Burroughs Adding Machine

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

A Gaggle of Literary Rock Stars

Parade out the literary superstars. Ready, set, go.

Gary Shteyngart’s over-the-top book trailer for his new novel, Super Sad True Love Story, features Jeffrey Eugenides, Edmund White, Mary Gaitskill, Jay McInerney, and…wait for it…wait for it…

James Franco?

Shteyngart’s not the most convincing comic actor (a little annoying actually), but it is fun to see all the literary rock stars (and James Franco) gathered in one video. And there’s funny bit about how to carry yourself at a Paris Review cocktail party.

One of my friends called me and another friend “nerds” this past weekend, because we were debating books. We then proceeded to debate whether we were nerds or dorks or both. I hope the fact that I’m enamored by all the folks in this video (the only thing that would make it better would be if Denis Johnson were in it, too–like a true dork, I asked him for his photo at AWP one year) doesn’t prove her true.

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Filed under: celebrity, literature, , , , , , , ,

Abramovic and James Franco Divide Art from Acting

Vodpod videos no longer available.

MoMA recently opened a major retrospective chronicling the work of performance artist Marina Abramovic, in which the legendary artist tackles the subject of performance itself. Her work and thoughts on the body as a medium–rather than the two-dimensions of canvas and paint–leads to considerations of what we consider art (permanent or ephemeral? material or abstract?). Reminds me of the work of Ana Mendieta; I’m a big fan of the Cuban-born, Iowa-raised, feminist-driven and performance-based artist who rose to prominence in the 70’s.

Abramovic, in these online videos to accompany the MoMA exhibition, discusses the challenges of standing for hours on end as performance, or what it means physiologically to eat gold, as she does in some of her most famous work.

Interesting to those of us who cross borders between high and low art (I’m torn most days between rereading Flaubert and watching American Idol), is this conversation between Abramovic and James Franco. In the beginning of the clip, the artist herself questions why she would want to meet a Hollywood actor. It’s clear that in her view, performance art–lasting, thoughtful, concerned less with capitalism than the unspeakable–has very little to do with the machinations of Hollywood entertainment.

Interesting to listen to the artist and the actor discuss differences such as imitating a character, as actors must do, compared to experiencing real pain–knives and blood, eating an onion, sitting and staring for hours (literally: Abramovic will sit for seven and a half hours each day for three months in performance at MoMA’s library)–as performance artists must do. Calls into question the idea of intent: entertainment as passing pleasure; performance art as something more nuanced, more challenging, less about satiation than restlessness, hunger, and desire. I like this analogy: art makes us hunger; entertainment satiates the shallow mind.

Filed under: art, , , , , ,

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)
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About Me

https://rsiasoco.wordpress.com/about/

About Me

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

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