Daily Postings
dance : interview

Wu Tsang & boychild

by Tess Altman


"It's about creating the conditions for a moment."

Wu Tsang and boychild are world-makers. While Wu primarily works as a filmmaker and boychild as a performer, collaboratively they move across genre and medium. Wu's film and boychild's movement seem to hold each other, and in turn hold space for their audience, to feel queerer worlds. As a fan of their caring and playful practice, I took a trip out to Fire Island Pines to visit their current studio—the beach. I traveled the Long Island Rail Road on a rainy Tuesday morning and then hopped on a ferry filled with fluffy, well-maintained dogs. I met Wu Tsang and boychild on a foggy beach post-thunderstorm and we played with a fat pug. Later, we returned to the BOFFO residency house to drink some tea and to discuss the importance of gathering, their ongoing collaborative practice, and their upcoming performance-on-the-sand for the BOFFO Performance Festival.

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literature : review

The Blue Note: on Noémi Lefebvre’s Blue Self-Portrait

by Amanda DeMarco

 

Female intelligence and female obsession, in the air

A flight from Berlin to Paris takes an hour and forty-five minutes. This is enough time for a long nap, an unhurried conversation, or, if you're the narrator of Noémi Lefebvre's Blue Self-Portrait (Les Fugitives), it's the perfect amount of time to brood. In the first of Lefebvre's novels to appear in English, a woman on just such a journey unleashes an agitated inner monologue following a romantic encounter with a pianist in Berlin. Her rapid-fire, run-on thoughts rove over the places she's just visited (Café Einstein and the cinema at the Sony Center), her failings (a recently ended marriage, her insufficient education), and her in-flight surroundings. She also happens to be reading the correspondence of Theodor Adorno and Thomas Mann.

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literature : essay

On the Creation of Syllabi

by Jesse Ball

The finger pointing to the hills.

It is a very good thing if a syllabus is contagious. That is—if one of your students shows the syllabus to someone else, and if then that person is possessed by a sudden desire to take the class, or even to begin conducting research along parallel lines.

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literature : review

The Queens Bohemian: Johannes Urzidil’s The Last Bell

by Elina Alter

Fiction in search of a vanished homeland

The narrator of “Where the Valley Ends,” one of the five stories in The Last Bell (Pushkin Press) the first book of Johannes Urzidil’s fiction to appear in English, says he was once advised to “read the poet in his land.” This, he continues, is “a correct though not always practical piece of advice, if you don’t want to limit yourself to writers from those few countries you happen to have access to in the course of a relatively brief life.” Consciously reversing the idea that foreign writers are "rescued" when translated into English, Urzidil’s translator David Burnett writes in his introduction that it is “the English-speaking world,” lacking Urzidil until now, that has been “sadly overlooked.” But how should we read a writer whose land is no longer on the map?

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film : review

Invisible Labors: Rahul Jain’s Machines

by Kanishka Raja

A documentary on the brutality behind India's textile factories.

It takes a full thirteen minutes before anyone in Machines—first-time director Rahul Jain's mesmerizing new documentary—speaks up. In the interim, we've followed a fluid, patient camera as it takes in (and reveals) multiple aspects of production in what is clearly a textile printing factory. We watch furnaces stoked, steaming baths tended, colors mixed by hand, buckets of dye dragged, and machines—some surely unaltered since their manufacture in the nineteenth century—at work and rest. And everywhere, in long tracking shots, we follow laborers: lifting, carrying, and walking through a labyrinth of dimly lit, grime-coated, waterlogged spaces—the full scope or scale of which is impossible to detect.

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art : from the editor

Fall Arts Preview

Upcoming shows, retrospectives, and museum openings highlighted by Maika Pollack, Ratik Asokan, Alex Zafiris, Gideon Jacobs, Michael Barron, Wendy Vogel, Zack Hatfield, and Legacy Russell

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art : portfolio

From Liquidation

by Joey Yearous-Algozin Holly Melgard

We'd just gotten married and ended up in Atlantic City, where our friends Macy & Allison got us a night stay at a hotel casino.

After playing video poker and walking the boardwalk all night, we stopped by Trump Taj Mahal on our way out of town to gawk at the business our president ran into the ground.

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film : portfolio

National Disintegrations

by Braden King

Art and exchange in extraterritorial territories

As extralegal repositories for untold amounts of priceless art, freeports operate at the center of the art market and, due to their extreme discretion, somewhat outside of it. Braden King's short film, premiering here at BOMB, explores the social and capitalist underpinnings to these spaces. Produced by Field of Vision, a documentary unit co-created by Laura Poitras, AJ Schnack, and Charlotte Cook.

—Ryan Chapman

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literature : first proof

I Took to the Streets

by Shelly Oria

I tried Al on like a suit and he didn’t fit. In the crotch area, excess fabric hung loose, like disappointment. And the shoulders—the shoulders were the worst part. I do not wish to discuss my shoulders inside the suit that was Al, and I don't wish to discuss what he did to them.

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literature : from the editor

Fall Books Preview

New titles and reissues highlighted by Justin Taylor, Chelsea Hodson, Paul La Farge, Emmalea Russo, Alexandra Kleeman, Ted Dodson, Dan Sheehan, Kristen Radtke, Daniel Saldaña París, Marjorie Welish, Tobias Carroll, Jonathan Lee, Scott Esposito, and Lauren LeBlanc

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art : portfolio

Portfolio

by David Gilbert

Suburban sprawl and craft-store spree meet creeping apocalyptic bleakness.

In David Gilbert's studio, odds and ends appear and reappear through the revolving door of his many temporary sculptural constructions. Process, mutability, and the space of solitary play are central subjects. Recycled pieces of fabric, drapery, scraps of wood, wire, cut cardboard and paper, other photos, painted motifs, yarn, cord, ceramics, and stickers come and go, speaking not of Michelangelo but of a latter-day tween-on-a-budget twist on Giacomett'’s emaciated sickly figures—suburban sprawl and craft-store spree meet creeping apocalyptic bleakness on the one hand, and tenderness with a sweet attention to detail on the other. Gilbert's photographs gathered here represent his portrait mode: a set of singular if fleeting figures, both ridiculous and touching, poignant and exposed and devastated and silly, posing and vogueing for the camera in a rather formal, even proud sort of succession.

—Sarah Lehrer-Graiwer

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literature : interview

The New Political Novel: An Interview with David Burr Gerrard

by Nicholas Mancusi

"I admire my characters for their ability to do something that I would find far too embarrassing to do myself. Fiction can get us to experience what we might do if we were braver. Or dumber."

David Burr Gerrard's 2014 debut novel, Short Century, was a propulsive, deranged, and hilarious manifesto portraying a debased neo-conservative in the hours before his death. With his latest novel, The Epiphany Machine, Gerrard has expanded both his scope and his ambition. In a cluttered Upper East Side apartment, Adam Lyons is the steward of a machine that can tattoo an epiphany on the forearm of willing participants.

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literature : review

An Occupation: Joshua Cohen's Moving Kings

by Robin Giles

Jewish identity and oppression, at home and abroad.

“I’m beginning to feel,” gripes Oscar Levant in 1951’s An American in Paris, “like the world’s oldest child prodigy.” One might guess that Joshua Cohen, whose literary star has been rising for the past decade, has felt the same way. His previous efforts—2010’s gargantuan Witz and 2015’s Book of Numbers in particular—have earned exuberant praise, but rarely without qualification: Cohen stuns, he dazzles, he defies; he also, we are invariably reminded, bores, grates, and confounds. His talent, quoth consensus, is a youthful one, bursting with ambition and excess. What he’s had above all—even inching towards forty—is promise.

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art : portfolio

Portfolio

by Gabriela Vainsencher

 

"At once it struck me, what quality went to form a Man of Achievement, especially in literature, and which Shakespeare possessed so enormously—I mean Negative Capability, that is when man is capable of being in uncertainties. Mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason."

—John Keats, Letter to George and Tom Keats, December, 1817
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Announcing the Winner of BOMB's 2017 Fiction Contest

BOMB hosts a yearly literary contest, alternating between fiction and poetry, and judged by a distinguished writer in the field. This year's contest attracted a wealth of vibrant, compelling stories, and it is with great pleasure that we announce the winner, Kristen Gleason, whose work was selected by novelist Paul La Farge.

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literature : interview

Harmony Holiday

by Farid Matuk

"I don’t want the kind of career where everything is sensible and safe; I’d rather suffer through the anxiety of wondering where I’m going next than suffer the boredom of dancing in the same safe square."

Harmony Holiday's latest poetry collection, Hollywood Forever, is a synthesizing force of visual, auditory, and textual elements. It uses a variety of media to invoke black cultural icons and autobiographical details that take on the expectations of the white gaze, art for profit models, black private spaces, ancestral teachings, Afrofuturism, and more. For Holiday, visual and auditory accompaniments have always been a part of her poetry's grammar. Her first book, Negro League Baseball (2010, Fence Books) came with a CD of tracks she sourced, curated, and mixed out of the double helix of black listening and black sound. In her 2014 collection, Go Find Your Father/A Famous Blues (Ricochet Editions), an exploration of her deceased father's past, she enriched the intimacy of its epistolary mode by setting text against image. [ Read More ]

literature : review

After The Coda

by Hilary Leichter

To sink is to save in Amelia Gray's Isadora.

"It has come to be that I can eat only when the flavor is attended by the subtle ash of the children in my mouth." So confesses Isadora, in Amelia Gray's intricately spun biographical novel of the same name. The book is at once an exploration and an invocation of Isadora Duncan, innovative choreographer, performer, and a real-life mother of modern dance. Duncan's son and daughter were killed in a horrible accident—a tragedy that jabs the rest of the story into being—and for several opening chapters Isadora secretly ingests her children's cremated remains.

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art : portfolio

Portfolio

by Walter Robinson

The bed sheet as metaphor for the continuous field of consciousness

"Bed sheets serve as an almost universal accessory to elemental manifestations of desire. Also amusing is the thought that bed sheets are horizontal in the dark and hung vertical to dry in the sunshine. Nature is horizontal and culture is vertical, and a patterned bed sheet introduces the whimsical curlicues of the social imagination into the horizontal biological realm. The bed sheet is also a metaphor for the continuous field of consciousness."

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film : review

Filming the Unspeakable: The Cinema of Yvonne Rainer

by Dana Reinoos

Radical feminist films from the legendary choreographer, artist, and dancer

Yvonne Rainer wears many hats—choreographer, dancer, performance artist, author, and icon of downtown New York City arts—but this month the Film Society of Lincoln Center displays her significant contributions as a film director. Rainer's impressive filmography contains meditations on terrorism, monogamy, infidelity, breast cancer, racism, and lesbianism, among other topics. Through a combination of fictionalized narrative, documentary footage, dance, and reenactment, she creates her own radical feminist language for the screen—a way to speak about the unspeakable.

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literature : first proof
film : review

Use the Reality: Alejandro Jodorowsky’s Endless Poetry

by Alex Zafiris

The filmmaker speaks about his self-portrait as a young poet

It is difficult to imagine that Alejandro Jodorowsky, an artist of such anarchic self-awareness, could ever have doubted himself. But the creator of irrepressible, game-changing cinematic imagery (El Topo, Holy Mountain), founder of his own therapy, Psychomagic, and author of dozens of comics and books grew up cowering under his father's violence and betrayed by his mother's passivity. This traumatic boyhood was the subject of The Dance of Reality, released in 2014 after two decades of absence. Endless Poetry picks up where the previous film ended: the Jodorowsky family leave the northern Chilean mining town of Tocopilla for Santiago.

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music : portfolio

Field Recording

by Alan Courtis

When I'm on tour, I always try to have a recorder ready to go in my pocket. There's nothing special about this, but you just never know when an interesting sound will appear. The funny thing is you can carry a camera around for hours and go totally unnoticed, while somehow people get intrigued or even disoriented if they see you recording audio. Sometimes the best sounds come from unlikely places, so you might need to put yourself into some unconventional positions to get the right results. In fact, a few times, I've been stopped by the police and interrogated. So it seems you can take tons of silly "selfies" without any problem, but things are different when it comes to sound.

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literature : first proof

Seventy-Four Choices

by T.L. Baker

Everybody assumes I’m one or the other, at first. Sometimes it becomes a game, a mental tally of points in each column, trying to prove the original guess. Two points one way for ear-length hair, and another three or four for thick, dark brows. A solid ten for a squarish jaw.

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