Ari Messer

At the Drive-In

Todd Chandler and Jeff Stark bring a postapocalyptic cinema to the 01SJ Biennial
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The elephant in the shroom

THE DRUG ISSUE: It's time to start being realistic about magic mushrooms
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a&eletters@sfbg.com

DRUG LIT The psychedelic experience is perfectly, if unintentionally, expressed in a poetry collection: Too long I took clockwork as a model instead of following the angle my inclinations make with the ground. So writes Rosmarie Waldrop in A Key into the Language of America (New Directions, 1994), a book based on Rhode Island founder Roger Williams's 1643 guide of the same name. The most "meditative" poets, from Milton and Blake to James Merrill and Denise Levertov, are often those who have reworked historical texts. Read more »

On location

The Photo Issue: Humans become afterthoughts in three photo-oriented exhibitions
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PHOTO ISSUE The ghost of Cindy Sherman is everywhere these days. In Untitled Film Stills (1977 onward), Sherman pictured archetypal B-movie versions of herself in emotionally-charged fake film stills. The project remains a salient commentary on self-imagining and imposed, gendered narratives. Yet Sherman's influence can be seen most dramatically these days in photos where people are simply afterthoughts, either insulated or not present at all. Read more »

"2012: Super-Bato Saves the World"

Fully-functional, gaudy, lusty, but also mystically calm slot machines in the style of souped-up Camaros
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REVIEW Energy must not be conserved in Enrique Chagoya's universe. From his earlier pieces on paper through his show-stopping work on linen at the turn of the century (Le Cannibale Moderniste, 1999; Aparición Sublime, 2000; Pocahontas Gets a New Passport (More Art Faster), 2000), the experimental printmaker's mock-specificity and hidden sensitivity — both aspects of a brilliant pictorial stubbornness — leave the whole body buzzing. This is art that gathers energy from its viewers as much as its subjects. Read more »

Arcane and able

Black Moth Super Rainbow, the Muzoracle, and Facebook's neo-psych future
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a&eletters@sfbg.com

Someone should let Pennsylvanian neo-psych outfit Black Moth Super Rainbow redesign Facebook.

Visits to the social-networking site have always left one feeling a bit manic or vacant, wanting something more, and that hasn't changed, but Facebook's latest, smooth-the-grid-away design is so bad that every time I visit an ATM I think I'm supposed to approve a friend request. And I don't want money. I want music.

We come to Facebook hoping to see the future, even though we pretend we're looking at the past. Read more »

Jimmy Sweetwater Presents

San Franciscans sometimes seem fonder and more aware of what the Bay Area attracts than of what it produces
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PREVIEW In the era of Slow Food in the City of Fog, I wonder why more people don't slow down for a second and get out to taste some local music. Think about the last time you were willing to fork over more than a fiver for some local talent. Seriously. San Franciscans sometimes seem fonder and more aware of what the Bay Area attracts than of what it produces. Jimmy Sweetwater is out to change that. Sweetwater is the rare breed of promoter who is also a musician — he plays a mean harmonica and a dirty washboard. Read more »

"Julie Blackmon: Domestic Vacations"

The boring and the uninteresting are different concepts
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REVIEW One of my most uninteresting college professors used to insist that negatives only exist in language, but couldn't explain what this meant. That's funny, I thought, because I can physically feel a complete lack of interest in your class. In fact, I think you can feel it too; it's contagious. Nonetheless, I was never bored as a child, and I'm still never bored. The boring and the uninteresting are different concepts. Read more »

A search for patterns in the light - and dark

SECA: Trevor Paglen, Tauba Auerbach, and Jordan Kantor
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A search for patterns in the light — and in the dark

ENIGMATIC: TREVOR PAGLEN AND THE EVIDENCE OF THINGS NOT SEEN

Trevor Paglen's section of the 2008 SECA Art Award exhibition is somewhat centrally located — you have to pass through it to get to Jordan Kantor's room, as well as to a small room containing pieces by all four awardees. Read more »

"Fabliaux: Tom Marioni Fairy Tales"

The exhibition summons noisy spirits and stands up to multiple listening sessions
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REVIEW I like Tom Marioni for the same reasons that I dig New Order. Though the band came after Marioni's early sound sculptures, both arose with driven clarity, holding up 20th-century culture to the eye of the storm. They're like woodsy fairy tales gone splendidly, mockingly urban: you'll remember the imagery, hear the melody, find them in your dreams, and hallucinate them on old concrete walls long after you've left the show. Read more »

Shock and awe

Aurobora Press and the end of an era
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After 15 years of a labor of printmaking love in what has become the artistic heart of SoMa, Aurobora Press has to be out of its home at 147 Natoma Street by the end of the month. When the landlord came forward with a tenant able to pay three times what the press was shelling out for the historic back-alley building, built in 1907 with bricks from the rubble of the earthquake, Aurobora — no stranger to our languishing economy — was forced to pack its bags. Read more »