We've always found the annual ritual of mass conifer genocide carried out under the pretext of providing people with Christmas trees highly unnecessary and barbaric, an opinion we have a hard time articulating without coming off Scrooge-ish. Fortunately there's this delirious short video by London-based animation team Treat to impress upon us the brutality of chopping down trees in November only to throw them to the curb in January. (WhoKilledBambi?)
Now, admittedly, these cute animated hedgehogs don't sing any of the songs on Mike Conklin's Christmas playlist, nor do they have high-pitched, chipmunk-y voices, but they're still the funnest holiday singers we've seen since Karen O. As Ali G once said of a hedgehog: "That would make a good football."
Talk about your escapist prestige seasons, eh, Ben? Over the past few weeks, we haven't yet seen a 2012 Oscar contender set in the present day; we've hardly even seen a movie set in America. Scorsese chose to make a movie not only set far in the past, but also in Europe. The Europeans have also been focused on the past and on Europe, as in My Week with Marilyn or the upcoming Iron Lady. France's The Artist is the apotheosis of this escapist trend: it's set in the 20s-30s, in Hollywood (escapist for French people, Ben), and it's not only black-and-white but silent—that's right, an honest-to-goodness silent movie, a sort of ode to the charm, physicality and romanticism of Chaplin. How much more distanced from unpleasant realities could you be? Though, did you notice how often the film referenced talkies of the 30s and 40s? It seemed more enamored of a different kind of Hollywood than the one it ostensibly celebrates; I saw a lot more direct "quotes" from Casablanca, Citizen Kane, The Broadway Melody of 1940 and especially The Thin Man than I did anything by Melies or Harold Lloyd.
The first concert I saw in 2011 was Dean Wareham plays Galaxie 500 at Maxwell’s in Hoboken, New Jersey. The last: next Tuesday’s eighth night of Hanukkah Yo La Tengo show, also at Maxwell’s. (I really like it there.) In between, I saw dozens of other concerts in multiple states with hundreds of other performers—a fourth of which came from CMJ probably—at festivals, bowling alleys, and churches.
These are my five favorites from the year. (Northside excluded, for conflict of BLAH BLAH BLAH).
For me, the punk line of the year (in a great year for punk) was probably Dan Boeckner’s yelped, “Nostalgia…never meant much to me.” That it came in the middle of “Memories of the Future”, a product of Handsome Furs’ committed turn towards dance music, gave him further cred as a non-sentimentalist. We fretted about nostalgia a lot this year, even while indulging in it. But outside of the 25 prestated albums that the L’s music section loved collectively, there were plenty of songs that kicked my ass, and not because they reminded me of being a teenager (getting his ass kicked).
The artists Shagun Singh, Valeria Bianco and Michelle Brick, who go collectively by Artist Build Collaborative, have just launched a Kickstarter campaign to complete a project begun with a grant from the MTA: to create an interactive public sculpture and light installation under the BQE in Red Hook, near the currently-shuttered Smith-Ninth Street station. The installation, dubbed "Silent Lights," would create shifting light patterns by night in response to traffic noise.
It took investigators six weeks to identify Rubin. "The condition of the body made it very tough on all the forces working on the case," a local Pennsylvania TV station reports, "mainly because all they found were skeletal remains." Local police had released composite drawings of what they believed the victim to look like.
John Chamberlain, the American sculptor whose immense, muscular yet often surprisingly delicate sculptures were made from smashed, scrunched and crumpled cars, died yesterday at age 84. Born in Rochester, Indiana in 1927, and raised in Chicago, he attended the Art Institute of Chicago and Black Mountain College in the 50s before rising to prominence in the art world. A major retrospective of his work is scheduled to open in February at the Guggenheim, where, in 1970, the first retrospective of his work was presented.
Unlike Mark's considered examination of recently-deceased North Korean dictator (and sex symbol?) Kim Jong-il's cinephilia, the funny new Tumblr Kim Jong-il Dropping the Bass simply features images of the curious tyrant photoshopped into sweaty clubs, often spinning alongside some of the world's most famous DJs. (BoingBoing)
In a vain attempt to upstage our many, many art lists today, the Whitney Museum has released (or leaked? it's unclear) one of their own: the names of the artists who will be featured in its 2012 Biennial, which runs from March 1st to May 27th.
Last month we excitedly reported that the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation's partnership with AT&T to bring free wireless internet to Brooklyn parks had just launched in Prospect Park, but it turns out there were a few bugs to work out before Slopers could begin blogging while dog-walking. The free wireless finally went live from the Picnic House last week, but how far does it reach?
The problem is money: since 2008, when the economy went kaput, parks department funding has been slashed—notice how tall the grass gets before they cut it?
Kim Il-sung's son and heir, Kim Jong-il, who just died, is best known in the West for one especially memorable Hollywood simulacra. Well, turnabout is fair play. Dictatorship is in some respects an extreme form of mis-en-scene, and North Korea was a closed country in denial over the depths of its deprivation under Kim Jong-il, who treated the nation and its people as set dressing and extras for his own cult of personality. He also loved movies as much as any world leader ever has.
The Adventures of Tintin (12/21) and War Horse (12/25): Here's one of my favorite quirks of Steven Spielberg's career: every three to five years, he'll deliver a pair of movies in a single calendar year, usually a big popcorn movie followed by something more serious and with fewer aliens. This started inauspiciously when he chased Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade with possible career-worst Always in 1989; his next attempt, with Jurassic Park/Schindler's List, gave him the highest-grossing movie of the year and an entirely separate Best Picture/Best Director Oscar winner (top that, James Cameron!). He's at it again with The Adventures of Tintin and War Horse, only they're separated by four days instead of five or six months.
Moving on: My personal year-end list bears less of a resemblance to the magazine-wide list than it has in previous years, because I used an actual point system to come up with the results this time around, factoring in everyone else's lists exactly as much as my own and not taking any liberties in terms of pushing albums through that I felt strongly about. More so than if I'd done it this way in any other year, I think it made things particularly weird for me in 2011. In compiling my own top albums list, I realized that there was probably less separating my number one from, say, my number 30 than any other year I can remember, and so there were a lot of records I feel could have easily gotten the nod.
Shortly after midnight on October 19th, 30-year-old Brooklyn-based Canadian artist Mathieu Lefèvre was cycling along Morgan Avenue near the corner of Meserole Street when he was struck and killed by the driver of a turning flatbed truck. The case surrounding the fatal hit-and-run by the NYPD's Accident Investigation Squad has raised eyebrows—the driver's claim that he never saw Lefèvre was taken at face value, despite apparent evidence to the contrary—and now Steve Vaccaro, the attorney for Lefèvre's family, has published a letter (embedded below) accusing the police department of mishandling their investigation and losing crucial evidence.
elvis costello perfomance link (the published one here is not working) http://videos.mediaite.com/video/Elvis-Costello-Radio-Radio-1977
I need a sweet baby
Here's another good drinking song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u1CULMYgUfc