1. “Birdman.” The pigeon king and the Ponzi scheme that shook Canada.
“There’s a temptation to dismiss farmers who were taken by Galbraith as ignorant or blinded by greed. But typically, their motivations were nuanced, their ambitions modest. Families dreamed of giving each child his or her own bedroom or keeping both spouses from having to take second jobs away from the family and the farm. ’We didn’t see dollar signs,’ one man told me. ’We saw more time together.’ And many, like the Bultses, did their due diligence only to find that watchdogs and regulators were unconcerned about Galbraith, even after a former Pigeon King employee says he warned Ontario’s Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs about the company in 2006. An Ohio couple who lost $250,000 (U.S.) described, in an affidavit, how they called half a dozen agricultural and law-enforcement agencies, as well as Better Business Bureaus in the United States and Canada, and turned up no red flags.”
2. “MoMA’s Björk Disaster.” Jerry Saltz is hardly impressed with the multihyphenate’s mid-career retrospective.
“I wanted to be surprised and proven wrong about the Björk show. Alas, I haven’t been. Housed in the museum’s atrium in a two-story, black-painted wooden-pavilion thing, you wind through lines (very, very long lines), reading handwritten lyrics in books encased in vitrines, hearing snippets of music, and then donning a headset that leads you through a 40-minute tour of the second floor, album by album. It’s a discombobulated mess. The spoken narrative, written by Icelandic poet Sjón and read by actor Margrét Vilhjálmsdóttir, is a pretty silly fable about a ’young girl’ who ventures into ’kingdoms.’ As you walk, signals tell the headset that you’ve moved on, and it begins playing the next chapter of the tale. All the while, video clips play here and there, and we look into alcoves containing some of the fantastic costumes and paraphernalia used in some of the music videos, including those wooly yak-creatures. The halls, where you will spend the vast bulk of your time, are lined with pictures from the albums. There is one pillow-laden theater that screens Björk’s music videos. In another, a ten-minute work commissioned by MoMA is displayed. Unfortunately, this work is not yet up to museum or gallery standards. Biesenbach is no idiot, but the show is ’sound and fury, signifying nothing.’ Even, I venture, for fans.”
3. “The Texture of Genius.” Clothes embody ideas in Bertrand Bonello’s Saint Laurent, a shifting look at the designer and his work.
“This is part of the method of Saint Laurent: to give us images that belong to history without reducing them to it, to present scenes from a life where the scenography assumes a life of its own. Bonello draws on a sort of richly sensual distancing effect that we might better term a dissolving. The film doesn’t dress up historical materials so much as grant them a momentary flowering or crystallization out of some more primary substratum of tone, texture, atmosphere, affect. It is one of those biopics engaged with creative genius, like Peter Watkins’s Edvard Munch or Maurice Pialat’s Van Gogh, whose integrity is wholly independent of its biographical dimension. Saint Laurent will certainly tell you things about the life and times of a famous fashion designer, but its ideal viewer is one who doesn’t know anything about Yves Saint Laurent, and its effect is to place every viewer in this situation.”
4. “Diary of a Porn Festival.” Fisting, a lesbian orgy and flying stop-motion penises were on show at NYC’s inaugural porn film festival.
“The last film of the programme is about two Berlin construction workers fucking during their nightshift. One of them emerges from a giant sandpit like the guy in Spider-Man 3, only much hornier. She gets vigorously fingered by her friend, which is the most explicit depiction of a ’traditional’ sex act that I’ve seen all day. Of course, this programme has put the word ’traditional’ into gallingly egocentric perspective. There’s an exhibitionist quality to it all, but the main appeal seems to be the contrast between the sensuality of the sex with the harshness of the environment in which it’s taking place.”
5. “Are This Season’s Diverse Shows Ushering in a New Era of Multicultural Television?” For Flavorwire, Pilot Viruet wonders why the success of these new programs didn’t happen sooner and what this success spells for the future of television.
“This season it became painfully clear that there is a severe disconnect between—largely white—TV executives and us minority audiences. The fact that there is surprise about Empire or Black-ish’s success is almost offensive; of course these are shows that we wanted and shows that we will watch—we just never had them before. The thirst for representation is so strong that often we will latch on to any program that promotes diversity, even if it’s not that great; Shonda Rhimes’ first show, Grey’s Anatomy, has lost its shine, but fans continue to tune in to the current, 11th season to see black, Latino, and Asian medical professionals portrayed on screen. We just happened to luck out in that the shows being touted this season are actually good.”
Video of the Day: This incredibly funny commercial by Organic Valley understands that bros must be saved, especially from themselves:
Links for the Day: A collection of links to items that we hope will spark discussion. We encourage our readers to submit candidates for consideration to firstname.lastname@example.org and to converse in the comments section.