Wednesday, June 24, 2009

asian films are go!!!!!!!!

Samurai Princess, Dir. Kengo Kaji

That genre-defying showcase of comedy, fantasy and unrelenting gore the New York Asian Film Festival is well under way. Started by NY film collective Subway Cinema in 2002, it quickly gained a reputation as the most exciting festival in the city, introducing audiences to mutant penis guns and paksploitation slasher films. The first NYAFF was responsible for breaking Hong Kong directors Johnnie To and Tsui Hark to the American public and sparking a western interest in eastern film powerhouses, but today’s distributors see Asian Cinema as a gamble and events like NYAFF are the only places you can see the latest crop of new, talented pan-Asian directors’ experimentations. This year is the biggest NYAFF yet, screening 56 of Asia’s strangest, cleverest and most entertaining films at the IFC Center at 323 Sixth Avenue and the Japan Society, 333 East 47th Street, with 16 guest appearances.



June 19 - July 5


Monday, June 15, 2009

banksy vs bristol

In homage to his hometown, Banksy has taken over Bristol City Museum for the summer. The anonymous guerilla artist’s work has been exhibited in New York and LA but as he said in a statement, “This is the first show I've ever done where taxpayers' money is being used to hang my pictures up rather than scrape them off.” His subversive political street art has shown up all over the world, from Disneyland to the West Bank, most frequently in Bristol and East London, depicting the police, celebrities, and symbols of commercialism and authority in compromising positions.

The exhibit’s construction, like the artist’s identity, was veiled in secrecy: only four staff members were in the know. The museum was closed under the guise of routine maintenance while over 100 new and old pieces by Banksy invaded the entire Edwardian museum, sometimes placing Banksy’s updated versions of old masters—defaced portraits and tagged landscapes—alongside original paintings in their galleries. In addition to these and his token poignant stencil graffiti, the exhibit features many sculpture pieces, taking those installed at his Cans Festival this May to the next level. The main room houses an installation with lifelike mechanical animals performing ironic human feats, which makes a statement on animal rights by warping their roles as pets, entertainment, and food. A rabbit applies make up before a vanity, a gloomy and decrepit Tweety Bird mopes on his perch, a hen watches over its chicken nuggets hatchlings, a monkey paints a landscape, and hot dogs and sausages while away the time in their sand-floored cages.

With all its witty fanfare the free exhibit creates a veritable wonderland of rebellion. Check out Banksy setting it up here:

and a tour of the exhibit here:

Banksy vs Bristol City Museum
Queens Road, Bristol
June 13 to August 31
Open daily, 10 am to 5 pm


Thursday, June 11, 2009

weekend in music

The Intelligence

The Intelligence, Lars Finberg’s thrash/pop brainchild, have put forth experimental lo-fi post-punk since 1999, with ever-increasing irony. In Deuteronomy (2007, In the Red) Finberg sneers, “Going out with you is like going out with a cop,” and on this year’s Fake Surfers, lyrical material oscillates between dissatisfaction and complacency with life’s many cop-outs. Thursday, June 11 they will play Paradiso in Amsterdam before heading west to Patronaat Harlem in the Netherlands on June 12 and hitting Tours, France on June 13. Check out their myspace to hear a lot of songs off their breezy yet energetic new album:

Vivan Girls


Along with label mates the Intelligence and NYC shoegazers Crystal Stilts, Vivian Girls are at the helm of this grungy surf explosion dominating the independent music world. Their Beach Boys-inspired harmonies range from haunting incantations to soothing but questionably condescending suggestions (“It’s alright just leave the light on/I will never ask you why”). But lullabies Vivian Girls write not — the Brooklyn trio rest on their punk ethos and thrashing, simple drumbeats. In the last year Vivian Girls have put out a wealth of 7”s, a self-titled album, and anticipate the release of their second LP, Everything Goes Wrong from In The Red Recordings in September 2009. They finish their European tour in London Friday, June 12 at the Lexington with Male Bonding and all-girl punks Wet Dog, followed by White Light club at 11 PM, with DJs “bringing you whatever music we fancy from Jesus.”

Vivian Girls with Male Bonding and Wet Dog
Friday, June 12, 2009, 8 PM; 8 euros advance
The Lexington, Music Venue and Whiskey Lounge
96-98 Pentonville Rd, London N1 9JB

Camera Obscura


Scottish dream-pop quintet Camera Obscura’s latest release My Maudlin Career is their most critically acclaimed album to date. It’s as though the sugary harmonies they’ve developed on Underachievers Please Try Harder, and thickened with brass sections in Let’s Get Out Of This Country have finally caramelized just in time for this shoegazey craze in the music world. Their melodramatic orchestral climaxes soar and shine through the mingling, lo-fi waves of softer, mellow tones. The video for their exhilarating single “French Navy” sees a couple travel through London, Paris and Rome, but Camera Obscura will be touring in North America this weekend. Catch them in L.A. June 11th at the Henry Fonda Theater supported by Tracyann Campbell’s favorite new band, Agent Ribbons, or solo on Saturday, June 13 in Mexico City at El Lunario.

Other bands also touring:

Women are playing June 11th in ROUEN.

Asobi Seksu and Cymbals Eat Guitars in BROOKLYN June 13th.

Frightened Rabbit at RockNess in DORES June 13th.

Sunset Rubdown in BROOKLYN June 12th, PHILADELPHIA the 13th and D.C. the 14th.

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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

“a sweet cocktail of blood, bubble gum and motor oil”

Fast and Curious, 2009; motorcycle covered in motor oil, integrated smoke machine, vanilla smoke; variable size

Envoy Enterprises is making art dangerous again. Gallery owner Jimi Dames started taking advantage of New York’s insomnia in February 2009 by putting on 24-hour exhibitions featuring young and unknown artists. The latest installation Oil Now features French artist Théo Mercier in collaboration with his Parisian studio-mate Colin Johnco, an electronic recording artist and record label head.

The installation strikes up a loud conversation on American culture. In rapport with rock icons like Slayer and Pink Floyd, Mercier’s found object pieces present poignant juxtapositions that expose the contradictory nature of life and death, music, and American consumerism. When Mercier describes the collection as a “smiling fist, a sweet cocktail of blood, bubble gum and motor oil,” he’s not just speaking figuratively—that bike is covered in motor oil. The exhibition includes found objects, original photographs, computer generated images, drawings, paintings and subversive text, but the wide variety of media cannot hide Mercier’s fondness of using human hair, as in “Black Pop/Musical Pope” and Oil Now’s “The Fast and the Curious.” Mercier recycles the ordinary, from the wavy locks flowing off his pieces to the grid of flea-market finds that comprise his nod to Pink Floyd's “The Wall.”

Deader Than Punk, 2009; embroidered wood carpet with patches, pins; 70x92"

Opening Thursday, June 4th
Envoy Enterprises
131 Chrystie Street
6 to 8 pm, with an after party downstairs at 8.

Oil Now will be on display June 4 to July 12.



Friday night promises one of Envoy Enterprises’ 24-hour specialties. Martynka Wawrzyniak’s “Kids” will debut a series of pouty and emotionally complex child portraits where certainly no subject was coerced to say ‘cheese.’

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