These Times/This Place

By Karen Zarker

4 October 2004

Just when you thought you knew a place...
In the Desert, You Can’t Remember Your Name

Las Vegas displays itself in a very calculated and contrived manner: to mark the point where over-the-top hits rock bottom; where perfect naiveté becomes indistinguishable from perfect cynicism. Every gleaming hotel tower, every simulacrum of an ancient wonder, was built not through some noble human aspiration for splendor or permanence, but for carefully harvesting the stupidity and cupidity of others.

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Spawning Ground

In this ancient place of giant ferns and cedars, it seems the dead outnumber the living; the living fall away too quietly, too easily, taken away by stealth. There is tremendous natural beauty here, but its hold is tenuous, like moss clinging to rotting bark that will ultimately break and sink into the forest floor.

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The Silent Future

sterile and foreboding. Here, the modern worker goes home to a planned suburb of wide, empty sidewalks, landscaping devoid of birdsong, the soft blue glow of television sets pulsing through silent windows.

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Ghost World

The irony of Washington, DC, repository of the nation's nostalgia, is that it is has no sense of its own past. For those who come, living here is just something that you have to do to get to where you eventually want to go. No one who stays is anyone of real power.

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Freezer Burn in Saskatchewan

You know the phrase, 'when hell freezes over'? Well, Saskatchewan is hot and cold as hell, for sure. It has super-heated feelings forged from the more frigid aspects of its history, but it also has its share of that bright, blue, heaven-like sky from which all manner of things may descend; be they ravishing insects -- or feelings of optimism.

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//Mixed media

The Hills Are Alive, But Nobody Else Is in 'The Happiness of the Katakuris'

// Short Ends and Leader

"Happiness of the Katakuris is one of Takashi Miike's oddest movies, and that's saying something.

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