I’m moving my blogging over to http://brownstein.blogspot.com I hope you’ll continue to follow me there!
Within a window on a quiet street in New Orleans’ Bywater neighborhood, Michele Basta-Smith has produced a powerful installation that reaches deep into the spectator’s subconscious mind and creates an arresting fascination that lingers long after he has walked away. It is part of the installation series fittingly titled: “Haunts of Strange and Far Places.” It is a...
When I came to visit New Orleans before Christmas, I stumbled across a Pecha-Kucha event attached to the Avant-Garden local arts market where I heard for the first time about something called The Music Box in a neighborhood called the Bywater. It was one hell of an interesting and ambitious project, phase one of an art project called Dithyrambalina: The Music Box is an interactive musical...
I’ve spent the bulk of the past week working at Flora Cafe in the Marigny neighborhood. I love it here. It’s low-key, the baristas are extremely nice, and sometimes Devin, the lady working behind the counter this afternoon, will take a break from the register and play piano in the back. There’s a pleasant creative atmosphere here, and it’s definitely established itself...
Talking Fitness With Wuvable Oaf
I’m pretty enamored of Ed Luce’s comic Wuvable Oaf. The series chronicles the lives of an ensemble cast orbiting around Oaf Jadwiga, a large, muscular, hairy, and exceedingly sweet gay dude who loves kitties and the Smiths and is looking for Mr. Right. Part of the humor is that Luce juxtaposes personality against physical type so strikingly. Oaf is a menacing looking character whose...
I love visiting comic book stores for the first time. One of the more endearing facets of the comic book industry is that our retailer base is made up almost entirely of idiosyncratic, personality driven businesses that reflect the characters of the people running them. There’s something refreshing about that kind of authenticity in this era of corporate homogeneity. It’s one thing...
Behind This Door
Marcel Duchamp’s last great work, Etant Donnes, stands in two parts: the public facing front, which is a simple, unassuming rough hewn wooden door beneath an arch of brick in a dark room that feels like an off-limits closet; and the scene behind the door, that you can’t walk into but you’re supposed to see by peeping through a hole. That scene you look into is the culmination...
Learning to Fly
People who don’t know how to travel crack me up. The efficiency of the security situation at JFK’s JetBlue Terminal 5 has been deteriorating in recent months as they struggle to reconcile the time-consuming Backscatter X-Ray with the crush of some of the world’s largest traveling crowds. It’s irritating, and I have a lot of serious doubts about the utility of the...
Of Octopuses and Nirvana
Australian radio program The Philosopher’s Zone is one of my two favorite podcasts, and recently they ran a show called How Do Octopuses Think that provides a fascinating discussion of animal cognition and consciousness. Guest Peter Godfrey-Smith on octopi: It’s probably the closest we’ll get to meeting an intelligent alien. So as you said a few minutes ago, if we think...
The lights dim, and the scent of incense wafts into the hall as chanting starts to rise within the room. At the back of the stage is a triptych of banners all resembling the stained glass of a cathedral, but depicting pagan iconography. Five masked hooded figures step out from the wings and take their instruments upon the stage. As the chants reach a crescendo and die off towards silence a...
I was glad to see 2011 go, and watching it slip away at a subdued cartoonist party in Brooklyn where only one person was paying attention to the time and called out, “Uh, hey everybody, it’s midnight” was exactly perfect. No anger, no disdain, no celebration — it’s gone and it’s time to move on to the next thing. Bill Kartalopoulos hosted a small group of us...
Talking To Tom →
Here’s an interview Larry Marder & I gave to Tom Spurgeon at The Comics Reporter on all things CBLDF in 2011.
Gun In The Garland
My friend Leah Perrotta ended an era tonight, closing off her last day of work at Harefield Road to dedicate herself more fully to art. Harefield has been my neighborhood pub since it opened 6 or so years back, and Leah was there from the beginning. She and I have both gone through at least three identities since then. I got to watch her get an inkling about making art, and saw that flower into...
I’m really glad that you weren’t at Big Brain Comics last Sunday, because if you were you would have seen Zak Sally, Tom Neely, Noah Van Sciver, Jim Rugg and I devolve into 12-year-olds as we descended on a long box of underground comics and then sat in a circle on the floor gasping about our loot. That’s just one of dozens of moments that made me think that MIX is an exciting new addition to...
I first heard him as a voice in the dark, coming through on a cheap AM radio, speaking of the doomed love between an Israeli man and a Palestinian woman. Beneath the high concept was something else, though: extraordinary use of language, and an honest accounting of the emotional lacerations encountered by everyone trying to make a relationship last. Then the story shifted, and we were hearing...
Hobo With A Shotgun
“You don’t go see a movie called ‘Hobo With A Shotgun’ and not sit in the front row,” some college kid announced to his friends and the entire theater as their gang of five filed into the second row of a mostly full, 90-ish seat auditorium at the Village East Cinemas last night. He was right if he meant that no one expects subtlety from a film with such a visceral...
A Self Made-Up Man
Captain Eddie Rickenbacker’s is an undersung San Francisco institution, and its owner, Henry Africa nee Norman Jay Hobday has died. I was an assistant at Last Gasp of San Francisco when I first set foot in Eddie’s, sometime towards the end of the 1990s. It had been a late night of typesetting or proofreading or some other tedious publishing task, but we’d finally put the book we were working on...
"I'm gonna get a good running start and throw...
I have started a blog for puns. Be horrified. And rejoice.
The Finest Outdoors Show Ever Created →
It’s just astounding. Super capable women from their twenties through their fifties kicking ass by demonstrating their outdoors skills in wilds of the Pacific Northwest. What is not to like?
Wendy O. Williams & Motorhead performing Stand...
A Fine Legal Exchange. →