Archive for March, 2010




Shout! Factory is releasing a DVD of the legendary concert from the Santa Monica Civic ’64 — the “Teenage Awards Music International” or T.A.M.I. show — featuring Chuck Berry, the Stones, Beach Boys, Marvin Gaye, Supremes, Jan & Dean and James Brown…

other highlights include a Jan & Dean skateboard sequence, young Teri Garr (choreographed by Toni Basil) go-go dancing for Chuck Berry, and Brian Wilson in one of his last gigs with the Beach Boys…

more on the DVD from LA WEEKLY — and keep an eye out for showtimes on PBS…

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this year’s Pritzker Prize is going  jointly to Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa, partners in the acclaimed Tokyo firm SANAA and designers of the New Museum in NYC

the Rolex Learning Center, Switzerland


the oldest and richest of human inventions…


“…what really is questionable, and passé, is the implied ranking of art mediums and the leaving of some of them for dead. None of them ever really, ultimately have much of a monopoly on quality.”


Few modern myths about art have been as persistent or as annoying as the so-called death of painting. Unless, of course, it is the belief that abstract and representational painting are oil and water, never to meet as one.

The two notions are related. The Modernist insistence on the separation of representation and abstraction robbed painting of essential vitality. Both notions have their well-known advocates. And both, in my mind seem, well, very 20th century.

Pictorial communication — signs, symbols, images and colors on a flat surface — is one of the oldest and richest of human inventions, like writing or music. It started on rocks and the surfaces of clay pots and in the woven threads of textiles, then moved to walls, wood panels, copper and canvas. It now includes plasma screens, Photoshop and graphic novels. Even so, paint on a portable surface remains one of the most efficient and intimate means of self-expression.

As for representation and abstraction, historically and perceptually they have usually been inseparable. Paintings — like all art — tend to get and hold our attention through their abstract, or formal, energy. But even abstract paintings have representational qualities; the human brain cannot help but impart meaning to form.

There have been moments of dazzling balance between the representational and the abstract — for example, Byzantine mosaics; pre-Columbian and American Indian textiles and ceramics; Japanese screens; Mughal painting; and post-Impressionism.

Painting may be in a similar place right now, fomented mostly, but not always, by young painters who have emerged in the last decade. They feel freer to paint what they want than at any time since the 1930s, or maybe even the 1890s, when post-Impressionism was at its height.

In the late 19th century painting was being radically changed by a series of artistic explosions — the newly abstracted figuration of post-Impressionists from van Gogh to Ensor; the extremes of color favored by the Fauves, like the young Matisse, and German Expressionists, like Kirchner; the shattering of representational form by Cubism and Futurism; and finally the flowering of abstraction itself in the work of Malevich and Mondrian.

In the late 19th century painting was being radically changed by a series of artistic explosions — the newly abstracted figuration of post-Impressionists from van Gogh to Ensor; the extremes of color favored by the Fauves, like the young Matisse, and German Expressionists, like Kirchner; the shattering of representational form by Cubism and Futurism; and finally the flowering of abstraction itself in the work of Malevich and Mondrian.

By the 1970s, thanks largely to formalist critics like Clement Greenberg and Donald Judd, painting had been flattened and emptied of figures, subject matter and illusionistic space. It was also superseded, it seemed, by the explosion of post-Minimalism’s multiple mediums. But a kind of figure envy ensued: How could painters look at the figures in much of the video, body and performance art and not think, “I want a piece of that”? By the ’80s painting was creeping back, largely because painters like Sigmar Polke, David Salle and Julian Schnabel started pitting representation against abstraction, albeit self-consciously and often ironically.

But with each generation of painters, the authority of Greenberg and Judd pales while the history of the pictorial expands, revealing new possibilities for scholars, curators and artists alike. It seems noteworthy that Robert Rosenblum’s startling “1900: Art at the Crossroads,” a revisionist juxtaposition of modernist and academic painting, opened at the Guggenheim Museum exactly 10 years ago this fall.

Yet old habits die hard. No less a personage than Klaus Biesenbach, the Museum of Modern Art’s new chief curator at large, recently told The Art Newspaper that he preferred the phrase “contemporary practice” to “contemporary art” in order to include fashion, film, design and more. That doesn’t bode well for a phrase like “contemporary painting.”

But what really is questionable, and passé, is the implied ranking of art mediums and the leaving of some of them for dead. None of them ever really, ultimately have much of a monopoly on quality. And something else greatly reduces the chances of the death of painting: too many people — most obviously women — are just beginning to make their mark with the medium and are becoming active in its public dialogue.

(NY TIMES  3.28.10)

images by Doug Magnuson





genius is the fourth dimension…


Russian math man Dr. Grigory Perelman has solved the hundred year old “Poincaré Conjecture”…

rabbits are spheres…

according to Perelman’s solution, any object without a hole is a sphere — solid objects without holes are distinct from object with holes — and Massachusetts-based Clay Mathematics Institute wants to give him a million bucks for mathing it out… but he’s not taking the money, he’s a recluse and wants no part of their world — quoted as saying to a reporter through a closed apartment door “I’m not interested in money or fame.  I don’t want to have everybody looking at me…”  Russia’s Federation Council Chairman has appealed for Perelman to be left alone to make up his mind…

what is the “Poincaré Conjecture”?  one of the world’s most complex questions, and now — thanks to Perelman — it’s an actual theorem that will shape our understanding of the universe…  

formulated by Henri Poincaré in 1904, it says –

“If a 3-dimensional manifold is compact, has no boundary and is simply connected, then it is homeomorphic to a 3-dimensional sphere.”

…in essence, all three-dimensional blobs — humans, animals, intricately shaped objects that don’t have holes — are, in fact spheres…  thus, a cigar, a rabbit and a a sphere are all the same because they can be deformed into one another…  a bracelet, life preserver, and a doughnut are also the same because each has a hole — but they are not equivalent to a sphere…

Wikipedia breaks it down:

What’s a 3-dimensional sphere?

A one-dimensional sphere is a circle, which can be thought of as the set of points, (x, y), in two dimensions that satisfy the equation x2 + y2 = r2, where r is the radius.

A two-dimensional sphere is the surface of a globe, or the set of points, (x, y, z) in three dimensions that satisfy the equation x2 + y2 + z2 = r2.

a four-dimensional ball…

And a three-dimensional sphere is the set of points in four dimensions, (x, y, z, w), that satisfy the equation x2 + y2 + z2 + w2 = r2.

What’s a “manifold”?

A manifold is a surface created by taking another surface — for example, a piece of paper — and warping it. A cylinder is a manifold since it can be formed by attaching the two opposite sides of the paper to each other. The cylinder can be deformed into another manifold by attaching the two circles at each end of the cylinder, to get a torus (ie. donut).

What does “no boundary” mean?

We say a manifold has an edge or a boundary if one of the charts is not glued to another on all sides. One of the conditions in the Poincaré conjecture is that there be no edges, just like in the sphere and the torus.

What’s “compact” mean?

A compact manifold is bounded and does not extend to infinity. Both an infinitely long cylinder and an infinite plane are examples of manifolds which are not compact. In Poincaré’s conjecture it is required that the manifolds be compact. See compact space for an advanced definition.

What does “simply connected”?

A manifold is simply connected if any loop drawn on the space can be deformed to a point without leaving the manifold. Any line drawn on a simply connected manifold that starts and ends at the same point can be shrunk down to one point without any part of it leaving the manifold. A torus is not simply connected, since you can draw a loop going around the cylinder that you can’t contract to a point without taking it off. An example of a simply connected manifold is a sphere: if you try to wrap a lasso around a sphere it will slide off. An example of a manifold which is not simply connected is a torus. One can tie a lasso around a donut and catch hold of it. Nothing short of untying the lasso or cutting the donut will let it loose.

What’s “homeomorphic” mean?

Generally, two shapes are homeomorphic if you can deform one into the other without a break or discontinuity. A homeomorphism is a continuous function mapping points from one object to another. This means that if two points are close to each other in the first object, they will be close together when the points are mapped onto the second object. The surface of a square and the surface of a sphere are not homeomorphic, since the square has edges and the sphere doesn’t, so the mapping function has to jump somewhere, and at that point it won’t be continuous. For example, a 2-dimensional sphere is homeomorphic to the surface of a cube; similarly, a 3-dimensional sphere is homeomorphic to the 3-dimensional boundary of a 4-dimensional hypercube.


put it all together and… Poincaré..?

more on radical math here




a must see…


A Trojan horse. That’s how French filmmaker Jacques Audiard describes his attitude toward genre: It’s a vehicle for bringing in other concerns and an anchor to keep the audience grounded as the film explores richer, deeper ideas.

Since directing his first film a little more than 15 years ago, Audiard, 57, has made only five features. While “The Beat That My Heart Skipped”, Audiard’s remake of James Toback’s Fingers, overlaid the framework of a gangster flick onto an examination of family, masculinity and identity, his new film, “A Prophet” (Un Prophète) is Audiard’s fullest expression of that idea.

A bracing look at the changing cultural face of contemporary France (with obvious parallels to current life stateside), “A Prophet” is part prison picture, part sociological inquiry and all snappy entertainment. It sneaks in as one thing and reveals itself as another, taking the audience to an unexpected place of understanding and something near transcendence.

Favorably compared to “Goodfellas” and the crime films of Michael Mann and Francis Ford Coppola, at almost two-and-a-half hours, “A Prophet” is both fleet-footed and comprehensive, exhaustive and energized. Think of it as a marathon, run at the pace of a sprint.

(LA WEEKLY  3.6.10)

“A PROPHET” 2009 diected by Jacques Audiard

read the entire review here




sansculottes” — translated as “without knee breeches” — is a late 18th century French term describing working class revolutionaries who preferred long pants to the knee-length trousers in fashion at the time…


The art world is peculiarly suited to dramatize a problem, or at least a syndrome, of the present day: that of abominable wealth, by which I mean the effect of huge fortunes on people who don’t have them. The global tide of prosperity that rose in the past decade has, in receding, stranded most boats that aren’t ocean liners. This condition pertains with special poignance to a sphere in which the rich (collectors, patrons) and the relatively poor (artists, intellectuals) intermingle. The Greek billionaire Dakis Joannou, whose fabulous holdings of contemporary art are sampled in a controversial show with a remarkably icky title, “Skin Fruit,” at the New Museum, where he sits on the board of trustees, presents a handy target for intensifying discontent. So does the show’s curator, Jeff Koons, the foundational artist of Joannou’s collection and the creator of the boom era’s definitive art: perfectionist icons of lower-class taste—stainless-steel balloon animals, life-size pornographic statues, tinted rococo mirrors—that advertise the jolly democratic sentiments of their loaded buyers. (The several embodiments, since 1992, of “Puppy,” Koons’s forty-foot-tall Scottie dog in living flowers, amount to the “Mona Lisa” of a tinhorn Renaissance.) Objections to the event have centered on the perceived impropriety of a nonprofit museum’s boosting the prestige of a board member’s collection. I find the fuss touching at a time when big money, besides being just about the only money there is, brands the big-time art it buys—art that behaves, in economic terms, like a form of money itself. Even a lately chastened market pitches the exchange of hard and soft currencies—cash and symbolic capital—at levels beyond the reach of nearly every public institution. The New Museum is facing up to facts, I believe, with its ad-hoc dependence on Joannou. The deeper imbroglio of “Skin Fruit” is its incitement to populist animus: the show arrives on today’s downwardly mobile art scene like a bejewelled duchess at a party that—oops—turns out to be a barn dance.

Like its title—a play on “skin flute,” slang for penis—“Skin Fruit” seems determined to affront, disarmingly. It strives to be a knockout show of knockouts: big, strong works by artists of independent, raffish temperament, several of whom really are excellent and none of whom are shy. Nearly all of them either render or somehow refer to the figure, in key with the ruggedly humanist sentiments that Joannou has advanced through his Deste Foundation, in Athens, which produces exhibitions and publications on giddy, pop-philosophical themes. (Reprinted in the New Museum’s catalogue, an essay by the dealer Jeffrey Deitch, who has been the Deste’s curator and is now the director of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, trumpets “the end of nature” and “the end of truth.”) Joannou likes to invoke the heritage of classical Greece, though it’s not easy to imagine this show enchanting Praxiteles. There are fine works by Robert Gober, Charles Ray, Cindy Sherman, Franz West, and Cady Noland. The prevailing tone, however, is set by items that are longer on provocation than on transcendence: “What If the Phone Rings” (2003), by Urs Fischer, a blond nude in wax inset with burning wicks, which will melt her down during the course of the show; “Pazuzu” (2008), by Roberto Cuoghi, a robustly ugly, nearly twenty-foot-high statue of the unfriendly Assyrian and Babylonian demon; “Saddle” (2000), by Janine Antoni, a stiffened sheet of rawhide formed to the shape of a crawling woman; and “Mother/Child” (1993), by Kiki Smith, life-size wax figures of a woman mouthing one of her breasts and a man likewise attending to his erect penis. Two live-performance works scout the frontier between the sublime and the ridiculous. A sonorous-voiced museum guard, upon encountering a viewer, sings, twice, “This is propaganda, you know, you know,” and then speaks the work’s label: “Tino Sehgal, ‘This is Propaganda,’ 2002.” Elsewhere, a male model changes into a loincloth behind a screen and climbs a ladder to an oak cross, where he dangles for a spell as the crucified Jesus. That’s by the Polish artist Pawel Althamer. Claymation videos by Nathalie Djurberg, one of them depicting the amours of a girl and a tiger, aren’t very good, but they enhance the show’s vein of sexual whoop-de-doo.

The most understated sculpture on the premises is also the only one by Koons, a 1985 “One Ball Total Equilibrium Tank”: a basketball suspended in the exact middle of an aquarium filled with chemically treated water. In an oft told tale, this was Joannou’s first purchase for his mature collection, which he snapped up, in 1985, for less than three thousand dollars, at an obscure East Village gallery. It’s a ravishing piece, deft and subtle, which reminds us of Koons’s first-rate sculptural knack and conceptual economy. His gifts haven’t dimmed, on the evidence of his installation of “Skin Fruit.” He elegantly harmonizes aggressive works, each of which plainly would prefer to be the only one in the room. Imagine a kennel of alpha dogs.

But the artists whom Koons convenes suggest a palace guard for his eminence in the art world. Nothing if not politically alert, he has been at pains to represent feminists and persons of color. Kara Walker’s five big gouache drawings, from 1996, of the surreal iniquities of the slave-era South are terrifically accomplished. Works by the Anglo-African Chris Ofili—some of them in his notorious combination of cloisonné dots and elephant dung, and others in dreamy blue paint, charcoal, and aluminum foil—mark the occasion’s nearest approach to beauty. The impression of catholic taste dissembles Koons’s ambition, in the past twenty-five years, to trump the field of advanced art with his fusions of luxury and squalor. (He hit a high point in 2008, when he was given the run of Versailles for a retrospective that peeved many in France but, judging from photographs, was pretty dazzling.) Koons is famous for a public persona of relentlessly smiley, Amway-salesman unctuousness. But “Skin Fruit” makes clear to me that his deepest passion is anger, provoked by situations over which he has no control. The object of that anger, like the proverbial aim of standup comedians, is to “kill.”

Koons’s recourse to an air of collegiality and aesthetic assault is dictated by a distinct vulnerability in his position. His career and the plutocratic culture that it has adorned represent an epoch-making collusion of mega-collectors and leading artists, which has overridden the former gatekeeping roles of critics and curators and sidelined the traditional gallerists who work with artists on a long-term basis of mutual loyalty. With numbing regularity, newly hot artists have abandoned such nurture for gaudy, precarious deals with corporate-style dealers like Larry Gagosian, Pace-Wildenstein, and David Zwirner. In the boom era, buzz about the opportunistic exhibitions of such dealers and the latest sales figures from art fairs and auction houses were what passed for critical discourse. The situation mesmerized newcomers, by flashing promises of ascension to the starry feeding trough. Now that such promises can no longer be made, the posturing of “Skin Fruit”—roughly, noblesse oblige, laced with a left-libertarian raciness—cannot long deflect the mounting potency of class resentment. People are going to notice that the defensive elements, in this particular scrimmage of sensibilities, are members of the putatively vanguard aristocracy of wealth and social clout. The future of art, and the corresponding character of cultured society, seem bound to be determined by some smart, talented, as yet unidentified parties among the howling sansculottes.

(NEW YORKER  3.15.10)

“SKIN FRUIT” 3.3 – 6.6.10 at THE NEW MUSEUM, NYC…




released in ’75, the only album by Detroit power trio (not the metal band) Death

David, Bobby and Dannis Hackney…


Forgotten except by the most fervent punk rock record collectors, Death would likely have remained lost in obscurity if not for the discovery of a 1974 demo tape released by Drag City Records as “…For the Whole World to See”. Death’s newly unearthed recordings reveal a remarkable missing link between the high-energy hard rock of Detroit bands like the Stooges and MC5 from the late 1960s and early ’70s and the high-velocity assault of punk from its breakthrough years of 1976 and ’77.

The Hackney brothers started playing R&B in their parents’ garage in the early ’70s but switched to hard rock in 1973 after seeing an Alice Cooper show. Dannis played drums, Bobby played bass and sang, and David wrote the songs and contributed propulsive guitar work derived from studying Pete Townshend’s power-chord wrist technique.

Death began playing at cabarets and garage parties on Detroit’s predominantly African-American east side, but were met with reactions ranging from confusion to derision. “We were ridiculed because at the time everybody in our community was listening to the Philadelphia sound, Earth, Wind & Fire, the Isley Brothers,” Bobby said. “People thought we were doing some weird stuff. We were pretty aggressive about playing rock ’n’ roll because there were so many voices around us trying to get us to abandon it.”

When the band was ready to record, David chose a studio by pinning the Yellow Pages listings to the wall and throwing a dart; it landed on Groovesville Productions, a company owned by Don Davis, a successful producer for Stax Records. Groovesville signed the band, and in 1974 it began work at United Sound Recording Studios in Detroit, where it shared space with Funkadelic, the Dramatics and Gladys Knight. At the time David was 21, Dannis was 19 and Bobby, still a student at Southeastern High School, was 17.

The Hackneys said Mr. Davis brought a tape of Death to a meeting in New York with the record executive Clive Davis. Afterward Don Davis told the brothers that Clive Davis had liked the recordings but not the band’s name; there could be no deal unless they changed it. “That’s when my brother David got a little angry,” Dannis said. “He told Don Davis to tell Clive Davis, ‘Hell no!’ ”

That defiance has become central to Death’s underground legend: what could be more punk rock than telling the suits to take a hike in the name of artistic integrity, even if punk didn’t quite exist yet?

The Hackneys, meanwhile, pressed 500 copies of “Politicians in My Eyes,” backed with “Keep On Knocking,” on their own Tryangle label but found it nearly impossible to get radio play in Detroit.

Jack White: “The first time the stereo played ‘Politicians in My Eyes,’ I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. When I was told the history of the band and what year they recorded this music, it just didn’t make sense. Ahead of punk, and ahead of their time.”

The music is an “undeniable combination of classic and punk rock elements,” said Rian Murphy, a spokesman for Drag City. “You can put the needle down on that record in any given place and just be completely transported.”

Disco had begun to dominate the marketplace — thanks in part to “Disco Lady” — and control of radio playlists was shifting from local disc jockeys to corporate consultants. Bobby said 1976 “was really a tough year for us,” citing “the disco ebb tide” with particular chagrin. “We just figured nobody wanted to hear rock ’n’ roll anymore.”

As their disenchantment grew, the brothers were invited by a distant relative to visit Vermont. “So we came up here to clear our heads for a couple of weeks,” Bobby said with a laugh. “That was like 30-something years ago.”

“We’re still clearing our heads,” Dannis said.

(NY TIMES  3.12.09)

read the complete article here



ask the dust…


Cecil B. DeMille’s buried city unearthed


In 1923, Cecil B. DeMille came to the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes on California’s Central Coast and built a movie set that still captures the imagination — a colossal Egyptian dreamscape for the silent movie version of “The Ten Commandments.”

Under the direction of French artist Paul Iribe, a founder of the Art Deco movement, 1,600 craftsmen built a temple 800 feet wide and 120 feet tall flanked by four 40-ton statues of the Pharaoh Ramses II. Twenty-one giant plaster sphinxes lined a path to the temple’s gates. A tent city sprung up to house some of the 2,500 actors and 3,000 animals used to tell the story of Moses leading the Israelites to the Promised Land.

When he was done, the set proved too expensive to haul away, but too valuable to leave intact for rival filmmakers to poach. DeMille had it bulldozed into a 300-foot-long trench and covered with sand.

“If 1,000 years from now archaeologists happen to dig beneath the sands of Guadalupe,” DeMille wrote, “I hope they will not rush into print with the amazing news that Egyptian civilization . . . extended all the way to the Pacific coast of North America.”

Peter Brosnan was a 30-year-old New York University film school graduate when he first heard the story in 1982. Over beers one night, a former college roommate laid out the fantastic tale of DeMille’s lost city. Captivated, Brosnan embarked on a journey that has yet to end — a quest to find DeMille’s set, exhume it and produce a documentary about this unusual piece of Hollywood history.

The project would take him from film industry archives to the living rooms of aging ranchers who worked as extras on “Ten Commandments.” He filmed their stories: How the “Hollywood boys” got thrown from unbroken horses; how a local 10-year-old with no acting experience played the pharaoh’s son and was schooled by DeMille to put some mustard into his whipping of Moses; how the director ferried 240 elderly Jews from Los Angeles to witness the Exodus reenacted. The recent immigrants broke out into an impromptu dirge that stunned the crew.

Clarence Minetti, 92, is among the few still around with a connection to those days. He appeared in “The Last Outpost,” a 1935 film starring Cary Grant. The dunes were colonial Iraq.

Minetti pointed Brosnan to one dune out of the hundreds that flow across miles of the spectacular nature preserve. It didn’t shift in the wind. In fact, it never moved. One foggy morning in June 1983, Brosnan and two friends climbed Minetti’s dune with brooms and a movie camera. Hours later they hit pay dirt: dozens of pieces of statuary, including a 6-foot-wide bas-relief of a horse head.

Brosnan and archaeologist John Parker developed a plan for the excavation. DeMille’s estate offered encouragement. A Smithsonian Institution curator expressed interest in displaying pieces of the set. Charlton Heston, who played Moses in DeMille’s far more famous 1956 remake, sent his best wishes.

“We were ecstatic,” Brosnan said. “We were young, idealistic and thought: What a wonderful movie this is going to make! We thought certainly we could get some money from Hollywood and we’d be finished with this project in a year or two.”

But in Hollywood, green lights are as ephemeral as a starlet’s blown kisses. Despite years of effort, Brosnan could raise only a portion of the $175,000 needed for a full-blown archaeological dig.

Yet his passion for DeMille’s lost city never waned. Now, after 27 years, Brosnan believes he’s close to obtaining a grant that will allow him to use inexpensive editing software to fulfill part of his project — a film showcasing his oral histories on Guadalupe’s days as a stand-in for exotic locales.

Brosnan’s intimations of a breakthrough are welcome news in Guadalupe, a struggling farming town that has largely neglected its film heritage.

“For years people around here knew DeMille’s set was out there in the dunes, but the attitude was, ‘Yeah, big deal,’ ” said Shirley Boydstun, 81, a member of the Guadalupe Historical Society. “If it wasn’t for Peter, this history would have been totally gone.”

Guadalupe is the Zelig of the Central Coast — a speck on California Highway 1 that has had more than its share of brushes with history. Portola’s expedition passed through in the 1700s. Father Junipero Serra brought the first cattle. Lt. Col. John Fremont and his troops camped in town in the mid-1800s and accidentally torched its oldest adobe.

Guadalupe’s Hollywood golden era ended in the mid-1940s when studios traded the wilds of Santa Barbara County for location shooting in the Sahara and Middle East. In later decades, Guadalupe earned a new reputation as a town where gambling, prostitution, drug dealing and corruption thrived until federal authorities cracked down in the 1980s.

Brosnan has brought overdue attention to Guadalupe’s Hollywood era. His discovery of the buried set in 1983 made headlines worldwide. A few years later, a grant from Bank of America, which helped bankroll DeMille’s movie, allowed for radar to be used to pinpoint large forms, including the giant statues of Ramses II. The 75th anniversary of “The Ten Commandments” in 1998 brought more headlines — but not enough money.

Today, he is 57 and the shoulder-length hair of his youth is close-cropped and gray. Brosnan had moderate success writing screenplays, but eventually shelved his Hollywood dreams for a master’s degree in clinical psychology and a job as a Los Angeles County social worker handling child abuse cases.

But the boxes of filmed interviews from Guadalupe stored in his garage nagged at him. He stitched together a rough cut of his documentary and published a booklet on Guadalupe’s film history.

A steady trickle of film buffs find their way to the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes Center, where chunks of DeMille’s set are on display, including a bas-relief of a pharaoh’s head reassembled by Brosnan’s team.

The center recently put out a news release announcing that Brosnan’s documentary would be released this summer. This made Brosnan nervous, since he is still talking to Paramount about getting permission to use clips from “The Ten Commandments.”

Nevertheless, there are grand ideas floating through Guadalupe. Maybe the movie can premiere at the restored Royal Theater. Maybe the Dunes Center can sell DVDs to support its environmental work. Maybe this will revive the idea of hosting a classic film festival. And who knows: Maybe it can reignite interest in excavating DeMille’s lost city.

“There’s so much material out there,” Brosnan said. “It might be a good place for a university to train archaeologists.”

(LA TIMES  3.18.10)

read the complete article here




some French producers convinced 80 contestants to punish “Jean-Paul” with electricity — totally fake, but only the producers and actor Jean-Paul knew… only 16 contestants backed out, the rest shocked Jean-Paul to “death” — and the guy’s a pretty good actor…

“I don’t want to play anymore.”


France is reeling from a documentary about a psychological experiment disguised as a game show. Researchers staged a fictitious reality show to see how far people would go in obeying authority, especially if television reinforces that authority.

The disturbing results have alarmed the French.

The fictitious game show had all the trappings of a real TV quiz show, including a beautiful and well-known hostess, and a raucous audience. A group of contestants posed questions to a man sitting inside a box in front of them in an electric chair.

The hostess and a chanting audience urged the players — who had levers in front of them — to send jolts of electricity into the man in the box when he gave an incorrect answer.

Even when the player screamed out in pain for them to stop, 80 percent of the contestants kept zapping him. In reality, the man in the electric chair was an actor who wasn’t really being shocked — but the players and the audience did not know that.

The documentary makers say reality television relies increasingly on violent, humiliating and cruel acts to boost ratings. They say they simply wanted to see if we would go so far as to kill someone for entertainment.

Christophe Nick produced the documentary, The Game of Death, with a group of scientists and researchers.

“Most of us think we have free thinking and so we are responsible for our acts,” Nick says. “This experience shows that in certain circumstances, a power — the TV in this case — is able to make you do something you don’t want to do.”

The idea that something deeply rooted in the human psyche makes most of us unable to resist authority is not new. The French documentary was based on an American experiment carried out in the 1960s by psychologist Stanley Milgram.

Milgram had participants delivering what they believed were electric shocks to a man every time he answered a question incorrectly. In that experiment, 60 percent of participants obeyed the sadistic orders until the end.

The French documentary, which was broadcast in France on Wednesday night, included footage of the Milgram experiment.

Sociologist Jean Claude Kaufmann says the French version combines Milgram’s use of authority with the power of live television. He says the result in the French experiment — a higher percentage of participants willing to shock the subject — shows that the manipulative power of television further increases people’s willingness to obey.

Television talk shows ruminated over the documentary Thursday. Comparisons are being drawn to the manipulation of the masses in Nazi Germany. One of the game show participants, Jerome Pasanau, said in an interview that he was still haunted by the experience.

“I wanted to stop the whole time, but I just couldn’t. I didn’t have the will to do it. And that goes against my nature,” he said. “I haven’t really figured out why I did it.”

Pasanau told the TV host that he felt intimidated and isolated on the fictitious game show set, and that the crowd was overbearing. The host countered by pulling up footage of Pasanau pumping 460 volts of electricity until the actor pretending to be electrocuted seems to keel over dead.

In the footage, the game show hostess yells: “And you’ve won!”

(NPR  3.18.10)

and watch some footage for yourself…




son of painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir and father of the French New Wave LACMA is presenting a selection of his films through April 10…

“all great art is abstract…”

from LACMA

An empathy with loners and social misfits, the use of documentary in a fictional film, a preference for naturalism over melodrama, an openness to improvisation by the actors, and a love for the theatrical tradition are all hallmarks of a Renoir film. Flowing through and uniting all Renoir’s films are two branches of one magisterial theme: the struggle for freedom, and the struggle to find one’s place in the group. It has been remarked that there are no villains in Renoir, that in the words of Octave/Renoir in The Rules of the Game, “everyone has their reasons.” Renoir’s genius as a filmmaker and his measure as a man is that he can communicate the joy of living while depicting the forces that threaten it.


see here for more on Renoir




rick and buddy of 6 STAIR mixing it up on FUEL TV


and for more info go to SIX STAIR Film & Video

“BLOOD SHED” 2010 directed by Rick Charnoski and Buddy Nichols




the 9th annual IMVF has selected the award winning “ATRO-CITY SLEEPERS” to be included in this years lineup..!!!

featuring a global selection of independent music videos destined for Vancouver, Chicago, Montreal, Toronto, Los Angeles, Austin and more — the 2010 program includes:


for more info and a promo clip — check out the IMVF website

“THE ATRO-CITY SLEEPERS” 2009  starring the legendary New York City rockers THE NETHERLANDS — featuring Timo Ellis, John Paul ‘Japa’ Keenon, and Hannah Moorhead… directed by Doug Magnuson

and visit THE NETHERLANDS on MySpace…


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