You are currently browsing the monthly archive for August 2008.

An observation on the Nietzsche text. One of Nietzsche’s most famous sayings is “God is dead”, usually glossed as an observation on the cultural death of Christianity. However, those who have carefully read the Phenomenology know that “God is himself dead” is an old German saying which of course refers to the Crucifixion. Hmm.

Now I’m going to talk about my real favorite band, ’90s Japanese punk outfit Teengenerate. Named after a Dictators song, Teengenerate hit the US hard around the middle of the decade: they sung in English and played real fast. The “album” selections on last.fm really aren’t (a common enough problem), so here are some videos of Teengenerate performing:

A medley of songs at the Fireside Bowl in Chicago, 1995

A cover of “Psycho Killer”, EJ’s, Portland, 1995 — I was too young to go to this show.

And you know what, we will do a last.fm track of their most beloved song: “Let’s Get Hurt“.

“Puppy”, topiary, 1992, 1995-6, 1997, 2000

 

 

Jeff Koons has a pretty cool website, although I don’t like his work that well. It has big-enough pictures of lots of different kinds of works; it’s really the best way to familiarize yourself with his oeuvre, unless you happen to be somewhere where they are displaying a large selection of his artworks, which you almost certainly aren’t (the retrospective at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago is in its last month).

This week, we’re going to do something a little different: examine an “emerging art form”, the YouTube dance. Young people all around the world are doing dances to cool music: I think they’re “rockin'”, and by “rockin'” I mean adequate.

Swell Maps, “New York”

“The Angry Hamiltonian” performs a masked dance for you in the public library foyer in Hamilton, Ontario. I’ve always had a soft spot for the Swell Maps, perhaps because I am mentioned in “Midget Submarines” (although their status as seminal indie band counts for something too).

E-40, “Turf Drop”

“Turfing” is a popular dance style in the Bay Area, and although I imagine it has relatively little to do with Carl Schmitt’s concept of Ortung its status as “local favorite” is worth considering.

And for something a little different, here’s a clip of the Martha Graham company, with Graham explaining her theory of dance. My great-aunt was in the Graham company for a time, but I don’t know that much about it because I’ve never made a serious study of dance.

PORT is a Portland art blog that’s been around for three years; it has a smart design and does more than pimp galleries (the traditional forte of Portland arts coverage). Portland has not traditionally had an especially vibrant visual arts scene, but with the city’s increasing sophistication it and its visitors are owed something like this, a proper collation of cultural resources and a window onto further developments.

As for the new Beaverton art, I’m proud to announce my CafePress store, where you can buy timeless and topical t-shirts. For all the real homeboys and homegirls, we have “Beaverton: not a sexual reference” — sure to start a conversation:

And, for the connossieur of international English (i.e., everyone who is anyone), we have “hide with Spread Beaver: I Survived the Bush Years”. Buy yours now.

As of today we’re over 10,000 page views. As a few of you may remember, we reached 3,000 views in October of 2007: at this rate, my blend of scary-ass formalized critical theory, sepia-toned reminiscences of the Nineties and information about cultural products you really should have known about already will be the most popular thing on the Internet in the year 4000.

Charles Ives (1874-1954) was the first American composer of serious music to garner world attention. Ives is famous for his pictographic approach to composition, invoking “sound-images” made out of elements drawn from popular song and city life; he was also a famous eccentric somewhat in the style of Harry Partsch. Here are two short pieces.

Ives himself playing a short piece from his “Concord Sonata”, “The Alcotts”.

“The Unanswered Question”

Question of the day: why are we still using a fifteen-year-old format for digital audio?

UPDATE: With broadband speeds around the world increasing precipitously, and the arrival of affordable portable digital players capable of holding much more audio than most people can comfortably acquire and organize, perhaps it’s time to go “back to the future” and make songs available in an uncompressed (and therefore “lossless”) format like WAV. If people are being asked to pay CD prices, they should get CD-quality audio.

I’m typically reluctant to recommend The Oregonian on any score: earlier this decade they failed to get a Pulitzer for going “in depth” on the new scourge of methamphetamine (a topic the “trailergentsia” were extensively familiar with in the ’90s), and generally their efforts to “guide” Oregon politics are a bit ham-handed. However, they have a history of hiring some sharp cultural writers, and Nestor Ramos is no exception: witness his “Open Letter to Judd Apatow: In Defense of Loser Dudes Everywhere“.