“Dance, dance… otherwise we are lost.”

Fellow admirers of the late Pina Bausch may get a little emotional, watching this trailer for the upcoming film Pina– Dance, Dance… Otherwise We Are Lost, made “For Pina Bausch, by Wim Wenders.”

Via Gabrielle Zucker, thanks.

Coming soon. In 3D, no less! In the wake of that first wave of 3D schlockbusters and huge budget family movies, it’s going to be interesting to watch and see if this oncoming wave of arguably more “arthouse friendly” 3D films (Wenders’ film, Herzog’s Cave of Forgotten Dreams, and Scorcese’s Invention of Hugo Cabret being chief among them) will change more critical viewers’ perceptions and expectations of the medium.

Tin Teardrops for Captain Beefheart

“If you want to be a different fish, you gotta jump out of the school.”
— Don Van Vliet, aka Captain Beefheart.

Born January 15, 1941. Died December 17, 2010.

Photo by Anton Corbijn, 1980.

He was one of the most singularly strange, goading, galvanizing musicians of the 20th century. We were very lucky to have him. From AllMusic:

…Captain Beefheart was one of modern music’s true innovators. The owner of a remarkable four-and-one-half octave vocal range, he employed idiosyncratic rhythms, absurdist lyrics and an unholy alliance of free jazz, Delta blues, latter-day classical music and rock & roll to create a singular body of work virtually unrivaled in its daring and fluid creativity. While he never came even remotely close to mainstream success, Beefheart’s impact was incalculable, and his fingerprints were all over punk, new wave and post-rock.

Rest in peace.

So Long, Sleazy

Yesterday, Peter Martin Christopherson, a.k.a. Sleazy, died suddenly in his sleep. He was 55. A founding member of Throbbing Gristle and Coil, as well a solo artist in his own right, Sleazy leaves behind an incredibly rich musical legacy and a great deal of gutted friends and fans. This shocking news comes just a month after the remaining members of Throbbing Gristle announced their regrouping under the name, X-TG, following Genesis P-Orridge’s departure.

Sleazy’s contributions to music and culture are immeasurable. From naked stage antics with Throbbing Gristle as one of the founding fathers of the industrial genre back in the mid-70s, to starting Psychic TV with Genesis P-Orridge and forming the intense, dark, trailblazing Coil with his partner, Johnn Balance, in the 80s, Sleazy has always been a fervent innovator. He designed iconic album covers, built his own instruments, created countless radical videos, spoke out against homophobia, and when Balance passed away after they spent over twenty years together, Sleazy held it together and started The Threshold HouseBoys Choir – a music project featuring computer-generated vocals and video. He continued creating until the very end.

In one of his most recent interviews, Sleazy said:

If I can die knowing I’ve helped put a few of us outsiders in touch, helping one another, particularly helping pass on what we know to other new people, and encouraging each other to be more proud of who they are, I will be a happy man.

Rest easy.

Gender Subversion Poster

Via Slim –who says he was reminded of it when he read this piece by a mother defending her five-year-old son’s Daphne costume– comes this awesome sauce:

This poster can be purchased on the cheap, or downloaded for free at the Crimethinc site as part of their “Gender Subversion Kit”.

“Part poster, part zine, and made to be deployed in an endless number of environments, the Gender Subversion Kit is a 22″x14” two-color poster on the outside and a line art illustrated gender-fuck coloring book road map for both kids and adults on the inside. Inspired by and adapted from the boys will be girls will be boys . . . coloring book by JT and Irit, we took the parts we loved the most, made a few small changes, and mass produced it on the cheap.”

Father of Fractal Geometry: Benoit Mandelbrot

“Clouds are not spheres, order mountains are not cones, order coastlines are not circles, and bark is not smooth, nor does lightning travel in a straight line.”
—Benoit Mandelbrot
The Fractal Geometry of Nature

The visionary, revolutionary mathematician Benoît Mandelbrot has died, aged 85. He was a genius in the truest and most passionate sense of the word. May he rest in peace. Several fractalicious, Mandelbrotastic clips are compiled below for your edification and viewing pleasure:

Respect and Love for Marlon Riggs

A wee bit o’ cheer, courtesy of Marlon Riggs and the Institute of Snap!thology…

… that’s spurring me to write up an overview of something far deeper and more complex. This “Snap Diva” sequence is one of the more lighthearted scenes from Tongues Untied, a powerful independent film by activist/educator/filmmaker/author Marlon Riggs. The clip was sent to me earlier today by an old friend as an offhandedly affectionate “haaaay”, but it ended up triggering intense memories of watching Riggs’ films on PBS over a decade ago. I was bowled over by them at the time; I’m overjoyed to be reminded of them again.

Riggs died of AIDS in 1994 while still struggling to complete his final film, Black Is…Black Ain’t. An intensely personal, well-researched examination of the diversity of African-American identities, Black Is…Black Ain’t was completed by Riggs’ colleagues after his death, and released posthumously in the mid 90s. “His camera traverses the country, bringing us face to face with Black folks young and old, rich and poor, rural and urban, gay and straight, grappling with the paradox of numerous, often contested definitions of Blackness.” [via]

Riggs was a giant of public television during the late 80s and early 90s, and a truly inspiring force for positive change. Via glbtq:

Riggs’ experience of racism began in his segregated childhood schools but continued even at Harvard, where he studied American history, graduating with honors in 1978. He then earned an M. A. in 1981 at the University of California, Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism, where he later taught documentary film courses.

Riggs first gained recognition for writing, producing, and directing the Emmy-winning, hour-long documentary Ethnic Notions (1987), which explored black stereotypes and stereotyping. The film helped establish Riggs’ career as a contemporary historical documentary producer.

But most of his later films and writings probe the dichotomy Riggs perceived between the strong, “Afrocentric” black man and the black “sissy” gay man. As a “sissy” himself, Riggs felt deeply his status as a pariah within the black community.

Tongues Untied (1989), Riggs’ most famous film, is an extensively reviewed and critically acclaimed documentary that met with controversy in conservative circles when it was aired on public television. Funded by a National Endowment for the Arts grant, it figured in the cultural wars over control of the NEA and the Public Broadcasting System.

Remembering Ana Mendieta

Tonight, I can’t stop thinking about one of the more influential, yet relatively obscure artists at work during the post-Happenings decade. Ana Mendieta:

From Ana Mendieta’s “Body Tracks” series, 1970s.

It’s all too easy to scoff at raw, bloody, chthonic feminist performance art these days. Hell, it’s all too easy to scoff at just about anything that whiffs of pussy power. After all, this is 2010! No need for histrionics, right? We’ve been liberated, reborn. We’re fierce and comfortable, right? We’ve seen it all a hundred times before… rrrriiiiiight?

Then again, what Alice Miller said about scorn holds a lot of sway: “Contempt is the weapon of the weak and a defense against one’s own despised and unwanted feelings.” In light of that assessment, whether one chooses to roll their eyes or not, Mendieta’s (earth-)body of work, and the circumstances under which she died, resonate as much right now as they did in the 1970s and early 80s. (Although, come to think of it, there were plenty of eye-rollers then, too.)

In any case, on the 15th anniversary of her mysterious death, I’m lighting candles for Ana Mendieta and wondering what comes next.

Satoshi Kon: 1963 – 2010

Very sad news out of Japan yesterday as it was confirmed that visionary director Satoshi Kon had indeed passed away, after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 46.

Kon began his career as a manga artist, working with Akira creator Katsuhiro Otomo. He wrote a section of Otomo’s anthology film Memories entitled “Magnetic Rose” and in 1997 he made his directorial debut with Perfect Blue. This was followed by Millennium Actress in 2001, Tokyo Godfathers in 2003, the television show Paranoia Agent in 2004 (featured previously on Coilhouse), and finally Paprika in 2006. At the time of his death he was working on the film The Dream Machine which may be released posthumously.

That’s What She Said

The master of suspense, Alfred Hitchcock, and his leading lady, Polish born, Czech actress Anny Ondra, perform a sound check for his feature film Blackmail in 1929 which was released in both a silent and “all-talkie” version. What begins as an innocent little back and forth is quickly turned into crude double entendre with a simple “said the actress to the bishop” or in this case “as the girl said to the soldier.” BFIfilms, in their YouTube description, notes that one outcome from this test was that Ondra’s lines would later be dubbed live off-screen by Joan Barry, who sounded decidedly more British.

A bit of bonus trivia: production of Blackmail had already begun when producer John Maxwell decided that, based on the success of films like The Jazz Singer, it should also contain parts with sound. He authorized Hitchcock to film only a portion of the film in sound but, Hitchcock being Hitchcock, he decided to surreptitiously record the entire film in sound. Also, Anny Ondra wasn’t the only actor who experienced changes in the final product. In the longer, silent version, the role of the Chief Inspector was played by Sam Livesey whereas the sound version featured Harvey Braban.

via reddit : The Daily What

All Tomorrows: Sovereign Bleak

I always thought danger along the frontier was something that was a lot of fun; an exciting adventure, like in the three-D shows.” A wan smile touched her face for a moment. “Only it’s not, is it? It’s not the same at all, because when it’s real you can’t go home after the show is over.”

“No,” he said. “No, you can’t.”

Story goes like this: there’s an emergency ship en route to a plague-ridden planet, carrying essential medicine. The pilot finds a stowaway; a young girl, Marilyn, who just wants to see her brother.

The pilot now has a problem: he has enough fuel to get himself to the planet, but no one else. Interstellar law is clear: all stowaways are jettisoned immediately.

But space captains are heroic sorts. Whatever harsh decisions the author puts in their background to prove their grit, this is still a story. This time will be different. Marilyn is the perfect, plucky sidekick-in-training; surely the pilot can figure out some way to save both her and the planet’s populace.

No. There is no solution. She says her goodbyes and is ejected, with “a slight waver to the ship as the air gushed from the lock, a vibration to the wall as though something had bumped the outer door in passing, then there was nothing and the ship was dropping true and steady again.”

The above is from Tom Godwin’s The Cold Equations. When it came out in Astonishing Science Fiction in August, 1954, it shocked the hell out of the magazine’s readership, used to the last-minute triumph of human ingenuity.

Godwin’s classic was only the beginning. The ensuing decades would see American sci-fi delve into realms unthinkable to its forebears. Desperate to shake off the genre “urinal,” as Kurt Vonnegut so succinctly termed it, writers first ditched one of the key assumptions: that the hero will always save the day. Maturity, in this view, meant uncomfortable truths. Often, it meant unhappy endings, not just for the protagonists, but frequently the entire world.

This is a scattershot story of how the bleak tomorrow came to reign, and how it changed our visions of the future.