Punchdrunk and the Politics of Spectatorship

Steven and I experienced Sleep No More last week. I found it enthralling, very dark (dizzying for the visually impaired, but not totally unsafe) and addictive— I’d love to go again, choose a different path, spend more time on details, bring my reading glasses, be brave enough to stand alone and look an actor in the eye for a chance to be pulled into a wardrobe or spare room…

But some unsettling thoughts or non-thoughts …. sensations, maybe, were spinning for me as I tried to sleep that night. It wasn’t the imagery or the soundtrack or even the haunted house elements of the piece that made me ‘sleep no more’ that night… It was the strange feeling that lingered after being a part of this particular audience. I felt a little lonely after a long night as a masked ghoul lurking over actor’s shoulders. Steven and I grumbled a little at each other as we started the long journey home to Brooklyn.

It felt not unlike leaving a strip club, in that I’d been give very strict rules, but touched multiple times by sweetly sweaty smelling, naked or nearly naked gorgeous women, been stared straight into and through by a performer as if I weren’t really there, been disoriented by the ambience (perhaps having nothing to do with my blindness at all) and in the end had dazedly bought a couple very, very expensive cocktails on top of my very pricey entrance fee just to take the edge off, leaving into the damp night broke and a little bewildered.

I loved it. Really. And I’d do it again. It’s pretty genius. But I wanted to research this SNM spectator guilt/glumness/weirdness phenomenon, and sure enough, I found this article.

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Daphne du Maurier
(author of Rebecca, The Birds, Jamaica Inn & Don’t Look Now)
Just watched Hitchcock’s Rebecca. Like Hitchcock, so intrigued by du Maurier… in researching her a little, I’m finding her biography and work ties into other artists, writers and other obsessions I’ve jumped down internet rabbit holes after before but somehow I looked over her… It’s a nice feeling to discover each connection and bring it all together, even late in the game. Who knew! This lady bird was badass.
Minimalist Film Reviews: Nymphomaniac Vol. I & II - ANIMAL

This isn’t really my style of film review, but I liked the treatment for this film. Because I’m a little perturbed. And that’s what Lars Von Trier would have. But, certainly, I’m not calling rape culture here and, sure as hell, I’m not brimming moralistic guilt rage. In fact, I expected to relate to this protagonist’s struggles of identity and feelings of otherness more than I did. What I’m angry about is this: No matter how much Lars Von Trier demands you engage with his work, he will never, ever, ever blink or think twice about murdering all sentiment or empathy you’ve warily built up over the hours and hours you’ve invested for any character that seems like a fairly kind, good, humanistic version of a conscious being and— I have to posit, for the sake of shock— force them against their grain eventually, sadistically robbing his audience of any emotional peace by the end of the film. And I knew of Von Trier the obsession with shock value, but dedicated a whole day anyway. Was I truly disappointed? No. Quite the opposite. I really enjoyed this film, in chapters, filled with literary & art culture references, religious analysis and general philosophy … But god damn it, I just wanted one character to not be stretched to the very edges of human behavior. Can someone not just be a normal level of disturbed, repressed or broken? Could it just have ended with a sweet ‘Goodnight’?? Sigh. Despite this almost motherly frustration, I have to admit, you can feel the LVT’s pleasure in orchestrating viewer experience in this offering. I almost wonder if he relates to “K” a little bit when it comes to his relationship with his audience … Please do walk willingly into this dark alley of human behavior with Von Trier and then give me your impressions. I’m curious: Did anyone else feel a little played?

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Henry DargerThe Story of the Vivian Girls, in What is known as the Realms of the Unreal, of the Glandeco-Angelinnian War Storm, Caused by the Child Slave Rebellion1910-1934
Palo santo, aventurine, amethyst and moss agate from Catland today.


Audio Preview from Karen O Crush Songs.  Well sort of…

If you’re a fan of Karen O/Yeah Yeah Yeahs, you probably heard the news of a solo album on the way called Crush Songs.  However this is not new material, but recorded in private back when she was around 27 in 2005 as described in the hand written note accompanying the release pre-order on her website.

I’ll mention the fancy limited edition that was sold out almost immediately this week, which just resurfaced for sale again.  Act quickly before it vanishes again.  

Karen O - Crush Songs LP   is available as a limited, signed, and numbered LP on sunburst colored vinyl + custom envelope containing 15 cards of personal drawings with hand-written lyrics.  Pre-order the deluxe vinyl now. Regular ol’ boring vinyl to come

But what I find more interesting is that you can already hear likely what Crush Songs will sound like from the 2006 leaked personal recording K.O. At Home. On December 10, 2006, a home-recorded album titled K.O. At Home was leaked via an invite-only bittorrent tracking site. The album, originally a personal gift to Dave Sitek of TV on the Radio, was discovered inside a suitcase Sitek left behind in a New York City apartment. The disc’s 14 tracks and scan of the cover — a photograph of Karen O with Janet Weiss of Sleater-Kinney, with an Oscar Wilde quote written on the back — quickly spread.  Karen O’s response to the leak was “shit happens” and although she was somewhat “grossed out,” she offered advice on which of the mp3s she liked the best.

These demo recordings from K.O. At Home were recorded around the same time as described by Karen O in the Crush Songs note, and even the album title alludes to possibly the incident with Dave Sitek.  

Whatever Crush Songs ends up sounding like, I doubt it’ll be K.O. At Homeverbatim, but maybe we’ll hear some of these demos again, and at the least it’ll keep you occupied in the meantime.

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#nofilter Cathedral of St. John, Upper West Side … wandered with my love yesterday and marveled at this darkly whimsical sculpture garden. #uwsnyc (at Cathedral of St. John the Divine, NYC)

ELO on a hot summer night…

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flower bunches at Union Square Farmers’ Market… (at Union Square Farmer’s Market)
He’s here. (at Transmitter Park Greenpoint- Kent St Pier)

Otis Redding - A Change is Gonna Come

This is how I’m calming my nerves as I wait for Steven to arrive…

(Source: youtube.com)

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Places of Pause in a City That Never Sleeps: NYC's Hidden Meditation Spots

My latest piece for Atlas Obscura … where can one find some inner peace in NYC? I’ve got a secret list…

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sisters of the moon - stevie nicks demo, amazing.

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I found an oil painting on St. Mark’s Ave in #crownheights  so I took it  back to my room and “hung it up” .. kind of.