One has just been sent out as a biblical dove, has found nothing green, and slips back
into the darkness of the ark -- Kafka

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Concolorous Tamara

Something from Speak:

     During the beginning of that summer and all through the previous one, Tamara's name had kept cropping up (with the feigned naivete so typical of Fate, when meaning business) here and there on our estate (Entry Forbidden) and on my uncle's land (Entry Strictly Forbidden) on the opposite bank of Oredezh. I would find it written with a stick on the reddish sand of a park avenue, or penciled on a whitewashed wicket, or freshly carved (but not completed) in the wood of some ancient bench, as if Mother Nature were giving me mysterious advance notices of Tamara's existence. That hushed July afternoon, when I discovered her standing still (only her eyes were moving) in a birch grove, she seemed to have been spontaneously generated there, among watchful trees, with the silent completeness of a mythological manifestation.

Beginning Dance

Penned in red (turning to black), spent cartridges of IN-N-OUT ketchup beyond the frame of the shot, I took it as a sign...

Waldo Makes a Comeback...

Not sure why he didn't see these before...

Sunday, May 25, 2014

The Double Life of Veronique

la double vie de véronique

[Photo from Flickr]

Haven't seen it in years. My wife mentioned the muted colors. She also said: So what do you think Kieslowski's trying to say? Dunno. I've always been haunted more by the music and Irene's beauty.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Dreamscapes: Possible Stops This Summer

Polish Sudety




Wroclaw (Lover's Bridge)
[All photos taken from Wikimedia Commons]


Finished Cosmos, sparingly dipping into Dziennik (kind of saving it for my trip to Germany/Poland this summer), and am re-reading Nabokov's Speak, Memory (third time, first time via Kindle).


From Speak:

My old (since 1917) quarrel with the Soviet dictatorship is wholly unrelated to any question of property. My contempt for the émigré who "hates the Reds" because they "stole" his money and land is complete. The nostalgia I have been cherishing all these years is a hypertrophied sense of lost childhood, not sorrow for lost banknotes.
     And finally: I reserve for myself the right to yearn after an ecological niche:
          ... Beneath the sky
          Of my America to sigh
                 For one locality in

Tax Dollars at Work, or PacMan Wave


Didn't He Used To Be A Big Duffer?

Saturday, May 10, 2014

More from Witold Gombrowicz

Finished Trans-Atlantyk (boombang) and am now splitting time (like an atom) between his Dziennik (Diary) and Cosmos (his last, and IMHO his best, novel).


From his Diary:

     Upon meeting the young painter Eichler at the Grodzickis', I said: I don't believe in painting! (To musicians I say, I don't believe in music!) Then I found out from Zygmunt Grocholski that Eichler asked him if I make up these paradoxes for the hell of it. They can't imagine how much truth there is in them, truth that is probably truer than the truths that nourish their slavish "attachment" to art.

From Cosmos:

I was particularly astonished by the fact that both their mouths were now, in my imagination, in my memory, more closely linked together than then, at the table, I tried to clear my head by shaking it, but that made the connection of Lena's lips with Katasia's lips even more clear-cut, so I smirked, because truly, Katasia's twirled-up lasciviousness, her slipping into swinish lust had nothing, absolutely nothing in common with the fresh parting and innocent closing of Lena's lips, it's just that one was "in relation to the other" -- as on a map, where one city is in relation to another city -- anyway, the idea of maps had entered my head, a map of the sky, or an ordinary map with cities, etc. The entire "connection" was not really a connection, merely one mouth considered in relation to another mouth, in the sense of distance, for example, of direction and position... nothing more... but, while I now estimated that Katasia's mouth was most likely somewhere in the vicinity of the kitchen (she slept thereabouts), in fact I wondered where, in what direction, and at what distance was it from Lena's little mouth. And my coldly-lustful striving in the hallway toward Katasia underwent a dislocation because of Lena's incidental intrusion.

Black Skimmers (Long Beach, CA)

Saw the few gulls and thought more gulls. Then I saw their unusual beaks (from a distance) and their black backs and thought: No, something else. I love birds but I'm not much with names. What are names anyway. I thought maybe some sort of tern but wasn't sure.

After googling a bit (and comparing online pics with my very bad pics), I'm pretty sure (ex post facto) these were Black Skimmers.



Wikimedia Commons
[Attribution: Terry Foote at English Wikipedia]

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Yasmine Hamdan

[Photo from Flickr: Photo by Barka Fabianova]

Jarmusch, Swinton, Vampires, and Yasmine Hamdan

The movie (Only Lovers Left Alive) was just so-so (though the plot and cultural illusions tittered on kitsch, it was still a better watch than most of what Hollywood spews), but Swinton is always something to see and hear, there were other notables in the cast (e.g., Tangier), and IMHO Yasmine Hamdan (I had to look her up) stole the show.


Yasmine Hamdan is a Lebanese singer, songwriter and actress, now based in Paris. She became known with Soapkills, the duo she founded with Zeid Hamdan (no relation) while she was still living in Beirut. The first album released by Soapkills was Bater (1999).[1] Soapkills was one of the very first independent electronic bands in the Middle East, and its innovative approach exerted a lasting influence. To this day, Yasmine Hamdan is considered an icon of underground music across the Arab world.[2][3]

After moving to Paris, Yasmine collaborated with CocoRosie. She teamed up with Mirwais (who was part of French electronic new wave band Taxi Girl in the 80s, and produced/co-wrote some of Madonna albums), with whom she recorded the Arabology album (2008), under the Y.A.S. moniker.

Yasmine Hamdan then joined forces with Marc Collin (Nouvelle Vague (band)) to write and produce her first, self-titled solo album, which came out in France and Lebanon in 2012 on Kwaidan Records), and is released internationally (in a revised version with five new tracks) in 2013 by Crammed Discs under the title Ya Nass. In this album, which blends pop, folk and electronic sounds with melodies and lyrics inspired by various Middle-Eastern traditions, Yasmine Hamdan "has undertaken the challenge of affirming and rewriting Arabic musical heritage", according to the Al-Akhbar paper.[4] Her personal life (she has lived in Lebanon, Kuwait, Abu Dhabi, Greece and France) and her curiosity have enabled Yasmine Hamdan to playfully use various dialects of Arabic in her lyrics, which alternate between Lebanese, Kuwaiti, Palestinian, Egyptian and Bedouin, as well as some of the code-switching which is so typical of Middle-Eastern humour.[5][6][7]

Yasmine Hamdan is appearing in Jim Jarmusch's new movie[8] Only Lovers Left Alive alongside Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston. She has recently written an original soundtrack for the theatre play Rituel pour une métamorphose by Syrian playwright Saadallah Wannous, for a production at Comédie Française.[9]

[From Wikipedia:]