1. “2014 MTV Movie Awards: Here Are The Real Winners And Losers. Victory is about so much more than a trophy.
“By the time you read this, the 2014 MTV Movie Awards will be over: the trophies dispensed, the house cleared out and the many celebs in attendance off to either celebrate their successes or nurse the wounds of defeat. And if you’ve taken a peek at the night’s final list of winners, you might even think that you know exactly who in Hollywood should be doing a victory dance until dawn. But you’d be wrong! Because just because somebody took home a Golden Popcorn, that doesn’t mean they won the MTV Movie Awards. That’s something else entirely! No, there are true winners (and losers for that matter). So who were the actual champions, and who should we seriously feel sorry for?”
2. “A Blistering Light at Crossroads Film Festival.” ’It’s a beautiful thing to get your face blown off, aesthetically speaking:’ On seeing something new, confusing and resolutely alive at Crossroads 5.
“Here we have a festival in San Francisco whose name is not just advertising formal junctions (film/video, old/new, narrative/poetic, abstract/representational). Crossroads is the title of a 1976 film by Bay Area legend Bruce Conner. It’s Conner’s longest film, comprised of slo-mo images of nuclear test detonations at Bikini Atoll. Mushroom cloud after mushroom cloud, Crossroads represents not only the start of the nuclear age but the blowing away of all prior human epistemology. Seen in terms of the promises of avant-garde film, Crossroads presumably aims to eliminate the concept of ’avant-garde’ as a known quantity or genre, like the horror film or the rom-com. This was once an unthinkable proposition, but it’s a place where 21st-century film culture has indeed delivered us. (We know how to make an ’experimental film,’ in various idioms.)”
3. “James Franco Does Cindy Sherman.” Actor says his new take on Sherman’s Untitled Film Stills allows him to ’refashion’ the work he does in Hollywood.
“James Franco’s New Film Stills is on display at the Pace gallery on West 25th St until 3 May. In his silver gelatin prints the actor, writer and artist looks less mysterious than Sherman, and quite a bit more frivolous; yet Franco believes Sherman’s original pictures ’are both humorous and earnest.’ He goes on to state that ’Cindy is an artist who used cinema as a source for her work; she ’played’ at being an actress. I am an actor who inserts himself into his work. I am fully embedded in Hollywood, but these photos allow me to take a step to the side, look back, and refashion the work I do in Hollywood. I am at the same time actor, critic, artist, and character.’”
4. “Irrational Treasure.” Alex Pappademas makes (some) sense of Nicolas Cage’s strangest decade (so far).
“Unofficial rule for this week: no clicking around on the Internet while Cage movies are in progress, unless it’s to seek out and read supplemental Cage material. During Ghost Rider, I read about the nine-foot pyramid-shaped tomb Cage bought himself a few years ago, to the unending delight of those who delight in snickering. For what it’s worth, the pyramid is a not-atypical example of a memorial from the mid-1800s Egyptian Revival period, an era of American architecture that also produced buildings like the Washington Monument.”
5. “6 Independent Bookstores Are Thriving.” Boris Kachka and Joshua David Stein explain how they do it.
“Forget books, sell the space. A recent ad for Verizon Fios features two laptops competing for bandwidth in what looks like a Bushwick loft that crashed into an Apple store. It’s actually PowerHouse Arena: a 5,000-square-foot ’laboratory for creative thought,’ exhibition hall, party space, shoot location, and, oh right, bookstore. ’We don’t have a lot of giant, traditional diversity,’ says owner Daniel Power, referring to the store’s rather limited stock. ’We’re just very careful in what we select.’ His art-publishing house, PowerHouse Books, occupies another 5,000 square feet of mezzanine, and at first the store sold mostly the books they themselves published. But now 60 percent of their space (and 95 percent of book sales) is given over to others, including better-known literary fare. There are no shelves, just tables, the better to accommodate large-scale events (the top corporate rate is $8,000 a night). Rent for the combined 10,000 square feet is $22,000 a month, well below what you’d pay anywhere else in bougie Brooklyn, and PowerHouse can make it back with just one major commercial shoot—like that Fios ad, or a Japanese-language Sarah Jessica Parker spot for Coca-Cola Lite. The store represents less than half of PowerHouse’s total business, which is a good thing, because since the Arena opened in 2006, the best it’s done is break even. But last year it broke even for the first time on book sales alone—though those photo shoots and events certainly helped.”
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