Archive for November, 2005

Jean Eustache – Malick + Gordon Parks

Wednesday, November 30th, 2005

Jean Eustache was born on Nov 30 which he shares with a bunch of interesting characters – Terrence Malick, Gordon Parks, David Mamet, Mark Twain and Winston Churchill.
He was an inspirational figure who is only known in France and for this reason among many others, Jim Jarmusch dedicated his recent film “Broken Flowers” to Jean Eustache. (From here.)

Jean Eustache
“The Mother and the Whore” on the right and Jean Eustache on the left.

Desire and despair: the films of Jean Eustache (from Senses of Cinema)

Of Flesh, of Spirit: The Cinema of Jean Eustache (Harvard Film Archive)

“There are few directors who were masters at this kind of scale: Tarkovsky, Melville, and, I grudgingly admit, Eustache” (Waggish on Eustache)

The Santa Clause has blue eyes”
“Made with leftover film given to him by Jean-Luc Godard, Jean Eustache interwove the stock from the former director’s ‘Masculin/Feminin’ with his own 52-minute study of a group of young men in a small French province and their attempts to earn money and meet girls. Jean-Pierre Leaud (who starred in both films) is Daniel, the protagonist/narrator. As in the Doinel films by Truffaut, Leaud acts as a sort of alter ego figure for Eustache.”

“With his death, which was possibly a suicide, we lost one of the purest and original directors of contemporary French Cinema.”
(From “A Man with a Camera” by Nestor Almendros)

Nestor Almendros who shot “Mes Petites Amoureuses” for Eustache
went on to shoot “Days of Heaven” for Terrence Malick two years later. Nestor received an Oscar for cinematography.

Days of Heaven in
German titleTerrence MalickT. Malick
“Your eyes… Your ears… Your senses… will be overwhelmed.” The tagline for Days of Heaven (from Senses of Cinema)

Nestor is the link to two original filmmakers who share a birthday today (Nov 30).
Unlike tragic Eustache, Malick continues to enrich us with his vision and originality.

His new film ” The New World” is here at Yahoo. “Why is Colin Farrell in this film?” asked a reader in the comment section. (Christian Bale is in the film. )
Reverse shot’s review of “The New World” is here.
“So subjectively complex and structurally rich, Terrence Malick’s undoubtedly great new film deserves more space and consideration than this mere sneak preview can afford…”

The flicks of Terrence Malick, a webpage by a fan with interesting photos and trivia of Malick. Malick launched the career of Jim Caviezel with his “The Thin Red Lines”. Jim’s best film of his career, since then he has repeated Christ like figure in Gibson’s passion and now he has lost his freshness, has become a boring actor.

Flavio Gordon Parks Photo by Gordon Parks

Not related to Rosa Parks, like her he led an extraordinary life with his works as a photographer, filmmaker and a composer.. Read his biography and get inspired.

A Few Good Men –

Monday, November 28th, 2005

Sagittarius men
Match the names with the photos – William Blake, James Agee, Claude
Levi-Strauss and Asano Tadanobu.
It is easy to name Asano and Blake.
All these guys were born on Nov 27 and Nov 28.

Happy Birthday Jon!Jon Stewart Nov 28 1962
Guess who Jon Stewart shares a birthday with? He should be happy to be in a company of such great minds.
Jon is a Sagittarius/Tiger the Impulsive Pacesetter.
Sun and Moon in Sagittarius/Sagittarius –
The combination of your Sun sign and your Moon sign produces an explosive personality that is always on the go and very much involved. Mentally and physically you are a hair-trigger and rapid-fire type. You’re quick to play your hunches, and these impulses are generally fairly sound. You think in large terms.
You see things in abstract ideals and you live by your stern judgments, expecting others to likewise conform to your standards.
(read more from here. Scroll down for Sagittarius with Sagittarius Moon)

Some relevant links for your enjoyment:
James Agee was very handsome

Let us now praise the famous men

A Famous Man by David Denby (from the New Yorker)

Agee’s full and short life

Agee’s Gospel (from the Nation)

Asano Tadanobu, Tokyo Psycho and his own site here.

The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

Life & WorksWilliam Blake of William Blake (image source)

Claude Levi-Strauss says myth is actually on a more complex level than language. Myth shares with language the following characteristics:

1. It’s made of units that are put together according to certain rules.

2. These units form relationships with each other, based on opposites which provide the basis of the structure.

He concludes that the structural method of myth analysis brings order out of a mess. It provides a means to account for widespread variations on a basic myth structure, and is logical and scientific. This was important for the scientist in Levi-Strauss. He says that repetition, in myth as in oral literature, is necessary to reveal the structure of the myth. Because of this need for repetition, the myth is told in layer after layer. However, the layers aren’t the same, and it’s eventually shown that the myth “grows” as it is told, but the structure of the myth does not grow.

Language is a form of human reason, which has its internal logic of which man knows nothing.

The world began without man, and it will complete itself without him.
Claude Levi-Strauss

Fallen World – Pat Matsueda

Saturday, November 26th, 2005

Buy Nothing DayInfinite image of the day.
(Yesterday was the big protest day against consumer culture but I decided to extend the buy nothing day to one more day.)

Pat Mastsueda’s book of poems – Stray is coming out in January.

“Pat Matsueda was born in Fukuoka Prefecture in Japan, the daughter of a Japanese woman and a Japanese American soldier. She now resides in downtown Honolulu. In 1988, she received an Elliott Cades Award for Literature”.

“There are about three dozen poems in the book, and the styles and subjects vary quite a bit. Below is a short poem that you may want to consider; like many in the book, it draws on my life. ” (Via email)

Fallen World

What is no longer there
I can still see

Where shade was,
shadows fell
I still know
Where groves were,
white roots now
bind the earth

And all my young selves-
shamed, battered, raped-
still look through my eyes

and answer to my name

Pat Matsueda
You can “Stray”Stray and buy this.
More on her and a photo of Pat with her colleagues at
Kyoto Journal – Revealing The Invisible
Frank Stewart & Patricia Matsueda of Mãnoa, on expanding cultural horizons.

“PM: For me, a favorite issue is Silence to Light: Japan and the Shadows of War, which is all about Japan in WWII. A few of the pieces come from that period, and others were written afterwards. That is one of the most important issues that we have done, because the subject of the war is so large, complicated, and emotional. Japan’s behavior during WWII was really abominable, but if you read Silence to Light from cover to cover, you’ll see that the pieces arouse a lot of sympathy for the Japanese. They were victims of war too. Nicholas Voge’s translation of a group of letters written by kamikaze pilots to their families was reprinted in two British newspapers and in Harper’s magazine. Soon after 9/11 happened, we were contacted about reprinting them. I think people found those letters of great power and relevance.”

Manoa Journal linked at sidebar menu under “firelingue”.

Paintings – Fung Ching Kelling

Sunday, November 20th, 2005

Happy birthday, Fung-Ching.
Fung Ching is my sister and I showed her chine-colle print in my previous post.

Untitled painting by F.C. KellingFung Ching Kelling

Here are some painters my sister and I love.
See all pages to see their range and fluidity (Except for David Row the other three masters have been neglected and forgotten).

James Brooks here and here.

William Scott

Conrad Marca-Relli and here.

David Row and this page with text.

Apples, more applesApples by F.C.Kelling

Nov 21 was also a birthday for Rene Magritte. Check his apple and poems by Mark Young – blog poems dedicated to paintings by Magritte.

Untitled painting by F.C. KellingFung Ching Kelling

His interviews – Her Noise – & Their Exhibit

Wednesday, November 16th, 2005

Four interviews of William Gass
William Gass’ interview from Believer Magazine.
“But I do have a very conscious desire not to be academic. I’m antiacademic. I hate jargon. I hate that sort of pretension. I am a person who [commits] breaches of decorum—not in private life, but in my work. They are part of my mode of operation. That kind of playfulness is part of my nature in general. The paradox that, in a way, to take something very seriously, you can’t always be serious about it..” (via 3quarksdaily).

On Teaching and writing interviewed by Jan Garden Castro.
“Gass: I’m interested in making a self-contained system of concepts, ideas that will then define a kind of consciousness. It’s a way of inventing a consciousness by supplying someone with the structure and content of an experience. So I make that up and create that consciousness. It’s not a consciousness of the world; it’s a consciousness of the work.”
On Wittgenstein,
“The intellectual integrity he displayed was awesome, absolutely. I was watching not just a really great mind in operation but also an absolutely honest and pure intellect. I don’t think he was an honest and pure person, but he had that intellect, and you saw it. It was like seeing a great artist in operation—absolute scruple. No second-rate stuff would be permitted. That was really impressive. Again, it was an exemplification. Socrates embodies that way; I’m sure Spinoza must have. And Wittgenstein was the complete embodiment of that quest in himself.”

From Gadfly an interview on William Gass in 1998 – “The Tunnel may well be the greatest prose performance since Nabokov’s Pale Fire, but only the most stalwart readers will be able to last the full trip through Kohler’s anti‑Semitic, sexually-depraved and bathroom‑humor obsessed world. ”

“For instance, I can show in what way a sentence by Henry James “is” a spiral staircase. It has the same thought. And my mind works that way. (From Center for book culture – W.G interviewed by Arthur M. Saltzman)


Two art exhibit announcements via email
Received this notice via Paul Malone this morning.
“I’m making a series of 6 radio programmes for HER NOISE at South London Gallery.” Melanie Clifford.

Broadcast in London on Resonance 104.4fm and worldwide online/

South London Gallery 16.30 – 16.45 gmt Wednesday 16th; 23rd; 30th November; 7th; 14th; 21st December 2005.

The PearlC.Yuen Pearl
This announcement from Charles Yuen via email came from Brooklyn.
The Road So Far
Metaphor contemporary art
382 atlantic avenue, brooklyn, ny 11217
November 16 – December 18, 2005

Charles Yuen, Tricia Wright, Ilene Sunshine, Margaret Neill, Mary Judge, Mary Ting, Lissi Sigillo,
Julie Evans, Julie Gross, Stephen Nguyen, Martin Kruck, and Jung Hyang Kim.

Kojin Karatani – Sorekara – Soseki

Friday, November 11th, 2005

Karatani has been quite well known among the progressive readers in Japan. He will be getting more attention now that his book has been reviewed by Zizek. Here Shaviro of Pinocchio Theory has started reading Karatani’s Transcritique.

Karatani became known as a Thinking Machine after he wrote on Soseki – The Origins of Japanese Literature. (via the shortest entry from wikipedia).

Sorekara (top)Natsume Soseki Soseki as the face on 1000 Japanese yen (bottom).

“Natsume is the family name. Natsume Soseki’s given name is Kinnosuke. He chose Soseki which means “to rinse one’s mouth with stones.” It is unusual in Japanese tradition to refer to someone by their given name. But Natsume Soseki is always referred to as simply Soseki.

Lucky to have seen the film Sorekara in NY where Dick Cavett attended the screening. (To see Cavett out of depression and seeing him at a Japan House function was totally unexpected.)

From Politics, Philosophy, and Myth in Natsume Soseki’s First Trilogy

The author wrote, “Karatani compares Soseki’s use of the present tense with Albert Camus’ use of the indicative. Also, Soseki relied heavily on a narrator in his works. This is true for all of Soseki’s novels, according to Karatani, except his last two – Michikusa (Grass by the Wayside) and Meian (Light and Darkness). Soseki compared this approach “in every way” to that of haiku poetry. And this made his style distinctive; in other words, not borrowed from the West (Karatani 1993, 179-182). All three of the stories in Soseki’s first trilogy may be considered as “philosophical sketches.”

The Japanese reader here describes Karatani’s writing as “Hardboiled” liking him to Raymond Chandler and the Long Goodbye. Karatani plays the game of GO so he found out.

A short introduction to Karatani’s Architecture as Metaphor.

Koji who did the flash work (see sidebar menu under flash) for my Eggplant site told me about NAM about four or five years ago. NAM had dissolved since then.

What is NAM?
(The conclusion of NAM is here)

I Am A Cat – a film adaptation of famous Soseki’s novel by Ichikawa.
Kon Ichikawa also made “Kokoro” with Mori Masayuki the actor from Rashomon in 1955.
Koji sent me an email to let me know about the actor who was in
Sorekara – Yusaku Matsuda who died at the age of 40 and now enjoys a cult following like James Dean or Bruce Lee in Japan.
Here is a link Midnight Eye – all about Matsuda with lots of photos. Matsuda appeared in “Black Rain” with Michael Douglas and “Family Game” with Itami and directed by the same director who made “Sorekara”.

Hate in France + Albert Camus – Solitaire et Solidaire

Monday, November 7th, 2005

France has been in riot for over 10 days and ten years ago there was a powerful film that won the Cesar award called Hate (La Haine) depicting the impossible tension of class and racial divide that grip Parisian outskirts. (This film rated 100% at Rotten Tomatoes.)


Banlieues (the suburbs)

Since the late 1970s a `new problem’ emerged in French political debates: the problem of les banlieues (the suburbs). Since then les banlieues have become, in popular opinion, in the media and amongst France’s political élites, a stigmatized space of social fragmentation, racial conflict, (sub)urban decay, criminality and violence (Matthew Kassovites)

Today Doug Ireland gives us the run down in his blog.
Is France Burning?

Albert Camus was born on Nov 7, 1913.
Camus as a childAlbert Camus

“…The lovely warmth that reigned over my childhood freed me from all resentment. I lived on almost nothing, but also in a kind of rapture. I felt infinite strengths within me: all I had to do was find a way: in Africa, the sun and the sea cost nothing. The obstacle lay rather in prejudices or stupidity.” (Lyrical – from Essential writings of Albert Camus.)

“The Myth of Sysphus” by Albert Camus.

Solitaire et Solidaire – Russell Wilkinson talks to Catherine Camus about Albert Camus’ The First Man

A curious site with cartoon illustration in French about Albert Camus (just look at the pictures if you don’t read French).

Camus was a Scorpio Ox, another Bemused Behemoth, like Tilda Swinton and Vivien Leigh.

Edward Said and Tilda Swinton – Beauty and Brain

Saturday, November 5th, 2005

Happy Birthday Tilda Swinton.
Tilda shares the birthday (Nov 5) with another great English actress
Vivien Leigh.
The NYtimes on this day mentioned Vivien and forgot about Tilda.
Instead they featured Tatum O’neal with her photo.

Edward Said and Tilda Swinton

The above photo of Edward Said (from here), Photo Resources for Socialists 1 – People.

Edward Said was born on Nov 1 and he too was not included in the NY times column – (now competing with the National Enquirer).
I never finished reading his famous book “The Orientalism”. At least I tried. He was by far one of the most attractive intellectual/thinkers we have had. He was an Arab Christian.
(I did not know that there was such a thing until my visit to Israel and visited an area inhabited by Arab Christians).

Here are some links on Edward Said;
“He will always be my hero” “How they met and became friends for life – a Palestinian thinker and a Jewish conductor and a great pianist from Israel.”

Sound and vision: Edward Said was a great thinker. And it was music that made him tick. Daniel Barenbolm remembers his playing partner

Optimism of the Will Asad Raza’s fond memories of his great teacher. (from 3quarks daily).

Politics with Scholorship. Edward W. Said, 1935 – 2003 (More links on this page).

Edward Said adored Glenn Gould. Edward went to sleep forever August 2003.

Tilda Swinton (via)

Tilda Swinton was Sleeping Beauty in 1995, when she climbed inside a glass case at the Serpentine Gallery and dozed, eight hours a day, for Cornelia Parker‘s exhibit The Maybe. (from here).

In this interview Tilda said, “I sometimes think I was always left-wing,” she says.
She is brilliant and gifted with words, sample here from her eulogy to Derek Jarman.

Tilda was very funny in “Female Perversions” in which she played an uptight career woman not exactly like Maureen Dawd, Michiko Kakutani or Judith Miller but close enough.
She can play ordinary wife leading drab existence in films like “The Deep End” “The War Room” and ” The Young Adam”. Her lack of vanity is quite refreshing.

Both Tilda and Vivien Leigh are Scorpio Ox, the Bemused Behemoth.

Les Biller – Open Studio in L.A.

Tuesday, November 1st, 2005

Les Biller goes to the studio 7 days a week. If you can paint like a wizard you would too. Every first Sunday of the month his studio is open for visitors from 2 pm to 5 pm.

Mesa Road
Mesa Road


His early start as a writer is reflected in the choices of titles for his paintings. The titiles like The Russian Envoy, the Manchurian Candidate are often witty and allusive. While studying at the University of Hawaii Les met Sumiko from Japan and got married. He went to study in Japan under a Fullbright scholorship. Patterns from Kabuki theater, Japanese folding screens, Oscar statuettes and desperate housewives all collide in rich vibrant colors and presented in a coherent dramatic fashion. The Cry of the City series deal with darker themes of decay, fear and chaos of the sprawling freeways, wires, debris from the city of Angels.

“After the conclusion of the games Poppaea died from the casual outburst of a rage from her husband (Nero) who felled her with a kick when she was pregnant” Tacitus, Annals from the Book XVI

Les Biller
(Find the enlarged version from his homepage – Open Studio 2005 October. You can see the cute Oscar Statuette on the right hand column)
See more paintings and get the directions to his studio from his beautiful homepage.