Thursday, December 27, 2007

Radio, Live Transmission.

A few weekends ago, I saw Control directed by the legendary Anton Corbijn (2007). I was a bit apprehensive about seeing this movie because I'm a pessimist by nature, but was happily surprised.

The film seems to be incredibly accurate. It portrays Ian Curtis in a very human light and separates the man from the musician. Perhaps this is largely due to the fact that the film drew upon Deborah Curtis' book Touching From a Distance.

Sam Riley as Ian Curtis in Control

Anton Corbijn really shines as a director. His shots are perfectly framed and allow the viewer to see the dismal place where Ian Curtis lived, breathed, thrived and died. The black & white film adds a nice effect as it adds to the emotion of the movie. The soundtrack is obviously outstanding and the actors who played the band members of Joy Division are actually playing the songs in the movie (mise-en-scene at its finest).

You can view the trailer here:

Anyway, it's still playing at Cinema Village on 12th Street and 2nd Ave. Go see it and bring tissues. I haven't stopped listening to Joy Division since.

You Are Not Your Landing Strip

Photo Credit: Mario Testino for Gucci

Digging Deep

A few weeks ago my brother and I were engaging in one of our favorite activities, which involves going to Barnes and Noble, picking up as many books that seem like they might be of interest, walking around the store with them for a while and then deciding to not buy anything. This particular instance, I was clutching a book by Francesc Torres about the fosas in Cataluña called Oscura es la habitación donde dormimos or in English Dark is the Room Where We Sleep. It's glossy pages were filled with moving and disturbing images, reminders of the brutality of the Spanish Civil War with text in both Spanish and English (I would like to translate things of that nature, by the way, any takers?).

For whatever stupid reason (probably the fact that I have pretty much no money after I pay rent, bills and loans), in one hasty motion of slight indecision, I put the book down. Unfortunately, at the time I didn't take note of the author, nor did I write down the title of the book ni nada in my notepad. All I knew was that I had seen an amazing book about fosas, which is like trying to find a book about Terry Richardson and googling "softcore hipster porn."

To my surprise, The ICP is (and has been) showing Francesc Torres' project (along with the Other Weapons: Photography and Print Culture During the Spanish Civil War.


International Center of Photography presents a project by Francesc Torres: Dark is the Room Where We Sleep

On the night of September 14, 1936, forty-six supporters of Spain's Republican government were killed in the village of Villamayor de los Montes, and buried in an unmarked mass grave. As it does in this small village outside of Burgos, in northern Spain, the violent history and legacy of the Spanish Civil War remains buried throughout the country, in both metaphorical and concrete ways. In 2004, Barcelona-based artist Francesc Torres joined forces with a forensic anthropology team as they uncovered the mass grave. Torres photographed the work of forensics team, as well as the participation of local townspeople who became involved in the project. Torres has created an installation of black-and-white photographs from this documentation that poignantly and forcefully examines the relationships between war, violence, memory, and photography. The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue, published by Actar press in Barcelona, and will be presented at the Center for Contemporary Culture in Barcelona after its ICP showing.


From the author:

About seven years ago I started working with the idea of the recovery of the memory of Spain's recent history. First I considered an archaeological project centring on the material sediment of the Civil War in the old battlefields, specifically the Ebro front. At the same time, the Spanish Association for the Recovery of Historical Memory (ARMH) had begun to locate, excavate and exhume the mass graves from the Spanish war and post-war. After a protracted struggle with two successive Catalan regional administrations of opposing ideological signs who thwarted my project in Catalonia, despite my having funding from two US foundations (Fulbright and American Center) and the support of two Catalan universities, I ended up doing it in Burgos in collaboration with the ARMH. This book documents an exercise in citizenship by a group of Spaniards determined to rescue a part of their history which had been sequestered.
-Francesc Torres

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

I'll bring the HOT SAUUUUCE

It's been a minute since I last updated PUBLIC WITNESS PROGRAM. In between Hannukah, Christmas (my first ever!) and Festivus, the shopping, the wrapping and crafting have subsided and I can finally resume blogging, a verb I'll never be completely comfortable with.

Wheelhouse Pickles in Brooklyn have something they call Minor Threat Hot Sauce. Though I'm not really that interested, I have to admit that I like their proposed logo for the sauce:

Minor Threat shot that shit down, obviously.

I like the idea of vacation. Two days off and I got to leave early today. At my old job I only had Christmas off, at the new spot I got Christmas Eve, Chirstmas, and New Years Eve (Day? Does this even belong here?). I have been fantasizing about vacation but these two little puentes* give me just enough time to do nothing but indulge in hobbies I have almost forgotten (shopping) without really doing damage to my bank account like a real vacation would.

Optimism is a hell of a drug.

*The word puente is Spanish. In Spain, there are very few national holidays; they celebrate on a more local basis (on Christmas, you can see people beating themselves with metal chains in some processions in Madrid). If one of these holidays falls in the middle of the week, Spanish students typically get a day or two to link the holiday to the weekend. End explanation.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Forever 21, John 3:16

I recently noticed that the bottoms of Forever 21 shopping bags say "John 3:16." Apparently, according to reliable sources (aka Wikipedia), it's a reflection of the owners' faith.

Does it go along with the Christian faith to steal other people's designs and use sweatshop labor?

Monday, December 3, 2007

Spanish Cinema Now and The (Spanish Civil) War on Film aka Thank God I Live In New York

Beginning December 7, Lincoln Center will be hosting three Spanish film series: Spanish Cinema Now and The War on Film (La guerra filmada) alongside Remembering Pilar Miró. As if December wasn't already busy enough, New York City got hit with some more.

The film Caótica Ana directed by Julio Medem (2007) is something I'm really looking forward to seeing. Below is the trailer:

Also, this Thursday December 6th at Lincoln Center is a showing of Welcome to the Dollhouse by Todd Solondz (1996) at 7:30 PM. Tickets are $25 a piece and there's a Q&A with Heather Matarazzo, Brendan Sexton III and Daria Kalinina.


Film Society of Lincoln Center webpage.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Indie & Small Press Book Fair

This Saturday and Sunday 11:00 AM - 5:00 PM, The New York Center for Independent Publishing is hosting the Indie & Small Press Book Fair at the General Society Landmark Building at 20 W. 44th Street (between 5th and 6th Aves).

Let me map out the highlights and you will see why this is one of the greatest things to happen to Midtown Manhattan since EVER.

An old photo of Ian MacKaye and his doggie at home. Photo Credit: Glen E. Friedman. Taken from his webpage Burning Flags.

On Saturday, December 1st:

Ian MacKaye on Independent Culture: Q&A with an Introduction by Ian Svenonius

A Q&A with Ian MacKaye (Minor Threat, Fugazi, The Evens and co-founder of Dischord Records). Bring your questions regarding the parallels between the worlds of independent music and book publishing, sustainable models for truly independent companies, and anything else that’s on your mind.

Keep Your Eyes Open: Ian Svenonius Interviews Photographer Glen E. Friedman, with Slide Show Presentation

Glen E. Friedman, considered one of the most important photographers of his generation, became well known for working with such rebellious artists as Black Flag, Ice-T, Dead Kennedys, Minor Threat, Misfits, Bad Brains, Beastie Boys, Run-D.M.C., KRS-1, and Public Enemy. Many of his photographs are recognized as the subjects’ definitive portraits. His most recent book, centered around the band Fugazi, is titled Keep Your Eyes Open (2007). Ian Svenonius has been the singer and spokesman for various music groups, including Nation of Ulysses, The Make-Up, and currently Weird War. Svenonius is also the author of The Psychic Soviet.

On Sunday, December 2nd:

Qu’est-ce Que C’est Sex and Violence: Permissibility in Translation with Panelists Amy Scholder, Chad Post, Slava Mogutin, and Sinan Antoon

Sex and violence are universal traits but are different cultures ready to share and experience each other’s transgressive writings through the bridge of translation? A panel with Bruce Benderson, Slava Mogutin, Sinan Antoon and Amy Scholder moderated by Tom Roberge, Managing editor of A Public Space.

HOLY SCHISSE! IAN EFFING MACKAYE IN NEW YORK CITY! I've loved and admired Ian MacKaye ever since I was thirteen years old when I first heard Minor Threat's Complete Discography. I used to write him letters about how much his music meant to me (and still means to me) but I never had the gall to send them. I wish I could dig them up, I'd give them to him on Saturday if I still had them in my possession.

Go here to read Time Out New York's 3 questions for Ian MacKaye.

Glen E. Friedman has a new book out called Keep Your Eyes Open which is all about Glen and Fugazi from 1986-2002.

Ian Svenonious, member of Nation of Ulysses and The Make-Up, has a great book out called The Psychic Soviet which goes HIGHLY recommended.

This weekend is jam packed with cool stuff to do! My head is spinning... IAN MACKAYE!!!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

"Are you taking over or are you taking orders? Are you going backwards or are you going forwards?"

From the New York Times:

The events of the past three days, set off by the deaths of two teenagers whose minibike collided with a police vehicle on Sunday, make clear that the underlying causes of frustration and anger — particularly among unemployed, undereducated youths, mostly the offspring of Arab and African immigrants — remain the same.

Photo credit: Thibault Camus/Associated Press

Et si on parle français:

And you thought Bed-Stuy was scary?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


In life, we are faced with many decisions. In the recent past, I've had big decisions to make like which job offer should I take, where should I move, and should I get French fries with my meal? (The answer to the last one is always yes). Currently, I have a self-inflicted decision to make. I decided to get a magazine subscription with my newly acquired Hanukah gelt. Without further ado, I present to you, my readers, my top three choices.

If I decide to go with Adbusters Magazine, I get 6 issues for $40. I love Adbusters and would feel like I was doing something socially beneficial, as that magazine assures me that YOU ARE NOT TELEVISION. Or your government.

The German beauty, Lodown Magazine, would cost me $56 for 5 pretty issues of one of the best art/design/music magazines around.

And a mere $75 would buy me 3 issues of Arkitip while 6 issues would cost me $130. Gasp if you must, but each issue of Arkitip is a limited edition and highly sought after. I would love nothing more than to get a copy of the most recent Arkitip before the rest of my friends try to run out and cop it for the cool _______. And rest assured, the _______ is ALWAYS cool, whether it's a Kaws laptop case for your iBook or a package of Ricky Powell's favorite coffee. Everyone would be jealous it's on my coffee table and not theirs (first).

Well, I think I've already made my decision (guess which one) but thanks to the Internet, I was able to map out my choices and make a decision. Talk about democracy!

There's a war going on outside...

Photo credit: Abid Katib/Getty Images in the New York Times


Palestinians Protest Peace Talks article from the New York Times here.

El tono has a blog, too.

El tono has a blog.

El tono es de España. You can check out his webpage here.


Neck Face will be having a solo exhibit at the Jonathan LeVine Gallery April 5th through May 3rd. The opening reception will be held on April 5, 7pm-9pm.

It's true, your old lady DOES love Neck Face. And so do most twenty-something New Yorkers, which is why I'll be there.


The Jonathan LeVine Gallery is located at 529 W. 20th St., 9E.

Photo du jour

JR from Paris:

Place Igor Stravinsky, Paris

J'aime JR.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Getting High on the Other Side of the Iron Curtain

From The Russian Issue of Vice Magazine (Volume 13, Issue 4), I present to you "Over the Counter Habits: A Brief History of Getting High in Russia."

Here's the article transcribed below in its entirety:

St. Petersburg’s drug situation was always better than Moscow’s. In fact most of the “fast” shit (ecstasy and meth) was produced in “Peter” and distributed to Moscow for double the price. St. Pete resisted cheap smack when it first hit about ten years ago, but eventually surrendered after most of the trendy pro-West boys and gals saw Trainspotting and Pulp Fiction. I swear these two films killed more Russians of my generation than fucking Afghanistan. For a while it seemed like Muscovite junkies and St. Pete’s University kids were competing for body counts as each kept upping the ante from heavily-cut brown crap to china white until both sides were all dead.

After the first wave of junkies died, everyone switched to Phentanyl, a synthetic opiate that’s 100 times stronger than heroin. Then one day Phentanyl was responsible for more than 130 deaths. The FSB (which is like the FBI but waaaay scarier) gassed the “Nord-Ost” hostages with it in October 2002 to prevent some Chechen mujahadeen from blowing the building up with 900 or so hostages inside. The women and children simply OD’d on the stuff. Oops! It was easy to spot on TV, all those blue faces with their heads tilted back, mouths open. All of a sudden Phentanyl was evil in the public’s mind and had to be eradicated. Ironically the task was left up to the FSB, the ones that made it evil in the first place.

Within weeks all the Phentanyl was gone and all the dealers were either dead or in jail. Now what? You’ve got a nation of junkies and a corrupt government with piles of opiates nobody wants to ever see again. Well, what do you think’s going to happen?

Alex, a 34-year-old addict who’s lived in St. Petersburg and Moscow says, “The second all the Phentanyl and heroin dissapeared, codeine cough pills magically showed up in drugstores all over the country. You could see those empty blue packages everywhere. They even went as far as advertising these pills on national TV. Obviously, the government was up to something.” Indeed, by 2003 almost all illegal opiates in Moscow had been replaced with these popular over-the-counter codeine pills.

“If you take 20 pills of Kodelak, which is 160 mg of codeine phosphate, you get a good nod going,” reports Alex. “I take 60 pills a day. My habit was about $200 daily when it was heroin. Now it’s 300 bucks a month, thanks to Kodelak. And I don’t need to rob or steal or anything like that to keep myself going!”

The invisible hand of capitalism has spoken: “Legalize it.”



Blogger's conclusion: Communism gets you high.

Streets is Watching

Swoon being interviewed by Wooster Collective in SWINDLE Magazine here.

Photo of Swoon near the Knitting Factory, Summer 2005

Also, Banksy will be having a New York City gallery show.I will update this with the rest of the pertinent info once I actually SEE a flyer for this. Or once I ask my boyfriend. Hopefully the former will happen first.


What: Bankrobber (London) in New York
Where: Vanina Holasek Gallery
502 West 27th Street (@ 10th Ave.)
When: December 2nd - 29th
Who: You know how.


Here's the link.

P.S. Thanks Nick!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

La fiesta del chivo, Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Trust Socialist Democracy

Hi friends. Last week I had seen La memoria obstinda at the Instituto Cervantes and was awakened by the thought-provoking and moving documentary filmed by Patricio Guzman. All of the young and fleeting socialist tendencies I once clung to started to awaken after seeing the film, but more than that, my need to practice Spanish and actively pursue the language I love so much was kicking and screaming. I have been wanting to make Spanish speaking friends, which as we know, making friends is no easy task and ever since I stopped taking formal classes, I've been trying to make a conscious effort to keep myself stimulated as the classroom is a great forum whereas the office is not.

Today I went to Barnes and Noble in pursuit of an overpriced modern art magazine. I then wandered into the Libros en Espanol section, which is usually disappointing, until I saw about five or six novels by Mario Vargas Llosa. Instead of spending $10 on a magazine that I'll probably save for way too long and end up using to make a birthday card, I decided to buy La fiesta del chivo, a political novel about the dictatorship in the Dominican Republic. I'm only 30 pages into it but I am so happy to be reading and thinking in Spanish again.

As in most of Latin and South America, socialism and democracy were overrun by dictatorships throughout the 60s and 70s. La fiesta del chivo is about a woman, whose father worked for Trujillo's government, returning to Santo Domingo many years after she had left her native country for New York City. I'm so inspired by the fluidity of the Spanish language and the way the words flow, but also by the power and the weight that each word carries. Much like Chile in 1973, the Dominican Republic was taken over by the far-right dictator Trujillo, el Chivo, the goat. Though I might not be putting stickers about GMOs on fruit and vegetables and protesting SUVs like I did in high school, the revolutionary inside of me still thrives por el espanol, por el espiritu de la democracia, and by the need to stand by your rights and expression in whatever way possible. Even if it is in a blog that only a handful of friends read. At least it's something.


La fiesta del chivo is playing at the Repertorio Espanol throughout November and December at 138 East 27th Street. Here's the link for all those interested. I hope to catch it on December 1, which gives me motivation to finish the book ASAP.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

DVD Releases!

Kino International has released Eisenstein's Battleship Potemkin (1925) on DVD today. This version has been restored, includes deleted scenes, and a 42 minute documentary on reconstruction (in German - not sure if the documentary has subtitles in English but one would assume it does). On the market for $29.95.

Scene of woman carrying her deceased child in the film

Another important film that is being re-released on DVD today is À bout de souffle (1960) (or as we call it in America, Breathless). This film was directed by Godard and co-written by Truffaut. It could be said that this film along with Les quatre cents coups (The 400 Blows) are exemplary of nouvelle vague cinema. The extras on the latest Criterion version are excerpts from Mark Rappaport’s brilliant essay film “From the Journals of Jean Seberg” and “Chambre 12, Hotel de Suède,” a 1993 French documentary about the film’s making. Available for $39.95.

Iconic scene from Breathless of Jean Seberg and Jean Paul Belmondo


New York Times New DVDs article published today.

The Trevi Fountain is Bleeding

On October 19th, a guy in a beret threw a can of red paint into the Trevi Fountain:

Apparently he wants, "to turn this grey bourgeois society into a triumph of color."

Vandalism is beautiful.


Read the article here.

Monday, October 22, 2007

El espíritu de la colmena

The first movie that I've seen with Ana Torrent was Tesis (1996), a film directed by Aménabar (director of Abre los ojos and Mar adentro) about a girl writing her thesis on snuff film. Her role in Tesis is provocative and engaging as the movie becomes suspenseful once Angela (Torrent) discovers that a girl in one of the snuff films was a former classmate.

I later saw the film Cría cuervos (1976) in a Spanish film class I was taking my senior year of college. I was floored by Ana Torrent's performance in the movie, and also in love with the film itself. The political undertones were astounding and it quickly made it's way to the top of my favorite films list.

Last night I saw El espíritu de la colmena (1973) directed by Victor Erice. I only know Victor Erice for El Sur, but mostly for his contribution to the film Los desafíos (1969), a film which I cannot even explain with words as it is trippy (due to the rising mod/psychedelic culture of the late 60s, early 70s), political and focuses largely on both American and Spanish stereotypes (as if it is a modern-day Bienvenido, Mister Marshall!). Thus, I knew the film would be focusing on the politics of Franco's Spain, but not really sure in what ways.

Still from the film of Ana Torrent and her older sister in the film, Isabel.


The film begins with Frankenstein's premier in the small Castillian village, Hoyuelos. Un peseta para adultos, dos reales para niños. Ana and her older sister, Isabel, are mesmerized by the film. Isabel is the typical older sister, playing on Ana's naivete telling her that Frankenstein really exists as a spirit in an abondoned farmhouse in their small pueblo. We are introduced to the mother as she is writing a letter to a lost-love due to the Civil War, she writes of nostalgia which is a critique on Franco's Spain as she longs for better days. We also see Ana and Isabel's father tending to the bees en la colmena. Their father writes about the bees and the hierarchy amongst them in his study at nighttime. The maid, Milagros (which translates to miracles in English) is the first female to interact with the father in the film. The structure of the family appears to be familiar and because of the size of their house and the presence of a maid, one can assume that the family is considerable wealthy in their small village.

As Franco reinforced Catholic values, especially the importance of family, the film is critical of the familial unit as there is never a shot throughout the movie of the family together. They are only shown separately with two family members in the same frame at once. Erice has his two young actresses playing their roles expertly. Isabel and Ana are both curious youngsters growing up in a post-war world. Isabel is clearly more vindictive, as she teases Ana, plays with her friends by jumping over a small fire and towards the end of the film, she nearly chokes her cat to death. The cat retaliates and cuts her finger, which prompts Isabel to use her own blood as lipstick. Her natural disposition is revealed as the dominant sibling, and reflects the manipulative politics of Spain's franquismo in its time whereas Ana reflects the more liberal attitude through her naivete and ultimately being a good girl when faced with good v. bad situations.

The film alludes to the good v. bad theme numerous times, the most harrowing example is when Fernando, their father, is with his daughters hunting for mushrooms. Ana proclaims that the one mushroom which her father warns is the deadliest smells so good. The viewer naturally fears that Ana will eat the mushroom due to her inquisitive nature, however as the movie proceeds, we see that Isabel is the one whose actions should be watched. Ana questions her mother about spirits, and her mother responds that good spirits talk to good girls but the bad spirits, who are very very bad, talk to bad girls. Towards the end of the movie, Ana finds her sister Isabel dead on the floor in the bedroom. One could assume that Isabel has essentially killed herself through fould play; all we hear is a shriek and all we see is a broken flower pot, a rocking chair still in motion and the girl dead on the hardwood floors of the house.

One must believe (after seeing Isabel's empty bed at the conclusion of the film), that Isabel died at the hands of her own curiosity (as we hear a shriek and see her body on the floor without getting any real answers). Ana's persistent 'good' character might reflect the idealism that the youth under Franco embodied. As Ana is younger than Isabel and displays intrigue through kind measures, we are drawn in by her enticing yet daunting childhood world. Perhaps this represents another parallel between Spanish society and Ana. The Spanish Civil War ended in 1939 with Franco as the victor, however, youth are notorious for remaining positive and for rallying as the liberal position in times of turmoil. Thus, part of her role can be translated as such. Isabel, on the other hand, signifies the corruption of Franco's Spain and it's self-destruction as well.

Ana Torrent's performance is enlightening and endearing. Unlike Isabel, whose trust the viewer does not have, the audience is able to sympathize with Ana's efforts to be good. Her acting is so impressive, to think that she was only thirteen when the film premiered (born in 1966 - filmed in 1973), she blows Dakota Fanning out of the water. Her character is moving, compelling and her face is what the viewer remembers whilst re-thinking the various elements of the movie.

MOLTO BRAVO ANA TORRENT. A true actress in modern film.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Art for Art's Sake

New York Magazine has a great article on twenty New York artists whose art changed art. These are artists who are alive and thriving in the Empire State, and more specifically in the city that never sleeps.

You might recognize Richard Prince's Nurse of Greenmeadow from Sonic Youth's Sonic Nurse album. Cindy Sherman, Marina Abramovic and Jeff Koons are some other modern artists that appear on the list. I've been a fan of Cindy Sherman's self portraits for a while and was just introduced to Marina Abramovic's work last year by my art-obsessed friends in Madrid. Marina also does self-portraits and both women focus on the role of the woman in society:

A Cindy Sherman self-portrait

Self portrait by Marina Abramovic

Some other mentionables are Vanessa Beecroft, Barbara Kruger who popularized the use of words in art like Jenny Holzer, and Christopher Wool, who has grandiose paintings of words and abstractions.

Molto bravo to New York Magazine for publishing a great article!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Arcade Fire Are Just TOO White

Apparently, indie rock has lost it's soul.

Sasha Frere-Jones is apparently upset that The Arcade Fire just aren't black enough. They donm't syncopate their rhythms like The Clash tended to do in their later music endeavors.

He also says that "The Chronic" is probably one of the most important pop albums of the nineties. Does anyone really believe that to be true? You're going to tell me that "Let Me Ride" is more of a pop success than say Nirvana? Lest we forget that I still fondly remember Nirvana as THE band that had significant airtime - be it television or the radio. Oftentimes, I look back on those days, when bands like Nirvana were IT and become nostalgic for the music industry.

Seeing The Arcade Fire two weekends ago at Randall's Island made me happy with music again. I've been frustrated with new bands that go for simplistic dance riffs or anthem-like, empty lyrics, but bands like The Arcade Fire break the mold. Every song they played gave me that "whoa, I love this song!" feeling. Every single song. Their songs are thought provoking, multi-layered and musically refined. Where does soul fit in if a band is great? And moreover, why should a band have to have this so-called soul to be considered seriously? Where is the argument?

This article is chock full of contradictions. Dr. Dre and Snoop are the most important pop musicians since Bob Dylan, and Sasha apparently loves Grizzly Bear even though they don't exhibit any kind of African roots, but yet the Arcade Fire still somehow falls short of his expectations, in spite of the fact that they are currently one of the most powerful forces in music to-date?

Wah wah wah. If you really want your soul, turn off Neon Bible and turn on Sandinista. I'm a fan of both, but I'm not a fan of whiners that don't really make sense.

Friday, October 12, 2007


There's an amazing exhibit going on at ICP (International Center of Photography) through January 6, 2008 surrounding photography and print culture during the Spanish Civil War.

Our history books (ours being American) tend to overlook the importance of the Spanish Civil War. Due to the Civil War and Franco's coup of Spain, Spain was ultimately excluded from World War II. The Spanish Civil War, though only three years long (1936-1939) was multi-faceted and had a very severe and lengthy impression on Spain (as I've mentioned before, the country is still dealing with certain issues that have strong ties to the Spanish Civil War). Spanish poster art from this time period is some of my favorite (maybe rivaled only by Bolshevik poster art). Every side (and there were MANY: anarcho-syndicalists, carlistas, franquistas, republicanos, socialistas, and everything & anything in between) was quite vocal in terms of being represented, especially through propaganda.

Here's an example of communist poster art:


Workers, Countrymen, Soldiers, Intellectuals, Strengthen the ranks of the Communist Party!

Translator's note: I added the exclamation point for emphasis.


Link to the International Center of Photography's webpage

Link to Other Weapons

Text from webpage:

The posters of the Spanish Civil War have become the emblematic visual sign of a national conflict that became international from 1936-1939. Described as "shouts from the wall," the vibrancy of the color and design of the posters, and the messages they sent, signaled for many the powerful role that propaganda played in creating an image of war that was used in Spain and exported actively. Along with the wall-papering of the posters, was the publication in Spain of hundreds of magazines. Considering their impact at the time, it is surprising that they have been virtually unexamined by art historians.

Other Weapons presents a survey of these magazines showing the diversity and inter-relationships among the original magazines, posters, vintage photographs, and archival documents from libraries and archives in Spain and the United States. The exhibition is curated by art historian Jordana Mendelson, Visiting Associate Professor of Spanish and Portuguese, New York University.

Also of interest, Robert Capa has an exhibit at ICP as well running until January 6th.

Culture Fest

For all those interested, this week Battery Park is hosting Culturefest October 13-14th. Click on the link to get more info. It runs Saturday and Sunday, 11:00 AM - 5:30 PM rain or shine and it's FREE!

Some centers of interest that will be present:

P.S. 1 (& MoMA)
El Museo del Barrio
FIAF (Alliançe Française)
Instituto Cervantes

And did I mention it's FREE? I love it when the city has stuff like this. Last month I went to the Brooklyn Book Festival which made me wish I was rolling in the benjamins so I could buy a book from (almost) every table there. Free New York is the BEST kind of New York.

Social Dress New Orleans at the Socrates Sculpture Park

Takashi Horisaki's Social Dress New Orleans - 730 Days Later has an ongoing exhibit at the Socrates Sculpture Park in LIC, ending October 28th. It's worth checking out so try to get there before the end of the month!


Socrates Sculpture Park:

Socrates Sculpture Park was an abandoned riverside landfill and illegal dumpsite until 1986 when a coalition of artists and community members, under the leadership of artist Mark di Suvero, transformed it into an open studio and exhibition space for artists and a neighborhood park for local residents. Today it is an internationally renowned outdoor museum and artist residency program that also serves as a vital New York City park offering a wide variety of public services.

I'm Not There

Tickets for the new Bob Dylan movie I'm Not There are currently on sale at the Film Forum:

Here's a clip of Cate Blanchett acting as a young Bob Dylan in the film:

Harvey Weinstein said in an article with the New York Times, “I may be jumping the gun, but if Cate Blanchett doesn’t get nominated, I’ll shoot myself.”

I couldn't agree more myself.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Spain (Un)censored

MoMA is having an amazing film exhibition coming up running from October 17-November 5 called Spain (Un)censored. As I wrote my thesis on Almodovar's first films (which were really modern and shocking in light of Franco's fascist regime which ended upon his death in 1975, Spanish cinema has always been something that has greatly sparked my intrigue. Spanish film was used as a means of communicating 'unacceptable' ideals and messages through the 40 some-odd years that Franco was dictator of Spain. Movies like Viridiana by Buñuel were racy for their time as they depicted sex scenes that implicated incest, suicide. The first film to really break the barrier was Bienvenido Mr. Marshall which ultimately criticized Franco's foreign policy and the country's political infrastructure while simultaneously exploiting both Spanish and American stereotyping. Such topics were generally dismissed by the franquistas thus the study of film throughout the 1930s onward (including film today being that the Franco regime has left a long lasting impression upon Spain in more ways than one) is incredibly improtant and interesting.

Scene from Viridiana (Buñuel, 1961).

Below is MoMA's film exhibition synopsis as well as a link to their webpage with movie listings, etc.

Spanish cinema flourished during General Francisco Franco's regime (1939–75) despite the dictatorship. Provoked by the system they lived under, Spanish directors told stories about the people's hopes and troubles by using humor and symbols that reached their audiences and sidestepped the censors. This unique exhibition explores an era that fought for freedom through cinema. Until now, this fertile filmmaking period has gone unacknowledged; the generations following Franco's death in 1975 were eager to build a new democracy and leave the dictatorship behind. More than three decades later, these twenty features reveal an enthralling, daring, and formally innovative era of Spanish cinema. All films are from Spain and in Spanish, with English subtitles, except where noted.

Coinciding with the exhibition, "Expression in Times of Repression," a panel discussion with director Basilio Martin Patino and Fernando Lara (Director of ICAA and Chema de la Pena and director of Salamanca a ninguna parte [From Salamanca to Nowhere, 2002]), and moderated by Richard Pena, Program Director of the Film Society of Lincoln Center, takes place at the Juan Carlos I of Spain Center, New York University, on October 20. For more information visit Other events include a book-release reception for Breaking the Code: Daring Films that Mocked the Repression in Spain at the Instituto Cervantes at Amster Yard on October 18. Spain (Un)Censored travels to the BFI Southbank, London, in January 2008.



Los patitos feos de Sam3

Sam3 is an 'urban artist' from mi querida España. His work is very notable becasue usually he paints HUGE murals on Spanish city walls.

Below are his patitos feos (ugly ducklings) which can be found in the Río Segura in Andalucía, España:

Here's his explanation in both Spanish and English:

Muchas ciudades repueblan sus ríos urbanos con patos y cisnes para higienizar de alguna manera esta agua residual visible. Esta instalación pretende “higienizar” la realidad de los patos que habitan esta agua residual adaptando la basura a sus formas.

Se instalarán durante una semana botellas de plástico flotando sobre el río Segura.
Las botellas tendrán forma de aves y especies acuáticas que formarán grupos y familias. Todos los materiales utilizados en esta instalación serán reciclados e intentarán molestar lo menos posible a sus habitantes.
Si el animal no se adapta al medio el medio se tiene que adaptar al animal.


Many cities repopulate their urban rivers with ducks and swans to somehow clean their visible sewage waters. This installation hopes to clean the reality of the ducks which inhabit these sewage waters by adapting rubbish into their forms

During a whole week plastic bottles will be floated over River Segura.
The bottles will be bird shaped, aquatic species, and will form groups and families. All materials used in this installation will be recycled materials and will try not to disturb the inhabitants as much as possible.

If the animal cannot adapt to its environment, the environment must adapt to the animal.


Sam's blog:

Blog Name

The name of my blog, "public witness program," comes from a Fugazi song. Before I talk about the song, I will begin by saying that Fugazi was one of those bands that I tried really hard to like when I was about 13 years old. Throughout high school, my favorite band was Minor Threat. I was known locally as Minor Threat Mel and made Minor Threat mixtapes for my friends in high school. It was only a matter of time before Fugazi became one of my favorites. Minor Threat was easily applicable to my high school lifestyle being that I was straight edge and didn't feel like I related to my peers. Their cookie cutter lifestyles of partying and shopping didn't interest me. I was into politics, international affairs and music.

As I became increasingly more active politically, Fugazi's albums became the soundtrack to my junior and senior year of high school. Their emotionally and politically driven songs spoke to me on a level that no other band, neither then nor now, seemed to reach. Fugazi was and is on this pedastal, from the way they manage their music, themselves, write their songs, and make themselves accessible to their public, I can easily say that Fugazi is my favorite band of all time, HANDS DOWN.

Thus, upon making this blog I decided to select "public witness program" as my blog title, the second track on Fugazi's third album. The song itself is fast-driven and punk. I love Ian's voice but Guy really murders the track. Also, I find the lyrics to be applicable to modern society, be it 1993 or 2007. Oftentimes, being a working contributor to society, I often feel like a public witness. I am on the outside of things, and in the same regard I am being watched, as we all are. The lyrics, as well as the song title, are multi-layered. Hence, the title of my blog.

The eyes have it and the eyes always will
The eyes have it and they're watching you still
Public witness charter - look out don't touch
Public witness says he's seeing too much
I like to walk around it
And i'm paid to stand around
Public witness seen it all

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

How are you doing I don't think that we've met.

Due to my increasing frustrations with American society and our sorry excuse for promoting easy, self-depracating entertainment, I decided to create this blog. I will be posting events, photos, and random ramblings for your sensory pleasure.