Archive for June, 2008

A Midsummer Day’s Dream

June 11, 2008

One of my most vivid memories growing up in Israel is getting my ass kicked, and by older sister, no less. She was undoubtedly the God of me and I had to answer to her at all times. So I would spend my afternoon combing her perm, complimenting her on her bubble gum-pink balloon skirts, and help her cover her forearms in jelly bracelets. If I ever failed to worship the ground on which she walked and accidentally not clapped enough after another one of her ravishing Madonna impersonations, my ass would most likely get pretzeled by evening time. The bliss. However, if anyone else ever tried to hurt me, they’d be dead meat. The message was loud and clear: no one messed with my sister’s # 1 bitch.

I have no idea why I just shared that with you, but it feels really good to let go of that. *sigh*.. Much better. So, the weekend is coming up and one place that anybody who is doing everybody will be is the Andersonville Midsommerfest in Andersonville. The gay-and-lesbianic-friendly event features a ton of stuff, from a squillion restaurant stands, to four stages featuring live entertainment, and an excuse for many of Chicago’s sex-deprived to–and I’m quoting from the website–“dance around the Maypole.” A-hem. So yeah, if you are in the mood for some great music, a “pet parade” (I know, sounds dirty, but hey, it’s on their website), an enormous pole, or just feeling like escaping your abusive older sister, this is the place for you. Remember to wear lotion. I don’t want to see leather faces come Monday.

Midsommerfest will take place in Andersonville (Foster & Clark is a good bet), Saturday-Sunday, from 11:00a.m. to 10:00p.m.

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Review: Jeff Koons, Made In Heaven

June 4, 2008

So yeah, Chicago weather–as is well established by now–blows, and if for no other reason, then because winter lasts anywhere between one to two years. That is why the timing of the Jeff Koons exhibit at the MCA is nothing short of perfect. Like the arrival of the sun, Koons’ work permits the almost mindless celebration of those very same things that are normally considered too frivolous for consideration. So like a deep tan, a tub of ice cream and a pair of green plastic flip-flops, Koons’ work celebrates elements traditionally relegated to the banal and kitsch. Giant, shiny rings; inflatable red sharks; silvered choo-choo trains and lifesize porcelain figural compositions create an immediately sense of familiarity. But images, as we know, can deceive. The shiny surfaces, viewers soon realize, incorporate the viewers into the objects through reflection, thereby collapsing the distance between object and subject and entrap the viewers in the banality of the object. The effect, interestingly enough, is as delightful as it is alarming.

As one of the leading contemporary Pop artists, Koons is candidly revealing the influence the works of Rauschenberg, Hamilton and Warhol have all had on him. Couple, 2001, brings together as many elements of intimacy–a lock of hair, lace panties–as it does of the quotidian–a giant pretzel and a soup ladle. The intermingling of the two within the same image blurs the distinction between the two disparate categories, and reveals, if anything, the common denominator in their emptiness as constructed signs, floating meaningless symbols removed from their context.

 

Another prominent feature in Koons’ work is the fusing of the grandiose with the miniature, blowing souvenir shop trinkets and chocolate eggs contents into oversized and powerful dimensions, undeniably intimidating as they are awe-inspiring. It is therefore not surprising that smack dab in the center of the room, an enormous and mesmerizingly beautiful cracked magenta egg greets visitors with the same seductive estrangement of a gorgeous, streamlined alien ship. The connection between curiosity and fascination with color and size lets the viewers realize their own frivolity and entanglement with what is essentially a vapid, consumerist culture. Not everything is as it seems, Koons appears to say in a tone that is half admonishing, half tongue-in-cheek. And like the play on color and size, Koons also subverts notions of mass and perception, rendering rubber lifeboats in heavy bronze and helium balloons in metal. Thinking in counterintuitive ways is the theme.

I was not always a huge proponent of Koons’ work. Most times I found it overhyped, self-aggrandizing, and trite. Now, I have come to realize, that was his point. Like the deep tan and the tub of chocolate swirls of ice cream, the election of those things we deem delightful and indulging, at times, can impose a detriment too. This show is a must

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SATC- Review

June 1, 2008

Okay, so the great thing about the SATC movie is that it doesn’t purport to give you anything more than what the title already promises–a great locale and mucho booty. So anything that follows–and if for no other reason than by default–comes as a great surprise. No need to explain the premise, if you’ve read this thus far you know what to expect, but one thing to keep an eye out for (and I am not revealing anything about the plotline), is that the movie feels a little…compressed. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fun, entertaining and visually amazing. But–and yes, there is a but (and it goes without saying, multiple butts, daaaamn)–the movie does feel like it’s trying to resolve too much a little too soon. While it goes to a place that’s darker than anything previously seen on the show, it is constantly buoyed (and some will argue that herein lies its greatest strength) by the that very same element that made the show ever so popular–its humor, especially the one-liners from my partner-in-crime Samantha. It feels as though the producers were afraid to let this movie get tooooo serious and be anything but a Fun Summer Flick, hence the decision to keep it safe and wonderfully pleasing. Overall the movie is incredibly entertaining and worth every penny. But like a big, fat slice of a wedding cake, the icing, at times, feels a little too rich.