the island of the week before: archives

category: movies-tv-music-art
In which there are ruminations and appreciations.

Wednesday, March 13, 2002

giant squid eating boatThe Discovery Channel's larval giant squids were, alas, disappointingly dead.

To make up for it, provides an art gallery of giant attack squids.

Also, the giant squid's genus name, Architeuthis, translates to “chief squid,” which is wicked cute.

03:02 PM (link)

Monday, March 11, 2002

Don't forget, tonight is the Giant Squid Special on the Discovery Channel. Oh yeah.

04:17 PM (link)

Monday, February 25, 2002

Berkeley's local politics closely resemble a suburban PTA meeting at which the low-fat onion dip has been laced with psychosis-inducing drugs. The construction of a large new building in downtown Berkley has therefore been the subject of great local controversy.

Although the building is now complete and the surrounding hysteria is beginning to die down, the local press couldn't resist milking the well-worn topic one final time, resulting in a hissing, spitting public discussion of art and architecture:

In the right corner we have John Kenyon, a critic about whom I can find no background information. Mr Kenyon detests the Gaia building as clunky, intrusive, and generally appalling:

Rearing up behind the old two-story “Edy's” block (more recently “Eddie Bauer”), a clumsy intruder rudely disrupts the modest two-to four-story milieu of Berkeley's Main Street. With its huge, nine-story putty-colored west wall, confused by three kinds of windows — round-headed, segmental, and square — it resembles a poorly designed 19th-century New England textile mill topped by fancy railings, pretentious parapets, and ostentatious (vineless) trellises.
He also attacks local preservationists for their “sentimental” disinterest in the modern buildings that they “sterile” and “joyless.” (For context, UC Berkeley in particular has at least its fair share of buildings from the Big 1960s Tan Block school.)

In the other corner, Kirk Peterson (the Gaia building's architect) responds:

The only part of the Gaia Building that Mr. Kenyon seems to like is a part he finds “unadorned and brutally honest.” This is true Modernist taste, the kind that inspired people to save Wurster Hall (home of UC Berkeley's architecture department), a building that most people think is hideous. It was built in a Modernist mode called Brutalism. Why must the Modernist faithful be so eager to force their tastes on the rest of us, to brutalize us?

Peterson continues in the same vein, slamming the brutal aesthetic of Modernism itself rather than Mr Kenyon's criticisms in particular.

The debate over the Gaia building is tiny, local, and frequently petty, but the larger debate is not.

I do not find the impulse toward beauty sentimental. I reject the idea that modern artists must eschew classical concepts of beauty lest they fall prey to mere prettiness. I do not believe that a concern for the eye's pleasure should belong solely to the mass-producers of shopping mall inspiration.

Naturally, I found this intriguing.

02:52 PM (link)

Tuesday, October 23, 2001

I didn't see Twin Peaks when it was on television, partially because I didn't have a television in 1990. And anyway, it's better to rent the tapes and watch a half dozen episodes at a time while eating popcorn and drinking beer.

In any case, I'm utterly infatuated.

01:00 PM (link)

Wednesday, October 17, 2001

Nosepilot is a big juicy smoothie of an animation. Orange cats are so appealing. (I'd been thinking for a long time that nosepilot was something else, so this is really old, but it still amuses me.)

02:51 PM (link)

Thursday, October 11, 2001

Wee Björk.

03:54 PM (link)

Monday, September 24, 2001

"Phantom Towers," a temporary monument made of light, designed by artists who had been collaborating on a light sculpture that was to have been installed atop one of the towers next year.

It ran on the cover of Sunday's New York Times Magazine.

10:15 AM (link)

Thursday, August 09, 2001

Salon's lead article today is about online comics and the evolution of the form. It's a smart article and several of my favorite online artists contribute.

07:34 AM (link)

Tuesday, August 07, 2001

While doing research for a new project, I stumbled across these gorgeous radiographs of flowers.

The stereo radiograph of the easter lily is particularly satisfying.

01:07 PM (link)

Monday, August 06, 2001

I saw both of Commonwealth Shakespeare's productions yesterday, and the dormant part of my brain that really enjoys doing theater is beginning to stir. Having done relatively little theater in the last couple of years, I'm twitchy just thinking about all of the real-life drama that surrounds theater people. My college experience, in particular, was steeped in theater that was about offstage theatrics more than plays. Feh.

I love good scripts. I have a massive intellectual crush on Shakespeare (I mean, good god. really.). I appreciate talented designers and actors, and I think I'm a pretty decent director. I also currently have very low tolerance for psychodrama.

So perhaps we'll see what Berkeley has to offer in the way of smart, sane theater. You never know.

12:57 PM (link)

Monday, June 25, 2001

While looking at DNA images, I stumbled across the extremely strange and distinctly interesting Image Archive on the American Eugenics Movement at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory site.

08:01 PM (link)

Sunday, June 24, 2001

Swiss artist Urs-P. Twellmann carves and photographs stunning sculptures from wood and ice.

07:00 PM (link)

Sunday, June 17, 2001

Interview with Mike Mignola about his work on Atlantis over at 13th Street, including some tasty bits about his gig on the upcoming Atlantis TV show.

08:47 AM (link)

Monday, May 14, 2001

This has to be posted despite the fact that Blogger's been wigging out for'll eventually get pushed live.

The Library of Congress's The Empire That Was Russia is a extrordinary, luminous collection of photographs by state-sponsored photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii that record the final years of the Russian empire. I found the subject matter intriguing and the technical process of producing color images from Prokudin-Gorskii's red, blue, and green glass plates fascinating. Best of all, the images themselves are exquisite.

Refresh your eyes and brain by having a look.

Other delicious bits from the Library of Congress include: Scrolls from the Dead Sea, and the prosaically titled but really cool American Treasures of the Library of Congress, which contains high-res scans of old documents, maps, etc.

12:43 PM (link)

Tuesday, May 01, 2001

I finally saw Dancer in the Dark a few days ago (well, I saw the first hour or so and some of the rest on fast forward). Bjork's performance was excellent, but I hated the movie so much that I stopped watching. (Unsurprising -- I did the same with Breaking the Waves. Lars Von Trier's a big dolt.) Selmasongs, on the other hand, is actually quite good; Bjork rewrote some of the songs and produced it herself, and I like it very much.

So I'm particularly pleased to see that Salon's most recent "Brilliant Careers" feature is all about Bjork.

07:54 AM (link)

Tuesday, April 24, 2001

It turns out that:
a. the coffee at the Kendall Square Cinema is startlingly good, and
b. Memento is an experience you should probably have.

12:00 PM (link)

Monday, April 23, 2001

If you've been watching Jhonen Vasquez's Invader Zim, you'll know why it's terribly important that I have found a Real Audio stream of the DOOM SONG. If you haven't been, you should start. (If that link doesn't work, try this.)

This is GIR. He sings the doom song. (Image courtesy of this site.)

09:01 AM (link)

Thursday, April 19, 2001

Speaking of Johnny Depp...

...say what you will about his pretty face, I've been stuck on his acting chops for a good long while. (Of course it does't hurt that he's beautiful, but celebrity crushes have never been my thing.) (OK, except for that crush on david Bowie when I was nine.)

With a few notable exceptions, Depp's been making excellent, unusual movies for years, including some of my favorites.

Salon has indulged itself in a profile of his career with special emphasis on Deadman, so go take a look.

11:06 AM (link)

Friday, April 13, 2001

Stanley Forman took this photograph thirty years ago today in here in Boston, just outside City Hall. The man being attacked is attorney Theodore Landsmark. The men attacking and holding him are students demonstrating against the racial integration of Boston schools via busing. Forman won a Pulitzer for the photograph.

08:49 PM (link)

Thursday, March 29, 2001

Ani DiFranco is playing Carnegie Hall in April. And that's the cutest thing I've heard all day.

I saw her live last night in a hockey arena in Lowell (ewww, Lowell), and while I miss Andy and the higher ratio of quiet songs to Ani-stomp, it was excellent. She's touring with a band now, and her jams sound different and a little less edgy, but come on, accordions rule.

Her new songs are bigger, and some of them are really lovely...the new CD is officially available April 10th, but you can order it now from Righteous Babe.

11:07 AM (link)

Wednesday, March 28, 2001

There's a project brewing in the back of my head that involves vaulted, celestial ceilings. Some of the places I've turned up while doing research are too beautiful not to share.

This one is the Duomo in Siena, Italy. (More Siena church-light here.)

And then there's Grand Central, the building in New York that I'm most in love with. I spent some formative time during college sitting on the floor of Grand Central at 4am, waiting for the first train back to Poughkeepsie. The cleaned ceiling is mermaid-green and gorgeous.

On a related note, an interesting-looking book on Grand Central at Amazon...I only want to know why Staying Dry, a Practical Guide to Bladder Control made it into the related/recommended auction items at the bottom of the screen.

12:37 PM (link)

There'a a semi-new trailer for Disney's Atlantis that I hadn't seen yet: check it out.

Atlantis, if you haven't been paying attention, will be released this June. Mike Mignola (Hellboy) did a lot of the concept art...and damn, it looks pretty. See stills at emovies.

10:44 AM (link)

Thursday, March 01, 2001

My pining for summer is being manifested in my semi-annual rediscovery of Tricky. (In my ears, Tricky is all about hot, humid air and the smells of wet asphalt and ozone.)

I've always been curious about Martina (Tricky's longtime collaborator and the intriguing, mammalian female voice in most of his songs) and there wasn't much available info about her last time I checked, but now there's a Martina site with a cool URL on google.

Related tidbit: Tricky claims that "Suffocated Love" is based on Shakespeare's sonnet 138. The comparison's a little flat without listening to the song...bringing me back to the conviction that lyrics aren't meant for print.

12:44 PM (link)

And yes, the Harry Potter trailer has arrived.

09:33 AM (link)