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Chocolate Elsewhere

from the NY Times

Chocolate (2008)

Chocolate

Magnet Releasing

“Jija” Yanin Vismistananda in the 2008 film “Chocolate,” directed by Prachya Pinkaew.

Portrait of a Martial Artist
By NATHAN LEE

“Chocolate” is dedicated to “the unconditional love given to all the special children in the world,” which is a cheeky way to kick off a movie about a little girl with a gift, very special indeed, for kicking grown men in the face.

It’s true that Zen (Jija Yanin Vismitananda), born to a humble Thai woman and a Japanese gangster, exhibits behaviors that suggest autism, or at least some poorly acted simulation of it: abnormal shyness, primitive syntax, rocking back and forth, an extreme aversion to houseflies.

Fortunately, she has been endowed with a natural mastery of the martial arts, much of which she appears to absorb by watching “Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior” on television.

[ click to read the full tomato at NYTimes.com ]

Posted on February 8, 2009 by Editor

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Kate Moss Secretly Has An IQ of 195

from flavorwire

Heard in the Crowd: The Rumpus’s NYC Launch Party
12:05 pm Friday Feb 6, 2009
by Caroline Stanley
OK, it’s been a long time since we’ve asked you to submit these (and it’s not like you were ever flooding HQ with material), so we’ve decided to get the ball rolling and post one of our own from last night’s launch party for The Rumpus at Crash Mansion. To set the scene for you,  founder Stephen Elliot (who we interviewed here) was on stage giving a rundown of his site, and said something along the lines of, “We’re like a literary magazine that plays by the Internet’s rules, meaning we update at least 15 times a day — like a Gawker, or a Huffington Post, but we’re not mean.”  

Girl #1: Omigod, I love Gawker!

Girl #2: [Breathlessly] Omigod, I love Gawker too!

They proceeded to chat about their mutual love for the site — Gawker, not The Rumpus — as James Frey took the stage and read a hilarious unpublished piece that he claimed was going to be part of a new Damien Hirst project about Kate Moss. It was all about how she secretly has an IQ of 195 and is working in a secret lab on a formula that will allow her to live forever. But it’s way better than we’re making it sound.

Got a good Heard in the Crowd to share with us? Send it along to tips [at] flavorwire [dot] com and if we decide to run it, we’ll reward you with something cool that’s sitting around our office. Like a CD or a fancy art book.

[ click to read at flavorwire.com ]

Posted on February 7, 2009 by Editor

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24: The Unaired 1994 Pilot

Posted on February 7, 2009 by Editor

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Murder Lives In Los Feliz

from the LA Times

On a Los Feliz hill, murder — then mystery

Los Feliz mansion

Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times

The hilltop Los Feliz mansion where Dr. Harold Perelson killed his wife and then himself in 1959. It has sat vacant ever since.

 

Inside a mansion, it’s as if time stopped in 1959 when a doctor killed his wife and then himself. Gifts still sit, unopened. Why?

By Bob Pool, February 6, 2009

It’s a murder mystery that has puzzled a Los Feliz neighborhood since 1959. The criminal-case part was solved quickly enough. Homicide investigators found that Dr. Harold Perelson bludgeoned his wife to death with a ball-peen hammer, savagely beat their 18-year-old daughter and then fatally poisoned himself by gulping a glass of acid.

Authorities removed two other children from the sprawling hillside estate that overlooks downtown Los Angeles, locked the front door to the 5,050-square-foot mansion, and left.

Fifty years later, the Glendower Place home remains empty. On the outside, the mansion itself appears to be slowly decaying.

The estate’s terraced grounds are pockmarked by gopher holes and overgrown with grass that sprouted after recent rains — growth that neighbors know will turn brown when summer returns. A pond is partly filled with rainwater. Weeds poke through cracks in a curving asphalt driveway. Through grimy, cracked windows, one can see dust-covered furniture, including a 1950s-style television set, seemingly frozen in time. What appear to be gaily wrapped Christmas gifts sit on a table.

[ click to continue reading at LATimes.com ]

Posted on February 7, 2009 by Editor

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The Global Economic Crisis Is Proving Good For Business

from The Economist

Ideological debate in China

The Little Red Bookshop

Feb 5th 2009 | BEIJING | The Economist print edition

Whose little-read leftist texts may be coming back into vogue

Illustration by Claudio Munoz

IN A small bookshop on the ninth floor of an office and residential building in Beijing’s university district, the staff wear Mao badges. Works extolling the late Chinese leader, damning capitalism and attacking globalisation are laid out on shelves. Scour the “non-mainstream economists” section for some of the most popular ones. Staples of most bookshops—volumes on how to succeed in business, play the stockmarket or get into an American university—are not on sale.

The Utopia bookshop is a refuge for China’s leftists, the term used to describe those nostalgic for Mao Zedong’s rule and worried that the country is abandoning its communist principles. This is the place to buy the selected writings of Mao’s late widow, Jiang Qing, and other members of the Gang of Four who were imprisoned after the chairman’s death. A three-volume critique of China’s property law, enacted in 2007 and much disliked by leftists because of its supposed bias in favour of private-property ownership, goes for 200 yuan ($30).

A bookshop manager says the global economic crisis is proving good for business.

[ click to continue reading at Economist.com ]

Posted on February 7, 2009 by Editor

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Ars Recapture Artis

from The New York Times

Capturing History With Video of the TV

A number of years ago, the critic Amy Taubin, in a hilarious review of a misbegotten movie from Abel Ferrara, wrote that it “inspires the ontological question ‘What are films, and why is this not one of them?’ ”

The same question buzzed through my mind while watching the weirdly compelling if almost unclassifiable “Lithuania and the Collapse of the USSR,” the latest work from the filmmaker, poet, archivist and cinematic avenging angel Jonas Mekas. “Lithuania,” I hasten to add, is certainly not misbegotten — but given that this nearly five-hour work consists almost entirely of bits and pieces of news programs shot off a color television with a video camera, it does inspire some aesthetic rumination.

The question of what constitutes a movie in the digital age is far too large to tackle here, though it is worth noting that “Lithuania” was shot in video and will be shown in video. (A different version is being presented as a four-monitor video installation at the Maya Stendhal Gallery in Chelsea, through Feb. 21, as part of an exhibition of Mr. Mekas’s latest work.) Increasing numbers of movies are actually videos or are digitally created — there is not a single film frame involved — crucial information that often goes unmentioned and even unnoticed in reviews. For artists like Mr. Mekas, who has been shooting in video for years, such distinctions seem irrelevant. The work counts, whatever the format.

[ click to continue reading at NYTimes.com ]

Posted on February 7, 2009 by Editor

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BILF

from The Times South Africa

Barbie’s midlife crisis

NEW YORK – She doesn’t have a streak of grey hair, her breasts remain unnaturally perky, and she has endless outfits – but Barbie is feeling miserable ahead of her 50th birthday.

Not only is she accused of promoting anorexia among young girls, but her sales plunged 21 percent in the last quarter of 2008, and for seven years she has had to deal with Bratz, a sassy rival hot on her high heels.

Born Barbara Millicent Robert on March 9, 1959 in Willows, Wisconsin, the 29-centimetre (11.4-inch) beauty wowed the world when she made her debut at a New York toy fair, leading to sales of 300,000 that same year.

With her long legs, love of pink-tinged glamour, and hair made for combing, she was a world away from the baby-like creatures cradled by girls of previous generations.

Today she is at the centre of the Mattel company empire. She has inspired dozens of fashion designers, become a presence on Facebook and MySpace, revolutionised playtime for young children – and forced untold numbers of reluctant parents to reach for their wallets.

New York Fashion Week this month will fete her 50th with real-life leggy models.

[ click to continue reading ]

Posted on February 7, 2009 by Editor

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Jonesy’s Jukebox Gone

from the LA Times

POP MUSIC

‘Jonesy’s Jukebox’ runs out of nickels

The demise of Indie 103.1 leaves Sex Pistol Steve Jones, host of the unorthodox but beloved show, without a day job.

By Geoff Boucher, February 4, 2009

jonesy.jpgIt’s come to this — a Sex Pistol drives a Prius. On a recent crisp afternoon, Steve Jones, the guitar architect of London punk in its primacy, zipped down Hollywood Boulevard in his shiny white hybrid Toyota, which is customized with a rooftop image of her majesty Queen Elizabeth, a safety pin jutting from her lip. And you thought punk rock was dead.

Even with the distraction of nubile young tourists strolling up the Walk of Fame, Jones was in a melancholy mood. You see, like so many people in America these days, the 53-year-old rock star turned radio DJ is looking for a job.

“It’s weird not to have somewhere to go,” Jones said. “And wherever I do go next won’t be the same, I know that.”

Jones joined the ranks of the unemployed on Jan. 17, when Indie 103.1, the scruffy but revered L.A. rock station, became a victim of a vicious downturn in advertising revenue. For five years, the Sex Pistol had been the gloriously unpolished voice of “Jonesy’s Jukebox,” an eccentric and unpredictable two-hour lunchtime show on which he played any obscure record he wanted, chatted up famous guests or just, well, whistled.

[ click to continue reading at LATimes.com ]

Posted on February 5, 2009 by Editor

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Duff an’ The Buff

from the New York Post

[ click to read full article in the NY Post ]

Posted on February 5, 2009 by Editor

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Thanks For The Train Wreck

from the New York Observer

PW‘s Sara Nelson Saw Book Crowd As Coolest On Earth

Laid-Off Editor Says, ‘ No Highs Match Falling in Love’

New York Times media columnist David Carr, who was hired at Inside.com a few months after Ms. Nelson was, remembered an obsessively competitive reporter whose taste for scoops matched the uncommonly speedy metabolism that Inside.com was aiming for.

saranelson.png“We were both smokers, and it would be 10:30 in the morning—we would have already filed—and we’d both be outside scuffing the ground and saying, ‘I’ve got nothing,’” Mr. Carr said. “You never saw a more hard-core competitive journalist than Sara Nelson. Freakish. Freakish. She would see something come up on her screen and just explode.”

Mr. Carr went on: “She was the rare trade reporter who could write and think and who could do real-time analytics. And so she took full advantage of the platform in terms of breaking a lot of news, and doing it so it was clear not just what happened but why.”

We used to report auctions in real time at Inside,” Ms. Nelson said. “We’d put up a story, you know, ‘Ann Godoff is up to $200,000! This one’s up to 300!” It was like a horse race. You know, ‘… Aaaand coming around the corner is …’ It was fun, but also it was new—nobody else had ever done it.”

Predictably, Ms. Nelson said, she saw the publishing industry from a rather different light as editor of PWthan she had as a beat reporter. Among other things, she noticed for the first time a hostility from the outside world directed towards editors, agents and all the rest of her people—a creepy chorus of eager detractors who snarled with glee whenever someone in the industry screwed up. The controversy around James Frey’s A Million Little Pieces, she said, is what set it off: “It opened the floodgates for people to say, ‘It’s all publishing’s fault! They’re all a bunch of insiders who scratch each other’s backs and don’t check their facts and keep the rest of us out and think they’re better than us!’”

This vinegary sort of scolding initially stunned Ms. Nelson (“I was like, what?”), but in the years since she has developed a clearer theory of where the vitriol comes from.

“I think it’s because many, many, many, many people think they can write and that they have a book in them,” she said. “And they are very, very resentful of someone else who has a book come out. … I think everybody thinks that there but for the luck of knowing a New York editor goes their memoir.”

[ click to read complete article at Observer.com ]

Posted on February 5, 2009 by Editor

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Chicharrones de queso with tomatillo-radish salsa

from the LA Times

chicha.png 

Posted on February 5, 2009 by Editor

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Mike Elmer’s Frey

from The Bellingham Herald

Bellingham bookstore increases its online sales

ANNA WALTERS / THE BELLINGHAM HERALD

In a business landscape marred lately by empty storefronts and layoffs, one Bellingham bookstore has managed to beat the economic blues by increasing its online inventory and sales. Michael’s Books, located on Grand Avenue downtown, reported 43 percent year-over-year growth in its online sales in 2008 – a feat owner Michael Elmer credits largely to upping the number of books available on the store’s Web site and signing on with Amazon.com in December 2007.

Today, the store’s online catalog has about 10,000 books.

Elmer has been working in bookstores since his teens. He even did a four-year stint at one of the biggest bookstores in the nation, Powell’s Books, which now takes up an entire city block in Portland, Ore.

Elmer’s store, which has been a fixture in Bellingham for about 25 years, has about 250,000 books lining its shelves. Elmer said the business of book selling brings him in contact with interesting people and amazing books.


“I never know what the next person in will want or will have and it’s always exciting,” he said. “There are so many books. I can never see them all.”

Elmer is a collector himself and keeps his own rare hoard in a shelved nook inside the store, equipped with two cozy arm chairs and a mirrored ceiling. He has hundreds of literary treasures, from an early “Tarzan of the Apes” to a 1943 diving manual published by the U.S. Navy.

He also has a signed copy of James Frey’s controversial “A Million Little Pieces,” with an inscription penned by Frey himself thanking the book’s recipient for an alleged liaison and wishing her luck with her wedding.

“Every book has a story that’s beyond the book itself,” Elmer explains.

[ click to continue reading at The Bellingham Herald ]

[ click to here to browse Michael’s Books ]

Posted on February 4, 2009 by Editor

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Living With A Wound

from The UK Telegraph

Art Sales: TV Santhosh’s Living With a Wound

Living With a Wound, paintings of November’s terrorist attacks in Mumbai by Indian artist TV Santhosh, may help the Indian art market avoid the chill of recession.

By Colin Gleadell
Last Updated: 2:53PM GMT 02 Feb 2009

Art Sales: TV Santhosh's Living With a Wound
TV Santhosh, Living with a Wound I
 

Paintings by one of India’s most successful young artists that were made in response to last November’s terrorist attacks in Mumbai are to be exhibited for the first time in London this week. Drawing on details from the newspaper and television images that shocked the world, the artist TV Santhosh, whose work has attracted the attention of British collectors Frank Cohen and Charles Saatchi, has painted the images so they look like photographic negatives imbued with garish neon green, yellow and red colours. In one, security guards pour out of a truck as the bombs are going off; in another, a sniffer dog is at work outside the Taj Mahal Hotel where a car has just exploded; and in a third, a woman searches through the rubble carrying a piece of paper with a child’s photograph on it.

The exhibition, entitled Living with a Wound, comes at a time when the Indian art market is feeling the chill of recession. Having experienced an unparalleled five-year boom, at first for modern art from the Fifties and Sixties, and then for more recent work by younger artists, cracks began to appear last autumn.

[ click to continue reading at The Telegraph ]

Posted on February 4, 2009 by Editor

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Albee On Art

from the LA Times

Edward Albee: Part-time pussycat

<b>A WRITER’S HAVEN:</b> Edward Albee and cat Abigail share a Manhattan retreat adorned with masks and rare art.

Jennifer S. Altman, xx

A WRITER’S HAVEN: Edward Albee and cat Abigail share a Manhattan retreat adorned with masks and rare art.

The playwright fills his works with piercing observations. He’s strongly opinionated, it’s true. Then again, he seems to feel pretty affectionate toward the rest of us cats.

By Charles McNulty Theater Critic > > > Reporting from New York > > >
February 4, 2009

Edward Albee, without question our nation’s greatest living playwright, lives just the way you might expect him to — in a rarefied artistic ozone that feels completely at home to him.

African sculptures and 20th century European and American paintings proliferate in his TriBeCa loft, like wildflowers on a sunny hillside. An elevator opens directly to the apartment, where a flirty feline named Abigail, a part Abyssinian acrobat, insists on making friends before allowing entry into this heightened realm, in which a Kandinsky and a Chagall stare each other down, a little Picasso etching lurks on a back table, and alarming masks and seemingly animate artifacts track your every move.

Famously fussy about language, Albee prefers to call himself an “accumulator” rather than “a collector,” though there’s nothing random about the objects in his private gallery. Asked what the display might say about his aesthetic, he dryly answers, after a meditative beat, that he “knows what he’s doing.” He lightly shoos away the notion of a connection with his playwriting, but the truth is probably closer to what he told his biographer Mel Gussow: “Art should expand the boundaries of the form and, simultaneously, it should change our perceptions. I despise restful art.”

[ click to continue reading at LATimes.com ]

Posted on February 4, 2009 by Editor

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They Know Your Secret Place, They Know What Books You Read

from the NY Times

Some Fear Google’s Power in Digital Books

IN 2002, Google began to drink the milkshakes of the book world.

Back then, according to the company’s official history, it began a “secret ‘books’ project.” Today, that project is known as Google Book Search and, aided by a recent class-action settlement, it promises to transform the way information is collected: who controls the most books; who gets access to those books; how access will be sold and attained. There will be blood, in other words.

Like the oil barons in the late 19th century, Google is thirsty for a vital raw material — digital content. As Daniel J. Clancy, the engineering director for Google Book Search, put it, “our core business is about search and discovery, and search and discovery improves with more content.”

He can even sound like a prospector when he says Google began its effort to scan millions of books “because there is a ridiculous amount of information out there,” he said, later adding, “and we didn’t see anyone else doing it.”

But there is a crucial difference. Unlike Daniel Plainview, the antihero of “There Will Be Blood,” played by Daniel Day-Lewis, who cackles when describing how his rigs can suck the oil underneath other peoples’ property — drink their milkshakes, if you will — when Google copies a book the original remains.

Instead, the “property” being taken is represented by copyrights and other kinds of ownership. There will be lawsuits.

[ click to continue reading at NYTimes.com ]

Posted on February 4, 2009 by Editor

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Revenge Of The Disco Squaws

Posted on February 3, 2009 by Editor

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Why Billy Carter Was Always Smiling

from CNN

Charges against George Obama dropped

From David McKenzie CNN 

NAIROBI, Kenya (CNN) — All charges against George Obama, half-brother to U.S. President Barack Obama, have been dropped after his arrest in a drug raid, according to police in Kenya.

gob.pngHe was released on Saturday hours later, police added.

Obama was arrested in a Nairobi slum, and he was picked up with people who possessed marijuana, said police spokesman Eric Kiraithe.

“Being found with people who are in possession of cannabis is a petty offense,” Kiraithe said.

Earlier, police had told CNN that Obama had been arrested for possessing cannabis and resisting arrest, which can carry a sentence of up to a year in jail or hefty fines.

“Police in Kenya do not look at criminals in light of associations with relatives,” Kiraithe said.

Obama and the president barely know each other, though they have met. George Obama was one of the few people closely related to the president who did not attend the inauguration in Washington.

[ click to continue reading at CNN.com ]

Posted on February 3, 2009 by Editor

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Rumpus And Beyond

from the New Yorker

newyorker1.png 

 

CRASH MANSION 

 

With the Christian Science Monitor announcing that it plans to cease publishing a print edition and move its operations entirely to the Internet and the same strategy reportedly in the works at U.S. News & World Report and other publications, the future of journalism increasingly looks like it’s going to be in the electronic realm. Entering into the competition for online readers is the new site therumpus.net, a compendium of original content, blogs, and stories from around the World Wide Web. The site celebrates its launch with a party on Feb. 5 at 7. With performances by the musicians Will Sheff and Timothy Bracy; readings by James Frey, Andrew Sean Greer, and Jonathan Ames; and an appearance by Starlee Kine, of the radio show “This American Life.” (199 Bowery. For more information, visit therumpus.net.)

[ click to read at NewYorker.com ]

Posted on February 2, 2009 by Editor

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House of Blues Heritage In Dire Straits

from the Dallas Observer

Downtown Dallas at the Crossroads

The city’s effort to clean up downtown could cost us important parts of history.

By Robert Wilonsky

It stands at the end of a short, out-of-the-way dead-end street a few blocks from City Hall: 508 Park Ave., where a man and a guitar more or less invented rock and roll 72 years ago. The building is vacant and decaying, but not alone. On a recent Saturday afternoon, the small block upon which it sits was lined with the homeless, who surrounded an idling car parked in front of the building where in the summer of 1937 Mississippi-born bluesman Robert Johnson recorded 13 of the most important pieces of the American songbook. The homeless gathered around the car with their hands out, and it drove away—it was like something out of a zombie movie, a sad and familiar sight in downtown Dallas. 

The building was carved out of marble in the 1920s, when it was constructed as the home of the Warner Bros. Pictures storage facility. Marble, builders believed, would contain a conflagration should the highly flammable nitrate film stock ever catch fire. Historians also believe the marble created the marvelous acoustics that led Brunswick Records to use the building as its branch office and makeshift recording studio.

Evidence of that sound clarity exists on the handful of recordings producer Don Law made there with Johnson in 1937. Decades old, they still resonate like a thunderstorm that’s only just passed.

It wasn’t until 2006 that historians had definitive proof that Johnson recorded such immortal, oft-covered songs as “Hellhound on My Trail,” “Love in Vain” and “Traveling Riverside Blues” at 508 Park Ave.

[ click to continue reading at The Dallas Observer ]

Posted on February 1, 2009 by Editor

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International Bright Young Things

from the NY Observer

Vile Bodies

BY DAMIAN DA COSTA  | 

Bright Young People: The Lost Generation of London’s Jazz Age
By D.J. Taylor
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 361 pages, $27

British tabloids of the 1920s bestowed the sobriquet “Bright Young People” on the generation born near the turn of the century, a generation alienated from older siblings traumatized and decimated by the Great War, and even more alienated from parents whose pre-War mind-set stranded them on the far side of a moral chasm. Their isolation led the Bright Young People to create a new kind of social life—less formal, more sensation-seeking, essentially communal in character. vile.pngThey invented “gatecrashing,” popularized late-night scavenger hunts, and threw the wild dress-up parties that have come down to us in Evelyn Waugh’s Vile Bodies (1930): “Masked parties, Savage parties, Victorian parties, Greek parties, Russian parties, Circus parties, parties where one had to dress as somebody else, almost naked parties in St. John’s, parties in flats and studios and houses and ships and hotels and night clubs. …”

The legend of the core group is well known: A clique of literary aesthetes bound by ties to Eton and Oxford—some, like Waugh and Anthony Powell, with an edge of seriousness; others, like the Mitfords and Brian Howard, for whom “idiosyncratic” is too mild—took up residence in Mayfair and presided over a revolution in decorum. Then as now, it was a matter of time before the scene they started was co-opted, packaged and sold back to the public as society gossip. By 1931, their heyday had passed and only a few, creatively speaking, survived.

In Bright Young People: The Lost Generation of London’s Jazz Age, D. J. Taylor, author of a first-rate life of George Orwell, shows the sharp instincts of an expert biographer in his approach to 1920s English youth culture. He knows, for example, that the essence of a social scene is most faithfully preserved in the lives of its failures—those who, unlike Waugh, never managed to transcend the group identity that first brought them notice.

[ click to continue reading at Observer.com ]

Posted on February 1, 2009 by Editor

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