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June 28, 2007

'Breach'

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Longer review short: See it.

I watched it on DVD last night.

Since when did Ryan Phillippe become a superb actor, outgrowing his pretty-boy incarnation?

He was excellent in "Crash" but I thought that might have been a one-off.

Not so: he's for real and I'd now short-list him as one of the actors/actresses whose presence in a film makes it a want-to-see for me.

Things I liked about the film:

• The cinematography and lighting — mostly gray, green and muted, it meshed perfectly with the story, just like good film music (that also was excellent)

• The fact it was based on a true story — but it would have been equally good if it were fiction, except that you couldn't make up something so outlandish: no one would believe it could happen

• Caroline Dhavernas — I'd never before seen her in anything, having missed the late, lamented "Wonderfalls," so couldn't figure out who this excellent actress was, playing the East German-born wife of FBI agent Eric O'Neill (Ryan Phillippe)

• Chris Cooper and Laura Linney, superb as, respectively, Robert Hanssen and the FBI agent whose entire career was, in her words, "a waste" — she'd spent it trying to catch Hanssen but inadvertently (along with the entire FBI) made him (Hanssen) the point man in the search

June 28, 2007 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Shrek Snickers

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You are so smart!

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Available wherever fine candy is sold.

June 28, 2007 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

'Tokyo Correspondence — Notes from a writer beyond the headlines'

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Above, the title of the blog of Tokyo-based Associated Press reporter Yuri Kageyama, a link to which she was kind enough to include in her comment on a post of mine about a story of hers.

Ms. Kageyama wrote in her "About Me" profile, "Bicultural background (U.S./Japan). Grew up feeling marginal and unaccepted by both worlds, but these days try to see it as a privilege. Resided in Tokyo, Maryland, Alabama, California and Michigan."

I lived in Tokyo for nearly a year back when I was 20 and it transformed my life in so many wonderful ways I'm still reverberating.

It's always fun to view this strange and wonderful place through penetrating eyes like those of my new Tokyo correspondent.

Oh, sorry, Yuri — I forgot to tell you about your appointment.

My bad.

Sure hope it's not against AP policy for you to moonlight: I'm not interested in stirring up trouble.

Well, not that interested....

In any event, welcome aboard, sailor.

June 28, 2007 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

World's strangest rolling cart — The wheels had triplets

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Excellent conversation starter.

From the website:

    Rolling Shopping Cart

    Transport groceries, laundry and more with ease.

    Our Rolling Shopping Cart has special wheels that maneuver over stairs/curbs in seconds.

    Heavy loads seem light as a feather!

    Features:

    • Cart size: 18"W x 15.75"L x 34"H

    • Basket size: 13"W x 11"L x 18"H

    • Metal with vinyl handle

    • Lightweight but sturdy

    • Easy assembly

    • Folds to 9"D

$59.95.

June 28, 2007 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

World's smallest art gallery — 'There's plenty of room at the bottom'

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Probably the first time ever that Richard Feynman's prophetic 1959 observation, which jump-started the nano paradigm, has been applied to the arts space.

And a wee small dram of a space it is, measuring precisely 12 by 14 x 19 — inches.

Read all about it in today's Washington Post Style section front page story by Rachel Beckman, which follows.

The photos below are from previous shows in the tiny gallery.
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At Locker 50B, A Little Gallery Goes a Long Way

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It's easy to whiz by Locker 50B, oblivious to one of Richmond's most interesting contemporary art galleries. Even people who know to go to the fine arts building at Virginia Commonwealth University struggle to find it.

That's because the gallery, now in its fifth year, is housed in a locker. And not even a full-length locker — a cubbyhole. A basketball would fill the space, which measures 12 by 14 by 19 inches.

"A lot of people feel like they stumble upon it, almost," gallery director and curator Virginia Samsel [above, in front of the gallery] says. "We don't have a lot of signage. We're thinking up ways where we can have it be a little more visible without having flashing lights. But just so people do realize it's supposed to be there."

Since Samsel launched the gallery in 2002, she has held more than 50 exhibitions and displayed the works of about 200 artists, including students, professors, alumni and visiting artists such as James Siena, the New York-based abstract painter.

Step on the weight-sensitive welcome mat in front of the locker and the gallery's string of LED lights turns on. Peer through the Plexiglas window into the cubby to see the current exhibition, "Palpability," a group show of eraser-size sculptures, a painting and a self-portrait in pencil. The gallery is outfitted with white walls and hardwood floors, which Samsel bought at a dollhouse shop.

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Samsel, 24, says she has always "worked small." She grew up in an artistic home — mom was a graphics designer, dad was a cartographer — and young Samsel liked to draw, crochet and sculpt tiny animals out of clay. When she was a VCU sophomore, a whole semester's worth of paintings and sculptures fitted into her supply locker. Friends joked that it was like a mini-art gallery, so Samsel decided to convert it into one.

Samsel graduated from VCU in 2004 and handed the gallery off to other students. It fell into disrepair, so last August VCU adopted Locker 50B as an official project of the university's art department and hired Samsel part time to run the space.

The dozen or so exhibitions a year get their own promotional cards and opening receptions. But forget vegetable crudites and wine: Samsel assigns each show a color and serves only food and drinks that fit the theme. "Palpability's" reception was purple-themed, so she served grape Kool-Aid, Nerds candy and purple Welch's Fruit Snacks.

"That's, like, typically Virginia Samsel," says Richard Roth, chairman of the VCU painting and printmaking department. "She's kind of an ironic person. The whole gallery is an ironic takeoff [on] the gallery."

The next show, opening July 13, is a group exhibition of student work from the VCUarts Summer Intensive Program. Samsel expects to display 16 students' work at a time, surpassing her previous record of a group show of 14.

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Andy Kozlowski teaches the summer class. He also displayed tiny wooden crates in a Locker 50B show last fall.

"I want them to try and work miniature to begin with," he says. "We could make something big and scale it down digitally, but it really works best when the ideas are designed to be that size."

Roth sees Locker 50B itself as conceptual art, in the tradition of works such as Joseph Cornell's dioramas or Marcel Duchamp's "Box in a Valise," a 1935-41 piece for which he created miniature versions of his art and put them in a suitcase.

Roth always stops at Locker 50B when he gives tours to prospective students. They get more excited about the gallery than the art program's high ranking or expensive printmaking equipment, he says.

Getting art into Locker 50B carries some prestige, but name recognition doesn't sway Samsel's curatorial decisions. She turned down a proposal from Rob Pruitt, a New York painter and conceptual artist who visited VCU in 2002. He wanted to dress a hamster in a suit and give it a little desk to sit at, like a greeter at a gallery. Even though "it was definitely an interesting proposal," Samsel didn't want to take care of a hamster for a month, she says.

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"The fact that really well-known people show right next to students, I think that's part of the beauty of it," Roth says. "It's very democratic. We're all equal in Locker 50B."

"Palpability" is on view through tomorrow at Locker 50B, 1000 West Broad St., Third Floor, Richmond. Free. 804-828-1696 The fine arts building is open Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., except holidays.
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In case you fell asleep, tomorrow's the last day to see the current show: if you're being square 'cause you're not there, well, you'll just have to wait two weeks until July 13, 2007, when the next show opens.

Fair warning.

If you're thinking hey, there's no way I'm going, well, guess what?

You can go virtually, right here.

See what a little quantum tunnelling can do?

w00t!

Here's Locker 50B's MySpace self-description:

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If you'd like to bypass the middleman and contact Ms. Samsel directly, you can do it here: samselva@vcu.edu

June 28, 2007 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Charles Saatchi wants your art

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Carol Vogel's "Inside Art" column in the June 22, 2007 New York Times contained the following item.

    Saatchi's D.I.Y. Exhibition

    Charles Saatchi, the London advertising magnate, collector and gallery owner, revamped his Web site (saatchi-gallery.co.uk) in May, and it is now getting around 40 million visitors a day. But it seems Mr. Saatchi is never quite satisfied.

    He keeps adding to the site: its own magazine, an online no-fee gallery for artists to sell their work, a student art gallery, chat rooms, art contests. His latest innovation is “Your Studio,” which goes online early next week.

    “Anybody can go on it and create art,” said Rebecca Wilson, editor of the online magazine. A sophisticated set of tools — materials like canvas, linen or wood; brushes and pencils; a palette to mix any color imaginable — lets users create online art, which will stay in the site’s archives. Each month Mr. Saatchi will invite a critic to judge the art and one winner a month will receive $1,000 to donate to a children’s hospital.

    The site has asked well-known artists to participate, and the sculptor Terence Koh and the multimedia artist Fiona Banner have agreed to create something, Ms. Wilson said.

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"40 million visitors a day?"

Is that for real?

Do the math — that's 1.67 million/hour = 70,000/minute = 1,167/second.

June 28, 2007 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

How to learn to love (and like) yourself — bookofjoe's quick and easy Rx

It hit me the other day as I walked along on the old treadmill, doing this or that bookofjoe nonsense and listening to Jimi Hendrix ("move over, Rover"... but I digress) and watching the Beauty & Fashion channel M.O.S. (mit out sound — it's an L.A. thing from back in the day).

Visualizing that mélange of fashion-related stuff and all for ten hours a day seven days a week, things start to make an cumulative impression.

And seeing the world's most popular models in tons of footage of them off the runway and out and about, as well as from the time they sit down backstage to begin the transformation from downright plain — a startlingly large percentage of the time — to drop dead/cover girl gorgeous, it becomes clear there's no there there.

So girl — smile the next time you look in the mirror, 'cause you've got it going on.

June 28, 2007 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

MorphWorld: Mars into the Retina

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The Red Planet (above), looked at in a certain light, does bear a certain resemblance to the back of the eye (below),

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its blood vessels converging toward the left at the optic nerve.

June 28, 2007 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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