Thursday, June 25, 2015

summer links


---musicless Taylor Swift

---"we’re distracted because our souls are troubled. The comedian Louis C.K. may be the most famous contemporary exponent of this way of thinking. A few years ago, on 'Late Night' with Conan O’Brien, he argued that people are addicted to their phones because 'they don’t want to be alone for a second because it’s so hard.' (David Foster Wallace also saw distraction this way.) The spiritual theory is even older than the material one: in 1874, Nietzsche wrote that 'haste is universal because everyone is in flight from himself'; in the seventeenth century, Pascal said that 'all men’s miseries derive from not being able to sit in a quiet room alone'" --Joshua Rothman

---Celluloid Ceilings and a guide to cult female filmmakers

---William Gibson on La Jetee

---Jim Jarmusch's 10 favorite films

---"the celebrity is a curiously contradictory figure, entitled to enjoy all the benefits a consumer culture has to offer while being merely another product for sale in the marketplace." --Brad Stevens

---“'These white folks, they think the world belongs to them,' Grandma told me 12 hours after Susie Jackson, Ethel Lance, Clementa Pinckney, Tywanza Sanders, Cynthia Hurd, Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, Depyane Middleton Doctor, Daniel Simmons and Myra Thompson were murdered in a black Charleston church by a cowardly white American thug. 'White folks been misusing us since I been in this world, if you wanna know the truth, Kie. If you expect any thing more after all they done, you the world’s biggest fool.'” --Kiese Laymon

---Fantasia of Color in Early Cinema

---"I consider Vera to be noir’s most subversive femme fatale, a repellent yet magnetic calamity of a woman whose unfettered ferocity makes us realize just how conventional so many other bad girls really were."  --the Nitrate Diva

---"Dr Aled Jones, the Director of the Global Sustainability Institute, told Insurge Intelligence: 'We ran the model forward to the year 2040, along a business-as-usual trajectory based on ‘do-nothing’ trends — that is, without any feedback loops that would change the underlying trend.

'The results show that based on plausible climate trends, and a total failure to change course, the global food supply system would face catastrophic losses, and an unprecedented epidemic of food riots.

'In this scenario, global society essentially collapses as food production falls permanently short of consumption.'" --Louis Dore

---"All of these are potential conflict scenarios and it all comes down to food — all these scenarios are driven by food. I can see huge mayhem and larger use of violence in the future, and I’m perfectly prepared to believe that would include nuclear violence, but more likely it will be the death of a thousand cuts … most things are." --Gwynne Dyer

---Meet the Villain

---"Star Wars sucks. There, we said it." by Jaime Weinman

---"Fickleness is always something to reckon with in the digital age – fickleness in its many mutations from month to month. We have seen, on this very blog, conversation ebb away and migrate somewhere else (mainly to Facebook), as some (including myself) have noted or complained. I am all too aware, in my own daily digital habits, of an ever-growing tendency to bookmark or download texts rather than actually read them – a constant ‘deferral’ which didn’t happen, by and large, when I actually bought the darn things to have and to hold. Digital fickleness is a complex phenomenon linked to many too-easily-evoked-but-less-well-understood things: distraction, novelty, spectacle, and the kinds of long-range and short-span mental ‘retentions’ that Bernard Stiegler discusses (sometimes in a rather old/high culture fashion) in his work. I was recently introduced (thanks to Catherine Grant and Chiara Grizzaffi in a conference at University of East Anglia) to the ideas of Kenneth Goldsmith, guru of ‘uncreative writing’, who joyfully argues for the benefits of media-age distraction, on the basis of roughly Surrealist reasons: being suspended between multiple ‘inputs’, navigating between them, is something akin (for him) to the Surrealist practice of the willed, waking dream-state, open to the drifts and sparks of the creative unconscious. But fickleness in action has, naturally, its callous, oblivious, indifferent side, too – and that can infect our efforts at creating a film culture when we least expect it." --Adrian Martin

---trailers for Rock the Kasbah, A Deadly Adoption, Trainwreck, The Stanford Prison ExperimentQueen of the Desert, LegendThe Runner, The Secret Life of Pets, Sicario, Boulevard, and Final Girl

---"The Fisher King: In the Kingdom of the Imperfect" by Bilge Ebiri


---Cinephilia and Beyond celebrates Sweet Smell of Success

---an oral history of Clueless

---Dope, which premiered at Sundance and arrives in theaters this week, is every inch a coming-of-age story, but it’s about being black as much as it’s about growing up. Writer / director Rick Famuyiwa (The Wood, Brown Sugar) has created a heady hybrid of a John Hughes teen comedy and a John Singleton hood drama: his characters are as concerned about going to prom and getting the girl as they are with surviving in the midst of ever-present gang violence." --Kwame Opam

---Children of Men: Behind the Scene

---"Buster Keaton's Cure" by Charlie Fox

---Roger Ebert on Ego

Friday, June 19, 2015

Blood Sacrifice on the Pepsi-saurus Ride: 5 Notes on Jurassic World

1) On May 31st, almost three weeks before the record-breaking release of Jurassic Park, I predicted the infinite forgettability of this blockbuster, mostly due to the depression I sank into every time I watched the movie's trailer. Two days ago, I actually went and saw the thing, and was happy to note that writer/director Colin Trevorrow created a much more self-aware blockbuster that partially mocks itself, thereby somehow making its mix of frequent product placement, sanitized blood sacrifice, '90s nostalgia, and amusement park ride aesthetics slightly more palatable than I expected.

2) (spoiler alert) The highly emotional little boy Gray (Ty Simpkins) is the true villain of the movie because he programs the kid viewers (and the child inside the adult audience) to get excited by the Park's spectacle. Dinosaurs will run amok soon enough, and yet here's Gray racing to the front of the train to see them under controlled conditions. Here's Gray laughing and smiling as a Mosasaur eats a captive shark, thereby scattering water all over the thrilled spectators. Basically, Gray telegraphs to everyone that the spectacle is worthwhile. He's the perfect consumer even before the product proves seriously dangerous, yet he's never really threatened because the bloodlust has been sanitized, PG-13-ized, and Spielberg-approved with some anti-corporate snark thrown in for good measure. Gray and his older brother (Nick Robinson) are going to be okay. They can scream and run from the deadly dinos, but Gray especially serves as the emotional core of the movie, the one that the infantilized audience can identify with. Adventure in Jurassic Park takes the form of Gray appearing in the same frame with the raptors and the Indominus Rex amidst all of the fetishized devouring. We never for a moment expect that the boy and his teenage brother will run into serious grief--they have their parents' eminent divorce to contend with, after all.

3) After we realize that our heroes are safe from attack, then there's just the pleasure of counting the amount of product placements that Trevorrow can cram into each shot, how many Mercedes Chris Pratt needs to stand near (as poor Robert Pattinson had to keep appearing with the immortal Volvos in the Twilight franchise), how many Cokes Pratt must drink, and how many shots of the Margaritaville bar that the poor park-goers run near in the midst of a pterodactyl attack. One pseudo-hipster named Lowery (Jake Johnson) in the park's control room makes some cracks about the corporate cooptation of every aspect of the park, mentioning "Pepsi-saurus" ironically, which was refreshing but also cynical. Corporations don't mind some light mockery of their methods just so long as the central hypocrisy remains. Colin Trevorrow has discussed how the genetically modified and particularly vicious new centerpiece Dominus Rex exemplifies corporate greed and the public's desire for ever more extreme monsters.

4) I liked the scene where Chris Pratt (as the relatively dull hero Owen) and coldly corporate tour guide Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) do their best to comfort a dying apatosaurus who looks up at them with sorrowful eyes as they pet its head. The movie is full of these soulful moments of communion with velociraptors, a T-Rex, etc. The dinosaurs appear far more emotional than many of the humans.

5) It makes sense that executive producer Steven Spielberg would go for the large dinosaurs in the Jurassic franchise since they combine the size of the sinister semi of his first movie Duel (1971) with the perfect killing machine with teeth, the great white shark of Jaws (1975). Jaws succeeded so well because it blends that lethal creature with tourists frolicking in the summer sun in such a way that invited the audience to think that the pleasure-seekers in some way deserved to be eaten. Consumption of humans on the screen mirrors the consumption of the viewer in the cineplex, and everyone goes home happy--shark, dinosaur, and spectator all unified in their satiation.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

montage links



---In The Fridge

---Dawn of the Planet of the Zombies and the Giant Killer Plants on Some Serious Acid trailer

---"Their approach is the height of simplicity: place unglamorous female characters in the storylines and genres generally dominated by men. The perspective allows Feig and McCarthy to give audiences familiar worlds while the genderbent setups offer a rich playground for challenging sexist habits in progressive ways. Bridesmaids juxtaposed classic feminine stereotypes with an audacity that ripped to the heart of traditional feminine etiquette. The Heat played with manifestations of female strength while busting open the male buddy cop world. The newly released Spy dismantles 007’s masculine domain while cutting to the very heart of society’s often reductive treatment of women."
--Monika Bartyzel

---True Detective: Comparisons and References

---100 Iconic Movie Lines

---"The relationship between any private language and a public discourse is a tricky one, and Farber’s consistent efforts to speak to his contemporaries through the chosen media have always had to contend with the skewed perspective inevitable to any parallel readings of film history and art history, with their radically different time frames and patterns of development. If Farber has generally commanded more attention as a movie critic than as a painter, this may have less to do with his grasp of the vernacular in each realm than with the deposits of time and place which locate his verbal pizzazz and iconographic slang in widely dissimilar modes of address and reception, where they register with distinctly different impacts." --Jonathan Rosenbaum

---Andrei Tarkovsky: Shot by Shot

---How to Direct a Dinner Scene

--"There is a new generation coming up; they want to be famous, above all. They don’t want to make something serious or important; above all, they want to be famous. I was also, of course, attracted by being famous, but nowadays, that’s what young filmmakers want, and it doesn’t matter what they do. It’s hard to say so, but that’s my opinion." --Roy Andersson


---"Hit Me With Your Best Shot: Amadeus"

---"the Internet Research Agency had industrialized the art of trolling. Management was obsessed with statistics — page views, number of posts, a blog’s place on LiveJournal’s traffic charts — and team leaders compelled hard work through a system of bonuses and fines. 'It was a very strong corporate feeling,' Savchuk says. Her schedule gave her two 12-hour days in a row, followed by two days off. Over those two shifts she had to meet a quota of five political posts, 10 nonpolitical posts and 150 to 200 comments on other workers’ posts." --Adrian Chen

---The Auteur's Tea Room

---No Film School

---She Stands at the End

---"[Hitchcock] thought that montage was cinema at its most pure. In theory, his method involved a subordination to the capacities of the camera upheld with such completeness and consistency at each stage of the production process, from script and storyboards through principal photography to editing, that it became a kind of mastery. Before cinema, montage meant the action of assembling mechanical components. Hitchcock defined it as the ‘juxtaposition’ of ‘pieces of film that went through a machine’ in such a way as to create ‘ideas on the screen’. His own conjuring was by sleight of machine rather than of hand. ‘Emotions of many varying sorts, shades, degrees and colours have to be manufactured,’ he said, ‘and all must be photographically clear.’ Montage used the machine against itself, creating out of its excess of indifference (the seventy set-ups for the shower scene) a spectacle guaranteed to wring the heart." --David Trotter

---"The Empathetic Camera: Frank Norris and the Invention of Film Editing" by Henry Giardina

---trailers for Suffragette, Mistress America, Z for Zachariah, Pawn Sacrifice, The Martian, and Listen To Me Marlon 

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Jurassic Bore: A Prediction of the Infinite Forgettability of a Blockbuster

Keep them wanting more of the same.

"Chris Pratt was charming in Guardians of the Galaxy, so let's give him another look-see."

Oh, let's go watch the Indominus-Rex escape and kill. Let Chris Pratt distract the lady folk with his harmless semi-humorous hunkiness, now that he's lost weight, as he bravely faces the snarling velociraptors. Let's count on today's kids not remembering the previous three iterations of the Jurassic franchise (Jurassic Park, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, and Jurassic Park III) back around the time when they were born. Oh, it's a terrific ride, escaping devouring Spinosauruses!

Defeated, bored, I'll let this movie, plus soda ads, claim my sad attention for a couple of summer hours. I'll watch it ironically! Oh, oh, oh, that Spielbergian trope of blood dripping down during a quiet moment or water in a glass jiggling to prepare us for the next big surprise, a sneaky dino attack. Yowza! A minor Asian character just became dino-meat. Giant CGI lizards are scary and they move fast. Thousands of people on an island may die! See them run screaming from the fast and mean raptors. Bring in the paramilitary forces. Pratt zips by on a motorcycle in a tracking shot with a small band of rough-and-ready survivors with their helicopters and machine guns. Will he save Claire Dearing who is frozen with fear, standing with her flare in the dark and the heat? It's summer time and you're bored and you demand your human ripped flesh, CGI sacrificial spoils, a fast food media dinner for the supremely entitled.

No one cares about the pans from the many Rotten Tomatoes critics as the popcorn-crunching crowd shoves in to see today's distraction from the overheated complacent summer, today's blood sport, as the American empire sags and forgets itself and its drone bombings, its futile wars in the teens of the 21st century, a period of never mind the ever-heating atmosphere, the droughts, the mass killers seeking attention and the ever-receding Amazon jungle as the flipflop-wearing corpulent crowd in t-shirts and shorts rides the amusement park replacement for nature, a spectacle designed to draw your eyes to the grey fuzzy computerized fakery of large evil lizards. As another audience member, you kind of like it insofar as you remember it at all. Some of Pratt's jokes were funny. You liked that one scene. Afterwards, you walk out to the sun and the heat of the cineplex parking lot and check your phone for updates of pans of other blockbusters as you wait in traffic until you get home to another form of amusement on another smaller screen.

Have you bought the LEGO video game version yet? I will ultimately be too oppressed by the loud bludgeoning of the munching, slamming, crunching visuals to want to review it. Enjoy the latest bodies primed for the slaughter. Dino-jaws masticate as two screaming tourists have been taken up by a pterodactyl into the jungle. Hear the tourists' distant screams.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

infernal machine links

---All Studios Everything

---the visual effects and the editing of Mad Max: Fury Road

---In Praise of Chairs

---The Inception of Movie Editing: D. W. Griffith

---"The knottiest problem for mainstream film critics regards the preponderance of trash that they have to treat seriously, or at least entertainingly – what can you say about Michael Bay adventures and Adam Sandler comedies week after week? Today’s most quick-witted reviewer, The New Yorker’s Anthony Lane, has never really resolved the dilemma. He seems to write in two completely different registers, depending on whether the film is a noisy Angelina Jolie shoot-‘em-up (in which a fundamental disregard is implied by the vamping plot summaries and Catskill lounge humor) or a small-budget French pastoral drama (in which a fundamental respect is conveyed by subdued backgrounding and delicate scene analysis).

But Kael wrote with the same spontaneity and intelligence about popular entertainment as about the films of Renoir and Antonioni. The key was that her criticism continued to flow from the experience of viewing the film – if it made her feel good, then it was good." --Sam Sacks

---What Addie Saw

---The Definition of Film by Richard Misek

---"One of the lines from Kraus that matters the most to me is 'Ein Teufelswerk der Humanität,' an infernal machine of humanity. In the mid-’90s, when I started to feel worried about what was happening to literature with the introduction of the third screen, and with the increasingly materialistic view of human nature that psychopharmacology was producing, I was looking for some way to describe how technology and consumerism feed on each other and take over our lives. How seductive and invasive but also unsatisfying they are. How we go back to them more and more, because they’re unsatisfying, and become ever more dependent on them. The groupthink of the Internet and the constant electronic stimulation of the devices start to erode the very notion of an individual who is capable of, say, producing a novel. The phrase I reached for to describe all this was 'an infernal machine.' Something definitionally consumerist, something totalitarian in its exclusion of other ways of being, something that appears in the world and manufactures our desires through its own developmental logic, something that does damage but just seems to keep perpetuating itself. The sentence that summed this up for me owed a lot to Kraus’s writing: 'Techno-consumerism is an infernal machine.'" --Jonathan Franzen

---Three Reasons: Stage of Siege and Olivier Assayas' top 10 Criterion choices

---"Claude Rains: An Actor's Side-Eye" by @selfstyledsiren

---The Director's Series: David Fincher 2.3

---Tarantino's visual film references

---"I agree that much is that exciting about contemporary cinema – the films of Hou, Tsai, Jia, Apichatpong, Assayas, Lynch, Martel, Kiarostami, Gomes, Alonso, and many others – is perhaps less related to the joys of narrative, in the nineteenth-century novel sense, than with the music, energies, tactility and exploratory, altering forms we associate with both mise en scène, avant-garde film and modernist poetry."  --Tom Paulus

---186 would-be Criterion movies


---"Parenti’s observation summed up a deep sense of puzzled frustration I’ve been feeling for a long time, which has been growing in intensity since the Reagan era and even more so since 9/11 and the unleashed Bush agenda. Fear, exploited and unchecked, triggers a deep, 'rational' insanity. We’re driving ourselves into a new Dark Age.

The driving force is institutional: government, the mainstream media, the military-industrial economy. These entities are converging in a lockstep, armed obsession over various enemies of the status quo in which they hold enormous power; and this obsession is devolving public consciousness into a permanent fight-or-flight mentality. Instead of dealing with real, complex social issues with compassion and intelligence, our major institutions seem to be fortifying themselves – with ever-increasing futility – against their imagined demons.

Parenti went on, in his interview with Vincent Emanuele: 'So, less money for public housing, more money for private prisons. It’s a literal transfer of resources to different institutions, from a flawed social democratic institution like public housing, to an inherently evil, but still very expensive and publicly funded institution, like prison.'

As American society militarizes, it dumbs itself down." --Robert C. Koehler

---Hearing Paul Thomas Anderson

---End Game

---trailers for The End of the Tour, Macbeth, American UltraFresh Dressed, Survivor, We Are Your Friends, and Jupiter Ascending

---"[Hitchcock] thought that montage was cinema at its most pure." --David Trotter

Sunday, May 24, 2015

8 notes on the deplorable, seductive aesthetics of Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather (1972)

"Basically, all the women just seemed like pawns."

When someone pointed this out about the female characters of The Godfather, I readily agreed, acknowledging that it related to Sicilian culture and the prevailing gender dynamics of the 1940s, but the observation still irks me because The Godfather is still one of my favorite films. Does it cater to some underlying sexism in its male viewers? Some spoiler-filled notes:

1) Michael Corleone can only pay lip service to the tradition that stresses the importance of a man spending time with his family, since he lies to his wife and sister. Those relations with the women are collateral damage, easily dispensed with.

2) It's easy to admire Michael's character arc. He kills Captain McCluskey and Sollozzo. Later, he arranges for others to kill for him. The viewer still likes him anyway, since it is all strictly business, and it is intriguing to watch how he assumes and holds on to power even as the movie illustrates how his brother Santino's weaknesses cause him to lose it. Michael was a war hero before. Now, Michael has shifted his killing techniques, using smaller, efficient, more focused operations.

3) One likes Michael, in part, because he's got zero time for or interest in the Las Vegas showgirls placed before him by his brother Fredo. Fredo is corrupt and weak due to how quickly he accepts Moe Greene's power over him. He allows that to happen perhaps due to the pleasures of the job in Moe's casino.

4) Meanwhile, after his extended stay in Sicily, Michael just gets cooler and cooler because he knows that he can kill off all of his enemies in an upcoming ironic baptism montage featuring Sofia Coppola, oddly enough, as the baby. That scene will, as he puts it, "take care of all of [his] problems." All that will remain will be the perfunctory lies to his wife and sister, hardly worth worrying about.

5) Meanwhile, the movie programs the viewer to accept Santino's death just as most everyone who dies in a bloody fashion appears to deserve it. Santino's gory riddled-with-bullets machine gun death is perhaps better motivated than the equivalent scene in Bonnie and Clyde (1967).

6) By the end of The Godfather, Michael has become a cheap loathsome hood who snarls at Diane Keaton, but I don't care because of the way the entire movie seduces me to like him even though I should know better. He's so smart in his villainy. When Michael says "I'm with you now," to his father Vito, he technically loses his soul, but soon enough the viewer is far too impressed with his cool bluff before Sollozzo's hoods in front of the hospital to care. Michael calmly notes that his hands don't shake as he handles the Zeppo lighter of the freaked out baker. What makes that scene effective is the way Michael's realization, his cool under fire, matches the viewer's. He looks at his hands. "Hmmm," he says to himself. "I'm not nervous at all." That subtle gap between the action and the observation of the action makes Michael such an compelling figure. We see him observing himself, assume the reins of the family's power, and he recognizes how that power is in part a front, a bluff (just as he bluffs Sollozzo's men by placing his hand in his coat as if he has a gun). For Michael, power is a manner of being that sits and considers its next move long in advance. He's self-aware of the corruption of power. One can imagine him highly conscious of how it will likely all play out in advance.

7) Still, as much as I like to imagine Michael as the unmoved mover, he snarls at Kay by the end of the movie. Even as he lies to her despicably, he's still the object of worship with his minions bending down to kiss his hand as the door shuts in her face. The door shutting alludes to the endings of both On the Waterfront (1954) and Notorious (1946).

8) Meanwhile, The Godfather provides us with a study in different ways to shoot a garroting scene. The earlier one, in which Luca Brasi dies, displays the advantages of stabbing your victim in the hand, pinning him to the bar so that he can't do much except writhe and bug out his eyes as the garroting gangster slowly lowers him to floor.  The later garroting of Carlo is part of a larger investigation into ways to incorporate broken glass into a murder (a cinematic tradition that stretches back to the eyeglass breaking scene in Eisenstein's Battleship Potemkin (1925)). Carlo's kick through the front windshield of a moving car as he's being garroted surprises the viewer as if he had just kicked his way through the movie screen. His death is the climactic one soon after the ironic baptism montage that explores so many ways to have people die through or behind glass. Moe Greene's death is an explicit homage to Potemkin, since he's shot through one eyeglass. Also, Barzini gets shot way up high on some steps outdoors, so that when he rolls down he provides us with another homage to the Odessa Steps scene. With so many classy ways to kill people, The Godfather can thrill with its gore even as it appeals to the film scholar's knowledge of cinematic history.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

doof links

---Wasting Time on the Internet: the seminar

---Making Mad Max: Fury Road

---"Mad Max Is a Feminist Playbook for Surviving Dystopia" by Laurie Penny

---How Did Film Noir Evolve?

---Bad Blood

---the character backstory for Doof

---"6 Reasons Modern Movie CGI Looks Surprisingly Crappy" by David Christopher Bell

---It’s hard to wrap your head around this Kendrick: She’s beautiful, but she’s something more, something strong, even abrasive. Without a publicity apparatus to round her rough edges, she can come off as both alienating and profoundly alive. It’s not that she’s 'authentic' — a word that’s come to connote a type in and of itself — so much as reflective of a different understanding of a woman’s capability to change her mind, self, and desires.

Which, somewhat ironically, is a point that’s popped up in recent profiles: Elle suggests that 'Kendrick has found a way to meld the famous-person world with the one the rest of us live in, taking every opportunity to remind us — largely via social media — that she’s still an occasionally weird and sometimes flawed human, not just a body hosting an increasingly desirable brand.'"  --Anne Helen Petersen

---"Mad Max Beyond Furious" by Dennis Cozzalio

---"The Cultural Impact of James Bond" by Jay Dyer

---Bilge Ebiri explores the family dynamics of Mad Max: Fury Road

---Final Shot

---"Furious and Furiosa" by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

---The Fermi Paradox

---The Apocalyptic Cars of Mad Max: Fury Road

---A Brief History of PG-13

---"Watching a film by Olivier Assayas is a little like wandering into the bedroom of a teenager, taking in the aesthetic décor that clings to his or her walls and bookshelves—posters, pop records, hastily cut-out collages of idols, and literature—and being left to draw a logical conclusion based on these ephemeral scraps. This idea of collage, assembling or reinventing an identity, has always been a concept inherent to punk and youth culture: British punk historian Jon Savage coined the term 'living collage' to describe European teenagers in the 1970s who tore apart thrifted vintage clothing at the seams to fuse and repurpose them with safety pins. Assayas’ work is essentially the filmic equivalent of that same idea: he populates his frames with torrents of ideas and surfaces and lets loose cinematographers Yorick Le Saux and Eric Gautier to pan wildly, struggling to encapsulate everything into their widescreen, handheld compositions." --Mark Lukenbill

---filmmaking tips from Orson Welles and Thomas Vinterberg

---Lynne Ramsey--The Poetry of Details


---Movie Moms

---trailers for Chimes at Midnight, Black Mass, Tu Dors Nicole, Slow Westand A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence

---100 Years: Armenian Genocide

---"This speaker-stacked, guitar-thrashed monstrosity was meant to rally the troops in the way drummers marched with soldiers in ancient battles. It has a supercharged V8 engine with a mobile stage, a wall of speakers and sub-woofers, and air conditioning ducts meant to drive home the beat of the accompanying Taiko drummers. The Doof Warrior swings from a bungee cord mounted to the front as he shreds metal while flames are thrown from a double-necked electric guitar." --Hannah Elliott

---Owen Wilson Says Wow

---"We recently passed 400 parts per million of CO2 in the atmosphere; the status quo will take us up to 1,000 ppm, raising global average temperature (from a pre-industrial baseline) between 3.2 and 5.4 degrees Celsius. That will mean, according to a 2012 World Bank report, 'extreme heat-waves, declining global food stocks, loss of ecosystems and biodiversity, and life-threatening sea level rise,' the effects of which will be 'tilted against many of the world's poorest regions,' stalling or reversing decades of development work. 'A 4°C warmer world can, and must be, avoided,' said the World Bank president.

But that's where we're headed."

---"In Praise of Vulgar Feminism" by Agata Pyzik

---"Rosebud is more probably Welles’s intuition of the illusory flashback effect of memory that will affect all of us, particularly at the very end of our lives: the awful conviction that childhood memories are better, simpler, more real than adult memories – that childhood memories are the only things which are real. The remembered details of early existence – moments, sensations and images – have an arbitrary poetic authenticity which is a by-product of being detached from the prosaic context and perspective which encumbers adult minds, the rational understanding which would rob them of their mysterious force. We all have around two or three radioactive Rosebud fragments of childhood memory in our minds, which will return on our deathbeds to mock the insubstantial dream of our lives."  --Peter Bradshaw