Monday, June 30, 2008

Too many Blacks and Asians on TV, says BBC exec.

No, really.

A board member of The BBC named Samir Shah (uh...) is quoted saying TV producers have overcompensated for the dearth of ethnic minorities in executive positions by casting too many of them in their TV shows.

From The Guardian.

A word to the wise

I just saw the movie Mongol, which was all of the things everyone said it was: beautiful, epic, bloody, wonderful, just so-so, radically feminist, typical macho, etc.

The one plot element that really took me though, was that Genghis Khan reunites twice with his lover to find she's had children from different men, and not only does he not ask any questions or suffer any patrilineal anxieties, but he immediately proclaims these children as his own. Temudjin adopts the progeny of Börte's exes, without dropping a beat.

It is a mildly stunning scene, and I was moved. True love shmru smruv, but if that ain't it, I don't know what is.

This brings me to my word to the wise:

Do not, under any circumstance, talk at length about someone's ex in front of their current.

About Mongol.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Art Happy

On a note wholly unrelated to aforementioned "Camera Happy," I also chanced meeting a Russell Fergusson, who was in town for his exhibit "Idle Youth," hosted by the only person whose gallery I ever hear name-dropped consistently by everyone in New York City (Barbara Gladstone).

Appropriately, I who know zip about fine art, saw the name Martin Wong featured in the exhibit, and naturally thought of our eponymous Giant Robot doyen (though realizing they were probably not the same person). I go to the gallery still sort of hoping they're the same, and then I see his piece, which is sort of Tom of Finland meets Michel Basquiat, and reads something more or less like:


And features a yoked out prison guard.
Definitely not GR-Martin. Anyway, in another twist of coincience, more Martin Wong (artist) will be featured at an exhibit opening tonight for VisualAIDS (run by my buddy Amy), called "Side x Side." Check it out.

More on Idle Youth

Camera Happy

In a strange turn of requests, I got to hang out with an interesting group of plastic camera-makers from Japan called Power Shovel, yesterday. They have a publishing imprint and record company under the same roof, all loosely interconnected via experiential and experimental sights and sounds. [Website at bottom of post, but the English is kind of stereotypically bad.]

Anyway, they were in town for one of their artist's big art opening in Chelsea. Rei Sato is a T. Murakami protegé circa Geisai, and this is her carrying a bouquet of sunflowers.

Below is her boyfriend performing Fushitsusha-style but like the uber-kitsch version, inside Sato's only site-specific piece. Her editor told me later this was a direct replant of all the contents of a cafe she opened in her hometown (somewhere in Ibaraki). She shut down the cafe after just one week, and made this instead. And even though the boyfriend is by Sato's side wherever she goes, not a single person knew his name. Everyone said, "oh we just call him Rei's boyfriend."

Anyway, it was really fun.
They being the camera-makers they are, we all took a little field trip into Brooklyn Bridge park with cameras in tow. They each had their amazing and enviable plastic Hasselblad-lookalike toy cameras, and took pictures of babies and dogs, while I had only my stupid iphone. Eventually one of them let me carry around their camera, and I honestly felt like a little kid who just got to do something "adult" and "sophisticated." I'm sure the pictures I took will not come out, but man was it fun taking them on such antique machines.

This is Nick (cut off by frame) and Sasaki-san, wielding their Black Bird, Fly cameras. [The most amazing thing about their cameras is that they're all named after songs or musicians. BBF is apparently a line in a Beatles song.]

But despite all my envy for plastic cameras, what we really needed were telephoto lenses. Check this guy out. The iPhone picture from 80 yards away does it no justice, but the man was wearing nothing but a yellow thong-thong -- i.e. the thong-bathing suit, went up his butt like a thong-underwear. Ah, New York.

Aforementioned Nick also gave me a CD he produced that was a tribute to the photographer Moriyama Daido. Moriyama Zoo No. 1 is sort of mind-blowingly good, and it makes me wonder why these things don't get more coverage. (Nick mentioned that the record and book businesses were almost invariably financial losses, and paid for exclusively by their cheap toy cameras.)

Anyway, check all this stuff out at Power Shovel.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

This makes me depressed.

Before Marketers:

After Marketers:

When Dieter Esch began looking at the players on the LPGA Tour, he quickly figured out that something was missing. He sensed they always appeared out of place . . . swinging nine-irons, hitting out of bunkers, putting cross-handed on the green.
So Esch decided it would be a great idea to put the golfers in something different, something the casual public does not see them in, at least up to now. Like bikinis. Like lingerie. Like evening gowns. "This was perfect, to show the world there are sexy, athletic women who can play," said Esch, who is using his company and his clout to turn seven female pro players into model citizens.

(From The LA Times)

Ugh. Women golfers looked fine the way they were. Jeez.

I understand that sexy-ing up women helps turn heads, but marketers, if you really want to attract viewers to womens sports, SHOW THEIR MATCHES ON TV. ANY OF THEM. Complaining about low ratings is like complaining no one's bought your tamale recipe.

"What tamale recipe?" You ask.
My point precisely.

"Japan's About-Face" on Wide Angle/PBS

On July 8, at 9pm (local) the show WIDE ANGLE (PBS), will premier a documentary on the Japanese "military" since their defeat in World War II.
Here's their blurb:

Japan’s About-Face is a remarkable window into the shifting role of the military in post-war Japanese society.

WIDE ANGLE has acquired exclusive access to the National Defense Academy, Japan’s “West Point.” We follow Defense Academy cadets preparing for a future that may involve overseas deployment, and meet with a group of peace activists — some of them atom bomb survivors — on a grueling two month, 700-mile protest march from Hiroshima to Tokyo. We also witness joint maneuvers with the U.S. Marine Corps, surveillance flights over the Sea of Japan, and the DDH Hyuga — the first Japanese aircraft carrier built since WWII.

Japan’s About-Face offers unprecedented insight into the future of Asian geopolitics.

I happened to do some subtitling for it (that's the shameless pandering bit) -- most of it dialogue with civilian organizations. If they kept much of that footage, you'll get to see the word "patriotism" find a new home. And yes, it's a little scary.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Adventures in New Yorklyn

Warning: Rant Alert.

I love hating New York City.

Last night I went to see David Hajdu read from and talk about his book The Ten-Cent Plague at the Russian Samovar. It was part of the Farrar Straus Girous Reading Series.
(Links will be provided at bottom of posting)

I rarely go to readings uninitiated and come out really excited about the book-of-honor, but this one's a buy, y'all. The book-object itself is a beautiful thing, and if the excerpts are any indication, it's at least as good as its reviews.

Ten-cent Plague, from what I gathered, is about the localized blackballing of renegade comic books. A phobia that eventually became institutionalized during our Eisenhower eden of 1950's U.S.A.

My friend and I both noticed a shockingly disproportionate number of the Anthropologie crowd. Women with long tussled hair, tulip-shaped dresses, kitten heels, abundant pearls. Viz: Gossip Girl at Bard College.

During Hajdu's q&a, one such Anthropologiest (sic) asked:
What do you think of graphic novels today? Because I mean, does anyone even read comics anymore?

At this point I turned my head as slowly as possible to my friend. We made eye contact and a gregacious sneer. Silently I said, "who the fuck is this cunt?" I want to answer her question with, "more people than read your McSweeney's or n+1."

Hajdu answered with musings on nostalgia and "post-comics," about movie adaptations and Superman's obsolescence. After the reading, my friend and I talked about all the people we know who didn't/don't read comics -- all two of them.

I decide at this point I am biased. An FSG reading isn't exactly fair territory for a comics v. graphic novel dogfight.

Then, I hear aforementioned member of the audience saying to her friend as if in apology:

I mean, I LOVE graphic novels. Like, there's this one artist named Craig Thompson. Have you heard of him? He wrote this graphic novel called Blankets, and it's the most beautiful thing I've ever read!

(Anne takes a deep breath and orders more vodka)
At this point, I started fantasizing about a ring-match between Craig Thompson and Frank Miller. [I saw the latter almost go ballistic at a speaking engagement when someone uttered the words "serious art, you know, not like superhero comics."]

Fast-forward to friend and I leaving the Samovar and heading back to Brooklyn. We walk past a typical midtown skyscraper. It's about 9pm. This is what we see in the lobby:
In case you can't tell what's going on -- all of these people are food deliverers.

This image stopped my friend and I dead in our tracks. Amazing.

Ten-Cent Plague, by David Hajdu
Blankets by Craig Thompson
About the Farrar Straus Girous Reading Series

Monday, June 23, 2008

You get sick with the flu, you start a cucumber farm

I was wiped out last week with what I'm calling a Summer Flu -- Not quite as treacherous as its Winter version, but almost the worse for it being in the middle of hot hot Summer. I recommend the following diet for those in the same predicament:

Sudafed or equivalent
Tom Yum soup, vegetarian if possible
whiskey (despite what everyone says, a little bit of it was the only thing that would salivate my throat)

Oddly enough, when on Saturday evening when I was well enough again to walk around, I craved pizza -- something I can only eat in small doses and on special ocassion (the whole fried cheese and Asian bowels thing). Then on Sunday, when I went outside, I noticed two things: 1. mosquitoes running away from me because I was so toxic with three days of sweat and sleep, 2. my cucumber plants had gone wiggiidy wiggidy wild in the backyard! There was really nothing else to do but make a proper vegetable bed for them....and only when I finished would I shower. (seriously people, I spent several hours in the yard without a single time you got the flu, go to the jungle. Yeah...that makes sense...)

Anyway, it was surprisingly easy to put this together. The key, really, is to enlist help. There is no way to nail anything together like this alone, unless you have a huge garage with a tool shed and table, etc...which in NYC, better be no one, or I hate you.

Also, cross-stack the wood. Looks cool and give the support some integrity. Don't worry so much about screw size or nail size or whatever. Odds are good you aren't keeping this forever, right?

Nothing cures what ails ye like hard friggin' labor and the knowledge one day soon you will have your own homegrown cukes.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

...but i didn't order no pizza.

via Kine Japan:

porn starring old people.

My work here is done.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Ah, the old questions, the old answers, there's nothing like them, Charlie!

Amazing YouTube (via NY Times' The Moment blog).

Monday, June 16, 2008

Ode to Korean Restaurants

Kalbi There
*as inspired by The Jackson 5's "I'll Be There."

You and I, must make some pap
We must make, dolsot bibimbop
Where there is love, kalbi there.


Kalbi there
Kalbi there--
Just call my naemyung
Kabi there....

Friday, June 13, 2008

this can't be real but...

For your weekend pleasure

I did a flickr search for "mochi" to make a point about "tea-bagging" (in a strange email thread that started this morning among a bunch of women discussing ovaries), and I happened to find this gem. If ever a perfect metaphor, this was it.

Happy weekend.

Missed Opportunity For Much Better Headline

This news from The Age:

JAPAN, a country not known for its overweight people, has undertaken one of the most ambitious campaigns ever by a nation to slim down.

Under a national law that came into effect two months ago, companies and local governments must measure the waistlines of citizens between 40 and 74 as part of their annual check-ups. That means more than 56 million waistlines, or 44% of the population.

Those exceeding government limits — 85 centimetres for men and 89 centimetres for women — and suffering a weight-related ailment will be given dietary guidance if after three months they do not lose weight. The waist guidelines are those established for Japan in 2005 by the International Diabetes Federation for identifying health risks.

Their headline:
Is Japan Waisting Its Time

They must know that Japan's parliamentary government body is called The Diet, right?

best front page layout

...speaks for itself, really. I think Bruce Banner has found his Betty.

Tangent within a Tangent

Update on the Kosinski Trial via comments board and a handful of emails:
Turns out those porn pics were his son, Yale's, and that they were probably on the family server because of some viral email. In other words the pics were not sought out by Yale, or for that matter, his father. The real crime might be that his son's name is Yale. And not because it's a "funny" name of course; but because it's a brand name.

Speaking of which, did everyone pick up the same issue of Dwell magazine one day, decide they wanted to be bougie cunts, and name their kids Jayden? I've heard no fewer than three references to the name this week, including mention of the name in Los Angeles (I thought maybe it was a Park Slope thing). Again, I don't object to the "funny" names. Names that include anything uneuropean or afro-american. In fact in a perfect world, all the Jason Kim's in the world could go back to being Kyoung-ju, and KJ (as in KJ Choi, as in The Monster) doesn't have to be the sixth rank golfer of the world and be apologetic when people fuck up pronunciation of his decidedly pronouncable name.

Though in what I think is one of the most tragic ironies of adolescent America, I was at a high school band concert recently, where a Chinese-American girl with a "funny" name was called out in recognition of "high achievement" at the flute or somesuch, when a couple black kids with "funny" names started mocking her with the whole ching chong ching chong routine.

Anyway, the point of all this, which is now completely unrelated, is that I've got a short mouth-off in PW this week, about medical manga, if you're interested in what I complain about when I'm not "personally offended by broad social trends." (One of my favorite lines from a Simpsons episode that aired last night.)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Best Headline Today

US Judge Postpones Pornography Trial After Personal Sex Photos Emerge

A high-profile pornography trial (Judge) Kozinski was presiding over in Los Angeles was postponed when it emerged that the judge has his own personal stash of obscene images, a stash that was available for anyone to see on his family website,

The material included a photograph of women on all fours, painted as cows, a man cavorting with a sexually aroused farm animal, and images of masturbation and contortionist sex.

At The Guardian.

Monday, June 9, 2008


I want to preface by saying that I do love the MoCCA Art Fest.

Now, it's nice that MoCCA provides a weekend of artistic prestige for what to the outside world is a consumer-market-driven, pejoratively-geeky comics universe, but I've realized one small problem. Few of the things you see at the Festival are new (most things I saw at NYCC already) and many of the conceits/themes/techniques of the mini-comics are identical. I mean, I like dinosaurs too, but c'mon.
Here's the bumper sticker:


So, while I agree with many that MoCCA Art Fest is the best way to fall in love with the comics medium for under $20, and while I always end up spending truckloads of money buying this "not new" art, I have to say the MoCCA comics event itself is not as fabulous as the Easter Parade hiding inside it.

But...despite my decrying the lack of new things, one table with pretty much ONLY new releases, was PictureBox. Let's start with Lauren Weinstein.
Everyone should go get a copy of her latest, Goddess of War. It's awesome. Despite my love-hate relationship with books that look like clapboards, I found GoW friggin' fantastic.

And...Boi Johnny Depp? (If this is you, it's a compliment, I promise). At the risk of making this blog post a PictureBox moment, I want to mention I also bought Snoo Pee by Ken Kagami, aka the most awesome thing printed on newsprint ever. (somewhat unsafe for work)

Something I thought was new but turned out to be just obscure enough not to have gotten into my grubby hands till now: the cereal box bonus prize comic book in Space Junk by Andrew Nyer at the Closed Caption Comics booth. Awesome...albeit the most expensive breakfast I ever bought for a comic book featuring something pretty damned close to an anthropomorphized dinosaur.

Personal Blog moment: I met Seibei...also awesome and along with him and Ryan, my MoCCA surrogate I finally MoCCAraoke-ed with Rocketship-Alex and his boyfriend (I know he's not gay. sheesh...) ...wicked wicked awesome. Patronize their businesses y'all.

MoCCA - Bespectacled Men

Adrian started my improvised photo shoot waving at the camera, but after several attempts at capturing him in a "good mood" failed, the shutter finally clicked. I think he's still relatively happy because we weren't in the dungeon of taint sweat known as the 7th Floor.
(btw: D&Q had a cool bag that you can see behind Mr. Tomine.)
Balding pattern notwithstanding Kazimir looks like a white version of Adrian, I thought. Sparkplug continues to be my favorite stand, where this year I found "Henry & Glenn 4eva" and Rico McTaco, which weren't new per se, but reminds me of what really matters:
Gay Sex.
And the physical traits of Adrian+Kazimir+a redwood tree, equals Alec Longstreth, who contributed to another of my favorite purchases at the Festival: "Hey 4 Eyes," a 'zine about glasses culture, by Robyn Chapman. (You'll notice all these guys are wearing more or less the same exact pair of glasses, actually.)

Jason Shiga. Or, what you do when you don't have a MoCCA booth: set up a folding table outside the entrance and chill out in a wife beater. "Fortunately" for Shiga there was a fire in the Puck Building Sunday afternoon, which forced all of indie comicdom outside, and straight into his arms. I'd suspect foul play except anyone standing outside as long as Shiga had couldn't possibly have had a dry match on his person.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

This is going to turn out a bit of a threesome, but bear with me.
It's another convergence:

My friend Liz is a book reviewer with amazing analytical skills. She always has perfect examples and analyses to back up whatever you're ranting about, which I'm now realizing, is a talent. She has a blog that among other things, posts obituaries of artistic luminaries. Kill Fee

My friend Douglas is a music/book reviewer with unparalleled knowledge of music (no really, I dare anyone to face-off on music trivia with him. He'll kick your ass). He posts YouTubes of musicians whose birthday it is that day. Mincing Up the Morning.

I found it curious the two should coincide in my life, so I brought up "Mincing Up The Morning," to Liz. Her girlfriend happens to be a childhood friend of his!

God I love the world. It's so beautifully predictable.

P.S.: Gandering Kill Fee I was led to a cache of amazing Rahsaan Roland Kirk videos on YouTube. All deserve a watching.
This amazing video is of him playing nose flute, flute, tenor sax, AND tape player. But not at once...though he definitely could (Check out "I Say a Little Prayer"). And it's long, but watch the whole video guys.

I want to also point out the percussionist, who is actually playing the wind chimes INDIVIDUALLY.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Pretend Expo America -- PEA

In honor of publishing and business, I thought I'd post a "report" on the latest Book Expo America that took place in Los Angeles this year (much to many a New Yorker's alternate joy and dismay). These are the events bloggers thrive on, after all. I remember...oh, I do remember.

Pretend Expo America (PEA)
Day 1
Big news announcement of the day: Purpose House says they're consolidating their men's and women's lite fiction imprints, responding to the bloggerati's incessant criticism that they were "putting the cock before the egg" by giving the men's line longer, healthier, more productive release schedules. The new hybrid-imprint will keep its "maiden" name -- Ovation.
Questions surround the consolidation of management; a major concern being the role of executive editor, which had been filled through a proverbial revolving door over the past three seasons, due to epoch-making controversies -- Phinneas Dong's memoir snafu, Ubiquify Jones' "Oprah's pussy" interview debacle. Ovation has however, announced it will work with this unplanned "revolving door" schedule, making a virtue of necessity. President of Ovation, Pat McGrady, called their new management hierarchy a Rhythm Method-based structure, avoiding legal accountability and liabilities by pulling out responsible editors before any one title gets to the top ten of any category.
The men's health imprint, Y Not, will continue to publish short stories at a fast clip, keeping up an ambitious rate of five releases a month. E-I-C, Pat Chillibottom, could not be reach for comment.

Day 2:
Last night was the FSG party. A roto-tiller in a West Virginia coal mine was the only thing more boring at that moment. Rachelynne Hodgeman started the night's festivities with a dedication to the distribution and fulfillment team on a job well done delivering "Life of Pie: The Untold Story of Pastries," which holds strong on the Nonfiction Bestseller List for a 972nd straight week. Caterers ambled through in their beige smocks, serving peanut butter on trisquits and boiled caulliflower.
If boring old "regular" books were mind-numbing, the world of comics was anything but! COMIC BOOKS ARE AMAZING OH MY GOD WHY AREN'T THERE MORE, PUBLISHING HAS NEVER BEEN SO CONFUSED AND IN AWE!!! So after being nudged awake from my slumbering stupor at the FSG party, by a confused News Edition co-anchor, I stopped by the Kool-Aid Komix party, at Marquis, in the hot Meatpacking District. Vampire Weekend performed in Gothic-Lolita attire, and catering included glasses of liquid PCP and seared baby sea lion. Stan Lee was in attendance, having announced a new co-venture with the company (his tenth this year) , called Old Man. I spotted KyotoRock E-I-C Jack Levine doing body shots off Tila Tequila, and a make shift beer bong in the bathroom made out of HellBoy2 posters.

Day 3:
I woke up this morning in the Staples Center parking lot with a sign that read "PEA or (my) bust" stuck onto my chest. I look to have been robbed of my press pass so I give my old friend at Simon & Simon a call to see if she can't lend me her exhibitor badge to get into safe ground. Someone Caller ID-ed as "J. Frey" keeps calling, which must mean I was handing out my drug dealing Japanese hooker business card out last night, by mistake.
I finally get on the convention floor and have a thought:
Is it just me or are not enough people talking about distribution and sales anymore? C'mon people, I want to hear about shrinking margins and co-op.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Anne waxes waxful

I had an accidental realization the other day, in the midst of waxing waxful about waxing.

Friends have told me about the things they think they need to do before they die, and frequently it includes new sexual experiences, at the expense of something "steady," and "stable." The irony being of course (and here's the realization):

If you are too eager for new experiences, you will eventually be painfully nostalgic for old ones.

And because I have nothing else to blog about today...
And because gossiping about gossiping about relationships (sic) is usually a billion times more interesting than the relationship itself...
And because I think it's entertaining...

I am sharing some ridiculous stories from the past, without any nostalgia, to redeem the victims of "I want to see other people."

Episode 1:
I'm making out with a guy for the first time in my life. I can't tell if I like it or not, but the boy certainly does. At one point I went to the bathroom and when I come back, the boy neglects to inform me he's just coughed a loogie into his mouth, as I take a huge risk and dive mouth first into more make out action. That was the first time I "swallowed."

Later, we both feel kind of bad for me, but I think he knows this means I'm for real. He asks if I want to take my clothes off (he said something else, but I'll keep it sort of PG for now). I say no, and not moments later, he says, "I don't think this is going to work out. I mean, I want to be with someone who's not afraid to show me she loves me."

We are fourteen.

Episode 2:
I'm in France. Things are wildly romantic, if only because they're wildly foreign. Beer with lunch? A smoker's lounge inside the high school?

I am making out with a cute French boy those days. He admits he thinks cunnilingus is disgusting. I figure he can learn otherwise with time. He actually convinces me that oral sex is wildly unromantic. (And in his defense, he didn't like fellatio.)

One day I go to the movies with said boyfriend and his friends. We're seeing "Lord of the Rings" (2002). My boyfriend insists we sit in the back. And somewhere between Sam drowning and Frodo saving him, the boyfriend takes my hand and places it on his exposed, erect, penis.

Wildly romantic.