Berfrois

Nicholas Rombes on Wes Craven

Nicholas Rombes on Wes Craven

Wes Craven’s movies were about movies, even when they weren’t. And in this sense they helped bring cinema back to its self-reflective origins.

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Bobbi Lurie Plays with Mad-Men-ness

Bobbi Lurie Plays with Mad-Men-ness

John Hamm as Don Draper in Mad Men, AMC by Bobbi Lurie Mad Men has given me many hours of quality escapism. My involvement with the characters, through four seasons, provided me with a rare opportunity to connect deeply with imaginary companions. It allowed me to leave my life...

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Coolness

Coolness

Look Mickey, Roy Lichtenstein, 1961 From The New York Review of Books: The first half of the 1960s was the apogee of what might be termed the Age of Cool—as defined by that quality of being simultaneously with-it and disengaged, in control but nonchalant, knowing but ironically self-aware, and...

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Row C, Table 12

Row C, Table 12

Mobile Flea Market on Schillinger Road, Mobile, Alabama From Oxford American: Joe sells records at the Mobile Flea Market on Schillinger Road.  Row C, table 12; Saturdays and Sundays (but not before noon). “Psychedelic” Joe as most people know him. An increasingly squiggly Moby Grape tattoo on his arm, 8...

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Jesse Miksic: DOOMed

Jesse Miksic: DOOMed

It's cold and wet – the worst kind of early winter morning. I'm traversing a landscape under endless gray cloud cover, the ground softened to the consistency of flesh by a long night of rain. I pass through areas that look like small cities, sprawls of gray buildings groped...

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Bobbi Lurie: Girls, Girls, Girls

Bobbi Lurie: Girls, Girls, Girls

The children of 1960s who rebelled against their parents’ expectations decided to raise a kinder, gentler generation. They surrounded their babies with Mozart in utero, and from nursery school on, these Boomer parents sent their precious little ones to the best schools they really couldn’t afford, and buoyed up...

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Peggy Nelson: The Tragic Speed of Modern Life

Peggy Nelson: The Tragic Speed of Modern Life

Early vaudeville photo from the collection of Bob Bragman, as featured in the San Francisco Chronicle by Peggy Nelson Short attention span theater is hardly the new kid on the block. In the vaudeville era, an act was viable if it could manage to keep the audience’s attention for...

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Daniel Bosch: Wily Ants

Daniel Bosch: Wily Ants

He had started the series from inside Plato’s cave, so when William Kentridge launched his sixth and final Charles Eliot Norton Lecture with a retelling of the story of Perseus, he gave familiar things back to his audience—the myth itself, and art’s gesture of circling toward origin at closure.

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It’s a Royale Hunger Battle Game

It’s a Royale Hunger Battle Game

Battle Royale and The Hunger Games are young adult novels in which governments force teenagers to kill each other. Comparing these books to classic works by William Golding and Robert Sheckley suggests that, while becoming more skeptical about governments, we've become more trusting about our own nature.

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Theresa Runstedtler on Jack Johnson

Theresa Runstedtler on Jack Johnson

by Theresa Runstedtler In a recent post on SBNation, Bomani Jones compared Money May (Floyd Mayweather) to Jack Johnson: Mayweather has basically taken the persona of a great counterpuncher from a century ago, Jack Johnson, and modernized it. He’s impenetrable in the ring and insufferably flashy outside of it....

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Daniel Roberts: Bright Boys

Daniel Roberts: Bright Boys

By now, the 1946 noir classic The Killers, available on Criterion Collection DVD (currently our best indication that a movie is held in high regard), is likely better known than the 1927 Hemingway short story of the same name that inspired it. That being said, both pieces of art...

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(You Gotta)

(You Gotta)

The Beastie Boys, New York City, 1986. Photograph by Lynn Goldsmith From The Smart Set: There’s a straight lineage from Run-DMC’s “Peter Piper” to the Beastie Boys’ “Brass Monkey” on License to Ill. In fact, the Beastie Boys sampled directly from “Peter Piper” on another song from License to...

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We Hear the Sound of Splashing

We Hear the Sound of Splashing

From Trainspotting, Miramax, 1996 by Julian Hanich In this essay I try to categorize the range of artistic options that filmmakers currently have at hand to evoke bodily disgust. Or, to reframe this approach in a slightly different manner: If we examine the variety of disgusting scenes...

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David Beer: Music Genres Unhitched

David Beer: Music Genres Unhitched

I’ve just spent a few minutes trying to understand a new music genre called seapunk. I’m baffled. Then again music genre is baffling. It would seem that where we once had relative simplicity, we now have something much more vital and chaotic. So what is happening with music genre?...

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Throw Your Blows

Throw Your Blows

Those personal catastrophes that we can’t reconcile with ourselves despite the anguish they cause are the subject of much of serious modern art. Art returns over and over to the personal tragedies that remain with you, to the lacerations of the past that never heal, but with a resignation...

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Robyn Ferrell: Aboriginal Art

Robyn Ferrell: Aboriginal Art

Paintings are the moon and stars in a dark sky for Australian Aboriginal communities. The economic success of this art holds out an almost utopic prospect of a cultural renaissance. Yet poverty, violence and third-world living standards in its remote communities remain the present reality.

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Human Finitude as Plot Device

Human Finitude as Plot Device

The Revenger’s Tragedy, Royal Shakespeare Company, Pitlochry Festival Theatre 1965 production. by Attila Kiss “What brother, am I far enough from myself?” (The Revenger’s Tragedy, Vindice, 1.3.1) The persistent employment of excessive violence on the early modern English stage was studied by Renaissance scholarship for centuries in diverse...

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What has happened to bring about the sad demise of the Western?

What has happened to bring about the sad demise of the Western?

The only recent Westerns that have managed to arouse my enthusiasm have been those made for TV: Walter Hill’s Broken Trail, and Deadwood, whose third and final season no one has even bothered to bring out on DVD in Spain, which gives you some idea of how unsuccessful the...

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Seduce Police Virgins

Seduce Police Virgins

by Justin E. H. Smith Amateur neo-Kremlinologists will by now have heard of Pussy Riot, a league of masked anarchist feminist punks who, until recently, could be spotted around Moscow performing their music, uninvited, in public spaces. Their career was cut short when two of their members were detained...

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Remembrance of Translations Past

Although Charles Kenneth Scott Moncrieff’s translation of À la recherche du temps perdu is considered by many journalists and writers to be the best...

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Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei: LGBT Struggles in Albania

This morning I woke up to a rather surprising headline: "first gay marriage in Tirana." The article referred to the marriage ceremony recently held...

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Feroz Rather in Srinagar

Though the war was still going on, it was not a terribly sad time in my life; at least, I had the consolation of...

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Foucault’s Politics of Truth by Stuart Elden

The key figures are Cardinal Richelieu and Chancellor Séguier, and Foucault thinks it is important that he can discern the “first great deployment of...

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Menachem Feuer on Sarah Silverman and Lena Dunham

Elle called Silverman’s image of her wearing a shirt with several naked Lena Dunhams a “beautiful tribute.” Dunham, the article tells us, “seemed to...

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Mediamacro are very good at pretending…

A few weeks ago I was having dinner with David Cameron. Well, almost - we were at the same restaurant but on tables at...

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Tammy Ho Lai-Ming: One Little Room

A room with graffitied walls. Inside this room the dogs bark. A room cluttered with porcelain figurines. A room decorated with binary numbers.

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Jeremy Fernando
Jeremy Fernando on Tan Chui Mui

For, it is not as if films speak; nor are their filmmakers there—at the site where this alleged speaking to, speech, takes place —...

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David Beer
David Beer: Make Happy, Happy, Happy

As I read through William Davies’ engaging new book, I can’t help but wonder what Mad Men’s Don Draper would have made of John...

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Russell Bennetts: Coffee for 8 More

I might be the last person you should ask about St. Paul coffee in general. On an ordinary day I make do with drip...

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Emeline Edgewood
In X the Promise

X seems to want to be both the equivalent of The Giant and of Laura Palmer’s mother in Twin Peaks.

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Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei: Municipal

Although there are also some independent candidates who may take a few votes here and there, the general opinion of the Tirana public and...

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En Liang Khong: Full Bloom

The cross-dressing Qiu Jin was emblematic of a revolutionary feminist current at the end of the Qing era, writing urgently on women’s emancipation: “While...

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Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei
Very Much Like a Whale by Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei

They had obviously taken the pictures of the whale, and the group of people carrying it, out of curiosity. But still the images failed...

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