Saturday, June 30, 2012

swoon time: grinto

I find Zachary Quinto & Jonathan Groff incredibly adorable together.  I can't handle it, y'all!

Monday, June 25, 2012


Michael St. James of the excellent site Bagpoor tipped me off on the Salvatore Ferragamo Spring 2013 collection which is super bright. I'm feelin' the kicks, the trenches and the use of teal.

Friday, June 22, 2012


Hello dreamers.  I hope you will check out the latest Clementine -- an online poetry journal -- that I edited.

There you will find wonderful and varied poems by Philip Arnold, Cynthia Atkins, Andrea Janov, Sarah Layden, Amy Locklin, Helen Losse, Daniel Romo, Adam Soldofsky, and Megan Volpert.

It also features tenderly macabre artwork by Bats Langley (who recently did the Moonrise Kingdom-inspired illustration above).

Happy reading!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

red lamp, necklace & hell-portal: a fulci triple feature

The films of Lucio Fulci vary in content and how gory they are (The New York Ripper is one grimy shocker that pushes the graphic limit about as far horror can go).  Though few of his films are as polished or sophisticated as Dario Argento's (whom Fulci often voiced personal contempt for) giallos, Fulci definitely has a distinct style. His 1977 The Psychic (aka Seven Notes in Black) is one of his more under-seen films.  It centers upon a woman (Jennifer O'Neill, another one of Fulci's ravishing but emotionally distant leads) renovating a villa.  She begins to piece together a mystery through her violent psychic visions.  It sounds a bit like Eyes of Laura Mars, but Fulci's film predates the glossy Faye Dunaway flick and it's a bit more subtle and eerier, though undermined by schlocky dubbing.  Cinema afficiandos may catch that Quentin Tarantino lifted portions of its music score (by Franco Bixio, Fabio Frizzi, Vince Tempera) for Kill Bill, Vol. 1. **1/2

I actually enjoyed his Manhattan Baby more than I thought I would (it usually appears on his worst-of list).  A wealthy Manhattan family's trip to Egypt unearths an evil spirit within a necklace that the young daughter is given.  Fulci's film isn't nearly as intense as its inspirations (namely Exorcist and Rosemary's Baby) but it finds a groove in its dream logic. Part of the reason why it works is that it seems to have fun in its referencing; note that one of the kids and the doomed au pair are named after a character and the lead from Halloween (Tommy and Jamie Lee).  There's even an unsettling scene right out of The Birds, this time with swooping killer stuffed ones, that is flamboyantly filmed and edited.  It's pretty tepid plot-wise and takes too long to get going, but I reveled in its late-70s, early 80s Manhattan-set cheesy horror vibe. **1/2

Most thrill-seekers consider The Beyond Fulci's masterpiece.  In this blood-soaked, New Orleans-set fever dream, a young woman is also doing some renovating -- this time at a haunted inn which houses a portal to hell.  It's familiar territory for Fulci but The Beyond is especially gory in its death sequences. These violent scenes, including one with flesh-eating tarantulas, in which I had to cover my eyes, are almost-agonizingly long. The Beyond has some arresting visuals, including an eerie moment set on the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway.  There is something about the highly stylized nature and the gruesome pitch of Fulci's death scenes, which mixes shock and black humor, that is pretty much unparalleled in horror. Many have wondered if Fulci's sad past (his wife committed suicide and years later, his daughter died in a car wreck), have shaped his artistic vision and the relentless cruelty that's afflicted upon his characters.  Even if the films can have shoddy production values, their garishness and viciousness still can pack a punch and haunt the viewer afterward. ***

-Jeffery Berg

Monday, June 18, 2012

denial & generosity: an interview with alicia debrincat

I'm so excited to share this interview with Alicia DeBrincat and her amazing artwork.

To me, your paintings fuse imagery of animals and disembodied humans. Can you discuss some of the themes in your work?

AD: I'm interested in points of slippage between the human and the animal, and how and where we draw those boundary lines. I'm also interested in the tenuousness of representing a human form - how much of a body do we need for an image to read as human? How much can you take away from a body before the form dissolves into parts?

A lot of my process becomes a visual game of denial and generosity. In most of my work, I stitch together an image through photographic silkscreen and representational painting. The silkscreened photos offer the promise of clarity that we normally expect from a photo. But the photos I use frustrate this expectation - they're very pixelated, often approaching abstraction, or at best denying the viewer a clear read. Often the painted sections serve to clarify the photo. I like to disable the technological - the photographic - and let painting be the voice of authority for a change.

What kind of materials do you find yourself using often?

AD: My process draws on a variety of media and, for most of my work, has four distinct stages. In the first step of my process, I create wearable sculptures that often resemble armor or exoskeletons. To create these sculptural objects, I generally use plaster, polymers, or fabric. Next, I photograph performers wearing the sculptures and acting out loosely scripted interactions. Then I put these photos through a digital corruption process that leaves them scrambled and pixelated. Lastly, I silkscreen these photos onto canvas and paint into these images with oil paint.

Who are some visual artists who have informed what you do?

AD: I feel very lucky to live in New York, where we have so much art so close to us. Going to museums, galleries, and other artspaces is as important to my work as my time in the studio. Just as I make time for my work in the studio, I find it essential to make time to get out and see as much as I can of what is going on around me. My work is continually being rejuvenated, challenged, and informed by the art that I see, which I think is essential to keeping the work fresh and alive.

Have any films or literature informed your work as well?

AD: The art, literature, and films I love get woven into my work, albeit sometimes in subtle, coded ways that even I might not be aware of. I respond strongly to authors and filmmakers who have a strong, unique vision and who create immersive worlds that follow their own logic. Thankfully, there are so many gifted people who do this. Alejandro Jodorowsky's films consistently have this quality for me, as does most of the work of Wes Anderson. He's on my mind because I just saw Moonrise Kingdom last night, which I really enjoyed. His vision is so personal, stylized, idiosyncratic, and executed so flawlessly. I think it's that polish and attention to every detail that I most appreciate in his work. 

I also just finished re-reading The Seas by Samantha Hunt, which is definitely constructed along its own logic. That novel keeps pulling me back to it because its incredibly generous with its language - poetic, sensuous, beautifully written - but incredibly withholding about its own logic structure. As the book progresses, the narrative becomes increasingly destabilized - you have to struggle to orient yourself, even as you're being swept along by the language.

What have you been creating lately?

AD: I'm embarking on a new project which will utilize video, photography, and painting to give three different perspectives on a single constructed narrative. It builds on what I've been doing, but also represents a bit of a departure. It's still in its very early stages, so I will keep you posted as it develops!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

horror hunks, part 2

Due to the popularity of the last post, here's another installment.

Ryan Phillipe - I Know What You Did Last Summer

Chris Hemsworth & Jesse Williams - Cabin in the Woods

Zeljko Ivanek - The Sender

Dale Midkiff - Pet Sematary

David Warbeck - The Beyond