1. Tanglewood Numbers by The Silver Jews
A serious and stylistically difficult generational classic I can only compare to Neil Young's "Tonight's The Night." The rural life is here, the overhanging death and addiction are here. The emotion is so big it's inescapable, thus singer David Berman can digress from seeing God's shadow on the world to a charming, Aesop-like vision of chickens in the farmer's Corvette with no loss of focus or force. All of it is sung in the voice of someone who has walked away from something he was supposed to die from.
Berman has claimed his grown-up right to describe reality, and in these numbers he moves in and out of humor with a grace that proves that irony is a choice and that it does not have to be our generational last stand. All this is tangled up with a surprised holiness, like the guy in Denis Johnson's "Jesus' Son" who wakes up from an overdose to find his girlfriend's dumpy apartment "glittering like cheap jewelry" and himself alive, alive, alive.
Photo of David Berman by Stuart Dayman.
2. Corpse Bride
A canny, stylish fairy tale of forgiveness, redemption, damnation and commitment. Stylish and spooky and resonant like a dream.
Link: :: Corpse Bride ::.
**********3. "Spectacular Miracles: Images Of Supernatural Power From Northwest Italy" at the Ashmolean Museum
In the first exhibition of its kind to be held in Britain, the phenomenon of the miraculous image is explored in a series of photographs of statues and pictures believed to be capable of supernatural powers, from shrines in and near the city of Genoa, Northwest Italy.
The Madonna della Fortuna, a monumental wooden carving which was the prow of a wrecked 17th century ship salvaged by sailors who turned the figure into a cult object, above.
4. Spirit Hunter: The Haunting of American Culture by Myths of Violence: Speculations on Jeremy Blake's Winchester Trilogy
One cinema-architecture responds to another as the nineteenth-century mansion of the heiress to the Winchester Repeating Rifle fortune haunts once again through the hallucinated images of American artist Jeremy Blake’s Winchester Trilogy. Blake’s invention of a new genre of art between video and painting—video projection as time-based painting—is the medium through which Sarah Winchester’s mad architectural project (constructed to appease spirits killed by her family’s manufacture) transmits its ghostly inheritance. Spirit Hunter examines how its mythic haunting by violence reverberates today in America’s wars.
The book ranges widely through frontier myth, American foreign policy, technology, war, film history, psychoanalytic theory (Nicholas Abraham and Maria Torok’s cryptonymy), and philosophy (Jacques Derrida and Emmanuel Levinas), as it weaves art analysis into the troubled history of a social artifact. As Blake tells his story purely through images issuing as haunting from the architecture of Winchester house, Spirit Hunter pursues its speculation on the secrets Sarah Winchester shielded through her fabled mansion into the image itself to question whether she was hostage to her haunting or to national myth.
5. "As Ugly As I Seem" by The White Stripes
Jack White sings about ugliness over the nearly identical Christian-conversion era Bob Dylan tune "I Believe In You." White takes a song where Dylan has placed the power and responsibility outside himself and reclaims them. Dylan's Jesus seems a charming fiction to White, even Satan can get thee behind him, and while faith is beautiful, a rock and roll man from Detroit knows that sometimes things really are as ugly as they seem: "You want to take away from me/Things that are mine/And it's not your right/I bet you wouldn't expect a fight..."
6. The Frieze Art Fair
"I ate and ate and ate, no, I did not miss a plate. How much do these suppers cost? We'll take it out in hate." --Leonard Cohen, "Teachers"
"Nothing" an edition from Trans magazine, above.
7. Dominque Ropion, Perfumer
Dominique Ropion trained at the legendary Roure Bertrand Dupont laboratory before going to work with Jean-Louis Sieuzac, one of the perfumery world's great technicians. Today he's a star perfumer at IFF. An adventurer who abandons himself to instinct, Ropion is a contemporary alchemist who creates unexpectedly harmonius accords when pairing ingredients which are extreme opposites. His work has a unique tension between precision and liberty.
Link: EDITIONS DE PARFUMS.COM.