Saturday, June 14, 2008

advice for the 'lorn.2

The Q:

I find it hard to distinguish if a person is jogging or running away from something.
How can you tell?

The A:

It is not the speed but the direction that should concern you.


Saturday, June 7, 2008

advice for the 'lorn

Someone suggested LWC/LWK should undertake the writing of an advice column. I said I would be glad to take questions, and that possibly I've missed my calling, and that this is it. Here is the first question:

1) I read this in Wittgenstein yesterday: "I am not interested in constructing a building so much as having a perspicuous view of the foundation of possible buildings." What about you, do you want a real building? and 2) If you are going to, you know, construct a building, is it better to build in some fluttering and give (e.g., retrofitting) or build as solid and secure as a fucking rock? I don't mean to speak in binaries.

Having a lucid view of the foundation of possible buildings' pretty much the same thing as having built one, or rather, having simultaneously built them all. Real Life, and Reality, sadly, is more complicated. Even the structures built with give and sway with enough Shock and Awe themselves give way. Sadly, we know this to be true. Solid and secure? Show me the one and I'll cleave to it myself.

I hope that answers the question.

The Dr. is In.

Friday, June 6, 2008

in the day & night job

my body IS the collision course

you wouldn't believe the streams of misfit language pouring in and out of there.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

I find it necessary to make brief interruptive gesture in the course of the on-going non-narrative narrative exposition of the LWC blog:

Like most of us, my text and my personal life do not exactly coincide. Resolutely you can always not quite find me here.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


dear everyone,
yesterday I posted an oblique reference, and a link, to the SFMOMA blog, where I'd just made a long invitation to all to come out for a month of Berlin Alexanderplatz screenings, and after-talk-and-drinking, a reading-group-style film club Brandon Brown & Dominic Willsdon & I have worked up for the duration

it occurs to me that, given the grace (or sin) of Netflix, you could watch (the newly remastered version) along with us from Philly or DC, or, you know, Antioch or Durham or Brooklyn or Chico or Providence or San Diego or hello to whoever's reading this blog in the Netherlands I love you

Anyway, reposting in entirety here, and please post & repost at whim



But some of us have strange pleasures---how about fifteen and half hours of Rainer Werner Fassbinder's legendary BERLIN ALEXANDERPLATZ?

Beginning this Thursday and continuing each week the month of June, we're showing (in collaboration with the PFA & the Goethe Institut-SF) the West Coast premiere of the remastered, brand-new 35mm version of Fassbinder's retelling of Alfred Döblin's 1929 novel: optimistic but explosive criminal Franz Biberkopf leaves a prison stint with a hope for making the straight life, and with 'an absurd faith in love.' The dark epic serial of Berlin Alexanderplatz chronicles the destruction of that hope and that faith.

Called the "Mount Everest of modern cinema" by Andrew Sarris, Dominic Willsdon & I have been saying that the 15-and-a-half-hour endurance test of Berlin Alexanderplatz will be fun in the way mountain-climbing is fun: grueling, terrifying, emotional, and exhausting; but also fantastic, exhilarating, & great for a chat with your cohorts once you're done. So, together with my friend the poet Brandon Brown, we've been working on getting a group together for a Berlin Alexanderplatz film-club for the duration. We'll watch the four-hour program each Thursday night and then head out from 'the literal and moral darkness' (that's Dominic) for the well-deserved drink. And we'll see if we can follow up Friday afternoons with a group discussion here on the blog.

Would you like to join us?

If you can't turn out every Thursday, the programs repeat on following Saturday afternoons, and you can still keep on with the conversation.

Program One, this Thursday June 5 at 6:30pm in the Wattis Theater, and again on Saturday at 2pm: Part 1 —The Punishment Begins — Part 2 — How Is One to Live If One Doesn't Want to Die? — Part 3 — A Hammer Blow on the Head Can Injure the Soul — Part 4 — A Handful of People in the Depths of Silence

More detailed info on Fassbinder and on the film below. We're looking forward to seeing/meeting/watching with you---



There's a shortish piece on Fassbinder's life & work here; here's A.O. Scott's NYTimes piece on the film; and if you don't mind a plot spoiler, there's a discussion, and lengthy synopsis, here.

Here's the PFA's description of the film:

"Restored in 2006, Berlin Alexanderplatz is the summa of Rainer Werner Fassbinder's art, and the culmination of his lifelong relationship to Alfred Döblin's monumental novel of Berlin in the 1920s-a book the filmmaker said was "embedded in my mind, my flesh, my body as a whole, and my soul." Fassbinder pours knowing tenderness into the characterization of Franz Biberkopf (Günter Lamprecht), an unemployed lumpen worker who earns his living as a thief and pimp following a stint in jail for murdering his mistress. Franz is a jovial if explosive figure in the Alexanderplatz district of Berlin, a man with optimistic dreams, a determination to "go straight," and an absurd faith in love. Berlin Alexanderplatz chronicles the destruction of this faith, amid the poverty, hypocrisy, and violence of Berlin in the years just before Nazism took full hold. Unable to find work, Franz takes up with the hustler Reinhold (Gottfried John), who becomes his "best friend" and then betrays him in a number of important ways. Franz is also involved with several women during the course of the drama, but when he meets the young prostitute Mieze (Barbara Sukowa), he declares her "his most beloved in all the world." It is upon losing her that Franz succumbs to despair-and allows himself to be transformed into a "useful member of society." The film's famous epilogue is Fassbinder's comment on that.

With a hundred leading and supporting actors, including members of Fassbinder's excellent stock company (along with Lamprecht, John, and Sukowa, Hanna Schygulla is featured as Franz's friend Eva and Volker Spengler as the gang leader Pums), Berlin Alexanderplatz is filled with the characters and stories of Döblin's Berlin. And at fifteen and a half hours, it comes closer than most film experiences to the engagement that a good novel offers. The beauty, richness, and cohesion of Fassbinder's style can here be fully appreciated as it links one chapter to the next."

&, Fassbinder on politics and Berlin Alexanderplatz: