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December 2004 Blog

On Expo - Film - In concert

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2004, Dec 31; 11:37 ::: Marie-Laure de Noailles (1902 - 1970)

Marie-Laure de Noailles via http://www.jeancocteau.net/01poete/intro02.htm [Dec 2004]

Marie-Laure, Vicomtesse de Noailles (31 October 1902 - 29 January 1970), was one of the 20th century's most daring and influential patrons of the arts, noted for her associations with Salvador Dalí, Balthus, Jean Cocteau, Man Ray, Jean-Michel Frank and others as well as her tempestuous life and eccentric personality.

She was born Marie-Laure Henriette Anne Bischoffsheim, the only child of Marie-Thérèse de Chevigné, a French aristocrat, and Maurice Bischoffsheim, a Paris banker of German Jewish and American Quaker descent. One of her great-great-great-grandfathers was the infamous Marquis de Sade, and her maternal grandmother, Laure de Sade, Countess de Chevigné, inspired at least one character in In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust. Her nephew, Count Philippe Lannes de Montebello, is presently (2004) the director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. And her stepfather was the French playwright Francis de Croisset.

After a brief romance with the artist Jean Cocteau, Marie-Laure Bischoffsheim married, in 1923, Arthur Anne Marie Charles, Vicomte de Noailles (1891-1981), a younger son of the Antonin-Just-Léon-Marie de Noailles, 5th duc de Mouchy. They had two daughters, Laure Madeleine Thérèse Marie (Mme Bertrand de La Haye Josselin) and Nathalie Valentine Marie (Mme Alessandro Perrone). --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marie-Laure_de_Noailles [Dec 2004]

L'Age d'Or/The Age of Gold (1930) - Luis Buñuel

L'Âge d'Or is a 1930 surrealist film directed by Luis Buñuel and written by Buñuel and Salvador Dalí.

The film was financed to the tune of a million francs by the nobleman Vicomte de Noailles, who commissioned a film every year for his wife's birthday. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L%27%C2ge_d%27Or [Dec 2004]

2004, Dec 30; 09:37 ::: Lautreamont and Sade (1949) - Maurice Blanchot

Lautreamont and Sade (1949) - Maurice Blanchot [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Product Description:
In "Lautréamont and Sade", originally published in 1949, Maurice Blanchot forcefully distinguishes his critical project from the major intellectual currents of his day, surrealism and existentialism. Today, Lautréamont and Sade, these unique figures in the histories of literature and thought, are as crucially relevant to theorists of language, reason, and cruelty as they were in post-war Paris.

"Sade’s Reason," in part a review of Pierre Klossowski’s "Sade, My Neighbor," was first published in "Les Temps modernes". Blanchot offers Sade’s reason, a corrosive rational unreasoning, apathetic before the cruelty of the passions, as a response to Sartre’s Hegelian politics of commitment.

"The Experience of Lautréamont," Blanchot’s longest sustained essay, pursues the dark logic of "Maldoror" through the circular gravitation of its themes, the grinding of its images, its repetitive and transformative use of language, and the obsessive metamorphosis of its motifs. Blanchot’s Lautréamont emerges through this search for experience in the relentless unfolding of language. This treatment of the experience of Lautréamont unmistakably alludes to Georges Bataille’s "inner experience."

Republishing the work in 1963, Blanchot prefaced it with an essay distinguishing his critical practice from that of Heidegger. --via Amazon.com

2004, Dec 29; Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion (1970) - Lee Kresel, Elio Petri

Indagine su un cittadino al di sopra di ogni sospetto/Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion (1970) - Lee Kresel, Elio Petri [IMDb.com]

2004, Dec 29; 14:01 ::: Swimming Pool (2003) - François Ozon

Swimming Pool (2003) - François Ozon [Amazon.com]

In terms of alluring female nudity, Swimming Pool shows a lot, but it's what remains concealed that gives this erotic thriller a potent, voyeuristic charge. With his Hitchcockian handling of secrets and lies, prolific French director François Ozon reunites with his Under the Sand star, Charlotte Rampling, to tell a seductive tale of murder and complicity, beginning when British mystery novelist Sarah Morton (Rampling) seeks peace and relaxation at her publisher's French villa, only to find his brash, sexually liberated daughter Julie (Ludivine Sagnier) arriving shortly thereafter to disrupt her solitary reverie. What begins as mutual annoyance turns into something more sinister and duplicitous, alternating between Julie's predatory sex with men and Sarah's observant, perhaps jealous fascination. These two women, generations apart, share in Ozon's delicate dance of trust, curiosity, and gradual understanding, until a twist ending that forces you to reevaluate everything you've seen. Only then will the mysteries of Swimming Pool be fully and tantalizingly revealed. (Note: The unrated version contains full-frontal nudity that's been edited from the rated version. In both versions, the overall plot is not affected.) --Jeff Shannon, Amazon.com

The Swimming Pool features a brief shot of Marquis de Sade's castle at Lacoste.

Lacoste (Vaucluse)
Village du Vaucluse à quelques kilomètres de Bonnieux, dont l'attraction principale réside dans le château rénové par Pierre Cardin et ayant appartenu au Marquis de Sade. --http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lacoste_%28Vaucluse%29 [Dec 2004]

2004, Dec 27; 19:05 ::: Cult of authorship

One of Shakespeare's strengths, Honan argues persuasively, was his ability to annihilate himself in his plays, or at least vividly imagine life from other perspectives--a talent manifested in his fully-formed female characters. He's not afraid to point out that Shakespeare had bad days; pasteboard figures spout clunky lines in some of his plays. Interestingly, the cult of authorship hadn't fully flowered in Shakespeare's time. Many plays evolved in rehearsals and performances, in give-and-take with actors and audiences, as rock songs often do nowadays. Playwrights of Shakespeare's time copied each other's ideas and rummaged through the past for inspiration, much like today's Hollywood screenwriters. Shakespeare: A Life reminds us that great art can be made amidst the hurly-burly of deadlines and commerce. --Dave Luhrssen http://www.shepherd-express.com/shepherd/20/18/night_and_day/books.html [Dec 2004]

In an article titled "The Photographic Activity of Postmodernism," Crimp explained how Levine had undermined a Modernist cult of authorship by demonstrating that images are as much found as made, and not found in nature but in other images. Even photographs, Crimp argued, are not about reality, but are about ideas, an unending chain of idealizing desires. Like Newhall, he too used a comparison of the Neils with ancient Greek sculpture, but for a different purpose: --http://www.ipce.info/library_3/files/higonnet_text.htm [Dec 2004]

2004, Dec 25; 16:14 ::: La Rupture (1970) - Claude Chabrol

La Rupture (1970) - Claude Chabrol [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

From the Back Cover
Helene is a good mother with a checkered past as a stripper and barmaid. She divorces her ne'er-do-well husband and her in-laws blame her for causing her husband's addiction and set out to remove their grandchild from Helene's custody. Thwarted by the courts, they hire a seedy penniless operative, Paul, to destroy her reputation. He moves into her rooming house and begins to insinuate himself into her life, hatching darker and more convoluted plots to implicate Helene. A harrowing thriller from France's master of suspense, LA RUPTURE ranks among Chabrol's finest works.

2004, Dec 25; 14:12 ::: The Toilet of Venus ('The Rokeby Venus') (1647-51) - Diego Velázquez

The Toilet of Venus ('The Rokeby Venus') (1647-51) - Diego Velázquez

March 10, 1914 - Suffragette Mary Richardson damages Velasquez painting Rokeby Venus in London’s national gallery with a meat chopper --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1914 [Dec 2004]

"The destruction wrought in the seven months of 1914 before the War excelled that of the previous year. Three Scotch castles were destroyed by fire on a single night. The Carnegie Library in Birmingham was burnt. The Rokeby Venus, falsly, as I consider, attributed to Velázquez, and purchased for the National Gallery at a cost of £45,000, was mutilated by Mary Richardson. Romney's Master Thornhill, in the Birmingham Art Gallery, was slashed by Bertha Ryland, daughter of an early Suffagist. Carlyle's portrait of Millais [sic] in the National Portrait Gallery, and numbers of other pictures were attacked, a Bartolozzi drawing in the Doré Gallery being completely ruined. Many large empty houses in all parts of the country were set on fire, including Redlynch House, Sommerset, where the damage was estimated at £ 40,000. Railway stations, piers, sports pavilions, haystacks were set on fire. Attempts were made to blow up reservoirs. A bomb exploded in Westminster Abbey, and in the fashionable church of St George's, Hanover Square, where a famous stained-glass window from the Malines was damaged ... One hundred and forty-one acts of destruction were chronicled in the Press during the first seven months of 1914." --Emmeline Pankhurst's daughter Sylvia Pankhurst's account of the history of the suffragette movement

2004, Dec 25; 12:44 ::: Desire Unlimited: The Cinema of Pedro Almodovar (2000) - Paul Julian Smith

Desire Unlimited: The Cinema of Pedro Almodovar (2000) - Paul Julian Smith [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

First sentence:
"A young woman returns to a seminary in rural Extremadura dressed as Dietrich in The Devil Is a Woman..." (more)

From Publishers Weekly
A thoughtful scholar and evident fan, Smith situates the nine feature films of Spanish director Almodovar within the shifting politics of post-Franco Spain, international debates about gender and sexuality, and the codes of Hollywood (particularly slasher films, melodramas and work by Douglas Sirk, Frank Tashlin and Alfred Hitchcock). Almodovar's films, he argues, seek "truth in travesty," partly by calling attention to cinematic artifice and representing gender and sexuality as stylized performance. Smith also contextualizes Almodovar's work, comparing its reception in Spain to that in other European countries and America--though a consideration of other Spanish-speaking markets might have been even more enlightening. He notes, for example, that Spanish audiences particularly appreciate the casting of straight actor Antonio Banderas in a gay role and of "genuine girl" Carmen Maura as a transsexual, communicating "a certain bracketing of gender identity" that might be missed elsewhere. Smith points out that Anglo-American critics consumed with the supposed misogyny of Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! missed the important theme of addiction. Although Smith's prose, informed by the psychoanalytic discourse of linguistics and feminist theory, occasionally threatens to deflate the delightful flamboyance of his subject, and some of his arguments beg for further development, his essays present a finely observed, compelling case for the seriousness and complexity of a cinema dedicated to evoking "the fragility of sexual difference." Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Description:
Dialogue is action for me. I've often said it and it seems like a joke but it's not: in Europe we make films about people because it's cheaper to put two people in a living room talking than to make a film full of special effects.--Pedro Almodovar

The international success of his latest feature, All About my Mother, has finally granted Pedro Almodovar the recognition he deserves, as the most artistically ambitious and commercially consistent film-maker in Europe. Frequently comic, always visually glorious, his films range from the screwball comedy Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown to the classically austere Live Flesh. And, while questions of gender, nationality and sexuality are always Almodovar's concern, new subjects have been addressed in his more recent work: the corrosive effects of a deregulated media, the transition from dictatorship and, in All About my Mother, an uncompromising exploration of mourning. This new edition includes four additional chapters and new illustrations. The only study of its kind in English, it argues that beneath Almodovar's genius for comedy and visual pleasure lies a film-maker who deserves to be taken very seriously.

2004, Dec 25; 12:35 ::: Post-Franco, Postmodern : The Films of Pedro Almodovar (1995) - Kathleen M. Vernon, Barbara Morris

Post-Franco, Postmodern : The Films of Pedro Almodovar (1995) - Kathleen M. Vernon, Barbara Morris [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

From Book News, Inc.
Raises the criticism of Almod<';o>var's films from catalogues of characters and plot elements to an exploration of their place in the social, historical, technological, national, and international contexts of a Spain in which Franco remains dead. Especially targeting American viewers and scholars, the 11 essays explore homosexuality, melodrama, matricide and mother love, and other aspects of specific films; and the audience response to his movies generally. Annotation copyright Book News, Inc. Portland, Or.

Product Description:
The films of Pedro Almodovar have demonstrated great crossover appeal in their ability to attract both mainstream and marginal audiences and to command critical as well as commercial success. The contributors to this anthology of critical essays seek, through close readings of the director's 10 feature films, to analyze the multiple contexts of Almodovar's phenomenal international success. This volume offers a corrective to the glib approaches that have dominated previous discussions of Almodovar's films, which have treated them, on the one hand, as simply the latest contribution to the travel poster image of passionate, "romantic Spain," or, on the other, as historical joyrides through the global pop culture scene. As the first comprehensive study of Almodovar's cinema to be published in North America, the book is also noteworthy for the range of critical and theoretical methodologies that the contributors bring to the study of his works. Drawing upon disciplines that run from psychoanalysis, feminism, queer theory, film and media studies, and cultural theory to the empirical study of audience response, the authors nevertheless share a concern to illuminate the specifically Spanish context of the director's films. While this volume serves the important function of introducing American audiences to post-Franco Spanish culture, it also pursues the complementary goal of projecting contemporary Spain into the critical debate on the forms and functioning of postmodern culture and society.

2004, Dec 25; 12:08 ::: Schizopolis (1996) - Steven Soderbergh

Schizopolis (1996) - Steven Soderbergh [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Both a kind of home movie and a salute to the hip, pop-up sketch comedy of 1960s-early 1970s television--Laugh-In, Monty Python's Flying Circus, that sort of thing--Schizopolis is a hit-and-miss series of dada gags with vaguely connecting threads of Kafkaesque paranoia. Soderbergh himself stars as two people--one an ineffective dentist, the other a speechwriter for a cult movement called Eventualism, which has set out to "question all answers"--connected by their romances with the same woman, played by Soderbergh's real-life ex, Betsy Bramley. There isn't so much a story as a series of bits in which these characters often (though not necessarily) turn up, from press conferences on the subject of horse urination to old footage of nudists to a scene of an Eventualist exchange between husband and wife: "Generic greeting!" "Generic greeting returned!" None of this leads to a literal point, but after a while an undercurrent of disease about making sense of the modern world becomes apparent beneath the jokes. Soderbergh (sex, lies, and videotape, Out of Sight) is certainly a filmmaker who goes his own way in life, always hitting his target in one spot or another and occasionally getting a bull's-eye for his trouble. Schizopolis is no bull's-eye, and it has just as many detractors as admirers, but it's impossible not to appreciate Soderbergh's conviction that making a film out on the fringes is a worthy endeavor. --Tom Keogh

Schizopolis is an experimental comedy film directed by Steven Soderbergh in 1996. Its title is a portmanteau of "schizophrenia" and "metropolis."

Although the film does not have a specific linear plot, a skeleton of structure exists: the film's main character is Fletcher Munson (played by Soderbergh himself), an office employee working under T. Azimuth Schwitters, the leader of a self-help company/religion/lifestyle known as Eventualism, a clear reference to L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology.

When Munson's co-worker Lester Richards (a reference to Soderbergh's idol and mentor, filmmaker Richard Lester) unexpectedly dies, Munson must take his job as speechwriter for Schwitters. His personal life suffers because of his work, and he becomes emotionally detached from his wife, who is engaged in an affair with Dr. Jeffrey Korchek, a conservative dentist who is a perfect doppelganger of Munson.

Meanwhile, Elmo Oxygen, a bug exterminator, beds lonely housewives while experiencing a rise to fame as a semi-celebrity prima donna. Also included are interludes with a half-naked man chased by mental hospital orderlies; a pompous social commentator; and news reports concerning the sale of Rhode Island.

Ultimately, the film has no definitive meaning - at the opening of the film, Soderbergh jokes, "everything in this film makes perfect sense, and if there's anything that you don't understand, it's your fault, not ours." Several interpretations have been theorized, including lack of communication - Munson and his wife only engage in templates of speech, such as "Generic greeting!" and "Generic greeting returned!" Also suggested is the idea of social restraint versus internal thought - at Lester Richards's funeral, the priest begins the eulogy: "Lester Richards is dead, and aren't you glad it wasn't you." However, such interpretations should only be taken lightly, as it is a clearly experimental and avant-garde film, as illustrated by a short message in the middle of the film stating, "IDEA MISSING."

Shot for US$250,000, Schizopolis was given limited theatrical release, considered too odd for the mainstream crowd. However, the film has found a devout audience in those who enjoy the avant garde, and was recently included in the Criterion Collection as #199. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schizopolis [Dec 2004]

2004, Dec 24; 01:09 ::: Modernism and Music : An Anthology of Sources (2004) - Daniel Albright

Modernism and Music : An Anthology of Sources (2004) - Daniel Albright [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

From the Inside Flap
If in earlier eras music may have seemed slow to respond to advances in other artistic media, during the modernist age it asserted itself in the vanguard. Modernism and Music provides a rich selection of texts on this moment, some translated into English for the first time. It offers not only important statements by composers and critics, but also musical speculations by poets, novelists, philosophers, and others-all of which combine with Daniel Albright's extensive, interlinked commentary to place modernist music in the full context of intellectual and cultural history.

First Sentence:
Terms such as "modern" and "Modernism" seem to possess a certain security, even prestige, but they were long regarded with suspicion.

2004, Dec 24; 15:03 ::: Music of Changes (1951) - John Cage

The modern music would, in turn, give rise to postmodernism. Daniel Albright (2004) cites John Cage's 1951 composition of Music of Changes as the beginning of post-modern music. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modernism_%28music%29 [Dec 2004]

2004, Dec 24; 01:09 ::: Roald Dahl's Tales of the Unexpected

Roald Dahl's Tales of the Unexpected (1979) - Various [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

The wicked wit of Roald Dahl's fiction is superbly adapted in the first two seasons of Tales of the Unexpected. Premiering on British TV in 1979, this first-rate anthology series had the added advantage of Dahl himself as host, introducing each 25-minute episode from a cozy English fireside and bringing his own dark, playfully macabre sensibility to the stories that followed. In the delicious tradition of O. Henry, the author's twisted sense of irony inspired superior adaptations from several of England's finest dramatists (most notably Ronald Harwood, Oscar®-winner for The Pianist), and in turn their teleplays attracted an impressive array of high-caliber British and American actors including John Gielgud, John Mills, Joseph Cotten, Gloria Grahame, Susan George, Julie Harris, Derek Jacobi, Michael Gambon, Elaine Stritch, Joan Collins, and many more.

Shot on videotape, these 25 episodes compensate for modest budgets by emphasizing excellence in dialogue, direction, and performance, all heightened by the sophisticated savagery of Dahl's cynical but never off-putting appreciation for the dark side of humanity. Unlike the mostly supernatural twists of The Twilight Zone, murder and other kinds of extreme misbehavior provide the motivation for these Tales, most of which deliver a highly refined sense of devious delight. For the final three episodes, Dahl generously includes other authors of his ilk including John Collier, whose story "Back for Christmas" inspires a particularly grisly scenario. Consistently high in quality, these overlooked gems deliver quintessentially British twists of fate, each worthy of a sly and devilish grin. --Jeff Shannon

Like his children’s books, Roald Dahl’s adult stories never fail to surprise, though they take more chilling flights of fancy. Darkly humorous and playfully macabre, each standalone episode in this acclaimed series is a brilliantly acted little gem of creepy delight. Episode casts feature a cavalcade of stars, including John Alderton, Joan Collins, Joseph Cotten, José Ferrer, Michael Gambon, Susan George, John Gielgud, Julie Harris, Derek Jacobi, John Mills, and Elaine Stritch. With introductions by Roald Dahl.

2004, Dec 22; 21:15 ::: Early cover versions

In the early days of rock and roll, many songs originally recorded by African American musicians were rerecorded by white artists, such as Pat Boone, in a more toned down style that lacked the hard edge of rock and roll, and vice versa. These cover versions were considered by some to be more palatable to parents, and white artists were more palatable to programmers at white radio stations. Also, many songs originally recorded by male artists were rerecorded by female artists, and vice versa. Such cover version is sometimes called a cross cover version. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cover_version#Early_cover_versions [Dec 2004]

2004, Dec 21; 18:15 ::: Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson (1990) - Camille Paglia

Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson (1990) - Camille Paglia [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson (1990, Yale University Press, 718 pp.) is Camille Paglia's first major work, and the work with the most scholarly focus: a survey of western literature with an emphasis on sexual decadence.

Paglia starts with a view of human nature wherein gender roles are heavily biologically determined, and views all of Western Culture through this lens: all art either embraces the natural or struggles in denial against it.

Throwing in her lot with Hobbes and Dionysus, she follows in the tradition of a work like Nietzsche's The Birth of Tragedy, where engaging assertion and overstatement are more important than rigorously proving a case. She argues passionately, with poetic flair: for her, human sexuality is dark, cruel, sadistic, powerful, daemonic, perverse, murky, decadent, pagan...

The bulk of the work is a survey of western literature from this point of view, with emphasis on: Spenser, Shakespeare, Rousseau, de Sade, Goethe, Blake, William Wordsworth, Coleridge, Lord Byron, Shelley, Keats, Honoré de Balzac, Théophile Gautier, Baudelaire, Huysmans, Emily Brontë, Swinburne, Walter Pater, Oscar Wilde, Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Walt Whitman, Henry James, and Emily Dickinson.

From the first chapter:

The Bible has come under fire for making woman the fall guy in man's cosmic drama. But in casting a male conspirator, the serpent, as God's enemy, Genesis hedges and does not take its misogyny far enough. The Bible defensively swerves from God's true opponent, chthonian nature. The serpent is not outside Eve but in her. She is the garden and the serpent.

To the last:

Even the best critical writing on Emily Dickinson underestimates her. She is frightening. To come to her directly from Dante, Spenser, Blake, and Baudelaire is to find her sadomasochism obvious and flagrant. Birds, bees, and amputated hands are the dizzy stuff of this poetry. Dickinson is like the homosexual cultist draping himself in black leather and chains to bring the idea of masculinity into aggressive visibility.

Paglia writes much that is debatable, but also much that is thought-provoking. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexual_Personae [Dec 2004]

2004, Dec 21; 12:02 ::: Popular culture videoclips

Check the Videodrome and Man with a Movie Camera clips. -- http://www.columbia.edu/itc/tc/cstudies/gvlist.html [Dec 2004]

2004, Dec 20; 23:39 ::: Stranger Than Paradise (1998) - Geoff Andrew

Stranger Than Paradise (1998) - Geoff Andrew [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

This is a study of the outsider directors who have come to dominate America's and Hollywood's creative output in the last two decades: the Coen Brothers; Hal Hartley; Todd Haynes; Jim Jarmusch; Spike Lee; Richard Linklater; David Lynch; John Sayles; Steven Soderbergh; Quentin Tarantino; and Wayne Wang. The book places these directors within the story of the growth of American independent film-making, and draws connections to their forerunners from the late-1960s and 1970s, influences such as Robert Altman, John Cassavetes, Roger Corman, and Martin Scorcese. As well as a chapter on each of the above 11 directors, the book provides a general assessment of the explosion of independent cinema in the States: mainstream mavericks (Tim Burton, John Dahl); new queer cinema (Rose Troche, Tom Kalin); black film-makers (Charles Burnett, John Singleton); women directors (Alison Anders, Maggie Greenwald); experimentors, imitators, cult figures, and a peripheral cast of hundreds from Steve Buscemi to Gus Van Sant. --via Amazon.com

2004, Dec 20; 22:24 ::: Hable con Ella/Talk to Her (2002) - Pedro Almodóvar

silent movie tribute scene where a man enters a lifesize doll of a woman --Hable con Ella/Talk to Her (2002) - Pedro Almodóvar

2004, Dec 20; 15:04 ::: Femina Ridens - The Frightened Woman (1969) - Piero Schivazappa

Dagmar Lassander and Phillipe Leroy in Femina Ridens

2004, Dec 20; 12:11 ::: The Pornographer (2001) - Bertrand Bonello

The Pornographer (2001) - Bertrand Bonello [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Amazon.co.uk Review
An art house movie that asks questions about the morality of art both on and off screen, The Pornographer is a hard-hitting yet strangely unmoving film. Very much a product of the French school of intellectual cinema, the filmmaker of the title is Jacques Laurent (played by Jean Pierre Leaud), a one-time director of adult films who, finding himself down on his luck, is forced to return to his old medium. Far from being a gaudy Boogie Nights style exposé of an unknown world, the film focuses on Laurent's inner turmoil and his rapidly disintegrating relationship with his wife, as well as his restored one with his son Joseph (Jeremie Renier). Director Betrand Bonello handles this material well, if overdoing the art house clichés a little, but the problem with the film (or for some its strong point) comes with the fairly hardcore sex scenes, presented as part of Laurent's movie. While intended to reflect the emptiness of the character's soul, it is hard to see past them as just an attention-grabbing device. Then again, can a film about pornography legitimately not feature sex? One suspects that this debate will run and run and, in its way, The Pornographer has much to say on the subject.

On the DVD:
The Pornographer's intended release fell foul of the BBFC, who objected to one particularly explicit scene, a continuing argument that provides much of the material for the DVD's extra features. There is a reproduction of the BFFC ruling, a statement in reply from Bonello (which demonstrate the similarities he shares with his fictional counterpart, certainly when it comes to a vision of erotica) and an excellent essay from critic Pierre Perrene. In addition there are biographies, the cinematic trailer and an option to view the film with or without English subtitles. Whatever the moral questions involved, Bonello's film is a visual treat and his stylish eye is well represented by this format. --Phil Udell

Jacques, a filmmaker, struggles to get out of directing adult movies...

2004, Dec 20; 12:05 ::: Jag - en kvinna/I, A Woman (1965) - Mac Ahlberg

Jag - en kvinna/I, A Woman (1965) - Mac Ahlberg [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

2004, Dec 20; 11:48 ::: Cruising (1980) - William Friedkin

Cruising (1980) - William Friedkin [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Sexual thriller with Al Pacino as a young cop who must go undercover as a gay 'cruiser' in New York City. There's a homicidal homophobe on the streets, brutally killing gay men, and it's up to Pacino to stop him. Shot on location in several gay bars of the era.

2004, Dec 20; 11:35 ::: Las edades de Lulú/The Ages of Lulu (1989) - Almudena Grandes

The Ages of Lulu () - Almudena Grandes [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

From Publishers Weekly
Set in Madrid, this luridly inventive first novel strives to shock but instead proves that a woman's quasi-pornographic erotic fiction can be as mechanical, repetitive, graphic and cerebral as men's contribution to the genre. The story follows the sexual awakening of narrator Lulu, seduced at age 15 by an old family friend, Pablo, who poses as her guardian and then as her father, and who ultimately marries her. Echoes of Sade and The Story of O abound as Lulu has sex with her schoolmistress; enjoys a threesome with Pablo and a transvestite; obsessively beds homosexual men; is blindfolded, tied down and gang-raped; and then is raped by her brother Marcelo. Lulu's struggle to free herself of brutal, alcoholic Pablo's smothering grip, and her fitful concern for her small daughter, Ines, who seems utterly lost and insignificant amid the assorted sexual frenzies, are perfunctory plot elements in an overly busy narrative that reveals an almost fetishistic obsession with sadomasochism, bondage, oral sex, sodomy, depilation, masturbation, voyeurism and so forth. Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal
This first-person narrative follows the modern sexual exploits of Lulu, beginning with her teenage sexual initiation with her brother's older friend Pablo and continuing up to her mid-thirties. Lulu, whose experiences seem to come from the pen of the Marquis de Sade, is totally obsessed and dominated by Pablo. Despite Pablo's compulsive involvement with young girls, they marry and have a daughter named Ines. Lulu seeks her own sexual gratification, which involves transvestites, prostitution, sodomy, and sadomasochism. A nightmarish party, orchestrated by Pablo, accompanied by a variety of violent and sadistic episodes concludes this debut work of erotica that comes from a world of fantasy where our present-day fear of AIDS and other diseases doesn't exist. Although Grandes's writing is serviceable, the plot is not very compelling, and the characterizations are shallow even by erotica standards. The pornographic descriptions may offend many readers. Not essential for most collections. --David A. Berona, Westbrook Coll. Lib., Portland, Me., Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

2004, Dec 17; 01:08 ::: Cult Movie Stars (1991) - Danny Peary

2004, Dec 17; 01:08 ::: Letter from an Unknown Woman

2004, Dec 19; 14:13 ::: Pauvre Belgique

Fusées ; Mon coeur mis à nu ; La Belgique déshabilleé: Suivi de Amoenitates Belgique () - Charles Baudelaire [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Lorsqu'il meurt le 31 août 1867, à quarante-six ans, Baudelaire emporte avec lui, entre autres promesses déçues, celle de raconter sa vie - de venger sa vie. Les fragments qui nous sont parvenus de cette entreprise parallèle, de confession et de colère, se rassemblent autour de trois oeuvres en projet : Fusées, où l'intention autobiographique n'apparaît encore qu'en filigrane ; Mon coeur mis à nu, où s'affirme avec violence le malaise de l'ambiguïté - se tourner vers soi ou contre les autres ; La Belgique déshabillée, cette "pauvre Belgique" dont on présente ici le dossier complet et qui eût pris la forme d'un pamphlet dirigé contre les Belges et, à travers eux, contre le genre humain.

2004, Dec 17; 12:13 ::: Vinyl-masterpiece.com and PTG Records

Nighttime Lovers (2004) - VA [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Rare & sought-after R&B, funk, & soul 12 inches, as heard on Dutch radio's 'Ferry Maat's Soulshow', compiled on two CDs. Details TBA. PTG Records.

CD1 Downtown

1. L.J. Reynolds - Trust In Me (5:12) (Extended Mix) 1982
2. Change - Tell Me Why (5:00) 1983
3. High Fashion - You Satisfied My Needs (5:05) 1983
4. Blue Feather - Feelgood (6:04) (Extended Mix) 1985
5. B.B.&Q. Band - Time For Love (5:56) 1981
6. Barbara Mitchell - Get Me Through The Night (6:41) (Extended Mix) 1984
7. Dayton - Meet The Man (6:23) (Extended Mix) 1982
8. Mccrarys - Love On A Summernight (5:55) (Extended Mix) 1982
9. Deep - A Good Thing Is So Hard To Find (4:02) 1985
10. Gladys Knight & The Pips - When Your Far Away (6:40) (Extended Mix) 1983

CD2 Uptown
1. Chocolate Milk - Lets Go All The Way (5:45) (1981)
2. Colorblind - Crazy (6:03) (Extended Mix) (1984) - Sample
3. Mystic Merlin - Mr. Magician (5:59) (Extended Mix) (1982) - Sample
4. O'Brian - Right From The Start (5:21) (1982)
5. Beau Williams - All Because Of You (6:01) (Extended Mix) (1986) - Sample
6. A Taste Of Honey - Sayonara (5:25) (Extended Mix) (1982) - Sample
7. Lilo Thomas - Your Love's Got A Hold On Me (6:21) (1984)
8. Network - Pump It Up (6:21) (1984)
9. Centerfold - Admit It (5:33) (1988)
10. The Limit - Miracles (4:07) (1985)

Our passion is the dance music from the eighties, especially the funk disco classics. Our goal is to distribute our (and hopefully your) favourite 12 inches and albums in the best possible way. Firstly we will distribute the really hard to find albums on vinyl and 12 vinyl singles. All vinyl albums are also available on CD. All our items are re-issues, which are available in a limited edition only.

Since last year www.vinyl-masterpiece.com has set up a co-operation with PTG Records. www.vinyl-masterpiece.com will distribute all products of PTG Records, a label which is specialised in re-issues of disco funk classics of the eighties. PTG Records will release both their vinyl and CD re-issues on several different labels.

With every release PTG records will do its outmost best to guarantee the highest quality possible. All music will be digitally remastered according to the latest technology in the best studios. PTG records press their vinyl and CD's in factories, which deliver the highest quality. All vinyl releases of PTG Records are 180 grams with a luxury polybag inside and are completely sealed. All CD releases of PTG records come in a luxury Digipack and are also sealed. This will ensure that you can enjoy the great dance music of the eighties in a maximum quality.

Everybody who frequently searches for hard to find dance classics will find at some point bootlegs or other illegal material. To be clear on this: vinyl-masterpiece.com will not distribute vinyl- or CD- bootlegs. One of the reasons of our co-operation with PTG Records is they will not press records without permission of the original owners. PTG Records and www.vinyl-masterpiece.com have the opinion that it is not more than logical that copyrights and royalties should be paid to the original writers and composers. We should be thankful for the great music they wrote and produced and it is an honour for us that we can distribute their music. --http://www.vinyl-masterpiece.com/ [Dec 2004]

2004, Dec 16; 00:55 ::: Jeanne Duval

The colored woman was Jeanne Duval, lifelong lover of Charles Baudelaire, actress in a very small theatre.

Jeanne Duval was de minnares van Charles Baudelaire. Er is weinig bekend over de mulatin die vanaf 1842 in het leven en het oeuvre van de Franse dichter Baudelaire spookte. Baudelaire leerde haar kennen na zijn opgelegde reis naar Frans Indië. Ze woonde in de Rue de la Femme-Sans-Tête en was actrice in een klein theater. Charles en Jeanne begonnen een stormachtig, levenslang durende relatie die inspiratie zou zijn voor talloze gedichten, waarvan Le serpent qui danse en Parfum Exotique de bekenste zijn.

Voor Charles was Jeanne zowel engel als demon, de perfecte incarnatie van de sensuele vrouw. Een verleidster die gevaarlijk is, ontrouw en die de ziel verontrust van de dichter die gevangen zit in een zinnelijk passie waar hij volkomen van afhankelijk is. --http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeanne_Duval [Dec 2004]

2004, Dec 16; 00:16 ::: Her gross conduct

He had for many years a liaison with a colored woman, whom he helped to the end of his life in spite of her gross conduct. --1911 Encyclopedia Britannica

I realize that as far as 1924 African Americans referred to themselves as colored, which is evident from this poem by African American literary figure Jessie Redmon Fauset :

"The Complex of color...every colored man feels it sooner or later. It gets in the way of his dreams, of his education, of his marriage, of the rearing of his children." --Jessie Redmon Fauset, There is Confusion (1924)

What draws my attention is her gross conduct. Charles Baudelaire's work has undergone serious re-evaluation. At the time of his writing he was considered by many to be merely a drug addict and a very vulgar author. Today, his importance as a literary figure, however, is rarely in dispute.

I hope the same re-evaluation will happen to the colored woman and the way she is presented. For after all, if she was worth to be mentioned in 1911 for her gross conduct, she should be worth to be mentioned for the role she did play in his conduct [Dec 2004]

--http://www.1911encyclopedia.org/B/BA/BAUDELAIRE_CHARLES_PIERRE.htm via LoveToKnow™ Free Online Encyclopedia (http://1911encyclopedia.org) World Wide Web edition. This appears to be a raw, unproofread OCR-scanned version, and so contains many errors and no illustrations. However, it is gratis and text-searchable. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1911_Encyclop%E6dia_Britannica [Dec 2004]

2004, Dec 15; 23:34 ::: The Gaze

Un regard Oblique (1948) - Robert Doisneau

--http://www.staleywise.com/collection/doisneau/doisneau_1.html [Dec 2004]

2004, Dec 15; 11:38 ::: Carl Hajdu aka "Dr Charlotte Bach" (1920-81)

"Dr Charlotte Bach" (1920-81) was one of the Twentieth Century's most extraordinary characters. Philosopher, con artist, Baron, prostitute, prophet, jailbird, embezzler, Mayfair psychotherapist, journalist, author, petty thief, cult figure, transvestite, philanderer, shaman, founder of a radical new theory of evolution.

Character' is an apt description - her name was not Charlotte Bach, she was not a doctor, nor was she a 'she.

"Dr Charlotte Bach" was the invention of Carl Hajdu, son of a poor Budapest tailor. Hajdu fled his native Hungary after the Soviet occupation in 1948. It was not the first time Hajdu had re-invented himself in his quest for identity, but "Charlotte" was his most successful 'character'. In what was undoubtedly one of the most remarkable cross-dressing performances in history.

Hajdu's masquerade convinced everyone who encountered him during the last twelve years of his life: writers, artists, film-makers, academics, leading figures in the Gay Movement, even fellow transvestites.And out of "her" experience, Charlotte evolved a radical new theory of evolution, a theory so difficult no one could understand it, a theory whose slogan "Sexual Deviation Is The Mainspring of Evolution" was so provocative - and so much misunderstood - that few even bothered to try.

"Charlotte" is the subject of a recently-published biography by the journalist, broadcaster and writer Francis Wheen (author of the highly-acclaimed bestseller "Karl Marx") and also of a film-in-progress by Malachite Productions --http://www.charlottebach.com/ [Dec 2004]

Who Was Dr.Charlotte Bach? (2002) - Francis Wheen [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

In 1971 a curious new character appeared on the London academic scene, her name was Charlotte Bach. She was a former lecturer at the University of Budapest and she had a new theory of sex and evolution. At the height of her cult status, she would be compared to Einstein and Freud. Francis Wheen unravels the bizarre life story of an elusive Hungarian with a genius for deception. Academic, aristocrat, "agony aunt", prostitute, hypnotherapist, dominatrix - who really was Charlotte Bach? --via Amazon.co.uk

Francis Wheen unravels the bizarre life story of an elusive Hungarian with a genius for deception, who made the remarkable transition from Magyar peasant to leading female sexologist, and who became one of the leading lights of the London academic scene in the early 70s. There will be a }Guardian Weekend{ serial, radio interviews and a London-based series of author events to support. --via Amazon.de

2004, Dec 15; 11:18 ::: The Misfits: A Study of Sexual Outsiders (1988) - Colin Wilson

The Misfits: A Study of Sexual Outsiders (1988) - Colin Wilson [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

From Publishers Weekly
True pornography began in the mid-1700s with Samuel Richardson's voyeuristic novels Pamela and Clarissa , in Wilson's odd estimate. The author of The Outsider , etc., further maintains that sexual perversions such as those catalogued by Richard von Krafft-Ebing scarcely existed before 1740; only after Romanticism unleashed modern imaginations did sexual deviance flourish, he asserts. The "sexual outsiders" whose deliciously naughty doings are chronicled in this thought-provoking, entertaining mishmash are men who used libido as rocket fuel to escape the body's confines and soar toward higher consciousness. They include Swinburne and T. E. Lawrence, both of whom liked to be flogged; Yukio Mishima, trapped inside his womb-like subjective world; Byron, titillated by an incestuous affair with his half-sister; egoist Henry Miller; and guilt-ridden, promiscuous homosexual Ludwig Wittgenstein. Wilson's starting-point is Charlotte Bach (born Carl Hajdu), a Hungarian male transvestite of whose farfetched theory of eros and evolution the author makes too much as he hammers home his thesis that sex resides as much in the heart and the imagination as in the loins. Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Samuel Richardson (August 19, 1689 - July 4, 1761) was an eighteenth century writer best known for his two epistolary novels - Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded, an epistolary novel (1740) and Clarissa (1748). --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samuel_Richardson [Dec 2004]

Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded is a novel by Samuel Richardson, first published in 1740. The name, "Pamela", now a popular forename in English-speaking countries, was invented by Richardson. The novel is in epistolary form, consisting of letters and a diary.

The heroine, Pamela Andrews, is a maid, whose master makes unwanted advances towards her. She rejects him until he shows his sincerity by proposing to her. The remainder of the book is concerned with her efforts to become accepted in upper-class society and builds a successful relationship with her husband.

The story was widely mocked at the time for its perceived sexual hypocrisy, and it inspired Henry Fielding to write two parodies, Shamela (about Pamela's less virtuous sister) and Joseph Andrews (which exposes the hypocrisy by keeping the plot but switching the sexes of the protagonists). --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pamela [Dec 2004]

2004, Dec 15; 10:44 ::: Tijuana Bibles : Art and Wit in America's Forbidden Funnies, 1930s-1950s (1997) - Bob Adelman, Art Spiegelman

Tijuana Bibles : Art and Wit in America's Forbidden Funnies, 1930s-1950s (1997) - Bob Adelman, Art Spiegelman [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

When Robert Crumb, S. Clay Wilson, Gilbert Shelton, and other Bay Area misfits first started producing "underground" comics in the '60s, they were considered to be highly innovative in their use of frank sexual themes. However, some 10 to 15 years before they commenced their explicit, often offensive cartoons, another genre of pornographic graphics was dying out, the so-called "Tijuana Bibles" (or sometimes "Cuban Bibles," "French Bibles," etc.). Simon & Schuster has released a collection of these antique obscenities that often featured famous political, show business, or cartoon figures having more fun than mainstream censors would have allowed. The introduction, by comic book apologist and New Yorker comics editor Art Spiegelman, is an amusing and sarcastic look at the history of this lost medium, with some interesting reflections on the genre, noting that "Though there are bound to be those who will loudly declaim that the Tijuana Bibles demean women, I think it important to note that they demean everyone ... it's what cartoons do best." While the reprinted comic strips are often amusing in being laughingly bad, the historical essays and asides by editor Bob Adelman provide fascinating historical context. A sociology of mid-century sexual mores and the love/hate relationship that Americans have with their celebrities is evinced by the combination of reprint and commentary.

Product Description:
Hidden in a corner among the great sacred texts of the world lies a series of exuberantly ribald underground comics known as the Tijuana Bibles. Iconoclastic, hilarious, and sexy, these anonymous little books, written from the 1930s through the 1950s, are revered among scholars and aficionados of American folk art, and devotees of comics as well as collectors of erotica. The primitive energy of their vigorous, often crude line, combined with their gonzo sensibilities, has given the Bibles a tremendous if largely unacknowledged influence on such talents as Art Spiegelman, Robert Crumb, and Lenny Bruce.

Comic strips in general were an American phenomenon, and at their zenith the Sunday funnies were as important as breakfast. But the anonymous creators of the Tijuana Bibles turned the saccharine tradition of the comics on its head, cheerfully savaging every sacred cow in the pasture in their pursuit of satire and sex. Political leaders, cartoon heroes, storybook legends, and American folk icons -- no one was safe from the glowering wit and smutty irreverence of these eight- and sixteen-page booklets, cranked out illicitly in basements and sold under counters across the country. From Donald Duck, Al Capone, and Greta Garbo to Lou Gehrig, Mahatama Gandhi, and the Fuller Brush Man, the pure and the impure were burlesqued with equal inspiration.

Aboveground for the first time, these subverive comic masterworks are presented here in all their brilliant and raunchy glory. Author Bob Adelman reviewed almost 1,000 of the Tijuana Bibles before selecting 100 of the most lively and important examples of the genre. The book opens with an introductory essay by Art Spiegelman, America's most famous comic artist and a man who proudly acknowledges the impact these rollicking and scandalous little booklets have had on his own work.

Paging through reproductions of the Bibles, the reader discovers that there is more to the Tijuana Bibles than good dirty fun. Indeed these tremendously entertaining comics also tell us fascinating things about American attitudes toward celebrity, about the hypocrisy of certain social and political values, and about the hypocrisy of certain social and political values, and about the ability of artists working outside the establishment of effectively tweak its sensibilities in a way few others can. For anyone who believes irreverence can be patriotic and sex can be just plain fun, Tijuana Bibles showcases American comic art at its untamed finest.

2004, Dec 15; 00:20 ::: The Monk (1796)- Matthew Lewis

The Monk (1796)- Matthew Lewis [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

The story concerns Ambrosio, a monk in Spain and a famous preacher, who is undone by the love of Matilda, his pupil. In order to carnally possess her, Ambrosio sells his soul to Satan. In the middle of telling this story, however, Lewis is frequently lured into further digressions, which serve to heighten the Gothic atmosphere of the tale while doing little to move along the main plot. A lengthy story about a "Bleeding Nun" is told, and many incidental verses are introduced. A second romance, between Lorenzo and Antonia, whom Ambrosio also lusts after, is introduced; there is a tale of a person being buried alive after feigning death. Eventually, however, the story catches back up with Ambrosio, and in several pages of impassioned prose, Ambrosio is delivered into the hands of the Inquisition; he escapes by selling his soul to the devil for his deliverance from the death sentence which awaited him. The story ends with Ambrosio falling from the clutches of the devil's talons as he prayed for God's mercy, and with his damnation.

The Monk is remembered for being one of the more lurid and "transgressive" of the Gothic novels. Featuring demonic pacts, rape, incest, and such props as the Wandering Jew, ruined castles, and the Spanish Inquisition, The Monk serves more or less as a compendium of Gothic taste. Ambrosio, the hypocrite done in by lust, and his sexual misconduct inside the walls of convents and monasteries, is a vividly portrayed villain, as well as an embodiment of much of the traditional English mistrust of Roman Catholicism, with its intrusive confessional, its political and religious authoritarianism, and its cloistered lifestyles. The American fictitious anti-Catholic libel, The Awful Disclosures of Maria Monk, borrowed much from the plot of this novel. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Monk [Dec 2004]

2004, Dec 13; 17:27 ::: Bohemians: The Glamorous Outcasts (2000) - Elizabeth Wilson

Bohemians: The Glamorous Outcasts (2000) - Elizabeth Wilson [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

From Booklist
A British professor of cultural studies weaves a heavily footnoted but clearly developed history of the idea and culture of the bohemian. Lord Byron was perhaps the first to embody the myths of art becoming life, of transgressive sexuality, and of opposition to bourgeois mentality. Wilson moves easily from London to Paris to New York's Greenwich Village and the Weimar Republic, from the nineteenth century to the 1960s, as she tells mesmerizing stories of Augustus John and Baudelaire, of Jackson Pollock and Neal Cassady, of Kiki and Caitlin Thomas. She illuminates the paradoxes inherent in the bohemian ideal, such as the view of drink as both enhancing the creative process and dulling the oversharp senses. She traces with particular skill the place of women, who almost universally end up in the role of support and mop-up. She even traces the "been there, done that" phrase to the early nineteenth-century Parisians, whose habitual response was a blase "Seen it!" Bohemian themes of dress, eroticism, and excess are thoroughly explored. Fascinating. GraceAnne DeCandido --Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

2004, Dec 13; 16:46 ::: The most influential piece of modern art

1917: Marcel Duchamp Toilet 'Ready-Made'

The Duchamp came out top in a survey of 500 artists, curators, critics and dealers commissioned by the sponsor of the Turner prize, Gordon's. Different categories of respondents chose markedly different works, with artists in particular plumping overwhelmingly for Fountain.

  1. Fountain (1917) - Marcel Duchamp
  2. Les Demoiselles d'Avignon - Picasso
  3. Andy Warhol's Marilyn Diptych
  4. Guernica - Picasso
  5. Henri Matisse's The Red Studio
  6. Joseph Beuys, I Like America and America Likes Me
  7. Constantin Brancusi, Endless Column
  8. Jackson Pollock, One: No 31
  9. Donald Judd, 100 untitled works in mill aluminium
  10. Henry Moore, Reclining Figure 1929
--http://www.guardian.co.uk/arts/news/story/0,11711,1364123,00.html [Dec 2004]

2004, Dec 13; 15:24 ::: Illustrated London News (1842)

Illustrated London News

This new journalistic form began in England in 1842 with the Illustrated London News. The illustrated newspaper was of correspondents. --http://www.printsoldandrare.com/homermore.html [Dec 2004]

The first modern news picture appeared in the "The Illustrated London News" in 1842. It showed the attempted assassination of Queen Victoria.

However the picture was simply an artist's impression of what had happened. No camera at the time could have caught the action and there wasn't a mechanical way to reproduce the photograph even if it had been taken.

Artists at that time would make a sketch of the scene, followed by a more detailed drawing. The drawing would be copied, sometimes in reverse, onto a smooth block of wood. A craftsman would cut away all the surface except the lines to be printed. In these pictures shadows were represented by many small separate strokes.

The finished block would then be pressed into clay, making an impression of the image. Molten type metal was then poured onto the clay making a cast. This cast plate was used in the ‘letterpress’ printing process where raised areas of metal carry the ink.

When photography came into use in the 1840’s it did not alter newspaper reporting because the wood engraving and printing processes of the time could only render solid backs and whites. The intermediate shades of grey found in a photograph could not be reproduced.

Photography simply supported the engraving process by replacing the initial artist drawn sketch of the scene. In 1891 in the USA alone there were 1,000 artists producing more than 10,000 drawings a week for the press. --http://www.ted.photographer.org.uk/photohistory_inprint.htm [Dec 2004]

On May 14th 1842, the first issue of the Illustrated London News was published. Its founder was a young printer, Herbert Ingram, a native of Boston, Lincolnshire. He had come to London and had decided that the time was ripe for the public to have a newspaper full of pictures in addition to the printed word.

Each piccture had to be drwan by an artist and then engraved by hand on pieces of box-wood. Captions and articles had to be hand-set, letter by letter. A small steam engine powered the printing machine.

The new paper was a success from the beginnng: 26,000 issues of the first copy were sold, and by 1851 , the year of The Great Exhibition in Hyde Park,sales reached 130,000 per week. The issue of March 14th, 1863, dealing with the marriage of the Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII, numbered 310.000 copies. Special numbers in those far-off days cost Three Shillings.

In the year 1879, The ILLUSTRATED LONDON NEWS claimed to be the fastest wood-cut printing establishment in the world. The Ingram Rotary machine had been invented. It printed both sides of the paper at once aand turned out 6,500 copies per hour. It required only four men to operate it, whereas thirty men and five machines were needed previously.

Although photography had been used since 1842 as a basis from which wood engravings were copied it was not until 1860 that an illustration was photographed onto the box-wood and then engraved by hand. --http://www.iln.org.uk/iln_years/ilnhist1951.htm [Dec 2004]

2004, Dec 13; 14:41 ::: Lithography

With lithography the technique of reproduction reached an essentially new stage. This much more direct process was distinguished by the tracing of the design on a stone rather than its incision on a block of wood or its etching on a copperplate and permitted graphic art for the first time to put its products on the market, not only in large numbers as hitherto, but also in daily changing forms. Lithography enabled graphic art to illustrate everyday life, and it began to keep pace with printing. But only a few decades after its invention, lithography was surpassed by photography. --Walter Benjamin, 1936, Das Kunstwerk im Zeitalter seiner technischen Reproduzierbarkeit/The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction [...]

Walter Benjamin wrote a first draft of "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction" in the fall of 1935 (completing it in December). He began to revise it in January 1936 for publication in the French edition of the Zeitschrift für Sozialforschung (trans. Pierre Klossowski, under the title "L'Oeuvre d'art à l'époque de sa reproduction mécanisée," Zeitschrift für Sozialforschung 5 [1936]: 40-68). Because the French version imposed various cuts in Benjamin's text, he reworked the essay again in German, this ultimate version to be published only in 1955. See Benjamin, "Das Kunstwerk im Zeitalter seiner technischen Reproduzierbarkeit," Schriften, ed. Theodor Adorno and Gretel Adorno, 2 vols. (Frankfurt am Main, 1955), 1:366-405; trans. Harry Zohn, under the title "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction," Illuminations: Essays and Reflections, ed. Hannah Arendt (New York, 1969)." --Rosalind Krauss, http://www.uchicago.edu/research/jnl-crit-inq/issues/v25/v25n2.krauss.html [Dec 2004]

Lithography was invented by Alois Senefelder in Bohemia in 1798, and it was the first new printing process since the invention of relief printing in the fifteenth century. In the early days of lithography, a smooth piece of limestone was used (hence the name "lithography"-"lithos" is the ancient Greek word for stone). After the oil-based image was put on the surface, acid burned the image onto the surface; gum arabic, a water soluble solution, was then applied, sticking only to the non-oily surface and sealing it. During printing, water adhered to the gum arabic surfaces and avoided the oily parts, while the oily ink used for printing did the opposite. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lithography#The_Early_Process [Dec 2004]

2004, Dec 13; 14:29 ::: Impressionism and Journalistic Illustration

Journalistic Illustration provided a ready source of visual stimuli for the experimental artists of the 1860s and 1870s that affected as well as coincided with their iconographic and, to a lesser degree, their formal interests.

Ever since the appearance of Meyer Schapiro's essay on "Courbet and Popular Imagery" in 1941, we have been expanding our awareness of the popular arts as a formal and iconographic influence upon French painting of the second half of the 19th century.' During the past four decades, the interconnected contributions of cheaply printed colored woodcuts, fashion plates, photography, Japanese prints, lithography, and journalistic illustrations of contemporaneous events, customs, and social types have been increasingly recognized.'

In the work of Anne Hanson and Beatrice Farwell, in particular, a vast repertory of images, mainly lithographic, has been brought for- ward as providing a pictorial storehouse from which artists re- peatedly drew. Whereas Hanson has concentrated her attention upon Manet,' Farwell has ranged more broadly, exploring the extensive precedents in the lithography of the July Monarchy and early Second Empire for the iconography of Courbet, Manet, Degas, and the Impressionist generation.' In the catalogue of her illuminating exhibition The Cult of Images, Farwell has assessed the results of this research correctly and forcefully.

While taking account of the artists' commitment to paint what they saw, in accordance with Realist theory, she affirms the parallel role of popular imagery: In view of the wide range of Realist subjects already treated a generation earlier in popular lithographs, this simple view of artists setting out to paint the contemporary scene from the life is no longer convincing. The pattern was already there. It is naive to suppose that Degas was unaware of Gavarni's and Beaumont's "rats" behind the scenes at the Opera, since they appeared every day in Le Charivari. By the same token, it must be assumed that any artist whose youth was spent in the 1830s, '40s or '50s grew up in the constant presence of a plethora of images that were bound to appeal to visual sensibility and the urge to draw. It was the first generation of artists so affected. --Joel Isaacson, http://www.msu.edu/course/ha/446/joelisaacson.pdf [Dec 2004]

2004, Dec 13; 13:40 ::: Modernism in cinema

The overall objective of the seminar MODERNISM IN THE CINEMA is to investigate how far and to what extent the category 'modernism' can be applied to film theory and film history. At the same time MODERNISM IN THE CINEMA will take a critical look at special modernist strategies that are attached to individual directors and historical modes of filmic expression and style.

In film studies modernist studies have not played any notable part in contrast to for instance literary history and art history. However, certain periods in film history (German expressionism) and a few movements (The avant-garde film in the twenties) have been seen as belonging to modernist currents. Yet to a considerable extent they have been determined by perspectives that either have their position outside film studies, or they have been seen as historical and well-defined periods.

The attempt of MODERNISM IN THE CINEMA is to investigate reasons for the missing involvement of modernism as a category for film, but more importantly to investigate if it is possible to establish actual studies in the relation between modernism and film. The seminar will shed light on different approaches to film and modernism, which will enrich the studies of film as well as of modernism. The seminar offers a critical investigation of the relations between cinematic representations, modes of experience and relation between film and reality. -- http://www.kommunikation.aau.dk/cfm/aktiviteter/seminar05.htm [Dec 2004]

2004, Dec 13; 13:23 ::: Cinematic renderings of Georges Bataille's oeuvre

For Georges Bataille Eduard Manet inaugurated the modern painting. Through a 'style of silence' Manet was the first to break with the classic rendering of the subject in terms of what Bataille calls the 'style of eloquence'. The aim of this paper is twofold. On the one hand I wish to discuss Bataille's concept of visual silence - that is a form of visuality that doesn't lend it self to direct representation - and on the other hand I wish to discuss this in relation to film style. More specifically I will present different filmic renderings of Bataille's work from the Patrick Longchamps' Simona [IMDb] aka. L'Histoire de l'œil, 1975, to Christophe Honoré's Ma mère, 2003, in order to discuss the different ways in which Bataille has been conceived cinematically. --Thure Munkholm, editor of the Film Magazine Mifune, http://www.kommunikation.aau.dk/cfm/aktiviteter/seminar05.htm [Dec 2004]

2004, Dec 13; 10:12 ::: Grandes Horizontales (2003) - Virginia Rounding

Grandes Horizontales (2003) - Virginia Rounding [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Product Description:
A fascinating portrayal of the lives of the great nineteenth-century courtesans.

Marie Duplessis, Cora Pearl, La Païva and La Présidente, the four women whose lives and legends are examined in this fascinating book, were all representatives of the golden age of the French courtesan. In the reign of Emperor Napoleon III the opulent and pampered demimonde became almost indistinguishable from the haut-monde, with mythical reputations growing up around its most glittering and favored celebrities.

Marie Duplessis became the prototype of the virtuous courtesan when Alexandre Dumas Fils portrayed her as Marguerite Gautier in La dame aux Camélias. Apollonie Sabatier, known as La Présidente, put men of letters and other arts at ease amidst the gracious manners and bawdy talk of her salon and was immortalized by sculptor August Clésinger and poet Charles Baudelaire.

To prejudiced eyes, the Russian Jew La Païva appeared intent on exploiting the rich young men of Paris. Covetous onlookers resented her ability to amass and display great wealth, most notably in the design and building of her opulent hotel in the Avenue of the Champs Elysées. The English beauty who called herself Cora Pearl was another "foreign threat", with her athletic physique, sixty horses and ability "to make bored men laugh", including Prince Napoleon.

Virginia Rounding disentangles myth from reality in her lively, thought-provoking study. Nineteenth-century Paris comes to life and so do its most distinguished and déclassé inhabitants.

The four women whose lives I examine in 'Grandes Horizontales' - Marie Duplessis, La Paiva, Apollonie Sabatier and Cora Pearl - were all representative of the demi-monde in 19th-century Paris - that is, of that half-world midway between respectable high society and the low life of the common prostitute. 'Demi-monde' is a term suggestive of twilight, of a world of shifting appearances and shadow, where nothing is quite what it seems, a world between worlds. --http://www.virginiarounding.com/horizontales.html [Dec 2004]

2004, Dec 12; 20:50 ::: Constantin Guys (1802 - 1892)

Tänzerin im Reifrock ca. 1860/70 - Constantin Guys

Constantin Guys (Vlissingen 1802 - Parijs 1892) was oorlogscorrespondent, aquarellist en tevens illustrator voor Britse en Franse kranten. Baudelaire noemde hem de schilder van het moderne leven.

Naast oorlogscènes, vaak met paarden, schilderde Guys ook vaak revue artiestes, bordeelhoudsters, etc.

Guys werd in Nederland aan de vergetelheid ontrukt door het boek Au pair van Willem Frederik Hermans waar één van de hoofdpersonen eindeloze monologen over deze kunstenaar houdt. --http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constantin_Guys [Dec 2004]

[...] Baudelaire described him as "the painter of modern life", the title of a series of articles dedicated to him in the Figaro in November and December 1863, the time at which these drawings were done. The profound originality of his art and his vivid portrayal of the pleasures and solemnity of the Second Empire justify the title given to him by the poet. Constantin Guys left us a considerable number of drawings inspired by everyday life and executed with a quick stroke of pencil, pen or brush, then often washed with watercolour. War scenes, sumptuous carriages, sleazy bars and brothels, dandies, fashionable ladies, tarts and girls found in him an indefatigable historiographer. He loved horses and carriages, imperial feast days and military processions, but above all he sketched women, of all classes of society, his passionate gaze capturing their character in just a few, swift strokes. --http://www.tasc.ac.uk/depart/media/staff/ls/WBenjamin/CGuys/Portrait%20d'un%20artiste%20%20Constantin%20Guys.htm [Dec 2004]

2004, Dec 12; 20:50 ::: The Painter of Modern Life (1863) - Charles Baudelaire [...]

Dandyism is not, as is commonly supposed, simply an excessive love of clothes and material elegance. To the perfect dandy such matters are merely symbolic of his own spiritual perfection. To his eyes, valuing as he does distinction above all, perfect dress is founded in absolute simplicity - which in fact is the best way to distinguish yourself ... [Dandyism] is above all the urgent need to make oneself original, within the exterior limits of conventional behavior. It is a kind of cult of the self, which [goes beyond] the quest for happiness through women...which can even survive the loss of...illusions. It is the pleasure of astonishing and the proud satisfaction of never being astonished .... In truth, I am not altogether wrong to consider dandyism a form of religion. -- The Painter of Modern Life (1863) - Charles Baudelaire

2004, Dec 12; 20:00 ::: Early counterculture [...]

--http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Counterculture#See_earlier_countercultural_mainfestations [Dec 2004]

2004, Dec 12; 20:00 ::: Dandyism [...]

Like bohemians, Dandies fervently rejected bourgeois values. They had a similar, carefree, indolent lifestyle and like Bohemians, seemed to belong nowhere in society. However, unlike bohemians, Dandies chose to emulate the aristocracy rather than live in poverty. Despite these differences, the Bohemia and Dandyism often merged.

A famous dandy, Baudelaire, commented that the dandies had "no profession other than elegance...no other status but that of cultivating the idea of beauty in their own persons....The dandy must aspire to be sublime without interruption; he must live and sleep before a mirror." --Bohemian Paris: Culture , Politics, and the Boundaries of Bourgeois Life, 1830-1930 - Jerrold Seigel (1986), (pp 98-99) --http://www.mtholyoke.edu/courses/rschwart/hist255-s01/boheme/dandyism.html [Dec 2004]

2004, Dec 12; 19:48 ::: Female dandy

The History of Sir Richard Calmady (1901), among the most famous and controversial novels of the turn of the century, was written by Lucas Malet (Mary St Leger Kingsley Harrison). The novel includes sexually explicit material made possible only by Malet's strategic use of a highly wrought aesthetic discourse. It traces the psychological development of a disabled man as he moves from profound self-hatred towards slow acceptance. Sir Richard Calmady is also remarkable for its female characters, including Richard's cousin, Helen de Vallorbes. Helen is a manipulative, narcissistic, and sexually voracious female dandy. After his affair with Helen, Richard reforms and ultimately marries another cousin, Honoria St. Quentin. Honoria, however, is a New Woman, a lesbian feminist socialist activist, and the marriage clearly perpetuates rather than resolves the erotic investments of its main characters. In its experimental style, psychological development, and complex discourse, Sir Richard Calmady is a groundbreaking novel. --http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=595 [Dec 2004]

Princess Napraxine (1884) is perhaps the most ambitious novel by Ouida (Marie Louise de la Ramée). Nadine Napraxine is a “mondaine”, a female dandy of exquisite taste, cutting wit, boundless wealth, and exceptional beauty, who heartlessly manipulates others. Her admirer Othmar, frustrated by her coldness, decides to marry the innocent peasant Yseulte de Valogne, reasoning that he can at least make a deserving waif happy. However, Yseulte discovers Othmar's miserable obsession with Princess Napraxine. She kills herself to free him – a sacrifice that taints his “freedom” forever. The novel interrogates the “ingenue” role by acknowledging Yseulte's charms but condemning her naïvete and stupidity. Yet Ouida finds the “mondaine” alternative problematic; Princess Napraxine is brilliant but too amoral and jaded for her own good. Ranging these figures against each other allowed Ouida to condemn the angel in the house and to imagine a new and devastatingly powerful alternative type of female behaviour. --http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=2578 [Dec 2004]

I'd have to take issue with several of your choices. 'Dandy' does not mean, as is often thought, simple sartorial extravagancy. Rather it's a sort of flamboyant understatement - something that surely doesn't apply to the likes of Prince. A blend of funereal chic, sang froid and witty snobbishness perhaps?... Several influential theorists of the cult of dandyism - notably Baudelaire - even maintained that there could be no such thing as a female dandy. I'm not so sure - there's a good case for Marlene Dietrich as the definitive female dandy. --http://www.livejournal.com/users/decadentscholar/6417.html [Dec 2004]

2004, Dec 12; 16:38 ::: La Calavera Catrina () - Jose Guadalupe Posada

La Calavera Catrina (before 1913) - Jose Guadalupe Posada, frequently dubbed in English as the female dandy

Jose Guadalupe Posada (1851-1913)

José Guadalupe Posada was born in the state of Aguascalientes, Mexico. In his early life he worked as a teacher of lithography and in 1887, he moved to Mexico City where he became a newspaper illustrator.

His graphic work is well recognized and he often dealt with political, social and moral themes. Posada's "calaveras" (skeletons) represented here are images often associated with the the Day of the Dead, but their original intent was more satirical. "La Catrina or the Female Dandy was originally intended to poke fun at the upper class, during the autocratic rule of Porfirio Diaz. --http://muertos.palomar.edu/posdad.htm [Dec 2004]

José Guadalupe Posada (2 February 1854 - 20 January 1913) was a Mexican engraver and illustrator.

He was born in Aguascalientes, capital city of the state of the same name. He learned the art of lithography, and by 1871 he was working for a local newspaper called El Jicote (The Hornet). After a few year, he eventually joined the staff of the Mexico City publishing firm of Antonio Vanegas Arroyo.

Posada's best known works are his calaveras, or skeletons, which often assume various costumes, such as the Calavera de la Catrina, the "Skeleton of the Female Dandy", which was meant to satirize the life of the upper classes during the reign of Porfirio Díaz. Most of his imagery was meant to make a religious or satirical point; since his death, however, his images have become associated with the Mexican holiday Día de los Muertos, the "Day of the Dead" [Nov 01, 02]. They draw on medieval art traditions of the danse macabre and Native American motifs.

Largely forgotten by the end of his life, Posada's engravings were brought to a wider audience in the 1920s by the French artist Jean Charlot, who encountered them while visiting Diego Rivera. While Posada died in poverty, his images are well known today as examples of folk art. The muralist José Clemente Orozco knew Posada when he was young, and credited Posada's work as an influence on his own. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jos%E9_Guadalupe_Posada [Dec 2004]

Posada's Popular Mexican Prints: 273 Cuts (1972) - Jose Guadalupe Posada [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

2004, Dec 10; 16:59 ::: Camera Lucida (1980) - Roland Barthes

Camera Lucida (1980) - Roland Barthes [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Camera Lucida is a short book published in 1980 by the French literary critic Roland Barthes. It is simultaneously an inquiry into the nature and essence of photography, and an epitaph to Barthes's late mother. The book investigates the effects of photography on the spectator (as distinct from the photographer, and also from the object photographed, which Barthes calls the "spectrum"). In a deeply personal discussion of the lasting emotional effect of certain photographs on him, Barthes considers photography as asymbolic, irreducible to the codes of language or culture, and acting on the body as much as the mind. The book develops the twin concepts of studium and punctum: studium denotes the cultural, linguistic, and political interpretation of a photograph, while the punctum of a photograph is its wounding, personally touching detail which establishes a direct relationship with the object or person within it.

Camera Lucida, along with Susan Sontag's work, is one of the most important texts in the criticism and theory of photography.

Barthes died unexpectedly soon after the publication of Camera Lucida, and many have read the book as Barthes's own epitaph for himself. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camera_Lucida [Dec 2004]

2004, Dec 10; 11:46 ::: Naked as a Jaybird (2002) - Dian Hanson

Naked as a Jaybird (2002) - Dian Hanson [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

About the Author
Dian Hanson served her country in the sexual revolution, where she developed an interest in erotic publishing. She was one of the founding editors of Puritan Magazine in 1976 and went on to edit Partner, Oui, Hooker, Outlaw Biker, and Juggs magazines, among others. In 1987 she took over Leg Show magazine and transformed it into the world’s largest selling fetish publication. She considers herself an erotic anthropologist: the magazines and their readers her laboratory and test subjects.

Product Description:
If you missed the Jaybird revolution the first time around, don’t get left by the wayside now! Find out what inspired John and Yoko to take their clothes off!

The year was 1965, the place was southern California. Public nudity was illegal and nude photography was, in the eyes of the government, pornography (unless practiced in the conservative confines of a nudist camp or tastefully displayed on the pages of a nudist magazine).

A new brand of nudism, however, was on the rise among hippies and other free-spirited individuals who loved nothing more than to peel off their clothes and lounge around in their birthday suits.

Jaybird magazine, a celebration of groovy nudism, was born out of this tumultuous climate, hovering in a gray area somewhere between the decent nudist magazines and porn. Over its eight-year life span, Jaybird (appearing under many titles, such as "Jaybird Happening" and "Women’s Home Jaybird") grew from a standard family nudist journal to a far-out, psychedelic happening of naked hippies frolicking in wacky settings-preferably showing as much pubic hair as possible. Though the tone of the magazine evolved, the philosophy stayed the same: nudity is natural and fun for all.

These days, issues of Jaybird are impossible-to-find collectors’ items, Technicolor testaments to a bygone era of free love and pubic pride. But not to worry-TASCHEN has resurrected Jaybird with this highly amusing, lavishly illustrated, sweeping retrospective of the magazine that let it all hang out. --via Amazon.com

2004, Dec 09; 14:29 ::: Marketing

Marketing is the craft of linking the producers (or potential producers) of a product or service with customers, both existing and potential. It is an inevitable and necessary consequence of capitalism. However marketing is not limited to capitalist countries. Marketing techniques are applied in all political systems, and in many aspects of life.

Marketing methods are informed by many of the social sciences, particularly psychology, sociology, and economics. Marketing research underpins these activities. Through advertising, it is also related to many of the creative arts. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marketing [2004]

2004, Dec 08; 20:07 ::: Folies Bergères

Edouard Manet's 1882 well-known painting A Bar at the Folies-Bergères depicts a bar-girl, one of the demimondaine, standing before a mirror.

2004, Dec 08; 18:37 ::: Realism and photography

Impression, soleil levant (1872/1873) - Claude Monet

Eastman Kodak No. 2 Brownie Camera and Original Box, circa 1910

Photography in the nineteenth century both challenged painters to be true to nature and encouraged them to exploit aspects of the painting medium, like color, that photography lacked. This divergence away from photographic realism appears in the work of a group of artists who from 1874 to 1886 exhibited together, independently of the Salon. The leaders of the independent movement were Claude Monet, August Renoir, Edgar Degas, Berthe Morisot, and Mary Cassatt. They became known as Impressionists because a newspaper critic thought they were painting mere sketches or impressions. The Impressionists, however, considered their works finished. --http://www.artchive.com/artchive/impressionism.html [Dec 2004]

2004, Dec 08; 12:04 ::: Gay cinema: Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985) - Hector Babenco

Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985) - Hector Babenco [Amazon.com]

2004, Dec 08; 10:49 ::: Cinema Paradiso (1989) - Giuseppe Tornatore

Cinema Paradiso (1989) - Giuseppe Tornatore [FR] [DE] [UK]

A film about the movies: metafilm

Its [the church] presence in the cinema is hinted by the holy statue, and the priest has the power to censor films before they are viewed by his flock. This was not a complete exaggeration, the Cento Cattolico Cinematografo established in 1936 to censor films continued to classify films, according to the church's lights. --http://www.netcomuk.co.uk/~media/CinePara.html [Dec 2004]

Six, five, four, the numbers wind down. And there, on the reel, are all the expurgated scenes from the movies of his childhood: All the censored kisses. All the censored passion. All the censored life. --http://www.pbs.org/newshour/essays/jan-june02/censor_1-30.html [Dec 2004]

2004, Dec 08; 10:28 ::: 1910: the first purpose built cinemas

Gaumont-Palace (1910, photo 1911) - Paris

The first important purpose-built cinema was the Gaumont Film Company's Gaumont-Palace in Paris, which opened in 1910 and could seat 5,000 people. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_cinema [Dec 2004]

Built in 1910, The Phoenix is believed to be the oldest purpose-built cinema in the UK. Read more about our history which dates back almost as far as the beginnings of cinema itself. --http://www.phoenixcinema.co.uk/about/ [Dec 2004]

2004, Dec 08; 09:44 ::: 1852: the first purpose built music hall

The Canterbury Hall
Mr Charles Morton, publican of the Canterbury Tavern in Lambeth opened the first purpose built music hall, The Canterbury Hall, in 1852. It held 700 people. Audiences were seated at tables, and food and drink was served throughout the performance, which took place on a platform at one end of the hall under the watchful Chairman, the vocalist, Mr John Caulfield. --http://www.peopleplayuk.org.uk/guided_tours/music_hall_tour/the_story_of_the_music_halls/first.php [Dec 2004]

2004, Dec 07; 21:30 ::: Lysistrata (411BC) - Aristophanes

Lysistrata (411BC) - Aristophanes [FR] [DE] [UK]

Product Description:
Exuberant battle of the sexes with underlying antiwar theme. --via Amazon.com

Aristophanes' anti-war comedy Lysistrata, written in 411 BC, has female characters, led by the eponymous Lysistrata, barricading the public funds building and withholding consensual sex from their husbands to secure peace and end the Peloponnesian War.

The play was adapted into a film (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0252662/) in 1976 by Ludo Mich, in which all the actors and actresses were naked throughout.

In reaction to the Iraq disarmament crisis, this play was the focus of a peace protest initative called The Lysistrata Project in which public readings of the play were held on March 3, 2003. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lysistrata [Dec 2004]

2004, Dec 07; 15:11 ::: Important Dates in Burlesque History [...]

Aristophanes writes Lysistrata, the first known burlesque that has Athenian women rebelling against war by using sexual blackmail against their husbands. --http://www.anatomyofburlesque.com/datesframe.htm [Dec 2004]

2004, Dec 07; 14:11 ::: Eugène Pirou: French photographer, pornographer

Though Eugène Pirou has long been recognised as one of the pioneering filmmakers in France, his work as a stills photographer is less well known. He was working as a portrait photographer from at least the time of the Paris Commune in 1871, where he took pictures of the slain communards. In 1888 he photographed General Boulanger in full uniform, and the following year was present at the Paris Exposition, where E-J. Marey's chronophotography was on display, and perhaps this is where his interest in moving photography was initiated. In 1896 he wrote to the Eastman Kodak company asking for information about the Edison Vitascope, but nothing seems to have come of this and he teamed up with Henri Joly, who had developed a projector. This allowed Pirou to be one of the first rivals to the Lumières in Frances, presenting films at the Café de la Paix in Paris in April 1896. By this time he had dubbed himself as the 'photographe des rois' and appropriately the first films he made were of the visit of Tsar Nikolas II to France in October 1896, showing various official activities. But Pirou's real importance is in pioneering another type of production, the risqué film. In the autumn of 1896 he produced Le Coucher de la Mariée, in which Mlle. Louise Willy [Douche après le bain (1897) - Louis Lumière] recreated the most sensational part of her eponymous stage hit, where she performed a striptease.

The resulting film was unusually long at sixty metres (around three minutes) and was such a sensation when shown in Paris (along with the films of the Tsar's visit) that Pirou opened at two other venues in the city and even exhibited at the Casino in Nice. Anxious to cash in, other filmmakers including Georges Méliès and Charles Pathé also made striptease films, and so was launched an entire genre of risqué films, known in France as scènes grivoises d'un caractère piquant. Such films were not always welcomed, and one of them (probably the Pirou title) had to be withdrawn from a London music hall in January 1897 after protests from the more respectable clientele. Léar, the director of Le Coucher de la Mariée, may have been a trader in pornographic pictures, another of Pirou's business interests, thogh Léar went on to make the first film of the life of Christ. It is not clear what happened to Pirou after the turn of the century, but his place in film history was assured; in the brief period 1896 to '97 he had made over fifty films (frames of which are preserved in the Bibliotheque Nationale); other achievments in these years include pioneering the amateur film business, and also (probably for the first time) enticing a theatrical star, Cecile Sorel, before the camera. --Stephen Bottomore, http://www.victorian-cinema.net/pirou.htm [Dec 2004]

2004, Dec 07; 09:31 ::: Postmodernism [...]

Discussion during the 1980s of postmodernism in the arts focused on issues of style and of periodization. Critics such as Ihab Hassan, Hal Foster, Charles Jencks, Linda Hutcheon, and Brian McHale attempt to describe the stylistic hallmarks of postmodernism. Artists and critics influenced by Baudrillard show a concern with the images in circulation in the culture and their recoding, reuse, and recycling in art. Unlike the heroic modernist, who created works out of pure imagination, the postmodern artist works with cultural givens, trying to manipulate them in various ways (parody, pastiche, collage, juxtaposition) for various ends. The ultimate aim is to appropriate these materials in such a way as to avoid being utterly dominated by them. The photographer Sherrie Levine's "appropriations" exemplify this art most vividly, but these terms have also proved useful in criticism of such novelists as Salman Rushdie, Gabriel García Márquez, Kathy Acker, and Angela Carter. --John McGowan, Copyright © 1997 The Johns Hopkins University Press. http://www.press.jhu.edu/books/hopkins_guide_to_literary_theory/postmodernism.html [Jun 2004]

2004, Dec 06; 23:31 ::: The Great Train Robbery (1903)

Broncho Billy Anderson, from "The Great Train Robbery"

One of the first movies to tell a fictional story, The Great Train Robbery (1903), ends with a famous shot of a cowboy firing a gun directly at the camera. Legend says that during initial screenings of the film, this scene panicked many members of the studio audience. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fourth_wall#Film [Dec 2004]

There is an Italian movie in which the characters go to a cinema to see a western movie and one of the cowboys shoots a member of the audience, leaving a little hole in the screen.

2004, Dec 06; 13:24 ::: Jacques the Fatalist and His Master (1771-73 (published 1796)) - Denis Diderot

Jacques the Fatalist and His Master (1771-73 (published 1796)) - Denis Diderot [FR] [DE] [UK]

Book Description
Jacques the Fatalist is a provocative exploration of the problems of human existence, destiny, and free will. In the introduction to this brilliant translation, David Coward explains the philosophical basis of Diderot's fascination with fate and examines the experimental and influential literary techniques that make Jacques the Fatalist a classic of the Enlightenment.

Two centuries or so before "modern" writers began writing experimental novels, Denis Diderot, the force behind the Encyclopaedia effort, wrote this strange and indeed very "modern" novel in which the author leads a conversation with the reader, asking him where he (or she, of course) would want to go and what to do with the characters and the story. Here we see the author in the very process of creation, exposing his doubts, exploring his options, and playing with the story. --Guillermo Maynez via Amazon.com

Self-reference also occurs in literature when an author refers to his or her work in the context of the work itself. Famous examples include Denis Diderot's Jacques the Fatalist and Luigi Pirandello's Six Characters in Search of an Author. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-reference [May 2004]

2004, Dec 05; 18:17 ::: Difference / Indifference: Musings on Postmodernism, Marcel Duchamp and John Cage ()- Marcel Duchamp, John Cage, Moira Roth

Difference / Indifference: Musings on Postmodernism, Marcel Duchamp and John Cage (Critical Voices in Art, Theory, and Culture) ()- Marcel Duchamp, John Cage, Moira Roth [FR] [DE] [UK]

Book Description
This book brings together for the first time Moira Roth's influential articles, lectures and interviews on the two men who embodied the very spirit of the avant-garde: Marcel Duchamp and John Cage.

Cage, who died in 1992, and Duchamp, who died in 1968, seemed to live on the permissive border of modernism, and later, of postmodernism. The artists have for almost thirty years fascinated, irritated, inspired, and daunted the author of these essays - Moira Roth.

At first they were an inspiration for her writing and teaching then, with their gradual transformation into 'classical' figures, she felt compelled to reconsider and re-evaluate them.

2004, Dec 05; 00:36 ::: Gert Wilden: Schoolgirl Report and Other Music From Sexy German Films (1968 - 1972)

Sax Rohmer's super-villian Fu Manchu, German pulp novel hero Rolf Torring, James Feninmore Cooper's Leatherstocking and Gunther Hunold's schoolgirls: when their German movie incarnations premiered on the big screen, they were all accompanied by the music of one man: Gert Wilden. --via http://www.chaoskitty.com/t_chaos/shul.html [Dec 2004]

2004, Dec 05; 00:36 ::: The computer is the first metamedium (1997) - Alan Kay

"The protean nature of the computer is such that it can act like a machine or like a language to be shaped and exploited. It is a medium that can dynamically simulate the details of any other medium, including media that cannot exist physically. It is not a tool, although it can act like many tools. It is the first metamedium, and as such it has degrees of freedom for representation and expression never before encountered and as yet barely investigated." (Alan Kay, 1984) via http://pensieve.thinkingms.com/PermaLink,guid,69f0ba20-be01-433f-bd47-f47735f124f2.aspx [Dec 2004]

Computer as a metamedium: a machine which can be used to acquire, manipulate, store, distribute and access all media formats (text, images, video, film, sound, music, virtual three-dimensional spaces). --http://www.manovich.net/vis40_fall00/vis40-lecture2.html [Dec 2004]

2004, Dec 05; 00:20 ::: Cinema as a cultural interface (1997) - Lev Manovich

The Most Popular Moving Image Sequence of All Times

Don't you wish that somebody, in 1895, 1897 or at least in 1903, realized the fundamental significance of cinema's emergence and produced a comprehensive record of new medium's emergence?[1] Interviews with the audiences; a systematic account of the narrative strategies, scenography and camera positions as they developed year by year; an analysis of the connections between the emerging language of cinema and different forms of popular entertainment which coexisted with it, would have been invaluable. But, of course, these records do not exist. Instead, we are left with newspaper reports, diaries of cinema's inventors, programs of film showings and other bits and pieces -- a set of random and unevenly distributed historical samples.

Today we are living in the midst of an emerging new medium - the metamedium of the digital computer. All information becomes encoded in one code; all cultural objects become computer programs, something which is not only seen, heard or read, but first of all stored and transmitted, compiled and executed. In contrast to a hundred years ago, when cinema was coming into being, we are fully aware of the significance of this new media revolution. And yet I am afraid that future theorists and historians of computer media will be left with not much more than the equivalents of newspaper reviews and random bits of evidence similar to cinema's first decades. They will find that the analytical texts from our era are fully aware of the significance of computer's takeover of culture yet, by and large, they mostly contain speculations about the future rather than a record and a theory of the present. Future researchers will wonder why the theoreticians, who already had plenty of experience analyzing older cultural forms, did not try to describe computer media's semiotic codes, modes of address, and audience reception patterns. If, for instance, they painstakingly reconstructed how cinema emerged out of preceding cultural forms (panorama, optical toys, peep shows), why didn't they attempt to construct a similar genealogy for the language of computer media at the moment when it was just coming into being, while the elements of previous cultural forms going into its making are still clearly visible, still recognizable before melting into a new unity. Where there the theoreticians at the moment when the icons and the buttons of multimedia interfaces were like a wet paint on a just completed painting, before they became a universal convention and thus slipped into invisibility? Or, at the moment when the designers of Myst were debugging their code, converting graphics to 8-bit and massaging QuickTime clips? Or, at the historical moment when a young 20-something programmer at Netscape took the chewing gum out of his mouth, sipped warm Coke out of the can -- he was at a computer for 16 hours straight, trying to meet a marketing deadline -- and, finally satisfied with its small file size, saved a short animation of stars moving across the night sky, the animation which was to appear in the upper right corner of Netscape Navigator, thus becoming the most widely seen moving image sequence ever -- until the next release. [...] --Lev Manovich, http://www.manovich.net/TEXT/cinema-cultural.html [Dec 2004]

2004, Dec 05; 00:04 ::: Cinema gave modernism its own uniquely artform

The rise of cinema and "moving pictures" in the first decade of the 20th century gave the modern movement an artform which was uniquely its own. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modernism#The_beginning_of_modernism_1890.26ndash.3B1910 [Dec 2004]

2004, Dec 05; 00:01 ::: Simulacrum: a copy of a copy, a copy without a model, Betty Boop

In the book Simulacra and Simulation [by Jean Baudrillard] (1981/1995), (ISBN 0472065211), the French social theorist Jean Baudrillard gave the term a specific meaning in the context of semiotics, extended from its common one: a copy of a copy which has been so dissipated in its relation to the original that it can no longer be said to be a copy. The simulacrum, therefore, stands on its own as a copy without a model. For example, the cartoon Betty Boop was based on singer Helen Kane. Kane, however, rose to fame imitating Annette Hanshaw. Hanshaw and Kane have fallen into relative obscurity, while Betty Boop remains an icon of the flapper.--http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simulacra [Dec 2004]

2004, Dec 04; 23:15 ::: Postmodernism elevated the importance of cinema in artistic discussions

Postmodernism's critical stance is interlinked with presenting new appraisals of previous works. As implied above the works of the "Dada" movement received greater attention, as did collagists such as Robert Rauschenberg, whose works were initially considered unimportant in the context of the modernism of the 1950s, but who, by the 1980s, began to be seen as seminal. Post-modernism also elevated the importance of cinema in artistic discussions, placing it on a peer level with the other fine arts. This is both because of the blurring of distinctions between "high" and "low" forms, and because of the recognition that cinema represented the creation of simulacra which was later duplicated in the other arts. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Postmodernism#Postmodernism_in_art [Dec 2004]

2004, Dec 04; 21:35 ::: Vamp (1983) - Richard Wenk

Grace Jones in Vamp (1983) - Richard Wenk

2004, Dec 04; 17:44 ::: Close Up 1927-1933: Cinema and Modernism (1998) - James Donald, Anne Friedberg, Laura Marcus

Close Up 1927-1933: Cinema and Modernism (1998) - James Donald, Anne Friedberg, Laura Marcus [FR] [DE] [UK]

Product Description:
Close Up was the first English-language journal of film theory. Published between 1927 and 1933, it billed itself as "the only magazine devoted to film as an art," promising readers "theory and analysis: no gossip." The journal was edited by the writer and filmmaker Kenneth Macpherson, the novelist Winifred Bryher, and the poet H. D., and it attracted contributions from such major figures as Dorothy Richardson, Sergei Eisenstein, and Man Ray. This anthology presents some of the liveliest and most important articles from the publication's short but influential history.

The writing in Close Up was theoretically astute, politically incisive, open to emerging ideas from psychoanalysis, passionately committed to "pure cinema," and deeply critical of Hollywood and its European imitators. The articles collected here cover such subjects as women and film, "The Negro in Cinema," Russian and working-class cinema, and developments in film technology, including the much debated addition of sound. The contributors are a cosmopolitan cast, reflecting the journal's commitment to internationalism; Close Up was published from Switzerland, printed in England and France, and distributed in Paris, Berlin, London, New York, and Los Angeles. The editors of this volume present a substantial introduction and commentaries on the articles that set Close Up in historical and intellectual context. This is crucial reading for anyone interested in the origins of film theory and the relationship between cinema and modernism. --Amazon.com

Between 1927 and 1933, the journal "Close Up" championed a European avant-garde in film-making. It was edited by the writer and film-maker, Kenneth MacPherson and among its regular contributors were the poet H.D., Gertrude Stein, Dorothy Richardson and Virginia Woolf (whose essay on cinema is reprinted here in full). This volume republishes articles from the journal, with an introduction and a commentary on the lives of, and complex relationships between, its writers and editors. --Amazon.co.uk

2004, Dec 02; 09:24 ::: J'irai Cracher sur vos Tombes (1959) - Michel Gast

J'irai Cracher sur vos Tombes (1959) - Michel Gast

On the morning of June 23, 1959, Boris Vian was at the Cinema Marbeuf for the screening of the film version of his controversial "Vernon Sullivan" novel, J'irai cracher sur vos tombes (I will Spit On Your Graves). He had already fought with the producers over their interpretation of his work and he publicly denounced the film stating that he wished to have his name removed from the credits. A few minutes after the film began, he reportedly blurted out: "These guys are supposed to be American? My ass!" He then collapsed into his seat and died of a heart attack en route to the hospital. The heart attack is widely attributed to the fact that Boris Vian had been suffering from irregular heartbeat for a long time. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boris_Vian [Dec 2004]

2004, Dec 01; 14:38 ::: jahsonic.com by year

By year:
[ 1860 | 1871 | 1862 | 1863 | 1864 | 1865 | 1866 | 1867 | 1868 | 1869 ]
[ 1870 | 1871 | 1872 | 1873 | 1874 | 1875 | 1876 | 1877 | 1878 | 1879 ]
[ 1880 | 1881 | 1882 | 1883 | 1884 | 1885 | 1886 | 1887 | 1888 | 1889 ]
[ 1890 | 1891 | 1892 | 1893 | 1894 | 1895 | 1896 | 1897 | 1898 | 1899 ]

[ 1900 | 1901 | 1902 | 1903 | 1904 | 1905 | 1906 | 1907 | 1908 | 1909 ]
[ 1910 | 1911 | 1912 | 1913 | 1914 | 1915 | 1916 | 1917 | 1918 | 1919 ]
[ 1920 | 1921 | 1922 | 1923 | 1924 | 1925 | 1926 | 1927 | 1928 | 1929 ]
[ 1930 | 1931 | 1932 | 1933 | 1934 | 1935 | 1936 | 1937 | 1938 | 1939 ]
[ 1940 | 1941 | 1942 | 1943 | 1944 | 1945 | 1946 | 1947 | 1948 | 1949 |
[ 1950 | 1951 | 1952 | 1953 | 1954 | 1955 | 1956 | 1957 | 1958 | 1959 ]
[ 1960 | 1961 | 1962 | 1963 | 1964 | 1965 | 1966 | 1967 | 1968 | 1969 ]
[ 1970 | 1971 | 1972 | 1973 | 1974 | 1975 | 1976 | 1977 | 1978 | 1979 ]
[ 1980 | 1981 | 1982 | 1983 | 1984 | 1985 | 1986 | 1987 | 1988 | 1989 ]
[ 1990 | 1991 | 1992 | 1993 | 1994 | 1995 | 1996 | 1997 | 1998 | 1999 ]
[ 2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 ]

2004, Dec 01; 10:12 ::: Kiss Me Deadly (1955) - Robert Aldrich

Kiss Me Deadly (1955) - Robert Aldrich [FR] [DE] [UK]

Kiss Me Deadly a chilling film noir from 1955 based upon a Mickey Spillane Mike Hammer mystery. Ralph Meeker plays Hammer, tough-guy private eye who is just slightly less brutal and modestly more honest than the crooks he chases. As everyone tries to get a hold of the secret "whatsit," the body count and paranoia keep rising to an unexpected ending. It is considered to be the American godfather to the French New Wave, directed with skill by Robert Aldrich and introducing Cloris Leachman.

In 1999 the film was deemed "culturally significant" by the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kiss_Me_Deadly [Dec 2004]

2004, Nov 30; 22:37 ::: La Belle Captive (1983) - Alain Robbe-Grillet

La Belle Captive. 1967 - guache sobre papel. 29,8 x 45,2 cm

La Belle Captive (1983) - Alain Robbe-Grillet

Date: 20 January 2002
Summary: Last Year at Skinemax

Alain Robbe-Grillet, in his post-Marienbad career, has made a decent living for himself combining his structuralist maze-narratives with skin, guns, black leather, trapezes and motorcycles. In short he has managed to wedge one of the artiest of art-movie genres into the Erotic Thriller shelf of your local video store. (But don't expect to see any Robbe-Grillets there soon.) Before a dismal tail-off (it was all a dream! or was it? no, it was! or was it?) Robbe-Grillet manages to solder together a pleasing array of rhymes, repetitions, hangovers, frames-within-frames, and other toylike devices which he wisely powers with High Surrealist fuel: dreamlike sexual obsessiveness. The first twenty minutes or so of La Belle Captive combine story elements from Eyes Wide Shut and Kiss Me Deadly--a winning combination (and one that suggests more that Robbe-Grillet read Schnitzler's Traumnovelle than that Kubrick jacked Robbe-Grillet's conception). As always in Robbe-Grillet, the combination of elegant, "meaningless," self-referential puzzling with lurid, charged material makes for a powerful experience--Andre Breton 2.0. Too bad that, unlike his late, masterly THE BLUE VILLA (still shamefully undistributed), LA BELLE CAPTIVE cops out so shamefully.

One must now acknowledge, after LA BELLE CAPTIVE, Antonioni's IDENTIFICATION OF A WOMAN, EYES WIDE SHUT and MULHOLLAND DRIVE, that the Cheesy Erotic Thriller is now the dominant paradigm of the Western art film. --matthew wilder via http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0085226/ [Nov 2004]

Traumnovelle (1925/26) (adapted as the film Eyes Wide Shut by American director Stanley Kubrick)

Arthur Schnitzler's Traumnovelle, adapted into the film Eyes Wide Shut by director Stanley Kubrick, and also dramatized for BBC Radio 4 as Dream Story, details the thoughts and psychological evolution of doctor Fridolin over a two day period. In this short time, he meets many people who give a clue to the world Schnitzler is creating for us. This all culminates in the masquerade ball, a wondrous event of masked individualism, sex, and danger for Fridolin the outsider.

The mystery of this novella comes from the self-discovery that Fridolin experiences, a descent into the depths of his own mind, and the changes in the relationships between people. It incorporates a plethora of psychological imagery and symbolism.

This book falls into the period of Viennese decadence after the turn of the century. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Traumnovelle [Dec 2004]

2004, Nov 30; 18:34 ::: Metafiction

Metafiction is a term given to fictional writing which self-consciously and systematically draws attention to its status as an artifact in order to pose questions about the relationship between fiction and reality. In providing a critique of their own methods of construction, such writings not only examine the fundamental structures of narrative fiction, they also explore the possible fictionality of the world outside the literary fictional text. --Patricia Waugh, Metafiction: The Theory and Practice of Self-Conscious Fiction (1984) - Patricia Waugh [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK] via http://www.eng.fju.edu.tw/Literary_Criticism/postmodernism/metafiction.htm [Nov 2004]

2004, Nov 30; 09:52 ::: Bomarzo, Italy

Bomarzo - The park of Monsters

2004, Nov 30; 01:19 ::: Enduring Creation: Art, Pain, and Fortitude (2001) - Nigel Jonathan Spivey

Enduring Creation: Art, Pain, and Fortitude (2001) - Nigel Jonathan Spivey [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Times Literary Supplement
"Spivey's historical knowledge is enjoyable, and his commentary is sane and humane."

Product Description:
Nigel Spivey takes on one of the greatest taboos in Western culture in this brilliantly original work of cultural history: why is so much pain depicted in the art of the West? Beginning with a meditation on Auschwitz, the prizewinning author then takes us on a journey that encompasses the stone-bound screams of classical sculpture, the many depictions of the Crucifixion, the Massacre of the Innocents and St. Sebastians pierced with arrows, self-portraits of the aging Rembrandt, and the tortured art of Vincent van Gogh. Exploring the tender, complex rapport between art and pain, Spivey guides us through the twentieth-century photographs of casualties of war, Edvard Munch's The Scream, and back to the recorded horrors of the Holocaust.

Beauty and disfigurement, violence and thrill, horror and comfort-these are pairings fostered throughout Western art, for causes as various as religious martyrdom, judicial torment, artistic virtuosity, and erotic gratification. The ancient Greeks invented tragic drama: but how far was pity for tragedy's victims tempered by the notion of just deserts? The first Christians preached Christ Crucified: why then did it take some five hundred years before images appeared of Christ on the cross? The Massacre of the Innocents was an event that never happened: for what reasons were artists of the Italian Renaissance so eager to show it convincingly?

Enduring Creation reveals the amazing power of art to console, to warn, to prepare the viewer for the harsher experiences of life, raising intriguing questions: Can pain be beautiful? Do we always pity suffering? Are sainthood and sadomasochism linked? This compelling study concludes with a positive message of hope for the enduring human spirit.

Dec 2004 [...]

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Blogs I Frequent

  • http://www.sauer-thompson.com/conversations/ Philosophical conversations between two Australians Trevor and Gary, covering a wide range of philosophical topics.
  • http://www.bekkoame.ne.jp/~aabb/plus9.html A daily, art-related, weblog from Osaka, Japan.
  • http://www.mixoftheweek.com Pre-recorded, weekly mixes of soul, house, techno, dub and other groovy sounds. Consistent high quality.
  • http://www.novaplanet.com/radiolive/novalive.asp radio-station, broadcasting from Paris

    your Amazon recommendations - Jahsonic - early adopter products