Monday, March 31, 2008

Flight of the Conchords

Surf The Channel has just uploaded The Flight of the Conchords: A Texan Odyssey, which plays almost like a pilot for their subsequent self-titled sitcom. The 45 minute special sees the band travel from their native New Zealand to the South by SouthWest music festival in Austin Texas, where they hope to get their 'medium break'. The special features brief appearances by Morrissey and Neil Young, as well as a foot-rub interview with Toronto's Peaches.

The mockumentary is not as successful as the TV series, possible because it doesn't feature their fictional manager Murray Hewitt (a note-perfect performance by stand-up comedian Rhys Darby), who is also the Deputy Cultural Attaché at the New Zealand consulate. But it does feature live performances of “Business Time”, “The Most Beautiful Girl in the Room”, “Boom, She’s So Hot!” and “Think About It, Think, Think About It" and functions as a stop-gap until the next season airs.

Mitzi Pederson

This link to San Francisco based artist Mitzi Pederson was just sent to me by friends who identified the artist as a standout at the otherwise unexciting Whitney Biennale. This untitled piece below is my fave: a simple and elegant work using a block of wood and some silver leaf.

Post Covered

The music blog Stereogum has assembled a tribute Bjork's second solo album (if you don't count the jazz side-projects and the records she made as a pre-teen), similar to the ones they compiled for REM's Automatic For the People and Radiohead's OK Computer.

There are some good bands taking part (Liars, No Age, for example) but I haven't really warmed up to any of the covers yet. Xiu Xiu and Final Fantasy also participate, and both have a good track record with other people's material: there are great live recordings of FInal Fantasy covering John Cale's Paris 1919, Joanna Newsom's Peach Plum Pear and The Arcade Fire's No Cars Go; and Xiu Xiu's version of Fast Car by Tracey Chapman is fantastic (the car is stripped down to a shell and it sounds like he's choking on the exhaust).

Maybe the problem is that Bjork creates recordings, not songs, and out of her hands they're not that interesting. Checking my iTunes, I don't have too many covers of her material that work. Radiohead are competent when they cover Unravel but Ben Gibbard and Death Cab for Cutie are both too twee to handle tracks from Homogenetic.

The entire collection is available as a free download from the site, and presumably with the blessing of the artists.

Angus Fairhurst, RIP

A few days after the closing of his latest solo exhibition at Sadie Coles gallery in London, Angus Fairhurst has reportedly taken his own life. The YBA painter, video artist and photographer was best known for his bronze gorilla sculptures. He was 41. Damien Hirst, a close friend and collaborator since they graduated Goldsmiths together in 1989, said "He was a great artist and a great friend, he always supported me in fair weather and foul. He shone like the moon and as an artist he had just the right amount of slightly-round-the-bend. I loved him."

Friday, March 28, 2008

Thomas Edison trumped

Audio historian David Giovannoni recently unearthed a 10-second clip of a woman singing the folk song "Au Clair de la Lune" from 1857. The recording predates Thomas Edison's "Mary had a little lamb" (which was previously credited as the oldest recorded voice) by 17 years. The song was captured using a phonautograph, a device using a needle to etch sound into paper, created by inventor Edouard-Leon Scott de Martinville that created visual recordings of sound waves.

de Martinville, a Parisian bookseller, librarian, typesetter and tinkerer, died in 1879, convinced that Edison was wrongly credited with his milestone. Unlike Edison's phonograph, the phonoautograph was unable to playback recordings.

From yesterday's New York Times.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Mercer Union Union?

Luanne Martineau has just started a Facebook group called Unionize Canada's Artist Run Centres. The group aims to offer a venue to "discuss the various employment issues and work climates experienced by our Artist Run Centre workers." There is not yet any content posted, but the group, in its third or fourth day, already claims 78 members.

Dennis Oppenheim Church removed

Dennis Oppenheim's controversial public art work Device to Root Out Evil will soon be removed from Harbour Green Park in Vancouver. Installed as part of the Vancouver Biennale in 2005 and offered as a long-term donation, the work has received mixed responses from local residents. The concerns include the fact that it blocks the view of the park green, that it take up too much space and, well, that it depicts an inverted church.

New York's Public Art Fund also deemed the work "too controversial" when it was initially proposed for Church street in Manhattan.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Governor General’s Awards

The Canada Council for the Arts today announced the names of the eight winners of the 2008 Governor General’s Awards in visual and media arts. Kenojuak Ashevak, Serge Giguère, Michel Goulet, Alex Janvier, Tanya Mars, and Eric Metcalfe will receive awards for artistic achievement; Chantal Gilbert will receive the Saidye Bronfman Award for excellence in the fine crafts; and Shirley Thomson will receive the outstanding contribution award for her work as a cultural administrator, gallery director, and arts advocate. For more information visit 16.

Terrible Noises for Beautiful People

For Nuit Blanche last year Mercer Union hosted a 12 hour session of Misha Glouberman's "Terrible Noise for Beautiful People" in the empty warehouse space adjacent to the gallery. Despite the large number of high-profile, costly projects taking place in the city, this intimate participatory event was one of the evening's highlights.

Now it's his birthday and he wants to get people in a room together and make noise with them. Then eat cake. You should go.

Terrible Noises for Beautiful People:
Misha Glouberman's Birthday Party

Friday, March 28, 2008
The Latvian House: 491 College Street, Toronto
Doors 7:30, show 8:00 sharp.
Tickets: $12 at the door, $10 online or at Soundscapes.

For more information visit

Monday, March 24, 2008

Paulette Phillips

Paulette Phillips, past President of Mercer Union, presents her second solo exhibition at Diaz Contemporary this Saturday, March 29th. Titled History appears twice, the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce, the show is inspired by E 1027, a villa in the south of France built by architect and designer Eileen Gray for her lover Jean Badovici in the twenties. A friend of Badovici's, the Swiss-born architect, designer, writer and painter, Le Corbusier visited E-1027 on numerous occasions and admired it to the point of needing to intervene on the clean white walls. He painted a series of murals, which infuriated Gray, who considered them outright vandalism. Le Corbusier subsequently became intricately tied with the future of the house, and it was often incorrectly attributed to him. Unable to purchase the villa, he eventually bought adjacent property just east of E.1027, from a former plumber who ran a small cafe there. Here he built Le Cabanon, a modest cabin that was designed in less than an hour in 1951 and built in 6 months the following year.

Le Cabanon is now a historic site, whereas E-1027 is in state of disrepair.

I visited Paulette's studio last year and saw this project as a work-in-progress, which then featured footage that the artist had taken herself of the abandoned villa, and a couple of witty sculptural elements.

The exhibition runs until the 26th of April. For more information, visit


Writer, editor and curator Cornelia Lauf speaks at Mercer Union tomorrow night (Tuesday) at 7pm. Based in Rome and NYC, Dr Cornelia Lauf is the founder of Camera Oscura, an alternative space in Tuscany, and was editor-in-chief of Imschoot, Uitgevers for almost a decade. Lauf writes extensively, and has published many books on and with artists. She is a co-founder of Three Star Books who have published artist books by Maurizio Cattelan and Liam Gillick and have forthcoming titles by Matt Mullican, Ken Lum, Jonathan Monk and Douglas Gordon.

For more information contact

Leonard Cohen covered

The Walkmen have just released four (fairly faithful) Leonard Cohen covers, which are available here at Daytrotter. The NYC band, still most famous for the use of We've Been Had in a Saturn ad, is no stranger to the cover-song. Their last full length release was a track-by-track cover of Harry Nilsson's 1974 album Pussy Cats. Like the current trend to perform albums live in their entirety (think Roger Waters and The Wall or Sonic Youth revisiting Daydream Nation last year), there seems to be a trend towards the full-album remake. The earliest example I can think of (beyond instrumental jazz records of pop albums) is Laibach's Let it Be, which was an industrial version of the Beatle's final record, in its entirety, excising the title track. Others include The Dirty Dozen Brass Band performing Marvin Gaye's What's Going On , Pussy Galore tackling Exile on Main Street by the Rolling Stones, Japancakes version of My Bloody Valentine's Loveless and Meet the Beatles, performed and retitled Meet the Smithereens.

Leonard Cohen is also no stranger to the cover version. Praise for the singer-songwriter usually involves the latter half of the tag, and there are at least three tribute albums currently available: Jennifer Warnes' Famous Blue Raincoat, Tower of Song, and (the superior, if still quite flawed) I'm Your Fan. Hallelujah feels fated to become the indie Yesterday, with more covers than one could count. Of course, it's actually a cover of a cover, as most versions refer to Jeff Buckley's take, which borrowed heavily from the John Cale version (as evidenced by the fact that they all omit the same verse).

Robert Crumb on collecting

Robert Crumb, sounding a lot like the Steve Buscemi's charchter in Ghostworld (who, in all likelihood, is based on him), discusses collecting here, in excerpts from the Brett Milano book Vinyl Junkies: Adventures in Record Collecting.

“Collecting is creepy. Record collectors put each other down for their various fixations. Everybody is convinced that his way of collecting is superior. They look down on casual collectors, who are just accumulators - the kind who’ll just pick up anything and let it pile up. A true collector is more of a connoisseur, and that’s the good thing about collecting. It creates a connoisseurship to sort out what’s worthwhile in the culture and what isn’t. Wealthy art collectors in this country have sorted out who the great artists are. If you’re collecting a lot of objects of one particular kind, you develop a very acute sense of discrimination.”

“Any of the younger guys who get into collecting are quirky and oddball types, pretty maladjusted people. They’re not into hanging around in bars and picking up chicks or nothing. If they have a girlfriend at all it’s amazing. And the older collectors I know, a lot of them just have their little room down in the basement where they go and listen. They don’t share it with anyone, and their wives don’t know anything about it. So when they die, the vultures start descending.”

found on
PS. Note to site: stop saying the word steampunk.

Neil Aspinall, RIP

Neil Aspinall, the Beatles first road manager, personal assistant and head of Apple Corps (until his resignation last year) succumbed to cancer today, at the age of 66, reports the BBC.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Happy Easter!

Peter Greenaway

Until last month, all of Peter Greenaway's feature films (except The Belly of an Architect, perhaps the least interesting of them all) were unavailable on DVD. Some had never been released, and others were long out-of-print. Zeitgeist Films began a collaboration with the filmmaker last year that saw the release of his early shorts, and his first full-length film The Falls, a 185 minute faux documentary made in 1980. The film is not about Niagara Falls, but rather about 92 persons whose surnames begin with the letters FALL. This purports to be a random sampling of victims of a mysterious incident called the "Violent Unknown Event" or VUE, which has killed many people and left survivors suffering from a common set of symptoms: strange bird-like mutations, dreams of water and the ability to speak new languages. The film is incredibly formal and the humour (while very funny) is extremely deadpan.

A few weeks ago Zeitgeist released his first two features: The Draughtsman's Contract from 1982, and A Zed and Two Noughts from 1985. The former is a kind of period-piece Blowup. Set in 1694, the film follows an arrogant young artist who has been contracted to produce a series of estate drawings as a gift from a Mrs. Herbert to her husband. The draughtsman demands sexual favours in exchange for his twelve drawings, many of which end up containing clues to a murder. Despite containing many of the same difficult devices, themes and imagery that Greenaway would explore in his subsequent films, the movie was somehow accessible enough to become a modest success. A Zed and Two Noughts follows two twin brothers, Oswald and Oliver Deuce, whose wives are killed in a mysterious car accident involving a swan. Unable to come to terms with their loss they become obsessed with death (they produce several time-lapse films of decaying animals) and with the driver of the car, Alba Bewick, who lost a leg in the accident. The twins also become, well, considerably closer as brothers. The film is presumably the inspiration for David Cronenberg's Dead Ringers, and Boxing Helena by Jennifer Lynch (daughter of David, who would not make a follow-up film for fifteen years).

Zeitgeist’s care with the release of these disks is worthy of Criterion. The previously available DVDs (once commanding large sums in the secondary market) featured mediocre transfers and little, if anything, in the way of extras. Zeitgeist has restored and repackaged them with Greenaway's close participation and each include a couple of printed essays, director's introduction and commentary, deleted scenes, interviews and other extras. A Zed and Two Noughts also includes excerpts from Ontario film-maker Phil Hoffman's Genie-nominated making-of documentary O Zoo.

Hopefully the company will continue releasing the films chronologically as the next two (again, side-stepping The Belly of an Architect) are among the most interesting. Drowning By Numbers (1988) tells the story of three generations of women, all named named Cissie Colpitts, who successively drown their husbands. The town coroner, Madgett, is in love with all of them and quickly becomes duplicitous in their crimes. Madgett's son Smut is a strange little boy who marks roadkill with paint and fireworks displays and who recites the rules of various unusual games. Despite this description, it is one of Greenaway's warmest and accessible films, and my personal favorite (which may also be because it was my introduction to Greenaway, twenty years ago). It also contains the best score, by composer Michael Nyman. Nyman began as an experimental performer and theorist, releasing the album Decay Music on Brian Eno's Obscure label, and publishing the book Experimental Music: Cage and Beyond. His collaboration with Greenway began with The Falls in 1980 and would last more than ten years. He scored all of Greenaway's films from The Falls to Prospero’s Books (again, with the exception of The Belly of an Architect, which featured music by Wim Mertens and Glenn Branca). After parting ways with Greenaway, his biggest success was the score for Jane Campion's The Piano.

The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover takes place in Le Hollandais, a restaurant owned by the boorish and violent thief Albert Spica. His wife Georgina (fearlessly played by Helen Mirren) begins an affair with a bookish patron of the restaurant, which the cook (who despises Spica) helps to conceal. The graphic violence, full-frontal nudity (and cannibalism) led to the creation of the NC-17 rating, meaning many cinemas refused to screen it. It also ensured that the film would be a hit elsewhere, with the increased media coverage. It remains the filmmakers best known and most popular film. It is also one of his best.

Prospero's Books from 1991 is a film that is easier to admire than it is to watch. A visually stunning adaptation of Shakespeare's The Tempest, the film features Sir John Gielgud as Prospero, the off-screen narrator, and the voices of all the other characters. If that weren’t alienating enough to audiences, it also combined mime, dance, animation and a pioneering picture-in-picture technique. The film played at the Toronto International Film festival, but I don’t recall it getting a theatrical release in the city afterwards.

His follow-up, The Baby of Macon (1993) couldn’t secure a release in North America at all, beyond a few individual screenings in NYC and LA. Generally disliked by critics, the tale of virgin birth starring Ralph Fiennes is considered to be one of Greenaway’s most disturbing films.

The Pillow Book in ’96 was better received, by both critics and the general public. The film starred an often-naked Ewan MacGregor, fresh from his success in Trainspotting (and before his bad hair-cut for the Star Wars prequels). An adaptation of an erotic 10th century Japanese literary classic, the film is set in contemporary Japan and Hong Kong, allowing Greenaway to break from some of his previous stylistic conventions.

Nightwatching (2007) stars The Office actor Martin Freeman as Rembrandt and Eva Birthistle as his wife Saskia van Uylenburg. The film premiered at the Venice Film Festival last year and is apparently a return to the style (and content, presumably) of The Draughtsman’s Contract.

Peter Greenaway speaks at the Perimeter Institute next Wednesday, March 26, at 7:30 p.m , 31 Caroline Street North, Waterloo. Co-presented by the Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery, the event is hosted by writer, University of Guelph professor and senior contributing editor of Border Crossing Magazine, Robert Enright. To book tickets ($20 each) call 519-883-4480 or click here.

Greenaway’s 1983 documentary Four Composers (featuring short films on John Cage, Meredith Monk, Philip Glass and Robert Ashley) be viewed at Ubuweb, here.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


Today is the fifth anniversary of the Iraq War (which, if McCain takes office, may be a "hundred year war") so to mark the occasion we present not only the best anti-war song ever written, but quite possibly the best song ever written. Business.

Court Date, Assistance Requested

On October 25th, the Co-Directors of Mercer Union and artists Dean Baldwin and Dan Young took Michel de Broin's Shared Propulsion Car out for a spin on Queen Street. Ten minutes/blocks later we were pulled over by the police who issued a summons to Baldwin (who was driving) and threatened to impound the car. Luckily we were able to arrange a flatbed truck to return the vehicle back to the gallery for the duration of the exhibition. For more information, see previous posts here and here. Watch the Youtube footage here.

We plead not guilty to the charges and plan to fight for the right to drive the vehicle in the city. The court date is set for April 3rd.

We're looking for a volunteer court artist and stenographer to assist us in the documentation of the trial, for possible inclusion in a book about the work. If you know of anyone who may be able to assist us, please contact

Candice Breitz, Call + Response

In conjunction with an exhibition of her work curated by Julia Peyton-Jones, Hans Obrist, and Gunnar B. Kvaran, Candice Breitz is hosting a three-day symposium at the Musée d'Art Moderne Grand Duc Jean in Luxembourg from the 25th of April to the 28th. Titled Call + Response (named after the musical term where players phrasing responds to one another), the event kicks off on the eve of the 25th with a performance by Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard, best known for restaging performances by David Bowie, The Cramps, Vito Acconci and Bruce Nauman. This is followed by three days of presentations by artists whose work involves appropriation, including Cory Arcangel, Martin Arnold, Pierre Bismuth, Claude Closky, Diedrich Diederichsen, Surasi Kusolwong, Matthieu Laurette, Lawrence Lessig, Gabriel Lester, Bjørn Melhus, Jonathan Monk, Kaz Oshiro, Guillaume Paris, Paul Pfeiffer and James Webb. The event closes with a performance by Berlin-based songwriter Momus.

Breitz has arranged an excellent line-up of speakers, many of whom we have worked with at Mercer. Jonathan Monk and Claude Closky participated in the 2006 exhibition Infinity Etc and Bismuth and Arcangel will appear on a forthcoming Mercer Union audio CD. Breitz presented Soliloquy (Clint) at Mercer Union, in the fall of '06.

Attendance of all Call+Response events, talks and presentations is free, though seating is limited. If you are able to attend, contact to reserve seating. Mudam will also help to arrange affordable youth hostel accommodation for any students wishing to attend.

For more information, visit

Cornelia Lauf on Artists' Books

Born in Germany and based in Rome, Italy, Cornelia Lauf is a curator and editor of Artists' Books. She has organized exhibitions or published works by or about Maurizio Cattelan, Liam Gillick, Wim Delvoye, Diana Thater; Ken Lum, Fluxus, Robert Smithson, Joan Jonas, D.J. Spooky, David Byrne, Jan Dibbets, Joseph Kosuth and countless others.

She is the co-author of the most widely available text on Artists' Books: "Arist/Author", published by D.A.P in 1998.

On Tuesday March 25th we she will present an informal lecture at Mercer Union about Artist Books and her practice in general. Not to be missed.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

U2 in concert

A scene left out of U2's new concert film:

Bono is at a U2 concert in Glasgow when he asks the audience for some quiet.

Then in the silence, he starts to slowly clap his hands.

Holding the audience in total silence, he says softly and seriously
into the microphone ...

"Every time I clap my hands, a child in Africa dies......"

A voice from near the front pierces the silence: "Well, fucken' stop
doin' it then!"

The Counterfeiters

I recently read that, despite winning an Oscar for best foreign film, Stefan Ruzowitzky’s The Counterfeiters has still brought in less than a million dollars at the box office. It's too bad, because it's a strong film, one of the best I've seen so far this year.

Set in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp, it conflates two standard Holocaust film traditions - the virtuoso who survives because of his artistry, and the moral grey zone that exists when survival means collaboration with the Nazis. The first type is best exemplified by Roman Polanski's The Pianist, a film I disliked for the same reason I didn’t care for last year's Oscar winning Foreign film The Lives of Others - the idea that evil is so easily overcome by a bit of culture. That an otherwise morally corrupt person will be moved to tears and jeopardize his own career/life, after hearing someone play a few notes on the piano. Adrien Brody's Wadislaw Szpilman miraculously survives the Holocaust because of his ability to play the piano. Towards the end of the film, late in the war, he returns to the rubble of the now empty ghetto, barely alive, and is discovered by a German office who orders Szpilman to play for him. That a functional piano is on site stretches credulity beyond the breaking point.

Though I haven't seen it since I was twelve, I recall the 1980 Vanessa Redgrave made-for-TV film Playing For Time covering this territory more effectively. With a script by Arthur Miller, the film explored the life of Fania Fénelon, who survived Auschwitz by performing in an orchestra who played in order to ease the minds of the victims as they marched to the gas chambers.

The Grey Zone (2001) also explores a group that forestalls execution by assisting in the extermination process. It tells the story of a unit of the Sonderkommandos, work groups who prolonged their life by a few weeks and received preferential treatment in the camps (a clean blanket, decent food) by moving corpses from the gas chambers to the crematoria. The film is well intentioned and not without its moments, but suffers from terrible casting decisions (raiding teen franchises like Scream and American Pie), bad accents and theatrical cadences. At one point, Harvey Keitel's German officer demands that the others stop speaking Hungarian so that he can understand them, despite the fact that the actors speak nothing except English. It's either the height of laziness (not being able to teach the actors a couple lines of phonetic Hungarian) or the worst theatrical conceit. Either way it was like finding a piano in a bombed out ghetto.

The Day the Clown Cried is a Holocaust comedy directed by and starring Jerry Lewis, made in 1972. The film follows a depressed clown who accidentally boards the train to Auschwitz and finds himself using his, ah, clown skills, to lead the children, Pied Piper style, into the gas chambers. Presumably horrified at what he’s become, he joins them in the 'showers', for one last moment of clown schtick, before they are all gassed. Wisely, the film was never released. Apparently Lewis keeps the only known copy in his desk drawer.

Salomon Sorowitsch in The Counterfeiters is a virtuoso of another kind. His artistry is that he can counterfeit bills and, after his arrest, he is sent to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp to assist the Nazi war effort. The plan is to duplicate the British pound and flood the market with them, destabilizing the economy of the UK. Sorowitsch leads a team charged with the task of cracking the US dollar. Some of them, including Sorowitsch, who seems reinvigorated just to be practicing his craft again, are content to stave off the inevitable, while others feel that they are aiding the otherwise waning war effort and thus complicit in the deaths of thousands. Adolf Burger, a Marxist printer who opts to wear prison garb instead of the civilian clothing of the dead, objects to their collaboration and threatens to sabotage their efforts.

It’s a tale of site-specific morality. Films about prison often present a unique but rigid moral code (where rapists are shunned but murders respected and informants rank lower than pedophiles). In a prison designed for pure evil one might expect either a moral vacuum or a black and white lack of ambiguity. But the moral conundrum here is presented as complex, and without the usual nagging sensation of cinematic exploitation.

It’s in the small details, though, where the film makes its impact. When the camp is liberated, for example, the well-fed counterfeiters have to ask the emaciated other prisoners how to dispose of a corpse.

New Music

Today Salad Days lists the new music releases of the week, with sample MP3s for most. The list includes Adam Green, Be Your Own Pet, Hamilton's Daniel Lanois, and Fuck Buttons, the Bristol-based noise duo who got Pitchfork's endorsement yesterday with an 8.6 review for their latest.

Out next week: a 7" single on Arts&Crafts of the Bee Gees/Kenny Rogers & Dolly Parton song "Islands in the Stream" performed by, ah, Feist and the Constantines.

Bell Award

Congrats to Stan Douglas for winning the Canada Council/Bell Award for outstanding achievement in video art. The $10,000 prize has been awarded annually since 1991 for exceptional contribution by a video artist or artists to the advancement of video art in Canada and to the development of video practices (videotapes, installations or web-based video art). Stan Douglas joins the ranks of previous winners including John Greyson, Steve Reinke, Chantal duPont, Serge Murphy and Charles Guilbert, Robert Morin and Lorraine Dufour, Paul Wong, Lisa Steele and Kim Tomczak, Zacharias Kunuk and Norman Cohn, Sara Diamond, Luc Bourdon, Vera Frenkel, General Idea, and Nelson Henricks. The prize presentation reception will be held later this spring.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Istvan Kantor

Carl Wilson just posted an interesting review of Istvan Kantor’s Transmission Machine, part of the Free Fall performance festival on his site, Zoilus.

German Pilot claims he shot down Saint-Exupery

Horst Rippert, a former pilot of Germany's Luftwaffe, writes in in a forthcoming book that he may have killed French writer and war pilot Antoine de Saint-Exupery in 1944. "It's me, I shot down Saint-Exupery," said the pilot, now 88 years old. "I didn't see the pilot and even so, it would have been impossible for me to know that it was Saint-Exupery. I have hoped ever since that it wasn't him," he said.

The body of Saint-Exupery, author of "The Little Prince," has never been found.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Japan to Ban File-Sharers from the web

Continuo's Weblog

Continuo's Weblog, subtitled "reassessed aural delicacies" unearths out-of-print or otherwise obscure avant rock, field recordings, radio art, sound art, and spoken word recordings. The site is currently taking a comprehensive look at the Tellus series, and in February featured a series of posts on the cassettes released by Musicworks (as part of "Canadian Week, which also featured Christof Migone, who will be exhbiting at Mercer Union in the fall.)

The Nun's Litany

Stephin Merritt of The Magnetic Fields performs "The Nun's Litany" from the new album Distortion and endures (sort of) a short interview here.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Broken Teacup on Ebay

As part of Eyelevel Gallery's Re-shelving Initiative: 03, an exhibition of artists' books and multiples, Kerri Reid will list her ceramic cast copies of a broken tea-cup on Ebay, starting at ninety-nine cents. The cups are part of a large, ongoing project where the artist produces multiples of found damaged utilitarian objects. The work will be presented in amongst other teacups and dinnerware in the pottery section of Ebay. The listing goes live tonight at 6pm. To find it log on to, then click on the Advanced Search option beside the Search box. Click on Items by Seller (left hand side) and enter keeks33.

For more information, visit

Other artists uses of Ebay was discussed here last September.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Turntablism Festival

Tomorrow thru Saturday the Starlight Club in Waterloo hosts the three-day mini-festival of turntablism by NUMUS.

The first concert is by Montreal's Martin Tetreault, a visual artist, DJ and improvisor who has been using turntables to create sonic tapestries for over two decades. He is joined by fellow Montreal musicians René Lussier (guitar) and Lori Freedman (bass clarinet).

The second is titled (Un)settling the Score, where DJ Olive will perform both solo and alongside some of Kitchener-Waterloo's finest local DJs. DJ Olive (Gregor Asch, or The Audio Janitor) is a turntablist and improviser active in the free improvisation and "illbeint" scenes. He has collaborated with Christian Marclay, William Hooker, Kim Gordon, Zeena Parkins, John Zorn, Dave Douglas, Medeski, Martin & Wood and many others.For more information, visit his myspace page.

The final concert is titled Subliminal Strings and features DJ Spooky and the Penderecki String Quartet. Spooky (also known as Paul D Miller or That Subliminal Kid) alone is worth the trek to Waterloo, especially if he speaks.

For directions and ticket price information, visit the NUMUS site.

Biggest Music Industry Errors

The talent scout Dick Rowe, who (frankly, alongside many others, including HMV) turned down the Beatles has long been credited with committing the music industry's biggest blunder. But a recent list of the industries gaffes considers the inability to harness the web as the new top-spot. Rather than work with file-sharing services like Napster, they sued the company, and a number of individual music fans. It cost them (and their cheerleaders, like Metallica) a lot of goodwill and they've yet to recoup their legal expenses while having done nothing to deter file-sharing.

Other lawsuits on the list include Geffen Records at number eleven, for suing Neil Young in the eighties for recording uncharacteristic music with no chance of commercial success (the electronic Trans and the rockabilly Everybody's Rockin'). Geffen also take the next spot, for sinking thirteen million dollars into Guns N Roses' Chinese Democracy, an album that began production more than fourteen years ago and is still not slated for release.

The full story is here.

Garfield Minus Garfield

Lise Hosein just sent me a link to the site Garfield Minus Garfield, which removes the titular anthropomorphic tabby from the strip and leaves only owner Jon Arbuckle, isolated and alone. They're pretty funny, which is much more than you can say about the originals.

Monday, March 10, 2008

For Elaine....

Several David Lee Roth isolated vocal tracks have made their way onto the web recently. I'm not sure if they're sound board recordings from the recent reunion shows (if so, his voice hasn't changed at all) or if someone got ahold of the master tapes from their 1978 debut. It's unlikely they are digitally separated from the album, as you can hear breathing and other details.

Anyway, someone has mashed-up Running With the Devil, with the Beatles' Drive My Car. The Beatles' lawyers will probably shut this down quickly, so watch it while you can.