The Week

The week in review

Look! Stengade 30, the by now legendary Copenhagen club, locus of Rubadub Sundays for the past decade, has new facade decoration. Executed by SOFLES, it’s perhaps somewhat tacky, but certainly spectacular, fitting the club well. Imagine it nightlit in a haze. Flix courtesy of Frederik Høyer-Christensen, full set here.

  • Robert Fisk on the destruction of Syrian treasures. Unsurprisingly, but also predictably, the cultural heritage of Syria is being destroyed in the current civil war. Fisk has been reporting on such events since the war in Bosnia, and he does it better than anyone.
  • Alyssa Rosenberg on the recent, symbolic passing of the torch in Doonesbury, otherwise known as still-the-greatest-current comic strip. Rosenberg gets it, Tim O’Neil at The Comics Journal doesn’t (scroll down a bit), although his critique is worth reading, if nothing else because it presents a dissenting, younger-generation view.
  • Perry Anderson on India. Another magisterial historical review from Anderson, this time on India’s constitution and policies of containment and conflict for the past sixty years, particularly as pertains to the North. A great primer.
  • Notes on the Passing of Chris Marker

    Last week saw the passing of filmmaker Chris Marker. I’m not that familiar with his work, unfortunately, but what I have seen I found touching on a kind of “pure cinema” level, where the elements of film come together to create something unique to the medium, achieving the kind of lyrical no so che that happens way too rarely in cinema. Very different, to be sure, but similar to the best moments of Andrei Tarkovsky’s work.

    The Week

    The week in review

    James Holmes who killed 12 people and wounded 58 last Friday at the midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colorado was quickly christened the ‘Batman Killer’ in Danish media. Just one of those shortcuts the tabloids trade in, I suppose — it’s far from clear whether the gunman chose what movie to shoot up because of its content and it is, of course, a moot question to ask of such a tragedy.

    If anything, one might ask the whether it makes any sense at all that 100-round drums for full automatics can still be ordered on the internet, no questions asked. Or why this statistic, which speaks volumes as to the causality between gun ownership and gun fatality, remains acceptable for Americans.

    For somebody familiar with Dark Knight director Christopher Nolan’s comics sources, it seemed at least a little bit poignant that Frank Miller anticipated the Aurora massacre in the seminal Dark Knight Returns (1986). Appearing in a sequence detailing Batman-inspired vigilantism, it is to Miller’s credit that he here mocks the media’s tendency to jump to conclusions about the causality between fictional and actual crime, while clearly acknowledging that it exists.

    Links:

  • Petition to prevent the substitution of old master paintings with modern ones at the Berlin Gemäldegalerie. These plans for a radical reorganisation of the Berlin galleries would spoil one of the world’s best galleries and be a sad concession to the popular preference for modern art. Surely some other solution can be found? Please consider signing.
  • William Noel of the Walters Art Gallery on why sharing digital images of their collections online is good business and just the right thing to do for museums. It remains an uphill battle, but it seems things are changing re: museums hoarding the IP they’ve been given to share with the public.
  • New issues of academic journals on comics. Recently published, the first issue of the Scandinavian Journal of Comic Art is worth a look. As is the newest issue of ImageText.
  • Journalism Light in Jerusalem

    By Johan F. Krarup

    So much has been said about Israel and Palestine — the most hyped conflict in the World — that I started reading Guy Delisle’s new travelogue, Jerusalem : Chronicles from the Holy City, with some trepidation. Would Delisle’s trademark quotidian, low-key journalism work in Jerusalem, the Gordian knot of Middle East conflict? Would his often lively and entertaining, but just as often predictable and chit-chatty approach offer a interesting perspective on the subject? Surprisingly, the answer is YES!

    Guy Delisle reported in comics form from various points of interest around the world. Lately, this has been thanks to his wife who works as a coordinator for Doctors Without Borders. Delisle follows her as a dependent, taking care of the kids and ensuring that family life runs smoothly while his wife is a work. He takes this opportunity to work in his sketchbook as often as possible. He has previously done a book on Burma (2007) in this way, while his two books prior to that, Shenzen (2000) and Pyongyang (2003), were the result of his own travels liaising on international animation projects. The present book, however, works his position as the empathetic family man to significantly greater effect, creating what is without a doubt his best comic so far.

    Big K.R.I.T. Interviewed


    At the Roskilde Festival I had the pleasure of interviewing one of the up-and-coming stars of Southern hip hop, Big K.R.I.T., who blessed the festival with an awesome concert on Sunday afternoon, closing the show after his country cuzzin Yelawolf had torn up his part of the program. A great afternoon. Check out the interview, filmed and edited by Kenneth Nguyen for Rapspot, above and visit K.R.I.T.’s website where you can download several of his mixtapes for free.

    And keep checking for him. It’s great hip hop music, going places.

    The Week


    The week in review

    The drive for new Caravaggios continues unabated, it seems, with the hard to believe recent attribution of about a 100 drawings and ten oil paintings from the Castello Sforza in Milan that once belonged to Caravaggio’s master Simone Peterzano. They were just published on the web by Art historians Maurizio Bernardelli Curuz and Adriana Conconi Fedrigolli as having been executed by the baroque master. Needless to say, this would be sensational of true — no drawings by Caravaggio are known.

    However, Caravaggio is rivaled perhaps only by Leonardo among artists who attract frivolous claims of sensational discovery, which come at a clip of about one a year or so. This, however, is unusually aspirational. Although Caravaggio is described in the sources as an artist who didn’t draw, working exclusively “after nature,” he is likely to have drawn at least a little, but it is still hard to believe that so many of his youthful drawings should have been in the possession of his master and have been hiding in plain sight for the better part of a century.

    As Stefano Boeri from the Milan Culture Center says in this clip, the collection has been known to scholars since the collection was acquired by the municipality in 1924. Although there have been speculation about certain individual pieces, no one before has given this large a section to the master.

    I haven’t studied this collection, but merely from looking at the few drawings filmed in the clip and in the promotional video at the site launched in support of the claim, it strikes me as highly unlikely that even those are by the same hand and none of the eclectic selection shown looks remotely to be of the quality of the early paintings used for comparison.

    I suppose every proposal deserves a hearing, but this looks aspirational to say the least.

    Links!

  • Remembering KMG. Excellent short appreciation by Brandon Soderbergh of the recently deceased Above The Law MCs writing, delivery and role in the group.
  • “Le manga en France.” Xavier Guilbert delivers another of his exemplary comics market analyses. Must-read for anything with this particular interest.
  • “I Used to Love Her, But I Had to Flee Her: On Leaving New York.” A little too clever in its writing for its own good perhaps, but this essay by Cord Jefferson on living in New York is still pretty spot on about certain aspects of the experience.
  • Dream Hampton on Frank Ocean coming out. This has been linked everywhere, but on the off-chance that you haven’t seen it, it’s a good if somewhat overblown piece of writing on this potential landmark event in hip hop culture.
  • Wrapping Roskilde 2012


    Right, it was a great festival, as usual. A little unusual for me though, in that I was commuting from Copenhagen every day and didn’t spend nearly as much time in Roskilde as I normally do on account of my family. This means I’ll forego my usual analysis of the festival as a whole this year (here’s the last one I did) and be content to direct you to the coverage I contributed at Rapspot.

    I reviewed Blitz the Ambassador, The Abyssinians, Sage Francis, Dominique Young Unique, Yelawolf, and Big K.R.I.T.

    Soon enough a video interview with K.R.I.T., conducted by yours truly, will also be available. I’ll let you know here and via Twitter.

    And the rest of the crew delivered the goods more promptly than ever, so hop over to Rapspot and check it out. It’s all in Danish, but foreven for those who don’t read our guttural there are plenty of images, as well as a few select videos — including one of the stagediving incident during Yelawolf’s unhinged concert.

    Photo of Yelawolf by KenYen.

    Fuck Peace, I’m Outta Here.


    A word about the passing of KMG the Illustrator of Pomona CA. Born Kevin M. Gulley he co-founded the now mostly forgotten, massively underrated hip hop group Above the Law with Gregory F. Hutchison aka. Big Hutch aka. Cold 187um, Go-Mack and DJ Total K-OSS in the mid-eighties. Released on NWA co-founder Eazy-E’s label Ruthless Records in 1989, their debut album Livin’ Like Hustlers is a classic not only of West Coast gangsta rap, but hip hop more broadly. It remains the group’s most innovative effort, not just because of its musical qualities — 1994’s Uncle Sam’s Curse is arguably as good a record in those terms — but also for its pioneer status.