SEED magazine published Saved by Science, a wonderful portfolio of Australian-American artist Justine Cooper’s large-format photographs of what lurks behind the scenes of the American Museum of Natural History with an accompanying essay by Carl Zimmer.
I used to know Justine quite well in the early 90s in New York but have not seen her in about fifteen years. Her work displays the quality of wide-eyed curiosity about the world that I associate with my memory of her:
A natural history museum is really two museums, and when you?
Let’s hope Congress throws a bone to that Cash For Clunkers program, fast! In what feels like a further sign-of-our-Ballardian-times, My Interesting Files has posted these photos of unsold cars from around the world. The sheer acreage of unclaimed autos is staggering. As are the numbers behind them: Sales of new cars in the UK have slumped to a 12-year low, and the number of cars rolling off production lines fell, at the tail of last year, 47.5% to just 53,823.
The initial peek at Tim Burton’s Alice tale looks plenty striking, but, in the meantime, you might want to check out this two-part adventure as envisioned by visual artist, Robert Cauble. The imagery comes straight out of Disney. The dialogue, though, that’s a far more curious matter. As Cauble explains it:
Alice, unhappy with her prim, proper existence in Victorian England, travels through time into an age that allegorically resembles our own. There, she encounters elitist tea-partiers and a philosopher cat, before she is consumed by an assaulting music video. Her only hope for understanding this foreign world of spectacle is to somehow find Guy Debord.
That’s right, Alice desperately needs to locate Guy Debord, noted theorist, filmmaker, and founder of the Situationist International. It’s wacky, yes, but there’s a method (of sorts) to Cauble’s madness. He aims to embed these shorts as “special features” in the Disney disks themselves, so as to render,
the meaning of the whole product ambiguous. Within the confusion as to the legitimacy of the d?ɬ
In what can only be seen as increasing economic desperation on the part of Americans to raise cash any way they can, Tupperware, Mary Kay Cosmetics and Avon are having a banner year:
NEW YORK, July 31 (Reuters) - The Tupperware party is back and Avon is calling again, ushered in by the U.S. recession.
In the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s, women are selling everything from eyeliner to food containers to make extra cash—boosting profits at companies such as Avon (AVP.N) and Tupperware (TUP.N).
The flexibility of such work means that women, even with existing jobs and kids to care for, are taking on direct sales work in increasing numbers.
Food container-maker Tupperware, whose latest quarterly profit beat expectations, said its sales force rose 4 percent this quarter year on year.
Tupperware’s popularity exploded in the 1950s as women of the post-war generation sought empowerment and independence through selling, and the recession has rekindled the spirit of the Tupperware party for a new generation.
Tupperware parties and Avon ladies are back in US by Edward McAllister
Thomas Pynchon‘s largely well-received 7th novel, Inherent Vice, drops today and if you’re still unsure as to whether or not it’s worth your while, Jason Boog over at Galley Cat cobbled together a “commercial” of sorts using “vintage footage of 1970s California, private detectives, old-time computers, and some choice passages” from the novel itself. Whether or not it persuades you to plop down your $15.37, I’m always fascinated by how Pynchon inspires the type of fanaticism that yields such DIY projects as Zak Smith’s illustrated Gravity’s Rainbow, or home-movie versions of The Crying of Lot 49. The internet certainly makes it easier to indulge all this (see today’s already thriving Inherent Vice wiki), but apparently Pynchon needs the web just as much as the web needs him. Searching for just the right Vice cover, Pynchon found his surfboard-toting hearse here.
Updated, Pynchon speaks: The Penguin Group USA just released an Inherent Vice promo piece featuring “unconfirmed” voice-over work from the man himself! Keep watching until the very end, though, where Pynchon mocks the high cost of his own book, and sighs, “That used to be like 3 weeks of groceries, man! What year is this again?”
(Thanks, Frank Smith!)
Although over the years there have been many, many fan made “reconstructed” (bootleg) versions of what Brian Wilson really intended to do with his lost Beach Boys masterpiece Smile, in 2004 his Brian Wilson Presents Smile album and tour pretty much set the record straight. And if this wasn’t exactly what Wilson had intended back in 1967 (before Mike Love, new fatherhood, mental illness and various other factors buried the project) then at the very least it’s Wilson’s final word on the piece, what he once called his “teenage symphony to God.”
Wilson’s ill-fated Smile, of course, became legendary amongst rock snobs. In 1993 Beach Boys fans discovered just how far along Wilson’s unfinished project got. On the Beach Boys box set, Good Vibrations, author and filmmaker, David Leaf (The Beach Boys and The California Myth, 1978) sequenced a stunning 30 minute selection of Smile outtakes. I can tell you for sure, it was a mind-blowing thing to hear. Elvis Costello described hearing Brian Wilson’s original demo for “Surf’s Up” as like discovering a lost recording of Mozart and I must agree.
What we have here, though, is the so-called “Smile [Purple Chick bootleg]” put together by some Beach Boys fans using mostly original stereo Beach Boys recordings—using Wilson’s 2004 album as a guide—to step by step recreate Smile with these vintage sources. It’s fantastic! They re-edited, pitch shifted and used a few moments from Wilson’s BWPS album to connect the tracks and the results are quite good, a revelation even. Although I am not sold on their remake of Good Vibrations (my brain just refuses to accept it) I have to say that it’s entirely valid. After all it’s what Wilson did himself. Still, I swapped that track out on the CD I made for the car (and you might want to also).
Forgotten Bookmarks is an amusing blog where the content consists of rather personal bookmarks found in used books. The writer of the blog says, “I work at a used and rare bookstore, and I buy books from people everyday. These are the personal, funny, heartbreaking and weird things I find in those books.”
I had a great time going through the endless entries of found bookmarks. However, I did find some of the lost love letters and old photographs kinda sad.
Alan Moore and Melinda Gebbie’s gigantic pornographic comic Lost Girls has just been published in one affordable hardback for $45. Nice.
I just finished it. It’s up there in the Moore canon, but shows so much of the collaborative process with his wife that you’ll be hard pressed to detect his voice. The book follows the erotic lives of three Lost Girls?