The Collected Roper

Regular readers of the The Cartoonist blog will have come across Ralf Zeigermann’s ‘fast fiction’, glimpses of an ’60s sci-fi narrative starring somebody called The Roper. I don’t like most mini-fiction, but Zeigermann gets it right. Now he’s collected 50 of his short stories and is making it avalable free as pdf download, now with illustrations. Sorta would like to hold this in my hand, but you can’t knock the free stuff.

Must see BSTV

Linked from the comments section on the Bruce Bickford post below, BSTV is a collection of music videos from Zappa, Negativland, and more. Check out the absolutely blistering Pretenders video for Tattoed Love Boys (“Stop sniveling/You’ll make a plastic surgeon rich one day”) and sample the Bickford animation in Zappa’s Inca Roads, Dubroom Special, and Stinkfoot. Ahhh yehhhh.

More Maps, Hacks, and Design bashing

What I’ve been reading this evening:
Mapping Hacks a blog on tweaking Google maps and other online mapping services.
Urban Cartography is a self-explanatory blog of new urbanism.
Made In USA is an essay about how Americans value speed over design and that’s why most of our housing sucks. On the other hand, when design is important (like the iPod), America rocks…
All links sprung–I think–from reading the City Comforts blog.

Carpetbombing San Francisco…I mean Baghdad

Artist-thinker-person Paula Levine has created a Flash presentation that combines a map of Baghdad with a similarly sized map of San Francisco and then demonstrates how much we decimated the former city. This is a good way to conceptualize the damage that we inflict on other cities. The next step would be to allow the user to replace his or her own city for San Francisco. “They bombed my favorite bookstore? Waaah!” etc…


Dir: Kiyoshi Kurosawa
As far as I’m concerned the triumvirate of brilliance from Kiyoshi Kurosawa–Cure, Charisma, and Kairo–established him as one of Japan’s major directors,
and friends know how much I love those films. I missed Bright Future, although I shall see it soon, but it seems that after Kairo, and the end of the world in it, Kurosawa has given up on horror. Or at least, he feels trapped by the genre. Doppelganger is his attempt to break free from that genre, and it’s no coincidence that the story is about a brilliant inventor trying to break free from his more devious and amoral twin. But just as the twin doesn’t conform to the stereotypes of the doppelganger (he’s not pure evil), the film breaks away from its original horror underpinnings and becomes…well, I’m not sure. Its later desolate tone reminds me of the unmoored reality of Charisma (as does the humor), but whereas Charisma reminds me of Kobo Abe’s novels, Doppelganger feels half baked. It has no propulsion to it–it coalesces and dissipates over and over.
Kurosawa regular Yakusho Koji plays Hayasaki, the inventor of a wheelchair for paraplegics that uses robotic arms and some sort of mind control (it’s never made clear, and like a lot in the film, has no bearing on the plot). He’s later joined by Kimishima (Yusuke Santamaria), an assistant hired by the doppelganger, and Yuka (Hiromi Nagasaku), whose own brother similarly was supplanted by a doppelganger, back when the movie was a horror film. These two co-workers are doubles as well, for they have taken the place of Hayasaki’s original team that we have seen earlier. The last third details a journey across the country to Niigata (on Japan’s west coast) to deliver the finished chair, which begins to feel like a double as well, a metal man with flailing arms. We also begin to wonder, especially with Kurosawa’s elliptical style, whether anybody in the film is their “original” self, a “double,” or a “remerged version,” giving all the final scenes an alienating air.
I’m hoping that the film is a transitional piece, and not a slow, weird, and not too enjoyable falling apart of a focused talent.

Aspen: The multimedia magazine in a box

Over at the always wonderful and data-deep UbuWeb, there’s a complete look at Aspen, which, from 1965 to 1971 was an exclusive magazine “in a box”. Each issue was different, and each contained a jumbled assortment of items, ranging from art prints and essays to flexidiscs and Super 8 film spools. Contributors included some of the best known names in art at the time. I’m sure the surviving issues are worth thousands–UbuWeb presents the full archive to watch, listen, and read.

Been a long lonely lonely lonely lonely time

45 days since I posted! What a twat I am. Due to kind friends saying “but Ted, we rely on your wit and links to get us throught the day,” I’m putting out this post of recent links.
Dennis Miller’s show gets cancelled. Good!
Spamusement made me laugh so much that I was incapacitatd by tears and lack of breath. It was like a fit of the stoney giggles.
One of my favorite singles from last year was Pet’s “noyesno”. Here’s the video.
Nine Inch Nails vs. Ray Parker Jr. This mashup works well. It also reveals that Trent Reznor could have fronted Journey.
K-Punk is one of my favorite, recently-discovered blogs. He knows his Zizek, fulminates about British Politics, and has been very good at applying theory to the excellent new season of Doctor Who.
This cereal comes with a free surprise in every box.
Despite BoingBoing’s warning, Google’s new Web Accelerator has been working out for me.
Your tax dollars at work. At least let me sit on the committee.
Okay, that’ll do for now.