers read this and crack down on the late starts. For those of you reading this out of town, the Fest is setup so you hear 2 different bands constantly, so late starts or false starts, like the band that never started at San Pedro on Friday, are a major buzzkill. Still it’s a hundred bucks for three days of music. That’s an investment, kids!

All photos by the author on a piece of shit Samsung shart phone.

Far Cry #9 is out!

The great great Anika Balaconis has done it again with Far Cry #9, the biggest little speculative fiction zine in the scene, published while she’s not punking down and running her own restaurant in Greenfield, Massachusetts.

farcryvol9_cover_72-195x300

Authors Andrew Massey, Jean Paul Garnier (namesake of the condoms and glowsticks on the cover) and Joe Urson are featured besides Anika’s own story, and she put one of my stories in too!!! Audio version of the latter here for those of you too busy, too nonprofit or too ‘post-literate’ to read. Cover artist London Roman also has an illustration in the back, like a single page from a longer comic, to round it out.

The cover image also gets my approval for featuring the west coast, and a punker wailing on a guitar. Get on Far Cry, or find Éxitos Gnosis, and get yourself a copy today while they last!