Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Priced to Own: Alain Resnais Is Not Dead, or Even Resting

Posted By on Tue, Apr 28, 2009 at 3:55 PM

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KimStim and Kino are shedding much needed (and highly desired) light on the career of French auteur Alain Resnais by making a quartet of his 1980s movies available on home video for the first time. Known primarily for a pair of arthouse classics, Hiroshima, Mon Amour (1959) and Last Year at Marienbad (1961), and the short concentration camp documentary Night and Fog (1954), Resnais’s filmography is spread out over the course of 70+ years — and the octogenarian auteur’s latest film is set to premier at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. But while most of us have to wait for Les herbes folles until it screens over here (a New York Film Festival hopeful?), in the meantime we have these four 80s flicks to remind us of his singularly poetic sensibility.

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Wicked Artsy: Chelsea’s Multiplying Robot Armies

Posted By on Tue, Apr 28, 2009 at 2:40 PM

1096/1240942484-mellors.jpgAs any fan of Robocop or Blade Runner will gladly explain in an overlong lecture, the robot’s immense power derives as much from its mechanical musculature as from its challenge to the thick line between human and machine. Current exhibitions in Chelsea by Nathaniel Mellor (work seen at right) and Nicolas Darrot hone in on the robot’s capacity to unsettle viewers, although they take this strength in opposite directions.

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If You Only Watch One Thing Tonight

Posted By on Tue, Apr 28, 2009 at 1:55 PM

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If you watch one thing tonight, it should be game seven of the Rangers-Capitals series on MSG at 7pm. I know that you’re not going to watch it, because American Idol is on, and because only about 45 people in the entire country ever watch hockey, but you should, I swear. The Rangers, who are seeded seventh in the eastern conference, are facing elimination after winning the first two games of the series on the road against the second seed. They’re on the verge of letting the series get away from them, thanks to a continued failure to put the puck in the net, a weakness that’s been completely exposed now that goalie Henrik Lundqvist, who’s kept them in far more games than they deserved to be in this season, has been struggling for the past week.

If you need more of a storyline, the league’s best player, Alex Ovechkin, is on the Capitals, and he’s an absolute joy to watch—the kind of player who looks like he’s going to score every single time he touches the puck—but he’s also an asshole who’s insulted your city and your hometown hockey team multiple times. First he complained to newspapers that Madison Square Garden smells bad, and then, following game three of the series, which the Caps won at the Garden, he skated to center ice and raised his stick toward the rafters — mocking the Rangers’ traditional post-win show of gratitude to the fans.


See? You’re super angry now, right? And you’re going to race home to tune in, right? Perfect. We’ll talk about it tomorrow.

Arlen Specter Is Now a Democrat; What Do the Bitterz Think?

Posted By on Tue, Apr 28, 2009 at 1:21 PM

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Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, an intelligent and pretty honorable guy (especially for a senator), is now a Democrat, partly because he has a better chance of being reelected as one, and partly because he's an intelligent and pretty honorable guy. So, with apologies to my boss, I'm going to delve into the gloopy tar pit of furious impotent rhetoric that is the comments section at Free Republic, to see what the bleed-red Bitterz think of all this. You'll thank me someday.

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2009 Siren Festival Announced

Posted By on Tue, Apr 28, 2009 at 12:32 PM

Do you realize the Village Voice's Siren Festival is now in its ninth year? It seems like just yesterday that the first year's bill, featuring Enon, Superchunk, Guided By Voices, Man or Astro-Man? and the John Spencer Blues Explosion, was announced. This morning, they released the initial lineup for this year's festival, taking place, as ever, in Coney Island, on July 18th. The headliner would have fit perfectly alongside all those bands from year one, but I'm certainly not complaining.

The Voice's post after the jump.

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Austin City Limits Announce 2009 Lineup

Posted By on Tue, Apr 28, 2009 at 11:01 AM

0f5d/1240935501-acl-color-logo.jpgThe lineup for this year's Austin City Limits has been announced, and good lord, it is terrible — unless you were a teenager in the mid-90s and haven't moved on even a little bit. Maybe you had that Beastie Boys ringer-t with the sparkly bus on the front and "Aloha Mr. Hand" on the back. Maybe you had Ten on cassette in the eighth grade. And maybe, for a few brief months, you decided you sorta liked "Crash" by Dave Matthews because you figured it was the only way anyone would ever make out with you. All you need to do is cough up $185 and secure a flight to Austin for the weekend of October 2nd, and you will be surrounded by other people just like you.

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Gin Makes Your Sweat Smell Like Beauty Queens

Posted By on Tue, Apr 28, 2009 at 10:54 AM

Hey, so it’s hot, and that means it’s pretty much time to drink gin all day and all night. May I recommend a cocktail? The “Uncle Nam,” at Williamsburg “street” Vietnamese restaurant Silent(h) (seriously, that’s how they write it) is definitely the best thing on a pretty good menu. Basically, it’s a gin gimlet made with Vietnamese limeade, with a splash of bitters. The Uncle Nam is tart (but not too), fresh (but not too), and gets THE GIN INTO YOUR BLOOD REAL QUICK. It’s like getting those warm feelings when you sit on your uncle’s knee.

I Want to Fornicate with Steve Coogan's Saxondale

Posted By on Tue, Apr 28, 2009 at 8:30 AM

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To the extent that Steve Coogan has been (undeservedly) a failure on the American big screen, everything he has done on the English TV screen has been brilliant.

His first BBC hit, Knowing Me, Knowing You... with Alan Partridge, introduced a now-ubiquitous TV type: the self-serving, self-deceiving vainglorious middle-management buffoon who sidesteps the enmity of all those around him with timely idiot-savant gestures of honesty and decency. Yes, we're talking about David Brent (and Michael Scott) here. The success of the Partridge character has been well documented, and sadly bafflingly predictably, the wikipedia page for the now beloved fictional character is far more detailed than the one for the actor who conceived him. Which brings us to Tommy Saxondale, the next great Steve Coogan character.

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Monday, April 27, 2009

FREE BOOZE! Play Reading Tonight

Posted By on Mon, Apr 27, 2009 at 5:00 PM

1f7d/1240843304-playlabsfall082.jpgThink you've got what it takes to be a playwright? Prove it. Tonight, 7pm, at the Baruch Performing Arts Center (25th St between Lexington and Third Aves), come hear a free reading of Ann Marie Healy's Seven Stars as part of the MCC's Playlab series. If you still feel you can contribute something to her work-in-progress story of mundane middle-class disappointments and lives that slowly slip away, you can tell her all about it during the ensuing reception. We suggest swilling copious quantities of free wine first, though, because playwrights tend to be really good drinkers. (Ever notice how almost every play has at least one character who just drinks the whole time?) RSVP recommended.

College Kids Cover Asher Roth

Posted By on Mon, Apr 27, 2009 at 4:23 PM

In a recent installment of Popscene, Mark Asch and I both basically took a pass on writing about Asher Roth's "I Love College," opting to dial it in with a couple quick one-liners instead of trying to fully explain how truly terrible it really is, our reasoning being that we didn't have nearly enough space. (Fortunately, Pitchfork's Ian Cohen picked up our slack.)

The song's been on my mind (and on the radio, constantly) ever since, and now Videogum has posted videos of five college kids covering the song on acoustic guitar. It's amazing. I really like the first first guy, who, right before playing, says, "This song is so badass" and is almost certainly date-raping someone right now. My favorite, though, is the second guy, who sounds exactly like Lou Reed, as long as you don't look at him.

Canadian Sets World Trampoline Record

Posted By on Mon, Apr 27, 2009 at 3:39 PM

Trampoline star Jason Burnett will never show up in funny youtubes of people killing themselves on backyard trampolines. Here he is setting a world record in successful trampolining. Mr. Burnett is now on the fast-track to become Canada's next president.

Via The Star

Cream to Reunite! Oh Wait, You Said Creed, Didn't You? Fuck.

Posted By on Mon, Apr 27, 2009 at 3:36 PM

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When there is only one band keeping your band from being the single worst band of an entire decade, you're sorta fucked. And when the one band that's just a tiny bit more abhorrent than your band is Limp Bizkit, you are extra super double fucked. The decade is the 90s, and the band is Creed, who are getting back together for a summer/fall tour that's set to kick off in Pittsburgh on August 16th.

Sadly, they've got plans to make a record, too. In an interview with Rolling Stone, singer Scott Stapp said, “We’ve reached out to Brendan O’Brien, Mutt Lange, Bob Rock, Steve Lillywhite and six or seven more,” and even though that's where the thought ends, I assume they left out the part where he said, "...but not a single one of them has returned our call."

I'd list the dates for you, but you're better than that, people. I know you are.

The Fashion Show to Feature Audience Voting and Judges with No Credentials

Posted By on Mon, Apr 27, 2009 at 2:56 PM

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Today’s NY Post features an item about The Fashion Show, Bravo’s replacement for the massively successful Project Runway, which has jumped ship for the Lifetime network. They report that each episode of the show, which pits fifteen designers against one another, will end with a runway show to be judged not only by the panel of judges, but by a studio audience made up of “everyday Joes and industry insiders.” It’s a nice enough idea, and it will certainly set it apart from Project Runway, especially since home-viewers will be able to choose the winner at the end of the season.

But let’s get back to the panel of judges for a minute. Liz Claiborne creative director and groper of Scarlett Johanson Isaac Mizrahi? Sure, that makes sense. New York “Fashion Week” creator and president of IMG Fashion Fern Mallis? Totally, she seems legit. But, second or possibly third best-dressed member of Destiny’s Child Kelly Rowland? Troubling.

Whatever. I will watch anyway, starting on Thursday, May 7, at 10pm.

Bill T. Jones: "We're our own boogiemen"

Posted By on Mon, Apr 27, 2009 at 1:10 PM

95bd/1240846516-jones.jpgThe first installment of the New Museum's Visionaries Series lectures — which took place on Friday — marked another instance of the institution's uneasy attempts to conform to a traditional museum model and to forge ahead in ostensibly "new" directions. Alongside its praise of youth (their current triennial The Generational) and free Thursday nights, the first Visionaries lecture struck a note of art world elite exclusivity. Thankfully, dancer and choreographer Bill T. Jones' casual address and tangent-prone lecture cut through any lingering sense of pomp or pretension and still managed to tackle all manner of aesthetic and philosophical subject.

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If You Only Watch One Thing Tonight...

Posted By on Mon, Apr 27, 2009 at 12:24 PM

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After years of pretending televisions can only be used to watch all the super-cool movies you get from Netflix every day, we’re finally amping up our coverage of the medium. Check in daily for posts like this one, as well as reviews, recaps and much more.


You’ve got lots of TV options this evening, which is nice, because if you go outside, you are definitely going to get swine flu. You could go with Dancing With the Stars (8pm, ABC), even though it’s a foregone conclusion that the dude whose ass featured prominently in the Sex and the City movie is going to win. And am I alone here, or has anyone else considered the possibility that the show’s producers will have to get all new professional dancers at some point very soon because, as the show continues to grow in popularity, the pros have developed their own loyal fanbases who will to vote for them regardless of whether their celebrity partner can dance? Basically, what I’m saying is that I can’t be the only one who votes for Julianne every week because she seems so likable, can I?

Tonight is also the season-three finale of Heroes (9pm, NBC), and I’m sad to report that I’ve lost touch with the show. Apparently there’s a Sylar/Nathan showdown on the menu, so that should be fun. I’m gonna go ahead and predict that Sylar will come out on top, most likely thanks to a something having to do with his crazy-ass eyebrows.

But! If you only watch one thing tonight, it should be Gossip Girl (8pm, CW), obviously, because you live in New York and it is your responsibility. And because Georgina (Michelle Trachtenberg) is coming back as a born-again Christian.

Q: I heard about Swine Flu but I don't care to research its history or transmission. Can I eat bacon?

Posted By on Mon, Apr 27, 2009 at 10:53 AM

A: I lived in a state of denial during the recent pistachio recall because the chances were slim that I'd come across a contaminated nut and, well, Momofuku's soft serve is the only good thing in my life right now. But Swine Flu shouldn't impact anyone's eating habits, as the World Health Organization tells Australian news:

Swine influenza has not been shown to be transmissible to people through eating properly handled and prepared pork (pig meat) or other products derived from pigs. The swine influenza virus is killed by cooking temperatures of 70 degrees Celsius, corresponding to the general guidance for the preparation of pork and other meat.

In fact the odds of you getting Swine Flu, even if you French a pig, are pretty low. So hang onto your Bacones, good people of the starting-to-get-old-now bacon fad. And take off the surgical mask, you look like an idiot.

Obama's Brilliant Torture P.R.

Posted By on Mon, Apr 27, 2009 at 10:21 AM

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Since before taking office, President Obama has taken the "looking forward rather than back" stance on torture prosecutions, a morally dubious justification for forgoing a politically divisive and consuming process.

But, as you know from last week's news cycle, he's also — mostly passively, in response to ACLU lawsuits and court orders — permitted the release of previously classified (but widely reported) memos regarding the Bush Administration's legal justifications for torture (among other quiet and passive policy rollbacks). And, on May 28, the LA Times reports, his administration will release previously unseen (and less-well-reported) photographs demonstrating systemic abuse of detainees in the so-called War on Terror.

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Swine Flu Pandemonium

Posted By on Mon, Apr 27, 2009 at 10:19 AM

On the F train this morning, I was sitting on the aisle seat of the two-seat row, perpendicular to a three-seater. In the three-seater, there were two women sitting directly next to one another, despite there being an empty spot. One of them, seated against the railing, sneezed a quiet, well-mannered sneeze—no great build up or fallout, hand dutifully to her mouth. The woman beside her immediately let out an audible "UUUGGHHHH," and lifted the neck of her shirt to cover her mouth, at which point the sneezer totally lost her shit, screaming "I have allergies! Just because I sneeze, doesn't mean I have swine flu!" Then she told her she was the rudest person she'd ever met, though they had not technically met, unless I missed a much kinder interaction between them earlier, which actually would have made the whole thing far more awesome.

Anyone else see any crazy swine flu-related behavior on you commute this morning? Please share.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Go Fly a Kite, You Look Pale and Sickly

Posted By on Sun, Apr 26, 2009 at 10:00 AM

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It's practically summer out there, and already the most obvious public parks are overrun with winter-weary bodies hoping to score some vitamin D. Rather than despair in the cool confines of your apartment, or try to squeeze into some precious Central, Prospect or McCarren Park real estate, we suggest checking out Astoria's Socrates Sculpture Park, which is hosting a free kite-building workshop today from 11am to 2pm in conjunction with the Noguchi Museum. Even if you don't want to build your own kite, the views and the art are spectacular, and the grass much less coveted than at those other parks.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

END TIMES ALERT: Pigs to Kill Humans in Act of Worldwide Revenge

Posted By on Sat, Apr 25, 2009 at 3:05 PM

Yup, it's happening. According to the World Health Organization (WHO. Who? Yes, WHO. Who?) swine flu originating in Mexico has the potential to kill millions around the world. Mother, father, oil yer guns and pack the beans, we're headed for the hills.

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