Thursday, April 24, 2008

I'm Beginning to Think There's Hope for the Human Race

Albatross Mating Dance
"After a period of trial and error... the young birds learn the syntax and perfect the dances. This language...involves synchronized performances of various actions such as preening, pointing, calling, bill clacking, staring, and combinations of such behaviors (like the sky-call). When a bird first returns to the colony it will dance with many partners, but after a number of years the number of birds an individual will interact with drops, until one partner is chosen and a pair is formed. They then continue to perfect an individual language that will eventually be unique to that one pair; Having established a pair bond that will last for life."

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


While having several 'Sportsmans' (aka a can of Black Label Beer and a shot of Evan Williams) at the Levee last week, Mary urged me to post a mix on Muxtape, basically a mix sharing site. (Don't ask me about the 'u') As far as I can tell like most things related to youth, music, and the internet, it mostly houses a lot of unimaginative 'indie' rock, but I thought I would post up anyway.
Given that I can easily spend three days straight obsessing about a mix for someone, I posted an abridged version of a Birthday mix I made for Juliet. Muxtape only accepts MP3s so some hot jams that I only had in MP4 didn't make the cut and it limits you to 12 songs, but I still think it holds up OK. Check It.

*Image courtesy of the talented Victoria Hely-Hutchinson.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Ooohhh Sssnnnaaappp!!!

Trevor Paglen, author of I Could Tell You But Then You Would Have to be Destroyed by Me: Emblems from the Pentagon's Black World, on the Colbert Report...

Friday, April 4, 2008

The Psychic Force of Minor Economies

Lizzy was kind enough to share this piece of Texan weirdness with me. In 2001, artists Dog Big, Eva Kasson, Nathan Austin, Rick Perry, Ronnie Bass, & Wes Martin (collectively the Fast House) staged The Pricemaster, a mock Yard Sale in Denton, Texas. Selling average yard sale items, the 'pricemaster' determines the price upon request, which is always thousands of dollars or more.

If you only watch one obscure Texas art video/performance today, watch this one!

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Are You Leaving for the Country?

Kindling and I watched Sean Penn's Into the Wild on Sunday night. I didn't have especially high expectations, no doubt related to a prejudice towards the Eddie Vedder baritone-y soundtrack, but I was quite pleasantly surprised (though not by the soundtrack). The film did a good job of not overly romanticizing the views and life of its subject, Christopher McCandless. It was uplifting but as one can imagine also immensely sad, especially given that he didn't really have to die. Had he been more prepared, i.e. had a compass or a map of the region he easily could of survived.

In one particularly charming scene, McCandless (played by actor and Jeff H. look-a-like Emile Hirsch) is eating an apple and talking to it, telling it how delicious it is. At the end he looks directly into the camera and moves his head right up against the lens, smiling. I really love this non-diegetic moment in such a film, stepping outside the narrative for a moment to remind the viewer that this is just a movie about a real event, that it can't actually convey McCandless reality, but merely poetically meander within the peripheries.

Unlike McCandless, Dick Proenneke thoroughly prepared for and took seriously his decision to live alone in the Alaskan wilderness, which he did for 35 years. At the age of 51 he moved there and built a cabin by hand, all the while capturing his life in journals and with a 16mm camera, which later became the documentary Alone in the Wilderness. Simple and unsentimental, the film is captivating. The full version is an hour but this edited 10 minute version gives a great overview- (Thanks Molly for hipping me to it!)