8.22.2008

Proud Roommate!

I'm so proud of Marika!


Rwanda: Hospital’s Design Keeps Fresh Air in Mind

In the dark corridors and congested waiting rooms of rural hospitals in sub-Saharan Africa, tuberculosis can spread like a rumor in a small town. A patient who comes in with a broken leg might leave with a deadly disease.
...

The hospital’s construction is being overseen by Rwanda’s Ministry of Health; Partners in Health, a nonprofit group based in Massachusetts; and the Clinton Foundation. It was designed by graduate students at Harvard’s design school.
from The New York Times

8.20.2008

My Criterion Collection (currently imaginary)

If I could spend the $505 dollars it would take to purchase the items in my cart, this would be the Criterion Collection favorites I'd own. Thanks to Molly for the idea.

This list is heavily influenced by my father, and is thus filled with films seen especially in the pre-adolescent years during which he thought I needn't have a social life.

Au revoir les enfants (Louis Malle)

Wonderful cinematography that evokes a child's perspective, and one of the best World War II films. Young boys in France at a Catholic school that's harboring a Jewish refugee; a retelling of Malle's own childhood experience.



I saw this first when I was about the age of the boys in the film, and more recently gave a lecture on it to my father's Facism class at Doane College. (Yes, related to the other Doane -- Mary Ann, my undergraduate advisor -- the college was founded by her grandfather.)

Black Orpheus (Marcel Camus)

Another film I saw quite young. Carnavale in Rio becomes the setting for the myth of Orpheus, and it is a mysterious and frightening rendition.

4 by Agnès Varda (Agnès Varda), mostly for Le bonheur

I took a French film class at UN-L when I was a junior in high school. I was supposed to be taking a French language course, but I argued that there weren't any that fit in with my high school schedule, so I took the film class instead. Basically, we had screenings and then watched more films in class. There was really no discussion. I really liked Varda. Le bonheur was my introduction to feminist film.



Boudu Saved from Drowning (Jean Renoir)

Another one from the French film class. I just found it funny.

Down by Law (Jim Jarmusch)

I've always liked Jarmusch. This one is so well shot it kind of makes me want to give up trying to shoot something. The film is in black & white, and the production stills from the scene in the canoe with bright green foliage all over make it clear that this is a filmmaker who can really "see" in black & white.


Imagine that's all bright green on the water.

I'll also admit I'm in it for the devastatingly attractive Tom Waits/John Lurie combo.

Eyes Without a Face (Georges Franju)

I first watched this with Brian Faas after we'd both been unable to make it to the screening for our class on the close-up. We were both joking around through most of the film but then blown away by the end. Easily one of the best horror films ever.



Fishing with John (John Lurie)

John Lurie takes other hipster actors on ridiculous fishing adventures, and there's totally goofy voiceover added on.

Grey Gardens (The Maysles Brothers)

There's a good bit of documentary on this list, especially of the embedded journalist sort of variety. That's the vein of work I'd like to go for. I just wonder how they find the money for the film stock. Grey Gardens reinforced every stereotype I had about wealthy Northeasterners.



La haine (Mathieu Kassovitz)

This was also part of my French education, though this time around, it was in the context of a language class. Not the Paris you usually learn about in school.



Häxan (Benjamin Christensen)

Mathias brought this over a few months ago, and we had it playing while working on other things. I love the Nordic peoples. This is a bizzaro-documentary history of witchcraft. We may have listened to Witchcraft while watching it, but I don't really know for sure.

Hoop Dreams (Steve James, Frederick Marx & Peter)


This was one of the first documentaries I saw where I remember thinking about it being made. Another excellent example of the embedded sort of filmmaking -- it includes so much about urbanism, education, and Chicago, too.

If.... (Lindsay Anderson)

My father showed this one to me when I was probably 12 or 13 years old. Through this, Au revoir les enfants, and other films, he was trying to explain to me what his school experience as a child in Germany had been like. I think. Well, without the guns.


Also plenty of beautiful young man fodder for the imagination of a teenage girl.

La Jetée/Sans Soleil (Chris Marker)

Mathias and I watched Sans Soleil several times. It usually put me to sleep. I love the Martian children.


My Life as a Dog (Lasse Hallström)

This is another film I watched over and over as a kid. I love its simple depiction of formative sexuality, its mild humor, and its young Swedish narrator.


Pickpocket (Robert Bresson)

I mostly like this film because it makes pickpocketing and lock picking look so easy. That makes it an effective film.


You aren't even going to know your watch is gone.

The Tin Drum (Volker Schlöndorff)

There are tons of Fassbinder films in the Criterion Collection, and for the sake of German pride, I probably should have included one, maybe Berlin Alexanderplatz, which my parents watched in shifts while trading off taking care of my infant self. But I'm going to skip Fassbinder altogether for The Tin Drum (Die Blechtrommel), the film that was constantly referenced in my house when I was growing up. Whenever I'd be obnoxious or whiny, my parents would call me Oskarschen.


This slid nicely into suggesting I was trying for an Oscar.

Triggertown!



What good folks.

looks so unreal

Bet the environment is going to benefit from development like this.

David Hobcote via Gizmodo

8.10.2008

Translation, Please?



From dvblog.org:



Lucia (.mov file linked)
from the Diluvio Gallery, a collaboration of Chileans Niles Atallah, Joaquín Cociña and Cristóbal León.

Reminiscent of the work of South African William Kentridge, whose work I first saw at an exhibition at the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal in the winter of 2005 on a trip with Molly, Darin, and Leksi.

Replication






...it's what the Chinese do best!

8.06.2008

this is neat...

practice your vocabulary and donate rice through the UN World Food Program

Review of Man's Last Great Invention's first release

From indieville.com:

None is the first release from Nebraska's Man's Last Great Invention, a curious drone band whose music reminds me of Cul De Sac's more experimental offerings. Issued by Public Eyesore sub-project Eh?, this is slow-building, bass-heavy stuff that sounds almost cinematic in nature. Man's Last Great Invention makes heavy use of echoing chanted vocals, which lends the disc an Eastern feel, as well as a distinct melodic tone. The majority of the album utilizes an ambient formula that is somewhat reminiscent of Biosphere material; sparse layers of sound come together to form miraculously organized compositions. The strangely hopeful first half of the album climaxes in a haze of distant chanting on the third track; this makes way for a much darker second half which could best be termed "unsettling." Particularly disturbing is the monstrous final track; it sounds like a swarm of ghosts trying to force their way out of a metal holding cell. Although very different in spirit from the rest of the album, what it lacks in droney sonority, it makes up for in disorienting unpredictability.

Congrats, folks! Buy it here.


8.02.2008

On Critical Mass

Excerpted and reposted from Bike Snob NYC:

People do need to see other people out there on bikes. They need to become accustomed to them so they learn to respect them, and they need to see how practical and effective they can be so they consider riding them themselves. Many cyclists illustrate this day after day, not only by riding their bikes to and from work during rush-hour but also by using them for recreation and even racing on them. A driver who sees you zip past as you ride your bike to work, and then sees you riding your bike to dinner later with a date, and then sees you going for a road ride that weekend doesn't realize he's seen only one rider—as far as he knows he's seen a bunch of riders, and he sees them using their bikes successfully. Effectively, you’re a Critical Mass of one. Meanwhile, a mob of people on crappy bikes blocking traffic one day a month isn’t a “mass” at all. At best it's a party. At worst it’s effectively just one big stupid person.

As you may have already seen, an NYPD officer rammed himself into a biker on a recent Critical Mass ride. There is nothing about this I see as proper behavior on the part of the officer -- let me make that clear -- and as a cyclist, the video is terrifying to watch.

And yet, I agree with Bike Snob NYC; Critical Mass rides, instead of raising awareness of bicycles as legal vehicles and entitled users of city streets, rather obscure the good efforts of cyclists (particularly commuters) to abide by traffic laws and operate parallel to automotive traffic.

As the "resident cyclist" in my office, I get a mixed bag of admiration, questions regarding my sanity, and laundry lists of complaints. Bikes swerve too much. Some biker cut off one driver. They don't "get" the bike lanes in Lincoln (placed in the center of the street on only two streets Downtown). They saw a bike go through a red light, and it messed them up, because they started to go, thinking the light must've turned. I've explained the fear of being doored on numerous occasions, the difficulty of building bike lanes as an afterthought rather than part of the city plan, the navigation of potholes when riding on one-inch tires, and the awful feeling of having a car zoom by six inches from your knee as you're trying to accelerate after being stopped at a red light. Do all these questions piss me off? Of course. I often walk in to work after nearly being hit, and it's not a fun way to start the day. But what pisses me off more is knowing that when cyclists are out actively trying to piss off and obstruct car traffic, it makes my life as a commuter more difficult and more dangerous. There's no denying that some drivers will always be assholes. We don't need to actively encourage more of them.

Lincoln Police Chief Tom Casady just blogged on sharing the road with bikes in Lincoln, too.

I certainly don't deny the fun of riding with a group. There's something passé though, somehow, about the sort of disruptive activism at the root of Critical Mass. Sort of like the ELF burning down housing developments (again, something that really pisses me off, like having the land next to the farm turned into McMansion acreages), it seems to be showy without getting to the root of the matter. If a so-called critical mass infiltrates city council and planning commission meetings, rules can change, and the vocal are heard. Look at what happened for all-ages shows in Omaha. I digress.

I'd love for more folks to consider biking to work or just around town. Seeing a family out for a ride, a guy on his way to work, a couple hauling groceries home in panniers, or a few bikers out for an evening cruise always makes me happy. And if I see all that in a day, that's a critical mass -- that's everyday folks riding bikes. Besides, you have to be a real dick to not respect street space for a whole family lawfully biking around town.