My good pal the highly respected comic artist Sheila Rooswitha has a lovely new cartoon about riding bicycles in Jakarta (which is something that I love to do, too) in The Guardian newspaper The Illustrated City series. Check it out here!
I’m excited and honored to announce that my new column, ‘Opium Traces’, has debuted at Popmatters.com.
‘Opium Traces’ will meditate upon pop media about and from Southeast Asia (and slightly beyond) and will cover a range of subjects from film to books to music.
Check out the first article, an analysis of the psychedelic-noir style of Nicholas Refn’s 2013 film Only God Forgives:
More coming in June!!!
Search ‘this is not a pipe’ on google and this is what you get…
My first feature article for the online magazine popmatters.com, ‘The Swollen Eye of the Man With No Name’.
Sub-head: ‘Kurosawa’s samurai, Stuart Heisler’s gangster, Sergio Leone’s cowboy, and George Miller’s misfit suffer a similar black eye, but with dramatically different effect.‘
Shirley Temple is dead. Amidst the usual fawning celebrity obituaries was this gem from The Guardian:
‘Graham Greene, infamously, reviewing Wee Willie Winkie [1937 Fox film] in the London weekly Night and Day, wrote: “Infancy with her is a disguise, her appeal is more secret and more adult … her neat and well-developed rump twisted in the tap dance: her eyes had a sidelong searching coquetry … watch the way she measures a man with agile studio eyes, with dimpled depravity. Adult emotions of love and grief glissade across the mask of childhood, a childhood that is only skin-deep … “‘
As usual, Greene nailed it perfectly. After reading that, watch the most famous clip from Temple’s childhood oeuvre:
There’s barely disguised lust in the way they film the little girl singing to a group of grown men that enhances the double entendre of the lyrics.
This sort of slavering male gaze is all over the adaption of Kipling (where the lead was a boy) that got Greene into so much trouble:
Of course speaking truth to power and pointing out the filth behind the innocence is never easy. People cling assiduously to their veneers of moral superiority and celluloid dreams of little blonde girls.
The Guardian notes that ‘Fox sued and the case was settled in Temple’s favour with the judge (a fan) deeming the libel “a gross outrage”. Greene fled to Mexico, and the magazine was fined £3,500. The settlement remained in trust for Temple in a British bank until she turned 21, when it was donated to charity.’
Hopefully the Shirley Temple’s in Mexico had rum in them.
Interesting review over at popmatters.com of a book that it looks like I’ll have to get…interviews with some of my favorite jazz musicians. Makes me miss NYC and all the great music I used to see!