Rep. Cleaver's son Evan scoring a ‘Host’ of opportunities
By JENEÉ OSTERHELDT
When your dad is U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, people ask if you’re into politics or the church.
But Evan Cleaver, the youngest of the congressman’s children, is an alien. Or at least he plays one in Stephenie Meyer’s sci-fi adventure “The Host,” opening in theaters on Friday. If things go well, this movie could approach “Twilight”-level success — without any vampires. There’s talk of a trilogy.
Ulrich Krieger: Bringing Metal Machine Music to Life
By John Eyles
Lou Reed's 1975 release Metal Machine Music—often referred to as "MMM"—is one of the most notorious and misunderstood albums in rock history. Its four sides of guitar feedback were not well received by Reed fans used to songs and vocals. The album was critically panned and withdrawn three weeks after release. Many who bought it returned their copies.
In the years that followed, the album gradually acquired cult status, as others listened to the album at length and digested its contents. In 1975, categories such as "noise" and "industrial music" did not exist. MMM spawned them and others, and has exerted a huge effect ever since.
One key player in the increasing influence and rehabilitation of MMM is German-born saxophonist Ulrich Krieger. In 2002 Krieger, then a member of the Berlin-based ensemble Zeitkratzer, transcribed the album for the ten-member grouping. Lou Reed said he thought the task was impossible, but when he heard the results he agreed to appear with Zeitkratzer in a live performance of MMM in Berlin. A CD and DVD of that performance appeared on the Asphodel label in 2007. Read More.
The Croods directors Chris Sanders and Kirk De Micco | Interview
by Web Behrens
Co-writers and -directors of The Croods, Chris Sanders and Kirk De Micco have put years into bringing their comic vision of how a family of cavepeople cope with environmental upheaval. (Hint: When volcanoes and earthquakes threaten, you move.) DreamWorks Animation’s newest 3-D film features the voices of Nicolas Cage, Ryan Reynolds, Cloris Leachman and Emma Stone as members of the title family navigating the perils of the prehistoric “Crood-aceous Era.” The inspiration for the story came from a different idea originally developed a decade ago by De Micco and comedian John Cleese.
Sanders (who has a seven-year-old daughter) and Di Micco (the father to newborn twins) arrived in Chicago earlier this month—on the day of the biggest snowstorm the city had seen in two years. From their vantage point in a hotel overlooking the iconic Water Tower, the pair delighted in filming the falling snow with their smart phones using a time-lapse app. Once we finished talking about the weather, we got around to the matter of movies, cartoons and kids.
Blum & Poe is very pleased to present an exhibition of new work by Los Angeles-based artist Henry Taylor. This exhibition marks Taylor’s second solo exhibition with the gallery and continues his exploration of portrait painting, while delving deeper into the history of oppression, exposing realities of the so-called American dream. His portrait subjects typically consist of friends or historic figures, which are painted with an unmediated sense of spontaneity and happy accidents throughout.
If you wonder why your university hasn’t linked up with Coursera, the massively popular provider of free online classes, it may help to know the company is contractually obliged to turn away the vast majority of American universities.
The Silicon Valley-based company said to be revolutionizing higher education says in a contract obtained by Inside Higher Ed that it will “only” offer classes from elite institutions – the members of the Association of American Universities or “top five” universities in countries outside of North America – unless Coursera’s advisory board agrees to waive the requirement.
Douglas Rushkoff on Khaleesi Lady Gaga and why Sopranos’ end works but Lost’s doesn’t
by Dan Solomon
Since the mid-’90s, Douglas Rushkoff has been writing books of media theory, works of fiction, and graphic novels in an attempt to explain the ways the development of the digital world affects what we might have once referred to as the real world. (His 1996 book, Media Virus!, helped popularize the term “viral media.”) His recent work with DC Comics’ Vertigo line—including the short-lived series Testament and the original graphic novel Adolescent Demo Division—has explored similar themes using the form of mainstream comics. In his latest book, Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now, Rushkoff offers what may be his most sweeping critique of the current culture: the theory that we live in a “presentist” culture that, thanks to the immediacy of digital technology, keeps us obsessed with what’s happening now, at any given moment. In the first section of the book, Rushkoff posits that one of the forces responsible for this is what he calls “narrative collapse,” or the idea that our most popular films, television shows, and more encourage us to live in an eternal present. The A.V. Club caught up with Rushkoff during a busy SXSW appearance to learn how Lost and Game Of Thrones perfectly capture our desire to see unending narratives, why the hipster archetype has endured for so many years, and how Lady Gaga is the Khaleesi.
Textile designer Phillip Stearns was on track for a career in engineering when he veered into the uncharted waters of electronics, sound imaging and design. Fast-forward to his MFA at the California Institute of the Arts and some experimentation with rewired cameras, and the result is Glitch, a collection of woven art that Stearns generates from short-circuited cameras.
Redcat Theatre at Disney Hall Celebrates Its 10th Anniversary With Gala Event
By Jay Weston
On Saturday evening, the REDCAT Theatre at downtown's Disney Hall celebrated its 10th anniversary with a gala celebration, which also honored The Walt Disney Company and artist Catherine Opie, the latter a singular American artist (whose talent made her one of CalArts' most influential graduates.) I was delighted to be invited to the event as a guest of the Herb Alpert Foundation. Seated with me at the Alpert table, hosted by Rona Sebastian of the foundation, were many faculty members of CalArts, California Institute for the Arts, the Valencia-located school, which operates the Redcat Theatre. I didn't realize until then that "Redcat" stands for Roy (O) and Edna Disney/CalArtsTheatre, whose son Roy E. had initially funded this theatre, which opened with the hall in November of 2003.
In a live performance, technology typically plays the role of fairy godmother, dressing up the stage with wondrous special effects. But it’s far more interesting when it plays God.
When technology is used to create the art, as opposed to simply jazz up the show, that’s where innovation lies.
From pop concerts to ballet, high-tech effects are usually a secondary feature, worked into the design elements. You remember Beyonce interacting with an army of clones in her animation-enhanced performance of “Run the World (Girls)” at the 2011 Billboards Music Awards. That was a collaboration with media artist Kenzo Hakuta, a Sidwell Friends graduate who studied under video pioneer Nam June Paik.
Liz Meredith and John Somers go epic on five-LP box set
By Bret McCabe
Composer/guitarist John Somers finds ideas for sound pieces in everyday places. Take, for instance, the path encircling Lake Montebello off East 33rd Street. A social worker by day, Somers had a client, “this really neat old woman,” that he used to take for walks around the lake. “We would have these really nice walks and talk about life—not in a deep way,” he says during a weeknight interview. “She would ask, ‘Have you found a girl yet?’ Stuff like that. So I had her in mind when I was thinking of the image I started with, and it evolved from there.”
He’s talking about “Montebello Lake,” a single composition that is split over two sides on a single LP. A collaboration with local violist and composer Liz Meredith, over its 39 minutes “Montebello Lake” parts I and II suggest late-afternoon sunlight slowly drifting into dusk. Meredith’s viola lines trace long drones that capture that levitating twilight when the sun sets yet the sky remains bathed in light. Somers’ guitar textures get smeared into long shadows, and the piece concludes in a ringing tone of night’s arrival, that reminder that dark has imperceptibly swallowed the sky and it’s time to head home.