Saturday, August 29, 2009

Indeterminacy 128

(Pieter Brueghel the Elder)

In 1960
I received a letter from
a university president
giving me an
appointment for the following academic
I called Mother
to tell her the good news.

I said,
to be a Fellow in the Center
for Advanced Studies at Wesleyan
Mother said,
are they always connecting you
with the dance?”

Then, after a pause,

she added,
“Do they
know you’re a Zen Buddhist?”

- John Cage

Natalia Vodianova

Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight (1995)

Tales from the Crypt Presents: Demon Knight USA (complete title)
Ritter der Dämonen Germany

A man on the run is hunted by a demon known as the Collector.

Tongue-in-cheek horror flic complete with gore, nudity and some entertainment value.

Kate Moss irrégulière

New Stuff

Who's That Girl?

Mr. & Mrs. Bridge (1990)

The story of a traditional (wealthy) family living in the Country Club District of Kansas City, Missouri, during the 1930s and 1940s grappling with changing mores and expectations.

All done in good taste and has a lot of good production value and great acting, but it's just not too exciting or revelatory.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Audrey Tautou

Indeterminacy 56

A composer friend of mine

who spent some time in a mental
rehabilitation center
encouraged to do a good deal of
bridge playing.

After one game,
partner was criticizing his play
of an ace
on a trick
which had
already been

My friend stood up
and said,
“If you
think I came to the loony bin
to learn
to play bridge,
you’re crazy.”

- John Cage

Gemma Ward

Gradiva (C'est Gradiva qui vous appelle) (2006)

An orientalist professor researching Delacroix's North African work becomes entangled in an S&M waking dream in Morocco.

And a dirty old man's wet dream it is. It's artsy-fartsy and has pretentiously a lot to say about life, love, pain, censorship, etc, you name it, full of airbrushed nudity and S/M images.

Who's That Girl?

Manson (2009)

A docu-drama that follows Charles Manson's 'Family' member Linda Kasabian, and her story to what when on at Spahn's Movie Ranch and the final days leading up to the grizzly 1969 Tate/La Bianca murders.

A fairly well made TV drama telling the well-known story from a new perspective, but a bit cursory. I thought that the casting of the main characters was very accurate.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Anka Khargelia

R.I.P Ellie Greenwich

Songwriter Ellie Greenwich, who died today at age 68 of a heart attack, helped to shape and popularize the "girl group" sound of the early '60s that included such acts as the Ronettes, the Shangri-Las and the Crystals, becoming, in the process, one of the most respected pop songwriters of the era.

You'll find an eulogy here.

Who's That Girl?

Indeterminacy 63

David Tudor and I went up to New Haven to do a
television class for the New Haven State Teachers
College. That college specializes
in teaching by means of television. What
they do is to make a tape, audio and visual,
and then broadcast it at a later date early in
the morning. In the course of my
talking, I said something about the purpose
of purposelessness. Afterwards, one
of the teachers said to the head of the Music
Department, “How are you going to explain that
to the class next Tuesday?”
Anyway, we finished the TV business,
drove back to the school, and I asked the
teachers to recommend some second-hand bookstores
in New Haven for David Tudor and me to visit.
They did. A half-hour later when we
walked into one of them, the book dealer
said, “Mr. Tudor? Mr. Cage?” I said,
“Yes?” He said, “You’re to call the State
Teachers College.” I did. They said
the television class we had recorded had not
been recorded at all. Apparently
someone forgot to turn something on.

- John Cage

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Anna Ilnytska

Vignettes #44

It was my first year after having moved to Germany, and I was in the 3rd grade of elementary school. On this particular day I had been telling friends about the microscope I had gotten as a birthday present. One kid in the class, I remember his name was Ulrich, was obviously a bit envious, and he butted in bragging about how much better the microscope was that he had.

He overdid it, though, and mentioned some technical detail that was impossibly exaggerated. I corrected him and got him embarrassed in front of all the other kids who had been listening. For the rest of the day Ulrich was extremely hostile and obviously ready for a fight, but luckily nothing serious happened.

When school was out we all left through the large back entrance. Stepping out the door I noticed my German grandfather standing there with his bike and obviously there waiting to pick me up, something he had never did before. Overjoyed I started running right to him, when somebody tripped me and I fell hard as I was in full flight.

When I got back to my senses and slowly got up, I saw that my grandfather had taken Ulrich onto his knee and he was giving him a thorough spanking with the complete school watching in fascination.

Later I heard that Ulrich's father was there, too, sitting in his car and waiting to pick him up as well. He had seen the full incident, so he gave Ulrich another full spanking as soon as he reached the car.

Dani Lundquist

Indeterminacy X2

Just before Christmas I
visited my mother who lives
in a nursing home.
(Two years ago she
suffered a severe heart attack
which left her physically
helpless.) I told her I’d
written three texts on world
She said,
How dare you?
You should be ashamed!”
Then she added,
“I’m surprised at
I asked her, in view
of world conditions,
whether she didn’t think
there was room for improvement.
said, “There
certainly is.
It makes good sense.”

- John Cage

Laragh McCann

ph: Kacper Kasprzyk

The Wasp Woman (1959)

A cosmetics queen develops a youth formula from jelly taken from queen wasps and tests it on herself first.

Low-budget campy sci-fi-horror thriller with a halfway coherent script and some very bad special effects

Who's That Girl?

New stuff

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Pernille Moeller

Indeterminacy 78

Now giving lecture on Japanese poetry.
giving very old Japanese poem, very
¶ Oh
willow tree, // Why are
you so sad, willow tree?
// Maybe baby?

Now giving nineteenth-century
romantic Japanese poem:

Oh bird, sitting on willow
tree, // Why are you
so sad, bird? //
Maybe baby?

Now giving up-to-minute
twentieth-century Japanese poem, very modern:

Oh stream,
flowing past willow tree,
// Why are you so sad,
stream? // Baby?

- John Cage

Elettra Rossellini Wiedemann

Ein Toter hing im Netz (1960)

A Corpse Hangs in the Web International (literal title) (English title)
Body in the Web USA
Girls of Spider Island USA (video title)
Horrors of Spider Island USA (reissue title)
It's Hot in Paradise USA
The Spider's Web USA

Survivors of a plane crash on a remote island find it is inhabited by giant malicious spiders.

Abysmally bad German sleaze complete with scantily clad girls, ridiculously fake spiders, incoherent plot and one good mask for the man turned monster.

Raquel Zimmermann

ph: Sebastian Faena

Le cri du hibou (1987)

The Cry of the Owl
Der Schrei der Eule West Germany

A young man is recovering from a divorce and falls for a neighbour's wife which leads him into the depths of a conspiracy.

Competent adaptation of a Patricia Highsmith novel delving deep into a moral swamp of passion, hate and insanity.

Who's That Girl?

Suspicion (1941)

A shy young English woman marries a charming gentleman, then begins to suspect him of trying to kill her.

A classic Hitchcock suspenser with all the touches of a masterpiece, if it were not ruined by the phony happy ending.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Trish Goff

ph: Jacques Olivar

Indeterminacy 117

The first time the mushroom class was given at the
New School, many people signed up for it. The
registrar was alarmed, telephoned me and asked,
“Where shall we draw the line?” I said if more than
forty people were involved it might be difficult.
Something like that number registered for the
course, but when the field trips actually took
place, there were never more than twenty people in
the woods. Sometimes attendance dropped to a mere
dozen. I couldn’t figure out what was happening.
I forget who it was, but one day in the woods one
of the lady students confessed that when she signed
up for the course it was not with the intention of
tramping through the woods near New York City, fungi
or no fungi. She was interested in going to Europe.
Some airplane company had advertised inexpensive
roundtrip fares purchasable only by adults enrolled
in the New School. People had studied the catalogue
as though it were a menu, looking for the cheapest
course regardless of what was being taught. The lady
who told me this had had a change of mind, or her
particular flight had been postponed, I don’t
remember which. One way or another, she lost
interest in Europe. Another, noticing fungi in
Bavarian and Milanese markets, sent post cards.

- John Cage

Anna Rudenko

La leggenda del pianista sull'oceano (1998)

The Legend of 1900 UK / USA
The Legend of the Pianist on the Ocean USA
Die Legende vom Ozeanpianisten Germany

The story of a man who spends his entire life playing music on board a turn-of-the-century cruise liner.

Sumptuous and opulent movie that starts out as a magical fantasy like an old-fashioned make-believe tale, but in the end it's too self-conscious and lacks any child-like naiveté to be convincing.