Saturday, July 02, 2005

A long overdue word about Daniel Subkoff's show:

As he had called me up a week prior to ask if I or anyone I knew owned a gun, I was, um, relieved that 1) there were no dead bodies and 2) I never even had the chance to ask myself if I liked it, so immediate were the pleasures, and so deep the spaces for contemplation it opened. I'm a sucker for anything that moves from the 2-d to the 3-d and back, pieces where the surface en- and -unfolds, and Daniel's bigger work, featuring primed canvas from which long strips are cut to form ladders that then attach to the floor and ceiling, suggested as much the invitingness of the blank canvas as its constrictions. I want to see a whole series of these. The other piece, an ink drawing, should remind anyone of their worst erotic relationships--two figures constituted by and enmeshed within the webs they've cast around each other. Yikes. But the ultimate vote of approval came from Noah, who appreciated the hook-and-ladder truck imagery of the first offering. Nothing else came close, not even the gold potatoes, and Anna and I were so glad to have made it down that weekend. For the first time in far too long, Anna didn't have to miss something fun due to those parental duties for which I can't, to my great chagrin, sub. Do other men get jealous that they can't breastfeed? I'm not sure I'd want the frontal appearance that goes with it but he's always so calm and sweet and happy when he's nursing. Or maybe this is all some banal Freudian displacement which you can surely figure out on your own.

Anyway, if you're in or near Chinatown anytime soon, you should check Daniel out. You'll be better off without the solid, unventilated mass of people and only the King of Beers to dull the effect of their less-than-rigorous bathing schedules, I promise. Stay tuned for news of future productions from Daniel.


Finally watched Bad Education last night, and despite everyone's claims that the absence of women--except as through-the-looking-glass images of the male characters' lives--had caused Almodovar to lose his edge, I was impressed with the first half of the movie, which placed me squarely between discomfort and descriptive rapture, in the style of Flaubert or Nabokov. Problem is, the films gets caught up in its obligations to plot elements, caught in the gears and cogs of Borgesian frame-breaking, and fails, I suppose, to push me all the way to the contemplation of infinity that good plots like this do. I get bored with the nesting structures of play-within-play, and not even the scene of a man pretending to be his tranvestite brother playing a film character based on his brother's life, who's in turn pretending, within the film, to be that character's sister, or whatever, could save it. Almodovar's best, I think, when he thinks in seeing, not doing, and with all of these loose-ends to tie up there's no time left for his brilliance with mise-en-scene, nor does his camp and kink really gel with all of the twists and turns. But it's definitely worth watching.

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