author: Bret Easton Ellis
average rating: 3.80
book published: 1991
read at: 2014/11/16
date added: 2014/11/18
shelves: novels, own-it, fun
This is an odd novel. It's a light-hearted, absurdist satire about rich people and New York and trendiness and fashion. But it's also a violent, misogynist horror story full of ultra-graphic, impossibly extreme gore and brutality. Oh and super graphic, porn-style sex scenes.
It's one of those books where I wondered often why I was still reading, and yet couldn't put it down.
Some things I really enjoyed about it:
1. One running gag is that the narrator is always mistaking people for other people, and in turn he's always being mistaken for others. Co-workers or acquaintances come up and greet him by other names, etc. It happens so often as to be this hilarious and biting commentary on modern alienation.
2. The anachronism of the time the book is set in. It's so clearly late-80s, it almost hurts, to read about the cordless phones, video rentals, answering machines and INXS playing at the clubs.
3. The porn-style sex scenes. Really just because they, along with the killing scenes, are such a stark contrast with the rest of the book, which is mostly vapid recountings of evenings spent dining at trendy eateries and the designer brands everyone is wearing.
Anyway. I hate to admit I've never read any other Bret Easton Ellis, but this makes me want to.
"Plausibly Live" was a project I began back in the early 'oughts, attempting to represent a sort of simulation of the last few years of my live musical performances. I carefully edited and condensed recordings of the best moments from the improvisational electronic gigs I'd done in 1998 through 2002, but then life got in the way and the results never saw the light of day, til now. There are plenty more details in the capacious liner notes on the Bandcamp page. I hope you enjoy them, and the sounds.
One frame every 10 seconds, shot on a GoPro Hero3.
Off to the lower right you can see me as I do the video projections for the set, although it's hard to see much of the projection itself because of the light and fog.
Cast: steev hise
I started a new tumblr called Desarrollos ("Developments" in Spanish), which will be a place for me to stash stuff I find as I research for a new project about urban planning, re-development, gentrification, white flight, and related other sub-topics. Right now this project is at a very early stage, just starting to percolate at a slightly higher boil than the back-burner "I should do that someday" thoughts I've had for years on the subject. I hope you get something out of viewing the behind-the-scenes stack of source material that I will collect at the new tumblr. (Tumblrs, for those not aware, are a weird sort of ready-made blogging tool. They seem like a good idea but then it's easy, for me at least, to waste many hours tweaking themes and header images and whatnot. Which is not very productive.)
author: Viktor E. Frankl
average rating: 4.32
book published: 1946
read at: 2014/09/08
date added: 2014/09/10
shelves: own-it, spirit-self
This book is everything everyone praises it for and more. Highly recommended. I found it highly inspiring, moving, heartbreaking, and wise. Enough said.
author: Raymond Carver
average rating: 4.43
book published: 1988
read at: 2014/09/10
date added: 2014/09/10
shelves: spirit-self, own-it, short-fiction
Carver was definitely a master, and well worth reading. However - and here's where my review becomes more about personal and momentary taste - I'm not sure if he will stand the test of time, or even is doing that now. To me his characters are hard to identify with, although I can sympathize with them. It's just that often, they seem stuck in a time that's thankfully past - the sort of 40s through 60s time of couples who don't really talk, men (and in some cases women) who drink too much, get in fights, play their gender roles to the hilt, and leave their families at the drop of a hat, etc etc. Generally lots of not very conscious, unhappy, low-grade jerks, sadly bumbling through their sordid lives. Perhaps there's still a lot of people like these out there, but to me this feels dated. Carver's a a step up from Hemingway in that at least he recognizes the sadness of these people and isn't just celebrating macho stoic males. Still, I'm preferring, these days at least, fiction that resonates more and is addressing what it's like to be alive now. Perhaps I'll be accused of subscribing to the dreaded "relatability" fad, but I find more spiritual sustenance in protagonists that are more modern - folks that are vulnerable, smart, dorky, and nice, but still get into trouble and have a hard time. Following the mishaps of dudes whose flaws have mostly been addressed by my generation and demographic is interesting, but not necessarily the most useful to me in my quest to become a wiser and better person.
That said, Carver was an expert at his craft, and in the context of his background and time, is worth reading - just like Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Shakespeare, etc. It's just not what's floating my boat these days.
author: David Foster Wallace
average rating: 4.29
book published: 1996
read at: 2014/07/25
date added: 2014/07/28
shelves: fun, own-it, spirit-self
Like all the DFW works I've read, this is, overall, excellent. Some of the pieces in this collection are better than others, but they're all worth reading. Of course the real standout is the title essay, about his week on a cruise ship, which comes at the end of the book and which is probably the most well-known and talked-about piece of non-fiction Wallace ever wrote, and for good reason. It's pure genius and also pure vulnerable and personal truth-telling, in the Herzogian, ecstatic truth sense of truth-telling - because I don't care if he made up parts of the essay or fudged some facts, as some have attested. The point is that it is a porthole (ahem) into how David Foster Wallace thought and lived, how his brain worked and the intricate inner gears of a very smart but disturbed and depressed writer. Furthermore, it's a valuable commentary on the state of the American psyche and how the American psyche deals with need, desire, luxury, consumerism, and marketing. It was written at, I think, about the same time he was finishing up his masterpiece novel Infinite Jest, which deals in a fanciful, fictional, and more extended way with many of these same issues. In short, they both ask the questions: Is constant, in-the-moment pleasure the pursuit that life is about? And what if we supposedly found that, then what? It's also interesting to see that this essay shows DFW using the phrasal tics like "And so but" and the generous use of footnotes and footnotes-within-footnotes that are so integral to the style and feel of Infinite Jest. He had arrived at a formal structure that fit perfectly the way his chattering grey matter operated.
Other stand-out essays in the volume for me are "Getting Away From Already Being Pretty Much Away From It All," about visiting the Illinois State Fair, and his brilliant examination of a great filmmaker, "David Lynch Keeps His Head."
This is my edit of the documentation footage of a live performance by myself and Adam Cooper-Teran in April 2014 at Exploded View in Tucson. The piece is dedicated to the memories of our fathers, who both passed away in the last couple of years.
music video for the song "Mystery Grandma" by Stop Motion Orchestra, from their soon-to-be-released CD.
video by Steev Hise
improvisationally live-cut using Resolume Arena.
Cast: steev hise