I live in a city called Philadelphia. When you view it from above via Google Earth it looks like someone dug out a patch of grass and shoveled gravel and concrete chunks into the hollow. What it looks like from the ground is more difficult to describe.
When you try to describe the sensory ingressions of objects rather than simply naming the objects, you glimpse the degree to which our most foundational technology (language) has estranged us from the pure vibratory profusion of reality. I stand at the corner of 13th and Pine and try to compose a catalogue of what I see without using the following words: Building. Brick. Window. Glass. Street. Asphalt. Sidewalk. Cement. Car. Traffic light.
I have a very hard time of it.
Saturday, October 24, 2015
Wednesday, October 14, 2015
Halloween is around the corner, and I'm pleased to announce the list of contestants for the fifth annual Beyond Easy Horror Film Festival! (BEHFF!), hosted at the historic Harold P. Warren Memorial Theatre! Tickets available at the box office. Not recommended for men with pacemakers, pregnant women, children, the elderly, or lovers of cinema.
The Hauntingish. A suburban house is inhabited by a socially anxious poltergeist that doesn't like bringing attention to itself. Essentially Meet the Parents with inexplicable continuity errors and spatial impossibilities a'la The Shining.
Objet d'terreur: A found-footage film in which a young video journalist is stalked through upper Manhattan one night by a serial murderer who likes to tape his kills. The juxtaposition of the footage reveals that the journalist and the killer are the same person, and that person is an obnoxious Columbia film student with a frightfully high opinion of himself.
The John. A young woman is left trapped in a porta-potty after a freak electrical accident kills every other person at an outdoor music festival. She begins to suspect she is not alone.
Delete Post. A haunted MacBook causes anything its user itemizes in a listicle to be erased from existence. The laptop falls into the possession of a freelancer writing for BuzzFeed. Within a week, every pop cultural product of the 1990s is extirpated from history. Pumpkin spice, UGGs, and other items popular among the Caucasian demographic soon follow. However, the disappearance of Beyoncé leaves too massive a hole in reality to go entirely unnoticed, and a plucky young paranormal investigator catches on.
How May I Kill You? A mysterious fog from outer space descends on a Trader Joe's store. The employees grow increasingly cheery and aggressively helpful until they become frenzied, dangerous lunatics. It its revealed that the fog is drawn to the radiation from credit card scanners, and soon Bed Bath & Beyond, Target, the Apple Store, etc. are affected. Retail shopping becomes a horrible life-or-death ordeal. (Sponsored by Amazon.)
Kangaroo Jack the Ripper: A macabre reboot of Kangaroo Jack.
Backstage: A Japanese body horror film wherein the the twelve teenaged members of a J-pop supergroup hideously transform, one by one, into members of their adult male fanbase, and beg their terrified bandmates for autographs and dates.
Buy the Full Moon: A laid-back New York stoner is bitten one night by a feral financier. From then on, the light of the full moon transforms him into an insufferable yuppie. He wakes up the next day with a copy of Fast Company magazine lying over his face, his bed surrounded by empty Starbucks cups, and finds himself vehemently reiterating points from TED Talks he has no conscious recollection of listening to.
The Monster at the End of this Film. The horror equivalent of Waiting for Godot. The rising tensions, boo! moments, and suggestions of the supernatural continually end up being false alarms, and then the credits roll after two hours of nothing really happening at all. The theater audience rises grousing from their seats and heads for the exit, only to discover that find brick walls have been erected behind the doors. As audience members panic, trample each other, and pound at the walls, the film restarts, with the volume seven times louder.
Toy Gory: Pretty much Child's Play, but with a murderous talking vibrator instead of a doll.
Tinder & Brimstone: A woman shows up for a Tinder date, and the dude talks at her for hours about craft beer, David Foster Wallace, and string theory. She realizes that her date is in fact Satan, and he won't allow the evening to end until she sells him her soul.
They're Coming: A suburban couple prepares for the impending zombie apocalypse by stocking up on ammunition and canned goods, becoming proficient in outdoor survival and mechanical repairs, and stashing guns and medical supplies in secret caches throughout the area. Everyone tells them they're crazy. "You'll see," they say, and wait for the zombies to come. The zombies never come, and the couple posts Donald Trump campaign signs in their windows because they're the real zombies, or something, and the movie is real life.
Friday, October 2, 2015
Philadelphia. Home, sweet home. For how long this time, who knows?
My new place is not internet enabled as of yet. Since I'm some kind of flipfone-snapping primitive, if I don't have wifi, I don't have internet. But I'm managing. In the relatively recent past I've gotten by for weeks at a time living in places without internet access. (It is probably understood that both you and I judge "weeks at a time" no small interval, no small thing to go without a noosphere plug at the ready. Strange that as technology fulfills our needs, it should multiply our necessities.) I won't say it isn't tremendously inconvenient, because it absolutely is, but at times it is vivifying. I enjoy these incidental vacations from the web like I enjoy those itchy and impatient weeks when I tell myself I don't need cigarettes, when, for all the aggravation, I do notice that I'm breathing more easily and rediscovering that there is a beautiful olfactory dimension to this existence. (Protip: if you're going to pick a day to lay off smoking a while, try to time it with one of the equinoxes.)