Friday, July 2, 2010
Friday, May 7, 2010
Anyway, I mean I don't think anyone reads this anymore but I feel like writing something. I am currently, on a Friday night, skyping with my handicapable son [Andew Sebies] and while he decides what he'll wear to dinner with an unidentified friend, I am waiting for him. there is a blank screen.
As I do nothing here, I couldn't help but wonder... Just kidding. I am not wondering about anything. Carrie Bradshaw always says that. "And as I got out of the cab and climbed the stairs, I couldn't help but wonder blah blah blah" Get original please!
Andew has returned! He wears an argyle vest with white polo. Our relationship rests on our mutual dislike for argyle cardigans [only vests]. Cardigargyle is too much. PAYCE!
Sunday, November 1, 2009
I wanted to love Where The Wild Things Are, the latest from Spike Jonze (Adaptation, Being John Malkovich) adapting the beloved children’s book by Maurice Sandek into a feature length live action (live puppet?) slash animated film. And maybe I would have loved it if the movie bore any other name, like Locomotive: the tale of childhood or MAX. But to associate the movie with such an iconic story the whole of 10 sentences, seems to doom the movie to incompetence or inaccuracy in its portrayal.
Perhaps “wanted to love” is the wrong phrase. In fact, I held the movie in enmity, as I do with many movies, so as to brace myself for the disgusting movie that may ensue. Yet, I was pleasantly surprised by how little I do hate the movie. I believe, that first and foremost, Mr. Jonze* is a music video director; he understands how music interacts with the scene, how it can so perfectly capture emotion. And with a score by Carter Burwell (In Bruges, Raising Arizona) and a soundtrack by Karen O and the Kids, featuring artists from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, the Raconteurs, the Liars, Deerhunter, and in a not-so-ironic turn, an actual chorus of kids, who wouldn’t want a perfect musical side to this childhood entrée? But it’s too perfect and rather than underscoring the emotion the in-your-face perfection of the music dashes exclamation points at the end of every line.
Max, played delightfully by Max Records, dissatisfied by the prospect of growing older, runs away to an island inhabited by wild things and in one perfect monologue goes from being dinner to king. The Wild Things are played by a medley of brilliant actors (in this parenthesis bubble I would usually put the name of the actors, but I find that such information may curse you to imagining the actor in a sound booth, rather than amuse you, so I will just put crazy names from now on) who capture exactly one facet of Max’s personality or life. There’s Judith, a self proclaimed downer, Alexander striving for attention, The Bull constantly ignored, Douglas always dependable, KW, the Wild embodiment of Max’s sister who finds new friends, both on the island and in Max’s life, and finally Carol. Carol encapsulates Max’s penchant for destruction at their very first interaction, and as the movie progresses, his mastery of creation. The Wild Things literally try to create a perfect world, just as Max has done with the wild things of his imagination. But they can never escape reality. The movie affirms the therapeutic power of destruction and the resonating emptiness that follows. But the obvious parallels between Max and his creatures and Max’s world and his real life seem to mock the viewer. The depth and articulation can be attributed to only writers Spike Jonze and Dave Eggers. Ten sentences could have never implied all of the despair and anguish that the movie does.
In the end the stunning visuals and great performances are not enough to save the maudlin movie drenched in impeccable music musings and obvious plot lines.
* Did a song just pop into your head?
Saturday, October 3, 2009
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Sunday, August 30, 2009
This is a meditation I wrote for Art History and it's not very good, but I am just going to put it here. It's kindof like a review of the book, but is technically just musings. Oh, it is on the first three chapters of The Judgment of Paris by Ross King (Brunelleschi's Dome). Sorry I suppose for not updating, but I've come to hate my writing. Ah, well. P.S. It's also very serious and boring. I apologize.
Art shapes history and history art, there is no question here. But what makes The Judgment of Paris an interesting read rather than a museum pamphlet is the ever-so-detailed consideration to the meta-analysis of art—what makes an artist tick, her life experiences, her relationships and aspirations that all sum to how she perceives the world, an ultimately recreates it. King explicates the relationship between the end product and the process, with care to point out that this rectangular snapshot is not without years or even lifetimes of bias and planning.
Starting with Ernest Meissonier—the Karl Lagerfeld of the nineteenth century—we observe the meticulous regiment and extravagance to which life becomes dedicated completely to art. His eccentricity rivaled even Don Quixote, who too obsessed over times past and chivalric tradition, and perched himself upon a wooden horse, although not in a faux-snowscape. Meissonier shuns the modern, trifling, and erratic world of the ordinary; he favors the lionized “good old days.” But Meissonier embodied contradiction. He wanted to create in himself and his philosophy of art and culture a sense of antiquity, but he reduced his talents to bonshommes (goodfellas, if you will) rather than the epic gentlemen favored by society and his own taste. Meissonier decried this very practice, yet still petitioned against Nieuwerkerke’s reforms to secure his ability to churn out several bonhommes pieces, rather than concentrating his “efforts on a true masterpiece—a large and heroic history painting, for instance—that would take its honored place in pantheon of French art.” He believed and strove for this goal, but wooed by the lifestyle from his profitable bonhommes, Meissonier sided against Nieuwerkerke. Here, Ross emphasizes the impact that money has not only on the painter, but shaping the world of art, the works society deems “acceptable” and thus views. Had it not been for Meissonier’s great fame and fortune, we may not even be discussing his petition, his work, his presence in the book. Ross also makes sure to contrast Meissonier with Manet.
If Meissonier is Karl Lagerfeld, Edourd Manet is Charlie Bartlett, the protagonist from a 2007 film; he fares from the gentry with supportive parents in contrast to Meissonier whose interest in art estranged his father, and could barely support himself before his booming painting career. The two also share almost directly opposing views of art. While Meissonier prefers glorified historical pieces but yields to producing works officers and gentlemen, Manet initially believed in the venerated historical paintings and then willingly depicted indigents and commoners. Critics chided Manet’s style—his technique, subjects, uniqueness. Others celebrated it. Despite the great differences between these two artists, they both represent a single allegory of meta-art.It took only Gautier to praise Manet for his pieces to be considered “good.” The Académie des Beux-Arts, “immortals” determined with one, unified judgment the value of a painting, of the life’s work of artists. This practice still persists, even if not in such identified terms. Arbitrarily selected “elite” vote yay or nay in magazines and museums; proctors pull pieces to show in traveling galleries… And exposure creates profit, conversation and ultimately defines what we as viewers considers to be “worthy art”. If nothing else, The Judgment of Paris provokes critical thought about the art we value. How does that art come about? Why does everyone at the Louvre flock to Mona Lisa with their backs to Le Radeau de la Meduse? When we accept that pure excellence is not the only determinant in answering these questions, we can understand the relationship between history and art.