Hammershøi’s House of Secrets

Been away from the screen for a couple of days, so no Picks this week. There’s stuff coming soon, but in the meantime, I thought I’d just take the opportunity to recommend the major retrospective of Danish painter Wilhelm (Hammershøi’s 1864-1916) work at the Royal Academy in London (till September 7, after that Tokyo), the first such showing of his work in the UK. It’s a great show, even for someone quite familiar with the artist’s work such as myself; it contains a lot of paintings from private and international collections, providing a great, little-seen supplement to the masterpieces on loan from the major Danish collections.

Hype: True Colours @ CPH Shortfilm

This week, Wednesday and Thursday will see the festival Copenhagen Shortfilm 08 in Ørstedsparken, Copenhagen. Haven’t been to the festival before and I only know one of the films being shown, but that one film is definitely worth seeing. True Colours paints a both touching and intense portrait of a man with too much emotion. It is directed by Barney Elliott, edited by — conflict of interest! — my man Klaus Heinecke, and features a commanding performance by Neil Maskell. It’s on Wednesday 30 at 22.45. Go see it.

Svensk tegneseriekraft

I dagens Information står at læse en artikel om svenske tegneserier, og ikke mindst et sjældent forekommende fænomen på dansk — kvindelige tegneserietegnere. Forlægger hos Kartago Rolf Classon udtaler bl. a. at deres bedst sælgende svenske serier sælger i området 20.000-30.000 eksemplarer — helt uhørt i Danmark, selv for Valhalla og Strid, hvis det han siger altså er korrekt forstået af journalisterne.

Det har længe været åbenbart, at den hjemmebryggede tegneserie har det væsentligt bedre hos vore naboer end herhjemme, og artiklen der også bringer kommentarer fra Seriefrämjandets Fredrik Strömberg, Aben Malers forlægger Steffen Maarup og Bunkerens egen T. Thorhauge, kommer med nogle bud på hvorfor: bedre kulturel repræsentation, større kulturpolitisk satsning og hele to serieskoler spiller alle en stor rolle, men det samme gør aspekter af den svenske serietradition. Noget vi kan lære af? Det tror jeg nok!

Læs også avisens interview med tegneren Nina Hemmingsson.

How Hard Can it Be? III

Time for another of these snarky posts on the exasperating shortcomings of our fellow man (see previous installments). The trend for tracing photographs has never been more widespread in American comics, and while I don’t agree with Frank Santoro’s recent, refreshing but rather hardline dismissal of the technique, it has been responsible for some pretty damn dull-looking and stiff comics.

Tony Harris is a case in point: I like his work OK, and what little I’ve read of his series with writer Brian K. Vaughan, Ex Machina, has been enjoyable, but his characters continue to appear as if they were action figures posed in all their PVC glory, while his background drawings frequently look a tad too much like solarized scans of photographs. Slightly exasperating when you consider that his chops are actually decent enough. Give the lightbox a rest, will ya?

Picks of the Week

The picks of the week from around the web.

  • Jeet Heer on Batman’s gayness. I time for the European release of Dark Knight this week, let me link to Jeet’s fine survey of the gay subtext in Batman comics. An interesting and fun read.
  • David Bordwell. A detailed examination of the alternate cuts of several of Wong-Kar Wai’s films. Fascinating.
  • Bill Kartalopoulos: Gary Panter. More Gary Panter hype here at the Bunker! Live interview with the artist on Karatalopoulos’ new blog (go, bookmark).
  • Berlingske. (for our Danish readers): An examination of vinyl collection in this day when digital formats have become dominant. As all us vinyl enthusiasts have long predicted, the format has retained its appeal, as opposed to the CD, which has proven much more transient.
  • Hype: Pushwagner i Morgenbladet

    Til vore norske læsere vil jeg lige benytte lejligheden til at hype både mig selv og — især — den bog, jeg i har anmeldt i denne uges udgave af Morgenbladet: Pushwagners Soft City (kræver desværre abonnement at læse). Serien, der er fra starten af 70erne udgør på det nærmeste et blåtryk for den nu så feterede, men i mange år marginaliserede kunstner. Det er noget af en tour-de-force af en tegneserie, klart forud for sin tid. Og den både indre og ydre nødvendighed man fornemmer løfter den over de hippie-klicheer om det mekaniserede vestlige samfund den lægger for dagen. Et flot og konsekvent værk, der har informeret Pushwagners senere produktion, ikke mindst serien En dag i Familien Manns liv, der ret beset er en mere elaboreret udgave af samme vision.

    For de — nok primært ikke-norske — læsere, der ikke ved hvem Pushwagner er, eller bare ønsker at vide mere, check især denne artikel og kig også forbi denne gamle Pushwagner-side.

    Tour de France: Beautiful Carlito!

    Today’s stage sure delivered, even though one had to wait patiently for the action: “Too much sense, and too little madness“, as Jørgen Leth remarked when the peloton reached the top of Col de Galibier. But when the leading pack reached the foot of Alpe d’Huez, Carlos Sastre attacked — Denis Menchov reacted quickly, but then Sastre attacked again, and rode all the way to the top of his career. Again, his team played their role in full, impressive force, and again, young Andy Schleck proved to be the strongest and most exciting rider of the day. Watch that kid.

    But today surely belongs to the most sympathetic rider in Tour de France, Carlos Sastre. Last year, we also cheered for beautiful Carlito, but this time he actually won. Cadel Evans will most likely win Tour de France, in the unadmirable, defensive style of Miguel Indurain, but Carlos Sastre is undeniably the spiritual winner of this year’s Tour. As Jørgen Leth would put it:

    Tour de France: “Kill ‘Em All”

    Everyone’s got major expectations for today’s stage in the majestic Tour de France. So far the race has been pretty darn good, but at this very moment, the riders are on their way over three (yes three!) mountain tops — Col du Galibier (2645m), Col de la Croix de Fer (2067m) and finally the legendary Alpe d’Huez (2105m).

    This year, the race has been very open, and thus very, very entertaining. Right now, five riders in the GC (General Classification) are battling for final victory, but since a time trial remains (Saturday), the climbers are forced to attack favorites Cadel Evans and Denis Menchov today, because the latter are “complete riders”, accordingly expected to take several minutes from the climbers in the time trial. Danish Team CSC/Saxo Bank’s Fränk Schleck (of Luxembourg) has got the maillot jaune, but is no time trial specialist (and neither is his captain Carlos Sastre). Led by former Tour winner Bjarne Riis, they are probably planning something big today — something, that no matter how clever and strategic, can be reduced to team mate Jens Voight’s laconic remark from yesterday: “Kill ‘ em all“.

    As a special service to our Danish readers, pay attention to Sporten.dk, where legendary legend Jørgen Leth (see portrait above) comments on the entire stage LIVE on the web. It’s right now!

    Suffering, glory, tragedy, victory. This one’s got it all. If you don’t want to see it all, just go for the final hour on Alpe d’Huez. Drama guarenteed.

    Hype: White Noise Drawn Together

    If you’re in Copenhagen, you should definitely consider going to this show at V1 Gallery which opens on Friday and runs until August 2. For those of you interested in cartooning, I should point out that it includes work from such current luminaries as the freshly inventive Marc Bell, the compellingly suggestive Jenni Rope, Rocky artist Martin Kellerman and Denmark’s freshest cartoonist, Jakob Martin Strid. Go.