Latest Blog Posts

by Sean Murphy

22 Apr 2009

On April 21, 1910, author Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known as Mark Twain, died in Redding, Connecticut

Mark Twain was the heavyweight champion in a time when giants roamed the earth and our color commentary was written in ink. Twain, along with Melville and Hawthorne, represents the holy trinity of 19th Century American fiction: the great white hope. But Twain was arguably the archetypal American writer; certainly that was William Faulkner’s assessment. And if Faulkner says Twain was the “father of American literature” than Twain is the father of American literature, end of discussion. Even still, he was more than that. A lecturer, a satirist, critic, commentator; a genuine public figure and ambassador for the well-examined life.

by Alan Ranta

22 Apr 2009

Well, Mr. Oizo may have shat the bed with his fuzzy little Flat Eric character and the tragic Lambs Anger, but the latest video from Qua’s latest triumph Q&A shows there’s still a place for cutesy little muppets in quality independent music (even if they end up copulating, doing lines, and puking). Props to director Gus Kemp for going to that dark Meet the Feebles place.

by Rob Horning

21 Apr 2009

Be sure to sharpen your pitchforks before reading Gabe Sherman’s New York magazine schadenfreude-fest about pouty investment bankers, who from behind the cloak of anonymity complain about how unfair life has suddenly become for them. It turns out the bankers are “angry” because they are having to pay higher taxes and because their plutocratic bonuses seem to be a thing of the past. As Sherman notes, “In a witch hunt, the witches have feelings too”—but then, one could sympathize with the witches because they were singled out unfairly by an unruly mob of religious bigots. The fury at the bankers, in their callous cluelessness and their reckless endangerment of the global economy in pursuit of an extra Hamptons mansion or two, seems altogether justified and rational. The bankers aren’t some misunderstood group of well-meaning citizens; they are a group that prided themselves on their sharklike mercilessness and tenacity in extracting every last bit of advantage for themselves, and they would smirk when they rehearsed the exculpatory excuse that such single-minded greed had the inevitable by-product of economic efficiency. They were wrong about that, and they should probably get as much forgiveness as they would give us if we were opposite them at the bargaining table.

by Bill Gibron

21 Apr 2009

It’s not a hard genre to mess up. There are so many pre and post production hazards to overcome that the moviemaking winds up the easiest part - some of the time. Writers and directors have to deal with producers and advisors with a vested interest in the outcome (and in most cases, how they see themselves depicted onscreen) and the subject usually gets lost in a web of superficial anecdotes, obvious symbolism, and the sort of hackneyed hero worship that fails to get behind the reasons for their fame. That’s right, of all the Hollywood go-to categories, the biopic is the most misunderstood and misapplied. From the earliest days of the artform to the current cliché ridden examples, the cinematic retelling of a noted person’s life is usually decent, but not definitive - and that’s where the problem lies.

You see, it’s almost impossible to figure out - film wise - what makes a celebrity celebrated? After all, for the most part, they are just people given over to a remarkable talent or skill that few others have. They aren’t the people they play onscreen, or represent onstage, or muse over on the printed page. Instead, they are (usually) normal individuals who have the luxury of using creativity, imagination, prescience, ability, or physical/mental acumen to forge a path in this wounded world. We admire them out of inferred jealously and/or envy, secretly wishing that we could run as fast, think as quickly, or hold enough corporate sway to become the kind of limelight the movie moth is drawn to.

by Sarah Zupko

21 Apr 2009


Depeche Mode: Sounds of the Universe
Pet Shop Boys: Yes

Both of these artists began their lengthy careers in Southern England back in the early ‘80s, 1980 and 1981 respectively. Their 30-year careers have been punctutated by stylistic shifts, most notably in the case of Depeche Mode who began life as among the poppiest of new wave’s synth pop bands and steadily turned darker and rockier over the years. Both artists return this week with new albums that will be competing heavily for attention among Generation Xers.

//Mixed media

Because Blood Is Drama: Considering Carnage in Video Games and Other Media

// Moving Pixels

"It's easy to dismiss blood and violence as salacious without considering why it is there, what its context is, and what it might communicate.

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