I’m curating an outdoor video screening that will occur this Friday, May 29th from 6-10 pm. It’s called BEWITCH and it’s a 20 minute loop of video art pieces from from Ben Aqua, New Jedi Order, Mike Kitchell, and Tommy Blackburn. BEWITCH is part of a bigger group show, called BLOCK PARTY, that will take place at three different houses in Highland Park.
BLOCK PARTY is a one night tour of apartment exhibitions in Highland Park. The tour consists of three exhibitions hosted by curators Kiki Johnson from Artist Curated Projects, Kate Hillseth from Young Art, and Daniel Ingroff and Paul Pescador. The apartments are in close proximity and guests may tour the three venues during the evening in the fashion of a block party.
Once upon a time in Montreal in 2003, an indie pop band called The Unicorns emerged out of nowhere and released the type of album that has the power to change people’s lives. That lo-fi masterpiece, Who Will Cut Our Hair When We’re Gone?, would sadly be the band’s one and only full-length release, as The Unicorns were destined to disband before most of their die-hard fans had even discovered them.
Two of the three Unicorns members went on to form the so-so but generally overrated group Islands, but for a long time the world was remiss of any work from the true heart and soul behind The Unicorns, gay musician Alden Penner, who had been only 21 at the height of The Unicorns’ fame. Six years later, Penner’s all grown up, continuing the Unicorns legacy through the sonically stimulating band Clues alongside former Arcade Fire instrumentalist Brendan Reed. Check out a live performance of the track “Remember Severed Head” below:
Seriously, this is the best show on TV. Jill Scott stars as a humble, empathetic and endlessly clever detective– a Botswana-based feminist Sherlock Holmes– with indubitable moral character. What else do you want? A bookish yet intrepid secretary? A gay hairdresser? A shy middle-aged mechanic who’s somehow the perfect man? You’ve got it. It’s all here. All I want in life is an endless supply of No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency. Please, HBO, let there be a Season 2!
It might seem like the above-pictured comic strip is an excerpt of a longer tale, but I’m presenting this jarringly surreal strip here in its entirety. Most Danny Dutch stories are like this: they throw the reader into the middle of an exchange teetering on the verge of incoherence with little context and no real closure when it’s over. Without concern for narrative continuity, cartoonist David King‘s world feels like a cardboard movie set peopled by a cast of characters lacking stable identities. Recycling like shifting ciphers in each strip, these mysterious figures act out melancholy moments of seemingly little consequence that somehow still pierce your soul like a splinter. At turns devastating, profound, navel-gazing, hilarious and juvenile, Danny Dutch is an unpredictable but always amusing ride through King’s delirious sub-conscious mind.
Charles Irvin‘s paintings and videos are simultaneously disturbing and juvenile, uprooting traditional approaches to themes of abuse, hysteria, sexuality and power dynamics. Currently displaying work at the Hammer Museum as part of “Nine Lives,” an exhibit showcasing work from nine Los Angeles artists, Irvin is one of the least-known artists in the show (“He’s more of an artist’s artist,” noted a bored, Ugg-booted tour guide), but his work is certainly the most fascinating. Surrounded by awesomely grotesque paintings of lynching victims ejaculating into anthropomorphized flowers’ thirsty mouths and loving odes to E.T., the centerpiece of Irvin’s work at the Hammer is an amazing 30-minute video piece entitled Membrane Lane.
Deconstructing the sinister False Memory Syndrome Foundation– an organization devoted to discrediting the victims of child abuse– Membrane Lane shouldn’t be fun and entertaining, but it is. While he establishes thematic links from the revisionist ethos of his subject matter to larger trends in government and the media, Irvin soliloquies between a barrage of found footage, sitting by a fake campfire accompanied by a distraught kitten encapsulated in an egg. The effect is unsettling and persuasive, conjuring both the fourth-wall-breaking “edutainment” style of Bill Nye The Science Guy and the wide-eyed self-assuredness of a conspiracy theorist.
Check out Furbee Luv below, a “critique of consumer culture”-cum-furbee abuse porn from 2000, and don’t miss Irvin’s Babyscapes, a rumination on “childhood anxieties that shape adult behavior” fleshed out by evil elves and singing skeletons.
I’ve been leading a secret double life! For the past couple of months, I’ve been writing for Spike Jonze’s We Love You So, a brand new blog that launches today! The blog is designed to give a glimpse at some of the influences and behind the scenes forces at work in Spike’s upcoming epic masterpiece, Where the Wild Things Are, as well as to share rad art and ephemera outside of the Wild Things orbit. I’ve been creating content alongside three of my all-time favorite bloggers: Dallas Clayton, Molly Young and Matt Rubin. I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve put together, and there’s plenty of material to look at in the archives already– so go dig in!