Monthly Archive for September, 2008

L’Shana Tovah!

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Happy New Year from yours truly, here in Paris for just a few hours more…

Paul Newman RIP


Goodbye to a class act.

Here’s the climactic scene from The Hustler (1961) in which Newman had his first great role. A fine mix of self-confidence and vulnerability. And then there’s the slightly surreal egg-eating scene from Cool Hand Luke (1967), in which he interestingly, and quite hilariously, subverts his own macho image.

Rejsen til Saturn: The Movie

… er som ventet ikke særlig god; her en lynhurtig spontananmeldelse i kølvandet på gallapremieren, som min søster havde været så elskværdig at invitere mig med til:

Men lidt sjov er der dog: inkluderingen af en astronaut med indvandrerbaggrund åbner for en del relativt morsomme indslag om integration, Muhammed-krise og den slags, og enkelte gagscener er ret sjove, men på et komplet konventionelt plan. Den generelt respektløse og platte humor forekommer måske umiddelbart som en fin versionering af Deleurans stil, men hurtigt opdager man at fyndigheden, underfundigheden og det lune, øh, glimt i øjet ganske mangler. Continue reading ‘Rejsen til Saturn: The Movie’

Hype: I Love Graffiti

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My man Lars has started an English version of the sterling German graffiti blog, I Love Graffiti. And he has hit the ground running, blogging several posts a day and neatly providing both writers and enthusiasts with a one-stop entry point to the world of graffiti and related arts. He is amongst the foremost authorities on the field, so go bookmark.

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Top, archive image from legendary Copenhagen writer SEK; below it, illegal burner by Brazilian master Os Gemeos.

Ilden i Stengade

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Det virker som var det i en anden tidsalder, men første gang jeg var på Rubadub var der 20 mennesker, maximum. De var spredt rundt i lokalet; nogle hang i baren, andre stenede i de midt på dansegulvet anbragte sofaer og en ensom Hydepark stod oppe på scenen og spillede reggae, som så mange gange før. Det var første sommer, i 2002, og forholdene skulle snart ændre sig. Continue reading ‘Ilden i Stengade’

Kurt Westergaard: “I Regret”

In an interview, Kurt Westergaard regrets his appearance at the Danish People’s Party’s annual convention. He states that he “understands the principle that employees of independent media shouldn’t identify themselves with a political party“. But at the same time he complains that people make “primitive identifications” when someone — himself — speaks to different people, ie. the Danish People’s Party. I personally think that Westergaard’s got a fair point, but that’s just not how things work in the media these days (context matters!). And someone at Jyllands-Posten ought perhaps to have told him.

I’m glad Westergaard said sorry, but something’s still a little quirky here…

Picks of the Week

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The picks of the week from around the web.

  • The Nation. D.D. Guttenplan: “An Inky, Well-Paneled Place” — a thoroughly informed review of recent books on comics by David Hajdu and Douglas Wolk that situates its criticism in the broader context of the cultural history of comics. Why is there still little writing of this calibre in comics criticism?
  • Brother Ali freestyle on Live On B96. Check out this for a stunning rap performance from a freestyle master. What are you waiting for?
  • David Bordwell: “Some Cuts I’ve Known and Loved” and “They’re Looking for Us.” I link to David Bordwell’s amazing blog way too rarely, but seeing that the new, umpteenth revised edition of the his and Kristin Thompson’s excellent textbook Film Art: An Introduction is coming out, I thought I would. Explore the important minutiae of what makes films work through the eyes and mind of a master.
  • Alan Moore: “Magic is Afoot.” Perhaps one of the five best Alan Moore interviews ever published, this one which appeared in the free paper Arthur five years ago has now popped up online again. It’s the most concise, yet substantial presentation of his views on ontology, magic and creativity.
  • Kurt Westergaard & The Danish People’s Party


    Today, Kurt Westergaard — the (in)famous cartoonist behind the most disputed cartoon/drawing of the 21st Century — delivered a speech at The Danish People’s Party’s annual convention. Westergaard’s appearance was a total surprise; even his bosses at Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten weren’t informed (internal policy at Jyllands-Posten forbid its employees from participating in organized political affairs). According to several reports, Westergaard spoke of freedom of speech and of his experiences as a cartoonist on the run. The delegates and members of the Danish People’s Party cheered for Westergaard, as if he were one of their own. Westergaard himself stated that he “speaks his mind everywhere and anywhere” and added that nobody was going to tell him what to say and what to do.

    Personally I don’t believe that Westergaard subscribes to the nationalistic and deeply right-wing views of the Danish People’s Party, but of course there shouldn’t be anything preventing any moderate or left-wing person from speaking at a right-wing Party’s convention. However, I honestly don’t think this was a smart move on Westergaard’s part. I myself work as a cartoonist/illustrator/artist, and speaking as a professional, I think Westergaard’s stunt was utterly disappointing. Continue reading ‘Kurt Westergaard & The Danish People’s Party’

    Richard Wright (1943-2008)


    To me, Richard Wright was the George Harrison of Pink Floyd – a very underestimated part of the band’s success whose contributions were unjustly overshadowed in many ways by those of the two leading figures in the band. Continue reading ‘Richard Wright (1943-2008)’

    Field Commander Cohen

    Field Commander Cohen
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    Leonard Cohen in Copenhagen. The Bunker was there, of course.

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    Things to Come

    Things to Come — Jneiro Jarel & Khujo Goodie

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    Read our interview with hip hop producer and MC Jneiro Jarel and Goodie Mob legend Khujo Goodie.

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    Whither Goes the Bridgewater Collection?

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    This isn’t exactly breaking news, but since I’ve been away and all, I haven’t had the time to process this. It’s a rather major development in the British Museum world that could end up either to the great benefit or even greater detriment to the museum-going public. Basically, the Duke of Sutherland, who owns what is perhaps the most important collection of old masters still in private hands, has decided to sell some of the works in his collection. But before offering them on the open market, he has given the National Gallery of Scotland, where these works have been deposited and on display since 1945, the chance to acquire them at a favourable price. Continue reading ‘Whither Goes the Bridgewater Collection?’

    Picks of the Week

    “…you’re apt to find your thoughts returning again and again to a certain dark box in a certain Hilton half a world and three careers away, to the torture and fear and offer of reprieve and a certain Young Voter named John McCain’s refusal to violate a Code. Because there were no techs’ cameras in that box, no aides or consultants, no paradoxes or gray areas; nothing to sell. There was just one guy and whatever in his character sustained him. This is a huge deal. In your mind, that Hoa Lo box becomes sort of a dressing room with a star on the door, the private place behind the stage where one imagines “the real John McCain” still lives. But the paradox here is that this box that makes McCain “real” is: impenetrable. Nobody gets in or out. That’s why, however many behind-the-scenes pencils get put on the case, be apprised that a “profile” of John McCain is going to be just that: one side, exterior, split and diffracted by so many lenses there’s way more than one man to see. Salesman or leader or neither or both: the final paradox — the really tiny central one, way down deep inside all the other boxes and enigmas that layer McCain — is that whether he’s For Real depends now less on what’s in his heart than on what might be in yours. Try to stay awake.”

    – David Foster Wallace, on McCain 2000.

    The picks of the week from around the web. A little late this time around, due to traveling and such.

  • “The Weasel, Twelve Monkeys And The Shrub”. Remembering David Foster Wallace at his sad death by his own hand on Friday, I’d like to hype this piece from Rolling Stone on the McCain campaign trail in 2000. While perhaps a little overlong, it is not only eloquent, but presents singular moments of empathetic exposition, acute observation and clever analysis. It also depressingly reminds us how McCain 2008 is nothing like its precursor.
  • The Comics Journal enters Deitch World! For what is surely the best issue of the Journal in a long while, Gary Groth talks to the cartooning family of the Deitches: Gene, Kim, Simon and Seth. Only there wasn’t room enough in the magazine to print the entirety of the great interview with Kim, so here’s some more.
  • Berlatsky & Crippen. Two remarkable comics critics expand and join forces. Crippen has signed up with Berlatsky’s blog The Hooded Utilitarian and starts out with his 2007 memoir of fanboydom “True Believer”, while Berlatsky opens his new column at Comixology, A Pundit in Every Panopticon, with an essay on Andres Serrano’s Piss Christ and the transcendence of art. Good stuff.
  • Noboru Ôshiro’s “Train Journey.” Matt Thorn brings us scans of an astonishing work of exploratory sequential art, surely a precursor to Yuichi Yokoyama’s great Travel. Don’t miss it!
  • On the Zapiro Cartoon

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    Published last week, the cartoon by Zapiro reproduced above has caused strong controversy in South Africa, indicting as it does not only ANC president Jacob Zuma and his allies, but implicitly the country’s justice system, which in a chillingly poignant twist of events has just thrown out of court on procedural grounds the charges of corruption that have followed Zuma for years.

    Conveniently Zuma, who has on several previous occasions sued Zapiro over his caricatures of him, now emphasises the importance of the freedom of the press, which probably means that the present kerfuffle will blow over, and is probably a good sign that no legal action will be taken, but simultaneously underscores the hypocritical nature of the most powerful man in, and virtually certain coming president of, South Africa. Continue reading ‘On the Zapiro Cartoon’

    Re: The Graphic Novel Tradition

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    Following last week’s post on the notion of a ‘graphic novel tradition’ in comics, French comics journalist and connoisseur Xavier Guilbert of the distinguished comics website du9 and I have corresponded on the implications of seeking to take the term seriously as a means of identifying and describing a certain way of thinking about the comics medium and how it has developed historically.

    As these things tend to do, the discussion was ended up a rather sprawling affair touching on aspects of the Franco-Belgian tradition, as well as how the term might be applied to Japanese comics. We hope you’ll enjoy, or at least take away something of interest from this. And, in any case, do let me know what you think about these issues! Continue reading ‘Re: The Graphic Novel Tradition’