Ben Gazzara performs Charles Bukowski’s poem “Style,” from Marco Ferreri’s film Tales of Ordinary Madness.
Style is the answer to everything
A fresh way to approach a dull or dangerous
To do a dull thing with style is preferable
to doing a dangerous thing without it
To do a dangerous thing with style, is what
I call art
Bullfighting can be an art
Boxing can be an art
Loving can be an art
Opening a can of sardines can be an art
Not many have style
Not many can keep style
I have seen dogs with more style than men
Although not many dogs have style
Cats have it with abundance
When Hemingway put his brains
to the wall with a shotgun, that was style
For sometimes people give you style
Joan of Arc had style
John the Baptist
I have met men in jail with style
I have met more men in jail with style
than men out of jail
Style is a difference, a way of doing,
a way of being done
Six herons standing quietly in a pool of water,
or you, walking out of the bathroom naked without seeing me
A memorable definition, and a fine delivery from Gazzara, which you can compare against Bukowski’s reading below.
Los Angeles-based Chelsea Wolfe‘s intense, artful folk dirges bring to mind a slightly morbid young Joni Mitchell had she grown up listening to Black Metal bands instead of the Carter Family (Still, when asked about her influences Wolfe simply replied “Hank Williams”).
Perhaps unfairly lumped in with the goth crowd, Wolfe’s very specific doom-laden sound is uniquely her own, a blend of hypnotic 6-string repetition and skillfully manipulated vocals. Her latest album is Apokalypsis.
In the live session below, Chelsea sings her compositions “Halfsleeper” and “Recluse.”
It was a real privilege to listen to this being recorded in such an intimate space.
She is currently fighting extradition to Russia where she faces open discrimination and probably death. Myself and 36 other underground artists contributed to a release for her. If you want to hear the music I urge you to read her own words first.
This is her story, her voice.”
My name is L., and I am a woman with a transsexual past (male-to-female, MTF). I have had gender dysphoria since my early childhood, so I always had a lot of problems with socialization.
I have never seen my father because he left my family before my birth. I grew up with my mother and grandmother, who were extremely transphobic and authoritative and did not pay attention to my mental difficulties. I had to hide my real self from everyone from when I was 11 years old. It wasn’t until I was 21, in 2007, that I decided to stop hiding, and took my first attempt to bring my appearance in accordance with my self-perception.
This gave me other troubles, and I’ll only give one example: in October 2007, I was stopped on the street by a police officer, who took my IDs and took me to a police station. So-called “state authority representatives” made me strip nude and began to beat me and to urinate on me, laughing and shouting “fags must die!” When they put my head into the toilet bowl and cried out, “Drink Russian water you queer,” I lost consciousness. Eventually I woke up in an unfamiliar yard, my clothes torn and dirtied with urine and faeces. After this, I attempted to commit suicide. Thanks to my friends with the same problems, they helped me to find strength to withstand. But, I was hiding my real identity again for almost a year, and this was a real torture. I couldn’t stand it.
I learned that Sex Reassignment Surgery (SRS) in the Russian Federation would require a conformance letter from the Moscow Scientific Research Institute of Psychiatry, and in order to obtain one, a psychiatric examination was necessary. My friend in the transgender community told me about terrible violations of human rights in such clinics (unsanitary conditions, mobbing, rape, tortures, etc). Nevertheless, I could not live ‘as-is’ anymore, so I began Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) at my own risk. When my mother and grandmother discovered what I was doing, they threw out my female dress and hormones, but I continued with HRT secretly.
In September 2009, I met Anton, the man who totally understands me. Our relationship grew rapidly, but when my mother and grandmother found out they turned my life into hell. So, I left them for him, and we started living together.
Unfortunately, the problems connected with my transgender identity followed me through all my life in Russia. My boss – who was the head of the IT department of the local Federal Tax Inspection Office – told me (quote), “You have the choice – resign or face big problems. Fags are not welcome here.” I was forced to resign.
You can read the rest of L’s story after the jump…
The forced sterilzation of transgender persons and those with a transgendered past has now been abandoned by the Swedish authorities, but Russia still actively discriminates agains its LGBT community, as this video demonstrates:
Just when you thought shit couldn’t get any more cynical, here comes Charlie Brooker to cast some withering scorn over the recent ‘Kony 2012’ meme propagated by the group Invisible Children (as broadcast on last night on Channel 4’s 10 O’Clock Live.) I could not think of anyone better than Brooker for this job:
“So, in summary, Invisible Children are expert propagandists with what seems to be a covert religious agenda, advocating military action in Africa while simultaneously recruiting an “army” of young people to join their cause (and their weird Fourth Estate youth camps) and to stand around posing like this [quasi-fascist looking picture], a bit like an army of child soldiers might.”
The great French film director Jean-Luc Godard once famously quipped “All you need for a movie is a gun and a girl,” but it’s unlikely that he had anything like Bobcat Goldthwait’s outrageous new satire, God Bless America in mind when he said that.
The most vicious, hilarious and timely takedown of American culture since Network, God Bless America follows the downward trajectory of the dismal life of Frank (Joel Murray), an unemployed sad-sack everyman who is given the sort of medical diagnosis that no one wants to hear. Alone, dejected, depressed and suicidal, Frank opts to put a gun in his mouth and pull the trigger, but is distracted by a monstrously selfish Beverly Hills teenager on a TV reality show. In a flash, Frank decides that if he’s going to go, he’s going to take this pampered brat with him.
Frank’s execution of Chloe is witnessed by one of her classmates, Roxy, played by Tara Lynne Barr in perhaps the single most gleefully nihilistic performances a teenage girl has ever given in all of cinematic history. Roxy’s Tarantino-esque rant about why Alice Cooper is the greatest, most influential rockstar of all time— I mean, she does prove it here beyond all argument— is one of the film’s comic highlights.
Egged on by his curiously homicidal teen accomplice, Frank decides to mow down more rude, selfish people before his disease takes him. Like a Bonnie and Clyde for the YouTube era, Frank and Roxy embark on a wave of carnage and mayhem, eliminating a blowhard TV pundit based on Glenn Beck, religious extremists and in the film’s over-the-top climax, most of the studio audience at an American Idol-type program.
As Frank so earnestly puts it: “I only want to kill people who deserve to die.”
Below, Bobcat Goldthwait talks about his outrageous new comedy God Bless America:
Last Saturday saw the passing of the legendary French comic book artist Jean Giraud, better known as Moebius. A simply stunning artist, apart from being huge in the world of comics, Moebius’ influence extended to the spheres of science fiction, record sleeves, animation and films. He drew storyboards for both Alien and Tron, created character and set designs for Jodorowsky’s aborted Dune project (among numerous collaborations with the director), and unsuccessfully sued Luc Besson for what he claimed was The Fifth Element‘s infringement of his own work with Jodorowsky on The Incal.
If there is any illustrator working in comics today worthy of inheriting Moebius’ mantle, it’s Scottish artist Frank Quitely (All Star Superman, Batman and Robin, We3, The Authoirty.) Quitely cites Moebius as one of his favourite artists, and his influence in clear in both the crisp line work and the command of form. I asked Frank to share a few words celebrating the work of this great artist and to choose some of his favourite Moebius illustrations:
“Moebius was an inspired artist, whose life’s works have inspired others, artist and non-artists alike. He was uncommonly good at drawing, and he used this skill to share his internal world with others.”
“Everything that makes his designs, comic covers, illustrations and individual drawings and paintings beautiful, striking, well composed and effectively realized, is also employed in his strip-work. The ability to make not just a collection of wonderful images, but to make those images work together in sequence, is a whole other art-form in itself, and Moebius excelled as much in the fluidity of his storytelling as he did in the brilliance of his linework.
There’s real beauty in his work. It’s quite a rare thing for an artist to be able to translate so much of the scale and grandeur and detail of their own imaginings into simple, elegant lines that can be so easily shared with others. There’s an underlying essence that’s apparent to varying degrees in everything that he drew, supporting the assertion that what he drew was coming from his very core.”
“His sheer mastery of his art (and the craft of that art) has really enriched the lives of countless people around the world and across the years, and that same body of work that he’s left behind will continue enriching lives forever.”
You can see some of Frank Quitely’s own art here, and Moebius’ official site (in French) is here. The book The Art Of Moebius also come highly recommended.
Nick Drake died in 1974 at the age of 26. But his brief life had a lasting and profound impact. It took a television commercial to rescue his music from cultdom and introduce it to an international audience.
In A Skin Too Few: The Days of Nick Drake, a haunting tribute to Drake and his music, his sister Gabrielle takes us through the Drake family history as director Jeroen Berkven’s camera meditates on the almost mystical landscapes of the English village of Tanworht-in-Arden where Drake was born and lived.
I was introduced to Nick Drake’s music while he was still alive. A poet friend of mine who suffered from depression (as did Drake) turned me on to “Five Leaves Left” and I was immediately enchanted. My friend was obsessed with Nick’s music and found solace in its sweet sadness and a kind of kinship that tempered his loneliness. When Nick died it was a huge loss for all of us who were just beginning to discover and appreciate his work. I had felt this same sense of loss before when Tim Buckley died and would feel it again when Tim’s son Jeff drowned in the Mississippi River. Musical geniuses who died much too young.
Safe in the womb
Of an everlasting night
You find the darkness can
Give the brightest light
Safe in your place deep in the earth
That’s when they’ll know what you’re really worth
Forgotten while you’re here”
Lyrics from “Fruit Tree.”
Other than a few childhood home movies, no film footage of Nick Drake exists. So director Berkven had to create a sense of Drake through other means. That he succeeds is quite remarkable. He is enormously helped by Nick’s mother Molly. Her own music uncannily evokes her son’s and creates a deeply emotional dimension to A Skin Too Few.
Here’s A Skin Too Few in its entirety. Pour yourself a glass of wine or a cup of tea and enjoy this 48 minute tone poem. The quality is good enough that you can watch it in full screen.
“Dazed and Confused” is thought of as a Led Zeppelin original and Jimmy Page’s dramatic use of the violin bow during his extended soloing made the song a centerpiece of the Zeppelin live experience. But the song actually debuted during Page’s tenure in the Yardbirds, and apparently before that as well. From The Thieving Magpies: Jimmy Page’s Dubious Recording Legacy:
On August 25, 1967 the Yardbirds caught an acoustic act fronted by Jake Holmes at the Village Theatre in New York’s Greenwich Village. Holmes and his two sidemen played a song about a love affair gone dreadfully wrong. The song was called “Dazed & Confused.” It’s often been described as a song about a bad acid trip. Jake Holmes set this author straight in a 2001 interview.
“No, I never took acid. I smoked grass and tripped on it, but I never took acid. I was afraid to take it. The song’s about a girl who hasn’t decided whether she wants to stay with me or not. It’s pretty much one of those love songs,” Holmes explained.
Asked whether he remembered opening for the Yardbirds, Holmes laughed.
“Yes. Yes. And that was the infamous moment of my life when ‘Dazed & Confused’ fell into the loving arms and hands of Jimmy Page,” he said.
7:30 a.m.: Juice and Cuban coffee. 9:30 a.m.: Look at Koi Pond, listen to waterfall, look at clouds. 10:30 a.m.: 1/2 hour of Qigong. 11:00 a.m.: Breakfast (fruit, cheese, maybe a bagel) 11:30 a.m.: Look at email, but don’t answer them. Noon: Iggy usually doesn’t eat lunch. Surprised? 1:00 p.m.: Shower. Apply moisturizer or leather polish to skin. Lament that it’s in vain. 2:00 p.m.: Read New York Times, books, etc. 3:00 p.m.: Lose mind listening to music. 5:00 p.m.: 15 more minutes of exercise then dress for dinner. If dinner is at home, Iggy prefers to wear only a smoking jacket and slippers. Iggy will also indulge in a couple of glasses of Claret, a dark, rose wine. 10:00 p.m.: (or earlier): Bed