Burroughs Adding Machine

Social justice, arts and politics, life in New York City

In love with Grizzly Bear

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Animator Gabe Askew posted an amazing video to virtuoso indies Grizzly Bear and their song, “Two Weeks.” It’s a sweet love story, replete with cardboard freeways and cut-out doors and swirling fishes connecting them all. An ode to GLBT folks everywhere.

Along with the Modest Mouse/Heath Ledger collaboration that I posted about a few weeks ago, I think I’ve fallen in love with the possibilities of animation again.

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Filed under: gay life, music, , , ,

Shepard Fairey’s Obama, Part II

R1085COVERShepard Fairey’s second Obama commentary (because that’s the only thing to call it–more than art, Fairey is a master of cultural criticism), thoughtfully designed and gracing the cover of Rolling Stone. All those college kids summering at home while August slips through their fingers are gonna go nuts.

My first thought was the placement of the presidential seal behind Obama’s crown. Intentional, surely. Approaches a bit of bombasticness. The great Barkley Hendricks used the halo (or an initimation of it) to much more powerful effect in “Lawdy Mama,” his stunning gold-leafed portrait that typifies the 70’s mantra of “Black is Beautiful.

About his second Obama cover, Fairey writes:

However, a lot can and will change. As Joe Strummer of The Clash once said, “The future is unwritten.” In my illustration I make reference to Gilbert Stuart’s famous unfinished portrait of George Washington to capture the idea that, although we’re quick to judge, it’s too early to tell how Obama’s presidency will turn out. Hopefully Obama and all of us who have stood behind him will do everything we can to fill in our incomplete future the way we’ve pictured it.

It’s a great thing to ponder: As he enters the second part of his first year in office, will President Obama step boldly into the fray, fulfilling his promise of hope? Or will he suffer under the necessary weight of compromise?

Filed under: art, politics, , , ,

John Hughes Dead at 59

hughespromoThe great filmmaker and teen angst-translator John Hughes died today of a heart attack at 59. The Times has a heartfelt slideshow. Along with the death of Michael Jackson, this year officially ends my 80’s adolescence. Sixteen Candles. The Breakfast Club. The quirky, underappreciated Some Kind of Wonderful with Ducky in his suspenders and porkpie hat.

When I was in junior high school, I wrote Hughes a letter professing my love for his films and received a smorgasboard of movie posters, buttons, signed photographs, and other paraphernalia for Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. God knows I coveted that movie poster, dragging it all the way from Council Bluffs to the cinder-block walls of my freshman dorm at B.U.

Rest in peace, Mr. Hughes.

Filed under: film, , , , , , ,

Choose Your Own Apocalypse

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A fun and interactive tool for predicting the end of America: Slate‘s “Choose Your Own Apocalypse”. Writer Josh Levin researched the work of scholars detailing potential final moments for the grand ol’ U.S. of A. He came up with 144 possible scenarios for the impending end of the only remaining superpower.

The very cool tool also allows you to contrast possible end games, with live updates on its impending “doominess”.

My favorite part: you can filter the results by category, including “Politics”, “Culture”, “Sex”, and “Elderly”. Imagine if, by some kind of strange impulse–some collective lethargy–we just became too lazy to reproduce. The demise of the U.S.A. not by natural calamity or biological warfare, but because we all became disinterested in having sex.

I chose to end the world with swine flu, opt-in government, Bush’s “Axis of Evil”, bureaucracy, and “The End of History.” The game results analyzed me in this way:

You are a humanitarian internationalist. You’re convinced mankind will terminate America—but at least we won’t off ourselves in the process. You’ll know you’re right when: Everyone on Earth pledges allegiance to a world government; the feds default on the national debt.

Seems about right, considering how I waffle between misanthropy and camaraderie. I shudder to imagine the results if I’d chosen “Voluntary Human Extinction“.

Filed under: united states of america, war, , , , , ,

Heath Ledger & Modest Mouse: Recipe for Delight

Exemplars in their respective fields of indie rock and indie film, Modest Mouse and the late Heath Ledger teamed up to produce this music video for “King Rat” before Ledger died last spring. The video is a delight: animated sequences reveal whales and dolphins fishing for humans, and portholes suddenly emerging with a big, bad eye staring out at you.

I remember when my nephew Witt, first introduced me to Modest Mouse. We were sitting around his living room in Northeast Minneapolis, shooting the shit about new bands we liked, and he put “So Much Beauty in Dirt” on the stereo. The abstruse, repetitive lyrics reminded me of Pavement. The lilting melodies more like The Eels. Good stuff.

Vanity Fair recently published a great article on Heath Ledger’s last days if you haven’t read it already.

Filed under: music, , ,

Publications

BIOGRAPHY

RECENT PUBLICATIONS
» "Pinays," AGNI, Spring 2016
» "Dandy," Post Road, Spring 2015
» "Wrestlers," Fifth Wednesday, Spring 2014
» "Babies," Joyland, August 2011
» "Nicolette and Maribel," BostonNow, May 2007
» "The Rice Bowl," Memorious, March 2005
» "The Rules of the Game," Screaming Monkeys: Critiques of Asian American Images (Coffee House Press, June 2003)
» "Deaf Mute," Growing Up Filipino (Philippine American Literary House, April 2003)
» "Good Men ," Genre, April 2003
» "The Foley Artist," Drunken Boat, April 2002
» "Squatters," Take Out: Queer Writing from Asian Pacific America (Asian Am. Writers' Workshop, 2001)
» "Deaf Mute," The North American Review, Jan 2001
» "The First Lady of Our Filipino Nation," The Boston Phoenix, 1999
» "Paper Route," Flyway Literary Review, 1996
» "Brainy Smurf and the Council Bluffs Pride Parade," Generation Q (Alyson, 1996)
August 2009
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About Me

Ricco Villanueva Siasoco is a Manhattan-based writer and non-profit manager. More

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