“Merry Widows, Weeping Brides”: I review a costume show at MoMA

for AmCon: In college I noticed something new on the coat of a sartorially-eccentric friend. “What’s with the black armband?” I asked. “Some sort of fascist thing?”“It’s for my father,” he said simply.That’s the only time I’ve seen someone wear mourning. And my friend, after one too many encounters with similarly foot-in-mouth undergraduates, stopped wearing the armband because it got too grueling to keep explaining. It no longer served as an outer key to his inner grief; it no longer si … [Read more...]

From “Infinite Jest”

The 'base [freebase cocaine] frees and condenses, compresses the whole experience to the implosion of one terrible shattering spike in the graph, an afflated orgasm of the heart that makes her feel, truly, attractive, sheltered by limits, deveiled and loved, observed and alone and sufficient and female, full, as if watched for an instant by God. … [Read more...]

“Youngest Son Adds Laments to the Indie Hymnal”: I’m at AmCon

with some music: We’ve tussled here about the possible merits of Mumford & Sons, and discussed other albums from the Christ-haunted section of the indie music world. There may be enough of these artists now to constitute a tradition or subgenre: heartfelt guys with sincere guitars, aching and unslaked souls whose faith is found in silhouette, in the negative space which remains despite everything they’ve lost. Youngest Son, a project of heartfelt/sincere Chicagoan Steve Slagg, has two new al … [Read more...]

Musical Rosary #14–Assumption

The two things I focus on with this mystery are the union of body and soul--Mary enters Heaven all at once, continuing her lifelong task of showing us what true human integrity looks like--and the rest and peace offered to those who "have fallen asleep in the Lord." I often pray this mystery for people whose lives were unpeaceful and for whom death may have appeared to be a relief or a release, in the hopes that death will bring them to purgatory and to a much deeper and sweeter rest than they … [Read more...]

Musical Rosary #10–Crucifixion

But Jesus cried out again in a loud voice, and gave up his spirit. And behold, the veil of the sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom. I don't really know how other Catholics do it, but I am a worrier and a gnawer by nature and so I most often find myself praying the rosary for various intentions--praying over issues in my own life or for other people, using the mysteries as jeweled lenses through which to view those issues. I don't do enough of praying the rosary simply in order to be … [Read more...]

From Josip Novakovich, “April Fool’s Day”

"If he'd kept drinking slivovitz, he'd still be all right, I am sure. The trouble with vodka is that it doesn't feel like anything, so you can drink a whole bottle without vomiting or your throat burning. Slivovitz won't let you do that--when you drink it, you know you are drinking.""You are right about that. After two glasses, your stomach is on fire, and after three, you are vomiting. That's a good safety check built right into the drink. God's wisdom is in the plums--that's how He takes … [Read more...]

“City of God”: Love and Rocket

I watched the 2003 favela gangster film City of God last night, and I have little to add to Victor Morton's insightful review: ...[T]he hyper-caffeinated style in CITY OF GOD is just breathtaking and entertaining as all get-go — the orange-clay look of the 50s segment, a bravura one-shot dissolve through the history of a single room in the favela over decades, the repeated freeze-frames, a 360-degree stop-motion shot, the great sequence of Benny’s “leaving the life” party. And it’s not all that … [Read more...]


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