February was a bit of a slow month. June said it's the worst month to make any drastic decisions, as there are so many wanton factors at play: the festering changing of the seasons, the afterglow of the New Year, etc.
I'm not sure how much I actually subscribe to those insights, but it's pretty clear in putting together this list that I didn't set aside or carve out enough time to read, watch and listen.
I blame February!
I absolutely devoured Dave Hickey's new collection of essays on art and democracy, called Perfect Wave.
His essay on "A World like Santa Barbara", for example, with it's barbed indictment of this strange phenomenon of suburban youth killing each other, was felicitous, provocative and deeply unsettling.
Oddly, perhaps, his voice startled me out of a certain malaise that I believe has come to override our culture: an intellectual complacency coopted and preyed upon by fake news - a level of perceived seriousness so easily and readily debunked, that you're left wondering how it could ever be on display.
His essay on Walt Disney was equally stirring.
"Walt thought we were going off to the planets and the stars. It turned out we were only going offshore, off the books, and off the balance sheet."
Sentences like this jar us into a reality we might not have realized we've already accepted, but one that doesn't have to be settled upon indefinitely.
One of the things I appreciate the most is that his opinions and cool interpretations, while they may be denunciations of wrongdoings and misguided adventures , they are enunciations for us to follow our own sense of righteousness.
Hickey's curiosity and strength of view is courageous. It's replete with a certain call to arms, a call to action, an incitement to take up art.
Here's the short list for the month:
- A Thousand Plateaus & Philosophy, Henry Sommers Hall
- Welcome to your World, Sarah Williams Goldhagen
- The Mind's Eye, Henri-Cartier Bresson
- Perfect Wave, Dave Hickey
The Florida Project has all the makings of a modern day Rear Window. It's particularly disturbing, rank with a certain self-professed and honest awareness - it speaks to us from a distance that feels way too close.
There was a scene in the Avett Brothers documentary that touches me still - the pain and misery that is poured into a song which later brings so much joy and happiness and resonance. It's a bittersweet moment.
I was also really touched by the little documentary on the work of Elsa Dorfman, directed by Errol Morris, and the exquisite and undeniable largeness of her life-size prints.
Here's the rest of February list:
Altered Carbon (10 episodes)
Only the Brave
David Letterman with George Clooney
Avett Brothers Documentary
The B-Side: Elsa Dorfman’s portrait of photography
The Florida Project
The Crooked House