A little gem of a film written by Angela Pell, directed by Marc Evans, starring Alan Rickman and Sigourney Weaver. Carrie-Anne Moss also appears. Rickman plays Alex, an ex-con newly released from prison, who starts the film out driving north with a young female hitchhiker. After a tragic car accident he seeks the young hitchhiker’s mother, Linda, a high functioning autistic woman played by Weaver. Linda is not easy to get along with but has a way of keeping Alex around to fulfill miscellaneous chores around the house. A friendship ensues between the seemingly odd pair.
Snow Cake was released in 2006 and is one of my new favorite films. Firstly, Sigourney Weaver can do no wrong in my opinion as she always brings her all in portraying her characters. Paired up with Rickman, one of the best character actors on-screen, a pleasantly awkward chemistry occurs as the tension between their two characters ebbs and flows. Highly recommended by yours truly.
Big thanks to Netflix for pointing me in the direction of the film Interiors, which is generally plugged as Woody Allen’s first dramatic film. During my viewing I couldn’t help but wonder why I had never heard of it, and why my friends never mention it. In perspective, it was released the year I was born, 1978, so it isn’t so out of the ordinary that my peers and I haven’t seen it… however, Interiors was released in between Annie Hall and Manhattan, films I watch at least once a year as I love them dearly. Color me perplexed.
I am unsure as to where I would place Interiors in my top 5 Woody Allen list, but it has earned itself a slot. The film cast includes Diane Keaton and Geraldine Page. Keaton is one of three grown daughters, Page is the unstable mother whose sanity went on a coffee break years ago never to return. The complex family dynamics are captivating, but I couldn’t help but ask myself why Mr. Allen overwhelmingly writes his characters as affluent writers and artists who are highly self-centered. I am guessing it is due to his early entrance into the business, but I still question his choices to do so as he has proven he doesn’t need to, such as with Small Time Crooks. Regardless of the affluence of the characters in Interiors, I still highly recommend to his fans to take a look at it if you haven’t already done so.
Friday, April 16th, 2010, is the last day to see…
…The Bodies Are Back, by Margaret Harrison at Intersection for the Arts. Harrison, a British artist who helped pioneer feminist art, revisited early themes of her work, an exploration of the human body as an object of sexuality, consumption and gaze. The back story of this show begins in 1971, the year of her first solo show. The work was deemed too controversial and the show was shut down by the London police the day after it opened. This uproar/setback caused Harrison to abandon this body of work. This exhibition at Intersection of the Arts is a paring of the old work with new work revisiting the theme of her controversial first solo show.
The exhibition was up to par with my expectations, and my expectations were high for this show. My favorite pieces were the original pieces from her 1971 solo show, including but not limited to Take One Lemon, Mrs. Softie, and all three Good Enough to Eat drawings (highly sexualized/fetishized women as the meat in sandwiches). What I like most about these pieces, aside from my drawing, watercolor and litho fetishes, is the explicit sexuality coupled with strong pop iconic imagery as a means to challenge her viewers perceptions of women, sexuality and advertising.
Though this post is a little late in the game, I urge you to make it to the final day of this exhibition if you are able to.
Alright, I was on the fence about writing on Noah Baumbach’s new film, Greenberg, but I twisted my own arm. Not because I didn’t like it (I loved it), but because I don’t want to give anyone expectations prior to viewing. I went in the theater completely blind to the synopsis, which is what I prefer and suggest you do with directors I love. The only info I was privy to prior was that Ben Stiller played a part, and this I only knew because my viewing companion was none other than my gay boyfriend, He Who Has Large Crush on Stiller.
Should I warm you up on how I feel about Baumbach’s work? I think yes. First, he won me over completely with The Squid and the Whale. It is mostly autobiographical regarding a family during and after divorce, is written extremely well, and includes stellar performances by Laura Linney and Jeff Daniels. Then there is Baumbach’s first film, Kicking and Screaming, full of witty dialogue on a subject I know all to well – the disorientation one feels after graduating from college. And let’s not forget Margot at the Wedding, where we are witness to crazy family dynamics. Noah Baumbach is in a close race with writer/director Nicole Holofcener in winning the title of my favorite character writer. It’s a serious race as both capitalize on subtleties in their characters that are key not only to the humor in their films, but also to the way their audiences relate to their work. And now, on to the film…
Though I thought that Greenberg started out a little slow, it fulfilled my Baumbach expectiations thoroughly. The film masters social awkwardness as Stiller’s character battles the difficulty of his extreme misanthropic disposition while visiting the very social city of Los Angeles. My companion and I both walked out of the film finding ourselves relating all too well with Stiller’s character, though we are both far from attaining his level of annoyances. Many times we found ourselves laughing out loud at his extreme distaste for social experiences and social niceties. However, if I continue to write I fear I will reveal too much, so in an effort not to spoil your personal viewing experience I will say no more about the film. Just know that Greenberg is yet another one of Bambauch’s successes in his string of darkly humorous films, and I will continue my journey in life as one of many loyal fans.
Last week friends and I ventured over to the Thatcher Gallery, located in an otherwise dead space at USF’s Gleeson Library… if it weren’t for the art. The current exhibition, The Urban Unseen, comes down April 25th, so you have plenty of time to make your way over for a viewing, unless, of course, you are a master procrastinator. In that case, I can’t help you. I can only steer you in the direction, I can’t give you the gas to go. The Urban Unseen, a mix of photography, drawings, video and architecture.
The videos were really not worth my time and the architectural elements piqued my interest a little. The photography by Moshe Quinn, however, and the drawings by Paul Madonna were very much worth our viewing efforts.
Quinn’s photographs were, for the most part, black and white and peering skyward through the seemingly invisible and unused spaces that are so commonly found in between buildings of San Francisco. The photographs are well made, the gradation of light, the silver, and detail abounds. More importantly, though, they invoke a conceptual way of looking at space. The photographs create palpability for the unpabable; a presence to the unpresent. In real time circumstances the space is visual white noise to us, in Quinn’s photography the space becomes object and the objects, i.e. the buildings, take on the role of visual white noise.
The drawings of Paul Madonna, most known for his All Over Coffee work, accompanies the photographs quite successfully. There was only one instance that I thought differently, but since it was debated a little between me and my fellow viewing companions, I ought not to dwell. Madonna’s drawings are imperfect in the most perfect way — perspective isn’t the focus, architectural lines skew here and there, and the line he draws with wavers — leaving a final product that is unquestionably accurate. He draws the same types of unseen architectural spaces, from a pedestrian’s perspective. His wavering lines capture San Francisco architecture perfectly; the distinct buildings that give the city the character it is famous for are just as waverly in person. He is able to capture decades of architectural settling and tectonic shifting, what is truly San Francisco’s urban unseen.
Yesterday was the closing day for the SFSU Fine Arts Gallery show titled Depth of Surface. I was pleasantly refreshed with the memory of the exhibition when I stumbled upon a video on Facebook made by SFSU Creative Arts students. You can see that video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7nQtE0J1wfs&feature=player_embedded.
Mad props to Mark Johnson, Sharon Bliss and Victor De La Rosa for this show. My absolute favorite pieces were the hanging scrolls by artist Julie Chang. Chang’s scrolls, if you have never had the pleasure of encountering one yet, are absolutely worth seeking out on your next art venture. I am head over heels for these babies! They hang high from the ceiling and are printed on both sides. Each side has a different design involving images extracted from our current culture — such as six shooters, the thank you from a chinese take out bag or the silhouettes of oil pumps — and recontextualized in patterns that far surpass the expectations of the consumerist masses. The extracted images are either quickly recognized or incorporated so well as design that one must unlock them from the whole as if it were a puzzle. Oh what I would give right now to own such a piece.
Though all of the work in the show is worthy of praise, I can only highlight a few at the moment, especially since I saw it way back on opening day. My mind is a bit foggy on details. Apologies, apologies. However, I encourage you, reader, to meander through all the artists’ links provided at the end of this post.
I can’t not mention the whimsical installation titled Interstellar Media Stars by Ernest Jolly — pinwheels with a glow from behind. The first my attention was brought to this piece occurred when a slight breeze touched my skin…
…accompanied by a soundtrack of subtle tit-tit-tit-tit-tits. A rotating fan, hidden from our view, passed behind the pinwheels, giving each a turn of spinning delight as the glow from behind sucked me in like a moth to a flame.
Once I pull my foggy memory away from whimsical delight, I fondly head over to Anthony Ryan‘s installation consisting of prints of circular patterns with correlating wood blocks; an insight into Ryan’s exploration of Milton Bradley’s early childhood learning and the patterns of agricultural crop watering circles. The aspect of this piece that most resonates with me is the crop circles, having grown up in the mountains outside of Bakersfield — just a hop, skip and a jump away from agricultural heartland. If your mind is drawing a blank, imagine yourself in the window seat of a passenger airplane, eyes glassing over the circles spotting the expansive terrain below….
The other artists involved, and worth checking out, are Victor De La Rosa, Jennifer Ferre, Dustin Fosnot, Taraneh Hemami, Andrea Higgins, Mung Lar Lam, Katie Lewis, Victoria May, Ali Naschke-Messing, Francesca Pastine, Jeremy Chase Sanders, Lisa Solomon, Jina Valentine.
Sad to report that after thirteen years, LIMN Art Gallery is leaving its landmark building… LIMN Art Gallery is having one last group show at 292 Townsend
March 26th from 6:00 to 9:00 pm.
I personally have never shown at LIMN, but the artist that I work for, Stephen Galloway, is represented by the gallery and has had two solo shows at the San Francisco space and has shown at their former Seattle location. The significance of LIMN is beyond just my connection through Stephen, it is one of the first spaces to introduce contemporary Chinese art to the United States. It certainly has opened my eyes to the genre, there is some great work coming out of that country. The gallery is directed by Christine Duval.
Though the art gallery is leaving its current wonderful space, it will return to its original format in early May; LIMN company and the art gallery will reopen under the same roof on the second floor of the main building at 290 Townsend. LIMN will offer over 9000 square feet of exhibition space and will continue to support locals and international artists by introducing and promoting their work not only to San Francisco but also to a broader audience.