Month: November 2017

The Moral Conundrum of Roy Moore

The Roy Moore scandal makes me sick. Like physically ill, which is surprising, because I’m normally pretty much inured to most things. What nauseates me more is watching people defend Moore, or otherwise express backhanded support for him, such as Alabama Governor Kay Ivey has. Ivey has publicly declared that she believes the women who have accused Moore of misconduct. She also is in power because the previous governor, Robert Bentley, was forced to resign due to his own sex scandal. But Ivey is going to vote for Moore because he’s the GOP candidate. Others have defended Moore by...

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Vinylizing the Barcelona Pavilion

The Barcelona Pavilion is as white as Greek yoghurt right now. All the Roman travertine, ancient green marble, green Alpine marble, the golden onyx and stainless steel surfaces have been covered with white vinyl as part of an installation by local architects Anna and Eugeni Bach titled “Mies Missing Materiality” (hereinafter referred to as “MMM”). The only surfaces that have been left unchanged are all the glass, the pool, and the ceiling, which is white anyway. The red velvet curtains and the black carpet have been removed, as have the famous chairs designed by Lily Reich. The installation is coming down on 27 November, so if you’re an archi-tourist who is thinking of making the pilgrimage to Modernism’s greatest building this week, you might want to hold off. As we know from having read William O’Doherty’s Inside the White Cube, white is itself a colour. The architects could have selected pink, orange, or black vinyl, but no, they chose white, coincidentally (or perhaps not) the de rigeur wall colour of every contemporary art gallery. Indeed, the pavilion right now looks vaguely like Richard Meier’s MACBA contemporary art museum situated not very far away. But it’s the title that is curious, because vinyl is itself a material. For one thing, it’s highly toxic to the environment, and in this case, exactly 3800 m2 of removable vinyl adhesive film was used. Like paper,...

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Black Sabbath: The End (Live)

Black Sabbath The End (Live) Eagle Vision Black Sabbath packed it in earlier this year.  The original members had got back together in the 2000s, ending the era of Tony Iommi and a rotating cast of guests.  Sure, some, like the late, great Ronnie James Dio, filled in admirably. But, otherwise, Sabbath was largely forgettable without Ozzy, Geezer, and Bill Ward.  Nevermind the fact that that sentence sounds like the Muppets Band.  Ward was forced out a few years ago, largely for health reasons.  The lads ARE all fast approaching 70, and they’ve lived harder than your average 70...

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Hüsker Dü: Savage Young Dü

Hüsker Dü Savage Young Dü The Numero Group Hüsker Freaking Dü, kids.  I’m not sure why I’m even bothering to write an actual review here.  Away back in time, in 1979, in the frigid climes of Minneapolis, Minnesota, Bob Mould, Grant Hart, and Greg Norton met at a record store.  They formed a band.  Mould played guitar and sang.  Norton played bass.  Hart played the drums and sang.  Mould and Hart wrote the songs and took turns on lead vocals.  They were vicious.  Perhaps the fastest band on the planet.  The took punk and sped it up.  They were louder and more vicious than anything else, and that includes so-called speed metal, with the possible exception of Bad Brains.  Eventually, over the course of the 1980s, they mellowed some and began to make albums of more melodic music, but they never lost that viciousness. They were hampered some by the generally weak recording quality of SST records, though even their Warner years were somewhat muddied by poor mixes.  And then they split amongst great acrimony at the start of 1988.  Mould had a drinking problem and was domineering and controlling.  He also was managing the band after the suicide of their manager, David Savoy, in 1987.  Hart had a bad heroin addiction.  Norton, whom I’ve always felt sorry for in between these two, got married and became a chef....

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Henri Cartier-Bresson: India in Full Frame

If there is anything human to remember of the 20th century when its last survivors have finally died, it will likely be remembered through the frame of Henri Cartier-Bresson’s viewfinder. Armed with a 35mm Leica camera and an unerring eye, Cartier-Bresson sought to capture the “decisive moment” of history and humanity, from a Gestapo informer exposed at the Dessau DP camp in 1945 to a couple leaning into a kiss at a Paris sidewalk café. Cartier-Bresson’s photography framed the 20th century with expansive depth of field, capturing the historic and the intimate in the sharpest possible focus. His great...

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