Author Archive

Arts Brief: Doveman Cuts Loose

Written by Ben Lasman on . Posted in Posts

What happens when the ironic isn’t? Cultural consumers of the 21st century recognize artistic ambivalence so readily that even the most catch-all buzzwords can send them reeling into a resigned, winking acceptance: heavy metal, dolphins, the 1980s. The problem with this reflex, of course, is that it becomes nearly impossible to discern between kitsch and [&hellip
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Drumming Out Of Time

Written by Ben Lasman on . Posted in Posts

Despite being the most mystical band on the planet, the Boredoms (pictured) still have yet to figure out how to be in two places at once. After 77 drummers joined the Japanese noise shamans for a cosmically proportioned beat circle under the Brooklyn Bridge last July, the expectations for this year’s follow-up have been about [&hellip
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Too Cuil: Ex-Google employees launch new search engine today

Written by Ben Lasman on . Posted in Posts, Technology

Google’s web-hegemony has become so unquestionable at this point, that any attempt to topple it comes off not as merely futile, but as a kind of Brechtian joke. The successors to the search-engine standard line up, boast revolutionary features and vamped-up security. They have vague, inviting names like ChaCha and the Jeeves-less Ask.com. And yet, it’s all tech-nerd theater. Nothing changes, nobody cares. In a best-case-scenario, most people will simply search Google for the details on its own ostensible competition.
A new model named Cuil (and pronounced, unexpectedly, “cool”) goes online today. Engineered by former Google employees as reported by HuffPost , the engine boasts access to a larger pool of websites (120 billion) than its rival, and can organize search results graphically by category...

continue reading "cuil" here.
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Bummer Stage: Santogold and Diplo at Central Park

Written by Ben Lasman on . Posted in Music, Posts


The queue never ceases to amaze me. Folks line up dutifully for an iPhone upgrade or a last-minute look at the Telectroscope or the All-Star Game, and a grandmother’s position ahead of an American Gladiator is respected as tantamount to a constitutional commitment: do not cut, do not push. It’s a British convention that, while retaining that country’s predilection for rueful politesse, not to mention a uniquely Stateside bent towards compassionate competition, is still about as close as the common capitalist can get to egalité, fraternité, liberté while still pursuing his gadgety passions and hard-on for spectacle. It’s a sublime compromise. To get the things we want, we must wait our turn, stomach a couple seconds of social collectivism in the name of stuff, stuff, stuff.

Sunday’s Santogold/Diplo show at Central Park’s SummerStage not only had a queue out of Exodus, but an aesthetic mentality poised on the cusp of one-world wishwash and consumerist crassness...

Continue reading "Santogold" here.
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No Pain, No Age

Written by Ben Lasman on . Posted in Music, Posts


No Age’s exodus out of the L.A. Smell scene into the larger taste-made universe is even more auspicious for the fact that their sound is more timeless than timely. When everyone else is busy dabbling in afro-clash and new kinds of irony, the duo opts to iron punk’s ragged remains and cut out a few patches. While they keep a white-noise board on hand, the static breakdowns are more transitional than compositional, a cowry of cultural currency that doesn’t necessarily need to be there, even if it makes the band look cooler...

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Drawing Blood: Draw-A-Thon Theater Searches for Home, Crashes Temporarily at Creator’s

Written by Ben Lasman on . Posted in Arts & Film, Posts

This Saturday, artist Michael Alan plans to fill his Williamsburg house with nude Marilyn Monroe impersonators, sparklers on the roof and in the butt, a cake on someone's head, and an orgy. It will be, promises Alan, wild fucking fun. As the next installment of Draw-A-Thon Theater, Saturday’s event would mark the healthy continuation of the much-covered, well-attended public performance art-cum open studio trip Alan and his troupe founded in 2005 were it not for the nagging fact that the project, as of this writing, is homeless.

“We had an arrangement with a Chelsea gallery through the end of August,” Alan explains via telephone, “But they didn’t want to pay the $500 insurance.” Booker back-outs of this kind are nothing new to the group. Alan has sought legal action on at least three occasions against flaky curators...

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Stranger Things Have Happened: A Place to Bury Strangers at the South Street Seaport

Written by Ben Lasman on . Posted in Music, Posts


Strange things happen when bands move up a stage size. Instant fans via Forkcast flock to shows with cameras and girlfriends. There’s massive buildup until the backlash. Suddenly, the bassist and the drummer are playing stints in Atlantic City with a rotating cast of cocktail waitresses. Friday night’s free A Place to Bury Strangers gig at the South Street Seaport felt like a set-length condensation of the buzz trajectory...

Continue reading "Place to Bury Strangers" here.

Photo by Ben Lasman
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