Sunday

before the beatles, there was the tielman brothers


i'd like you to meet the tielman brothers (if you haven't already). they were an indo-dutch rock n'roll band and, from what i've read, were the shit in the netherlands back in the day. apparently they were playing their guitars with their teeth long before hendrix and were ripping up stages with solid rock before most (white middle class) americans even knew what rock n'roll was.  you can find their whole story here and it's quite an impressive one, i encourage you to read it. otherwise enjoy this amazing video.

Thursday

delayed reaction to giller win

my head has been sort of up my ass lately. i've been meaning to mention johanna skibsrud's newly awarded giller prize since it was announced last tuesday. so this is old news now but whatever. i'm excited about it.

i haven't read the sentimentalists yet but i'm looking forward to it. and i can't help feel a little lady pride seeing a woman take the giller because it's been mostly men since it started in 1994.

also interesting is the fact that you couldn't buy the book anywhere when the award was announced because it's printed by a small printing press in kentville, nova scotia. luckily, gaspreau press outsourced some of the printing to a vancouver press and the books may (or may not - i haven't checked) be on bookstore shelves.

i'm hoping to get my hands on a gaspreau printing because i hear it's beautifully printed. and there is nothing i love more than a beautifully printed book.

Tuesday

a little bit of everything

i am excited about the following:
  1. post-it note stories - i only recommend this site if you have a lot of time to be sucked into a giant vortex of funny, endearing stories. on post-it notes. it reminds me of this american life. but on post-it notes. and the tal reference was inevitable, seeing that this is a starlee klein project (she is my favorite).
  2. speaking of tal, i bought the tal iphone app. yes, i did. best $2.99 ever spent. full access to the archives, plus episodes of the interesting, but kind of inferior, tv version; i can mark episodes i've listened to, and organize favorites, listen to episodes by contributor, topic or staff favorites. this is pure, talk radio bliss.
  3. canada reads 2011 - they won't be announcing the five finalists until november 24th but the top 10 have me intrigued. i'm happy to see hill and mckay on the list but i'm disappointed toews and o'neill didn't make it. fortunately, it looks like zoe whittall's, bottle rocket hearts, is filling the troubled-canadian-female void. i'm pretty confident we'll see boyden's, three day road, in the top five and i would love to see jeff lemire's, essex county, up there with it (a graphic novel would be so refreshing). so. i guess you could say, canada reads is like the stanley cup playoffs for me. 
  4. human centipede - i'm excited about this in the way you would be excited about having a root canal done while being forced to watch two girls one cup while completely unanesthetized. this movie was so traumatizing. i have no words.
  5. hopefully the bad lieutenant: port of call and fish tank will be better experiences.

Friday

enveloped in darkness


the quiet stillness of the vancouver art gallery only heightened the sternum punch i felt when i first laid my eyes on one of kerry james marshall's large scale paintings. even two months after my initial introduction, marshall's paintings resonate with me.

standing among marshall's twenty-some paintings, it hit me, when was the last time i saw african american culture portrayed in oil or acrylic? i tried to think. i'm vaguely aware of artists such as hale woodruff, jacob lawerence and the obvious jean-michel basquiat but as i stood in a four story art gallery, surrounded primarily by works of white artists depicting white life, i realized that the mainstream art world, the one in which i am most familiar, has undoubtedly omitted the african american narrative. and marshall's work had an alarming way of making this obvious.

marshall's paintings, in their confrontational realist style, address this invisibility of black culture in  art and the western world, in general. the paintings made me uncomfortable. they made me  aware of my privilege being, living in a world saturated in white.

i hope you'll read this interveiw with marsall in the washington post from last year and, if you live in vancouver, check this exhibit out.

Wednesday

love and robots

a friend of mine recently sent me a link for spike jonze's short film, i'm here, and i thought i would share it with you.

filmed in jonze's characteristic dream-like style, this story is about sheldon and francesca, who live in a version of Los Angeles where robots and humans coexist.

the film is apparently based on the children's story, the giving tree (yes, sheldon is named after shel silverstein). it's a tender and classic story of love and sacrifice and i think you should really curl up with someone sweet and watch it.

Monday

it was just a feeling

i recently finished reading atmospheric disturbances, a peculiar, existentially romantic novel written by rivka galchen. i have been itching to share this novel with you because i have never read anything quite like it; atmospheric disturbances is a little bit science fiction, a little bit heartbreaking but so totally and completely meticulously composed.

the novel is narrated by leo, a middle-aged psychiatrist who believes his young and beautiful wife, rema, has been replaced by a simulacrum. although the evidence with which leo draws this conclusion is completely absurd (the doppelganger looks, talks and acts just like rema), he is compulsively compelled by his faith in the belief that this doppelganger is not his 'real' rema. throughout the novel, leo tries to retrieve his wife by looking for clues that may or may not be buried in the work of a meteorologist by the name of tzvi gal-chen.

i don't want to give you too much of the plot because i sincerely think you should just read this novel. there are so many interesting and strange aspects to this story that it simply deserves to be read. galchen's story explores the instability of love and the common experience of trying to protect yourself from pain and heartbreak before it ever happens. it also elaborates on the odd sense of the uncanny - those moments when something deeply familiar suddenly feels so very alien and unknown. but more importantly, with passages like this, how could you not want to read it:

i don't know if i believe that our relationships with our parents establish patterns we are doomed to repeat and repeat but - i am surprised that i was not more anxious about marrying a woman who very well may have just abandoned her parents. for all i knew rema had misrepresented and cheaply blamed this beautiful mother whose only fault may have been accurately perceiving the ugly truth - even with little information - about the rude american rema had chosen to marry before she as chosen to marry me. i should at least have learned more about how it had come to be that rema had abandoned her mother, before i asked her to marry - and hopefully not abandon - me. but i saw rema prismatically, all fractured and reconstituted as if seen in the valley of an unshined silver spoon, and actually i'm glad love does that, i shouldn't complain about love, or love's perspective - distorted or no, to feel superior to it would be wrong, as if there were some better way of seeing.

seriously, go out and buy this book now. read it and let me know what you think!