Author Archive

That’s it, this site is shutting down—I’m outta here

Friday, October 3rd, 2014

Just wanted to throw up one last post to say thanks to Blake for letting me write here, and to Gene for editing. And extra-giant-sized thanks to everyone who read and responded to the silly things I posted. I always had a great time perusing this site, and chatting with others in the comments. I was honored to get to contribute. See you around, I hope, elsewhere on the internet, and maybe even real life.

Art-as-Sparkly-Device

What’s so great about art?

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014
Joseph Kosuth, "One and Three Chairs" (1965)

Joseph Kosuth, “One and Three Chairs” (1965)

[Update 4 October 2014: See the bottom of this post for a bit more.]

This is a response to Dianna Dragonetti’s recent post here, which is itself a response to Janey Smith’s “Fuck List,” originally published at this site. It’s also a response to the numerous comments on Dragonetti’s post. Because it seemed to me that, as of this writing, a lot of the debate over Smith’s post, and the book that’s apparently resulted from it (which I’ve not seen), has taken the form, “Is what Smith did art?” Mind you, I doubt this post will settle that debate, but I hope it provides

  1. some historical context I think relevant to Smith’s post;
  2. plus an argument why, at the end of the day, I don’t think that it really matters whether Smith was making art.

I guess I should also note, in passing, that my name was the first name on Smith’s “Fuck List” (thanks to the magic of alphabetization). Since I find myself (along with numerous others) the object of some obscure desire, perhaps I can offer a few thoughts on the subject.

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The most important post of the day

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014

What do you eat for breakfast?

RUExperienced?

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

What’s it like to be drunk?

Kate Bush: “The Dreaming”

Saturday, August 2nd, 2014

The Dreaming

Lately, I can’t stop listening to Kate Bush’s The Dreaming (1982). I’ve always liked her, but now I’m convinced she’s an absolute genius, one of the All-Time Greats.

Here are the videos from it:

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R.I.P. Rik Mayall

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

Yuriy Tarnawsky visits Chicago

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014
Yuriy, peering through the doorway to Chicago

Yuriy, peering through the doorway to Chicago

This Friday and Saturday, Yuriy Tarnawsky will be reading in Chicago to celebrate the completion of his recent trilogy, The Placebo Effect.

On Friday, he will be reading at Quimby’s Bookstore (1854 W. North Ave.) with Eckhard Gerdes.

On Saturday, he will be reading at 567 Studio & Gallery (1800 N. Milwaukee Ave.) with Eckhard, Jane L. Carman, and myself.

Both readings start at 7pm, and are free and open to the public. A reception will follow the Saturday reading.

Here’s a recent interview with Yuriy regarding The Placebo Effect Trilogy, conducted by Tantra Bensko. And here’s an older interview that I conducted with Yuriy, about his life and work in general.

Since the 1950s, Yuriy Tarnawsky has published more than twenty books of fiction, poetry, drama, and criticism in English and Ukrainian. His most recent work has appeared via FC2, Jaded Ibis Press, and JEF Books. His Three Blondes and Death (FC2, 1993) remains, IMHO, one of the best English-language novels of the past thirty years—indeed, I think it the best book that FC2 has published. (You can read some of it here.)

Hope to see you there!

250 Points: The Hobbit pt 2: The Desolation of the Hobbit

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014
Bilbo and the gold

Bilbo Baggins, guarding the film’s box office receipts

  1. I missed The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug in theaters. Obviously since I wrote so much about the last one, I considered seeing its follow-up on more than one occasion, but just couldn’t summon the energy, even though a good friend invited me to join her, promising she’d bring snacks from Trader Joe’s.
  2. And then a few days after that, while I was out strolling the boulevard, I passed another friend who was en route to see the thing, on a lazy, chilly Sunday afternoon. But instead of joining him, I went home and took a bath.
  3. So you can see how excited I was to watch this movie. Please keep that in mind as you read this.
  4. Then the film left theaters, and I realized I’d missed my one and only chance for all time. I rushed to my local multiplex and pleaded with its employees to give me a private screening, but they refused, and threatened to call the police. Again.
  5. I despaired, and spent a week wondering what had happened to Bilbo, and Gandalf, and Thorin, and Whorin, and Hewy, and Dewy, and Chewy, and Killy, and Thrilly, and Culty, and the ninety-seven other little dwarves, and everyone else in Middle-earth.
  6. Suddenly, just when I could no longer bear the suspense, a CGI moth flew through my window, gripping an AVI copy of the film in its fuzzy mandible. It landed on my shoulder and mumbled something about how Gandalf was in trouble and “needed me.”
  7. Well, I need you, too, Gandalf! So I decided to watch the movie, after all, and take a lot of notes.
  8. These are my notes.
  9. It’s been fifteen long months since I watched An Unexpected Journey, and I barely remember anything that happened in it.
  10. It occupied a tremendous number of minutes? And presented a great many wolves and goblins that were born in a super-computer’s digital bowels?
  11. I do recall that the movie featured at least one terrific scene: the riddle game between Bilbo and the creature known as Gollum.
  12. Gollum won’t be in this new film, I have heard, which is a minus going in.
  13. Even still, I have no doubt that this movie will do its best to amuse and delight us, because that is how capitalism works. So let’s get right to it! (more…)

The Scariest Book

Thursday, April 24th, 2014

What’s the scariest book you’ve ever read?

Or, what book are you most afraid to read?

Grand Budapest

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

Does anyone want to talk about The Grand Budapest Hotel? I think there’s a case to be made it’s Wes Anderson’s best film.