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« Quotes of the Day | Main | Policy Break: Work and Taxes »

October 23, 2003


Dear Friedrich --

* Courtney has turned up some interesting papers on the topic of introversion and multitasking, here.

* I was planning to make fun yet again of the NYTimes' absurd and always-hyperventilating radical-architecture propagandist Herbert Muschamp, whose topic today is Frank Gehry's new Walt Disney Concert Hall in L.A., here. Muschamp is quite the phenomenon, about as dizzy and self-entranced a writer as I've ever run across. I'm not sure this is logically possible, but it seems that every time I read him I think, "He's outdone himself again!" as well as "What's this guy on?" It's impossible to narrow the outrages he commits down to a mere one or two; nearly every paragraph he writes makes the eyes bug and the jaw hit the ground. Still, try we must. Here's one brief passage from today's review:

Though the forms are abstract, fleeting images can be glimpsed in them. Drive-in movie screens. The curving edge of a bass cello. A ship's prow. Sails. The Rust Belt before the rust. If you're unwilling to mix your metaphors, you've come to the wrong place.

Boy, I'll say. But Philip Murphy (here) says it far better.

* Get out the tweezers! Yet, can you beat this here for cute?


* My favorite movie of the year so far is one that you'll never get a chance to see, Marco Bellocchio's Good Morning, Night, a surrealist Italian chamber drama about the Red Brigade team that kidnapped and ultimately murdered Aldo Moro. It's a quiet, rich experience, as beautifully lit and acted as anything I've seen in years, and so subtle you worry a bit whether it's ever going to go anywhere. But it does: the Red Brigade team, which you watch through the eyes of their one female member, at first appears to be idealistic, young, and committed -- halfway attractive, and halfway plausible as human beings. By the end of the movie, although little external has changed, you understand without a shred of doubt that they're psychopaths. When a title comes up informing you that these deranged maniacs were caught but are no longer imprisoned, you want to go find them and put them down like rabid dogs. Here's a page about the movie. Here's a short q&a with Bellocchio. And here's a piece about America's Weather Underground by James Miller that describes a similar band of radicals. (Link thanks to Arts and Letters Daily, here.) I saw "Good Morning, Night" at the New York Film Festival, but the film hasn't been picked up for distribution in the States, and probably won't be.

* In her wrestle with the old "what is art?" question, here, Alice Bachini shows once again that "hilarious" and "profound" can sometimes walk hand in hand.



posted by Michael at October 23, 2003


It's obvious that Muschamp is satirizing Muschamp. The guy is obviously a comic genius!

Posted by: David Sucher on October 24, 2003 11:09 AM

He's the new Woody Allen! What a brilliant idea. I just wasn't getting the joke.

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on October 24, 2003 11:44 AM

You don't write much about Bellocchio, but I know you've followed his career for decades. Maybe you should favor us with an overview along the lines of the postings you've done on Godard.

I mean, I'd do it myself except for that, you know, laziness thing.

Posted by: Friedrich von Blowhard on October 24, 2003 02:33 PM

"'hilarious' and 'profound' can sometimes walk hand in hand."


Posted by: j.c. on October 24, 2003 05:20 PM

Today I was reading the article "Sharing the spotlight" about Phil new HQ office adjacent to the Gehry' Formidable Creation, built by Chu + Goodings in Oct, 03 issue of Interior Design Magazine. Authors very carefully avoid negative remarks on LA Phil itself, which is very telling, but one look @ the pics provided (unfortunately, they are unavailable on, where I am quoting from) shows where their preferences lay. I have my longtime pet theory on that.
In short, that interior designers (and so called "inerior architects") depart from drastically opposite points with Big Architects, ID starting with human scale and ergonomics from inside of the building vs. Big Architects thinking of exterior volumes and shapes first and spatial [interior] divisions much, much later.
ID also are legally obligated to provide "wellfare of the public" which, judging from pics of Gehry monstrocity, never crossed his mind.
So, reading this article about a neghboring building' design I finally found this admittance:
*Achieved with drywall and glass partitions and an activated ceiling plane, clad in acoustical panels of wood fiber and cementitious fiberboard, the architecture assumes the quality of a three-dimensional graphic at certain viewing points. "Our way of differentiating ourselves from Frank's building," explains Gooding. And the L.A. Phil is definitely a separate entity, though there's no escaping the link to Disney Hall. [....] Another measure of the firm's success? "Every time I call the L.A. Phil, someone thanks me."
I think it's about time to turn Big Architecture' thought process inside out.

Posted by: Tatyana Epstein on October 24, 2003 05:27 PM

"Thatís what they called "art" in those days: it was just another word for, "Woo-hoo!"

I'm still chuckling at Alice Bacchini's comment.

Posted by: annette on October 26, 2003 10:19 AM

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