Friday, May 28, 2004

VP vetting + Mt. Rushmore of artists

Some funny shit from McSweeney's.

Also, Dirty French Novel invites to you play a fun parlor game: choose four great American artists to memorialize on Mt. Rushmore.

I chose Faulkner, Hawks, Miles Davis, and Warhol.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

p.s.s. Iraqi wedding attack, 2046 & Alexandra Kerry

* Wedding or not? Guardian has a follow-up, including a link to the wedding video that was taken. U.S. issues adamant denial, insisting that they fired on insurgent fighters. Matthew Yglesias muses on the possibility that they're both right, the event being a wedding involving insurgents. Atrios has pics from Spanish papers of children's corpses.

As a lawyer, I'd think the burden is on the U.S. to present the stronger evidence. Thus far, it's the evidence profferred by the villagers and AP that sounds more compelling.

* 2046. The movie officially sounds awesome. Richard Corliss calls it the film of the year; wife Mary Corliss of Time and John Anderson of Newsday pretty much concur. Best film of the fest according to the Frogs. Plus, Ebert hated it.

* Cannes awards. Palme d'Or to Farenheit 9/11, 2nd prize to Old Boy. Third prize to Tropical Malady. Actress to Maggie. I'm still skeptical of 9/11; Old Boy's strong showing was no surprise, given Tarantino's predilections. And Maggie (and Assayas' Clean itself) apparently left many folks cold, but I'm still hopeful.

Added! A write-up of Cannes from the terrific critic Rob Nelson, which includes the following rave:

Meeting the director of 2046 in a sun-drenched hotel salon two days after the screenings, I still feel the film like an open wound. The intensity of emotion in this movie, the degree of personal loss that it communicates largely through color and light and shadow (and our memories of Love) is simply overwhelming.

* Chalabi. What kind of idiots would get played by this fucker.

* Alexandra Kerry's nipples. Getting like ten hits a day from pervs searching for pics of Kerry's daughter's see-through dress. Guys: go here. Now leave me alone.

Washingtonienne -- Capital Sex Games, Vol. 29

Paid ass-fucking. Have I gotten your attention? Not sure how many of you follow tawdry blogger sagas (or is it sagae?), but even the rarefied Washington Post has now relayed the exploits of the Washingtonienne, nee Jessica Cutler (whose pic you can find here), a Senate office staffer who finally was canned for blogging about her sexual adventures with an assortment of pseudo-nonymous power players.

The invaluable Wonkette provides the, um, blow-by-blow. The best read on a blog this year, bar none.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

i, The Magnetic Fields

I've been listening to i by the Magnetic Fields repeatedly since last week. So far, I agree with the Voice: this modest collection of typically eclectic songs finds the MFs running in place. Stephin Merritt's songcraft, of course, remains peerless: catchy songs like the witty, techno-tinged "I Thought You Were My Boyfriend" is as good as a middle-tier 69 Love Songs track. And that's very good indeed, as 69 Love Songs is one of the greatest pop albums of recent years. Too bad there just wasn't anything in the new album as deeply felt as "Bugsy Berkeley Dreams" or as clever as "Washington D.C."

A month back, I saw a terrific production called Peach Blossom Fan, an arch, post-modern Chinese opera scored by Merritt. Experimenting with Chinese motifs and sounds (like an electronic lute) appeared to have inspired Merritt's songwriting and arrangements, as he accomplished the almost impossible task of making super-high-octave Chinese opera sound pleasing, largely by playing Chinese melodies using western scales and undercutting the form's shrieking pitch with his trademark droning synth. I guess I was hoping for a more interesting direction from Merritt after his inspired side project than what we got.

By the way, check out Thomas Bartlett's fascinating and lengthy interview with the prickly Merritt in Salon. Most notable fact: Merritt saw all 36 Ozu movies at the retrospective in D.C! Second most notable fact: Merritt is barely 5 feet tall!

Lastly, Nick Hornby gets reamed by indie music bloggers.