Posts by: Walter Gordon

Bay Area Documentary Screenings

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Two fascinating screenings coming up in the Bay Area: First, Besa: The Promise, a documentary about the experiences of Jewish Albanians safeguarded by Muslims during World War II, presented alongside the modern journey of photographer Norman Gershman and Rexhap Hoxha, a Muslim-Albanian who must return a set of books lost during the holocaust. Besa, directed […]

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Alden Van Buskirk

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At The Poetry Foundation, Garrett Caples writes a moving essay on the life of Alden Van Buskirk, a Vermont born, Dartmouth-St. Louis-Mexico-Oakland raised poet with connections to the Beats and a love for Rimbaud. Van Buskirk (Van, to his friends) published only one, posthumous volume, titled LAMI, a largely autobiographical work collected by his close friend David […]

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Patient and Painter

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The Guardian excerpts ten images from Nick Wadley’s new book, Man + Doctor, a visual autobiographical account of the author’s time spent in various hospitals in the UK, his anxieties and observations laid bare on operating tables. The book is published by Dalkey Archive Press, the house responsible for releasing one of Wadley’s earlier efforts: Man + Dog, […]

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The Silent History and the Evolution of the E-Book

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At Wired, Shoshana Berger profiles designer, programmer, and Rumpus contributor Russell Quinn, whose new project, The Silent History, will begin its serial publication soon. The e-book is divided into six parts, each part then divided into smaller, ten to fifteen minute “episodes”, which will be delivered wirelessly to the readers device every weekday for a month. The […]

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On “Proper” English and Objective Legislation

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It’s no secret that English is a constantly shifting, malleable, many-headed beast of a language, yet, much of the time, writers and speakers insist emphatically on obeying its many ostensibly rigid rules. At The New York Times, linguist John McWhorter writes about the myth of “proper” English: “We are taught that a proper language makes perfect […]

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Leigh Stein at BOMBLOG

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This week’s installment of BOMB’s “Word Choice” is four poems by Leigh Stein, whose new collection, Dispatch from the Future, launches July 19th at Melville House. The poems, like Stein’s debut novel, The Fallback Plan—a depiction of after-college limbo—strike a powerful balance between humor and melancholy, reference and storytelling. In “Epistolaphobia,” Stein reflects on the attraction to the […]

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Impersonation and Self-Portraiture

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On July 14, SF MoMA will be opening a retrospective of the work of photographer Cindy Sherman. Starting with her series Untitled Film Stills, Sherman’s photographs have consistently challenged the limits, meaning, and power of self-portraiture. In an article for the New York Review of Books, critic Sanford Schwartz characterized Sherman as “an impersonator—which in her case means […]

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Gender and the Job

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“It’s hard to imagine a young woman’s stripper story serving as an allegory to critique capitalism: woman loses home in foreclosure so now she loses her bra.” At The New Inquiry, Elizabeth Greenwood reviews Steven Soderbergh’s new film Magic Mike, paying close attention to the way it illuminates the differences between the cultural perceptions of male versus female […]

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The View from a “Cramped Little Cottage” in Nairobi

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“I love the tingling pullover of night sounds and forest sounds and the bite of cold breeze and distant cars and stereos. Sometimes I close my eyes and sway my arms into patterns to move with the sensations of the strong bitpieces banging about in my temples.” At The Paris Review, Kenyan author Binyavanga Wainaina […]

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Chris Andrews on Translation

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“Sometimes the people who lament that global English has become a ‘grey language’ forget that the greyness predominates in certain social contexts, like business communication, and they forget that while English has been running around the world displacing other languages, it has also been appropriated in all sorts of ways.” At BOMB Magazine, Will Heyward […]

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I Wish You Were Here

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At The Rumpus, we love a good letter, and Tanya Houghton wants you to send her mother postcards. Three years ago Marianne Houghton was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. Once an avid traveler, her deteriorating health has left her without an outlet for her wanderlust. In response, her daughter has started the “I Wish You Were Here […]

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Dirty Projectors’ Clean New Movie

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Pitchfork has posted a trailer for funky-afro-prog-pop indie darlings Dirty Projectors’ upcoming short film, “Hi Custodian.” Among the many highlights is the 808 heavy, clap laden introductory track, “Offspring Are Blank,” which is somehow both hymn-like and head-nod-inducing, set against a backdrop of garbage dumps and wandering rabbis. Also included is the sing-songy “About to Die,” in […]

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No Animals We Could Name

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At Full Stop, Ben Jahn reviews Ted Sanders’ new story collection, No Animals We Could Name. The collection, as the title suggests, often skirts the foggy line between the imaginary and the observed, and, for Jahn, challenges the possibility of recounting sensations as truly observed: “A kind of celebratory regret runs through these stories for the simultaneous […]

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This Is Not A Blog Post

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Iranian director Jafar Panahi’s This Is Not A Film is being screened at the Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley on July 8th. During the film’s production, Panahi was under strict house arrest, and banned from making films. This Is Not a Film, then, as it’s title insits, is simply “an effort”. Smuggled out of the […]

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The Prism

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Nicolas Jaar makes songs that sound something like stripped down, rained on dance music held behind a thin layer of ice. His first album, “Space is Only Noise”, was released in early 2011 to widespread acclaim. On top of that, Jaar is a student at Brown University, the founder of independent record label Clown and […]

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Endangered Languages

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“Different languages highlight the varieties of human experience, revealing as mutable aspects of life that we tend to think of as settled and universal, such as our experience of time, number, or color.” At National Geographic, Russ Rhymer writes about the value of protecting the heterogeneity of language in a rapidly globalizing world.

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Dan Weiss’s Morning Coffee

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Watch this hilariously dated video of a woman walking her pet Leopard in London, because why not. Red light, Blue light? A look at the connection between color and language. Albert Einstein tried to preserve his marriage with an organized, thoughtful list. Look at this beautiful jar of light up jellyfish.

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László Krasznahorkai at City Lights

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Hungarian author László Krasznahorkai will be reading at City Lights in San Francisco this Thursday, June 28th. The reading comes soon after the long awaited English release of Krasznahorkai’s 1985 novel, Satantango. Called, somewhat amiably, “a fucking miserable novel” by Bookslut, Satantango was only recently translated into English, in March of this year. The novel, which centers around […]

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Dan Weiss’s Morning Coffee

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“I am throwing up in my hat. I am throwing up in my hat.” Drunk texts from famous authors. In an attempt to learn more about how human babies learn to speak, scientists at the University of Hertfordshire are building robots that have to learn how to speak. Amazing, surreal photographs of Lady Liberty in Paris. What […]

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Brain Activity

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Glasgow-based artist and illustrator David Shrigley’s largest show to date, Brain Activity, opens tomorrow at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Called “Kierkegaard, only with marker pens,” Shrigley’s work presents a powerful mix of comedy and existential profundity. In an interview with Dave Eggers, Shrigley said of his use of comedy: “It enables you […]

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Lonely Art

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“…Loneliness is a word — easily enough spoken or written, like death or love – but really it’s a deep sadness, which is also a force, driving so many of our desires and actions, and at the same time shameful and hidden and nearly impossible to live with, out in the open, in any authentic […]

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