Tuesday, November 01, 2005


(a) Pleased to find Steve not only giving props to Shadow of a Doubt, but to the "indelible Santa Rosa bad girl" played by the curiously obscure Janet Shaw. Please consult A Cat May Look at a Queen, AbKosh 2003, track 3, which samples her big line ("'I'd just die for a ring like that. Yes sir, for a ring like that, I'd just about die."); the cover is part of a beauty contest still of Shaw that I found in, as the song says, a "Downtown Pomona antique mall."

(b) Jody Rosen, of White Christmas fame, has a new blog: Anachronist, devoted to the sorts of pre-rock pop on which blues 'n' folk lovin' crit-types have heaped...well, silence, mostly. Check out his opening post for a manifesto; whether you agree or not, plenty to download in the days after (excellent links, too).

(c) While I'm in word-spreading mode, glad to be able to mention that L.A.-based Make Now Press has scored the rights to put Mathews' and Brotchie's Oulipo Compendium back into print. (Go past the flash page and click "Upcoming Publications.")

(d) Recently noted that among the pairs of "Iconoclasts" to be featured on an upcoming Sundance Channel series is this one: Michael Stipe + Mario Batali. Fine, whatever, make some bruschetta. But what I want to know is: is the general idea that, once you get famous enough, you just do any damn thing that comes into your head?

(e) The division of labor in the sexual act. The fetishism of small differences. The diagonal of personal ecstasy.

(f) Heard Susan Wheeler and Jean Marie Beaumont read at Columbia College, down in the Loop, about two weeks back. Was unfamiliar w/ Beaumont; what she read was accessible in its strategies, but by no means inane. Particularly liked a poem in the "voice" of a rock, and another comprised simply of all of the thrice-repeated phrases in Ariel: "marry it, marry it, marry it." Susan read "Benny the Beaver" (which, I should have noticed before, is about being a poet) and a few other lightish things from Source Codes, the "Money and God" section from Ledger, and more of the poems using her mother's diction which I first half-heard backstage at MillionPoemsLand earlier this year. I quite enjoy her reading style, sort of tough, hardly poet-y at all. Hope to get to her novel Record Palace over Xmas; at a glance, my first thought was, "I had no idea she knew this much about jazz." Then turned around and picked up Bree for a screening of Michael Liesen's Sturges-penned Easy Living -- you can see why Sturges ended up directing his own work, Leisen pushes good jokes/holds reaction shots too long. In any case, the commodities-gone-mad of the classic Automat scene was nice punctuation to Ledger. Then I went to Cass McCombs' show at the Hideout, more on that later. All this was before I noticed that I had some work to do.

(g) Mention of Sturges reminds me that I recently saw for sale the issue of Film Comment that was the original venue for both Farber's "White Elephant Art vs. Termite Art" and Sarris' "Notes on the Auteur Theory in 1962." And some pre-New Yorker Kael piece. It cost $40; not bad, as the same bookstore was selling a visiting card signed by Charles Dodgson for $3K. I stuck with a ten-buck copy of Tom Clark's Stones w/ the Brainard cover (Swiss cheese).

(h) Also saw The Awful Truth, more comfort food, I'm afraid. You know something, though -- it's not one of Cary Grant's best performances; Ralph Bellamy, as a demonstration of what you end up with if you try to deny your love for someone more "difficult," runs away with the middle third of the movie.

(h) Will have to go back to that Tropicalia show at Chicago MOCA, as there are several fairly long loops of performances and other film-clips on view: Were you aware that Os Mutantes had done a series of Brazilian TV ads for Shell Oil? Kinda kills it, no?

(i) Oh yes: about a week ago, I shook the hand of a very polite Welsh woman: Jon Langford's mother.

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