Julio 29, 2009

Cats Playing Piano - but not just any piano

Here's another example of the burgeoning field of making interesting aggregate works out of raw materials found on YouTube, along the lines of Kutiman's synthesized ensembles. This one forces hundreds of cats from around the world to play 3 piano pieces by Arnold Schoenberg, the composer who sort of invented modern Western atonal music. If you're a music geek or a collage nut or a related type of dork, or if you just like cats, these video clips and the explanation of how they were made will be really awesome to you, otherwise, well, watch out....

Posted by steev at 01:09 PM | Comments (1)

Mayo 27, 2008

Return of the 48 Hour Movie

Team Fun on the 48 Hour Film Shootout - 11It's been almost 6 years now since I had my first experiences collaboratively making fiction films really really fast, back in Portland. Wow. Those were the days!

The closest I've come, creatively, to those times was last weekend, when a team of people, mostly from Pan Left Productions, that included myself, took part in a contest here in Tucson called the 48 Hour Film Shootout. It was a lot of fun and the results are something to be proud of. There was some friction and some toes stepped on, but overall it was suprisingly smooth and most everyone seemed to have a lot of fun.

You can watch the finished film on the Pan Left video blog.

Posted by steev at 06:30 PM | Comments (0)

Mayo 06, 2008

Live Video Performance for Synaesthesia

This happened a while ago, 2 months ago, and I edited the video coverage of it a couple weeks ago, but I never blogged about it, that I can remember.

I've started doing "VJ"ing, and my debut was for a Pan Left multimedia extravaganza called Synaesthesia, where musicians improvise to videos they've never seen before. But my set was me improvising live-manipulated-mixed video to music i'd never heard before.

It worked better than I feared. Though I'm not saying the visuals or audio was brilliant. Anyway, here's the video and more info, on the pan left site.

Anyway, I hope to do more of this kind of stuff in the not too far off future.

Posted by steev at 05:31 PM | Comments (0)

Abril 12, 2008


About 18 months ago I wrote a novel in a month as part of NaNoWriMo, and then I heard about Script Frenzy, which is the same thing but people write screenplays. Last year it was in June and I missed it because I was travelling, but I'd been looking forward to this year's ever since, and then I found out this week that they moved it to April! So, that really took me by surprise. I had been stewing in my head some ideas for my screenplay but was not really ready, creatively or just in terms of time I have in my life right now, to do it this month.

But I thought I'd try it. I have about 7 pages written but I'm finding that I don't know what I'm writing about. I have no story, just a few vague desires of subject matter to address. I'm just not ready. Also I'm finding that I feel shackled by 2 things: the screenplay format is just weird and feels very rigid, and the fact that I'm a filmmaker makes me constantly edit myself as I write, because I want to MAKE whatever I write into a film that I myself shoot. So I keep thinking, oh how would that work, I would need millions to shoot that, who would play that character, that would be too expensive, or I can't do that, or whatever.

I need to just let go and write and not worry about if it ever gets made or how. But I'm also really busy with other projects this month. Maybe on the other hand I should just pretend like scriptfrenzy is still in June and wait to do it then.

Posted by steev at 04:05 PM | Comments (0)

Agosto 27, 2007

Inland Empire

I saw David Lynch's Inland Empire earlier this summer and someone just asked me what I thought. As I told him, i've got mixed feelings, more so than his older stuff. i've been a Lynch fan for a long time (i guess since i first saw Eraserhead like 17 years ago). but his last 2 films, Mullholland Drive and Inland Empire, have disappointed me. i still loved to watch and listen to them just for the sensory experience (he's always been really amazing with the sound design on his films, in addition to cinematography), but beyond that I just have felt frustrated. i feel like he's been in a rut or a formula for his last 2 or 3 films, maybe even purposely repeating himself and being annoying just to see how far he can push his fans. and the gratuitous and almost sexist softporn bits are just plain juvenile and irritating, i think.

but i guess i'd like to see it again sometime and see if i feel different after repeated viewings, or if i can actually get more meaning out of the stuff that seemed like just gratuitous meaningless bizarreness for the sake of being bizarre.

in my opinion his best works are still Blue Velvet and Wild at Heart (and the Twin Peaks tv series)...

Posted by steev at 01:29 PM | Comments (0)

Agosto 03, 2007

"Blast from the past that singes the present"

There's a great review in the New York Times of 2 shows in NYC of paintings by Peter Young, a really good friend of O's (she took the photo of him in Oaxaca, below, which appears in the article, though they failed to credit her). He's an amazing guy and a great abstract painter who sort of dropped out of the New York art scene and settled in Bisbee, Arizona 3 decades ago, lives in an old hotel downtown that he bought for almost nothing in the 70s.
I like this passage of the review:

He roamed about the American Southwest and spent several months in Spain and Morocco. By the time one of his dot paintings made the cover of Artforum in April 1971, he was gone for good. In 1972 he settled more or less permanently in Bisbee, Ariz., where he continues to live and work. He stopped painting when the war in Iraq began and involved himself more deeply in political causes.

He's a member of Bisbee-based humane border activists Citizens for Border Solutions and he appears in a video of mine about a bi-national fiesta in Naco.

O is pretty excited about this. It's the rediscovery of his career that Peter has always told her would happen. She has 2 of his paintings hanging in her apartment. The review is 3 pages in the paper version of the Times today and starts on the front page of the Arts section.

Read on for the complete article that i cut and pasted in case you don't want to log into the Times site or you're reading this after they archive it into the dumb non-free part of their site.

August 3, 2007
Art Review | Peter Young
Kandy-Colored Dot-Flake Streamline Maverick

Peter Young’s art is a blast from the past that singes the present. His almost-major career, which flourished during the fashionably mythic late 1960s and early ’70s, has been drifting just out of reach for decades, a tantalizing medley of dotted, stained, gridded and geometric paintings, rarely seen but not forgotten.

Now his work has been gathered into his first museum show anywhere and his first solo show in New York in 23 years. A radiant survey of 34 paintings from 1963 to 1977 has arrived at the P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center in Queens, and at the Mitchell Algus Gallery in Chelsea a smaller, more focused but equally excellent display features works from Mr. Young’s Folded Mandala and his Oaxacan series from the 1970s.

Together these shows reintroduce a maverick Zenned-out hedonist who was also a process-oriented formalist with a sharp painterly intelligence, a genius for color and a penchant for the tribal and spiritual. They also revisit the efforts of an ambitious artist who got to the brink of a big New York abstract-painter career and took a pass, dropping almost completely from view and fading into legend.

Organized by P.S. 1’s founding director, Alanna Heiss, and the artist David Deutsch, the larger show arrives on the heels of the exhibition “High Times, Hard Times: New York Painting 1967-1975” at the National Design Museum, which included one of Mr. Young’s small enticing “stick” paintings, and also opened the Pandora’s box of the history of Post-Minimalist painting. And it coincides with the Whitney’s sweeping if spotty “Summer of Love” exhibition, from which Mr. Young’s work is noticeably absent.

Mr. Young was a painter of the 1960s in just about every sense of the word, up to and including the early use of LSD. Born in Pittsburgh in 1940, he grew up precocious near Los Angeles in the Santa Monica Canyon. His parents collected tribal art, as did family friends the painter Lee Mullican and his wife, Luchita. (Their son is the artist Matt Mullican.) By his teenage years Mr. Young had mastered a semblance of an Abstract Expressionist style. After studying art at the Chouinard Art Institute (now CalArts) in Los Angeles and Pomona College in Claremont, Calif., he moved to New York in 1960 with his wife, the dancer and choreographer Twyla Tharp.

By 1969 he was part of a generation that would tinker incessantly with paintings’ fundamentals and had most of his ducks in a row for a big career. The high point was a two-man show with David Diao at the Leo Castelli Gallery. But when it opened, Mr. Young was on a four-month sojourn in Costa Rica, living among the Boruca Indians, painting on cloth stretched on four sticks tied at the corners. His marriage was over; he had an itch to travel; and his tolerance for the New York world was ebbing. (Upon his return from Costa Rica he retitled two paintings “Capitalist Masterpiece.”)

He roamed about the American Southwest and spent several months in Spain and Morocco. By the time one of his dot paintings made the cover of Artforum in April 1971, he was gone for good. In 1972 he settled more or less permanently in Bisbee, Ariz., where he continues to live and work. He stopped painting when the war in Iraq began and involved himself more deeply in political causes.

The P.S. 1 show reveals an artist who is alternately intellectual and blissed-out, meditative and exacting, who changed his work willfully and regularly. Continuity is provided by Mr. Young’s great gift for color and of course his preferred motif: the dot, that global staple of art. Another through line is keen attention to self-evident process. You can always break down the step-by-step making of these paintings.

In the first gallery four big canvases from 1967 and ’68 — Mr. Young’s well-known classic molecular-paisley dot paintings — come into focus, cultivating potentials in Pollock’s allover composition, Larry Poons’s lozenge paintings and Yayoi Kusama’s net paintings. The dots go from irregular and gray to colorful then to closely spaced and reliably nickel-size. Finally, in “#30,” of 1968, a loose paisleylike scheme emerges in richly off-key yet regimented tones: two contrasting shades each of earth red, brown and green with constant input from lavender and light blue. Given their effects it is always interesting to see up close how few colors Mr. Young actually uses.

The show backtracks from there, highlighting conflicting sides of Mr. Young’s sensibility. Two small, pulsating paintings from 1964 feature dotted dots, or small dotted circles, in earthy tones; their patterns suggest game boards, electrical systems and peasant textiles. Two other small but protruding paintings from 1965 are almost Minimalist boxes. With their blue, gridded wraparound surfaces covered by fat, shiny, unvarying red dots with central squares of yellow ones, they resemble Josef Albers paintings made with colored thumbtacks.

A vitrine of necklaces strikes yet another note. The chunky, roughly carved beads approximate the multicolor effect of millefleurs glass beads in layered acrylic paint: wearable dots.

Three galleries of works from 1966 to ’68 that move parallel to the dot paintings are fresh and well made but soulless. Mr. Young tries out Photo Realism in two chilly works that arrange tiny dots into streaming galaxies of white, cream and blue on black.

Then it’s back to Minimalism leavened with Conceptual Art, for a kind of smart-aleck dissection of the geometries of Frank Stella in shades of John Wesley blue. The works feel empty and competitive. Flatness and facts prevail. Space is measured in an expanding, numbered grid, shuffled into radiating lines, looped into compass-perfect circles and then closed off with a brick wall.

It is a relief to step into the next gallery and encounter tangible proof that Mr. Young’s 1969 journey to Costa Rica was life-changing. The main thrill is a row of seven “stick” paintings from 1970 like those Mr. Young made there and mostly gave to his Boruca hosts. Here slightly irregular monochrome fields divided intuitively by scaffoldings of line show Mr. Young making geometry his own. The colors flame: peach on bright blue, yellow on red, orange on violet. The lines step, dance, undulate, lean, loop and crisscross, forming lively wholes exceeding the sum of their still-discernible parts. They are shields, mystical diagrams, cartoons of paintings; their brushy brown faux-wood-grain borders acknowledge the real sticks holding them together with a trompe-l’oeil moment. In a corner a small, amazing tribal-process painting from 1963 confirms the Costa Rica trip as a kind of journey home.

In the show’s remaining galleries Mr. Young seems liberated. From 1972 three trippy Rorschach stain paintings blur and multiply the prancing energy of stick paintings. These square canvases proffer four quadrants of bilateral tantric flourishes, each made by folding bare onto painted canvas. They bring order to Pollock’s drips and splatters, show Color Field painting a thing or two and presage the voluptuous patterns and layered colors of Philip Taaffe.

In the show’s final gallery the dot appears to be banished, but is actually just hemmed in on all sides. Here four works offer expanses of intricate, colorful, closely spaced grids that suggest delicately woven plaids and checks. One of these works is actually from 1965, the year Mr. Young discovered the painted grids of Agnes Martin and swore off his own for more than a decade. The other three are from 1977, increasingly dense and jumpy.

At Algus the dot returns in the pulsating patterns of the Folded Mandala paintings from the early 1970s. Their bilateral schemes are circular and also spacier because they are built from fat dabs and smears of color rather than stained. They are gorgeous, enveloping works, but true to Process Art you can still parse the layers and count the colors. And in the three Oaxacan paintings from 1980, the dot wreaks its revenge on the grid in some unfathomable way, interacting with the horizontal and vertical lines to create patterns that step in and out, build up and dissolve. One sees hints of masks, temple architecture and even kachina dolls in these surfaces. They bridge the gap between East and West, art and craft, ancient and now.

Any exhibition of art from the past should open some doors to the future. These shows open a whole hallway of them.

“Peter Young: 1963-1977” is at the P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center, 22-25 Jackson Avenue, at 46th Street., Long Island City, Queens, (718) 784-2084, through Sept. 24. “Peter Young: Folded Mandalas & Oaxacan Paintings” is at the Mitchell Algus Gallery, 511 West 25th Street, Chelsea, through Aug. 17, (212) 242-6242.

Posted by steev at 06:07 PM | Comments (0)

Abril 03, 2007

Featured on Some Assembly Required

I'm the featured interviewee this week on the blog of Some Assembly Required, a radio show in Minneapolis about sample-based music, sound collage, etc. I think this interview happened via email at least 6 months ago if not more. But anyway, it's interesting to read because it talks about the personal experience of the host of the show, Jon, meeting me online about 10 years ago.

In other news, I had just about the worst headache i've ever experienced today, to where I was basically incapacitated most of the afternoon. It was so horrible. I'm still feeling crappy but the pain has ebbed. I don't know what's going on. Maybe a combination of not treating my back right, flirting with caffeine, dehydration, and allergies.

Posted by steev at 08:28 PM | Comments (1)

Marzo 25, 2007

NaNoEdMo and A Million Other Things

Well shoot, March is National Novel Editing Month but it has slipped past my awareness, and besides I've been too busy, and now the month is almost over. Actually, for the last couple months or so I've been unclear whether I even WANT to keep working on the book I finished at the end of November's National Novel Writing Month. It's called "Palimpsest" (or, an alternate title I thought of: "Things Could Have Been The Same"), and it's based on some pretty dark times I went through last year and some pretty damaged people I know. Well, really, it's about a lot of things, but certain major characters and minor events are based on real people and events from my life. I haven't been sure it's healthy to revisit those dark times and screwed-up people, and yet the book is clearly a creative achievement that I'm still proud of, something I would like to develop, add to, and release to the world. So it's sort of dilemma.

There're a lot of other projects that are vying for my time and creative energy lately too. I really have been wanting to get back into music-making again, even performing live, and doing more artistic stuff with video again, and I'd like to write a screenplay one of these days soon too... who knows... sometimes I feel this ecstatic landscape of possibilities stretched out before me, and other times I just feel overwhelmed with "stuff to do". Suspira. Vamos a ver....

Posted by steev at 07:12 PM | Comments (0)

Marzo 23, 2007

Synaesthesia Interview

I was involved with a radio interview on community station KXCI regarding the big multimedia extravaganza that Pan Left is doing tommorrow night. I recorded it. It went pretty well, though I sort of feel like the large number of us in the studio did not improve the quality of the interview. Pan Left is full of strong egos who love to talk, myself included. I tried to stay aware of that and not talk to much. (Yesterday I had a chance to talk about the show on the radio again, but I passed and let someone else do it.)

Posted by steev at 12:07 PM | Comments (0)

Marzo 18, 2007

just so you know.

I and some comrades will be on the radio today at 3pm (Pacific time), on KXCI, talking about Synaesthesia, the multimedia video and performance event we (Pan Left) are doing next Saturday.

no time to blog much more than that. hungover. lots to do. sigh.

Posted by steev at 10:16 AM | Comments (0)

Marzo 10, 2007


I designed this poster:

synaesthesia poster
Just picked it up from the printers last night and it looks great. 11x17 inches. It should be a cool event, and I hope the posters help get a bunch of people to come to it. I'm also working on a video collage piece for the show. It's the first extensive non-documentary video piece I've done in years. It's fun to see other people in Pan Left working on more artistic and less carefully planned-out work too. I think we all need to excercise our spontaneous creativity a little more often.

Posted by steev at 07:16 AM | Comments (3)

Diciembre 28, 2006

The Poetry of Hafiz

I'm reading a book of (mostly) love poems, called The Gift, by the great Sufi mystic Hafiz, from the 14th century. His poetry is really beautiful and the translation I'm reading makes it very easy and modern, which I have no problem with. A lot of the poems are these amazing odes to the spiritual nature of Love, and are just very pleasureable to read. Often he easily moves from that sort of serious and profound depiction of the divine to a really light, humorous, and witty line. Or sometimes an entire poem is really whimisical, like this one:

Everything is clapping today,

All movement.

A rabbit I pass pulls a cymbal
From a hidden pocket
Then winks.

This causes a few planets and I
To go nuts
And start grabbing each other.

Someone sees this,
Calls a

Tries to get me
Being too

Listen: this world is the lunatic's sphere,
Don't always agree it's real,

Even with my feet upon it
And the postman knowing my door

My address is somewhere else.

Here's a fragment from one that's more on the serious/beautiful side:

We are like two cups of water
That God poured in a vase.
I am one with you beyond

Of course I should mention that that kind of love is pretty rare. It hasn't happened to me in many years. I just realized that it happened at all, reading my old journals last week. Reading those I understood, that more recent interactions were almost meaningless in comparison.

Posted by steev at 08:15 AM | Comments (0)

Noviembre 29, 2006


I keep stumbling on these songs i've been listening to for months but suddenly their lyrics just are clear and almost perfectly apropro for me right now, like this one by Cake:

To me, coming from you,
Friend is a four letter word.
End is the only part of the word
That I heard.
Call me morbid or absurd.
But to me, coming from you,
Friend is a four letter word.

When I go fishing for the words
I am wishing you would say to me,
I'm really only praying
That the words you'll soon be saying
Might betray the way you feel about me.

But to me, coming from you,
Friend is a four letter word.

Posted by steev at 05:29 PM | Comments (0)

Noviembre 27, 2006

Novel Done!!

Well, I hacked out the final, gory, climactic chapter of my novel this morning, so now it is done, not only conforming to the word count goal but it is a complete story. I'm pretty happy with it.

I printed it out and am now in the process of actually reading it for the first time. it's 177 pages, at least as it is currently formatted. 53,900 words. Obviously it's very rough and I will now be revising it fixing stuff that i find wrong with it, and responding to comments on it.

I just hope that the person that a lot of it is based on will read it soon so that i can let the rest of the world read it soon after.

Posted by steev at 09:16 PM | Comments (0)

Noviembre 16, 2006

Jello Strikes Out

I went to see Jello Biafra live last night. I've been wanting to see him for like 15 years, and it ended up being an almost total disappointment.

He was so boring! I couldn't believe it. And he just sounded like any other activist wingnut ranter. If it wasn't for his history as god of punk rawk, he'd be a homeless guy in Oakland yelling at pigeons at the BART station. There was just nothing unique or compelling, much less remotely entertaining. I was falling asleep after about 30 minutes, left after another 10. oh man.

Posted by steev at 06:57 AM | Comments (1)

Noviembre 01, 2006

Off And Running

Well, National Novel Writing Month is off and running, 11 hours old, and I've already got over 2000 words done. I had some character sketches and some settings and a sort of general "situation outline" beforehand. I guess it's sort of going to be a weird mix of near-future science fiction, trippy burroughsian stream of conciousness weirdness, gonzo espionage political thriller, activism adventure, parody, romance and autobiography. I registered it under "literary ficition," whatever that means, I guess because I don't want to pigeonhole it under any other more well-defined genre.

I've got an excerpt up on my nanowrimo page. The nanowrimo site seems slow. Makes sense, there's tens of thousands of writers leaving the starting gate and logging in right now... I actually have 4 settings and 2 or 3 major characters introduced. The excerpt is focusing on just one major character and subplot, the one that contributes the espionage thriller part of the genre mix. The character is sort of an evolution of a character from a series of short stories I used to write when I was in high school/college and still did a lot of fiction writing.

Posted by steev at 09:59 AM | Comments (0)

Octubre 27, 2006


I have a new favorite song, "Parentheses," by the Portland band The Blow. alert: that link is to a myspace page. again, let me say one more time, myspace fucking sucks. i've tried firefox and explorer and with both, clicking on the 'lyrics' links for songs doesn't do anything. do i have to use a windoze box just to read the lyrics to my new favorite song? goddammit. would someone else try it and if it works for you, cut and paste the lyrics into a comment here, or email them to me?

"When you're holding me, we make a pair of parentheses" is the key line. what an incredible lyric.

Posted by steev at 10:47 AM | Comments (3)

National Novel Writing Month

I'm going to write a novel next month. Every year when it comes around I want to do it. This time I'm going to. I was just reminded of it about 36 hours ago and decided pretty soon after that I'm going to go for it.

As soon as I decided, a flood of ideas have been bursting through my brain of what to write and how. I'm really excited.

You may think, wait, Steev, you're crazy, you keep complaining about how busy you are and you're going insane with stress from all the different things you're trying to do! What the hell?! Stop!

Well, yeah, but I've made an informal pledge to do semi-crazy things that I wouldn't normally do. Plus, I need some creative project that I'm excited about to get myself out of a hole I'm in, a hole named "only one thing makes me happy these days and that thing is getting scarcer and scarcer." Plus, I figure, if I spend about the same amount of time every day writing the novel that I spend blogging and journalling, that would probably be enough words to get it done. It shouldn't be that hard. 50,000 words in 30 days = about 1700 words a day. Piece of cake. It won't be a good novel, but as my friend mykle said, you have to commit yourself to finishing, not writing the best thing ever, and that's how to have fun with it.

I may post excerpts here or just links to excerpts on my page on the NaNoWriMo site, which is really a great, well-done site with cool functionality.

Wish me luck.

Posted by steev at 09:07 AM | Comments (1)

Octubre 04, 2006


my friend joel has been making amazing timelapse photography videos. They're really beautiful.

Posted by steev at 03:50 PM | Comments (0)

Septiembre 01, 2006

Retired Weapons

Very cool cute anti-war animations.

Posted by steev at 01:59 PM | Comments (0)

Junio 19, 2006

On The Magnetic Fields

I've been meaning to blog about the band called The Magnetic Fields for about a year now. I'm finally getting to it.

The Magnetic Fields is basically one genius songwriter with an amazing baritone voice, Stephin Merritt. I spent a year being annoyed by them, I think mainly because my music-geek hipster housemate at the time was obsessed with them. But recently I've become enamoured with this music. I still have mixed feelings about it, but I can't stop listening.

I think ultimately that this music is unhealthy. In fact, The Magnetic Fields have taught me, once again, and finally, that listening obsessively to pop music, really good, catchy, clever, profound pop music, when you're struggling through a new relationship that may or may not progress past a couple weeks, is a bad idea.

Why? Because no pop song, unless you write it yourself (and I know, I used to do it), is going to perfectly express how you feel at any one time about any other person. It will perhaps be some close fascimile. OR it may be quite far from the truth. But the music will be so fucking cool, and you will enjoy it so much, that the lyrics will start to leach into your brain and make you belive they are describing your situation.

I remember when I was about 15 years younger than I am now, and I was in a new relationship, and I was really really really into this awesome local band from Ann Arbor called Wig. They had a song called "All The Love in the World." The lyrics were pretty much just repetitions of the following: "He MIGHT have HER but I OWN THE STREET and if I SEE THAT motherFUCKER he's DEAD!" This was sung by the insane stage presence of Preston Cleveland, a whiskey-swilling maniac who later got kicked out the band because everyone else in the band were potheads. Anyway, I am not a violent person. I have never been in a fight. I have never physically hurt another human intentionally. I barely know which end of my fist to use in a punch. But at the time, since I was competing with a trombone player in a ska band for the hand of his woman, I really wanted to believe that I OWNED THE STREET AND IF I saw that motherFUCKER he would be DEAD. Because the song was so godamned cool. Luckily I didn't kill anyone, but it's really fucking fun to sing that song.

I was singing that song tonite, unfortunately, as I rode up 4th avenue.

But anyway. Stephin Merritt's songs are like that. They are so infectious, so cool, so hip, so FUN to sing, at least if you have vocal chords that can reach that low, which I am relatively proud to say that I do, mostly.

The problem is, the mixed feelings are, that I believe that Stephin Merritt is fucking with us all. He is purposely writing ironic, post-modern, snarky, hipster lyrics that fuck with your head to some degree. He is so overly clever, and so... calculated, that it at first turned me off to listen to his songs. And then, somehow, I was drawn in. I was already really getting into them but what really hooked me was this new relationship which I have frequently said too much of on the pages of this blog. And this relationship is/was way too wise and postmodern and clever for something like The Beatles, too exuberant for Death Cab, too intellectual for Prince but too hot for Built to Spill. No, it seemed, at the time, that the Fields were perfect, or at least 1 in 10 of their songs. maybe.

In the end the Magnetic Fields are a bad idea for someone trying to decide how they feel about a new lover or potential lover. How does one sing along to the words of "Crazy For You (But Not That Crazy)" or "I don't Believe in the Sun" without getting a distorted picture of reality, not to mention "I wish I had an Evil Twin?"

Some of the songs I think hipsters love just for their pure transgressiveness. Is it homophobic or homoerotic to enjoy singing the words to "I thought you were my boyfriend?" Enjoy for the pure pleasure of singing it but also for the naughty fun of singing along with a very male voice that's singing about his boyfriend? Perhaps The Magnetic Fields could be some sort of ambassadors of gay love, because all these songs are as touching and romantic as any traditional love song, but Stephin Merrit is gay and for the most part is singing about men.

I like your twisted point of view, Mike
I like your questioning eyebrows
You've made it pretty clear what you like
It's only fair to tell you now
that I leave early in the morning
and I won't be back till next year
I see that kiss-me pucker forming
but maybe you should plug it with a beer, cause
Papa was a rodeo
Mama was a rock'n'roll band
(from "Papa Was a Rodeo")

Occasionally he goes too far with his snarky irony, and his deft manipulation of genres and styles to create atmospheres and points, like with the song "Punk Rock Love", which is so clearly making asinine fun of punk music as to be really annoying.

Anyway, I've had 2 mojitos and so this review is now over. I will just conclude with the promise that the next time I start a romance, I'm not going to listen to anything but instrumental music at all. Because as Frank Zappa once said, "music can really fuck you up," and as Aeschylus or however you spell it once said, "With music, any words are good."

cause I don't want to get over love
I could listen to my therapist,
pretend you don't exist,
and not have to dream of
what I dream of
I could listen to all my friends
and go out again
and pretend it's enough
or I could make a career of being blue
I could dress in black and read Camus
smoke clove cigarettes and drink vermouth
like I was 17
that would be a scream
but I don't want to get over you
(from I Don't Want To Get Over You)

Posted by steev at 10:30 PM | Comments (3)

Enero 22, 2006

American Business Adventures

I've been going through archives of old video work, trying to clear some space on some hard drives, and thinking about what I should upload to the website, since I can. I came across a piece that's still one of my favorites, from 2002, that was conveniently already encoded as an mpeg-1. It's about 10 minutes long and it's called American Business Adventures.

It's a collage piece that's all about the Afghan invasion and its relation to the United States' need for oil. I made it originally as a backdrop for live audio performance. Then later I took an audio recording of one of the live shows and layered that back onto the video, and did a bunch of other audio editing, to turn it into a finished work for linear video.

This is the first time I've put the whole thing online, I think, so if you haven't seen my DVD, "Videographist," or otherwise seen it in realspace, this will be new to you.

Posted by steev at 06:04 PM | Comments (0)

United We Stand - Europe Has A Mission

A new film about a war between the U.S. and China, with the EU trying to stop it, promises to be an incredible piece of cinema - if only it were real.

From an email I received today:

'United We Stand' is the title of the much-hyped spy/action movie wholly produced by Europe, a large-scale propagandistic stunt that has in the past few months stirred much controversy. Too bad the movie doesn't actually exist, but it is instead the latest insane provocation of the artists' couple Eva and Franco Mattes, better known as 0100101110101101.ORG. After Berlin, Brussels, Barcelona, New York and Bangalore, the gigantic performance has now landed in Austria and Bologna.

see more info about the artprank at http://www.0100101110101101.org/home/unitedwestand/intro.html.

Posted by steev at 04:09 PM | Comments (0)

Enero 11, 2006

Anarchist Love Song

An addendum to my post from a couple days ago: One of the songs sung 'round the campfire was a really amusing anarchist love song. I recorded a bit of it and now you can listen to it.

Posted by steev at 11:17 AM | Comments (0)

Diciembre 28, 2005

The Death of Reggaeton

Today on the NPR show Fresh Air there was an extensive segment about reggaeton - its 20-year history and how this year was its big break. All year long, especially when I was in Guatemala and Mexico, I've been hearing it and noticing what a big trend it was, and now I realize that everyone else has been, too. The penultimate nail in the coffin of any underground cultural development has to be mention on Fresh Air. Any day now there'll be a cover story in Time magazine.

It's funny also because the reviewer on Fresh Air sounds like just about the squarest, nerdiest, whitest, gringo-est guy to ever turn on a stereo. He's like Professor Frink from the Simpsons explaining the virtues of hip hop or something. Listen to it and you'll see what I mean.

Posted by steev at 12:09 AM | Comments (0)

Diciembre 23, 2005

File a Motion for Anarchy.

I have found my new favorite comic strip ever. What could be better than mention of anarchy and mojitos in the same frame?
(thanx, brian)

Posted by steev at 04:20 PM | Comments (0)

Diciembre 06, 2005

Mexican Artist Deported For an Internet Art Project

Luis Hernandez is a Mexican artist who participated in a recent border art festival in San Diego and Tijuana called inSite. Last week when flying home from Colorado he was stopped in the airport, searched, and ended up being deported to Mexico and barred from returning for 5 years. A message from him with many details, including a dialog with an FBI agent, is on the blog of fellow artist Ricardo Domiguez.

Absolutely crazy. Make a video game about border tunnels, get deported? This cannot be allowed.

Posted by steev at 09:23 PM | Comments (0)

Octubre 12, 2005

Pate a Son

I was just referred to a really cool sound toy. Beware, you might find yourself spending a few hours playing with it before you know it. Check out the other work the creators have made, also.

(thanx jon!)

Posted by steev at 08:29 AM | Comments (0)