Film and cinema provide modes of explanation in the most varied domains, because they are often for us the site of profound change and reflection, crucial for self-development and experiencing what we call “the self.” Perhaps a film occurs in a manner similar to that of an “event.” For each of us it is easy enough to show that the concept of who we are and the question of how we became “ourselves” is as old as the history of the Western tradition itself. Nevertheless, the experience of molding the self is often shared — up to this point, I have sought to stake out it, marking and drawing us together into a certain nexus of experience. The function of this shared or lived experience is not to disorient us, but rather, to orient us together, balancing and organizing our horizons of meaning toward a common meridian. If each film we watch may be explained as a certain puncturing or rupturing of our distinct horizons, let us endeavor to conceive of this “event” as a profound return or remembrance of our commonality.
What we encounter in Michelangelo Antonioni’s Red Desert (1964) is the most paradoxical reading of modernity offered yet, which presents us with a final conclusion to his previous trilogy of films (L’Avventura, La Notte, L’Eclisse) . Antonioni assures our most basic relationships with an industrialized and modern conception of Western Civilization; we are swept across the rise of heavy industry, observe an increase in existential alienation in social relations, and experience the development of ecological problems.
Last weekend I had the chance to escape from my essays and find a bit of peace at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. Currently on view is an exhibition called Damage Control: Art and Destruction Since 1950. If I’m being honest, I am not normally drawn to exhibits that are largely centered on film, television and sculpture, but I was left completely captivated by many of the chilling pieces at this exhibition. On view through late May, Damage Control works to explore the themes of destruction in art and the context in which these pieces were created. Stemming from the “escalation of the arms race and the prospect of nuclear annihilation” in the early 1950s, the exhibition uses different art mediums to convey the significance of media coverage of these disasters, both large and small.
Meet Mikala Rempe – my partner in crime.The empty voids in both of our lives were filled the day we were brought together as assistant poetry editors for AmLit. If you’re wondering what that position even is, it basically just means that we get to geek out about poems while excessively using the words “dude” and “literally,” along with a somewhat shameful list of colorful expletives.
You love AmLit. I love AmLit. We all love AmLit, but for those of us who need some sort of creative stimuli as we await the next release of our beloved semiannual student publication, Issuu.com is a great gift. On our college budgets, dismal and meager, pretty interest magazines published on premium card stock with minimal advertisements are usually out of our financial reach. Issuu.com, an online hub of self-produced publications, is here to help you bide your time before AmLit’s December release. Here are a few free magazines featured on the website that’ll quench the literary thirst of the curious.
“Esteemed city institution” and “DuPont’s replacement ritual for church” are among the words of praise for the long-running bookstore and café, Kramerbooks & Afterwords, a D.C. must-see nestled comfortably on the cosmopolitan Connecticut Avenue. A well-oiled machine, the establishment first opened in 1976 and has since been coined as the first bookstore in the country to feature a full bar and an adjacent restaurant.
American University’s chapter of React to Film is a documentary film club geared towards raising awareness about important social issues through organizing free documentary screenings on campus twice a semester. How to Make Money Selling Drugs was shown this past Tuesday (11/5) for the club’s last film of the semester. Even after cramming in a few more additional rows of chairs and having standing room in the back, there was still barely enough room to fit everyone. Apparently students at American University are looking at every avenue possible for ways to cut down on their ever increasing tuition fees. The film itself describes how to “level up” through the ranks of the illegal drug trade, from recreational user all the way to cartel lord.
On the first Friday of every month, DC art lovers gather in Dupont Circle for First Fridays, a night when galleries stay open later than usual to debut new works. Free wine and snacks are served, but, more importantly, visitors can meet the artists themselves and even snag some art firsthand.
With the opening scene of La Notte (“The Night”) (1961), Michelangelo Antonioni (director) challenges how the modern subject is seen. Beginning within an empty reflection of an elevator, gliding down the side of a Modern skyscraper without emitting sound of its own, one must become aware to the metaphor of modernity: Alienated romance.
Amid the sea of SIS and Public Affairs majors at AU, relatively small pockets of literature-loving students can be found floating around campus. We aren’t too hard to find (just look in the Dav on any given day or, better yet, come by an AmLit meeting). I decided to sit down with AU junior Mattea Falk last week in the Mudbox for a morning chat about her passion for both reading and writing poetry. She has been writing poems since sophomore year of high school and recalled her first poem with embarrassed laughter: “I specifically remember that it was about driving somewhere, and I was listening to Konstantine by Something Corporate.”
Two boxes are now checked off my bucket list: I watched an art house film in an indie theater and took myself on a gratuitous movie date. I’ll admit I only saw “Muscle Shoals” because I scored the ticket for free from the movie’s public relations department. Not to mention I was curious after hearing about the documentary through Spotify advertisements. Why not work on that list? So I headed to West End Cinema.
Aside from the Phillips Collection’s impressive permanent collection, the current Vincent van Gogh exhibition, titled van Gogh Repetitions, made for a lovely afternoon of art. On display through January 26th, the Phillips Collection is lucky enough to currently have some of the artist’s best-known works under their museum’s roof. The exhibition is especially interesting because it’s not simply showcasing van Gogh’s works, but instead diving into his tendency to create multiple versions of the same painting.
photo credit: FilmyrI have learned to believe in magic. Not in the form of frivolous card tricks or Houdini-like hoaxes, but through hand-drawn images coming to life. Many do not understand this magic, this immense joy that is animation. “How can I relate to characters who are two-dimensional in form, how can I grasp any tangible emotion?” With all due respect and the credibility of John Lasseter (chief executive officer of Pixar and Walt Disney) to back me up, I beg to differ. No filmmaker has given human life more consideration and provided more parallels to the 3-D reality of our world, than the Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki.
Jay Bowman, House ManagerMy last weekend had only one saving grace. On a rainy Friday night I took the X3 bus in Tenley to Adams Morgan and got off on 18th St to visit the free District of Columbia Arts Center (DCAC). All I expected from my visit was a little bit of art. I got magic. Thanks, in no small part to certain Extremities. The DCAC, located just above the hookah shop on 2438 18th St, is the hidden gem of Admo.
For their first show of the season, the AU Players, a student-run theatre group, staged Italian playwright Luigi Pirandello’s Six Characters in Search of An Author, directed by sophomore Claire Tietze. The play, known for it’s metatheatrical and absurdist nature, tells a story that can be messy and hard to follow for those unfamiliar with the plot. Pirandello’s play is about a cast rehearsing for a show called The Rules of the Game when a new cast, who are “characters” themselves enter and begin performing a show that is not just a show, but also their “real” lives. Confused yet?
With the rise of interest magazines, such as the community table-driven Kinfolk and the interior design savvy Apartamento, it’s hard to find a publication that doesn’t seem like it was put under the Valencia filter or shot exclusively with a disposable camera. And that’s where Lucky Peach comes in. A magazine that seamlessly weaves food and writing together, this quarterly adopts a theme for each issue, such as the Apocalypse, American food, and Chinatown. Talented photographers and artists are showcased, including Christopher Boffoli, a photographer/artist who’s famous for his “Big Appetites” collection, a series of photographs featuring miniature figures set in a food-filled scene.