No DJ shift tomorrow; I'll be back on the air next Sunday. However! I have decided that just to remind myself how much I dislike Matthew Barney I will be doing a marathon viewing of the Cremaster Cycle at the Roxie starting at 1pm tomorrow afternoon, and I'm going to attempt to livetweet the whole thing. All five films, all in one sitting. I have seen each of them before, but never like this. Will I make it through without sticking forks in my eyes? Will the Barney faithful figure out what I'm doing and run me out of the theater? Will I develop a strange desire to go buy a huge tub of vaseline? You'll have to follow my twitter stream tomorrow to find out.
The world is quickly dividing into two camps: those who have seen Christopher Nolan's Inception and those who have not. Fearing that if I remained too long in the latter group I would accidentally hear some plot point that would completely ruin the movie for me, Aimee and I made it out to see it tonight in what for us is record time. And oh my hell I loved it, though perhaps not for the same reasons many other people are talking about it. The structure is indeed brilliant, the effects jaw-dropping, the twists clever (though never quite reaching Memento-level heights of brain hemorrhage for me), Joseph Gordon-Levitt disarmingly hot in his fancy suit. But no, what really blew me away was the attention to psychological detail and how deftly the film deals with the slipperiness of memory. When Leonardo DiCaprio's Dom Cobb reaches his own catharsis and admits he could never possibly recreate from his head alone the woman he loves in all her staggering complexity, her passions and faults and all, it spoke so deeply to his sense of loss. The scenes we cherish and turn over and over in our heads, trying to keep a person or a relationship alive, they can never be a real substitute for gloriously complicated reality.
I held out to the bitter end of the show at 21 Grand Saturday night just so I could hear Didimao play, and it was so so worth it. The trio puts together awesomely tweaked out music that takes your basic guitar/vocals/bass/drums set-up as their starting point and then sends it along a much more creepy, herky-jerky path than you might otherwise expect. Mix in a smidge of '60s psychedelia and plenty of sonic experimentation and the result just kicks ass. And their recent self-titled LP is worth picking up for its rad silkscreened cover alone. Yum.
After the excellent SUN Ceremony at the Berkeley Art Museum two weeks ago, artist David Wilson continued his Gatherings series there Friday night with a site-specific performance by Portland-based musician Liz Harris, aka Grouper. After seeing Liz play last year in a warehouse in Oakland and in the woods in Big Sur (amazing shows both) it was a similarly sublime experience to hear what she was able to do within the BAM's concrete spiral. Her piece was called SLEEP, and many audience members seemed to take that as a cue to lie down on the floor of the museum with their eyes closed while Liz's meditative ambient drone filled the space (YouTube clip here). She had also set up speakers at various spots in the balconies that added taped noise to her live instrumentation, and actually one of my only regrets is that I didn't move around the museum more to see how the sound changed in different parts of the galleries. As it was I enjoyed sinking deep into the music from my perch on one of the ramps while watching reflected light shimmer from a foil sculpture hanging in the center of the museum. There are two more live events planned in July and August with Gamelan Sekar Jaya and Xiu Xiu's Jamie Stewart respectively, and I recommend getting there early to poke around Wilson's ever-evolving gallery installations as well.
Sunday afternoon after my DJ shift I BARTed into the city and walked out to Z Space for the closing of Katrina Rodabaugh'sThe Dresses/Objects Project. Inspired by Gertrude Stein's Tender Buttons, Rodabaugh printed poems from that anthology onto sheets of fabric and then handed them out to female artists and designers to do with them what they willed. The resulting articles of clothing (mostly dresses) were on display in the gallery interspersed with photographs of dancers actually decked out in said wearable art, with a sewing station tucked into a corner at which Rodabaugh had been constructing one last garment over the course of the show. I'm bummed I missed the opening weekend when there were dance performances set to live music in the gallery, but for the closing party Rodabaugh brought things full circle by inviting three female poets - Lara Durback, Erika Staiti, and Jennifer Manzano - to read their work. Stein's lasting influence ran through the trio's poetry as they wove together images pertaining to women's bodies, women's clothing, and the idea of women's work. And if you looked carefully at the suite of inspriration images Rodabaugh had clothespinned to lines of string on one wall of the gallery you found a small black-and-white postcard of Ms Stein herself.
Concurrent with her awesome show at the Museum of Craft and Folk Art in San Francisco Clare Rojas also has an exhibit up at the Bolinas Museum right now, and Saturday afternoon I hopped in my car and made the gorgeous drive up Highway 1 to go take a look. The Museum has devoted half a room to Rojas's work and the other to that of her husband Barry McGee, with a set of vitrines down the middle housing some of McGee's painted bottles and various found objects as well as a clever installation by Rojas in which one of her painted ladies wears a headdress formed out of Venetian blinds. The gallery set-up tempts the viewer to look for ways in which the spouses might have influenced each other, such as the aspect of Rojas's recent work that specifically explores geometrical forms at a time McGee also has been pushing similar boundaries with vibrant color and repetition. The artists are still following their own unique paths, however, with Rojas strongly influenced by folk art traditions and McGee by street/skater/surfer culture (his pattern-wrapped surf and boogie boards are especially appropriate to the beach-side venue). As for Bolinas itself, over ten years had passed since last I'd visited, but I was happy to see the town was just as loopy and free-wheeling as ever. And yes someone is still taking down the signs on 1, so you'd best have a good map if you want to find it.