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Herzog’s Bad Lieutenant

I know I’m a sucker for contrast: show me the bleakest depths of the dark night of the soul, and then a glimmer of renewal seems twice as profound. If this is a trick, Port of Call New Orleans does it so well I don’t mind. 

The Real Avatar

The crowning irony of “Avatar”: as lavish a corporate-funded production as you can imagine, it nonetheless has an anti-corporate sentiment.

Imperial – New Book by W.T. Vollmann

At the reading, Vollmann read an excerpt from the book detailing a dangerous rafting trip down a toxic river on the border, one which migrants have used for crossings and one which many have died in.

Day of the Locust

West’s portrayal of LA as a spiritually corrupt wasteland, a place where Western culture has come to die and the frontier spirit of America has reached an endpoint where all it can consume is itself, seems to be a prototype for nearly every portrayal of LA that I can recall.

The Light is Dying

You pursue an ideal and hold on to something which approximates it. Then you lose that thing and pursue an imitation of the thing that approximated the original ideal. Then you lose that, and pursue a poor copy of the imitation of an approximation of an ideal. To dramatize this, the film uses the device of a cinematic “synecdoche”: a part substitutes for the whole, a stage serves to represent a city, and the imitation of life becomes life. Life imitates art which imitates life.

A Tour Underground

As published 8/3/06 in the Sacramento News & Review. The Balkans are a place that defies description, a complex patchwork of ethnic and religious identities with an intricate and violent history. Shon Meckfessel, a young writer born and raised in Sacramento, grew to love Eastern Europe during his travels there. Enough, in fact, to create […]

Secrets and Shame

The raw humanity of its narrator, Doug Abbott, is the only thing that keeps I Cried, You Didn’t Listen from being a mere laundry list of horrors in this scathing exposé of the California Youth Authority.