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by Lara Killian

1 Jun 2009

Recently I was working through a list of health sciences materials I had been asked to research, with the goal of finding out which ones the library owns. Although I’m pretty sure I was doing a good job of staying on task, somehow I stumbled across an unlikely resource in one of the databases – an electronic copy of 100% Evil (2005).

With a name like that, I don’t think anyone can blame me for pausing to investigate. 100% Evil in its physical format boasts a red plastic cover and is diminutive: five inches by six and a half. Illustrators Nicholas Blechman and Christoph Niemann have included almost 200 drawings of “evil furniture, evil shoes, evil toilets, evil flowers, evil keyboards, evil bunnies, evil pizza, evil doers” and the like.


The roses that adorn the ruby cover are loaded with thorns – not just their stems but every bit of them. Evil. Though the visual impact of the book is strong, I find it particularly interesting that I encountered it in electronic form and have never seen a copy. Published by the Princeton Architectural Press, a novelty binding like this does not quite translate on-screen.

100% Evil got me thinking about other books that rely on physical and visual impact to make a statement. Much as it appeals to me to have electronic and immediate access to texts across all disciplines in order to facilitate research that doesn’t rely on crating home stacks of academic tomes, I’m at a loss here. What other oddities does this database include?

Electronic book packages hawked to academic libraries these days are so massive that the catalogers can’t keep up. It is nothing to add access to 10,000 new books in a day when a new license deal is made, but it is near impossible to search those titles effectively because no one has time to add all the new records.

Doing a search in my university public access catalog yields no mention of Evil because it has never been indexed. Yet the university has access to the digital copy. Only by accidentally stumbling across it – or knowing already that it is held in a specific collection of e-books licensed by a specific database vendor – can one flip through the full text. Wonderful as it is to have a multitude of titles published electronically, if we can’t search them systematically, we’re missing out on almost 100% of the possibilities.

by PopMatters Staff

1 Jun 2009

Diplo and Switch join forces and go all dancehall on us.

6/13/09 NEW YORK, NY SOBs

by Bill Gibron

1 Jun 2009

How do they do it? How do they maintain such a level of consistency while others flip and flop around between commercial hits/misses and critical dismissal? For many in the animation field, Pixar’s unrealistic winning streak - 10 films, 10 classics or near classics (including the recently released gem, Up) - makes for a lot of scratched studio heads. While Shreks and Shark Tales come and go, racking up dollars but little masterpiece buzz, the minted kings of the bitmap own a winning streak that even parent company the House of Mouse can’t compete with. In fact, in the history of any artform - the novel, television, music, the movies, etc. - only The Beatles can claim such reliability, and even they strayed from the perfectionist path every once in a while.

So, again, how do they do it? Can Pixar claim something that others - mainly Fox and Dreamworks - can’t seem to find with infinitely more backing? The answers would seem obvious at first, but in looking at the situation more closely, Pixar may actually be in possession of something the rest of Hollywood can’t locate with a litany of bean counters and a cadre of MBAs. If movies are indeed magic, then the San Francisco based production company contains nothing but wizards. That’s right, Pixar probably maintains its amazing rate of success through means both pragmatic and paranormal. Anyone can fuse imagination to story and character and come up with something saleable. It takes a true conjurer to move all those elements into the realm of the flawless - and yet they manage to do so time and time again.

by shathley Q

1 Jun 2009

Writer Ed Brubaker and artist Michael Lark expose the simultaneous and contradictory feelings of fearlessness and self-reproach in Daredevil.

Writer Ed Brubaker and artist Michael Lark expose the simultaneous and contradictory feelings of fearlessness and self-reproach in Daredevil.

This is classic “DD” territory. Even before adopting the Daredevil identity, Matt Murdock displayed an unremitting fearlessness. It was this fearlessness, some might say recklessness, that led him to be blinded in an act of boyhood heroism. Since that accident, confronting and overcoming fear has been how Matt Murdock enters the world.

As Daredevil, Matt Murdock has always had an almost primal connection with the city streets. The so called Hero of Hell’s Kitchen, DD has seen it both as his right and honor to protect the streets he grew up on. Leaping from rooftop to rooftop, up streetlamps, down fire escapes to reach street level again and across vast urban chasms, DD has become definitive of how superheroes move through the cityscape. Superheroes move using parkour; efficient, dynamic movements to navigate urban obstacles.

Protector of the weak and tormentor of criminals, DD has always relished in his rash “devil may care” attitude. What makes writer Ed Brubaker’s panel so singularly engaging, is his exposition of the “daredevil” confidence as a finely-crafted facade with which Matt Murdock meets the world. Far from being a crazed risk-taker, Matt Murdock finds his true heroism by confronting his fears head on.

Moreover, Brubaker shows the supererogation of Murdock himself. Murdock holds himself responsible to the point of being guilty. These are his streets to protect, and after being arrested and tracing down a conspiracy in Europe, he has lost control of the streets.

Brubaker makes excellent work of writing himself free of the cliffhanger ending the Bendis/Maleev run which saw Matt Murdock arrested and formally disbarred as officer of the Court. For the year preceding issue 95 (the opening chapter of “To the Devil, His Due”), Brubaker wrote Murdock free from prison, then free in Europe chasing down players in the conspiracy to have him imprisoned and his legal partner assassinated. But “To the Devil, His Due”, Brubaker puts DD back on US soil, back on the streets.

But more importantly, this opening page, where DD makes his first appearance on the streets of Hell’s Kitchen in more than a year, marks the conflict at the core of both Daredevil and Matt Murdock. Murdock is someone who risks great danger not to masquerade, but to confront great fear.

by Kirstie Shanley

1 Jun 2009

Ah, Norway: Land of free health care, fjords, and a bustling creative art and music scene. From the psychedelic rock of fellow Norwegians Serena Maneesh to the complex lullabies of Hanne Hukkelberg, it seems like Norway is chock full of amazing bands. Though four piece I Was A King is part of this community, they also have a unique sound all onto their own. Using guitar pedal effects to create just enough fuzz, the sugary pop songs recall something akin to a fuzzier, feminine Beulah. Without the effects, it could have easily been considered twee-pop but it was also less silly and more focused. Still, one couldn’t help smiling while listening to the tunes, which came off as super happy and very catchy. 

Visiting Chicago as part of their very first American tour, I Was A King were energetic and fun but did not talk too much in between songs, attempting, instead, to play as many songs as possible. Lead singer Frode Strømstads even announced that they were minimizing their banter with the purpose of doing just that. The chemistry within the band seemed understated as well between songs, but it seemed as though they were perhaps saving it for the melodious songs instead. The lovely intertwining female/male vocals from Strømstads and Anne Lise Frøkedal created a certain sense of lushness that was interesting and reassuring at the same time, like a sweet dream.


In some ways, it was fitting that Strømstads wore an Elephant 6 shirt because it would be easy to picture him listening to many of the bands in the collective (their self titled record even has a guest appearance by Gary Olson of Ladybug Transistor). However, I Was A King came off as a little more accessible than most of those bands and not caught up in a sense of idiosyncrasy. Though they treated Chicagoans to nearly an hour of songs that, if edible, would surely be delicious, it felt as if a mere fifteen minutes has passed by the time they finished. Those are the type of songs one could easily listen to all night, relishing in the glorious texture and hooks.

//Mixed media

Exposition Dumps Don't Need Dialogue in 'Virginia'

// Moving Pixels

"Virginia manages to have an exposition dump without wordy exposition.

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