2009 In premature media remembrance.
Before the perfunctory lists - I don't know what I was doing in 2009 but apparently reading, watching and listening wasn't part of it. My film watching in particular dropped off compared to 2006-2008 while my reading migrated to blogs (not working at a bookstore anymore didn't help). Music, on the other hand, "left me." It has become a black hole. We live in the most slashed-and-burnt musical landscape of the last 50 years (excising the late 90s). If you do not agree, if you think the Democratic Party that is indie music is captivating, please write an argument about what you think vital, intriguing music is and compare that to the forthcoming end of year lists. I think the discrepancy will be apparent. Perhaps I am just bitter about the impotent husk my generation is leaving - one split down the middle between soundtracks for camera parties of the self absorbed and soundtracks for romantic comedies aimed at high school art students. Any idea that any of the indie bands on any type of "national" stage are anything other than the Stone Temple Pilots / Franz Ferdinand ethos updated for 2009-10 is misguided at best. Also, DIY is stale and is in need of a paradigm shift - most, if not all, of the political planks in DIY during the Bush era have been mainstreamed and both the content and presentation lack real oppositional meaning. There is an absent center in music. I'm rather annoyed at my place in time. How else can I say this - music is boring.
The five books I most enjoyed reading in 2009.
Found a copy of this in Shakespeare's on a particularly self-hating day of wandering and anonymity - made me happy.
2. Phil Baines - Penguin by Design: A Cover Story
This is such a pleasurable book. It makes you entertain the idea that perhaps you could be satisfied with doing design - like maybe learning how to use a computer would be worth it. It's so good it made me forget what InDesign or whatever is actually like. Also, I love the socialistic broad based education/high-design/cheapness political programme evident in the publisher. Ah, Britain in the 30s.
3. Rose Marie Hagen - 15th Century Paintings
Brenda stole this for me from a hostel in Portugal. It's one of those cheap Taschen books written for a popular audience. Weird stories about degenerate royal families, oranges as signs of wealth, etc. Finished it on a pier that smelled of pee. Saw about half the paintings the next week in London.
4. Simon Blackburn - Think: A Compelling Introduction to Philosophy
I took Philosophy 101 in response to uncomfortable conversations I had no basis for. This book is incredibly entertaining, pithy, concise, lucid, etc. Other plaudits.
5. Joe Brainard - I Remember
This is a 150 or so page book where every sentence begins with "I Remember." A lot like mainlining 40s and 50s American pop culture through the eyes of Joe Brainard. I'm sure a lot of people wrote their own, shitty version of this.
The five films I most enjoyed watching in 2009.
1. Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr Leonard Cohen
I don't even particularly care about Leonard Cohen - like at all. And this pre-dates his singing career. Just a young poet in Quebec in 1965, surrounded by well dressed people. Genius. I don't understand how this isn't in the documentary film canon, or maybe it is and I somehow just never saw it. Totally surprised me.
2. Great Dictator - Charlie Chaplin
I sought out a lot of classic things I should have already seen or read in 2009 (Odyssey/Moby Dick/Blowup) and forced myself through them. This was like that but way more enjoyable. Sort of amazing. Ballsy.
3. So Is This - Michael Snow
Safe to say the funniest text-based, Canadian experimental film I saw this year.
4. Grey Gardens - The Maysles
Again, something I had always heard about and put off. Holy shit. Blew my mind.
5. Media Spin - Brian Springer
I already made this a post on this blog, which should tell you something because I don't usually include any non-navel gazing.
The five performances I most enjoyed seeing in 2009.
Photo by Jimmy Buttons.
1. Cult Ritual - Monster House
Scathing. Totally exciting, a collapse of life into hardcore.
2. Aaron Hibbs - Hula Hoop Record
3. Batrider - Monster House
Batrider really got to the visceral self-loathing that grunge should be and did it in a noisy, painful way.
4. Rage Against the Cage - In the Alley
5. bell hooks at OSU
hooks likes younger men. I like hooks.
The complete lists of books I read and films I saw this year after "the jump."
Malcolm Gladwell - Outliers - 1/3/09
Tom Wolfe - The Painted Word - 1/3/09
John Porcellino - Thoreau at Walden - 1/13/09
Oliver Sacks - An Anthropologist On Mars - 1/31/09
Pau Benedetti - On McLuhan: Forward Through The Rearview Mirror - 2/10/09
Edward Bellamy - Looking Backward - 3/5/09
Jean Paul Sartre - The Wall and Other Stories - 3/12/09
John Lough - An Introduction To 17th Century France - 3/15/09
Rose Marie Hagen - 15th Century Paintings - 3/16/09
Susan Sontag - Illness As Metaphor And AIDS And Its Metaphors - 3/17/09
T.S Eliot - Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats - 3/25/09
Chris Ware - Acme Novelty Library 19 - 3/28/09
John Patrick Shanley - Doubt - 4/1/09
Herman Melville - Moby Dick - 4/5/09
Georges Bataille - The Story of the Eye - 4/6/09
Jean-Dominique Bauby - The Diving Bell and the Butterfly - 4/8/09
Charles Burns - Big Baby - 4/15/09
Seth - Wimbledon Green - 4/17/09
Ben Snakepit - 2008 - 4/18/09
Ken Dahl - Welcome to the Dahl House - 4/19/09
Robin Rhode - Who Saw Who - 4/21/09
Alexander Solzhenitsyn - One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich - 4/24/09
Lauren Weinstein - Vineyland - 4/25/09
Scott McCloud - Zot! : The Complete Black & White Comics 1987-1991 - 4/29/09
Sherwood Anderson - Winesburg, Ohio - 5/4/09
Lauren Weinstein - Goddess Of War - 5/12/09
Joe Brainard - I Remember - 5/19/09
James Kochalka - American Elf: Book Two - 5/22/09
John Porcellino - King-Cat Comics Classix - 5/25/09
Glenn Loury - Race, Incarceration, and American Values - 5/26/09
John Porcellino - Perfect Example - 5/28/09
Carol Tyler - Late Bloomer - 5/29/09
Phil Baines - Penguin by Design: A Cover Story 1935-2005 - 6/1/09
Adrian Tomine - Scrapbook - 6/5/09
Louis Hellman - Architecture For Beginners - 6/6/09
Lauren Weinstein - Girl Stories - 6/7/09
Nate Powell - Swallow Me Whole - 6/14/09
Richard Shickel - Woody Allen: A Life in Film - 6/17/09
Anthony Pappalardo - Radio Silence: A Selected Visual History of American Hardcore Music - 7/7/09
Ernest Hemingway - The Sun Also Rises - 7/12/09
Cornel West - Race Matters - 7/18/09
Cormac McCarthy - The Road - 8/7/09
Homer - The Odyssey (prose) - 8/22/09
Vanessa Davis - Spaniel Rage - 9/9/09
Marguerite Duras - Hiroshima Mon Amour - 9/10/09
Woody Allen - Getting Even - 9/17/09
Plato - The Apology of Socrates - 9/28/09
Peter Shaffer - Equus - 10/14/09
David Joselit - American Art Since 1945 - 11/12/09
Rene J. Cappon - The Associated Press Guide to News Writing - 11/24/09
Simon Blackburn - Think: A Compelling Introduction to Philosophy - 11/26/09
Susan Sontag - Regarding the Pain of Others - 11/27/09
Lucy Knisley - French Milk - 12/14/09
Paul Hornschemeier - The Three Paradoxes - 12/14/09
Roald Dahl - Fantastic Mr. Fox - 12/16/09
Jessica Abel & Matt Madden - America's Best Comics 2008 - 12/16/09
J.D. Salinger - The Catcher in the Rye - 12/16/09
Che Part One (Soderbergh)- 01/13/09
Times Of Harvey Milk - 01/13/09
Drawing Restraint 9 (Matthew Barney) - 1/16/09
Che Part Two (Soderbergh) - 01/29/09
Journey Into Fear (Welles) - 02/2/09
Groundhog Day - 02/06/09
Doubt - 02/14/09
Bananas (Woody Allen) - 02/15/09
Chris Burden Documentation (Chris Burden) - 02/25/09
Flat is Beautiful (Sadie Benning) - 02/25/09
Barton Fink (Coen Brothers) - 2/26/09
The Great Dictator (Chaplin) - 3/15/09
Eraserhead (Lynch)- 3/17/09
1984 - 3/23/09
Documentary on Degenerate Art - 3/25/09
The Watchmen - 3/26/09
The Player (Robert Altman) - 3/27/09
Mon Oncle (Jacques Tati) - 3/28/09
Francis Bacon (Kultur) - 3/31/09
Kicking and Screaming (Noah Baumbach) - 4/1/09
8 1/2 (Fellini) - 4/12/09
Mister Lonely (Harmony Korine) - 4/13/09
Back And Forth <> (Michael Snow) - 4/15/09
So Is This - (Michael Snow) - 4/15/09
The Examined Life - 4/18/09
Lola Montes - 4/23/09
Manufactured Landscapes - 4/25/09
Peter Zimmerman (CMA) - 4/26/09
Hieronymus Bosch (Kultur Doc) - 4/30/09
A Band of Outsiders (Godard) - 5/5/09
The Year Punk Broke (Dave Markey)- 5/8/09
Synecdoche, New York (Charlie Kaufman) - 5/9/09
Cokesucker Blues (Christian Weiland) -5/9/09
Moby Dick - 5/19/09
Who Is Bozo Texino? - 5/22/09
Grey Gardens (Maysles) - 5/23/09
Army of Darkness (Sam Raimi) - 5/30/09
Fawlty Towers, all episodes - 6/10/09
Branded to Kill - 6/19/09
Don't Look Back (Pennebaker) - 6/22/09
Zelig (Allen) - 6/23/09
Hated: G.G. Allin & The Murder Junkies - 6/28/09
Whatever Works (Woody Allen) - 7/3/09
Mighty Aphrodite (Allen) - 7/7/09
Blow-Up (Antonini) - 7/17/09
The Headless Woman - 7/24/09
Inglourious Basterds (Tarantino) - 8/20/09
You, The Living (Andersson) - 8/21/09
Inglourious Basterds (Tarantino) - 9/1/09
Can't Take No More (OSHA + Studs Terkel) - 9/7/09
1st Light (Paul Chan) - 9/8/09
South of Ten - Liza Johnson? - 9/8/09
Interview with Chip Kidd - 9/16/09
Died Young, Stayed Pretty - 9/23/09
Capitalism: A Love Story (Michael Moore) - 10/4/09
Cleo From 5 to 7 (Agnes Varda) - 10/10/09
Derrida (Kirby Dick) - 10/18/09
My Dinner With Andre (Louis Malle) - 10/23/09
Spin (Brian Springer) - 10/31/09
The Obama Deception - 10/31/09
Kitchen Semiotics - Martha Rosler - 11/3/09
A Very Long Engagement - 11/06/09
Simon Schama's Power of Art: Mark Rothko - 11/12/09
Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr Leonard Cohen - 11/23/09
Inside Deepthroat - 11/26/09
Fantastic Mr. Fox (Wes Anderson) - 11/27/09
Antichrist (Lars Von Trier) - 12/6/09
Wesley Willis' Joy Rides - 12/7/09
Beautiful Losers (Aaron Rose) - 12/14/09