- csn somehow knew to recommend me the exact site I wanted at the exact moment I wanted it. SoundTransit aggregates and organizes field recordings from around the world, submitted by field recordists — some well known — from around the world. All free for the download, the recordings have made more than their fair share of appearances on Soundforum, I can tell you. They've also provided inspiration and example, seeing as I plan to make my own field recording debut in New Zealand later this year.
- "SOBERING THOUGHT: What if God hates Pascal's wager and the people who believe in Him based on those sorts of calculations?" "DISAPPOINTMENT WITH SELF: How come I have nothing to say about the Teen Choice Awards? (Or have I already said something?)" "SELF-HELP: Every day in every way try to avoid meeting people who are similar to the ones you already know." "WORD TO THE WISE: If you're not careful shooting the Guggenheim it can end up looking like a parking garage." Errol Morris, one of my very favorite documentarians, tweets.
- "In a matter of minutes you can go from an idyllic view of palm trees, shifting effortlessly in the wind like in the movies, to observing a wrapped assortment of Botox-enhanced, intellectually vacuous women coughing on dirty air. You drive on a 10-lane freeway with a Caltech egghead to your left and Britney Spears to your right. It's bizarre, it's insane, it's confusing, it's complicated, it defies attempts to capture its essence. Perhaps it is essence-free." That's Ben Casnocha on The Complicatedness of Los Angeles. L.A.'s near-total void of poltical, aesthetic, ideological or stylistic orthodoxy strongly appeals to me. Many complain about the city's size, traffic and/or alleged anti-intellectuality, to which I respond: you're doing it wrong.
- An old friend recommended I watch the films of Chantal Akerman, which I will do, though only after I get to all of Michael Haneke's stuff that I've left unseen. (Which he also recommended to me.) In the LAT, Sam Adams praises Criteron's new release of Akerman's Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce 1080 Bruxelles:
I'm terribly intrigued; if all of Akerman's work is like this, I may need to de-prioritize Haneke for a little while and devour it.
Shot by cinematographer Babette Mangolte as a series of static, rectilinear tableaux, Jeanne's routines elapse in what feels like real time, but repeat viewings reveal the care with which Akerman modulates the film's tempo, both within shots and between them.
The fascinating on-set documentary included with the new "Jeanne Dielman" double-disc DVD released by Criterion this week shows Akerman, then 25 and looking younger, walking her veteran actress through each step of procedures that seem utterly unstudied on screen. The very mundanity of her tasks lends them a kind of purity: It's domestic ritual as abstract art.
- Virginia Heffernan chronicles the decline of and mass exodus from Facebook in the NYT. I often wonder myself where and when Facebook went wrong. While no one step seems to have sealed the site's fate of winding up an hideous, tacky mess, I can't help but pin a healthy share of the trouble on the company's decision to just hand out accounts to all comers. What probably sounded like the value-addingest move ever at the time — expanding one's user base to, uh, all humanity will always appeal — might well have actually destroyed much of the value — i.e., the all-important value of filtration — that that it added in the first place.