Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Fridaying



Well, if nothing else it looks like I'm headed back into the world of weekends meaning something. Why not celebrate with a little Ladytron?

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Welcome to the Passive-Aggressive Arms

There's a new hotel being built in Providence. I forget the exact chain right now, but it's a lesser known imprint of a brand you know. The plot it's being built on is about the area of a single hotel suite. That's the entire plot, by the way. It doesn't look like they'll have any grass around the place. What they will have is cars, because it's an island in the middle of a high traffic intersection. I'm thinking this will be the place businesses will put up executives whom they want to quit and who just aren't taking the hint.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

What's in the box


Joseph Cornell, known for his little boxes, was associated with the surrealist group between the wars. This is an interesting circumstance, because nothing in his past made it obvious he'd fall in with an avant garde. In fact he was a self-taught artist and more than a little shy. So he came into it honestly. His art just grew out of who he was.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Behind the wheel

Okay, so I just finally watched Taxi Driver all the way through. That is one beautiful movie. I mean, I can't imagine that it did much for New York's tourism industry (they survived) but the colors and the camera movements are gorgeous. Sounds beautiful too. It's basically Bernard Herrmann's last score, and he gives it a classic noirish romanticism.

Robert De Niro is phenomenal as Travis Bickle, of course, a social misfit despite his youthful beauty. There's not really a weak performance in the movie. Harvey Keitel could have disappeared after this one. He plays a pimp whose star attraction is a tween, he's screwing her himself, and manipulating her besides. All of his scenes are hard to watch. But his career survived, because he's just that good.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Believe in you later, alligator

I read a Harlan Ellison story this evening that ties into folklore about alligators in the New York sewer. This has to be one of the sillier urban legends out there. Just try flushing a baby alligator down the toilet, or better yet, don't. If you still have both hands and manage to pull the handle, then still the only thing you'll manage to accomplish is blocking your own pipes.

On t'other hand, I can see why people flock to this one. It's colorful. We might have a need to credit florid situations, or at least keep them in mind.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

H2. Oh.

It can be hard to remember to stay hydrated in the winter. Or rather it can be hard to force yourself to do so. Cold water is hard to get down because it hurts your throat. Even if the water isn't that cold it's not something you crave.

Summer is a different story. You always want to drink something cold. Not necessarily ice cold, but if a glass of water is ice cold when you take it out of the fridge, it won't stay so for long. In fact before too long the water will be lukewarm, so you definitely want to down it before that.

There are a lot of downsides to hot weather, so you have to look on the bright side as well.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

The big block party

Some things seem unlikely candidates for nostalgia, and Brutalist architecture is among them. A severe and forbidding style characterized by huge geometrical structures, it faced criticism from all corners. I have a random memory of WKRP in Cincinnati, of all things. Bailey leads a drive to save examples of Art Deco architecture, which does exist in Cincinnati, and credits it with being the last attempt to bring beauty to the buildings of the city. The implicit rebuke to Brutalism is pretty clear. Then there was Tom Wolfe, who did a whole book - From Bauhaus to Our House - about how it subverted everything good about America.

And yet people are again embracing the Brutalist style, both in the US and elsewhere, and while I'm an agnostic on the subject I can see why. On the aesthetic level its determination not to be too much can be a little much, especially if it's everywhere. But it's a remnant of a time when cities were for everyone. These structures were made with the working class in mind. With urban rents rising catastrophically, more precious buildings now being erected for one percent, and the suburbs/exurbs as faceless as they've ever been, that inclusion counts for a lot. This was once the face of the future, albeit not a future everyone embraced. What does the future look like now?