November 27, 2011

DAS RAD (“The Wheel”)

A while ago I watched a short film by three Germans called “DAS RAD (The Wheel).”  Now, before you say “German films?  Nein, danke” and run into a cave, let me tell you, my friends, that it is quite entertaining and was even nominated for an Academy Award.

The stars are two rock piles, observing life on a hillside from ancient times through the present, and into the future.  The little film moves through time at high speed, like a time-lapse version of geological eras. When the modern world comes into view, the buildings appear and disappear in an instant, and was my favorite section.  And sometimes it switchesto real time and shows the inhabitants and objects in motion in their day-to-day existence.

If you have about nine minutes, check it out.  It is — how do you say? — “my cup of tea.”

November 27, 2011

Don’t Buy This Jacket

Happy (American) Thanksgiving, everybody.  Hope yours was as full of football and fine food as mine was.  I had a Hungry-Man Salisbury Steak TV dinner and spotted 3 ships, so mine was fantastic. (And I rinsed and recycled the tray.  So there!)

I nearly spit out my Sanka when I saw this ad in the New York Times the next day, a.k.a. Black Friday, the busiest shopping day of the year in the U.S.A., from Patagonia, the fancy eco-conscious clothing company that makes outdoor gear:

Pretty funny, huh?  Or pretty sassy.

They explain why on their company website:

The test of our sincerity (or our hypocrisy) will be if everything we sell is useful, multifunctional where possible, long lasting, beautiful but not in thrall to fashion. We’re not yet entirely there. Not every product meets all these criteria. Our Common Threads Initiative will serve as a framework to advance us toward these goals.

Fair enough!

Back to my ship-spotting nook.

November 27, 2011

This stuff exists

Paul Nicklen is a white man who grew up in an Inuit community way up in Northern Canada near Greenland.  He takes pretty amazing pictures of polar bears, seals, penguins and the like for magazines like National Geographic.  He’s trying to put (animal) faces to the story people otherwise are getting kinda sick of — that polar ice is disappearing.

Watching him talk about the polar food chains, you can see his respect for the fragility of the world he grew up in.

I appreciate that.

It takes guts to hang out in the water for days on end with leopard seals.  He’s putting his money where his mouth is.  He’s funny, too.

Gotta restock my shelves.  See you later.

November 7, 2011

Dancing about climate

The comedian Martin Mull once coined the expression,”Writing about music is like dancing about architecture.”  

I wonder what he’d say about this new dance piece by Donovan & Calderón, THE CLIMATE CHRONICLES, opening this week in New York City:

Abstract, funny, and bizarre, THE CLIMATE CHRONICLES is an ensemble-created performance that exposes four questionably qualified American climatologists as they swim through the world of climate change. Will they crumble under the pressure as their personal lives seep into their professional bubble?

Sean Donovan and Sebastián Calderón Bentin, the minds behind the piece, “appropriate the surreal and absurd elements of everyday life using them as raw material for new performance work, allowing them to challenge their own theatrical conventions while reflecting on social and political responsibilities as part of a global community.”

They have collaborated previously on a piece in Panama City and at Galapagos Art Space and The Brooklyn Arts Exchange (BAX). 

I’m intrigued to see how their work develops over time… 

The show runs from November 10th-19th at Saint Marks Church on 2nd Avenue and 10th Street in Manhattan, a longtime home for avant-garde dance and poetry.

October 28, 2011

Arguing about Greenland

Hola, my friends.

In my work I see certain effects of climate change on the biodiversity.  But those who work with glaciers, ice, and snow see a very different ones.  An American colleague sent me a link to a story in the New York Times I find amusing…

Britain’s Comprehensive Atlas of the World came out with a new edition, in which Greenland looks as though it has lost about 15 percent of its ice since 1999, with large portions of the coast ice-free.

The map that made the scientists go -- how do you say? Ballistic.

Climate scientists and glaciologists went crazy about it, saying the map is “a fiasco” — that the actual percentage is more like one-tenth of 1 percent, and that nobody from the atlas consulted with the actual experts on this subject. The publishers fired back that they’re sticking by the data, but then investigation revealed “mistakes were made” in the creation of the map.  So they’re making a new map of Greenland that will “more effectively” represent the reality.

I never thought I would hear scientists are saying climate change isn’t as bad as it looks…  or that a map would look worse than reality!

Reminds me of the movie called The Dead Zone, in which the marvelous actor Christopher Walken yells, “The ice is gonna break!” But in reverse.  “The ice is still very solid and very much there!”  Hehe.


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    "The Next Forever" is a song from The Great Immensity. The footage was taken on Barro Colorado Island in the Panama Canal by videographer David Ford. Music and lyrics by Michael Friedman.
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