THE SUPER 8
1. THE ILIAD
Sure, Brad Pitt’s butt is a wonder to behold, but another beauty is Homer’s Iliad. If you want to go one better than digging up your musty old college edition, listen to the audiobook of Derek Jacobi orating the poetry of violence and the sorrow of loss. What film could ever deliver this: “The merciless brazen spearpoint raking through / up under the brain to split his glistening skull / teeth shattered out, both eyes brimmed to the lids / with a gush of blood... and death’s dark clouds closed down around his corpse.”
It used to be that right wing demagogues ruled the book shelves of airports and WAL-MART. But these days a new wave of Bush-bashing books crashes into bookstores every week. From Kevin Phillips’s American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune, and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush
to Molly Ivins’s Bushwhacked: Life in George W. Bush's America
to even ex-Watergater John W. Dean’s Worse Than Watergate: The Secret Presidency of George W. Bush,
Bush bashing is next to baseball as a national pastime.
3. FILM SCHOOL
Forget so-called reality TV. This fall’s most compelling watch has got to be Film School, a 10-episode documentary series exec produced by Nanette Burstein (The Kid Stays in the Picture) that follows a gaggle of NYU film school students as they struggle to complete their second-year and thesis films. The show, which begins airing September 10 on IFC, promises more drama than the average episode of American Idol.
Swiss artist Christoph Büchel’s brain is on exhibition again. A festival of cerebral architecture, Buchel’s warped environments create extreme sociological situations. His current show, at the Swiss Institute in New York City this summer, is best described as a roommate situation gone awry, where territory is marked by a makeshift concrete wall. You’ll evolve into a temporary tenant, but not without crawling by a toilet on all fours with a Budweiser, on the house.
“Alt-country” is a label Jason Morphew has fought for years, although he probably wouldn’t argue with reviewers who have compared him to Jimmy Rodgers. With his last release, The Duke of Arkansas,
Morphew traded in his acoustic guitar for a six-piece band and the result was one of the best indie releases of 2003, with gems like “Sex!,” “Life’s a Nightmare” and “The Living End.” A new album is reportedly in the works. For more info: www.jasonmorphew.com
6. HER LONG BLACK HAIR
For her site-specific piece Her Long Black Hair, Janet Cardieff uses New York’s Central Park as her canvas. Each spectator is given a CD player and a packet of photographs and then set off on an audio tour that leads one both through nature and into an enigmatic quasi-narrative about a woman and a park and the changing surface of time. Every now again, you are instructed to compare a photo from your packet to the everchanging world that lays before you. For more info: www.publicartfund.org.
Since 1999, Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonanno have visited business conferences around the world pretending to be members of the WTO. In the documentary The Yes Men,
Chris Smith, Dan Ollman and Sarah Price chronicle some of the duo’s most outrageous stunts, including a presentation in Tampere, Finland, in which Andy, while demonstrating a new device by which managers can monitor workers, dons a skintight gold body suit with a video monitor attached to a giant inflatable phallus.
8. FOUR-WORD FILM REVIEWS
Quick to judge? Are you four-word quick? Web site www.fwfr.com offers — and provides you the chance to create — four-word (or less) summaries of movies, be they punny (Fahrenheit 9/11: “Iraqi horror picture show”), obvious (The Day After Tomorrow: “Takes world by storm”) or downright bitchy (Shrek 2: “Banderas is a pussy!”).