Quotes of the day:
"Life is routine, punctuated by orgies."
"Hope is a noose to hang yourself with."
(Michael's band Athalia has a show this Friday at the Derby. Cute boys, good music; not to be missed.)
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"Madison," one of the cool girls I met at the blog party a couple of weeks ago, has a sensual, seminude self-portrait on her site today. It's a nice photograph, though the stated impetus is more financial than artistic: to get people to shell out cash for skin. (Happily, it worked.) Seems like a more elegant take on the old sci-fi fiction/nudie mag hybrids, which I first found out about via Kilgore Trout, in Kurt Vonnegut's hilarious *Breakfast of Champions.* Madison's photo isn't porn, of course, but it's using skin to sell writing.
She calls the photo a self-portrait, which seems to be a way to announce it as art, instead of a skin-for-cash, cam-girl transaction. It seems to me like it's both. You know, two birds, one stone. In any case, this has got me thinking about self-portraiture more generally. I've always liked s.p.'s, in part because they're so mysterious. Is the artist telling us how he sees himself? What he thinks is his own special something? Is he revealing himself through his visual identity (or would he deny that the two are even connected)? Does a self-portrait communicate what he thinks *other* people think about him? Will he ever showcase his flaws?
I think maybe I'll do my own self portrait. But I'll have to think for a while about what *my* purpose would be. Honesty or illusion? Deception? Or is deception really only self-creation, or re-creation?
Interesting stuff, eh? I'm sure I lost everyone at the link to Moxie. :-)
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Boy, this blog is causing nothing but trouble. Some feared that the below post reflected on my actual mental state. Fortunately, no. The song was only a pleasant reprieve from the thoughts that were really haunting me: Whether my Ann Coulter piece was going to be a worthless piece of shit or not; whether I was going to finish other related projects by their deadlines; etc. etc. If I'm writing about my feelings, I'll definitely be more forthright about it. Promise!
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Driving to work today (a cloudy-morning break from my usual 2-wheeled commute), I listened to Kirsty MacColl's "What Do Pretty Girl's Do?" The whole album is a joy, but this morning what struck me was Billy Bragg's "A New England" and I decided I needed to share a few of the lyrics...
A New England (sung as a duet with Billy Bragg)
I don't want to change the world
I'm not loooking for a new england
are you looking for another girl?
I love the words you wrote to me
but that was bloody yesterday
Can't get by on what you send
every time you need a friend
I saw two shooting stars last night
i wished on them but they were only satellites
it's wrong to wish on space hardware
but i wish, i wish, i wish you cared
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For L.A. people, a quick plug for a show I'm doing next week.
On Saturday 8 p.m., July 27, in downtown L.A.'s historic Patriot Hall, the curtain will rise on Guerrilla Theatre, an evening of six one-act plays. Why guerrilla? Each director, cast, and crew member will receive their script on that Saturday morning. And the script itself will have been feverishly written by a talented writer the night before.
I'll be directing one of the segments (the best one, with a little luck) and had better see you there. A female improv comedy troupe is also on the program.
Tickets are $10 at the door, but 2-for-1 if you order them from the Web site. You'll also find the address and directions to the theatre there.
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Sex and Lucia (Lucia y el Sexo)
Julio Medem, Dir. & Writer
As mentioned before, I highly recommend seeing Sex and Lucia, a dizzying, dazzling film. See it in the theatre, where its stunning, bleached Mediterranean footage can really shine.
Sex and Lucia (Lucia y el Sexo) begins as the story of a man’s fantasy (or maybe two men: the director Julio Medem and his character, Lorenzo). It’s not a sexual fantasy, but one of idealized, effortless love.
Lorenzo, a writer, tells Lucia, his new love, "Girls like you never fall for guys like me." Girls like you, defined: gorgeous, winsome women whose playful, ecstatic sexual lives spring from their uncomplicated adoration.
The movie has almost as much sex as a skin flick. There’s just not much fucking. Here is sex portrayed at its most romantic—warm lights cast upon small snapshots: a graceful elbow, a dipping nipple, tongues in slow licks and kisses, loud excited hollers and words of love (remarkably, Lucia is the only one we ever see climaxing). Just like the rest of Sex and Lucia’s visual landscape, each shot is starkly beautiful and gently erotic.
Let’s be clear. The woman who knows what she wants, romantically and erotically, and is frank in getting it, does exist. She may not even be uncommon. But real people, not fantasies, are devoted to much more than love and sex, for which any real life partner is ultimately grateful. When a body lives for her or his relationship alone, the union gets ugly, quickly. Nevertheless, being the subject of a strong and simple—and frank—passion is a compelling fantasy, one not only dreamed by men.
Lucia is already in love with Lorenzo when she meets him. His book "grabbed her," and she’s been obsessively following him around the streets of Madrid ever since. Her candidness and the courage it requires stuns him. He falls in love instantly. All goes well until he writes his next book. It disappoints her. The tragedy she loved in the first has given way to airy happiness in the second. The notion that angst creates art may be a hoary one, but that’s because we can’t help but indulge it.
But lo, tragedy – in the form of The Sex – intervenes. Years before, the writer had an anonymous moonlit ocean coupling. (I won’t call it a simple fuck because I don’t want to give the impression that it’s portrayed as trashy. It’s a joyous, spontaneous, magical, double-orgasmed affair.) Unbeknownst to him, El Sexo produced a child. Now, six years later, Lorenzo’s literary agent, by a series of coincidences, has discovered the child and her mother. As a birthday gift, he hands this "story" over to the writer. Why? The material will make a brilliant novel—and, to the apparent glee of the dumpy agent, ruin Lorenzo’s life. And Lucia’s.
The writer meets his daughter and writes his novel. Fact and fiction comingle, horrible things happen and get worse before they get better.
Meanwhile, Lucia becomes real. That’s what ultimately makes Medem’s film brilliant. Born a fantasy, she hops on a motorbike and makes a much more self-directed, meaningful psychological journey than her lover. Lucia becomes Lucia.
And perhaps the most compelling character of all, Elena, the mother of Lorenzo’s child, I haven’t even mentioned yet. She deserves her own review.
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The weekend launched with a terrific party thrown by Brian Linse of aintnobaddude.com. (Brian's got pics on his site, as does Martin of Patio Pundit). A warm, wonderful, and with-it bunch of people. Unsurprisingly, bloggers can talk up a storm. Here's a very partial list of topics I covered with various guests: photography and the digital, Culver City, cigars, how to satisfy a film financier, breastfeeding, g-strings and strippers, cats and prozak, Matt Dillon, Ann Coulter, exploitative documentaries, Maxim magazine...and oh, yeah, Blogging. Among others, I talked for quite a while to Madison Slade and Ann Salisbury, whose blogs moxie.nu (go to the blog) and Two Tears in a Bucket both have write-ups.
Saturday I saw the best movie I've seen in the theatre in months, *Sex and Lucia*, and the worst, *Reign of Fire*. More TK later.
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I've got tons of stuff to blog and no time to do it. So just quickly, a taste of things to come:
*Travel notes from my trip to the charming shithole known as Baja, Mexico, wherein I spend hours on the bus, explore life in a brothel, and eat more than a few tacos al carbon.
*My review of the *Borne Identity*, starring Matt Damon, who should go back to writing.
In the meantime, you can check out my Reason editor's links of yesterday, which include a rare guest appearance from The Rock.
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Combine two parts *Phantom of the Opera*, two parts *Faust*, and one part *Rocky Horror Picture Show.* Stir. Garnish with a creepy Paul Williams and you've got...
Phantom of the Paradise, a highly entertaining 1974 film written and directed by Brian DePalma. (Note: *Rocky* didn't come out till 1975, so something was in the post-60s air.)
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This weekend I finally caught CQ, Roman Coppola’s warm, entertaining debut film about a young, eternally bemused filmmaker in ‘60s Paris. There’s a lot of talent at work, in part because Coppola borrows heavily from ‘60s movies. That actually works to his credit: Besides being a fun homage to some great old movies, there’s a pleasant humility that's also at play in the script, particularly in the lead character. Maybe that’s what happens when Francis Ford Coppola is your dad and you grew up surrounded by film legends.
Although the movie wraps itself up as a love story, it’s mostly about a storyteller’s stumbling first steps, both fueled and stalled by his manic-depressive ego.
Or else it’s about how great ‘60s sci-fi camp is. CQ includes a film-within-the-film, about the stunning Dragonfly, a sexy superagent of the far future (that is, 2001). Our hero is hired to edit the picture into something with an ending.
Highly recommended. It looks good, real good, so you should catch it in the theatre if catch can. Could be difficult; it seems to have gotten fairly limited distribution.
Bonus: The kid from Rushmore appears in a small, funny role as the hot young filmmaker who’s won the town with style, not talent—i.e., every nobody artist’s taunting demon.
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