Burroughs Adding Machine

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

Debunking a Talking Tea Party Bear

“Did you know our basic freedoms as Americans are under attack?” says an animated brown bear.

“No I had no idea,” the other animatronic bear says, “I wake up every day and don’t feel my basic freedoms are threatened.”

This video (surely it’s gone viral) is reasoned, hilarious, and slightly disturbing at the same time. I like the reasonable response of the non-Tea Party bear to the crazy bear’s fanaticism.

“Obama is worse than Hitler,” the disturbing computer-generated voice of the Tea Partier warns, about four minutes in. “If we don’t vote the Democrats out of office, we will all be living as slaves to the evil liberal elite intellectuals who hate us and hate our freedoms.”

“I’m sorry you live so out of touch with reality,” the rational bear replies.

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Filed under: comedy, homophobia, humor, politics, , , , , ,

Kissing Bliss from a Brit Band

Male Bonding, a noise-pop band from London, filmed a fun, surprising take on the laid-back, summer-drenched music video. The boys shoot some hoops, kick back with some beers, and move from arm-wrestling to a kissing party.

Even as a gay man, it still shocks me to see two men kissing on television, in films, or a music video like this, streamed over the Internet. I guess it’s that these images are still so rare that they avoid normalization.

It’s amazing to me this simple yet transgressive act of men kissing can be so affirming.

Filed under: gay life, music, politics, pop culture, , , , , , , , ,

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, , , , , ,

Friday Yucks

In the department of absurd uses of streaming video, this clip of a salsa-dancing labrador takes the cake. There is, of course, more important news in the world (the least of which is that Washington state voters approved Referendum 71, that affords crucial benefits to domestic partners). But isn’t there also room for dogs who can do circus tricks?

I used to be one of those naysayers who clucked his tongue at dog lovers. And then I got a dog. Click play.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Salsa dog“, posted with vodpod

 

Filed under: entertainment, , , , , ,

Civilization (through a video monitor in a hotel elevator)

Video artist Marco Brambilla created this very cool video for the elevators at the new Standard Hotel in New York City. The montage is created from more than 400 video loops of found footage, including iconic images like the scary Marshmallow Man from the Ghostbuster movies, roller coasters, marching bands, and all kinds of craziness.

When I was at the Associated Writing Programs conference last March, organizers had done a similar thing with those boring elevator monitors, transforming them from hotel announcements or CNN to screen short, animated films produced by the Poetry Foundation. Strange to be riding thirty floors in an elevator and listening to an animated version of “Let Us Consider” by master prose poet Russell Edson.

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

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