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Posts Tagged ‘Christian Marclay’

What We’re Loving: Nutcrackers, Louie, Bing

December 21, 2012 | by

“He is at once too cynical, too sincere, and too weird for schmaltz”: Paris Review special Mad Men correspondent Adam Wilson turns his gaze on Louie over at the L.A. Review of Books. —Lorin Stein

This hallucinatory Christmas duet between David Bowie and Bing Crosby has become, thank God, an improbable standard, but the story behind it deserves some extracurricular reading. Peruse to deepen your experience of this seasonal wormhole as it collapses the distance between genres and generations and renders our edgy Ziggy saccharine as a candy cane. That snow-white tan is just snow, and the only things that look especially well hung are the stockings. —Samuel Fox

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Part 3: Time’s a Goon

December 27, 2011 | by

We’re out this week, but we’re re-posting some of our favorite pieces from 2011 while we’re away. We hope you enjoy—and have a happy New Year!

The final installment of a three-part saga. Martin is hitchhiking from Kansas City, Missouri, to New York City in order to catch the last day of Christian Marclay's The Clock at the Paula Cooper Gallery. Read Part 1 and Part 2 here.

“You got a way of making a man get to talking, friend,” Sam told me. We had slowly worked our way into his life story, which involved him being adopted by Tennesseans who were somehow heirs or related to heirs of the Pepsi-Cola fortune, dropping out of Emory University, working part-time as an industrial air-conditioning chemical cleaning salesman, and then opening his own air-conditioning cleaning company, which in less than five years and with several hospital, university, and prison contracts across the Southeastern and now Midwestern states had turned him into an independent multimillionaire. But he was having “woman troubles”—I had gotten lucky with that lie—“because, to tell you the honest God’s truth, Clancy, and I ain’t proud to say it, I’ve got wives in four different states. Kids with two of them, and the third one’s pregnant. Even with my income it’s spreading it a bit thin. Thank the good Lord for my trust fund.” I knew if I kept Sam talking we’d sail right past Newark, and sure enough, when we got to his turn he was in the middle of the sad love story of Sam and Sally, and the fight they’d had in Bali last year when she realized all of the international calls he’d been making late at night “for business”—I shook my head with the great sympathy and genuine feeling of brotherly love one married man has for another in such situations—and as we approached the truck stop where he planned on leaving me (I was close enough now that I figured I would just call a cab, it couldn’t cost more than a hundred dollars), he said, “Where’d you say you’re headed again? Hell, we made it in half the time we figured.” Sam does not believe in letting the speedometer drop below “a C note.” Most of the way he was swooping between cars on the highway as though they were parked and we were a very low flying F-16. Time slows drunkenly at that speed, especially in an opulent, muscular truck, with a charismatic Korean chatting amiably beside you while you cling with sore fingers to the handle of the door, the soft tones of the iPod switching randomly from Gun Club to Elvis to Gyptian to Chopin’s Nocturnes.

 

“Far as we’ve come I guess I can take you right into Brooklyn.” The truck stop is already a mile behind us. “I sure as hell hope we don’t get snarled up in some Friday traffic. Course it’s not even rush hour yet, and we’re headed into the city, not the other way ’round. But I’m gonna be cursing your name when I’m driving back the other way. Hell, you look like you could use a favor. You’re in a bigger hurry than I am.” And back to Sally, who morphs seamlessly into Joanne, who I’m trying to keep straight from Christine, and wondering how many times Sam has said the wrong name in bed.

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Part 2: Escape to Newark

December 27, 2011 | by

We’re out this week, but we’re re-posting some of our favorite pieces from 2011 while we’re away. We hope you enjoy—and have a happy New Year!

The second installment of a three-part saga. Martin is hitchhiking from Kansas City, Missouri, to New York City in order to catch the last day of Christian Marclay's The Clock at the Paula Cooper Gallery. Read Part 1 here.

“The thing is we gots to get my dog. I understand you got a bus to catch. But I can’t get my dog alone. You come this far, you gots to help me get my dog.”

My mouth is dry, we’ve gone through all the gum, and in gazing up the long reach of the highway as it ascends into the blue, late-morning sky I have achieved an atmospheric clarity with regard to the meaning of clocks. Marclay’s idea is to be at the center of things—that is the categorical imperative of the timing device, that is why the hands spin round. Being and time. Must check if Marclay is British neo-Nazi.

“But where was the center? I moved around a lot/ and thus from an early age,” I remember the line from John Ash, and quote it to Duze, who looks at me like “what the fuck” and wipes his hands on his jeans.

“We need some beers right about now, man, is what we need.”

“I am thirsty,” I admit. Suddenly I understand that we are out of luck, I have to get out of this semi as soon as possible. I’m Ratso from Midnight Cowboy and for three days now I’ve been sitting next to Jon Voigt. I’m sweatier than Ratso. I look to see if Duze has blood on his jacket.

 

I can count every sharp hair of his red-and-brown goatee. Duze is handsome but balding young.

“Pull over,” I say. My hourglass is filling with sand. I lick my lips. “I have to get out of this truck.”

Duze unsubtly accelerates. He swings into the left-hand lane.

“We’re up on Columbus now. But I’m telling ya’ we gots to head north. I need your help with my dog, man. My girlfrined ain’t gonna let me have that dog back lessun I have a buddy with me, someone she can trust. Not to mention if there’s another man there. That’s just like her. It doesn’t take her twenty-four hours before her legs are back up in the air. That bitch. That cold-hearted whore. She never appreciated my music neither.”

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Part I: Race to ‘The Clock’

December 27, 2011 | by

We’re out this week, but we’re re-posting some of our favorite pieces from 2011 while we’re away. We hope you enjoy—and have a happy New Year!

A three-part saga of trying to see the last day of Christian Marclay’s The Clock at the Paula Cooper Gallery.

I am refusing to look at the time on my phone because it’s Thursday night, I am in Kansas City, and I have to be in New York City by Friday at midnight, to meet Zadie Smith to see Christian Marclay’s new video work, The Clock. The truck I planned to drive has a flat tire and the battery’s dead, so I run down the icy street with my backpack on, slipping in my gray Ferragamos on the hill, catch a cab at the corner and ask the driver to take me to I-70 just east of 71.

“Where on 70? You going to Liberty? I can take you to Liberty. I’ll turn off the meter if we’re going to Liberty.”

I think of a line a friend of mine used to say about New York City, that as soon as you arrived the meter started running and it didn’t stop until you left. Like Scorsese in his cameo in Taxidriver insisting that Travis Bickle keep the meter on while they sit and wait.

“All I need is a truck stop.”

Before we’re ten minutes outside downtown we see the red-and-blue TA sign in Oak Grove. There are probably twenty trucks lined up. But no trucker inside the TA is hauling to New York or nobody will cop to it, so I go outside and head for the line of semis. It’s starting to rain, I’m ten miles from home and I already recognize how eccentric, how unstable, how woebegone, how doomed this plan is; the roar of the highway is an echo of my sure failure, and I’m thinking about the trucker who’s too wise to take the little baby in Denis Johnson’s “Car Crash While Hitchhiking” when I hear, incredibly, like a promise from God—there will be many of these in the next twenty-four hours, but I don’t know it yet—the elongated throaty syllables of Lou Reed coming from an amiable-looking white truck with wide mirrors coming off its nose and bumpers that give it a kind of Disney Cars effect. In the movie, the trucks are always the good guys. And, better still, a middle-aged black man with a potbelly is pumping diesel into it, listening to one of the most white-boy songs of all time. It’s the very song that Johnson uses for the title and the epigraph of his famous story collection:

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A Week in Culture: John Swansburg, Editor, Part 2

April 14, 2011 | by

This is the second installment of Swansburg’s culture diary. Click here to read part 1.

DAY FOUR

I slip out of the office around noon and walk over to SoHo to check out an exhibition of photographs taken on the Paris Metro by Chris Marker. I am an enthusiastic straphanger—I’m known in the Slate offices as a staunch defender of the MTA—so I was looking forward to seeing Marker’s project, but the photos fail to move me. Marker has captured the drudgery of commuting and the diversity of Paris’s commuters, but the photos are almost uniformly glum; they fail to register the vitality a packed subway car can have. (I’ll never forget the time I saw a guy with Four Quartets and a critical text perched on his lap on a crowded C train. Come on, Marker, where’s the wonder?) A few of the shots juxtapose faces Marker has photographed on the subway with faces from masterpieces of painting. Some of the likenesses are impressive, but it feels like a silly trick; I don’t need to be shown that this woman looks kind of like Mona Lisa to care about her. The Marker exhibition leaves me wanting to see what Bill Cunningham would do with the assignment of spending a week riding New York’s rails.

I have dinner at the bustling John Dory Oyster Bar—yes, more oysters, I swear this week is not typical—with my friends from Port Washington, Long Island1. Among other things, I’ve learned that citizens of Port Washington harbor ill will toward the neighboring hamlet of Plandome, which, despite its tiny size (population 1,272) and proximity to both the Port Washington and Manhasset stations, for some reason has its own Long Island Rail Road stop, unnecessarily adding two to three minutes to the Port Washingtonian’s commute each morning and evening. Weary passengers have been said to exhibit countenances akin to Munch’s The Scream upon pulling into the Plandome station.

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Annotations

  1. My college roommate grew up there, and I’ve since become close with several of his childhood friends and have been granted (by them) de jure citizenship in the town.

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