Rarebit Fiend


Boston Globe’s Joshua Glenn:

The Complete Dream of The Rarebit Fiend is a gorgeous, exhaustive, self-published collection of Winsor McCay’s sophisticated, literally fantastic newspaper comic strip (1904-11). It’s edited by independent scholar Ulrich Merkl, available only from Merkl’s website.

Glenn’s audio slideshow for the Globe “demonstrates the influence of McCay’s imagination and sense of humor on five films in particular: the 1930 surrealist classic “L’Age d’Or,” “King Kong,” “Dumbo,” “Mary Poppins,” and “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” ”

This is the same Winsor McCay who was the author of Little Nemo in Slumberland – the incredible early-century comic that ran in the Sunday papers when our grandparents were young. I bought a large-format reprint of those comics for Amy a couple of years ago, and it continues to inspire (though its ridiculous size defies its being filed in any bookshelf known to man).

Music: Loop Guru :: Rite Number Three


Got kids? As summer fades, it’s getting dark earlier, which means evenings indoors. And for us, that means only one thing: YouTube! Kidding of course, but we did just stumble upon a large and completely amazing collection of short videos, rendered from a bug’s-eye perspective – excerpts from Thomas Szabo’s 2006 movie Minuscule:

IMDB: “You might call it a cross between Tex Avery and Microcosmos, or grassroots slapstick.” A few of the clips are available in higher resolution at the official web site, which is a gorgeous work of art on its own (though somewhat mysterious to navigate). Would like to get my hands on the original DVD, though it’s mysteriously not available through NetFlix (no surprise – seems like NetFlix doesn’t have half the stuff I search for.)

Anyway, next time you want to cuddle up with your kid(s) in front of the computer, check these out – Miles ate ’em up like peanuts.

Music: Sun Ra and the Year 2000 Myth Science Arkestra :: Prelude to a Kiss


Baraka0225 I am feeling at peace, and sort of speechless after having just watched Ron Fricke’s 1992 film Baraka, a follow-on to his 1983 journey Koyaanisqatsi. No words (but not silent), no script, no actors or plot. Just existential film imagery from seemingly half the countries in the world, depicting humans in all their meditative, strange, indescribably gorgeous religious splendor, juxtaposed with footage of humans in all their violent, herd-like, strange, indescribably gorgeous cultural porridge.

Baraka is, ultimately, an environmental film, but not in the way we’ve come to think of the term – it’s about the environment of our existence, our ways of being in (and with, and without) the world. There is an environmental subtext in a more traditional sense as well, but that’s not Fricke’s primary thought – it’s more about human life and the myriad ways our quest for meaning manifests.

The wisdom of making such a film without words cannot be underestimated. While there are many sequences that leave you dying to know more about what you’re seeing, any speech or text would have diluted the experience by intellectualizing something intensely experiential.

Watching Baraka had me revisiting thoughts on religion I’ve expressed over the past year. Religion is strange and arbitrary, but only because existence is strange and arbitrary. Our world is ineffable, and so therefore are our expressions of it. Religion is no more irrational than being in the world is.

I feel peaceful tonight, in a way I have not for a long time. I’ve been living in stress for months on end, feeling my nerves begin to fray, my mind atrophy as external inputs have all but ceased. Watching Baraka made me want to travel the world, open my eyes, close them, then open them again. It made me want to taste dirt, stare into the sun, kiss every human, sing Ketjak, wander through the desert, taste every food, scale the pyramids, swing from vines, paint my body, read every scripture.

I feel washed.