Burroughs Adding Machine

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

WaPo’s Book Nerd on the NBA

Vodpod videos no longer available.

I was at a conference in Denver earlier this year, and brought one of my old college friends to the keynote by Michael Chabon. He’s a high school history teacher, one of the smartest guys I know, and, most importantly, a person interested in literature.

Chabon was his usual entertaining self: waxing poetic on the business of publishing, sharing secrets about his hipster-comic book-literary successes. At one point, he even cracked a joke about loving Proust–at which the audience of approximately one thousand writers laughed.

It was at this point that my friend leaned in and whispered to me, “Book nerds.”

Okay, I admit it. I’ve even blogged and lamented about our short attention society in the past. Lucky for me, Ron Charles, the book critic for The Washington Post, is also a book nerd. Here, he attempts to infuse a run-down of the nominees for this year’s National Book Award with his dorky, low-fi comedy. His joke about viewers confusing the NBA (National Book Awards) with the NBA (the multimillion dollar sport) certainly falls flat.

Though Charles doesn’t always succeed, I love his enthusiasm. Hell, how can one book nerd criticize another?


Filed under: books, culture, literature, , , , , , ,

My Kid’s Going as Robocop

It’s a relentless news cycle focused on all things Halloween. Longest lines ever at the costume shop! Horror movies with more guts and gore than ever before! And my favorite: best costumes for your dog. American excess and obliviousness at its best.

Still, it amuses me to run across one dad’s detailed account of making a robot costume for his son. And not just any robot, but a mini Robocop. Shot all over the city of Detroit with the assistance of cops, revolving doors, and futuristic locales.

Dad reports:

While we were talking, some Hollywood-type rushed over to take a picture of the kid with his camera phone. “I’m good friends with Peter Weller, the guy who played Robocop on the movie,” he said. “He’s gonna get a kick out of this.” The guy proceeded to e-mail the photo to Weller, so chances are the real Robocop has seen my little Robocop.

Who’s having more fun, father or son?

Filed under: consumerism, culture, family, humor, , , , , , ,

Banksy Critiques The Simpsons

Powerhouse political artist/activist Banksy reimagined the iconic intro to The Simpsons last night. The clip starts innocuously enough, the idiot bullies lopping the head off a Springfield statue and rodents running across the landscape.

However, at the end of the intro, when Homer is pushed through the Simpsons’ garage into the family room, the ordinary tableau of the animated family in front of the TV abruptly shifts to a dark critique of commercialization: animators pushing out animated stills, factory-like; Simpsons dolls stuffed with rat guts; and a deflated unicorn (absurd and heartbreaking at the same time) being abused by a worker producing empty entertainment.

Nice to see that the creators of The Simpsons are once unafraid to critique the structures they work within.


Filed under: culture, entertainment, pop culture, television, , , , ,

Are You Happy?

I’m back in the States, upset stomach and all. Thrilled to be back with Guy and my dog. How has your July/August/(if you live in Boston) rain-drenched summer been?

Not quite up to speed in the posting department, but here’s a nifty flow chart with some sound advice. [via @Core77]


Filed under: culture, entertainment, , ,

Look Up: Objects of Beauty, Stylized Graffiti, Social Commentary

Above, an ingenious street artist whose iconic image is an arrow pointing towards the sky, has hit Los Angeles with his  art. The video above is a nice introduction to his work and influences (growing up in apartment buildings, saving money to go to Paris at 19), while the video below (titled “Movie Star Arrow Mobiles“) is less a tutorial and more an art object itself.

The artist’s new self-described project includes images of 100 Hollywood celebrities, dangling from electrical wires throughout the famous city:

Above flew to Los Angeles for 12 days and hung his new revised “Movie star arrow mobiles” in the heart of Hollywood giving Los Angeles a large dose of exactly what it obsesses about; movies and the actors that make the city of Los Angeles so uniquely scandalous.

Happening upon one of his mobiles, created from wood and stenciled with one or two-word directives, is a thing of beauty. Catching the shadows of these spinning art objects or watching people’s faces as they engage with the eponymous work is just as intoxicating.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Filed under: art, consumerism, culture, , , , , , , , , ,



» "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)
March 2018
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About Me

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

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