Friday, June 30, 2006

It's hot.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Just finished John Vaillant's The Golden Spruce, one of the more hyped non-fiction books of the year, and the latest in the Krakauer school of naturalist/investigative journalism bestsellers.
The book is a good read, but surprisingly unsuccessful in it's attempts to peel back the layers of Grant Hadwin's psyche (something Krakauer did much better with Into the Wild's Christopher McCandless.) By the end of the book I was still scratching my head as to the nature of this guy's mentality, and not in a good way. Vaillant's research on Hadwin seems thin for a book of this size, and there are several "what the-?" moments because of it. The young, serious minded timber scout we are introduced to in chapter 3 is suddenly, in chapter 7, galivanting around Russia with a riding crop, spurs and a baseball cap festooned with needles and condoms. Vaillant offers up very little in way of explanation, or even conjecture, as to the reasons behind this massive shift in temperament.
The book is much stronger when it focuses on the history of the Queen Charlotte Islands, the logging industry, and above all, the natural world. Here's a sample passage that will resonate strongly with anyone who has ever canoed or kayaked the north coast:

"On the northwest coast, there is no graceful interval between the ocean and the trees; the forest simply takes over where the tidewrack ends, erupting full blown from the shallow, bouldered earth. The boundary between the two is unstable, and the sea will heave stones, logs, and even itself into the woods at every opportunity. In return, the roots of shore pine and spruce grope for a purchase on rocks better suited to limpets and barnacles while densely needled boughs cast shadows over colonies of starfish and sea anenomes. The air is at once rank and loamy with the competing smells of rotting seaweed and decaying wood. From the beach you can see as far as height and horizon will allow, but turn inland and you will find yourself blinking in a darkened room, pupils dilating to fill the claustrophobic void."

Saturday, June 24, 2006

100 Views - 52

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Glass With Tag, Victoria, B.C. 2006.

Several new photographs are now up on the site.

As usual, you may have to hit 'refresh' or 'reload' a few times to get the new stuff to appear.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

100 Views - 51

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Frank Zappa meets John Lofton on Crossfire in 1986. If you've never seen Zappa in a debate than this is required viewing, watch it now. Tom Braden and Robert Novak barely get a word in the whole time, while Lofton goes ballistic almost immediately. There is one point about halfway through where it looks like he might actually rise out of his chair and physically attack Zappa.
100 Views - 50
Thanks to everyone who has shown an interest in the series so far, especially Kyath Battie, Jim Affinito, Christopher Brayshaw, Maya Saxell and Adam Harrison.
Carrie Walker - Swan With It's Young

New York/Los Angeles

Saturday, June 17, 2006

The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.

Noam Chomsky, quietly sitting out his round of Hollywood Squares.

Friday, June 16, 2006

A big shout out to Paleface Dan, Frankie Flabs, Stretch Henderson, and all the rest of the "undesirables crew" at the Crystal Pool Late Night Swim! See you next week.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

More here.
I would not fight with hands or words
Another man – no, that's absurd
Or would I
and would victory betray me

Or is that what she's waiting on
A pounding down, one standing man
To kiss her in a blood embrace of victory

Or would I give her up at all
Because I know it could not be better
To live without what she provides
When we're alone and I undress her

Does she test me, does she know
That I would never turn and go
But fight another, if that's what she'd have me do

Janet: Charlie... I've been with another man.
Well aren't you gonna say anything?
You're just gonna sit there?
Oh Charlie, I didn't know when you were coming back or if you ever would.
I tell you the men around here don't respect anything.
If I told you all the guys that called me up...
And then Cliff,
He didn't make a pass at me.
I mean he didn't even... do it at all, Charlie.
I knew what he wanted, but...
he never did anything about it.
And then it just seemed like the two of us just had to.

Charlie: I don't think I'm up for any more of this.
Why don't you go to bed. We'll work this all out.

Janet: What are you gonna do?

Charlie: I'm just gonna sit here.

-Blood Embrasse, lyrics and sampling by Matt Sweeney with Bonnie Prince Billy. From the album "Superwolf."
The sampled conversation is from 1977's Rolling Thunder.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Robert Adams - West Edge of Denver, Colorado. Around 1980.

Some very interesting and inspiring audio files of Robert Adams talking about his work here. Check his explanation of the above photograph, and the short video on his newest work "Looking Back."
If you are in Victoria anytime between now and the 20th, drop by UVIC and check out my friend Trudi Smith's Waterton Archive, part of the longtime re-photography project.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

My friend Kyath Battie's very funny and very disturbing documentary film Fest is now up on Youtube in it's entirety.

Mountainfest, the largest outdoor country music festival in Canada, takes place in sunny Merritt, BC for 6 days every July– a spectacular event where people listen to the best of the best in country music & enjoy a multitude of fun, family activities.
Over the last thirteen years this festival has grown into more than just great music - it's an annual event where people come to meet others, see new things, hear new sounds and lasting friendships are cultivated.

Replace "family activities" with "gang rapes," and "lasting friendships" with "testosterone fueled violence" and you might be a little closer to imagining the reality of what goes on in Merritt over the course of the festival. It ain't pretty.
100 Views - 49

Thursday, June 08, 2006

100 Views - 48
A beautiful video for Smog's "Rock Bottom Riser" by Paul Mcneil and Brendan Cook, with imagery reminiscent of Jason Mclean, Marc Bell, Raymond Pettibon, Joan Miro.

Monday, June 05, 2006

That's me, bringin up the rear. My short film Kingsway is being shown at the Vancouver International Film Centre as part of The Infra-structural Image: Urban Projections from the Bay Area and Vancouver.

" exhibition and two evening film series which will present new media installation, video and experimental short film that explore the relationship between film, memory and perception in relation to the Bay Area and Vancouver urban environments."

If that sounds like your cup of tea, come on down.

Exhibition is June 9-July 2 at the Belkin Satellite, 555 Hamilton St.
Film and Video Series is June 19-20 - 7 p.m. - Vancouver International Film Centre, 1181 Seymour St.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

I am 35 years old today. Happy birthday to me. Happy Birthday also to Kyath Battie, my unofficial Canadian 'twin' (we were both born on this day in 1971.)
Thanks also to Kyath for sending me this "special personal baseball birthday message" from none other than Dave Stewart! (the baseball player, not the guy from eurthymics)
The tape, which lasts about 90 seconds, starts off with a bang. Dave hits a homer (from the sounds of it) and then tells me that he's heard great things about me and he knows I'm gonna go far, no matter what I decide to do in life. The audio quality then drops sharply and what sounds like an excerpt of an older interview with Dave begins. In it, Dave says that he never got presents as a kid, or surprise parties or cakes, or anything really. Just a card from the whole family saying happy birthday, and that was enough for him. Dave has a bit of trouble articulating himself here, as if the complexity of what he is trying to get across is a bit too much for him, and he ends up repeating himself a lot-especially the bit about "presents," which he hammers home so many times I started to think he might actually be speaking in code. Like those weird numbers stations you can pick up on the radio sometimes. This is the 'dark' part of the tape.
Luckily, things brighten up after that. The original Dave voice comes back on to wrap things up with a farewell " Happy Birthday!!" and the sound of Dave hitting another homer can be heard as the tape ends. (or is that maybe supposed to be the homer I am going to hit...with my life...?) Who knows. Sports celebrities are strange creatures who speak in their own rarified language about things we couldn't possibly hope to understand. We should just be happy to know that they are thinking of us.