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Saturday, December 5, 2009

Fever Dream

Brittany passed along a link to a pretty amazing animated music video, posted below (though it's worth it to click through to youtube, and watch the thing in HD).

It's for the Ramona Falls tune "I Say Fever," and it was directed by Stefan Nadelman, through his company Tourist Pictures (his site is full of stuff worth looking at). It plays like an expansion of some sequences from Max Ernst's collage-novel Une Semaine de Bonté, with its splicing of an unruly bestiary into corsetted Victoriana, and its sinister birds. The video starts out well enough, but when the chorus kicks in, it really jumps to a higher level. The stroboscopic outbreak of color, and the way the stride of the characters syncs up to the suddenly-implacable beat, makes for some genuinely thrilling moments.

A nice selection of images from Une Semaine de Bonté can be found at Several pages from the Dover Edition of the book can also be found at Google Books. Of Ernst's collage-novels, I've always preferred La Femme 100 Têtes; Bonté has a thread of misogyny to it that I found of-putting last time I read it. There's some terror of womanly wiles in the "I Say Fever" video, but I end up being intrigued by the perfumed lady, with her expression of combined malice and rapture.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Pottery Sale: Continuing Thru Sunday

The Pottery Sale is currently underway, organized by the Clay Club. Lots of reasonably priced, thoroughly attractive pottery is on display -- so head on down to the back of the Patterson dining area, before someone else beats you to the great handcrafted holiday gift that's waiting for you. Or heck, don't get a gift, just treat yourself to the most aesthetically pleasing coffee mug you've ever hoisted. The last two days are Saturday and Sunday from 10 - 4; a portion of the proceeds will support the Clay Club's trip to NCECA, (the national ceramics conference), and other club activities.

Here's a peek at some of the wares:

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Wolverton's Apocalypse & Ware's Futurity

I've just had a couple pieces of writing published -- reviews of some interesting comics/books, by artists I admire. One is on a book of eccentric Bible Illustrations by Basil Wolverton, who made his name working on Mad Magazine and pulpy sci-fi and horror comics in the 40s and 50s.

It's up at The Comics Journal's new online site, here; The Comics Journal is moving into a much stronger online presence this month. They haven't had an "official launch" of the online version of their magazine yet, but there's already a good chunk of content up.

Here's a quote from the Wolverton article, describing his apocalyptic drawings, derived from the Book of Revelations:

Giant, luminous hailstones rain down to crush bloodied heads. Walking corpses with gaunt, ravaged faces stagger through rubbled wastelands. Mouths are reduced to organs fit only for yelling or screaming (oftentimes no teeth are shown, so the mouths are more like gaping wounds — some horrible hole driven into the face). The elements are in upheaval: flames leap higher than skyscrapers, the sea rises up in torsioned waterspouts, the sky ejects airplanes as though spitting watermelon seeds. There was always something toylike in Wolverton’s depiction of architecture, and in these vistas of destruction, the flimsiness of the skyline reads as a rebuke to man’s vanity. The listing skyscrapers look like shoeboxes, with equidistant little window-holes cut into them, being kicked over.

The other piece is appearing in issue #300 of the print version of The Comics Journal. It's a great issue: the bulk of it is taken up with interviews between younger and older generations of cartoonists. There's also some really sharp writing by R. Fiore and a great diagnosis of the ascendency of "Geek Culture" by Tom Crippen. I'm glad they were able to squeak in my review of Chris Ware's last book, Acme Novelty Library #19. Here's the first paragraph:

Part of the fun of Chris Ware’s Acme Novelty Library #19 is seeing him apply his style to a new mode. The first half is a science fiction adventure story, involving a desperate struggle for survival, a failed escape across inhospitable terrain, the murder of several dogs, and even a brief bout of auto-cannibalism. All this transpires on a faltering colony on Mars, and the arid setting allows Ware to maintain his usual formal distance without shortchanging the urgency of the plot. At its core, the story is one of abandonment – both intimate and infinite.

Issue #300 is currently only available in print, so to read the rest, you'll have to hit your local newsstand.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Some Events This Week: Rubio & Britten

The next several days feature some good Art Dept. events. First up is the reception for Alejandra Rubio's BFA show, "Unfiltered," at the Tahoe Gallery. It runs from 5-7, Thursday Dec. 3rd, with the artist talk starting at 5:15. It's been a pleasure to be on Alex's committee, and I'm really looking forward to seeing all the finished work. She gets extra points for having the entire gallery repainted to a nice neutral white.

Then, if you're speedy, you can zip right over to St. Patrick's Episcopal Church in Incline Village: at 7pm, the Sierra Nevada College Choir -- under the direction of Donna Axton -- will be performing a Holiday Concert, featuring work by Benjamin Britten. It's that's too much of a squeeze, they're also performing Saturday, Dec. 5th, at 7pm, and once again on Sunday, Dec. 6th, at 3pm, at the Squaw Valley Chapel. More info on the poster below, which you can click to enlarge.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Abbreviated Nut

Brittany Sterling staged a bit of the Nutcracker for the New Genres class (and a couple other classes too -- she basically closed down the third floor of the art building for a half hour as she set things up). She's been performing in the Reno Dance Company's production of the venerable Nut, and ported over some of the dancers to do the Waltz of the Flowers on the scuffed linoleum of the printmaking area.

It was all very intimate; no room for the ellipsis of any stage wings. A few stretches with pointe shoes poking out from under some sideline curtains, and they were off.

Off to the side, "offstage," Tchaikovsky's music had to compete with the noisy bodily imperatives of the dancers, breathing heavy and swigging bottled water. At one point, there was a brief collision, followed by a whispered "sorry," and one strip of the side curtains was taken down either by a curving arm or a whirling foot -- that bit of business might've been followed by a balletic expletive, I'm not sure.

Bonus pic: after the dancers were done, to the right, Lane was piecing together a big grid of a picture of the ebola virus. It was hard not to think of it as a floorplan for some of the interweaving waltz patterns.