pyramid beach…

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2010 in photos…

some big pictures…

Lightning streaks across the sky as lava flows from an Icelandic volcano in Eyjafjallajokul April 17, 2010. The volcano spewed ash into the air for weeks, wreaking havoc on flights across Europe. (REUTERS/Lucas Jackson)


As the year 2010 approaches its last few days, it’s time to look back on the previous 12 months. In the first third of 2010, Millions of gallons of oil spewed into the Gulf of Mexico, several massive earthquakes wreaked havoc worldwide, Vancouver hosted a successful Winter Olympics, and so much more. Each photo tells its own tale, weaving together into the larger story of 2010.

A US army soldier with the 101st Airborne Division Alpha Battery 1-320th fires an AT-4 as Combat Outpost Nolen on the outskirts of the village of Jellawar in the Arghandab Valley came under Taliban attack on September 11, 2010. (PATRICK BAZ/AFP/Getty Images)

A tremendous sinkhole caused by the heavy rains of Tropical Storm Agatha in Guatemala City was estimated to be 30 meters wide and over 60 meters deep. As the sinkhole formed, it swallowed a clothing factory about three miles from the site of a similar sinkhole three years earlier. The clothing factory had closed only an hour before it plunged into the Earth. (REUTERS/Casa Presidencial)

After a 6.9 magnitude earthquake struck Yushu, Qinghai, China on April 14, 2010, killing over 2,500 residents, praying Tibetan monks are seen through flames, distorted by the heat shimmer above the mass cremation of victims of the earthquake on April 17, 2010. (AP Photo)

The collapsed Borde Rio apartment building is seen in Concepcion, Chile, Thursday, March 4, 2010. On February 27th, a devastating magnitude 8.8 earthquake struck Chile, one of the strongest earthquakes ever recorded. (AP Photo/ Natacha Pisarenko)

The Guizer Jarl or Chief of the Jarl viking squad stands before the burning viking longship during Up Helly Aa in Lerwick, Scotland on January 26, 2010. (CARL DE SOUZA/AFP/Getty Images)

South Korean Marine Corps’ amphibious vehicles and the Navy’s Landing Platform Helicopter (LPH) ship “Dokdo” (background) take part in a mock landing operation in the sea off Incheon, west of Seoul, September 15, 2010. The operation marked the 60th anniversary of the U.S.-led United Nations troops’ Incheon Landing Operations during the 1950-1953 Korean War. (REUTERS/Jo Yong-Hak)

(BOSTON.COM  12.14.10)

find all 120 photos in 3 parts — part 1, part 2, part 3


the ten commandments of playing guitar…


1. Listen to the birds. That’s where all the music comes from. Birds know everything about how it should sound and where that sound should come from. And watch hummingbirds. They fly really fast, but a lot of times they aren’t going anywhere.

2. Your guitar is not really a guitar Your guitar is a divining rod. Use it to find spirits in the other world and bring them over. A guitar is also a fishing rod. If you’re good, you’ll land a big one.

3. Practice in front of a bush. Wait until the moon is out, then go outside, eat a multi-grained bread and play your guitar to a bush. If the bush dosen’t shake, eat another piece of bread.

4. Walk with the devil. Old Delta blues players referred to guitar amplifiers as the “devil box.” And they were right. You have to be an equal opportunity employer in terms of who you’re bringing over from the other side. Electricity attracts devils and demons. Other instruments attract other spirits. An acoustic guitar attracts Casper. A mandolin attracts Wendy. But an electric guitar attracts Beelzebub.

5. If you’re guilty of thinking, you’re out. If your brain is part of the process, you’re missing it. You should play like a drowning man, struggling to reach shore. If you can trap that feeling, then you have something that is fur bearing.

6. Never point your guitar at anyone. Your instrument has more clout than lightning. Just hit a big chord then run outside to hear it. But make sure you are not standing in an open field.

7. Always carry a church key. That’s your key-man clause. Like One String Sam. He’s one. He was a Detroit street musician who played in the fifties on a homemade instrument. His song “I Need a Hundred Dollars” is warm pie. Another key to the church is Hubert Sumlin, Howlin’ Wolf’s guitar player. He just stands there like the Statue of Liberty-making you want to look up her dress the whole time to see how he’s doing it.

8. Don’t wipe the sweat off your instrument. You need that stink on there. Then you have to get that stink onto your music.

9. Keep your guitar in a dark place. When you’re not playing your guitar, cover it and keep it in a dark place. If you don’t play your guitar for more than a day, be sure you put a saucer of water in with it.

10. You gotta have a hood for your engine. Keep that hat on. A hat is a pressure cooker. If you have a roof on your house, the hot air can’t escape. Even a lima bean has to have a piece of wet paper around it to make it grow.

(WFMU  3.30.09)


the best unproduced screenplays of 2010…


One day a year, Franklin Leonard transforms from midlevel studio executive mired in development meetings, script readings and note-taking into Hollywood’s most important soothsayer.

The 32-year-old  is the mastermind and compiler of the Black List, a compendium of the year’s best unproduced screenplays. Today marks Leonard’s sixth annual metamorphosis, and when he presses “send” on his e-mail — shooting the list around Hollywood and beyond — he may again change the fates of scores of screenwriters looking to crack the big leagues.

The Top 10 screenplays on the list:

49 votes: “College Republicans” by Wes Jones. Aspiring politician Karl Rove leads a dirty campaign for College Republican chairman under the guidance of Lee Atwater. Anonymous Content producing.

47 votes: “Jackie” by Noah Oppenheim. Jacqueline Kennedy’s life immediately after her husband’s assassination. Darren Aronofsky directing for Fox Searchlight.

45 votes: “All You Need Is Kill” by Dante Harper. A new army recruit in a war against aliens finds himself caught in a time loop. Set up at Warner Bros. Doug Liman may direct.

43 votes: “Safe House” by David Guggenheim. A young man at a CIA-run safe house must help a rogue ex-agent escape assassins. Universal Pictures to produce with Daniel Espinoza to direct. Ryan Reynolds and Denzel Washington to star.

39 votes: “Stoker” by Wentworth Miller. After the death of her father, a teenage girl must deal with a mysterious uncle. Fox Searchlight purchased the script.

32 votes: “999” by Matt Cook. A gang of crooked cops plans a major heist that requires them to shoot a fellow officer. Anonymous Content producing.

31 votes: “Margin Call” by J.C. Chandor. A fictional account of the final 24 hours of Lehman Brothers. Chandor has directed stars Kevin Spacey and Paul Bettany. Film will debut at Sundance Film Festival next month.

30 votes: “American Bull—-” by Eric Warren Singer. The true story of the FBI’s 1980 undercover sting operation of Congress, dubbed Abscam, which was designed to root out corruption and was the brainchild of a con man. Sony Pictures has optioned the script.

28 votes: “Argo” by Chris Terrio. The true story of how the CIA, with help from Hollywood, used a fake movie project to smuggle hostages out of Tehran during the 1979 hostage crisis. Optioned by Warner Bros.

24 votes: “The Last Son of Isaac Lemay” by Greg Johnson. An aging outlaw, convinced that there’s evil in his genes, goes on a journey to kill his offspring. Gore Verbinski’s company producing.

(LA TIMES  12.13.10)

the entire list at THE BLACK LIST


the unbuildable Temple of Death…


‘One night in the mid 1790s the architect Etienne-Louis Boullée took a walk in the forest at full moon. Suddenly he noticed his own shadow moving among those of the trees. ‘What did I see?’ he wrote in his memoirs. ‘A mass of objects detached in black against a light of extreme pallor. Nature seemed to offer itself, in mourning, to my sight.’ Boullée began to imagine an architecture of naked walls, ‘stripped of every ornament… light absorbing material should create a dark architecture of shadows, outlined by even darker shadows’.

A taste for the monumental unadorned tombs of the Pharaohs may have been prevalent at the time but it was probably no coincidence that Boullée dreamed up his Temple of Death (c. 1795) shortly after Robespierre’s Terror had forced him to withdraw from Parisian public life. His earlier design for a Monument to Sir Isaac Newton (c. 1785) is like a giant, unadorned white balloon, about to rise skyward. The Temple of Death, in total contrast, is sunk into the ground. It looks like a photographic negative, and its ornamentation is a mere punched-out absence – a series of black, square window openings. What was new about Boullée’s design was that instead of being based on living nature it was based on nature’s fleeting, distorted image: its shadow. What Boullée imagined was a monolithic plainness, dark surfaces swaying between flatness and endless depth. More than just romantic horror vacui, this was a premonition of the plain, smooth surfaces that would embody the rationalization of space in the dawning Industrial Age.

‘In the Modern Age it is usually the kaleidoscopic, shiny surfaces of the objects surrounding us that are most eloquent about our desires and fears. The indifferently plain, matt, monochrome, silent surfaces ubiquitous in modern society – industrial finishes in black, grey and anthracite; polished steel, sheets of plaster, pressed wood, plastic and aluminium; walls, streets, machines – are silently taken for granted as being neutral amid the glittering turmoil. Ever since Boullée, however, the reality has been that plain surfaces are not simply neutral objects in social space, but the very materialization of that space.’ — Jorg Heiser, Frieze

Boullée promoted the idea of making architecture expressive of its purpose, a doctrine that his detractors termed architecture parlante (“talking architecture”), which was an essential element in Beaux-Arts architectural training in the later 19th century. His style was most notably exemplified in his ‘Project for a Cenotaph for Isaac Newton‘, which would have taken the form of a sphere 150 m (500 ft) high embedded in a circular base topped with cypress trees. Though the structure was never built, its design was engraved and circulated widely in professional circles.

‘Newton’s cenotaph was designed to isolate, to reinvent, the huge movement of time and celestial phenomena. Inside, the viewer is isolated too, on a small viewing platform. Along the top half of the sphere’s edges, apertures in the stone allow light in, in pins, creating starlight when there is daylight. During the night a huge and otherworldly light hangs, flooding the sphere, as sunlight. During the day, the “night effect.” During the night, day.‘ — The Ingoing

Boullée’s ‘Monument intended for tributes due to the Supreme Being’ is an expression of the metaphorical, emotional, and symbolic aspects of the architecture’s purpose. Function, shape, setting, lighting, and even scent were all considered in an effort to realize the unique character of the monument within a defined aesthetic environment. Boullée believed that a building’s “character” should be poetic and evoke an appropriate feeling in those who experienced it. For example, the strong use of symmetry in his drawing – not only in the buildings, but in the pyramid-shaped mountain as well – is intended as an image of clarity, order, and perfection. The monument thus becomes a metaphor for the divine nature of the Supreme Being. In a passage of his treatise Boullée also describes the setting for this monument:

…the whole would be decorated with all that is most beautiful in nature; the buildings would be mere accessories, the base of the repository formed by a superb open-sided Temple crowning the mountain top. The Temple precincts would consist of fields of flowers exuding their sweet smell like incense offered to the Divine Being… This beautiful place would be the image of all that ensures our well-being; it would fill our hearts with a sense of joy and would be for us a true earthly Paradise.’ — James Wehn, My Art Canon

Boullée’s ideas had a major influence on his contemporaries, not least because of his role in teaching other important architects such as Jean Chalgrin, Alexandre Brongniart, and Jean-Nicolas-Louis Durand. Some of his work only saw the light of day in the 20th century; his book Architecture, essai sur l’art (“Essay on the Art of Architecture), arguing for an emotionally committed Neoclassicism, was only published in 1953. The volume contained his work from 1778 to 1788, which mostly comprised designs for public buildings on a wholly impractical grand scale.

‘Boullée’s fondness for grandiose designs has caused him to be characterized as both a megalomaniac and a visionary. His focus on polarity (offsetting opposite design elements) and the use of light and shadow was highly innovative, and continues to influence architects to this day. He was “rediscovered” in the 20th century.’ — Helen Rosenau

In Peter Greenaway’s 1987 film The Belly of an Architect, the main character Stourley Krackite is not only obsessed with celebrating an architect (Etienne-Louis Boullee) who never finished a building, but he is also consumed with representations of the body part whose rebellion will lead to his eventual demise: his belly. Kracklite photocopies the stomachs of representations of architectural greats (the emperor Hadrian, Boullee) and draws his ailments in order to illustrate his pain for his doctors. Kracklite’s fascination with Boullee seems appropriate in that it mirrors his own creative impotence; in the scene in which Kracklite catches Caspasian in the act with his wife, one cannot tell if he is enraged because his conjugal property is being stolen, or because Caspasian is using his model of a Boullee lighthouse as an enlarged surrogate phallus.

‘The fact that his two image obsessions somewhat mirror each other in form (as the repeated form in Boullee’s sketches is a dome quite reminiscent of Kracklite’s bloated belly) marries his creative life and impending death and solidifies the reality that it is likely Kracklite will go the way of Boullee and die without many major constructions to carry his image forward into the future.’ — Caitlin Mae Verite

(DC’S  6.6.10)


celebrating 33 years of public art…


Borrowing a title from the New York Dolls, “One Day It Will Please Us To Remember Even This”, seems exactly appropriate for Creative Time’s citywide project that celebrates places and events that marked our lives over the past three decades. Who cares where Eleanor Roosevelt slept? This is where Gordon Matta-Clark opened his SoHo Restaurant FOOD; where there was a sandy beach in Manhattan for 7 years; and where the Mudd Club once ruled the night!

This May as Creative Time celebrates 33 years of transforming the city with public art, we are installing plaques at 33 sites chosen by a range of artists and writers, who have made a mark on New York themselves, granting these sites the legacy and prestige that only a public plaque can denote.

Lest the city’s artistic legacy be erased by the ever-proliferating chain stores and condos, Creative Time, in its signature irreverent yet thought-provoking way, is giving the public an art project that celebrates NYC’s contemporary cultural history. Appropriating the formal language of plaques (“At this place once stood…”) each plaque will have a short explanation of the site, project(s), artists, title and date, the telephone number to call for an audio story, and the person who chose the site.

The plaque project will be expanded to a virtual map of the city on to include the many additional sites we couldn’t physically mark. The general public will be invited to participate and propose sites that they deem worthy of a plaque.

Submissions can be sent to…

Below is a list of 32 plaque locations also listed and mapped on

• DOWNTOWN DRIVE-IN (Edison Parking Lot @ John and Front St) • CUSTOM AND CULTURE (Old US Customs House, Bowling Green) • FUN GALLERY (229 East 11th St) • LINCOLN CENTER (Construction Wall near Vivian Beaumont Theater) • PLAIN OF HEAVEN (820 Washington St. – SE corner of building) • SONIC GARDEN (Inside the Winter Garden at the World Financial Center) • DREAMLAND (1208 Surf Ave – next to entrance of Dreamland Artists Club) • TRIBUTE IN LIGHT (Fence of new Goldman Sachs Building) • BATTERY MARITIME (7 South St. – Gate closest to SI Ferry Terminal) • BLACK SHEEP (First Park, 1st St. and 1st Avenue) • SURVIVAL RESEARCH LABS (Shea Stadium, wall north of Gate C) • FISCHLI AND WEISS (Times Square, Astrovision Screen) • PROJECTS AT THE PRECINCT (NYC Police Museum, Old Slip) • JENNY HOLZER – ST. JOHN (St. John Cathedral, 10th St. and Amsterdam Ave) • LOCAL FREQUENCIES (Muddy Cup, Staten Island) • GRAND CENTRAL/MURAKAMI (Central kiosk in Vanderbilt Hall) • LEAP (2 Columbus Circle) • TOUCH OF SANITATION/MIERLE (One Gansevoort Pier, Pier 52) • EVERYBODY/42ND STREET (North face of 7 Times Square) • THE HELLFIRE CLUB (675 Hudson St, on the opposite side of the building) • LIGHT CYCLE (Around the reservoir in Central Park) • COMBAT ZONE (Now a boutique called Seven, 110 Mercer St) • DAY’S END (Also at Gansevoort Pier) • STRANGE POWERS (64 East 4th St.) • NEEDLE EXCHANGE (953 Southern Boulevard, Bronx) • MAX’S KANSAS CITY (213 Park Ave. South / 2213 Park Avenue) • ART ON THE BEACH (Battery Park City Landfill) • ART ON THE BEACH (Midway to Hudson River Park) • FOOD – Gordon Matta-Clark and Carol Gooden’s Restaurant (northeast corner of Prince and Greene, 127 Prince Street) • THE MUDD CLUB (77 White Street) • ART IN THE ANCHORAGE (The Brooklyn Bridge Anchorage, Dumbo) • THE 59TH MINUTE: VIDEO ART (Astrovision Screen, 1 Times Square)


lots of eyewitness audio commentary on the website — and a New York Times article on the project…


Parisian hospital break room graffiti…


Concealed within several of Paris’ hospitals, strange paintings give testimony to one of France’s most singular subcultures. In The Obscene Image, photographer Gilles Tondini has documented these frenzied frescos, created by medical interns who use hospital break rooms to let off steam and maintain sanity as they work to save lives. The break rooms—known as salles de garde—the interns ignore the rules of decorum observed throughout the rest of the hospital, and create a new order—in the name of maintaining traditions, and, of course, to relieve stress.

Graphic, sexually charged, saturated with color and lewd references, these little known images manifest all the frustrations, stresses, highs, and lows that medical professionals anywhere must deal with in their quests to keep people healthy. The manic murals provide visually compelling insight into how the medical professionals of 12 hospitals around metro Paris struggle to keep their minds healthy and their connection to their peers alive. Along with all of its sexual content, the imagery in The Obscene Image draws from cultures high and low, ancient and modern. Nothing, from the Bible’s Last Judgment and chivalric tales to comic book heroes and villains, is too sacred to be farced.


“L’IMAGE OBSCENE” 2010 by Gilles Tondini

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